The Civil Beat Editorial Board Interview: Leaders Of Hawaii Community-Based Organizations - Honolulu Civil Beat

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Civil Beat Editorial Board

The members of The Civil Beat Editorial Board are Chad Blair, Patti Epler, Nathan Eagle, Kim Gamel, John Hill and Matthew Leonard. Opinions expressed by the editorial board reflect the group’s consensus view. Not all members may participate in every interview or essay. Chad Blair, the Politics and Opinion Editor, can be reached at

Editor’s note: The Civil Beat Editorial Board spoke on Wednesday with Nanci Kreidman, chief executive officer of the Domestic Violence Action Center; Lisa Maruyama, president and CEO of the Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations; and En Young, executive director of Pacific Gateway Center. This interview has been edited for length and clarity and also for future stories. Maruyama began by explaining the work of HANO.

Lisa Maruyama: HANO has been around since 2006, and it was with a recognition that there just needed to be an entity that was looking out for the interests of the community-building organizations, sort of that sector of organizations. And we purposefully chose the word “alliance” as opposed to “association.” Really, we’re about strengthening and uniting this sector to do good work in our community here in Hawaii.

We do this through professional development, technical assistance, training. We do advocacy at the federal, state and county levels — En is a former board member, board chair — and the one way that we sort of look like a trade association is we broker and vet products and services for our members. But really, all of the other types of services that we provide are for nonprofits, whether they’re members or not.

Hano President and CEO Lisa Maruyama speaks to our ed board.
Hano President and CEO Lisa Maruyama speaks to the editorial board. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

And, Nanci’s reminding us, we’re trying to rebrand the word, moving from nonprofit to community-building organizations or community-based organizations. To better describe what we do and not our tax status.

Okay, good. Thank you. Nanci?

Nanci Kreidman: So I work with the Domestic Violence Action Center. We were born in 1990 with two part-time staff, and now there are 50 of us working in an array of programs. We’re devoted to addressing the problem of domestic violence. So we have attorneys, paralegals, advocates, educators, facilitators, help line specialists, onsite court staff helping people navigate their way to safety and freedom. We work with children and adults who are experiencing and suffering the harm of abuse. Our locations are confidential. We went most recently into the housing business — a logical next step for us.

Our community speaks about addressing the homeless problem. And when I hear our elected and appointed leaders and policymakers talk about homelessness, they never include survivors of domestic violence. They’re talking about mentally ill or substance-abusing people. And I’ve been trying to advocate for the inclusion of survivors and families who have fled or escaped. More than 70% of our clients say housing is an issue for them when we meet them. And so we thought, well, we can add that to our array of program services. We are committed to raising the community’s awareness.

In addition to providing direct services, we serve on a lot of community task forces and committees, working groups appointed by the attorney general, the chief justice, the governor. When we bring the voice of survivors to those conversations, they would otherwise be left out. So we’re pretty happy to be invited. We never declined an invitation to participate. We’re often invited by media to make comment, which also we see is an opportunity and a gift, really, to help educate the community, because the community is clinging to a mythology and misconceptions about who domestic violence impacts.

Tell us about the Pacific Gateway Center.

En Young: We’re going to be 50 next year, so we’ve been around quite some time. You know, in the beginning it was to respond to multiple crises in Southeast Asia, communism and that kind of thing. So, people coming out of Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, all of that. And so in the beginning, it was really about legal services and just getting people stabilized — the immigration piece. Over time as people stayed, it really moved more towards economic empowerment. Now they’re here. What are they going to do?

The recent press we’ve had has really been around our business-development services, which primarily run out of two incubator programs. We have 12 commercial kitchens and in Kalihi a culinary business incubator. We help bakers, caterers, all those folks kind of start up small food-based businesses. And we have a 176-acre farm in Kunia where we incubate small-farm businesses. So, (we are) involved a lot in the food system.

Pacific Gateway Center Executive Director En Young speaks to our ed board.
Pacific Gateway Center Executive Director En Young speaks to the editorial board. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

We also are a landlord of sorts, so we own the building, which Pig and the Lady is in and they were actually one of our clients. We helped (owner) Mama Le settle here and then obviously her family, her sons.

The restaurant on King Street? In Chinatown?

Yeah, yeah. So that being said, we still hold true to our immigration roots. Lately there’s been a small — from the national perspective — a small influx of Afghans coming out of the Afghan Adjustment Act. And then more recently, some of the press we’ve gotten is really around the Ukrainian influx and we’re at almost 100.

Nanci, I did want to ask you about what you meant by, “We’re getting into the housing business.” Could you elaborate a little bit more on that? Because when we hear about affordable housing and homelessness, we always hear about the chronic homeless, people in need of services. And yet, if I heard you correctly, you feel that that really is not being given enough attention, the folks that you serve in the domestic violence arena.

Kreidman: Correct. So we have — do you remember the program that used to be run by the prosecutor’s office, an apartment building? In Makiki?

The one that’s at the center of some controversy?

Yes, that one. We’ve taken over that property. It’s now filled with 20 families of the survivors and their children. It was not run too effectively and it wasn’t utilized sufficiently. There were four occupied units there, which is a colossal waste of space. Anyway, the city asked us to take over that program, so we did. We also received a community development block grant and bought property that is almost ready for some families and children to move into.

And we also have a partnership with the United Church of Christ, and we run that program there — housing again — (for) survivors and their children. One of Senator (Brian) Schatz’s congressionally designated appropriations last year was funds to buy another apartment building. I mean, we could replicate this model multiple times.

So why isn’t it being replicated as a matter of congressional funding or state funding?

I don’t think domestic violence is the priority it ought to be. And I don’t think people, policymakers, decision-makers and government agents, think about creating specialized housing for survivors.

Domestic Violence Action Center CEO Nanci Kreidman speaks to our ed board.
Domestic Violence Action Center CEO Nanci Kreidman speaks to the editorial board. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

Why don’t they?

I think they are evaluating the competing community needs, and this is a problem that doesn’t rise to the surface in the way we would like it to.

I did go on and look at the common myths that are listed on your website, and I’ve seen this before, but this one always leaps out at me: “Domestic violence happens in low-income families or people with substance abuse problems, or only two people who grew up in a violent family.” And that’s just flat out false. That’s just wrong. I wonder if that somehow illustrates, if you will, that myth — that these are not people we should be caring about because — I hate to say this — but they are lower income. They don’t have money. They don’t have influence. So how do you correct that myth?

Well, we try to saturate the community consciousness with a different perspective, a different view, and explain that domestic violence does not discriminate. It is not reserved to brown people in Palolo along with low income people. I personally don’t go anywhere anymore where somebody doesn’t say to me, “My mother, my first husband, my next door neighbor, my co-worker, my sister, my daughter, my auntie.” Everybody knows somebody who has been a victim of abuse. You don’t necessarily have to have been the victim of a broken bone or black eye. But there’s a whole range of behaviors on a continuum that reflect victimization.

The money you got from the feds, the Schatz money. Have you spent that yet ?

We haven’t received it yet. It’s on the list. We’re navigating. It goes through the City and County. It’s HUD money.

Lisa, what’s your concern right now? What’s your top priority leading the alliance of nonprofits? Is it funding?

Maruyama: I think funding is a means to an end, right? So what keeps me up at night is, are we coming out of this pandemic? And I hope I can safely say that we are. Are we better off as a community statewide as a result of this experience? There’s a flood of federal money coming in. The spigot is on and it is going out rather slowly, in my opinion, and maybe not as strategically, in my opinion, and also targeted toward very dire needs. So that’s welcome. But when the spigot turns off in a couple of years, are we better off as a community? Are we healthier?

HANO CBOD funding pie chart

Are we more resilient? Are we more self-sufficient? As an island state, have we done everything that we need to do, particularly from our sectors generally, to build resilience, to be able to do this work and whenever the next pandemic or the next crisis, the next natural disaster?

And I actually wonder if we are. I don’t think we are. I don’t think we’re making the right decisions, creating the partnerships, bringing down the silos, thinking creatively enough to be able to reset the way we do things.

By spigot, you mean the federal money coming out of D.C.

There are lots of public tranches of federal packages coming in that started with before even (the Covid relief) CARES Act. There was another one before that and then ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act of 2021) and Build Back Better that turned into IRA (Inflation Reduction Act of 2022) and things like that. So there are tranches of money that have come or are coming that I don’t feel like we have the infrastructure or the mechanisms to actually disseminate and distribute those resources in a timely manner and efficiently and effectively.

About that word “nonprofit” — is nonprofit a pejorative word? And is that the reason that we’re trying to move towards community-building or community-based organizations?

Well, while we’re trying to avoid them being interchangeable from a branding perspective, both apply for CBOs. And I think as we contemplate why the three of us are here today is to really think about that partnership, where we’re wanting to talk about the government-nonprofit relationship.

I always say this in Rotary speeches — the three-legged stool. The legs need to be stable, right? And they need to be connected in order for the stool, which is the community, to be stabilized. And so are those partnerships and relationships in place and strong enough and trusted enough to be able to do this work together? And back to the choice of “alliance” instead of “association” is we want to behave less like the trade association, where the silo is up, and more about how do we do this work together and fluidly and again with trust silos.

So the word nonprofit is rather limited, I think, in the way that it sort of defines how we do the work. Yes, we have a tax exemption to do this work, but it shouldn’t really change the way we work together. And ultimately, I think the government and the for-profit corporate sector do have similar goals in mind in coming in and having a stabilized community. At the end of the day, there’s a lot that binds us more than separates us. And so how do we have that conversation differently going forward?

Thanks for that explanation. Just to go back to what you were saying, what are the reasons that these tranches of money are not flowing as smoothly? What are the hang ups about how it even gets distributed?

I don’t know if you recall that there was that risk with CARES Act money when we all thought that the deadline to spend it down was December 28 and Treasury kept changing the guidance. And it was sort of this “wait, hurry up” kind of not strategic way of doing it. And of course, this was new to all of us. So I want to qualify that. Everybody was trying to do their best given the lack of information.

And you might recall that Speaker (Scott) Saiki actually set up the House Covid Oversight Committee, and I was fortunate to be part of that, to be able to help in providing the oversight. And one of the major subcommittees was the CARES Act, spend down kind of oversight. And the Hawaii Data Collaborative was doing a lot of work to actually try to provide real-time tracking of that and those mechanisms were in place to actually do that and to sort of hold accountable those parties that were responsible for distribution.

Now with subsequent packages, it’s still to be seen. The City and County of Honolulu has the bulk of this next package — $385 million — with a smattering of other parts going to other counties. But the largest allotment went to the City and County of Honolulu.

And that’s what sparked our Community Voices piece, because they set aside $30 million for relief, which is straight up just relief — it’s not based on merit. It’s not based on projects. It’s really just anybody who can demonstrate loss of jobs, loss of programs, etc., in the pandemic is eligible for this straight up. They can pay them. So that is yet to be released because the city, as I understand it, is setting up a system for distribution of that out of the Department of Community Services.

Do you have a sense of the time frame for that?

Young: September.

September was last month.

Maruyama: They were going to do a grant portal that was going to facilitate rapid application. And the grant portal isn’t probably going to happen, as I understand it. So they’re thinking of a different way to sort out that.

But isn’t this money needed rather desperately in some cases?

Maruyama: Yes.

Has that been communicated to the administration, the City and County, the mayor?

Young: I can speak for our efforts, but I’m pretty sure everybody else, at least in our gang, has been doing that advocacy work. And it’s not like the government folks are not aware.

Back to your point. You know, I was in state government in 2008 and 2009 when NERA (the Housing and Economic Recovery Act) came through. And I remember we had a conference, maybe 2010, 2011. We talked about the inability to deploy funds quickly because it was the exact same situation. And the best analogy I heard in that conference was that you get leaky pipes when you pour a whole bunch more water into it. It’s going to show where all those leaks are and you’re going to lose more of that water. And it’s the same thing.

Pacific Gateway Center clients at a Covid vaccine clinic.
Pacific Gateway Center clients at a Covid vaccine clinic. Submitted

We need to be ready for these things before, you know, the pandemic happens. And I thought maybe we had learned that lesson. Maybe not. But, you know, the key to deploying money quickly is having the pathways set already. And we’re talking about costing — I think that’s the part that hasn’t been worked on. We’re open to talking about it, but it’s hard with the election cycle. It’s hard with changes in personnel. It’s hard with changes in the nonprofit sector. It’s hard with changes in regulation to lay that foundation down.

But I’m hearing not only did this happen with the financial crisis and then, of course, Covid. But you’re saying there will be another crisis soon enough. And it doesn’t sound like that foundation is there.

Maruyama: Well, I think the CARES experience sort of yielded a lot of lessons around how to do this. And, you know, kudos to everybody who tried to get it out, assuming it was a December deadline. And then when we were told we had a little bit more time. And everyone was able to take a breath around the work. But for this next tranche, I think what we learned is some of the regulations that Treasury may have imposed and that the City and County and other counties may have interpreted is the work needs to be done first and then it’s done. There’s a reimbursement of expenses to any provider that is contracting with the city, to the county, to do this.

So imagine that you’re asking a small and mid-sized community based organization that might have a nexus in their mission with Covid and Covid response but really hasn’t done the kind of scale or scope of work that the pandemic required of them. But then they’re being given millions of dollars. They’re being contracted for millions of dollars to actually do this wide swath of work in the community. And it’s around diverse services. It’s food distribution. It’s safety. I mean, Nanci’s mission is right in there. And we saw that in the pandemic. There were a lot of mental health issues, social issues that just sort of sprung up because it was just people were at their wit’s end right around these issues.

Pacific Gateway Center's work includes small farms on Oahu.
Pacific Gateway Center’s work includes helping small farms and food production on Oahu. Submitted

But when your government contractor is requiring you to front all of that cost and get those services out and those community-building, community-based organizations already were on a thin margin before the pandemic — there’s no way financially they’re going to be able to keep staff, to be able to do that kind of work and then wait six months to get it or even more to get reimbursed by their government contractor. And this was a huge, huge, huge issue for us.

And unfortunately, because Treasury was so vague and ambiguous about the guidelines, governments were very risk-averse around fronting that kind of money, federal money. There was a fear that there would be a misstep and then they would owe money back with, say, interest rates to back to the Treasury and especially when there was this concern that there was a deadline.

Kreidman: So can I just add something to that? The first $193 million that came to the city — that’s got to be 18 months ago now. We haven’t seen a penny of it.

Just how bad was Covid as a hit financially to your operations? Respectively.

Kreidman: I want to say we didn’t have the capacity to scale up. I mean, we have what we have. There’s the same number of us as there were. What that meant is there were a lot of people who couldn’t be helped. So I mean, that’s a different kind of effect.

Young: A hidden cost.

Kreidman: Yeah. We could not meet all the needs of the people who had them. I mean, with domestic violence, people were prisoners at home. What we’re seeing now — I know we’re talking sort of exposed post pandemic — is the trauma that people experience while being prisoners at home was pretty significant and life-changing.

And those repercussions, I’m sure, continue through today.

Kreidman: But that’s what I mean. Yeah, it’s post pandemic. Those people who were during the pandemic following government restrictions to stay home and not go anywhere and could not go to work. As businesses were shut down, schools were closed, those people were victimized with greater frequency, more severity. And that trauma we’re living with now as a community.

Maruyama: I think there’s a factor where in the — certainly year one, right? — of pandemic and then year two, there was a lot of attention on the issue. So a lot of money being thrown at it, a lot of attention, silos came down. Everybody rolled up their sleeves and said, “Let’s just get out there and do whatever it took. Year three, it just has become normalized. And that’s almost insidious because people have walked away from the problem. The problem hasn’t gone away. And in fact, it’s more insidious. And yet philanthropy maybe has gone back to their corners to fund their normal things. No emergency funding. There is this government funding coming through, but it’s dysfunctional in the way it’s being distributed. And then the demand for services are at an all time high when our sector is experiencing, you know, “the great resignation” and a gutting out of our workforce.

And prior to the pandemic, we weren’t competitive then around salaries, wages and benefits and upward mobility and job security. And the way that government can provide or even the for-profit corporate sector can provide great professional development. So we’re starting to see our sector losing in that sort of chase for good talent. And what I’m concerned about is it used to be sort of the office manager that you lost to Target. Right now you’re losing the medical director of a clinic. It’s all of these levels, the professional levels where we’re losing good people because of this issue that everyone is experiencing.

Kreidman: We can’t recruit in the first place.

Maruyama: And then, again — perfect storm — demand is super high, but then it’s also invisible again. So that’s what we’re a little concerned about.

Young: I would add on to that. We’ve talked about millions of dollars and having to scale up quick. I mean, for some of us, especially for Pacific Gateway Center, a lot of our clients are restaurant, food trucks, all that kind of stuff, and for a long period of time that was just illegal (during Covid). So we couldn’t provide those services. So rather than scaling up what we already knew how to do, it was a straight-up pivot. We move towards food distribution. With Kaiser folks with vaccine outreach to immigrant communities, which are things we have the capacity to do but we just had never done them before.

So, as Lisa is saying, as we kind of try to move back towards wherever the center was, it’s — okay — now we expect you to do these things that you were doing during Covid. And by the way, go pick up all the stuff you were doing before that as well on the same amount of money.

Maruyama: Right. Right.

I’m curious about how people access care. And I know someone who’s a shelter manager for domestic violence housing and she said she calls the cops a lot, when there’s an issue and they don’t always show up in a timely manner. So I was just wondering how people access care in your organization.

Kreidman: It’s true, the police don’t always respond in a timely way. Effectively, we think they would benefit from more training. Better training. I’m holding out great hopes for the new chief (Joe Logan). We haven’t had a responsive department in quite a few years, so every way is up as far as I can tell. So far, he’s been supportive. People often find us through the restraining order process. We have staff on site and in court, so anybody going to get a restraining order has the opportunity to interact with somebody from (the Domestic Violence Action Center) and we can help them navigate. Child welfare knows about us, the police and all that. I mean, the community of intervenors largely are aware that we’re here and some people, employers, will send people.

A True Costs fan, part of a new campaign from Hawaii nonprofits to drum up support.
A True Costs fan, part of a new campaign from Hawaii nonprofits to drum up support. David Croxford/Civil Beat/2021

I had a call last week from somebody in Queen’s (Medical Center) saying, “I’ve got somebody sitting in my office. She’s a survivor of domestic violence. I don’t know what to tell her, what should I tell her?” We have health care practitioners who do some screening and find out that the person is afraid to go home — that kind of thing. There are so many people who need to be guided to safety. There isn’t enough working in place for families.

That sort of brings us to the True Costs. We haven’t gone to the True Costs thing. But maybe I want to answer your other question first.

If someone’s not going to the doctor or not going to the court, how would they reach you?

Kreidman: Well, a neighbor or a coworker can say, “I’m concerned about you. There are community programs that could help you. I’m willing to stand by you if you want to make a call.” You can call anonymously and confidentially. I mean, that’s why we try to buy air time, so it’s on television and try to have materials and media helps us to push the awareness.

But it is up to every one of us to not look away. The Men’s March Against Violence recently, the chief said, “Don’t look away,” which is what many, many people do. They have a suspicion or they are a little concerned, but they really don’t want to go there. So they look away. And as a community, it’s our responsibility to not look away.

I do want to hear about the True Cost campaign. Tell us what this is about.

Kreidman: We have been experiencing with the contracts that all of us have. There’s probably 20 or 30 of us who have begun this conversation which began last —

Maruyama: Fifty.

Kreidman: Fifty of us who began this conversation maybe last January or February, recognizing that the cost of doing business has been increasing and our contracts don’t keep pace with the cost of doing business. So health insurance goes up, electricity goes up, pencils go up, Xerox leases go up, and the contract stays the same. So we said, “Let’s get together and talk about this. Is this just a few centers experiencing this? Or are there other organizations who have purchased service contracts like we do?” And so we invited a bunch of organizations to come together and have a conversation. It’s a major cause.

So we got together with this list of questions and we said, “Every time this question resonates for you, please raise your fan.” And everybody raised their fan multiple times to say, “No, we are not experiencing an increase that matches cost of living, inflation, minimum wage increases” that were all occurring for all of us, all of us in the same ways.

Lisa, and you want to jump in here or did Nanci nail it perfectly?

Maruyama: She nailed it perfectly. I will just add that this isn’t particular to this administration. This is not particular to this recession or this pandemic. You know, I’ve been around a long time. You’ve been covering all the issues that I’ve been pushing. So, Nanci and I remember being on the Alliance for Health and Human Services in 1995 when this first started, because the history is that government had decided to kind of give up the responsibility of being the provider of the services and instead is now the arranger of the service. And so it looked to the community-based organizations to actually procure those services.

So in order to provide the community-based services and through the years, maybe it started off as fair contracts when that notion first came up that government was going to be moved from provider to arranger. But over time it’s never caught up with cost of living. There has been an unwillingness generally to provide overhead. And there has been an unwillingness to provide some of the core support.

There’s typically an appetite to fund the sexy stuff, right? The visible buildings or the programs. But it’s the electricity and it’s the Internet access and it’s seriously somebody’s salary that needs to be paid for in order for the service to be of quality. And over time, when you refuse to pay that, you’re eroding the core of the nonprofit. We have seen large health and human service houses like in New York City. There was a big case study where they were providing services, birth to death, and a huge, huge footprint around health and human service impact. They folded because what they were doing is they were mostly dependent upon government contracts that were not paying any overhead and they were not over time paying for the back office. And then the whole thing just sort of imploded from the inside because the external pieces were being paid for, but not the core foundation of the organization.

So if we continue to have that and that’s how it is in a way, there is not an appetite to pay for overhead. If we continue this way, we will be the same. That’s what I was saying in the beginning. If all this spigot of money turns off, whether at the state, county, federal level, and we are nowhere better off in our in our capacity to be good partners to government, what does this what do our communities across the state if we look like we are hollowed out organizations that are no better?

Kreidman: I’m going to say one more thing. The responsibility then falls on us to bridge the gap. So we have to meet the shortfall every year that is created by the differences in costs and contracts. So fundraisers, contributions, foundation grants, whatever we can scramble to do. I spend almost my entire waking hours trying to figure out how to raise money.

Maruyama: But you wouldn’t ask a for-profit contractor to do that. You wouldn’t ask a for-profit contractor to come with bellies to the table in order to sweeten the deal for the contract. But that’s what nonprofits are expected to do all the time, is come with added leverage, you know, in order to make that contract attractive right now.

Young: And I would just add, what is the government buying? For us, I don’t think it’s a surprise, but trust in government is rather low these days. And so when they are procuring service with us, “Help us outreach. Help us do this. Help us do that.” It’s really our trusted relationships, our networks that they’re relying on to get the service out. And then, when we can’t deliver because we’re waiting to get paid out or whatever it is, that erodes that trust in our organizations. And starts to knock the entire system down.

So then what’s the answer? Because everyone is scrambling for money, and Hawaii has a real need on so many levels for limited dollars to be divvied up. So what do you guys think the answer to that is?

Maruyama: One of the things that’s on our talking point list is we probably need to bring in the unions to have this conversation, because the way we see it is — and this is not a bad thing — it’s just the reality is collective bargaining is in place. If there’s ever a cut in state government to the departments — and we often see that in recessions, right, 5%, 10% cuts across their budgets, all departments. It is sort of this edict. And you will find it. You make it up somewhere. This fiscal year, they cannot erode or they can’t touch their collective bargaining.

It’s part of the constitution.

Maruyama: You look at purchase of service contracts because that’s where the wiggle room is. And all of the contracts have a rider in it that says “subject to the availability of funds.” So they have that wiggle room to just erode, to change the contract midstream. So if you were committing to provide the output of 100 beds and you’re getting paid, you know, $100 per bed, just to simplify.

Sometimes someone will get a notice saying, “We’re going to give you $60 a bed,” but you still need to provide 100 beds. And figure it out. You’re on tap to put people in 100 beds to provide in-patient facility service or whatever. And there’s nothing wrong with that contract. There’s nothing illegal about changing the times in the contract. But it sends the community-based organizations into a tailspin because they figured out the service based on that cost.

What do you mean by bring the unions in? I’m not sure I understand.

Young: Well, I think there’s two parts to it. On the union side, community-based organizations doing contracts is — basically, it’s privatization. So at some level, we’re going to have to come to terms with the union and say, “Okay, what is the state prepared to provide and what can’t the state provide as well as an external organization?” You know, in terms of staffing, timing. I mean, if the union contract says Monday to Friday in the form and you’re not providing services on the weekend, you need somebody else to come in.

Maruyama: Mental health crises are not supposed to happen at 10 p.m.

Young: Yeah, exactly, because the homeless services were closed. You know, it’s 4:30 p.m., 4:29 — pau already. But then, the other piece is, what are the union folks fighting for? They’re fighting for their share of the wage gain — often, right? — in collective bargaining. So if we are providing these kind of similar services that are just both sides of the same coin, which is what we’re trying to serve the public, then where is the CBO’s role in that collective bargaining process? If they’re going up, then there should be some kind of associated compensation.

This may be a stretch, but am I hearing a collective bargaining arrangement for CBOs? Is that kind of what’s been thrown out here?

Young: You know, maybe more solidarity with the unions and just an understanding of where we both play in the landscape.

Maruyama: And it’s their members too. It’s all of us, right? We all benefit from government services.

Kreidman: We want to avoid the policymakers, decision-makers pitting unions against CBOs.

Maruyama: Philanthropy is a sliver. And so many times the government side or media often will say, “Well, can’t philanthropy step in for government where government is shirking its responsibility.” It’s been estimated that if Bill Gates’ corpus tried to do that, he would only last a year in funding the national make-up, the pie of government.

So, merely to emphasize, this is an important partnership, we need to make sure it works and that it’s functional. It’s not going away. The threats are not going away.

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About the Author

Civil Beat Editorial Board

The members of The Civil Beat Editorial Board are Chad Blair, Patti Epler, Nathan Eagle, Kim Gamel, John Hill and Matthew Leonard. Opinions expressed by the editorial board reflect the group’s consensus view. Not all members may participate in every interview or essay. Chad Blair, the Politics and Opinion Editor, can be reached at

Latest Comments (0)

So then what happens to the to-be-former residents of that building? If there's no net gain in apartments, aren't they just creating new homeless in the shuffle?

Taueva · 11 months ago

Just wondering whether housing for battered wifes is conditional on being part of the United Church of Christ? Or whether since they partnered with them, that they are allowed to recruit? Or is this done simply out of charity? I am saying this, for the same reason I am against Bush's "thousand points of light" philosophy, and the usage of Government funding for non-profits. Too much power, and to much non-scientific influence for what is supposed to be a charitable organization. In Utah for example, the Government has shirked its responsibilities regarding SNAP and has handed it out to a non-profit...The Morman Church. Apparently according to Pro-Publica and other reputable new outlets...if your Morman you get your payments right away, everyone else has to run the gauntlet.

Zazou · 11 months ago

Children can be prisoners in their own homes. And when the trauma they are suffering doesn’t reach the threshold of child welfare services intervention and their own parent is allowing the dysfunctional stranger to inhabit their space, there is really little they can do to escape it. We need to do more. Because the damage lasts a lifetime.

Sqwauk8O8 · 11 months ago

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