Non­prof­its plan for po­ten­tially deep cuts

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - LOCAL & BUSINESS - By Dan Nakaso dnakaso@starad­ver­tiser.com

The Hawaii Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion to­day will bring to­gether more than 200 is­land non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions to pre­pare for po­ten­tially dev­as­tat­ing cuts in fed­eral fund­ing un­der the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“Th­ese are not bud­get cuts as usual,” said Nick John­son, se­nior vice pres­i­dent for state fis­cal pol­icy for the Wash­ing­ton, D.C.based Cen­ter on Bud­get and Pol­icy Pri­or­i­ties, who will out­line the ram­i­fi­ca­tions on Hawaii non­prof­its at the day­long gath­er­ing at the Hil­ton Hawai­ian Vil­lage Waikiki Beach Re­sort. “The last eight months (of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion) have re­ally been a wake-up call. Th­ese are deep struc­tural changes that are be­ing pro­posed at the fed­eral level that would in fact send shock waves through the abil­ity of non­prof­its and states and com­mu­ni­ties to pro­vide cru­cial ser­vices in health care, ed­u­ca­tion and hu­man ser­vices — the things that non­prof­its play a big role in pro­vid­ing.”

THE Hawaii Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion has been help­ing is­land non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions for more than a cen­tury and to­day is par­tic­u­larly wor­ried that the 2018 fis­cal year could see cuts to fed­eral pro­grams that are cru­cial to Hawaii, in­clud­ing:

>> Med­i­caid, which cur­rently funds health in­sur­ance for 300,000 Hawaii res­i­dents. Some 35 per­cent of Med­i­caid re­cip­i­ents are chil­dren, and 20 per­cent are se­niors and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to the Hawaii Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion.

>> Fed­eral rental as­sis­tance, which pro­vided $233 mil­lion last year to more than 20,000 low-in­come Hawaii house­holds.

>> Sup­ple­men­tal Nu­tri­tion As­sis­tance Pro­gram (SNAP), which helped 1 in 8 is­land res­i­dents get food in fis­cal year 2016. Among the thou­sands of peo­ple re­ceiv­ing SNAP ben­e­fits are 3,100 ed­u­ca­tors and 5,300 health care work­ers, ac­cord­ing to the Hawaii Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion.

“The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has pro­posed to take that pro­gram, which is now 100 per­cent fed­er­ally funded, and make it a pro­gram where states would have to kick in 25 per­cent of the cost — a cost shift of $100 mil­lion a year to Hawaii,” the Hawaii Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion told

the Honolulu Star-Ad­ver­tiser.

“That’s a $100 mil­lion-plus hit on the state bud­get,” John­son said. “Or it means cut­ting ben­e­fits or throw­ing peo­ple off of the pro­gram.”

Hawaii’s ge­o­graphic iso­la­tion makes it harder for non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions to raise funds to make up the dif­fer­ence in fed­eral cuts, said Micah Kane, the Hawaii Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion’s pres­i­dent and CEO.

“Phi­lan­thropy will not fill the gap,” he said.

Com­mu­ni­ties on the main­land, Kane said, “can lean on each other. We lean on some­body, we fall in the wa­ter. So we’ve got to lean in” — bor­row­ing a phrase coined by Face­book Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer Sh­eryl Sand­berg to em­power women in the work­place.

At the start of to­day’s con­fer­ence — en­ti­tled “Ad­vanc­ing Non­profit Ex­cel­lence” — Kane is sched­uled to an­nounce plans to cre­ate a non­par­ti­san Hawaii State Bud­get and Pol­icy Cen­ter at the Hawaii Ap­ple­seed Cen­ter for Law and Eco­nomic Jus­tice to pro­vide law­mak­ers, non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions and oth­ers with ob­jec­tive data to help guide pol­icy de­ci­sions.

It will be the 43rd such cen­ter around the coun­try helped by the Cen­ter on Bud­get and Pol­icy Pri­or­i­ties, Kane said, and will be funded, in part, by the Cas­tle Foun­da­tion.

By the end of to­day’s con­fer­ence, Kane hopes that Hawaii non­profit groups will speak with “one voice” and will be joined by is­land law­mak­ers at all lev­els to op­pose cuts to fed­eral pro­grams.

“We def­i­nitely hope there will be a com­mit­ment to one voice,” Kane said, “and a com­mit­ment to serv­ing a com­mu­nity in need.”

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