Last week the City Council approved Mayor Bloomberg’s $63 billion “austerity” budget, cutting funds for schools, libraries and social programs. Included in the budget: about $165 million in discretionary spending controlled by the Council. Around a fifth of the discretionary fund is set aside for so-called “member items,” projects sponsored by individual Council members. This week we’re going to take a look at the funding choices made by Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez, our representatives at City Hall.
Today we’ll begin with Chin, who was elected last year to represent District 1 ( encompassing most of Lower Manhattan below Houston Street). In the discretionary fund derby, Chin is dolling out $364,464 (slightly less than her predecessor, Alan Gerson). To give you some perspective, Domenic Recchia, finance committee chair, is distributing $1.37 million this year, more than any other Council member. Chin’s total is fourth lowest on the City Council.
Not everyone sees the Council’s discretionary spending the same way, of course. For every critic arguing “member items” are part of New York’s all-too cozy marriage of convenience between politicians and the non-profit organizations they fund, you’ll find an ardent defender of the system. The money, they say, gives each Council member a small amount of freedom to help sustain groups in their own district — organizations that provide at-risk communities with critical services and programs.
The following list does not include projects Chin funded with other Council members. The descriptions of each project are taken directly from the City Council’s online database. You can search the database for yourself here.
MARGARET CHIN 2011 DISCRETIONARY SPENDING
45 Allen Street Houses Resident Association; Summer family day; $1000
A Place for Kids, Inc.; Implementation of programs in public schools, public programs in gallery in Shoo, professional development for teachers in all 5 boroughs; $3500
Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV / AIDS, Inc.; Comprehensive HIV/AIDS programs primarily targeting Asian and Pacific Islander communities, including prevention programs, social services and primary care; $5000.
Asian American Coalition for Children and Families, Inc.; Ccivic participation, literacy skills, and college attendance of 20 disadvantaged, immigrant Asian Pacific youth through project-based learning. Trains youth to work on school reform or neighborhood improvements; $5000.
Battery Conservancy, Inc.; First Bloom, an educational program with the Boys Club of NY that teaches about native plant gardens through hands-on experience at the Battery; $4500.
Battery Dance Corporation; Provide at-risk youth with exposure to live dance performance while incorporating hands on training, coaching and mentoring at Millennium High School during Regents week and one weekend; $3500.
Bella Abzug Leadership Institute, Inc.; Train public HS girls and college women on leadership skills such as debating, writing, researching and public policy and advocacy; $5000.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, Inc.; Provide mentoring services to youth in Chinatown and citywide. Fund satellite office in Chinatown to service Chinese families, children and mentors, which will allow them access to services in their own neighborhood; $3600.
Caring Community, Inc.; Arts and exercise classes at Independence Plaza; $6000.
Chess-in-the-Schools, Inc.; Chess instruction and after-school club; scholastic tournaments; college prep for students; $3500.
Children’s Museum of the Arts, Inc.; Free, family-focused, weekend art program on Governors Island during the summer of 2010. Every weekend will be a different creative theme; $3500.
Chinatown Manpower Project, Inc.; Fund Youth Program that will provide essential employment and education training to youths aged 16-21, where 500 youths will participate; $3500.
Chinese American Planning Council, Inc.; Partially fund the salary of a program assistant for CPC Open Door Senior Center; $4000.
Chinese American Planning Council, Inc.; Provide funding for overnight college trips to provide youth with the opportunity to visit multiple college campuses and broaden their understanding of college admissions; $4000.
Chinese American Planning Council, Inc.; Provide walk-in center that assists clients with government entitlement such as housing assistance, medical insurance, food stamp applications, and general social services and assist with civic engagement through citizenship classes; $5000.
Chinese American Planning Council, Inc.; Provide lunches, case assistance, recreational and education activities to seniors; $6600.
Chinese Christian Herald Crusades, Inc.; Provide ESL classes, music, arts and crafts classes as well as job training to those who recovered from depression and educate them on how to communicate with others at social events and job interviews. They provide moral support to those in the community; $5000.
Church Street School of Music and Art; Provides artistic and cultural programs to NYC seniors whose need for creative and artistic activities is often neglected; $3500.
Church Street School of Music and Art; Students work with band coaches to practice, jams and rehearsals. Emphasis is on composition and improvisation; $3500.
Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center, Inc.; Provide rehearsal, performance, seminar, conference, and special event space for free, or on a sliding scale to NFP community and group; $5000.
Cooper Square Community Development Committee and Businessmen’s Association, Inc.; Provide tenant counseling and eviction prevention services to roughly 1,000 tenants each year, help many tenants apply for housing entitlements; $5000.
Educational Alliance, Inc.; Provide food, health and fitness, and recreation, arts, and educational programming to older adults living on Manhattan’s Lower East Side; $4000.
Enact, Inc.; Provide 6 days of creative drama workshop after-school based upon the needs of Marta Valle HS or PS 142. The ENACT Social and Emotional Skill Building Program will teach 3 workshops; $3500.
Good Old Lower East Side, Inc.; Tenant and community organizing in public, subsidized and rent-regulated housing. Provide direct social services to Community Board #3; $5000.
Grand Street Settlement, Inc.; Culturally sensitive support services designed to meet the needs of Asian elders and to promote intercultural understanding and community building between all senior cohorts; $4000.
Greater Chinatown Community Association; Senior services including social benefit, citizenship application, English / education classes, and recreational activities at Columbus Park and Confucius Center; $5500.
Greenwich Village Youth Council, Inc.; To support GVYC’s out-of-school time programs at the JOY Center and Essex Street Academy; $4000.
Hamilton-Madison House, Inc.; Provide ESL and Naturalization programs at Smith Houses NORC; $4000.
Hamilton-Madison House, Inc.; To fight isolation that threatens seniors due to the separation caused by the West Side Highway; $4000.
Hamilton-Madison House, Inc.; Provide ESL and Naturalization programs at City Hall Senior Center; $4000.
Hamilton-Madison House, Inc.; To provide social services to seniors at Southbridge Towers; $4000.
Hamilton-Madison House, Inc.; To provide ESL and Naturalization programs at Helen Harris Senior Residence; $4000.
Hamilton-Madison House, Inc.; Provide ESL and Naturalization programs at Knickerbocker NORC; $4000.
Hamilton-Madison House, Inc.; To provide violin lessons to low-income immigrant families throughout Council District 1; $4000.
Henry Street Settlement; To provide after-school theatre program at Lower Manhattan Arts Academy; $3500.
Henry Street Settlement; Provide college readiness program, including assistance with applications, SAT Prep and counseling; $3500.
Henry Street Settlement; Provide funding to Sol Lain Athletic Association, which operates out of the Sol Lain Playground that serves underprivileged youths in the LES during holiday and summer breaks from school. They support a football league and run field trips to various museums and parks; $3500.
Henry Street Settlement; Sunday meals to low income immigrant seniors; $5000.
Henry Street Settlement; Provide social services to low-income immigrant residents of Council District 1; $5000.
Hernandez Houses Resident Association; To provide funds for a Summer Family Day; $1000.
Hester Street Collaborative, Inc.; Provide out of school design education services to Council District 1 public school students through Ground Up Design Education Program. The program will be held in July at New Design High School; $3500.
HIV Law Project, Inc.; To provide free, direct legal and ancillary social services to low-income people living with HIV / AIDS in the areas of eviction prevention, housing advocacy, and immigration related services; $5000.
iMentor, Inc.; Facilitates high-impact mentoring relationships that prepare students for academic achievement, ultimately guiding them towards high school graduation and college enrollment; $3600.
Indochina Sino-American Senior Citizen Center, Inc.; To fund elder abuse prevention program, where ISACC mobilizes partners from various sectors to work together and raise awareness about elder abuse; $4000.
Indochina Sino-American Senior Citizen Center, Inc.; Develop its support group program for Asian families of disabled children; $4000.
Institute for the Puerto Rican / Hispanic Elderly, Inc.; To support case assistant and activity coordinator that is stationed within Vision Urbana, Inc. They will provide social services; $5000.
LaGuardia Houses Resident Association; To provide funds for a Summer Family Day; $1000.
Lower East Side Conservancy, Inc.; Provide students with a unique opportunity to visit sites central to immigrants life 1880-1930 and meets NYS learning standards; $5000.
Lower East Side I Infill Houses Resident Association; To provide funds for a Summer Family Day; $1000.
Lower East Side II Infill Houses Resident Association; To provide funds for a Summer Bus Trip; $1000.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum; To provide free admission tickets to the museum for students of Council District 1; $3500.
Manhattan Amateur Art and Columbus Music Association, Inc.; Support partial salary of music and dance instructors, purchasing of costume, stage fee, rehearsal space and advertisement; $3500.
Medicare Rights Center, Inc.; Host enrollment day to educate hundreds of community residents on public benefits for which they might be eligible; $3500.
Mencius Society for the Arts, Inc.; For year round after-school lessons for youth in traditional Chinese instruments and practice sessions and public performances; $3500.
Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty, Inc.; Will provide funding for the crisis intervention workers who will provide concrete social services to the community; $8000.
Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, Inc.; Fund Children and Families Activities on July 18, 2010 at Governors Island; $3500.
MFY Legal Services, Inc.; Free legal services to low-income New Yorkers in the areas of housing, public benefits, consumer, employment, civil & disability rights, foreclosure prevention and family law matters; $5000.
Midori Foundation, Inc.; To provide after-school and weekend activities including bands, choirs, and group ensembles and special workshops at PS 42 in conjunction with our annual Children’s Music Festival; $3500.
National Dance Institute, Inc.; Provide students an opportunity to join the SWAT Team (Scholarships for the Willing, Achieving and Talented) each year 25-30 students are selected from PS 1, 2, 20, 100, 124, 126, 130 and 234; $5000.
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship; To provide entrepreneurship education programs to young people from low-income communities; $3500.
New Amsterdam Public Market Association, Inc.; To fund staff to operate EBT / Food Stamp program and to conduct the outreach and public education needed to promote its availability to the communities it will serve; $5000.
New York Asian Women’s Center, Inc.; Provide partial funding for NYAWC’s counseling center in Council District 1; $5000.
New York City Rescue Mission; Provide 165,000 meals to nearly 84,000 homeless and hungry New Yorkers through its food service programs (including soup kitchen and pantry); $5000.
New York Classical Theatre; 2010 season of roving classical theater. Manhattan-wide it serves 18,000-20,000 people; $5000.
New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, Inc.; $3,500 for LaGuardia Senior Center and $3,500 for Mott Street Senior Center to help them enhance activities and entertainment opportunities for respective members; $7000.
New York Junior Tennis League, Inc.; To provide free recreational tennis and educational programs for beginners and intermediate players (aged 6-18) during summer 2010. Loaner racquets and balls will be provided; $3500.
New York Theatre Workshop, Inc.; Fund learning workshop, a multidisciplinary theatre education program that NYTW facilitates at LOMA; $5000.
Paper Bag Players, Inc.; Provide free or reduced tickets to “Theatre for All” a program ran by the organization; $3500.
Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development; Provide technical assistance to GOLES and Two Bridges to ensure that the redevelopment of Seward Park Urban Renewal Area site benefits broad swaths of the existing community; $5000.
Rosie’s Broadway Kids, Inc.; ACTE II (A Commitment to Excellence) provides fifth grade students from schools in Council District 1 with an opportunity to attend after-school performing arts training at Maravel Arts Center; $3500.
Rutgers Houses Resident Association; To provide funds for a Summer Family Day; $1000.
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, Inc. (SAGE); Provides direct and supportive social services, social and recreational activities and community building programs throughout NYC to LGBT older adults; $3500.
Shadow Box Theatre, Inc.; Provide free admission tickets to the theatre located at 45 Bleecker Street for school group and weekend audiences as well as Settlement House families; $3500.
Smith Houses Resident Association; To provide funds for a Summer Family Day; $1000.
Society of the Educational Arts, Inc.; Expansion of ongoing tour of children’s theatre to neighborhoods in Council District 1; $5000.
South Street Seaport Museum; Environmental education program where students learn about the harbor’s ecosystem through 3 hour sail aboard the Pioneer; $3500.
South Street Seaport Museum; Provide education and training in sailing and seamanship to 140 MS students from Council District 1; $3500.
Southbridge Towers Parent and Youth Association, Inc; To host a free outdoor concert for the community in the summer of 2010; $3500.
United Jewish Council of the East Side, Inc.; Provide programs and services at the UJC Adult Luncheon Club @ 15-17 Bialystoker Place, such as meals, exercise and art classes; $8000.
University Settlement Society of New York; To provide meals and social services and recreational activities to 900+ seniors at 189 Allen St. and at Confucius Plaza; $8000.
Vision Urbana, Inc.; Provide after-school program to over 150 middle school participants to make trips and have more daily materials for our daily program; $5000.
VISIONS / Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired; To provide multilingual community outreach, vision rehabilitation and mobility training, adapted technology programs and social and employment services for blind seniors in Council District 1; $3500.
Visiting Neighbors, Inc.; Services, such as friendly visits, help with errands, shopping and escorting and medical appointments and referrals to needed services to enable frail seniors to remain independent and living in the community; $3650.
Vladek Houses Resdient Association; To provide funds for a Summer Family Day; $1000.
Washington Square Association Music Fund; Four free summer concerts in Washington Square Park employing union member musicians; $5000.
Young Men’s Christian Association of Greater New York – Chinatown Branch; Free public school swimming program in Chinatown and the LES and our free teen outreach and empowerment program at the Two Bridges Community Center; $10,000.