Letter from the Executive Director

What a year.

As we look back at these turbulent past few months (that feel like a lifetime), I wanted to take a moment to reflect on all the sector has accomplished against unbelievable odds throughout 2020 and COVID-19.

I am so honored that HSC has an opportunity to be the voice of this incredible sector. While we have always known our role as an advocacy organization, COVID-19 has underlined the importance and uniqueness of HSC’s role as a convener for human services organizations.

This year, as you provided life-saving services to communities, HSC worked to support you by hosting regular morning provider calls to help answer your pressing questions for government; we pushed successfully for crucial guidance from MOCS to ensure CBOs’ contracts were paid, even as COVID altered programming; we began convening the Executive Director Roundtable to create a space for nonprofit leaders to support each other in navigating the challenges presented by the pandemic; we led a weekly #FightForTheFrontlines Friday campaign to rally providers around key advocacy asks; and, of course, we had some fun telling the story of the sector and its challenges in our newest comedy video, The Grinch: a Non-Profitable Christmas.

As HSC’s Board, staff, and I look forward into 2021, I know that HSC’s role will only grow more crucial to the ability of the sector to recover from all the hits COVID-19 has dealt.

We know that New York recovers with nonprofits in the lead.

The services our members provide – childcare, job training, eviction prevention, and other lifesaving programs – are the essential elements to getting the economy back up and running. But, more importantly, it is necessary to the survival and resiliency of community members struggling within an inequitable and unjust system.

This work cannot progress successfully if government continues to ignore the enormous contributions of the sector and undermines our ability to serve by withholding payments; enacting retroactive cuts; and not providing clear guidance and supports for organizations serving during the pandemic. Our voices must be heard, and HSC is well positioned to amplify, elevate, and push the agenda forward.

We see our role in the coming years as one focused on movement building. COVID has laid bare all the inequities that exist in the human services sector and in the communities that we serve. There is opportunity here, and we will take it.

HSC will work to demonstrate the crucial, lifesaving work of our members, hold government accountable, and seek change so that organizations have the resources to provide the transformative services our communities need. We will be thoughtful about how we can uplift ongoing antiracist work, such as standing with New Yorkers in opposing police brutality, in demanding additional funding for communities, and by being active participants in dismantling white supremacy – outside of and within the sector.

While we look ahead with optimism, we know that there is a lot of work in 2021 – not just in defense of the sector, but to transform it. We are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this critical and historic endeavor.

Thank you for all your engagement and support this past year. Have a restful, happy, and safe holiday season – we’ll see you next year.

Michelle Jackson

Executive Director

December 2020