Fund for the City of New York
I really do get an opportunity to meet some extraordinary people in NYC. People who are doing work that we can all be happy about. People who are making a change and putting their talents to use for the better good of people who need their help.
Years ago, I met a woman who runs the Funds for the City of New York. Memorable. She had energy, smarts, a good sense of humor and a zest for life. I was lucky enough to have lunch with her again yesterday.
There is really nothing better than sitting down with a few women who are smart and have big ideas and are doing wonderful things. Mary McCormick, who is the President, of this organization, FCNY, is one of those women. The fund that she is the President of basically loans money to non-profit organizations who are making constructive efforts to help the city through health care, arts, disability services, education, etc. She helps guide them through the process, get to the other side, pay back the money and then continue the good work. Through this group and certainly Mary's efforts, the impact has cast a pretty large net as even foreigners come to talk to her about ways they can do the same thing in their countries and cities. Quite impressive.
She is probably not under the radar in her circle but to most NYers, they are unaware of the impact that non-profits make in our city. The City Council alone gives to almost 4000 non-profits in their budget. From $1500 to a neighborhood organization that makes a local impact that is not really quantifiable to $350K to an organization that saves the city 5 times that with the work that they do.
Our conversations ran the gamut but there is one thing that Mary said that really stuck with me. We were discussing politics. She pointed out that people are no longer interested in voting for politicians who are just politicians. Obama and Bloomberg changed all that. People want to vote for people who can do something different and have shown that they have the tools to do it. You look at someone like Chris Quinn who has taken the role of Speaker of the City Council and made that organization something that the city can not now live without. She has made an impact so that her budget has grown and her tenacles have been extended. That has not been the same with under areas like the public advocates office for one which just got a budget cut of 40% to that office. Unless heads of different Government, particularly city offices, make their mark with their budget and office, as times goes on, that office will cease to exist. The funding is no longer just available. There are so many serial politicians in this town that I believe will have a tougher time getting elected as time goes on.
We are seeing change not only in the political landscape but also in the youth. HS and College students are interested in finding happiness and making a difference and sometimes at grass root levels. It is no longer about the desire to just make money. These young kids, who are going to start to graduate, are prime for non-profits that are doing great things around this city, the country and the world. What we need to do there is figure out how we unite the profit with the non-profit so that the non-profit has a bit of the drive and execution that you see in the profit and the profit needs to be a little more aware of the need to take those profits and give something back. Not sure what that next group of companies will look like but I am sure that Mary will have her finger on that pulse guiding them in the right direction.