Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Klee Foundation Announces New Grant Opportunity!

The Conrad and Virginia Klee Foundation Announces up to $300,000 in Grant Funding for the Development of a Community Response to Childhood Overweight and Obesity in Broome County

The Conrad and Virginia Klee Foundation is requesting proposals that will improve the quality of life for children and adults in Broome County by supporting the adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviors. This Request for Proposals (RFP), Healthy Lifestyles: Developing a Community Response to Childhood Overweight and Obesity, will award up to $300,000 over 2-3 years for one grant to a coalition of community partners that seek to impact the issue of overweight and obesity in Broome County on three levels: environmental change, policy change and behavior change.

The Klee Foundation is committed to “promoting, nurturing and educating a healthy community.” Elements of this mission include, but are not limited to:
• Educating and promoting healthy lifestyles
• Encouraging synergism that occurs when organizations cooperate to promote these ends

In keeping with its commitment, the Klee Foundation in recent years has made it a priority to address increasing rates of overweight and obesity in Broome County.

View the complete Request for Proposals on the Conrad and Virginia Klee Foundation’s website:

The deadline to submit a Letter of Intent is Tuesday, May 1st, 2012. Submissions must be received by noon at the foundation’s offices located at 84 Court Street, Suite 500. For questions or additional information, please contact Judy Peckham, Executive Director at (607) 722-2266.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Humane Society Reopens 2 Jackson Street

The Humane Society will be back to full operations at our 2 Jackson Street location in Binghamton. The Humane Society was forced to close our doors in Binghamton temporarily after the September flooding due to Tropical Storm Lee. We relocated our animals until we could safely return. Staff and volunteers have been working between two locations for the last several months.

On Tuesday, February 28th we will be re-opening at 2 Jackson Street. Stop by and check out our new renovations including our new social rooms for cats! Our normal business hours are Tuesday – Friday 12:00 – 5:00 pm and Saturday from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. As of Tuesday the 28th, we will be closed at our 1946 Rt. 12 location in the Town of Chenango.

Thank you for your support and patience during our recovery period!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Attorney General Announces Nonprofit Report: Recommendations Guided by the Leadership Committee for Nonprofit Revitalization

New York State Attorney General Schneiderman unveiled a new plan on Thursday to reform and revitalize New York's nonprofit sector.

Announced before an audience of nonprofit and business leaders, the plan includes legislation to eliminate outdated and costly burdens on nonprofits, strengthen oversight and accountability, and reaffirm his office's commitment to policing fraud and abuse.

Acknowledging that organizations throughout New York State face historic financial and strategic challenges, the Attorney General's plan also includes several new partnerships with the business and academic communities to enhance nonprofit governance.

"New York is the proud home of the world's most dynamic and vibrant nonprofit sector, but for too long, our state's regulatory framework has placed unnecessary burdens on these essential organizations. This plan will unlock the full potential of our nonprofit community, and improve the lives of the countless New Yorkers they serve every day," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "In these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever to make New York a hospitable environment so nonprofits can continue to carry out their vital work. At the same time, we must maintain the public's trust by ensuring that nonprofits are governed effectively, and with meaningful oversight."

"NYCON applauds the Attorney General for his leadership in putting forth a positive agenda for reform of state and nonprofit relations," said Doug Sauer, NYCON CEO. "In the spirit of cooperation and partnership, we are hopeful that the AG, Comptroller, Governor and Legislature can work together to further shape and support the recommendations."

In 2011, Attorney General Schneiderman convened a Leadership Committee for Nonprofit Revitalization with 32 nonprofit leaders, including NYCON CEO Doug Sauer, to recommend proposals that would reduce regulatory burdens on nonprofits, while strengthening governance and accountability.

Today's legislative and reform initiatives are responsive to the committee's recommendations.

They include:
The Nonprofit Revitalization Act, to be proposed by the Attorney General;
"New York on BOARD" and;
"Directors U" designed to improve nonprofit governance

More Details & Full Report

Monday, February 6, 2012

NYCON CEO Doug Sauer Testifies at Public Hearing on Executive Compensation at Not-for-Profits

Public Hearing: To examine executive compensation at not-for-profit organizations receiving State funding and the actions needed to prevent State tax dollars from being wasted on excessive salaries
Senate Standing Committee on Investigations and Government Operations
Chair: Senator Carl L. Marcellino

NY Council of Nonprofits CEO Doug Sauer shares feedback and testimony on the Governor's Executive Order addressing Executive Compensation for Not-for-Profits. You can hear Doug's comments beginning at 49:30. Watch for more from NYCON shortly. Interested in joining the NYCON mailing list? Subscribe here.

Broome County leaders plan meeting with Binghamton Zoo officials

Pressconnects reported that decision comes after 'heated' annual meeting.
Broome County leaders plan to meet Friday with the head of the Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park to discuss ongoing issues at the facility.

Legislature Chairman Jerry Marinich and county Executive Debbie Preston are expected to get together with interim zoo Executive Director Dave Conklin, and possibly board Chairwoman Sharon Witte, to get an update on the regional attraction, the search for an executive director, fundraising and the possibility of increased oversight.

"At this point here, I think the zoo is in a desperate need for an executive director," Marinich said. "I certainly believe, myself, the zoo is an important part of the fabric of Broome County."

This development comes after a Wednesday Press & Sun-Bulletin report about a perceived communication breakdown between the board and some zoo employees. Tuesday's annual meeting of the Southern Tier Zoological Society became heated and emotional as staffers and others raised concerns about the zoo's current leadership. Employees said they want consistency, transparency and financial stability, among other things.

The two sides need to work together, Preston said. It's a facility that annually has about 60,000 to 70,000 people come through.

"I totally want to see the zoo succeed," she said. "After reading the paper, I guess I'm concerned right now with the current direction."

Broome County also has a vested interest in the zoo since it contributes a hefty amount of funding toward it. The county's 2012 budget contains $286,454 for the zoo; the zoo's total budget for 2012 is $913,161. In 2011, the zoo received $295,313 from the county toward its $1 million budget.

Because a substantial amount of money is allocated for the zoo, which leaders say enhances the area's quality of life, an audit of the facility's finances is not off the table, Marinich said.

"If this warrants it, I will ask for it," he said.

Conklin said he welcomes the opportunity to sit down with county leaders and talk about the issues at hand.

"They need to have me sit down with them and explain what's going on and why that disruption happened (Tuesday), and I think they deserve the answers," he said. "Honestly, I'd like an opportunity to put them at ease."

There is a disconnect between the staff and the board, and both sides need to work together to bridge the gap, Conklin said.

"There isn't a person involved in this entire thing who doesn't have the zoo's best interest at heart," he said.

Zoo Education Curator Patricia Searles, who essentially served as a spokeswoman for some staffers during Tuesday's meeting, said zoo officials and county leaders setting up a meeting is a step in the right direction.

"This is pretty much what we mainly wanted to do -- get it out there and get the lines of communication open," she said. "If the community loves our zoo as much as we do, they're going to have to help us ..."

Better communication could start with the ongoing search for a permanent executive director. It has been narrowed to five candidates, and a decision could come by March.

"Hopefully the board will be able to find a director that the staff feels comfortable with as well," said Conklin, who is no longer interested in the permanent position.

When it comes to directors, there's been significant turnover at the zoo over the past decade.

On Aug. 16, Sheila Green, who served as executive director for less than two years, left the facility. Board members cited a "personnel issue," but Green said during a phone interview Wednesday she was let go.

"Basically, it was that I was not the face of the zoo and I was not a good fit," she said.

When the decision was made, Green said she didn't inquire further.

"It was kind of like the writing was on the wall and there was no reason to continue asking," she said.

Green said she worked hard to bridge the gap between the staff and the board.

"When I was there, I was very honest and upfront with the staff that it was a group effort to keep the zoo going and that's what we were striving for," she said. "A zoo is a very unique institution in how it works. You're dealing with living beings. It's a business yes, but it's also a service for a community."

Green was the zoo's fourth executive director since Steven Contento retired in 2002 after 17 years. Laura Jane Stewart was fired nine months into the job in 2003, and her successor, Jarod Miller, served for a year before resigning. Mike Janis took over in January 2006 and helped the zoo regain its accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which it had lost in 2005 due to turmoil over previous leadership and finances. Janis left in January 2010, with the board again citing a personnel matter. Janis, in a previous interview with this newspaper, also said he was let go.

Moving forward, Marinich said it's important the zoo has solid leadership, not only on the business and animal sides, but the relationship side as well.

"It's important they all work together with one common goal," Marinich said. "And I'm hoping with a new executive director, they can pull all that together."