Poughkeepsie... County Executive William R. Steinhaus and senior staff met today with Andrea Reynolds, President of Community Foundation of Dutchess County; Diana Gurieva, Executive Vice President of Dyson Foundation; and Anne Beaulieu, President and CEO of United Way of Dutchess County to launch a formal, ongoing dialogue about their mutual interests in maintaining a strong, vibrant nonprofit service delivery system to better serve the county’s residents.
According to Steinhaus, “The County funds extensive human services to fulfill the identified needs for our population, from pre-natal infants to assisting our elderly population. The nonprofit agencies are our partners in delivering quality services to help our residents. In today’s climate of both fiscal and programmatic accountability, public and private funders need to communicate with each other about the emerging trends and issues. This type of discussion supports our missions and goals for community improvement.”
The meeting agenda included an overview of the Health & Human Services Cabinet which involves the Commissioners and Directors of the county’s human service departments. During the past year and half, the Cabinet has strengthened the County’s strategic direction for human services based on resource allocation, best practices and achieved outcomes.
“Monthly cabinet meetings have improved communication, staff cooperation and networking, interdepartmental efficiencies and reduced duplication of efforts,” states Cabinet Director Betsy Brockway.
A major project for the Health & Human Services Cabinet is incorporating client outcome measures and data collection into the County’s human services contracts. To date, more than 150 non-profit and county staff have received outcome training with ongoing technical assistance available. A contract procedures manual has also been developed to improve consistent grant management and program monitoring across county departments.
The issue of accountability is a major focus in today’s world. Non-profit organizations who receive funding support must be prepared to demonstrate that the pre-determined outcomes have been achieved. Anne Beaulieu, United Way of Dutchess County said, “The money used to fund United Way programs is not OUR money, it is our donors’ money and we have an obligation to see that the outcomes the funding is supposed to provide are actually achieved.”
Other discussion topics today included enhancing future collaborative funding opportunities, the impact of retiring nonprofit leadership and succession planning and the potential benefits of a non-profit council.
Based on the success of this morning’s meeting, the group plans to continue to meet quarterly. According to Steinhaus, “We all have a common goal – to have a healthy service provider network. While we have had many previous informal conversations with public and private funders, these meetings are an opportunity to have key stakeholders in the community collaborate in a formal setting and work in partnership to support non-profit agencies’ significant contributions to the quality of life in Dutchess County.”