Tag: funds

Civil society gears up for big funds squeeze

A recent set of changes to India’s foreign donation laws, however, has put hundreds of small NGOs like Arpan in a spot. “Our work has come to a halt after the donor agency asked us not to use funds till rules (arising from the new laws) are framed,” said Renu Thakur, who heads the non-profit. “It looks like we will have to let go of some of our staff and curtail our geographic spread.”

In late September, India’s Parliament approved sweeping changes to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010. From now on, larger FCRA registered organisations are barred from transferring foreign donations to smaller non-profits (a practice known as sub-granting) who often find it difficult to access donors on their own. Also, all FCRA registered non-profits have been asked to limit their administrative expenses to 20% of donations (from the earlier norm of 50%) which is likely to force them to reduce staff as well as curtail research and policy advocacy work.

To tighten the screws further, FCRA registration can be suspended now after a summary enquiry and the period of suspension can extend up to a year (from 180 days earlier)—a provision which will give the government more time for enquiry and halt the organisation’s work for an extended period.

These changes will impact not just the availability of funds but also the very nature of philanthropic initiatives. The focus of donors may shift from rights, advocacy and research to service delivery; in a few years, foreign donors might also redirect funds to other countries, experts warn.

The restrictions on NGOs were least expected by civil society organisations that have been stretched after a gruelling past few months helping communities (like migrant workers) affected by covid-19. Also, it’s ironic since political parties can now access foreign funds through electoral bonds.

During 2018-19, Indian NGOs received 16,881 crore in foreign donations, accounting for about a fourth of the overall philanthropic spending in India. At a time when most donor funds are directed towards covid relief efforts, the amendments could squeeze the once-vibrant not-for-profit sector of funds. The crunch is also because a chunk of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds which NGOs depend on went to the PM-Cares fund, a new national corpus set up to mitigate the impact of emergencies like the ongoing pandemic.

An analysis of CSR spending outlook for 2020-21 by Sattva, a consultancy firm, shows that more than half of the annual CSR budget of Indian corporations, or about 7,863 crore, was allotted for covid relief by early July. About 68% of this allocation went to the PM-Cares fund ( 5,324 crore). “With an estimated 8,000 crore going to the PM-Cares by now, availability of domestic CSR funds for NGOs will be back to normal levels by the second quarter of 2022,” said Parul Soni, managing partner at Thinkthrough Consulting.

There’s obviously been a mixed response to the changes. Soni, for one, defends the recent amendments, saying they will bring in

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Civil society fears spike in GBV cases if government cuts Covid-19 relief funds

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published16m ago

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Durban – A move by government to cut Covid-19 relief funding could lead to a spike in gender-based violence cases.

This is according to former public protector Thuli Madonsela, who joined several civil society organisations across the country in pleading with the government to continue providing the much-needed R350 Social Relief of Distress grant as well as the R585 monthly grant to caregivers.

Speaking during a media briefing on Monday, Madonsela said if the government planned to withdraw the grant, “we need to push them as women and girls would bear the brunt”.

“We know that when there is distress that women and girls will pay the price as they bear the burden of care,” she said.

Madonsela said funding could be pulled from other spheres to accommodate for the payments of these grants.

Alluding to the exorbitant costs of security staff for government officials, she said the issue should be re-visited as South Africa was not the most dangerous country in Africa, therefore there was no need for such an excessive amount of security.

“We do not want women to pay for government’s mistakes,” she said.

On Sunday, several civil organisations called for the government to continue the paying out the grants until a comprehensive plan for guaranteed basic outcomes was established.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the organisations highlighted the need for the grants and how they had helped to put food on the table for millions of South Africans who live well below the poverty line.

According to researcher Ihsaan Bassier, at least 5 million people will be pushed to extreme poverty if the grants are withdrawn.

“Furthermore, while jobs and a recovery plan is crucial, this will take time and there needs to be cushion in the meantime. The grants were meant to address the Covid crisis and this is far from over. Also, this is an opportunity to reach commitment to eliminate extreme poverty,” he said.

The full statement can be read here:

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Inside Trump’s push to use government funds to save his campaign

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a campaign rally at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport on September 3, 2020 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Trump won Pennsylvania in the 2016 election by a narrow margin. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

If President Donald Trump loses to former Vice President Joe Biden in this year’s presidential election, two of the main reasons are likely to be his response to his COVID-19 pandemic and his health care policy — specifically, Trump’s push to eliminate the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with preexisting conditions. One desperate move that Trump is making in the hope of saving his campaign is promising senior citizens drug discount cards, and Politico’s Dan Diamond is reporting that Trump wants them to be available before November 3.

Diamond reports:

Caught by surprise by President Donald Trump’s promise to deliver drug-discount cards to seniors, health officials are scrambling to get the nearly $8 billion plan done by Election Day, according to five officials and draft documents obtained by Politico. The taxpayer-funded plan, which was only announced two weeks ago and is being justified inside the White House and the Health Department as a test of the Medicare program, is being driven by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, the officials said.

The $200 cards, Diamond notes, “would resemble credit cards” and “would need to be used at pharmacies” — and they “would be paid for by tapping Medicare’s trust fund.”

Politico has obtained a copy of a draft proposal for the plan that has been circulated in the White House, and according to the proposal, “The goal is to begin the test by distributing cards starting in October 2020.”

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Trump’s idea for drug discount cards for seniors comes at a time when many polls are showing his support among seniors falling. And Rep. Frank Pallone, the Democrat who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, isn’t the least bit impressed by the proposal. Pallone told Politico, “It’s a shameless stunt that steals billions from Medicare in order to fund a legally dubious scheme that’s clearly intended to benefit President Trump’s campaign right before Election Day.”

An official for the Department of Health and Human Services, quoted anonymously, told Politico, “It’s turning into this last-minute, thrown-together thing.” And another HHS official interviewed by Politico said, “This is a solution in search of a problem and a bald play for votes in the form of money in pockets.”

Stacie Dusetzina, a professor at Vanderbilt University who has studied Medicare’s drug program, went over the draft proposal — and Dusetzina told Politico, “There are a lot of things that seem problematic. It’s an incredibly large amount of money to be spending, (and) it’s not really solving any systemic problem.”

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Twitter has had plenty of reactions to Diamond’s article and Trump’s drug card proposal. Juliette Cubanski, deputy director of the Program on Medicare Policy, tweeted,

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NYC should replace 9/11 funds erroneously taken by federal government, Mnuchin tells de Blasio

WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has a message for ailing 9/11 New York City firefighters whose funding his agency has withheld: We’re not giving your money back — go ask NYC.

For years, the U.S. Treasury Department has withheld nearly $4 million from the Fire Department of New York’s World Trade Center Health Program to satisfy still-unexplained debts that other, unrelated city agencies have with the federal government.

Mnuchin sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday saying that the city should make up the shortfall. And if the city doesn’t pay up, Mnuchin threatened to take other federal health care funding meant for New York, and give that to the Fire Department instead.

“We agree it is unfair to burden FDNY with delinquent debts of other NYC government entities. The City government should directly reimburse FDNY,” Mnuchin wrote.

And if de Blasio refuses, Mnuchin said the Treasury, together with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “will facilitate offsets against future federal payments owed to NYC, which would permit the release of funds to FDNY as such substitute offsets are made.”

“Treasury needs to stop double-talking and pay up,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s spokesman Angelo Roefaro. “This is their fault and they need to fix it, now. Enough already.”

The junior U.S. senator from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand, agreed.

“The administration has withheld almost $4 million from the FDNY and now wants NYC to cover for it. It’s completely unacceptable — the administration needs to end this deception and release the funding New Yorkers need.”

The Treasury secretary’s hardball offer is an unexpected turn in a convoluted tale.

According to federal law, when a federal agency can’t collect a debt, it refers the debt to the Treasury Department and something called the Treasury Offset Program, which then skims it off future federal payments to the debtor.

The treatment program’s money got vacuumed up in that because it is under the same tax ID as the rest of the city government.

But the law, written in part by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., in 1994, has a loophole that says Mnuchin can exempt offsets if they would harm a program that Congress wants to be funded, such as the 9/11 treatment program.

Hailing from Long Island, Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., first began asking about the missing cash early this year, and made it formal with a pointed letter back in June when Treasury failed to find a solution.

Asked about Mnuchin’s hardline stance Friday, Maloney again pointed back to the law she helped write.

“It is absurd that Secretary Mnuchin hasn’t yet taken action to rectify the problem,” Maloney said. “The Debt Collection Improvement Act (PL 104-134), which I worked on with then Oversight Committee Chair Steven Horn, clearly gives the secretary and his department the ability and discretion to make sure that this program is made whole. He needs to stop playing games with these heroes’ lives.”

FDNY Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Prezant,

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South Carolina Stingrays to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society | Community News

The South Carolina Stingrays have announced a competition against their in-state rival, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, which will see the teams aim to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and their Lowcountry Light The Night event on Oct. 29.

The Stingrays front office staff, players and hockey operations staff will be raising money in support of those who are fighting with the goal of defeating the Swamp Rabbits and bringing home the inaugural Cross State Lantern Trophy.

Learn more and support the Stingrays and the LLS by clicking here to see their fundraising page.

“I know I speak for the entire Stingrays organization when I say that I am very excited about our partnership with LLS,” said Stingrays President Rob Concannon. “I think everyone has someone in their life that has seen the darkness of cancer. While we are a hockey team, we also want to be a light and an outlet for those who are fighting this terrible disease.”

In the coming days and weeks, the Stingrays will promote fun and creative ways for their fans and stakeholders to help them raise funds for this cause.

“I’m proud and excited that the Stingrays have partnered with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society,” said Head Coach Ryan Blair. I know there are many people that have seen the dark side of cancer and we are happy to do our part to be a light for all of those affected.”

Money raised through Light The Night allows The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to fund treatments for patients who are suffering from all forms of blood cancers. In 2019, LLS helped advance 12 of 14 approved blood cancer therapies.

“LLS is thrilled to be partnering with the South Carolina Stingrays to bring LIGHT to the darkness of cancer,” said LLS Campaign Development Manager Ally Barnett. “We are so excited to see some friendly statewide competition between the Stingrays and the Swamp Rabbits as they raise money to help find a cure! We at LLS are grateful for their commitment to help make this year’s Light The Night the best yet. We are taking steps to end cancer.”

The light and warmth the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society generates delivers hope in a time of despair, a community in place of loneliness and life-saving research and support for cancer patients and their families.

For all the latest news and updates, follow the Stingrays on social media.

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