7 thoughts on “FY25 Budget: Carlson Flags Town Stipends for Nonprofits

  1. Let’s hope we continue to be an “unbelievably generous town” to help our community continue to thrive, particularly for those in need.

    To say “other towns don’t do it, so why should we?” seems like the wrong and in many cases, a faulty comparison. One needs to dig under the hood to understand other town’s budgets and services relative to their grant contributions. E.g, Since we like to compare to Darien, consider this…Darien has a Senior Transportation service where the non-profit organization At Home In Darien provides transportation throughout their town, much like New Canaan’s Getabout. The difference between the two is that the Town of Darien “processes payroll for the drivers and provides gasoline throughout the year. At Home In Darien reimburses the Town for the driver’s pay and the gasoline” according Darien financial reports. https://www.darienct.gov/DocumentCenter/View/234/Senior-Transportation-PDF Yet, even with the reimbursement for pay and gas, senior transportation costs Darien $42.3k in town personnel and supplies. No grants involved. By comparison, New Canaan seems to get off easy with their Getabout grant of $35k and without the headache of managing/staffing for the initiative. Darien also supports, via a grant, Kids in Crisis.

    To our newly elected officials, it’s totally reasonable to do your due diligence to understand where non-profit grant tax dollars are going and who the funds benefit, but please don’t cut these funds in haste. These well-vetted organizations on the current proposed budget provide valuable services that are worthy of the Town of New Canaan’s official support.

    • Susan, thank you for this comment. Your words went straight to my heart. I think we are forgetting that NC residents also use the services provided by some, if not all, of these grant organizations. As a licensed foster parent, Child Guidance Services was an essential component of my bonus child’s placement. Our family is forever grateful for their support. Our local Food Pantry at St Mark’s is serving DOUBLE the amount of families this year vs last. I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume these same families are also availing themselves of services provided by outside organizations such as the grant recipients mentioned in the article. While it may seem like we are saving taxpayer money, in the end we could actually be harming our community’s most vulnerable population during a time when support is needed most. This is not about generosity, it is about making sure we take care of our community as a whole. People who, by the way, are also taxpayers. I truly hope our leadership takes the time to study this topic more closely. One of the reasons I love New Canaan so much is because we are a community of caring individuals who takes care of one another.

    • One more comment to chime in about the Teen Talk counselor at Saxe. Middle School is such a tricky time for youth. Mental health is a national conversation. Every middle school, but especially top-ranked New Canaan, should have such a counselor on staff. I am not sure how we can expect students to perform at our expected levels of academics while struggling in silence. Rather than gauging how many students use such a counselor, I think saving one life or troubleshooting one abusive relationship or identifying and supporting just one student in crisis should be enough for us as a community. How much is the life of just one student in need worth? More than the counselor’s salary, for sure.

      • I totally agree with Monica’s sentiments. Saving one life is worth it and this is a town that should support that effort. As the mom of a son who has been bullied mercilessly, I am so grateful for the efforts and support of all the counselors and staff at Saxe who have supported my son and myself through those moments and who continue to support the students doing the bullying in order to help them make better choices in the future. That benefits both parties involved!

  2. i understand that the new administration is trying to save the taxpayers money which is much appreciated. The question is , should it be at the expense of the people that need it the most ? We have always been a generous town with many volunteers giving of their time, talent and financial resources to make a difference in people’s lives. It has been in partnership with the town, Once the Heath and Human Services Dept. provides the data requested, I hope their budget request will be approved. What message does it send if the town administration is not willing to invest in their residents ?

  3. At a time when most nonprofits are struggling with reduced donations, Ms Carlson’s blithe comment that “My only argument is that if it truly is a really beneficial nonprofit that many people value, they will write checks for it,” really shows a lack of understanding. If New Canaan town and schools cannot adequately provide services for mental health, then we should pay outside agencies which can! It boils down to the age-old discussion of what a government should provide its citizens. Where will we draw the line?

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