SF nonprofits plead for bigger share of budget

Nonprofit workers were back before a board committee Wednesday asking for a greater percentage of San Francisco’s two-year budget, after a plan to give nonprofit agencies an additional $3.4 million from surplus funds was shot down by supervisors last month.

Local nonprofit agencies are requesting a 5 percent increase over the previous budget, about $7.5 million in city funding each year for the next two years.

In response, Supervisor Eric Mar said Wednesday he would support a “strong and reasonable increase” in funds for the nonprofit sector.

“I want to see an empowered safety net with human beings that are paid a living wage and valued as professionals in our community,” said Mar, referring to nonprofit employees.

Despite the decision by the Board of Supervisors to not award the nonprofit sector with support from surplus funds, the organizations are hoping officials will find a different source in next year’s budget.

Unlike city workers, who received a 3 percent wage hike last year, the lack of significantly increased funding for nonprofit agencies over the past six years has prevented their workers from receiving raises.

“We want to be treated like for-profit contractors,” said Conny Ford, vice president of the San Francisco Labor Council. “We want a two-year to three-year contract. We want an escalator clause within it that’s fair, that our members can count on in terms of wage increases.”

Even with the 1.5 percent increase for nonprofits in last year’s budget, climbing rents and health care continue to price nonprofit workers out of The City.

“Moving to San Francisco, I expected to make a little bit more just due to the cost of living,” said Vivian Davis, an employee at the nonprofit Baker Places rehabilitation center. “But as a masters-level licensed clinician, I make $18.44 an hour and my rent is $2,700 a month.”

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