Written by Jillian Lombardi
On Wednesday March, 16th, over 500 representatives from nonprofit organizations gathered in support of the CT Nonprofit Alliance at the Connecticut Legislative Office Building (LOB) and marched to Hartford's Capitol building to protest against the pending budget cuts to the nonprofit sector during Nonprofit Lobby Day.
Lobby Day started with participants congregating in one of the various assembly rooms the LOB set up for supporters to write letters to numerous state senators and representatives. The letters were meant to address the overwhelming advantages and costs that nonprofit programs have done to aid the state, as well as how the proposed legislation changes involving the criminal justice system of Connecticut have major potential to impact every population that is currently served by the nonprofit sector.
Throughout the day's entirety, people wore stickers and raised signs reading "#PeopleMatter". Supporters raised their signs from the beginning of the day in the LOB, during the march to the Capitol building, including lining the Capitol hallway walls where the senators were required to walk through to get to their meeting sessions, and also established a presence in the gallery for the house meeting that afternoon.
Community Solutions, Inc. (CSI) staff were present during the Nonprofit Lobby Day to represent CSI and participated in a writing campaign to show government officials how CSI state funded programs are a cost-saving measure for the state, while also lowering recidivism and increasing public safety. CSI's Chief Operating Officer, Sherry Albert, Adult Division Area Director, Tom O'Connor, and Case Manager, Michael Tormey of the Drapelick Center program, divided and conquered by personalizing a stack of letters to the senators or representatives who were within any district of CSI programs. The letters were prepared with opening statements created by the CT Nonprofit Alliance including a section to write personalized messages.
The CT Nonprofit Alliance represents more than 550 nonprofit organizations and associations across the state and is the largest advocacy organization representing community nonprofits in Connecticut - serving more than 500,000 state residents every year.
Considering the fact that the number of participants spilled over into multiple rooms and floors of the Capitol, the overall turnout for Nonprofit Lobby Day in Hartford's Legislative Office Building and Capitol building was an impressive one. The day was considered a success based on the hope which has been established by the nonprofit organizations who gathered to remind state legislators to protect funding in the Connecticut budget for nonprofits.
"Overall, the day was a great opportunity to not only show the government how essential nonprofits are to the state, but also to interact with other concerned parties to share information enhancing our view of the bigger picture," said Michael Tormey, Case Manager of CSI's Drapelick Center.