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Westchester Nonprofit Groups Seek Less Red Tape

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Nonprofit organizations in New York state face a lot of obstacles in trying to provide needed services, the head of Family Services of Westchester said Monday.

“There's a bunch of red tape that we all have to deal with,” said Susan Wayne, president and CEO of the organization that provides social and mental health services, citing late payments and executed contracts with government.

Wayne and more than 700 other professionals gathered Monday at the DoubleTree Hotel in Tarrytown to discuss ways to reform and revitalize the nonprofit sector at the Not-For-Profit Leadership Summit X. The summit was presented by United Way of Westchester and Putnam and the Westchester Community Foundation.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman gave the keynote speech, detailing many reform initiatives developed by nonprofit leaders and urging legislators to update arcane regulations. Schneiderman said his goal was to streamline the nonprofit sector, reduce red tape and help organizations find the staff they need.

“I want you to understand that our office is now shifting our mode from being your regulator to being a partner,” he said.

Westchester officials also announced the launch of NonProfit Westchester, a coalition of more than 40 nonprofit organizations in the county that developed as a result of last year's leadership conference.

“We needed something where a collective voice could be heard,” Wayne said.

Wayne is one of 12 founding leaders and said the group wants to help improve public perception of non-profits in the county, especially because there are more than 5,700 organizations that contribute $6.9 billion to the economy each year. Wayne said Schneiderman's proposals sounded like they will be very helpful.

Schneiderman, too, said he thought the NonProfit Westchester group would be beneficial.

“It's something that is going to be a part of our partnership going forward,” he said.

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