Testimony of Kimberly Perry
DC Council Committee on Health
Budget Oversight Hearing for DC Health
April 10, 2023
Good morning, Chairperson Henderson and members of the Committee on Health. I’m Kim Perry, executive director of DC Action. DC Action uses research, data, and a racial equity lens to break down barriers that stand in the way of all kids reaching their full potential. Our collaborative advocacy campaigns bring the power of young people and all residents to raise their voices to create change. DC Action is the home of DC Kids Count, Under 3 DC, DC Out-of-School Time Coalition, the DC Home Visiting Council and the Youth Economic Justice and Housing Coalition.
I’m so glad you’ve already heard from so many of my colleagues about the need to increase funding for home visiting programs, as you will hear again from Nisa Hussain on my team coming up next, but as a member of the Coalition for Nonprofit Equity and the leader of DC Action where we work in collaboration with more than 200 nonprofit organizations advocating for more equitable outcomes for children and youth, I’m here today for a slightly different reason, though definitely related.
I’m here this morning to request that the Committee sufficiently fund DC Health so that it can come into compliance with the Nonprofit Fair Compensation Act of 2020. This law ensures all indirect costs are equitable and integrated into every contract and grant that DC Health awards a nonprofit organization.
District grants and contracts for nonprofits rarely – if ever – account for inflation. This means our coalition members have been operating at the same baseline contract amounts for too long. However, District contracts for health-oriented for-profit entities regularly include enhancements and “cost-plus” pricing to ensure the entities’ operating expenses are covered on top of receiving a profit. Nonprofits do not receive similar funding.
So, for years, our members providing critical health and home visiting services have cobbled together the resources needed to provide quality services, often at the expense of staff, organizational stability, and sustainability. Our members want to recruit and retain quality staff. They want to be able to do external evaluations of their programming to ensure efficacy. Our members want to have a deep and lasting impact on the issues we collectively seek to resolve. But this requires adequate resources.
The Nonprofit Fair Compensation Act is an important step in adequately compensating nonprofit partners for their “actual costs” of doing business here in the District.
However, the implementation of this legislation remains problematic. We continue to see a lack of standard language across DC Health’s grant and contract solicitations, including many without references to the Act, or some seeking to limit the percentage of indirect costs a nonprofit can request. We also know that the government did not properly budget for indirect costs in FY22 or FY23, and had not conducted a cost study prior to developing the FY24 budget.
Again, we ask for sufficient funding so the agency can come into compliance and help shore up our incredibly important health sector so it can do its work in promoting child and adult well-being and supporting strong families from the start of a child’s life here in the District of Columbia.
Thank you. I look forward to answering any questions you might have. I can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.