Critical help for the ailing public budget


Lower property values mean lower taxes.   Which might sound like the one bright spot in this recession until you start reading that lower tax revenues mean cuts in local government services for our community.

According to a Daily Business Review story earlier this month, “Miami-Dade is facing a $174 million decrease in property tax revenue after the county announced its tax roll had declined for the first time in 16 years…[C]ounty services will have to be cut, and some departments could be eliminated.”  And Miami-Dade is not alone.

Increasingly precious: the public-private partnerships with non-profits whose mission is to raise funds for services our governments can’t afford to provide.

These organizations are everywhere in our community.  Many, fueled by donations from individuals and corporations and led by volunteers from local companies and professional services firms, have been quietly helping to keep essential community services funded for decades.

  • Friends of WLRN, for example, is an independent non-profit that, since 1974, has helped fund South Florida’s public radio and television stations.     In the fiscal year that ends this month, Friends is forecast to provide more than $5 million in operating funds to WLRN.  That’s about a third of the stations’ budget, and growing each year. Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which owns the licenses for the stations, contributes another third, with the remainder coming from grants.
  • Voices for Children is celebrating 25 years raising funds to ensure that every abused and neglected child in Miami-Dade County has a court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem and that financial assistance and other resources are available for their accompanying health, educational, and social needs. In 2008 Voices For Children contributed more than $2.5 million to helping our community’s children.
  • The College Assistance Program (CAP) is another great example of a public-private partnership. It’s a non-profit that, since 1978, has operated with the full cooperation of the Miami-Dade County School Board and Dade Community Foundation to assist Miami-Dade Public High School seniors who have exhausted all avenues of financial assistance (federal, state and institutional) and still have significant unmet needs to attend the college of their choice. CAP has awarded more than 100,000 students “last dollar” grants totaling more than $10.3 million dollars.

Countless organizations like these helping our community preserve education, health and welfare, and arts programs.  These are just a few of the many that partners from my firm help lead.

Where are you and your colleagues helping? If you’re involved in an organization like this, share your story!

Janet Altman is a Marketing Principal at Kaufman Rossin, one of the Top 100 CPA and advisory firms in the U.S.

  1. » Blog Archive » Lifelines for our community says:

    […] month I wrote here about the critical role public-private partnerships play in our community, as lower tax revenues […]

  2. Janet Altman says:

    We have board members and active participants in many community organizations. In addition to Friends of WLRN, these include:

    • Voices For Children
    • College Assistance Program
    • Miami Dade Parks Foundation
    • Fairchild Tropical Garden
    • Leave A Legacy
    • Communities in Schools
    • Make A Wish Foundation
    • Kristi House
    • Breakthrough Miami
    • Arts and Business Council
    • Educate Tomorrow

    and many more! We believe we have a responsibility, now more than ever, to support our community organizations.

  3. David Winn says:

    I know Kaufman Rossin supports WLRN a great deal. Are there other charitable organizations you support as well?

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