The City of Saint Paul, just like other local governments across Minnesota, is facing tough budget choices. The one-two punch of state cuts to Local Government Aid (LGA) and a worsening economy has forced many cities to put tough choices on the table. One highly visible piece of the possible budget solution in Saint Paul comes from its Parks and Recreation department. In addition to proposing that three rec centers be closed, Director of Parks and Recreation Mike Hahm recently suggested that the city pull out of three others “with hopes of finding neighborhood groups or nonprofits to take over the centers with their own programs,” similar to what was done in the city in 2006. Saint Paul may also look to nonprofit partners at two other rec centers, asking current partner organizations to fully take over operations that are currently shared.
Clearly this will not be the last time we see a government entity look to the nonprofit sector to help maintain public services, especially in these tough economic times. Does this situation create valuable opportunities for nonprofits of all types to improve their services and presence in communities? Or, as the need for partnerships continues to increase, will the nonprofit sector start to feel overburdened by the task at hand? How can governments and nonprofits be strategic about their partnerships going forward, and make the most of the current situation?
The article quoted above can be found here.