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Austin has experienced growth but some constituencies have been left behind. What is your vision for the City’s role in funding/supporting the nonprofit network that provide much needed social services? What is your plan for addressing disparities and inequities in our community?

Rich DePalma

City Council, District 8

The city has a significant role in leveraging our communities nonprofit network to accomplish the organizational missions of our departments along with meeting our community value. Nonprofit organizations can leverage more funding than the City of Austin and so I support leveraging that network whether it is for housing, parks, planting trees, technical assistance or any other service. I support a mixture of emergency grants to leverage unique opportunities and a former competitive grant process in the city can measure community benefits. In regards to disparities, I am familiar with the work completed or being done to address disparities such as the Mayor’s Task Force on Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequities, the Equity Office, and the Anti-Displacement Task Force. My wife served on the Asian American Quality of Life Commission and I am aware of the work our quality of life commissions perform in highlighting equity issues. When addressing equity issues, what is helpful for me is data quantifying disparities. As a Parks Board member and as a former AISD Facilities and Bond Planning Advisory Committee member, I have often heard claims of inequities. When I investigated claims, sometimes the claims are true and sometimes the claims are not. In some instances, the data shows that inequities exist but not for the reasons believed. For example, having too many facilities and not enough users will create program inequities but what is missed is that the overall spending is higher than elsewhere but the spending is on the facility and staff instead of the programing. To address inequities, quantitative and qualitative data must drive the finding, the environmental framework must be identified (legal and policy considerations), collaboration must be used to identify solutions, and leveraging resources must always be part of implementing a plan.