Mayor Laura Friedman sees partnership with nonprofits as 'way of future'
Speech also promotes volunteerism as a solution to 'economic turbulence.'
Glendale Mayor Laura Friedman, shown here at Griffith Manor Park in Glendale, called for community involvement and nonprofits partnerships during her State of the City Address on Thursday. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/ Staff Photographer/ July 2, 2011)
Friedman told a packed room of more than 200 people at the Chamber of Commerce event at the Hilton Glendale that more public-private partnerships are the way of the future.
“We need to think of ourselves in partnership with our nonprofits,” she said before playing a promotional video highlighting several local groups, including homeless services and healthcare providers.
Shrinking state and federal grants have slashed funding for city projects by double-digit percentages and the protracted recession has bruised the city's local sales tax base in recent years. But Glendale can transcend the economic crisis if more people step up to volunteer, Friedman said.
She likened the situation to the aftermath of the 2009 Station Fire that scorched Glendale's hillsides, when volunteers came out in droves to help clean up and support those impacted by the catastrophe. But instead of a natural disaster, Glendale is in the midst of economic turbulence, she said.
“The strength of the city is measured by what people can give to the community,” she said.
The audience applauded as Friedman praised the accomplishments of several nonprofits, such as Glendale Parks and Open Space Foundation, Armenian-American Medical Society and Neighborhood Legal Services.
Local nonprofits have also been impacted by the loss of government grants. Recently, Glendale's federal funding for community services and nonprofits were cut by 35%, which means that many nonprofits that had received thousands of dollars in the past got zero for next fiscal year.
Glendale can't expect extra aid from the state, especially as it redirects millions in redevelopment dollars from city coffers to fill a budget shortfall, she said. The city also can't expect more from a federal government plagued by political gridlock, she added.
“We don't have time for politics as usual here at the local level,” she said. “Our business model has to be built on solutions.”
Glendale officials have used the financial issues — underscored most recently by deep slashes to the budget last year following an $18-million budget gap — to reevaluate its organization.
“The reality is, the old way of doing things is over,” Friedman said.
List of annual chamber award winners:
Woman of the Year: Laura Friedman, Glendale mayor
Man of the Year: Marko Swan, Cygnet Stamping & Fabricating Inc.
Corporate Partner of the Year: Rick Lemmo, Caruso Affiliated
Business of the Year: Massage Envy, Glendale
Organization of the Year: Ascencia
Young Professional of the Year: Louie Sadd, Datastream LLP