Kennedy Collective CEO furious nonprofit will receive 1% funding increase compared to 9% it needs

President and CEO Rick Sebastian says he requested $1.8 million from the state, but the agency will likely receive only $260,000, a roughly 1% funding increase, compared to the 9% he says the organization needs.

News 12 Staff

May 3, 2023, 9:50 PM

Updated 353 days ago

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The head of one of Connecticut's biggest nonprofits, the Kennedy Collective, said Wednesday he is "furious at state lawmakers for shortchanging people with disabilities and special needs."
President and CEO Rick Sebastian says he requested $1.8 million from the state, but the agency will likely receive only $260,000, a roughly 1% funding increase, compared to the 9% he says the organization needs.
"I'm the angriest I've ever been in my 40-plus year career," said Sebastian.
He says lawmakers constantly tell his staff the Kennedy Collective is "doing God's work."
"While I appreciate your admiration, God's not writing the check, the state of Connecticut's not writing the check, admiration's not getting our most vulnerable people served," said Sebastian.
He says the impact of the lack of funding means the agency will have to close certain group homes and day programs, family members who rely on services will be forced to quit their jobs and care for loved ones themselves, and some group outings designed to enhance clients' social skills will be discontinued.
Sebastian says the nonprofit, despite serving some of the state's most vulnerable residents, has not had a substantial rate increase since 2006. It's a trend he says is harming organizations like his.
"The Legislature and the governor could only find $20 million to support tens of thousands of people? That's astonishing to me," Sebastian said.
He says Gov. Ned Lamont and state lawmakers are looking at Connecticut's more than $3 billion budget surplus for ways to find additional funding during the remaining legislative session.
Sen. Tony Hwang said the Kennedy Collective does "amazing work" and he's going to be fighting for more funding for that agency and similar nonprofits.


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