NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Contributions to a city-run nonprofit that was once a powerhouse have apparently fallen off and stagnated under the leadership of New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray, according to published reports.
Mayor Bill de Blasio kissed his wife and exchanged a jubilant high-five with her when he named her the chairwoman of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.
But as CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday, the celebration may have been premature, because, according to published reports and records obtained by CBS2, the fund, which raises money for the mayor’s pet causes, hasn’t been as successful under the first lady’s leadership as it was, say under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who admittedly made contributions as well.
It raised an average of $32 million a year from mid-2002 through mid-2014 – the Bloomberg years.
It raised an average of $22 million a year from July 2014 through June 2017 under McCray’s guidance. It has raised $18.6 million since last July.
According to the New York Times, that may be because McCray has attended less than half the fund’s board meetings. Her public schedules in 2017 recorded less than 20 hours spent on the Mayor’s Fund business during the entire year.
When she took the unpaid post, which is her only official role among her many unofficial responsibilities, Kramer asked the first lady why she didn’t opt for the private sector, as several other first ladies have done.
“Well Marcia, Bill and I deeply believe in public service,” McCray replied.
On Tuesday, she said in a statement, “I am honored to be chair of an organization that has had a widespread, positive impact on the lives of thousands of New Yorkers.”
But with McCray talking openly about the possibility of running for elective office one day, her stewardship of the Mayor’s Fund will be one measure of her leadership, Kramer reported.
“This is not good if you want to run for higher office, because it’s a missed opportunity. When you run the Mayor’s Fund, you get to meet the people with the dough, who want to give the dough, and who want to look like they’re big players,” said political consultant Hank Sheinkopf.
Under the first lady’s leadership, the fund built 10 soccer fields in high-needs communities, helped train people at community-based organizations to recognize signs of mental illness and developed a Ladders for Leadership summer intern program.