In the one corner we have the City of New York with a huge number of competing interests to address and a pretty limited budget. In the opposite corner we have, well, the City of New York with a huge number of competing interests but wearing it's private hat and having access to oodles of private money raised through a private nonprofit organization "affiliated" with the mayor's office.
Is this a public-private partnership that maybe blurs the lines between public and private sectors a bit too much? After-all, there are thousands if not tens-of-thousands of private nonprofits who would likely go out of business if not for their contacts with public sector entities. These nonprofits are pursuing a private mission and meeting a public need where effectively, public and private align.
So, what's wrong with the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City? Well, as a New York Times article on the topic suggested, donations to the Fund may be a little too close to "bribing" a public official. After-all, many of the donors are folks who stand to gain something from the City. So that's not good, right? I'm not so sure. If the City is getting something it wants but can't afford and the donor is getting something they want too, in addition to a tax deduction, is that so bad? It really isn't bribing in that no one has been accused of gaining personally.
So for now, maybe nothing's really wrong with this situation. The City wins; the public wins; and, maybe the donor wins. Now, what happens, as the article asks, when the next mayor isn't a billionaire? Of course one step to address this situation and perhaps even strengthen the Fund's future, would be to ensure that the board is diverse and not singulalry operated by the City and more importantly, that the board is engaged in planning processes that help identify priorities so it does what is best versus does what its "donors" think is best.