Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nonprofits, the Recession Is Not Over

Nonprofits are on the front lines of the recession, tending to our neighbors in need. A new survey released March 21st finds that American charities expect 2011 to be another tough year of increasing demand and dwindling resources.

The Nonprofit Finance Fund 2011 Survey finds that 85 percent of nonprofits expect demand for their services to expand this year, but fewer than half have the resources to meet that growing need. This comes after three consecutive years of increased demand on these nonprofits, the survey finds.

“Years of economic uncertainty have forced nonprofits to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of scarce resources and increased demand,” said Rebecca Thomas, vice president of consulting services at NFF. “Some of the adjustments we’re seeing are creative and healthy... Other effects [such as] layoffs, people who need services being turned away... are further compromising the social safety net at a great cost to America.”

That's a dire warning at a time when elected officials are planning to cut many services further. But there's hope. The NFF is offers some suggestions, thinking mechanically about solving problems by fortifying organizations. NFF surveyed these 1,900 nonprofits about their fiscal solvency as well as their predictions. The groups say it's not just more donations or more revenue they needed, but a better kind of funding: general operating revenue, the kind that can be used to pay the mortgage, not just the sexy new initiatives.

On a related note, the NFF has measured the importance several kinds of funding for nonprofits. In a recent report they found that for organizations looking to scale "philanthropic equity" that can be used to help high impact group scale can be especially powerful in impact for dollar terms from a donor perspective. The lesson seems to be, restrictions on how a nonprofit can use the funds they get, well intentioned as they may be, can hamper good work.

“Last year, we received more restricted money and less of the important general funds that help us manage the organization," said Ann King, executive director of the Tri-Valley Haven, a community resource center dealing with domestic violence, sexual assault, or homelessness. "We’ve said ‘no’ to funding opportunities that didn’t cover their own cost." She added, "unfortunately, the recession is not over for many of us in the nonprofit sector. One of the hardest things is finding funding for operating support.”

There was some hope in the NFF data though. The survey found 44 percent of groups ended 2010 with a surplus, that's up from 2009, and about a third of the groups reported actually raising more money than expected.

Complete survey data and information.

Old Man River:

Biden: Impeach President for Unauthorized Attack

Vice President Joe Biden has a very clear idea of what should happen to a president who orders U.S. military forces to launch an attack on a foreign country without congressional authorization: impeachment.

With some voices saying President Barack Obama should face impeachment for attacking Moammar Gadhafi’s forces in Libya, a videotape has surfaced from the 2007 campaign trail showing Biden threatening to impeach President George W. Bush if he attacked Iran without the approval of Congress.

“I have written an extensive legal memorandum with the help of a group of legal scholars who are sort of a stable of people, the best-known constitutional scholars in America, because for 17 years I was chairman of the Judiciary Committee,” Biden said in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on “Hardball.”

"I asked them to put together [for] me a draft, which I'm now literally riding between towns editing, that I want to make clear and submit to the United States Senate pointing out the president has no authority to unilaterally attack Iran.

“And I want to make it clear, I want it on the record … if he does, as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and former chair of the Judiciary Committee, I will move to impeach him."

He went on to say: “I think the best deterrent is for the president to know, even at the end of his term, we would move and move to follow through with that so his legacy would be marred for all time if he acted in what was clearly, clearly an impeachable offense.

“In the absence of that, what happens is, and you're going to think I'm joking about this — I'm not. If you're going to impeach George Bush you better impeach Cheney first. Not a joke.”

If You Could Read My Mind:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

IF character counts.

Newt Gingrich has been incredibly brazen in the past few weeks, forming an exploratory committee to help consider his first steps towards a presidential bid in 2012. Yesterday it was reported that "if he runs for president he will make his announcement in early May outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia" and that he's leaning towards a "yes" on his decision to run.

I'm in the George Will school of skepticism about Newt's run. I think of him as an attention hog with very few principles to rub together. Sure, he did a great service in 1994 as Speaker of the House. Sure, he knows a lot of history.* But look at his career after Congress!

Vanity Fair really nailed Newt on his recent commentary regarding his adulterous past:

In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network this week, Newt Gingrich blamed his history of philandering on patriotism: “There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.” Which raises many questions, and prompts a few conclusions. To wit:

1. This must be a recent insight of Gingrich’s, because a quick Google search shows he never cited Bill Clinton’s love of country during the 1998 impeachment drive.

2. If loving America leads to full-on adultery, does loving your home state lead to office-party flirting?

3. Ewww. Where does loving France or Greece lead?

I have an interview tomorrow for an internship. I wonder what will happen if they ask about a blemish in my résumé and I proceed to cite diligence or congeniality as the cause....

Newt isn't a bad person, necessarily. Though I fail to understand why anyone would favor him over someone like a Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, or Haley Barbour. Everyone has baggage, but why should we have to nominate anyone who oscillates carelessly?

Sickly Aging Man:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The New Kind of Immigrant

A look at our history books tell us why today’s American should not be willing to accept the new kind of immigrant any longer.

Back in 1900 when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to the United States, people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in New York and be documented.

Some would even get down on their hands and knees and kiss the ground. They made a pledge to uphold the laws and support their new country in good and bad times. They made learning English a primary rule in their new American households and some even changed their names to blend in with their new home.

They had waved goodbye to their birth place to give their children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilate into one culture. Nothing was handed to them. No free lunches, no welfare, no labor laws to protect them. All they had were the skills and craftsmanship they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity.

Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. Our fathers fought along side men whose parents had come straight over from Germany, Italy, France and Japan. None of these 1st generation Americans ever gave any thought about what country their parents had come from. They were Americans fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan. They were defending the United States of America as one people.

When we liberated France, no one in those villages were looking for the French American, the German American or the Irish American. The people of France saw only Americans. And we carried one flag that represented one country. Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country’s flag and waving it to represent who they were. It would have been a disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. These immigrants truly knew what it meant to be an American. They stirred the melting pot into one red, white and blue bowl.

And now here we are with the new kind of immigrant who wants the same rights and privileges. Only they want to achieve it by playing with a different set of rules, one that includes the entitlement card and a guarantee of being faithful to their mother country. That’s not what being an American is all about. True Americans are loyal only to America!

The immigrants who landed on Ellis Island in the early 1900′s deserve better than that for all the toil, hard work and sacrifice in raising future generations to create a land that has become a beacon for those legally searching for a better life.

For the wrong things to prevail, the rightful majority needs to remain complacent and quiet.

Don’t ever let this happen!