Nonprofit Newswire | June 10, 2009

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The case for government reform now
Jun 9, 2009; The McKinsey Quarterly
| Not a word about nonprofits in McKinsey’s call for government reform, think that’s a blind spot?  The discussion notes that government “are typically motivated much less by financial incentives than by a sense of mission and peer pressure,” notes the importance of investing in change agents, and calls for support of pilot projects that test new concepts. Sounds like government and McKinsey could learn something from the nonprofit sector. —Rick Cohen

Before Defecting, Espada Sought $2 Million for Bronx Groups
Jun 9, 2009; New York Times |
Are nonprofits earmarks connected to political power plays? Sometimes, the answer is, you betcha! In New York State, two Democratic state senators, both under investigation for a couple of sordid alleged misdeeds, decided to bolt to the Republican side of the aisle (without changing political parties), giving the Republicans control of the chamber for the first time in decades. At the end of March, one of these guys (already under investigation for messing around with one nonprofit he and his associates ran) asked his fellow Democrats to approve an earmark of $1.345 million for a nonprofit created only on March 26th and chaired by a special assistant on his staff and $830,000 for a nonprofit created on March 19th run by the state senator’s lawyer on a Board of Elections suit—and located at the same address as his political action committee. His fellow Dems found these requests a bit much, and lo and behold, the wounded state senator decided to throw his support to the GOP. And due to the political coup, this guy will become head of the New York State Senate. Amazing! —Rick Cohen

Detroit community groups work for city’s new glory days
May 29, 2009; USA Today |
It’s an amazing statistic to read: 30 percent of Detroit is already vacant, and with the economic collapse, that could rise to as much as 60 percent.  The new mayor, Dave Bing, wants residents in relatively empty neighborhoods to move to neighborhoods where there are fewer vacancies. The challenge for nonprofits is not to wait for a revival of the glory days of the automotive industry, but to work on a new economic vision—skills training from groups like Operation Able and Focus Hope for new jobs, planning from The Greening of Detroit for new environmentally friendly uses of vacant factories such as building wind turbines and geothermal equipment, and in the meantime help the thousands upon thousands of families whose lives and livelihoods will be radically changed due to the collapse of GM, Chrysler, and who knows how much more. —Rick Cohen


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