Nonprofit Newswire | July 14, 2009

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Future murky for Citizens Alliance, the Fumo-founded nonprofit that owns property
Jul 14, 2009; Philadelphia Daily News | Someone ought to really dig into the to-be-shut-down nonprofit associated with convicted corrupt state senator Vincent Fumo in Philadelphia. This little article provides enough grist to suggest that there’s a lot to be examined. —Rick Cohen

King defends spending in filing: Former United Way head denies embezzling, says travel and high-end meals were all for business
Jul 14, 2009; Charlotte Observer | The much-criticized former head of the United Way is under investigation not only for her generous compensation and retirement numbers, but now for embezzlement. —Rick Cohen

Obama to Propose $12 Billion in New Community College Spending
Jul 10, 2009; Bloomberg News | As the unemployment numbers jump, probably reaching double-digit levels soon and persisting through 2010 even as the economy “recovers,” President Obama is turning his attention to investments in community colleges. This strategy has long been recommended by many observers, so it’s good that the Obama Administration is heeding the findings. But there are challenges. Remember: Much of the function of community colleges is remediation for inadequate preparation in high schools, so we cannot ignore investments that raise the quality of teaching and education in the K-12 years [PDF]. Among the remediation topics addressed in community colleges is English language instruction for documented and undocumented immigrants [PDF], but we should be careful not to let anti-immigrant language and policies filter into laudatory funding initiatives such as those of President Obama. (Some states are taking steps to protect community college opportunities for undocumented immigrants [PDF]). Innovative programs for keeping low-income kids in school are critical such as those designed by Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, Delgado Community College in New Orleans, and others, as young people with inadequate K-12 educations and few visible job prospects in a recession economy often need help and incentives to pursue post-secondary education opportunities [PDF]; and community college investments are very important in places in the U.S. that have been long under served, such as rural communities (see the experience of the Rural Community College Initiative, including reports on strategies for funders [PDF], and overall lessons for community college investment [PDF]). The Obama proposal is worth a lot of attention, but nonprofits should be active in helping the Administration direct these funds to help people attach themselves to growing parts of the economy, assuming there will be some, to incentivize young people to stay in post-secondary education, to build community college systems in regions and states that lack the infrastructure, and to protect community college learners who need remedial skills including documented and undocumented immigrants. Rick Cohen

Many Washington State Hospitals Skimp On Required Charity Care
Jul 13, 2009 Medical News Today | No surprise here. As the poor get stiffed in nonprofit hospitals, they turn to publicly owned hospitals for charity care. A little research will show that the close proximity of public hospitals means that nonprofit hospitals will often skimp even more on charity care. This isn’t news. One hopes that the Senate Finance Committee under Max Baucus will make nonprofit hospital performance a component of the emerging health care reform legislation. Rick Cohen

Ballet Florida files Chapter 7
Jul 13, 2009; South Florida Business Journal | The summer issue of the Nonprofit Quarterly contains an article by Woods Bowman of DePaul University on the option of Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings by nonprofits plus a box by this author of examples of Chapter 11 reorganizations and Chapter 7 liquidations. West Palm Beach’s Ballet Florida just announced it is going Chapter 7, but the Business Journal article points out that the Ballet had had financial problems for some years. We suspect that some of the recession-era nonprofit closures may be examples of long-troubled nonprofits that were precarious before the downturn, knocked over the edge of the financial abyss as the recession led to declining charitable donations, constituents, and consumers. —Rick Cohen

Nonprofits hit hard by recession
Jul 13, 2009; Denver Post | Today’s obligatory story about nonprofits crunched by the economy comes courtesy of the Denver Post, really an article about the survey done by Lester Salamon’s Listening Post Project, localized with a  mention of the closing of an outreach center associated with A Women’s Place in Greeley, Colorado. Better than simply repeating Lester’s survey findings would be some local reporting on how foundations and government agencies are responding to the predicaments of organizations like A Women’s Place. —Rick Cohen

In Puerto Rico, a Nonprofit ‘Sun’ Rises Daily
Jul 13, 2009; Editor and Publisher | How do you create a nonprofit newspaper? The editors and staff of the defunct English-language San Juan Star in Puerto Rico have relaunched as the Puerto Rico Daily Sun. The workers created a nonprofit cooperative, Cooperativa Prensa Unida, capitalized initially by each person investing $800. Since its October beginning, the Sun has captured 30,000 paid subscribers and seems to be heading toward becoming a going venture. —Rick Cohen

DODGING BULLETS! Some Providers Escape Unscathed; Others Take Funding Cuts
Jul 7, 2009; New York Nonprofit Press | NYC human service providers negotiated with Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Chris Quinn to stave off most of almost $200 million in budget cuts that had been proposed in the Mayor’s and Council’s budgets.  But long term, the prospects aren’t good, as much of the budget restoration was due to one-time revenues plus stimulus money.  Both of those are financial cliffs facing nonprofits next year. —Rick Cohen

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