Nonprofit Newswire | September 11, 2009

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Nonprofits with a perspective hiring journalists: A sign of things to come?
Sept 10, 2009; Nieman Journalism Lab | What’s happening to all those out of work news people? Some are joining the nonprofit workforce. This story is in a way not new but reflective of a potentially very disturbing trend. Here Jim Barnett at the Neiman Journalism Lab notes the hiring of an investigative journalist by the Goldwater Institute, a right wing think tank and lays out some of the red flags this raises. —Ruth McCambridge

Downturn forces United Way to cut goal, Charity lowers target for first time since 1983
Sept 3, 2009; Calgary Herald | NPQ will be keeping a close eye for its readers on United Way Campaigns this fall in the wake of Gallagher’s big transformation push and the economy’s downturn. (Read yesterday’s story on the United Way of Central New York.) The Calgary United Way has set its goal at $2 million below its actual take last year. While the Calgary United Way is large, small United Ways in small communities may be more impacted proportionately. In Howard County Indiana, the United Way has lowered its fundraising goal by 25% because, it says, the workforce is reduced by that much. This probably reflects a healthy dose of realism but elsewhere, apparently some United Ways are demurring on goal setting at all. In this story the United Way of East Central Alabama claims to be among a growing number of goal-less United Ways this year. This is apparently the case for the much larger United Way for Greater Kansas City, for instance, which has not set a dollar, but a donor goal. —Ruth McCambridge

Ohio Funding Cuts Spark Feud Over Plan to Close a YMCA
Sept 3, 2009; Wall Street Journal | Before the other nonprofit press vehicles picked up the story, we’ve been commenting on this controversy in Toledo concerning a shutdown of a YMCA branch and the donation of its property to a church. In the stories about the management of the Y, the compensation of the ED, the programmatic choices it has made, and more, we’re struck by the silence of the national Y, at least as reported in stories like this one in the Wall Street Journal. With Toledo’s unemployment topping 15%, there’s clearly a need for the kinds of programs and services a typical Y provides for families. One would hope that the national Y structure would be paying attention and, more importantly, speaking out about the important principles in play and the solutions that the national organization might help Toledo reach. It appears that community meetings around the contentious health care proposals have been less strident than those held, usually impromptu, around the fate of the South Toledo Y. While it is true that state budget cuts have been one of the precipitating events in this story, there are clear indications about dynamics between the Y and the community (and local politicians) that indicate the problem can’t be so easily boiled down to the budget impasse in Harrisburg. Do note that while the South Toledo branch of the Y is on the chopping block, a new Y facility with what appears to be state of the art recreation and swimming facilities is opening in West Toledo. The Toledo Blade is doing a good job of covering this controversy, but it’s not an intramural scrimmage in Toledo. There are bigger issues and principles in play. —Rick Cohen


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