Nonprofit Newswire | December 16, 2009

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The Nonprofit QuarterlyNew Community Health Center Money Misses 7 Midwest States
Dec 9, 2009; Reuters | Last week President Obama announced that $600 million would be awarded to community health centers to address facilities and other capital requirements of that overloaded primary care system. Some, however, are unhappy with the odd geographic distribution of that money which was reportedly distributed through a competitive process. A full $80 million went to 8 centers in Massachusetts and Massachusetts and California together took home a whopping $145 million or 29% of the funds while every clinic from 7 midwest states was turned down. This is the second round of stimulus funding for health centers and it includes $88 million for IT improvements. To get a sense of what part Community Health Centers hope to have in primary care under health reform and to view the president’s short speech on these awards you can visit the Web site of the National Association of Health Centers.–Ruth McCambridge

The Nonprofit QuarterlyTechnology of Liberation? The Next Generation of Activist Tools
Dec 9; The Huffington Post | While it’s good to see activists energetically embrace the tools at their disposal, it’s healthy to maintain a critical perspective on which are best. Some pave new roads for social change while others pan out to be preposterous, even costly or dangerous. Today’s Newswire brings you the latter. A recent UN report recommends that disaster relief organizations can best serve those affected by conflict or crisis via technology. No doubt an improved flow of information to relief efforts would be of benefit, but investing in this strategy means putting it ahead of others in the funding line, and isn’t the infrastructure frequently the first to go during a crisis? Meanwhile, human rights activists are being encouraged to adopt cell phones that help their struggle directly on the front lines. Since the phones automatically alert compatriots of an arrest, or securely e-mail photo documentation of human rights abuses to fellow advocates, the phones are, to many, a tool that is long overdue. However, the developer of the human rights cell phone platform readily admits that he’s engaged in “an arms race” against draconian governments, and with recent reversals on Internet privacy by Google and Facebook the arsenal is looking thinner by the day. Given this kind of environment, is the investment in these new technologies worth their financial and human costs, or should we be finding different tools with which to fight for our causes?—James David Morgan

The Nonprofit QuarterlyBritons Keep Giving (Just Less than Before)
Dec 14, 2009; UK Press Association
| A charitable giving report released by credit card provider MBNA paints an upbeat—albeit misleading picture—for charitable contributions in the U.K. “Brits keep donating amid recession,” cannot be faulted for inaccuracy but is still misrepresentative. It claims “three-quarters of people who donated money to charity during the past three years said they had given the same amount during 2009, while 5% had increased the amount they donated.” Doesn’t that mean 20% decreased their donations? Indeed, a survey by National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the Charities Aid Foundation, UK Giving 2009 [PDF], estimates that total donations for 2008-09 fell to 9.9 billion pounds, a 11.4% drop. According to Giving USA [PDF], individual giving stateside faired only slightly better, declining by 6.3%.—Timothy Lyster

The Nonprofit QuarterlyNow That’s Innovation
Dec 14, 2009; Providence Journal
| Struggling with a decline in donations and financing, cash-strapped nonprofits are looking for new ways to raise money, along with the usual array holiday fundraisers. The homeless shelter, Crossroads Rhode Island, has hired a “seasoned manager” to streamline operations at their graphic design and printing business. Big Sisters of Rhode Island sells donated goods to Savers, a for-profit thrift-store chain. They generate a quarter of their revenue this way. Amos House, also in Providence, is betting on a risky venture: a new restaurant. Relying on a bank loan, the agency in February will open Friendship Café, a neighborhood diner. It takes a creative and dedicated agency to stay alive these days.—Aaron Lester



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