Nonprofit Newswire | In a changing landscape, whither the 501c3?

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February 4, 2010; Philanthropy 2173 | In her Philanthropy 2173 blog (to appreciate the name of the blog, you have to be a fan of Woody Allen prior to his having an affair with and then marrying the adopted daughter of his wife, Mia Farrow) Lucy Bernholz provides consistently astute, challenging analysis on where the nonprofit sector might be headed.  In her latest blog entry, she raises some issues that we’ve long discussed in Nonprofit Quarterly, particularly in the Newswire (here and here and here)  and in the Cohen Report: “Are [nonprofits] aware of the threats they face? Are they prepared to demonstrate their value in the face of changes in corporate and tax law, and, as importantly, changes in the cultural zeitgeist about social capital markets and social enterprise?”  She suggests that challenges such as new corporate forms of “social businesses” including L3Cs and B Corporations and foundations’ vocal statements (to Nonprofit Quarterly, among others) about their newfound “sector agnostic” approaches to solve social problems suggest that the special position of nonprofits in U.S. society may be precarious. We’ve been sounding the alarm for nonprofits for some time. In the Age of Obama, with its policy emphases on social innovation and social enterprise, we might be better served by having some serious discussions of these challenges to the nonprofit sector in the present-future rather than looking backward at past accomplishments.—Rick Cohen