Nonprofit Review to be Stopped?

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November 8, 2010; Source: San Jose Mercury News | To review or not to review, that is the question. In April 2009 in Santa Cruz County, California leaders had launched a review of government funding of nonprofits aimed at calculating the effectiveness of 50 or so health and human service providers.

But now at least two county supervisors are having second thoughts and asking that the review be terminated. Their concern is that a potential overhaul of county funding priorities would disrupt nonprofits that rely on the allocation patterns, as they currently exist, even though the county budget for nonprofits has been sliced by 10 percent each of the last two years. The county budget for nonprofits is a little over $3 million.

The county’s nonprofit task force found that the moneys were benefiting needy households and achieving a ten to one leverage. That’s good enough for the supervisors who called for the review to cease, but another supervisor suggests that a review is still needed to see whether there might be “a bias for caring for certain ethnicities . . . [or if there are] geographic disparities.

The supervisors asking to stop the review expressed concern that changing the county’s funding priorities might lead to “adversarial relationships that might result if funding formulas are changed to benefit one group over another.” But if these county supervisors get their way, there won’t be any reconsideration of the pattern of funding. It will simply be less.—Rick Cohen