• Terry Fernsler

    Yes, I agree with Mr. (Dr.?) McPherson–we definitely do need more research on government fundraising, not only on the impact on the nonprofit sector, but on the provision of public goods and representative democracy as well. In this vein, it may be too early to caution the nonprofit sector to look for ways to “help guide, measure and influence the future of private fundraising by government.” Let’s not make up our minds before the research gives us sufficient information about impacts.

    I believe also that it is important to [U]not[/U] leave ideology and political passions at the door. How government performs (or avoids) its purposes–which is at the heart of politics–is at the very heart of the desire to create a better society. Nonprofits have a certain expertise in bettering society, and politics plays a role in that. When we are silent about the impacts of policies, when we do not lend our expertise and absolve our responsibility of corporate citizenship (not personhood, by the way), we do ourselves, our constituents, and, ultimately, the People of a democratic society a grave disservice.

  • David G. Snyder, CFRE

    Over the past 20 years I have seen PTO school fundraisers multiply into the launching of public school foundations. Certainly library foundations have begun taking on more and more of a role in capital campaigns and programmatic funding. One of the stronger partnerships I have seen and appears well organized, is within the arts community between the National Association of State Arts Agencies and the regional arts councils.

    I would agree and be comfortable with the Independent Sector taking on a leadership role in launching a discussion on the topic. (Of course funding such an initiative also needs to be lined up.) But adding to that would be the research and resources of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College.

    I mention Boston College in the hopes of inserting some ethical discussions about the balance between public, tax driven funding, and philanthropy as the generous distribution of wealth by individuals.

    An issue of concern that comes up constantly in any governmental fundraising efforts I have seen is the issue of redirecting funds to alternate purposes as approved by legislative bodies once they observe a large pool of extra cash within reach of a governmental office.

    As the fundraising efforts within government agencies rise how do we secure those funds for the stated purpose?

    The other major issue that seems to arise in these discussions is, “What is the obligation of taxpayers to fund this?” balanced with “What can we fund as a project that does not allow government off the hook in funding their obligations?”

    These two issues require that we invite legislative bodies and our elected officials to the table so as to insure protection of the funds being raised.

    Unfortunately as we struggle with these issues those who are most in need go without.

    I agree that it will not, “..return to the way it used to be..” and believe that we should reach out to and assist those in the governmental agencies who are charged with raising funds. Besides these are our towns, cities, schools and communities.