Ruth is Editor in Chief of the Nonprofit Quarterly. Her background includes forty-five years of experience in nonprofits, primarily in organizations that mix grassroots community work with policy change. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Ruth spent a decade at the Boston Foundation, developing and implementing capacity building programs and advocating for grantmaking attention to constituent involvement.
Nonprofits working together with government have curtailed some of the over-incarceration in the federal prison system. Our new attorney general, though, clearly anticipates filling the prisons back up and has declared he will increase capacity through re-contracting with private prisons.
Remember when a sinkhole opened up under what was until then the relatively obscure Corvette Museum, swallowing up some prized cars? We would bet the facility is far better known following that disaster. Perhaps this bee rescue can find a silver lining in the public education value of the tornado that took out part of the Texas facility.
When you have one primary funder, there’s a vulnerability that can come back to haunt you. Couple that with a government shutdown of the systems that bring you those you serve, you have a field-wide crisis that threatens a national infrastructure. Refugee resettlement organizations find themselves in that very position.
It is time to change the way we think about organizations. Organizations are living systems. All living systems have the capacity to self-organize, to sustain themselves and move toward greater complexity and order as needed. They can respond intelligently to the need for change. They organize (and then reorganize) themselves into adaptive patterns and structures without any externally imposed plan or direction. —Meg Wheatley, The Irresistible Future of Organizing
Amid a wave of ICE detentions across the country, reports of new draft guidelines that would significantly increase the detention and deportations of immigrants lacking legal status, and a promise from President Trump that he will release a new executive order to “comprehensively protect our country” against undocumented immigrants, refugees, and travelers, localities, schools, and other entities are progressing with their own efforts at protecting refugees to the greatest extent possible.
It appears that the new president’s nominations tend to follow a kind of pattern, in that the candidates picked often espouse views and have engaged in behaviors antithetical to the purposes of the bodies they will lead. In some cases, at least, this is backfiring.