Welcome to the first NPQ/Cohen Report analysis of the federal budget proposals of President Barack Obama.  Here we take a tour of the proposed FY2010 federal budget released to the public on May 7th to mine the meaning for the nonprofit sector.  In this one, you’ll discover that the Obama Administration budget contains several programs of crucial importance for nonprofits, but it’s not all peaches and cream:

  • Some of the budget lines expressly dedicated to nonprofits are “bubkis”, to use the vernacular.  Nonprofits should not get lost fighting over next to nothing while the big dollars slide by nonprofit radar screens.
  • Even those items dedicated to the nonprofit sector–for “social innovation” or to replace the Bush-era Compassion Capital Fund–frequently give scant attention to the needs and roles of smaller and medium-sized nonprofits, the organizations that comprise the overwhelming bulk of nonprofits on the front lines of addressing social needs in America’s urban and rural communities.
  • And even with the otherwise friendly Obama Administration, nonprofits have to watch out for agency agendas that undo the intent of hard-fought legislative victories and redirect funds away from nonprofits into discretionary agency budgets–with the result that nonprofits might not see much less get the resources they need

In this report on the Obama federal budget proposal for FY2010, we analyze the following programs in sequence:

  1. The Strengthening Communities Fund (replacing the Compassion Capital Fund)
  2. The Social Innovation Fund
  3. The Nonprofit Capacity Building Initiative–or whatever happened to it)
  4. and specific programs of critical importance to nonprofits in other agencies:  at HUD, the Community Development Block Grant program, the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, and the University-Community Fund; at Education, the Promise Neighborhoods program; at HHS, the Child Care and Development Block Grant, the Social Services Block Grant, and Head Start; at Treasury, the Community Development Financial Institutions program; and in the Department of Agriculture, programs for rural community facilities and rural housing

Scroll down and you will find both descriptions and commentary (the latter in italics).  Do realize that the Obama Administration is still new, and some of these programs are even newer.  Much of the detail will emerge over time, but the nonprofit sector has to weigh in to ensure that the interests it represents, the communities in which many nonprofits work, get factored into program design and budget appropriations and outlays.Building Nonprofit Capacity to Fight the Recession

President Obama’s 2010 budget is not your usual budget; it is really a recession budget.  If it weren’t for the  fact that Congress enacted the “stimulus” legislation–the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)–in 2009, this budget would be judged not simply for the priorities it sets for our nation, but for its stimulative effect on the economy.  Like the ARRA and incorporating and continuing many ARRA initiatives, the proposed 2010 budget must be seen for what it is, a federal budget proposal comparable to the federal budgets of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first and second pre-war terms in the 1930s, aimed at restarting a semi-moribund economy and protecting the populations most disadvantaged by the world recession since that faced by FDR himself.

If this is the second step in the Obama stimulus plan, where the bulk of federal government appropriations and outlays have a job creation and  economic activity motivation, the question worth raising here is the following:  in the 2010 federal budget, whither the nonprofit sector, or better, whither the prospects for small- and medium-sized nonprofits?

Much of the nonprofit sector has focused on a handful of programs in the budget with the promise of money for nonprofits:  the $50 million aimed at the Strengthening Communities Fund (on top of $50 million previously aimed at the SCF in the stimulus bill), the much ballyhooed Social Innovation Fund with another $50 million, the Nonprofit Capacity Building Initiative targeted for $5 million a year, and the expansion of the various stipended volunteer programs, old and new, managed by the Corporation for National and Community Services.  They are all important to the nonprofit sector as indications or harbingers of the new administration’s approach to nonprofits, but there is more to the budget than these nonprofit-tagged initiatives.

The Strengthening Communities Fund

As outlined in the stimulus bill, the SCF replaces the Compassion Capital Fund, the Bush era faith-based program, though SCF like CCF before it will reside in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  In the array of trillions of dollars of federal expenditures, the $50 million for this TA program in the 2010 budget (on top of the $50 in the stimulus bill) is relatively small potatoes and may be less than it appears.  As described in the some of the budget’s explanatory materials, the Fund is really two funds:  “The SCF Nonprofit Capacity Building Program, with a focus on building the capacity of non-profit organizations to address the broad economic recovery issues in communities, and, the SCF State, Local and Tribal Government Capacity Building Program, with a focus on building the capacity of State, local and Tribal governments to partner with and provide outreach to non-profit, faith-based and community organizations as a means to include these groups in economic recovery efforts”.

Remember that the CCF under Bush was $100 million, in the House version of the stimulus, the CCF was $100 million, in the Senate it was zero, and only in the conference committee did the $50 million number emerge with the SCF redesignation.

The division of the funding into a nonprofit pool and a government pool is the creation of the Obama Administration, not the legislation.  The intent of the stimulus bill was clearly that this money would be for nonprofits. The language on p. 59 of the conference report (from the Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee of Reference) on the stimulus bill was crystal clear:  “Within the total provided for Children and Families Services Programs, $50,000,000 is provided under section 1110 of the Social Security Act to establish a new initiative to award capacity-building grants directly to nonprofit organizations, instead of $100,000,000 for the Compassion Capital Fund…”    But in a teleconference held in April, HHS officials said that the stimulus $50 million would be divided into $34 million for the nonprofit capacity building program and $16 million for the state/local government program.

In the 2010 budget proposal, there is no financial division apparent, at least in the Administration’s public budget documents (and the Obama budget also takes $7 million off the top designating  up to $2 million for a national evaluation and $5 million for training and technical assistance activities). Earlier unpublished information from HHS indicated that the $34 million nonprofit piece from the ARRA-created funding would be administered through a “lead organization and nonprofit partners”, sounding like the Administration intends to off-load the operations of this Fund to an intermediary organization, though the budget is opaque on that score for FY2010.

But just days ago, HHS officially announced grant opportunities for nonprofits under the stimulus-created SCF.  Without specific explanation, the announcement establishes $34 million for the nonprofit piece and $12 million for the government piece, the remaining $4 million perhaps also dedicated to evaluation or perhaps to HHS/ACF administrative expenses.  For the nonprofit piece, the following describes the purpose of SCF as clearly related to economic stimulus:

“The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Community Services (OCS), announces that applications will be accepted for new cooperative agreements to experienced organizations to provide nonprofit organizations serving as project partners, with capacity building training, technical assistance, and competitive financial assistance. The focus of this program is to build the capacity of funded projects’ nonprofit partners in order to address the broad economic recovery issues present in their communities, including helping low-income individuals secure and retain employment, earn higher wages, obtain better-quality jobs, and gain greater access to state and Federal benefits and tax credits. Lead organizations will assist nonprofit organizations working in distressed communities with capacity building activities that support economic recovery. Specifically, lead organizations will assist grassroots organizations working in distressed communities with capacity building activities in five critical areas: 1) organizational development, 2) program development, 3) collaboration and community engagement, 4) leadership development, and 5) evaluation of effectiveness. Capacity building activities are designed to increase an organization’s sustainability and effectiveness, enhance its ability to provide social services, and create collaborations to better serve those in need.”

Note that the maximum amount per award (cooperative agreements) is $1 million, but the announcement anticipates only 34 awards.  The examples of what capacity-building might mean ties very closely to accessing federal stimulus programs, as in this paragraph from the announcement:  “The focus of the SCF Nonprofit Capacity Building program is to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations to address the broad economic recovery issues present in their communities, including helping low-income individuals secure and retain employment, earn higher wages, obtain better-quality jobs, and gain greater access to state and Federal benefits and tax credits.  For example, nonprofits receiving competitive financial assistance from their lead organization could use the funds to purchase computers or set up a computer lab to provide free, online information on State and Federal benefits for low- and moderate-income individuals.  Funds could be used to perform a local workforce assessment or other research designed to connect workers to employers. Funds could also be used for developing a resource directory to help increase access to the benefits (e.g., ARRA benefits) for which individuals and families are eligible.  An organization receiving financial assistance from a lead organization under this announcement could establish a one-stop center where individuals can obtain free, customized benefits information, tax information, information on ARRA, and/or apply for benefits and file tax returns.”  SCF nonprofit grantees are also strongly encouraged to use AmeriCorps/VISTA participants in their program design and implementation.  Applicants must also provide a non-federal 20 percent cost-share (so that at least 20 percent of the total project cost is non-federal).

The government piece announced by HHS indicates 48 cooperative agreement awards, maximum $250,000, again with a 20 percent federal cost-share, for the following purposes:

“The SCF State, Local, and Tribal Government Capacity Building program grantees will use the funds in the following three areas:

  • Conducting outreach and education aimed at increasing the involvement of nonprofit organizations in the economic recovery.
  • Providing training and technical assistance aimed at building the capacity of nonprofit organizations to address the broad economic recovery issues present in their communities.
  • Building the capacity of their State, local or Native American/Tribal government office or designee to better involve nonprofit organizations in the economic recovery.

Through capacity building activities in these three areas, it is expected that grantees will increase the involvement of nonprofit organizations in the economic recovery by facilitating partnerships (e.g., informal networks, coalitions, or more formal financial relationships) between and among nonprofits and other government agencies. Capacity building activities are designed to increase an organization’s sustainability and effectiveness, enhance its ability to provide social services, and create collaborations to better serve those most in need.

Through capacity building activities in these three areas, it is expected that grantees will increase the involvement of nonprofit organizations in the economic recovery by facilitating partnerships (e.g., informal networks, coalitions, or more formal financial relationships) between and among nonprofits and other government agencies. Capacity building activities are designed to increase an organization’s sustainability and effectiveness, enhance its ability to provide social services, and create collaborations to better serve those most in need. “

The areas of allowable training and TA include organizational development, program development, collaboration and community engagement, leadership development, and effectiveness evaluation.  Realize that these awards to basically governmental entities, rather than nonprofits, will allow them to “use grant funds to build their own capacities related to the provision of outreach, training, technical assistance, and other capacity building services (e.g., facilitating partnerships) to nonprofits within their service areas.“  State and local government officials will just about automatically interpret this to mean hiring staff for their agencies to relate to or connect with nonprofits.  This is money that will go to build the capacities, read staffing, of government agencies.

Commentary: What is the lesson here?  Something happened along the way from legislative design (Congress calling for aide to nonprofits) and program implementation (HHS giving 1/3 of the total to local governments).  Nonprofits need to make sure that money designated for nonprofits isn’t detoured into other sectors.

The Social Innovation Fund

Embedded in the $1.149 billion slated for the Corporation for National and Community Service (a 29 percent increase over the previous year, due to the expansion of stipended volunteer programs through the SERVE America Act) is $50 million for the Social Innovation Fund.  This program could be the most discussed $50 million in federal budget history.    Originally designated by name to support social entrepreneurialism, the name change to social innovation was meant to sidestep the bugaboo about what kinds organizations are truly entrepreneurial or not.

The Corporation’s FY2010 budget justification describes the purpose of the Fund “to help find and scale-up promising programs around the country”.  White House “senior advisor on social innovation”, Michele Jolin, rephrased that as “finding and scaling the best social innovations“.  The First Lady told a Time magazine gathering “the idea of the fund is simple: find the most effective programs out there and then provide the capital needed to replicate their success in communities around the country”.

Ms Obama cited three entrepreneurs as examples of the kind of innovation the Fund would highlight:  John Alford who founded Project NOLA promoting charter schools in post-Katrina New Orleans, Charles Best whose Donors Choose program links potential donors to schools in need of classroom materials that frequently teachers pay for themselves, and Rebecca Onie whose Project Health puts college students at help desks to link poor people with government resources.  But a White House press release on the Fund cited examples such as the Harlem Children’s Zone, Youth Villages, and Citizen Schools, great organizations, but of a different ilk than Ms Obama’s examples.  It’s easy to see:

In its most recent financials on Guidestar, Citizen Schools posted revenues of $22.1 million and assets of $17.2 million; Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) showed income of $69.4 million and assets of $146.5 million; Youth Villages had revenues of $93.5 million and assets of $64.2 million and the Youth Villages Foundation showed income of $15.0 million and assets of $57.9 million.  According to information posted on the Foundation Directory Online, the widely admired HCZ received over $51 million in foundation grants in 2006 and 2007.  These are admirable organizations worthy of replication, and in fact, HCZ’s model is actually in the Department of Education budget as the Promise Neighborhoods program and in the HUD budget reflected in the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative.

Commentary:  The Social Innovation Fund argot is the language of bringing things up to scale through investing in what some people deem to be proven winners, often tied to the visionary leader of the organization (note Ms Obama’s decision to focus on the entrepreneurial founders of her three examples).  The budget justification makes it even clearer: the Fund’s grants will range from $1 million on the low end to $10 million on the upper:  realize that $1 million is larger than the entire reported annual revenues of 85.7% of 501(c)(3) charities that file form 990s with the IRS (per data from the National Center for Charitable Statistics as of March 2009) and 95 percent of all nonprofits (groups with revenues below $25,000 didn’t have to file 990s before this year).

In all fairness, it is entirely likely if not probable that the examples of innovative organizations cited in the White House press release were used simply to provide the press and the public with some well known models to make the word “innovation” concrete.  That is, the White House may well fully intend to fund organizations that are much less well capitalized but no less innovative than the likes of HCZ and Citizen Schools.  They may fully intend to find organizations where a grant of $1 million really boosts the innovativeness of organizations that are much less well capitalized.  But they have to remember to pay attention to the needs of a variety of organizations of many sizes that reflect the kind of innovation the Administration wants to see more broadly replicated.

Lessons anyone?  Despite the longstanding knowledge that innovation is found in organizations of many sizes, small and large, the Social Innovation Fund is structured to invest in sizable organizations able to absorb seven-figure federal grants and scale up. Many entrepreneurial leaders of the nonprofit sector toil for small organizations in out-of-the-mainstream locales.  They may not be in line to get much from the Social Innovation Fund unless they are willing to sign up as local affiliates of the designated national innovators.  It would be important for the administrators of the fund to ensure that they make special effort to find innovation wherever it occurs in the nonprofit sector–and to build the networks and “infrastructure” that support and sustain nonprofit innovation.

The Nonprofit Capacity Building Initiative

The SERVE America Act included two other funds geared toward helping nonprofits navigate these difficult economic times.  CNCS targets $10 million in 2010 for the Volunteer Generation Fund to strengthen the nonprofit sector’s “volunteer infrastructure”.  But what happened to the Nonprofit Capacity Building Initiative?

Long an advocacy target of some of the generic national nonprofit leadership organizations, the NCBI emerged in the SERVE America Act as an amendment introduced by Senators Max Baucus of Montana and Charles Grassley of Iowa, though the so-called Baucus-Grassley amendment had a lot more Grassley than Baucus in it.  While the CNCS budget justification acknowledges that the program was authorized in the bill, it is hard to find in the Corporation’s budget.  The legislation authorized $5 million a year from 2010 to 2014 for 3-year grants of not less than $200,000 to be matched dollar-for-dollar by nonfederal funds for capacity-building training (delivered by or through experienced intermediaries) for small- and mid-sized nonprofits.  But there is no specific program line for this in the CNCS budget or elsewhere.

Commentary:  In some ways, this is small potatoes in the grand scheme of a huge federal budget, even within just the billion dollar CNCS budget, but it is another important signal:  This was the one element of recent federal legislation that specifically targeted as beneficiaries small and medium-sized nonprofits.  Within the Corporation for National and Community Service which has increasingly turned to large grants to “national direct” grantees, this is pragmatic bureaucratic behavior (Note:  Among CNCS’s 2008-2009 national direct grantees in addition to whatever smaller allocations they might have gotten from state commissions were the likes of Citizen Schools, City Year, the American Red Cross, the National Council of La Raza, Habitat for Humanity International, Teach for America, YouthBuild, Public Private Ventures, the Hands OnNetwork, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, all providing the Corporation the services of large subrecipients relieving CNCS staff of having to sift through lots of applications from small and scattered local groups).  Rather than juggle lots of different programs and different grantees, the CNCS budget’s missing line for the capacity-building initiative reflects a kind of structural rationality–except that it contravenes the language and the spirit of the SERVE America Act.

Although the Corporation’s budget analysis basically says that while the SERVE America Act authorized $5 million for the capacity-building program, the Corporation is choosing to interpret this as a program that they can run from within their overall operations without a specific line item program budget (unlike the line items outlined for other programs situated by the White House in CNCS). Implicitly, the Corporation is saying that the SERVE America Act established the capacity-building program and authorized the funding, but the Corporation is not asking for an appropriation of the funds, saying that it can meet the purpose of the legislation through implementing capacity-building within the Corporation’s programs without the program line.  Why is the NCBI hard to find in the CNCS budget?  It does not look like an oversight, but the intent of the agency to fold the money into the Corporation’s overall budget to be used as the CNCS executives see fit, regardless of the legislation.  It looks much more like commission rather than omission.

What’s the lesson here?  Notwithstanding this nation’s experience with the downside of scaling up, small and mid-sized organizations are bucking the tide when it comes to the common currency of knowledge about nonprofits.  Small nonprofits may look inefficient and inconsequential through the lenses of big organizations, but at the ground level, it is that cadre of small nonprofits that serves at the voice for and outreach to multiple constituencies that can’t get a scintilla of attention from many large foundations and large intermediaries.  Unless they are satisfied with lip service, smaller nonprofits and the networks that are truly dedicated to them have to be prepared to advocate, not as a special interest, but as vehicles for what’s often really effective–and innovative–in the nonprofit sector.

Bigger Money in the Federal Budget for Nonprofits

What isn’t small potatoes?  A quick glance at some 1,380 pages of the federal budget plus scores of agency-specific supplemental documents–reveals many important programs in which nonprofits should envision themselves as key players if not implementers:

Housing and Urban Development:  President Obama has slated $1  billion for the long awaited Housing Trust Fund, no longer tied to the vacillating conditions of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s profit margins.  This is the first big new affordable housing production program (as distinct from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in the 2008 housing bill and the 2009 stimulus bill, geared to acquiring and redeveloping existing foreclosed residential properties) in eons. On the preservation side, the HUD budget includes $8.1 billion for project-based rental assistance, essentially renewing expiring rental subsidies and thereby preserving the affordability of 1.3 million subsidized apartments.

The budget calls for fully funding the Community Development Block Grant program at $4.5 billion, a distinctive change from the continuing Bush Administration efforts to slice and dice CDBG.  Nonprofits across the nation rely on CDBG not just for housing production and preservation, but for funding under the public services part of the program.

Some elements of the budget contain clear and strong nonprofit signals.  Included is $25 million in the CDBG program for a University-Community Fund, modeled on efforts at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Pennsylvania, to use universities as anchor institutions in innovative community development ventures.  A Rural Innovation Fund will also get $25 million for a limited number of targeted rural antipoverty and affordable housing initiatives.  Also as indicated above, the Department also plans for $250 million for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, modeled somewhat on the successful HOPE VI public housing conversions of the past few years and explicitly intended to link up with the Promise Neighborhoods program planned for the Department of Education modeled on the Harlem Children’s Zone.

Department of Education:  The Harlem Children’s Zone is the basis for the Department’s Promise Neighborhoods program, described in the budget documents as follows: “This new initiative would provide competitive, 1-year planning grants to non-profit, community based organizations to support the development of plans for comprehensive neighborhood programs, modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, designed to combat the effects of poverty and improve education and life outcomes for children, from birth through college. The core idea behind the initiative is that providing both effective schools and strong systems of support to children and youth in poverty and, thus, meeting their health, social services, and educational needs, will offer them the best hope for a better life.” Promise Neighborhoods represents the Obama Administration’s recognition that the traditional model of foundation-supported experiments picked up, adopted, and replicated by government has a future after all.

In addition to this HCZ replication is extensive funding for charter schools, including $268 million in FY2010 on top of $216 million in 2009 and $211 million in 2008.  The President has pledged to double charter school funding during his first term in office.  Embedded within the charter school budget lines is $12.7 million for charter school facility finance grants in addition to $8.1 million for charter school credit enhancement.

Health and Human Services:  The budget proposal for HHS is a virtual repertoire of programs where nonprofits are clearly the primary implementors and advocates.  The challenge for nonprofits is not whether they are in line for the funds, but whether the funding levels are appropriate to the needs they see on the ground with their constituents and communities.  Among the HHS discretionary programs of note are $7.2 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start, $2.127 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, $49 million for mentoring children of prisoners, $741 million for programs serving refugees (an increase of $107 million over 2009), $700 million for the Community Services Block Grant, and $1.7 billion for the Social Services Block Grant.

At the same time, it is clear that President Obama is not shy about using the budget axe on programs that, without much thought, “look good” but may be short on outcomes.  The budget terminates the Even Start program (funded through the Department of Education, not HHS), a program dating back to 1988 meant to combine early childhood education, parenting classes, adult education, and family literacy initiatives.  The $66 million program fails, in the Obama Administration’s view, because the outcomes for families in Even Start did not differ appreciably from those who did not, and many of the Even Start families apparently do not participate long enough in the program to have a chance to have measurable outcomes.

Department of Treasury:  Not typically thought of as a stimulative program sponsor, Treasury has a huge role in the revitalization of the U.S. economy in the wake of the nation’s economic and banking collapse.  For nonprofits, no question the big program news is the $136.6 million increase in the budget for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) program, slated for $243.6 million in FY2010 up from $107 million in FY2009 (though there was an extra $100 million for CDFIs authorized by the ARRA in 2009).  Those totals include $4.2 million for the New Market Tax Credits program and $80 million set aside for a new CDFI program, the Capital Magnet Fund.  Like the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in HUD, the Capital Magnet Fund program was established by the 2008 housing bill for CDFIs and other nonprofits (so long as they are housing producers or managers) “to attract private capital for increased investment in affordable housing and economic development projects (such as day care centers, workforce development centers, and health care clinics) in extremely low-, very low-, and low-income communities,” according to the Treasury budget justification.  There are 808 certified CDFIs eligible for overall CDFI funding and 3,424 certified “Community Development Entities” (CDEs) eligible for the New Market Tax Credits.  For the new Magnet Fund program, CDFIs, CDEs, and other nonprofits will have to gear up to educate Treasury as to exactly what it takes in a damaged economy to attract private capital to low-income development ventures.

Agriculture:  The policy imprint of the emerging Obama Administration feels urban, with strong emphases on initiatives that by the numbers lead to metropolitan if not inner city concentrations, for example, the anti-foreclosure and property redevelopment efforts in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.  Even the Rural Innovation Fund is located in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, not Agriculture.  Nonetheless, the Rural Development budget authority lines contain important program information for rural nonprofits.

For example, the budget authority for rural community facilities increases in grants from $41 million to $44 million, from 2009 to 2010 but direct loans and guaranteed loans drop from $23 million to $11 million.  In the stimulus, however, there was $61 million in community facilities grants and $65 million in direct loans, but it might be that the lower loan numbers for the 2010 budget reflect time lags in placing and spending the ARRA moneys.  Rental assistance for Section 502 and Section 521 projects gets a boost, but much of that appears dedicated to refunding and renewing existing and expiring rental contracts.  For the production side of rural housing, with the bulk of the $1 billion in multi-family rental to renew 248,000 in expiring contracts, only $5 million for rental assistance loans tied to new multi-family construction; the 2010 budget also notes budget authority for $19 million in direct multi-family production loans under the Section 515 program, compared to $29 million in 2009.

Remembering other TA venues:  The Social Innovation Fund, the Strengthening Communities Fund, and the Nonprofit Capacity Building Initiative represent only part of the 2010 federal budget’s technical assistance and training allocations.  Just as in past years, there are other programs tied to specific agency lines that contain training and TA services for nonprofits, including these:

  • One of the three components of the CDFI program is technical assistance, so some portion of the $113 million in the 2010 budget specifically for CDFIs and probably the $90 million from the ARRA will go out as contracts with third party TA and training entities
  • HUD’s design for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program II (NSP2) component of the ARRA includes a set-aside of $50 million for technical assistance providers.
  • In the HOME and Community Development Block Grant programs, just to name two, HUD has traditionally offered very large programs of training and TA, particularly in HOME as “CHDO” technical assistance (CHDO or “community housing development organization” being the name in the HOME program for entities that most people would call community development corporations or CDCs).  In the 2010 budget, HUD is proposing to roll all of its multiple TA and training programs in housing, community development, and homelessness prevention into one composite program for the Secretary to disperse on his discretion based on need as opposed to predetermined program design.

President Obama’s 2010 budget proposal is an economic stimulus budget, without question.  The challenge for nonprofits is to ensure that they get the support needed to fulfill the roles that they can and should envision for themselves.  The challenge for the nonprofit infrastructure is to provide the support that small and medium sized community-based nonprofits need to get into the mix and not get left on the sidelines.