December 5, 2010; Source: Dayton Daily News | We read about nonprofits shutting their doors regularly, but not much about how other sectors might want to step in to deal with the consequences. The typical story is basically this: the nonprofit shuts down, there are comments from allies and constituents about how much it will be missed, and some other organizations are identified as providing a comparable service or function that constituents could access.

In Dayton, Ohio, where the prolonged economic downturn has had devastating impacts, community leaders are doing more than expressing regrets. Business leaders and politicians are planning to meet later this month to discuss how they might prevent existing nonprofits from financially imploding like the Dayton Urban League and other nonprofits have.

The daylong summit will largely focus on saving what is left of Dayton’s tattered nonprofit safety net. On the agenda will be whether the Urban League can be saved. The president of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce called it “a critical part of Dayton’s nonprofit safety net,” and a city commissioner said its closure would be “devastating given their mission was employment and training.”

Perhaps the huge recession challenges facing rust-belt communities like Dayton have woken political and business leaders to the fact that the economic travails of nonprofit safety net groups require all sectors to pitch in and devise solutions.—Rick Cohen