November 16, 2012; Source: NJ.com
In an opinion piece posted on NJ.com, representatives of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the Community Foundation of New Jersey pledge to help support nonprofit organizations in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. The article points out that a hidden and potentially devastating fallout from the storm is the impact it will have on nonprofit organizations that have seen demand for services skyrocket, but resources diminish as a result of the storm.
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In this well stated, articulate piece, the writers point out that the value of the nonprofit sector is not just that of providing needed social services, but also in education, the arts, and everyday life in general saying, “The implications for New Jerseyans cannot be overstated if our nonprofits and communities remain permanently diminished by the storm.” The article culminates in a call to action for philanthropists, a pledge to support the sector, and an optimistic belief that this could be an opportunity for reinvention and reimagining the community for the better. The authors look to the long-term health and vitality of their community and see the nonprofit sector as a critical element of its resilience.
It turns out that this attention to and recognition of the importance of the nonprofit sector is not new to the writers of this opinion piece. On their website, for example, the Community Foundation of New Jersey pays laudable attention to the state of philanthropy in their state, and the importance of supporting a robust and varied nonprofit sector. One page in particular talks about how wealth has left the state over the recent years at a far more rapid pace than it has been replaced. The Foundation sees this loss in philanthropic investment in the sector as damaging to the rich culture and vitality of the state, as it means nonprofits might suffer.
This writer has to admit that I did not think of the impact disasters like Sandy or Katrina have on the nonprofit sector and the resulting impact on the community. Of course it only makes sense, and the writers of the opinion piece on NJ.com are to be applauded for reminding us of this unpleasant reality and for calling on philanthropists to rally to this cause and help the sector survive. The writers are also to the thanked for their seeming genuine appreciation for the role of the oft-maligned nonprofit sector. – Rob Meiksins