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Nonprofit Health Insurance as Fig Leaf
Dec 6, 2009; CBS News | The longer the health care debate goes, the more the legislation looks like a Rube Goldberg contraption. Last Sunday’s articles about President Obama’s pep talk for Democrats on Capitol Hill raised the notion of “national nonprofit insurance plans that would be administered by the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the popular Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.” That attracted Democratic fence-sitter Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas who is searching for an alternative to the so-called “public option.” So, like the idea of nonprofit health cooperatives already in the health care reform legislation, here is another idea where “nonprofit” is an appellation meant to win 60 votes. So how would this work? The FEHBP allows insurance companies and others (labor unions, employee associations, etc.) to market their plans to government employees. If memory serves right, this is the same insurance program that covers members of Congress, some of whom once suggested that enrollment in the FEHBP should be open to everyone. So where’s the nonprofit angle? One gets the suspicion that (a) the term “nonprofit” is frequently used as a fig leaf meant to cover what shouldn’t be seen in public, and (b) nonprofit, for-profit, or whatever, the insurance companies look like they’ll come out of health care reform just fine.—Rick Cohen
Strategic Redevinition: What to do When the Guys Stop Loving You
Dec 4; Slate.com | We at Nonprofit Quarterly have to confess a kind of perverse fascination with the convolutions of nonprofits that attempt to reinvent themselves when their star is fading, however we have to admit that even we as students of that kind of thing were surprised by this article written by Lilly Fowler about the Promise Keepers, the Christian Evangelical group that encourages men to “take back” their rightful role as head of household. But with their numbers (both members and cash dollars) dwindling, the group has decided to recruit Messianic Jews and even lowly (my adjective) women as their two new target groups. From the article, “‘Promise Keepers is not a men’s ministry. It is a ministry for men,” Raleigh Washington, the group’s president, said in defense of their invitation to women. Women, many of them volunteers, have always attended rallies, but they’ve played a secondary role. Much has been made of the organization’s overall stance toward women and its expectation, some argue, that women continually take a back seat. The Rev. Tony Evans advised men on how to reclaim their leadership roles: “The first thing you do is sit down with your wife and say something like this: ‘Honey, I’ve made a terrible mistake. I’ve given you my role.’ Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here. I’m not suggesting that you ask for your role back, I’m urging you to take it back.” Hmmm! Many thanks to Paul Light (I think) for forwarding this along.—Ruth McCambridge
Making Our Lists (and Checking Them Twice)
Nov 30, 2009; Barron’s | Last week, Barron’s released their list of the top 25 most effective philanthropists. Since then, there have been many reverberations in the nonprofit blogosphere. Most of you discerning NPQ readers know the world of measuring philanthropy’s impact is not so simple. NPQ’s guest columnist, Cindy Gibson offers some good points about the usefulness (or not) or such lists.—Kristin Barrali
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Goldman Sachs—The Next Rockefeller?
Dec 6, 2009; Los Angeles Times | In the post-economic meltdown era what does Goldman Sachs and Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller have in common? This opinion piece from the L.A. Times re-tells the story of Rockefeller’s and Carnegies entre into the world of philanthropy. Goldman Sachs, the private wealth management company and partial contributor to our economy’s collapse, has recently announced a $61 million dollar grant to support affordable rental housing in New York City. NPQ reported in November that it has also committed some money to supporting small business. The Los Angeles Times commentator reminds us that Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller were shamed into becoming the well-known philanthropists they are today. In an attempt to rebuild their images after public outrage over their business practices, both spent the later part of their lives giving, and giving a lot. Since 1920’s level corporate transgressions have also occurred recently, perhaps the next big philanthropist is just around the corner?—Kristin Barrali