Subscribe via E-Mail Subscribe via E-Mail Subscribe via RSS Subscribe via RSS Submit a News Item Submit a News Item


The Nonprofit QuarterlyWhy Small Nonprofits Matter
January 17, 2010; Northwest Herald | Too often the focus of the national nonprofit and philanthropic press is big-state and big-city oriented. Technically, McHenry County, Illinois may be in the Chicago metropolitan area, but lying northwest of Chicago, the county is small with a total population the size of a large Chicago neighborhood. Probably not all that many people can locate Woodstock, Illinois, which happens to be the county seat, or pay attention to the comings-and-goings of McHenry County nonprofits. But they should. The McHenry County Latino Coalition shut down in 2009. A “victim of the recession,” according to one staff member, the Coalition had been largely dependent on state grants which “dried up during the state’s fiscal crisis,” and the organization lacked private funding to make up for the public sector cutbacks. Worth noting is that between 2000 and 2008, the Hispanic population of the County increased from 7.5 percent of 260,000 people to 11.3 percent of 318,000 people, reflecting the large increase in Latino immigration to Illinois during the past decade. Losing the Latino Coalition is no small thing to a rapidly increasing immigrant population that probably needs the kind of services of this small organization in Woodstock, Illinois. Putting small communities and small nonprofits on the radar screens of major foundations is something that we at NPQ believe in.—Rick Cohen

The Nonprofit QuarterlyIt’s Economics for the Arts
January 21, 2010
; Washington Post| It’s a question of supply and demand for the arts, according to a new national survey by the nonprofit group Americans for the Arts reported Wednesday. Over the 10 year period ending in 2008 the number of arts organizations rose while the supply of people attending events fell—not a picture of health for the arts. A down economy and “audience drift” are issues that have been festering for years and the recession and widespread Internet use are not helping. People have less money and are turning to their laptops for their arts consumption. The U.S. Conference of Mayors, for one, has made the arts, and the resultant revenue and downtown revitalization, a centerpiece of its members’ goals. About the importance of arts to communities, Mufi Hannemann, the mayor of Honolulu said, “At the end of the day, the arts define the essence of the soul of a city.” And Rep. Louise M. Slaughter of New York told the Post, “The economic benefits to the federal Treasury and individual cities need to be emphasized. The arts need not apologize to anyone. Art pays its way.” If this isn’t a call to hit the local museum or catch a show this weekend, I don’t know what is.—Aaron Lester

 The Nonprofit QuarterlyLobbyists Sent Underground
January 18, 2010; Gainesville Sun | In 2007, there were 13,200 registered lobbyists working Capitol Hill, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. As of the fall of 2009, there were 2,000 fewer lobbyists trudging around the halls of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Did the lobbying profession suddenly become less popular? In a way, yes. In the intervening time, new rules were enacted by Congress that mandated more frequent reporting (four times a year instead of two), required detailed disclosure on campaign contributions and meetings with public officials, and restricted lobbyists’ all-too-typical provision of means and gifts to legislators or their aides. So what did lobbyists do? Simply rethink their registration as lobbyists. The flight from lobbying intensified when President Obama, before he was elected, said he would not allow lobbyists to work on his transition team or be appointed to positions in the new administration. The definition of “lobbyist” is quite flexible, allowing major figures like former Senator Tom Daschle, before his almost-appointment to HHS, to lobby on behalf of special interests without having to register as a lobbyist. A number of nonprofits have also de-registered their formerly registered on-staff lobbyists. If the result of the new ethics laws—or President Obama’s blanket statement—is to drive lobbyists underground, so to speak, the next steps ought to be to redefine “lobbyist” and make sure the American public knows who is laying siege to Capitol Hill on behalf of which special interests.—Rick Cohen

The Nonprofit QuarterlyHellman Picks Non-Journalist CEO
January 17, 2010; San Francisco Business Times | Will nonprofit newspapers hire journalists or will they push the envelope to hire from outside the newspaper industry? In the San Francisco Bay area, billionaire Warren Hellman had hired McKinsey consultant Lisa Frazier to do the search for a CEO for his new nonprofit newspaper, the Bay Area News Project. The CEO turned out to be someone quite close to Frazier herself, even though she has no direct experience in journalism. The editor-in-chief is from the industry, the former editor in chief of The Industry Standard who has been teaching and “working on journalistic projects since 2002.” Frazier will be handsomely paid, earning between $400,000 and $500,000 as CEO for the project which has $5 million from Hellman’s family foundation to start.—Rick Cohen



[[script language=”javascript” type=”text/javascript”