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The Nonprofit QuarterlyEndless waits at state agencies for people in need means increased work for nonprofits
Nov 22, 2009; The Jackson Citizen Patriot | The inextricably close relationship between some elements of the work of state governments and local nonprofits is painfully highlighted here in an article from Jackson, Michigan that describes what increased need and overloaded state departments means in human terms. Caseloads in Jackson are up by about 100, from 524 to 627 per caseworker. Local nonprofits report picking up the slack when people go months without a return call from overloaded state agencies charged with delivering them human services.—Ruth McCambridge

The Nonprofit QuarterlyNonprofit lobbying rules tightened
Nov 23, 2009; Worcester Business Journal | In Massachusetts, Nonprofits and their funders are worrying about new ethics laws that have tightened considerably the rules on nonprofit lobbying in the Bay State. Not only have the list of activities that need to be counted under lobbying hours been expanded, but the number of paid hours you can spend on these activities before registering as a lobbyist have been halved.This is obviously not great news in a time when many responsible nonprofit leaders will be hiking up advocacy efforts with legislators.—Ruth McCambridge

The Nonprofit QuarterlyIn down economy, volunteers ease nonprofits’ load
Nov 22, 2009; The Washington Post | The Washington D.C. area is seeing a surge in volunteers according to several local nonprofits. The extra bodies are making it a bit easier for nonprofits to absorb the recession’s brutal, double impact of falling cash donations and rising need. With two ongoing wars and an economy still struggling to rebound, it seems the social distress has spurred many into action. This may be one bright spot, at least in the D.C. area, in an otherwise bleak Thanksgiving forecast.—Aaron Lester

The Nonprofit QuarterlyGoldman’s charitable giving and your forgiveness
Nov 18, 2009; Wall Street Journal | Remember the $16.71 billion fund the TARP-subsidized Goldman Sachs put together for bonuses for its top executives based on the Wall Street firm’s all-time record profits so far in 2009? In order to diminish some public outrage, Goldman hired the nonprofit consulting firm Bridgespan to help design a charitable giving program, rumored at the time to be in the order of $1 billion. Last week Goldman announced “10,000 Small Businesses,” a $500-million small business assistance program with luminaries such as Warren Buffett and Michael Porter, Harvard University’s “competitive strategy” expert and founder of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), as advisors. As currently structured, the program will make $250 million in charitable contributions ($200 million of which will be devoted to “investor education” and $50 million as grants to community development financial institutions or CDFIs). The other $250 million to be invested as financing for small businesses. The first of the grants will go to SEEDCO in New York City which makes loans to businesses in economically distressed communities (NPQ wrote about SEEDCO’s honest appraisal of nonprofit income-generating “social enterprises” ventures here. Charitable giving is nice, but readers should recognize the following: Goldman Sachs got $10 billion in TARP funds to launch it from financial distress to its record-breaking 2009 profits (including profits of $35 million a day in September). And the $250 million in loans or equity will of course be repaid in large measure to the firm.  Nonprofits shouldn’t forget the excess of CEO compensation and bonuses that this charitable program is meant to camouflage. Will the programs this money funds keep quiet when Goldman’s year-end bonuses—likely more than $20 billion—are tallied? Hopefully, the nonprofit sector’s silence cannot be bought by Goldman’s charitable program.—Rick Cohen



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