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In One Home, a Mighty City’s Rise and Fall
Sep 25, 2009; Wall Street Journal | This has to be one of the saddest articles about the recession’s impact on one city, one neighborhood, that we’ve seen. A remarkable piece of journalism, “In One Home” chronicles the slow decline of a home at 1626 West Boston Boulevard in Detroit, from its origins as the impressive new home—with four bedrooms and a room for a German maid—of a Ford Motor executive in 1917 through several subsequent owners until its foreclosure and abandonment in 2008. It’s not just about this one home, but a story of the challenge facing Detroit—and to some extent, given the focus of Nonprofit Quarterly, to the foundations that have committed themselves to reviving the city and to the nonprofits who are on the ground trying to do the right thing. The investment company that scooped up foreclosed properties like this one put the house on the market for $75,000, but in no time had dropped the asking price to $14,500. As of April, the Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corporation purchased the wreck of a building for $10,000 and is hoping to rehab and sell it for $30,000 or so. But there are 900 other vacant buildings in the Boston-Edison neighborhood surrounding this home. With no housing market to speak of and a continuing manufacturing sector downturn in southeastern Michigan, it is hard to fathom what it will really take to rebuild Detroit’s Boston-Edison neighborhood and attract the families that can bring stability and “normalcy” to his once great city.—Rick Cohen

Charter employs founder’s relatives
Oct 11, 2009; Philadelphia Inquirer | The founder and CEO of the first charter school in Philadelphia has a propensity of being extra thoughtful to his relatives. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Daughter Alberta Proietta O’Brien, as deputy chief executive officer at a salary of $94,860; Brother John Proietta, as operations manager at $75,000; Sister Maureen Proietta, as a teacher at $61,364; Niece Mary Proietta, as a teacher and athletic director at $55,925; Sister Marie L. Foster, as an administrative assistant at $29,101; Wife Alberta D. Proietta, as a consultant at $8,160.” And as CEO, he gets a salary of $163,000.  Plus he runs a nonprofit that received $1.5 million in rent from the charter and also employs additional relatives. ’Nuff said about this case study in management.—Rick Cohen

Obama To Donate Nobel Prize Money To Multiple Charities, Process Still Developing
Oct 13, 2009; Talking Points Memo | President Obama’s recent Nobel Peace Prize award, which comes with a $1.4-million purse, has generated a fair amount of debate. Critics question whether Obama deserved the Nobel nod, some even going so far as to accuse the committee of “affirmative action.” On Friday, the White House announced that the money will be given to charity, although no word yet which ones will be selected. No doubt Obama’s choices will lead to a fresh round of acrimony.—Timothy Lyster

Nonprofit Finance Fund Awarded $1 Million in Recovery Act Funds to Support Pennsylvania Nonprofits
Oct 13, 2009; Nonprofit Finance Fund | Among the grants awarded under the Strengthening Communities Fund was $1 million awarded to the Nonprofit Finance Fund in Pennsylvania. They will use the money to build the financial acumen of nonprofit organizations in this state which only this past weekend passed its budget—more than 100 days late. The result of that delay has been devastating to many agencies contracted with the state as we reported last week. Local nonprofit leaders report that some damage may be hard to repair. It reminds us once again that problems often thought to be related to internal nonprofit capacity often flow from funding sources themselves. Time for contract reform!—Ruth McCambridge


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