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Editorial: City must work harder to keep employer in Allison Hill
Oct 16, 2009; Central Penn Business Journal | Interesting story here about two competing economic development interests in Harrisburg PA: a manufacturer of change-counting machines has been looking for an expansion of its inner-city Harrisburg plant on a 4-acre brownfield, but the owner of the site, the nonprofit Community Action Commission, wants to build a vocational school there instead. Neither the manufacturer’s expansion nor the CAC’s vocational school seems to be making much progress (the manufacturer is looking for a site outside of Harrisburg, though only across the river from the city, because the CAC won’t sell the site).—Rick Cohen

Nonprofits’ budgets down, need up
Oct 19, 2009; Atlanta Journal-Constitution | The Georgia Center for Nonprofits polled 130 local nonprofits about their second quarters of 2009. Here’s what they found: 70 percent of nonprofits say that requests for help are up, while 61 percent said donations were down. Half of the organizations polled said they would have to cut services just when the need is highest.—Aaron Lester

Keep it in the family
Oct 19, 2009; Associated Press | The North Dakota State University Development Foundation started paying school President Joseph Chapman’s wife a salary several years ago totaling $50,000 a year. For her stipend, a spokeswoman for the University said, Gale Chapman helps with fundraising and is expected to be at meetings. Seems like easy money. But everyone’s hurting in this economy right? Not so much. Joseph Chapman’s pay this year will total $424,000, including $75,000 in deferred compensation from the foundation and an $11,000 vehicle allowance from the state. He also gets housing. President Chapman has since resigned for this and other indiscretions.—Aaron Lester

Stimulus funds save local jobs

Oct 15, 2009; Times Record News | Don’t let the splashy headline fool you, the issue of job growth is cloudier than its author can sum up in five words, and grows ever murkier.  Even White House Chief Economist Jared Bernstein puts it in this article that government numbers on the Recovery Act amount to “fragmentary data”, so it shouldn’t be surprising that a coalition of nonprofit watchdog groups, including OMB Watch, the Economic Policy Institute, and Good Jobs First, have called for an overhaul of the online reportage mechanism,  There are complaints about the website, and then there are concerns about the usability of the data it supplies.  Economists and watchdogs alike are wondering whether the federal report due at the end of this month will provide the necessary details to extrapolate important trends and lessons.  A coalition press release reports methodological inconsistencies, and expresses concern about the continued commitment to transparency in light of the Obama administration’s continuing failures.—James David Morgan

Editorial: City has legitimate need for stimulus money
Oct 16, 2009; Argus Leader | Sometimes, mainstream newspaper editors reveal odd and disappointing biases about the nonprofit sector. Here’s the opening line of an editorial on stimulus funding from a South Dakota paper: “One of the tricky aspects to the federal economic stimulus package has been figuring out which available monies are the best fits for various governments, public bodies and even nonprofit organizations.” The italicized emphasis is ours. “Even nonprofit organizations?” Thanks a lot. Maybe the editors might want to look at the great progress that many nonprofits around the nation are making with their use of stimulus funds, in contrast to some of the much slower progress reported by governmental agencies and private contractors.—Rick Cohen


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