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Nonprofit leaders push for ‘fair’ state budget
Sept 4, 2009; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette |  Pennsylvania has replaced California as the dysfunctional state legislature that can’t get a budget passed.  The victims are not nonprofits, but the communities served by nonprofits.  Statewide, 64 percent of nonprofits are tapping reserves and 28 percent have drawn on lines of credit to function.  In the Pittsburgh area, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services has $25 million in bills from nonprofits that it cannot reimburse due to the state’s budget impasse.  Local groups report laying off staff and cutting programs.  The State “may” reimburse groups for their unpaid service delivery, that is a “may”, not a “will”, but in any case, the costs that nonprofits have incurred in borrowing money to maintain programs and services while state legislators fail to reach an agreement. The unfortunately repeated practice of many legislatures failing year after year to pass budgets on time may score political points of some sort, but it really screws communities served by state-funded nonprofits.  —Rick Cohen

‘Community Helping’ Up 31% in the US
Sept 8, 2009; Social Capital Blog |  The Corporation for National and Community Service is reporting that the Obama administration’s initiative is responsible for the hike in “community helping,” defined rather vaguely as “people who worked with their neighbors to fix a community problem.”  There’s a distinction between community helping and civic engagement that one should be careful to discern while looking over the numbers.  Overall, 2008 marked slight growth from the previous year’s numbers on volunteerism.  The full report is here [PDF].  —James David Morgan

Los Angeles Charities Rarely on Hollywood’s ‘Must Do’ Lists
Sept 4, 2009; New York Times |  No surprise to us, but Hollywood charitable giving doesn’t spend much time with Los Angeles-area charities.  Like much of sports charity, Hollywood charity is often a component of contract negotiations and public relations image-shaping.  For Hollywood donors, there’s a bigger kick giving to high profile national and international charities than assisting the struggling local nonprofits serving troubled Los Angeles neighborhoods.  Someone ought to do more than collect anecdotal stories and really analyze patterns of charitable giving by Hollywood celebs, agents, and businesses to see where their tax deductible contributions really go.  —Rick Cohen


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