Nonprofits whose work focuses on communities need to recognize that they are the keepers of knowledge and wisdom about community engagement and community development, the very skills most needed today. And community is the crucible of our major challenges—job loss, failing schools, home foreclosures, violence, fear—as well as where the answers for the future will be found.
During these troubled times, what lies in store for the nonprofit sector, and what do we need to do about it? Along with every family in America, the nonprofit sector is wondering about its future. Will we miraculously survive as we largely do today? Will we starve our organizations to the core or emerge from the current economic calamity mostly intact? Will we fight the prevailing downturn on behalf of our individual institutions and leave others to defend themselves, or instead will we join forces to shore up the sector as a whole? In the aftermath of this financial crisis, will we have real options and choices?
FROM THE ARCHIVES
On the eve of July 4th, NPQ would like to remind our readers that democracy is your responsibility. Nonprofits convene people around issues of common interest from the pursuit of civil and human rights and the holding accountable of governments and corporations to the development of local recreational opportunities for our children. Democracy is rich, messy, often loud and sometimes discordant with the status quo but it engages people in the governing of their communities and their country and it is always the underwriting purpose for this sector. It is also central to a healthy global future. Think about it – is your organization doing everything it can to help people voice and take action on their interests and concerns?
Even before the financial crisis began to unfold, the Hawaii Community Foundation realized that it had lapsed into philanthropic habits that might be counterproductive. So it opted to try a different way. The attached interview describes its experiment — which is still ongoing — in building grantmaking from the collective intelligence of community activists.