Welcome to the Nonprofit Quarterly’s Winter 2009 issue.

With this issue of the Nonprofit Quarterly, we mark a full year of coverage of our Nonprofits in the Age of Obama series—and what a year it has been. The anxiety and heartbreak that have resulted from the economic downturn have reached epic proportions. And nonprofits of many kinds—in the fields of health care, mental-health services, housing, and domestic violence—have been slammed with levels of stark human need that they have struggled to meet. As various streams of money decline, dry up completely, or need to be applied for at great length—all at a faster rate than ever—many of these organizations have been playing whack-a-mole. Many have experienced major asset erosions that have left them teetering and wondering what’s next.

Since late 2008, NPQ has conducted rolling case studies of several nonprofits of different types and sizes across the country. Early into year one of the downturn, an executive director with whom I spoke remarked, “My ability to predict has been shattered.” That statement has stuck with me and motivated all of us at NPQ to work hard to keep our readers up to date on their environments.

NPQ has completely changed the way it does its work in profound ways, but in case you have missed our evolution over the past few months, we now—because of the pace and complexity of change in the nonprofit environment—publish daily news updates and trend alerts online as well as Web-only columns and articles that address time-sensitive concerns. We get up early and go to bed late to ensure that we document the changing world in as close to real time as possible and in a way that does justice to your hard work.

But of course, as in many nonprofit organizations, NPQ has done this additional work with fewer resources, so we have had to depend even more on our readers to keep us up to date on the reality of work in the trenches. You have done so admirably by telling us your stories, successes, and worries;? by alerting us to trends that have affected you;? by suggesting articles; and sometimes by correcting or redirecting us. This is the soul of collaborative journalism.

All in all, it’s been enormously enriching on several levels to work more closely with you on a more regular basis (aided by the wonders of modern technology). What is in store for us next year? Again, we cannot predict, but we can commit to working with all of you, our treasured readers, to make a new order of the chaos in a way that reintroduces us all to our deeply shared responsibility for the future of the country.

We could not feel more ably accompanied.