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Maintaining Equality Within the Nonprofit Field

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Nonprofits make up around 10% of the United States economy. As such, they can’t exactly set national trends for things like employee pay or diversity, but that doesn’t mean they should dismiss their obligations to equality. It is the responsibility of nonprofits to ensure that they do not foster the same kinds of inequalities that the for-profit economy thrusts upon workers and consumers.

There are, of course, a number of ways to go about this, and there are some excellent writings on the issue. A good place to start is with pay. Despite the received wisdom of the for-profit market, which says that employee wages should go down while executive wages go up, the opposite is true and should be a goal of all non-profits. Employees need to make a living wage, which allows them to afford food, shelter, and other such needs, while also leaving them with enough left over to live comfortably. We often talk about living wages, but those need to allow people to act as consumers. Being able to buy luxuries should not be the purview of only the rich.

Part of the reason wages are suppressed in the for-profit economy is to expand executive salaries, under the idea that, since they’re in charge, they deserve all the credit and money. But a non-profit is just that, and even if the organization isn’t turning a profit, that doesn’t mean the leaders of that organization should be getting rich off it. Executives should live comfortably as well, but there is a rather wide gulf between “comfortable” and being a part of the oppressing class.

These are only some of the ways in which non-profits need to put their money where their mouth is on the question of equality. Maintaining diverse staffs and boards is also important, as is employing people from the communities an organization purports to support.

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News

New Drug Program Makes Waves in Massachusetts

The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative in Gloucester, Massachusetts, is making waves not only there, but in Boston and elsewhere. The small seaside town of 29,000 has been dealing with drug problems for a while now, and the police are finding that arresting users over and over again, or coercing them into treatment plans, isn’t working.

So they started the new program on June 1st, and within 16 days they’d already placed 17 addicts in rehabilitation plans. The program is simple: if a user shows up and turns in their drugs and paraphernalia of their own volition, they won’t face charges, and instead are placed in a treatment plan that can help them to overcome their addiction. They meet with a clinician who helps them design a plan that works, and are accompanied by a volunteer “angel,” often a former addict, who helps them through the three-hour meeting.

There is already a privately funded non-profit to back the program up, and so far the costs have come out of money the police seized in drug busts, and has totaled less than $1,000. The program doesn’t pay for treatment, but so far, participants without insurance have had their treatment covered by various facilities in the area. In addition, 22 facilities in 15 states other than Massachusetts have stepped up to help, offering free treatment for those without insurance.

Mayor Marty Wash of Boston has acknowledged the value of the program, and is considering putting something like it into effect in Boston, the largest city in New England. This could help set a precedent for drug treatment and enforcement across the country, something that is sorely lacking.

Although the scale may seem small, only 17 participants in 16 days, that’s already three times the number of people who dies from drug overdoses in Gloucester so far this year. Getting those people off drugs will help, and if the same success rate could be applied in larger communities, it could make a huge difference.

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Resources

Looking for a Career in the Non-Profit Field? Start Here!

Are you looking to find work in the non-profit field? If helping people is your passion, it might be a good fit, but finding that work can be difficult. In addition to the various normal hurdles of finding a job, like proving that you’re a worthy candidate or actually landing an interview, just finding non-profit jobs can be difficult. You can always start by checking out charities that you trust or support, but what if they aren’t hiring? Chances are there are far more charities out there than you’re aware of, but there are sources that can help. Check out the sites below to get your job search started!

Idealist.org is summed-up pretty well by the site’s name. Idealist works to “connect idealist with opportunities for action.” At the site you can find job listings, but you can also find volunteer opportunities, search for people or organizations, even find blogs. They also list employment fairs for college students and recent graduates (down at the bottom of the home page). Over 100,000 organizations use Idealist to connect with people, so it’s an excellent place to start your search.

Commongoodcareers.org is a search firm that works to place people in positions at non-profits. They don’t have the same scale as Idealist, but they do have a good track record of placing candidates, from entry level to upper management positions. It’s worth checking the site out, especially if you have a good idea of what you want to do, but just need some help doing it.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy is one of the leading publications in the non-profit world, and worth investigating if you’re serious about working for a non-profit. They have a jobs section that offers a variety of search parameters, and based solely on their importance as a thought leader, it’s a good bet that a lot of jobs can be found there.

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Resources

Nonprofits Get 2 Percent of GDP

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For nearly forty years, charitable giving in the United States has hovered at 2%, or slightly above or below it, of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.  The latest confirmation of that statistic comes from an annual report issued by the Giving USA Institute, which tracks economic metrics on philanthropy.  Even though the way Americans give has changed, from the trend in donor-advised funds and the increase in corporate giving, charitable organizations are still recovering from the tight wallets born out of the latest economic recession.

Even though GDP has grown every year, the percentage of America’s income given to nonprofits is the same as it was 1976.  Curiously, that is around the same time that wages stagnated and the richest people began to get staggeringly richer.  Has the suffering of the middle class hurt charitable giving as well?  It may have, since giving amounts seem closely related to the performance of the stock market, something typical middle class Americans would not be as affected by than say, a Wall Street Banker.

In spite of the push from people like Warren Buffet or Bill Gates for the wealthy to give more of their wealth, many people have concluded that wealthy people do not give bigger proportions than lower income households.  Several campaigns on behalf of the philanthropic world to try and increase the percentage of giving have been failed efforts.

If everyone in the United States donated what they spending on morning coffees to charity, over $200 billion more would go to charity.  So why don’t we do it?  Some people think that charities are not being innovative or appealing to positive energies.  Some say it is fears that the economy could worsen.  Perhaps it is cynicism over the continued suffering in spite of charities’ best efforts.  Maybe Americans just need a clearer idea of where that money goes, how to give to the right organizations and more organizations that promote causes they care about.

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Resources

Sequester Cuts Take Toll on Nonprofit Hospitals

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U.S. sequestration cuts have hit, and some organizations are feeling it more than others. Nonprofit hospitals, which are already on fragile financial ground, started out this month dealing with the 2 percent cut from Medicare reimbursements, which will likely lower their already modest revenues.

Nonprofit hospitals differ from government owned public hospitals and privately owned for-profit hospitals. They function as a nonprofit corporation would, have tax-exempt status, are often affiliated with a religious denomination, and account for the majority of hospitals in the United States. Medicare is the national health insurance program for the elderly, and its modest-sounding 2 percent cuts will likely lower revenues by a total of $11 billion in 2013 alone.

“The cuts exacerbate an already challenging operating environment for not-for-profit hospitals as many already face low revenue growth from both governmental and private insurance payers,” read a report from Moody’s, whose CEO is Raymond McDaniel.

“Moreover, there is a perennial risk that the so-called ‘doc fix’ will not be renewed, which would force reductions to physician reimbursements,” added Moody’s.

And since the recession in 2007, nonprofit hospitals have seen increased numbers of people seeking treatment there as opposed to traditional hospitals. That’s no surprise, since nonprofit hospitals generally serve large groups of low-income populations—and the recession bolstered that number.

Moody’s has given nonprofit hospitals a negative outlook for the fifth year in a row. Some worry that the U.S. Congress’s eventual negotiations to reduce the country’s debt and national deficit will further endanger nonprofit hospital.

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Organizations Profiles Resources

Malala Fund Receives First Donation

Malala Yousafzai
IMG: via The Malala Fund

Malala Yousafzai is fifteen years old. Last year, the Taliban, who sought to silence her from speaking up for Pakistani women’s education rights, shot her in the head. They shot to kill, but Malala was stronger than they had reckoned—and she survived.

“Here’s what they accomplished,” said Angelina Jolie, who spoke at the recent Women in the World Summit in New York City. “They shot her point-blank range in the head—and made her stronger. The brutal attempt to silence her voice made it stronger.”

Malala, who was moved to England for recovery after she was shot, now attends school in Birmingham. But she hasn’t forgotten what it was like when she was in Pakistan. She formed Malala fund, an educational charity designed to help more women and girls become empowered and educated in Pakistan and around the world.

On Thursday, April 4th, Malala announced the first donation to the fund—$45,000. “Today I am going to announce the happiest moment of my life, and that is the first grant of Malala Fund,” Malala said in a recorded video announcement that played at the Women in the World Summit. “I invite all of you to support Malala Fund and let us turn the education of 40 girls into 40 million girls.”

The video was presented by Angelina Jolie, who pledged to give an additional $200,000 to the charity. The first grant will be given to a group in Malala’s homeland, the Swat Valley in Pakistan. It will help to educate forty girls between the ages of five and twelve who would otherwise be forced into domestic labor. By giving the girls a safe place to study as well as providing financial support to their families, Malala Fund paves the way for women’s education and empowerment in Pakistan. .

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Organizations Resources

The Sound of Change Live Charity Concert

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Beyonce, Florence + The Machine, John Legend and more will be performing at “The Sound of Change Live” charity concert in London on June 1st. The concert will help bring global attention to women’s education, health and justice and is being put on by Chime for Change, a nonprofit organization created through Gucci.

“Chime for Change serves to convene, unite and strengthen the voices speaking out for girls and women around the world,” reads their website. Gucci is no stranger to promoting women’s empowerment; in the past, they’ve partnered with UNICEF and Kering Corporate Foundation, both organizations that have supported girls and women.

“Our goal is to call for change for girls and women in the loudest voice possible,” Beyonce said after announcing she’d be joining the ranks of performers. “I am excited for us to come together on June 1st to bring the issues of Education, Health and Justice for girls and women to the world stage.”

For those that can’t make the concert in person, it will also be broadcast worldwide. Performances will include Beyonce, Florence + The Machine, John Legend, Iggy Azalea, Rita Ora, Timbaland, Ellie Goulding, Laura Pausini and HAIM. Selma Hayek Pinault is also taking part in the concert’s promotion.

“There are no innocent bystanders in the information age,” she said. “Technology connects us as never before But that means we also have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to do something about it. We can be defined not just by what we know, but by what we do, and that is the vision behind Chime for Change.”

Ticket sales begin on March 27th and buyers can choose to donate their ticket price to a charity of their choice.

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Organizations Profiles Resources

Henry Kravis Leadership Prize Goes to Olympian Johann Olav Koss

Henry R Kravis Prize in Leadership
IMG: via Business Wire

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Johann Olav Koss is considered one of the best speed skaters the world has ever seen. But he’s done more than win Olympic gold medals for his athletic skills: he’s also the founder of Right To Play, an international nonprofit organization that uses the power of play to help children overcome adversity. And now Koss has one more reason to keep changing children’s lives—he’s been awarded the lucrative Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership for 2013.

The $250,000 prize is in its eighth year and seeks to recognize extraordinary leadership in the nonprofit sector. The prize will formally be awarded to Koss on April 18th, and the money will go toward supporting programs and events put on by Right To Play.

Henry Kravis, private equity mogul and founder of the prize, says that Right To Play and all other recipients of the prize “have a real and measurable impact in the community. Johann Olav Koss is not only a champion in his native country and a true hero for aspiring athletes, his legacy also now includes transforming the lives of hundreds of thousands of children through something as simple as the opportunity to play sports.”

In its twelve years of live, Right To Play has reached over one million children in 20 countries, helping to teach them skills that will allow them to overcome current adversity and create a better future for themselves. Right To Play also helps promote social change within communities, working with girls, boys, people with disabilities, those affected by HIV/AIDS, former combatants and refugees.

“Play can help children overcome adversity and understand there are people who believe in them,” Koss said. “We would like every child to understand and accept their own abilities, and to have hopes and dreams. But also, to have respect for the person on the other side of the field or who has been on the other side of conflict.”

For more information, check out our full profile of the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership.

 

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Organizations Profiles Resources

Hunger in America Growing

Feeding America
IMG: via feedingamerica.org

According to Feeding America, the United States has many more hungry citizens than it used to. The nonprofit organization is now feeding about 50% more people than it did in 2006, and though more people have stepped up to help, there are still far too many hungry families in the nation.

Today, about 1 in 6 Americans lives in a food-insecure household. “Food security” is defined as having healthy food available and accessible. Among children, 1 in 5 lives in a food insecure household. Not having access to proper nutrition causes more than just hunger; it can also contribute to chronic diseases, more aggression and anxiety, and inhibited development of social skills.

According to a poll by Gallup, every single county in the U.S. contains food-insecure families. In 2012, about 18.2% of Americans didn’t always have enough money for food. In Mississippi, Alabama, and Delaware that number is greater than 22%. Twelve other states, many in the South, that percentage is between 20% and 22%.

Fifteen percent of Americans live in poverty. That’s nearly 1 in every 6 people. One in 8 Americans is reliant on Feeding America to provide enough food and groceries to survive on. And that number keeps going up. Pantries, kitchens, shelters, and other organizations that work in conjunction with Feeding America have all seen increases in the number of people needing assistance.

Currently, about 60% of food-insecure households participate in federal food assistance programs, and those numbers are up as well. The number of participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is up to 40.3 million from 20 million in 1990; the National School Lunch Program is up to 31.7 million from 24.1 million; and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children is up to 9.2 million from 4.5 million.

Feeding American currently provides food and groceries to some 37 million people every year, but many more still need assistance. It costs about $1 to buy 8 meals for one man, woman, or child. That means that an entire family can be fed for a month from just $45, six months for $270, and one year for $540.

Those interested in helping can also get involved by working at food pantries, transporting food to charitable organizations, participating in virtual or actual food drives, or volunteering for a local Kids Café program.

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Organizations Resources

V-Day Launches One Billion Rising

V-day
IMG: via plannedparenthood.org

Today is the 15th anniversary of V-Day, a global initiative to end violence against women and girls. According to its website, V-Day is “a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery.”

In celebration of its 15th anniversary, V-Day launched One Billion Rising this year. It is estimated that one in three women will experience violence in their lifetime—which equals out to over 1 billion women worldwide. One Billion Rising calls for one billion women to rise up, stand out, and demand an end to such violence.

Through benefit performances, V-Day has raised both awareness and funds that help fight violence everywhere. In 2012, over 5,800 benefits took place on V-Day around the world. If violence against women is ever to end, we need to show the world a front of solidarity—no matter where we live, what we look like, or who we are—and that’s just what V-Day seeks to do.

In the fifteen years since it began, V-Day has raised over $90 million, which it distributes to grassroots, international and national organizations alike. It reaches across 167 countries worldwide and has consistently been named a top non-profit organization by sources like Marie-Claire Magazine, Worth Magazine, and GreatNonprofits.

The “V” in V-Day stands for many things, as does the organization itself. First, it stands for “Victory,” then for “Valentine,” and lastly for “Vagina.”