Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Quiet Crisis: The Impact of the Economic Downturn on the Nonprofit Sector

According to this report, "the non profit sector constitutes roughly 11 percent of the American workforce. That percentage is greater than the combined number of Americans employed by the auto and financial industries" combined.

The economic downturn is "a “triple whammy” that is dealing a serious blow to nonprofit groups: fewer charitable donations from grant makers and individuals, shortfalls in state and local funds, and increased demand for social services as unemployment rates continue to climb", writes Martin Michales in this Chronicle of Philanthropy read this article.

Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection is one of those non profit. We provide jobs. Without donations we reduce staff. We've already done that once this year. However, we also prepare kids for future jobs and careers, and help them choose positive life choices, thus, we help reduce the high costs of poverty.

Furthermore, we are ready and able to add staff to do important work, like reach out to our 400 alumni and help them with job connections, or to help them form tutor/mentor programs like Cabrini Connections in their own neighborhood. We're ready and able to offer training via webnars to help people in other communities form tutor/mentor networking strategies. We just need the dollars.

That's why the recommendations in the "Quite Crisis" are so important. The one most important to me and others who need dollars to support volunteer involvement is

"Make a “handful of modest changes in the tax code” that could help counter the trend decreasing giving by individual Americans and grant makers alike. Among the suggestions: Suspend the 2-percent excise tax on foundation earnings for those grant makers who spend more than the required 5-percent payout rate; allow the estimated 65 percent of American who don’t itemize their tax deductions to claim a deduction for charitable gifts; and extend beyond this year the so-called IRA rollover that allows people ages 70½ and older to avoid taxes on withdrawals from their retirement accounts that go toward charitable gifts."

If such a strategy were combined with a greater use of maps to assure that donations and volunteers were reaching non profits in all high poverty areas, or all places where help is needed, it would help keep millions of people working, help add jobs in programs that help others who are in need and suffering because of the economy, or natural disasters, or health related issues.

It would help volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring programs operate in more of the places where they are needed, with the steady funding that is essential to constant improvement and long-term connections with kids and volunteers.

I hope you'll read this "Quiet Crisis" and act now to implement its vision. Make a donation to a non profit today, then contact your congressman to encourage him/her to pass this legislation so this non profit you help today is still helping others tomorrow and in the coming years.

You can donate to Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection using this form.

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