Friday, October 15, 2004

MCN Keynote by Pablo Eisenberg

Keyonte by Pablo Eisenberg (A variety of links here. His comments on the Senate staff regulation proposals here.) , response by Emmett Carson (President of the Minneapolis Foundation and Chair of the Council on Foundations).

A good dose of old fashion righteous indignation. (For once, Emmett Carson was cast as the moderate.)

Some high points of Pablo’s presentation (or low points for the nonprofit community):

In spite of growth in the nonprofit community, we are

  • Weaker, not stronger,
  • More fragmented,
  • Unable to address persistent problems
  • Poverty is increasing
  • Racism hasn’t abated
  • The U.S. political system is still broken

We may be a larger and more effective deliverer of social service but we are unable to collaborate to make change

  • There is growing commercialization and corporatization of the sector.
  • There is erosion of nonprofit values and nonprofits in danger of loosing public trust

There are three major challenges to the nonprofit community

  • Reclaiming the critical nonprofit role of advocacy in our society
    This has made our democracy vigorous and lasting
    It is the reason for many of the changes in our society
    This is more appreciated overseas than here
  • Investing in building future leadership
    Developing new leaders
    Developing the potential of young nonprofit leadership
  • Promote Civic Engagement

In some ways our society is getting what we deserve. The lack of civic engagement of the last decades has resulted in some of our current problems.

Finally Pablo noted that the sector needs to regain its sense of humor.

Emmett Carson's response:

  • “I agree with much of what Pablo had to say”
  • We have to admit that it costs money to help people—not every dollar will go to victims
  • We need standards and best practices.

    Expanding on that last point, Carson noted that we must insist state AGs and IRS enforce the rules we have. We need to insist that Congress fully fund the IRS (Comment by Pablo: The Council of Foundations, while paying lip service to increasing the resources for IRS and AGs—the have put NO resources toward that effort—they have concentrated on stopping any attempt to control the administrative costs in foundations.) We need to identify and isolate people and organizations who do it wrong.

Every nonprofit should find one issue consistant with their mission, to advocate for—advocacy can range from research to lobbying and a variety of things in between.
Pablo—added one thing—join together with other organizations


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