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Why we need government to attack poverty, too

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In recessions, when more people need help, most donors have less to give.

Many not-for-profits simply collapse.  Those that remain often move away from long-term indepence-developing programs, crowded by the increase in immediate needs.

Richard Florida, the economic geographer who writes of places, people, and prosperity, described the situation like this:

clipped from www.creativeclass.com
Richard Florida, an American urban studies the...

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I spent this weekend with a friend who’s a retired corporate CEO, has a personal foundation that
supports local and international projects, and is very savvy in business, finance, and nonprofits. He said he’s heard that as many as half of U.S. nonprofits (charities) will go out of business during the current downturn […]

  • Many foundations, having seen their endowments dive with the stock market, are cutting back on large grants. In addition, they’re moving from longer-range capacity-building grants to meeting people’s immediate needs (as one foundation director put it, from philanthropy to charity).
  • Arts organizations are seeing their donations and audiences shrinking. Seasons are being cut back, shows canceled. Some of the weaker players are seeking mergers or takeovers by larger organizations.
  • Safety net organizations like free clinics and food banks are flooded with not only the poor but the formerly middle class.
  • Capital building campaigns are dead in the water.
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    I’m no economist, but I see no means to sustain an attack on poverty without resources that are more stable and more broadly shared than voluntary contributions alone could ever be.

    Do you?


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    Brazilian City Eliminates Hunger

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    For only 2% of its budget!
    clipped from www.treehugger.com

    Belo Horizonte People's Restaurant Photo
    Restaurant Popular (People’s Restaurant) by Bruno Spada/MDS
    Back in 1993, the newly elected city government of Belo Horizonte, Brazil declared that food was a right of citizenship. At that time, the city of 2.5 million had 275,000 people living in absolute poverty, and close to 20 percent of its children were going hungry. Since the declaration the city has all but wiped out hunger and only spends 2% of the city budget to do so.

    Article continues: Brazilian City Makes Food A Basic Right And Ends Hunger
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    My friend Lexica over at Clipmarks took up this discussion with someone who wrote in about food banks. A quote from the food banks commenter is first (emphases are mine): Read the rest of this entry »

    Written by Monte

    March 17, 2009 at 3:11 pm