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Philanthropy Journal of North Carolina – Charity needs a champion

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By Todd Cohen

America needs leaders who can help tap our deep charitable assets and harness them to help fix and change our society.

Fearing war and terrorism, confused by social change and unclear about the future, we need leaders who can see where we should go and will speak the truth about what we need to do to get there.

We are a selfish, self-absorbed culture. We want as much as we can get, but we don’t want to pay for it.

We want safe streets and neighborhoods, a world free of strife, and better schools, jobs and health care.

But we also want lower taxes. And we don’t want to think about the nasty social ills we face, such as poverty, hunger, homelessness, disease, violence, racism and intolerance.

We can be charitable. Yet we isolate ourselves from one another and fail to see that charities need more than our time and money.

Many charities simply are not equipped to cope with change, either in the social woes they take on or in the charitable marketplace in which they fight to survive.

Charities are a huge asset for America, and a huge challenge.

To survive and thrive, they need to be more business-like, entrepreneurial, market-driven and collaborative.

Charities also need to find ways to better tap the time, money and know-how of donors.

And donors must find ways to involve themselves more deeply in the work of charities and causes they care about.

We need leaders who can see the role that charities play in our democracy, help gear them to thrive and build them into an integrated plan to make our society a better and more just place to live and work.

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