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Fixing what’s broke

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Charity needs to speak up for and act on what is right, and business needs to get involved.

By Jim Goodmon

[03.15.04] — It is time to get mad.

There is a war going on in North Carolina.

The demagogues who criticize government and promise no tax increases are back on the campaign trail.

Those who oppose using government investment to solve problems and create opportunities for our most vulnerable citizens are winning this war. There seems to be no limit on their lack of concern for our citizens.

Yet charities, hooked on public and philanthropic dollars, will not dare criticize the hands that feed them, or push to fix broken public policy.

Everybody is being too nice. Charities should be outraged at government policies and marketplace greed that put and keep millions of North Carolinians at risk. Outrage should lead to anger, and anger to bold words and actions.

And it is time for business to wake up. There are issues other than tax reduction. Business leaders know that the future requires planning and investment – two foreign concepts to our legislature.

My view is that N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry has been missing in action of late. They need to broaden their view and provide leadership.

The big social problems we face are connected, yet charities tend to focus on individual issues, and cannot spare the time, resources or attention to build the partnerships and cross-cutting strategies needed to make a difference.

It is time for charities to stop being polite, get mad, get together and get moving.


Jim Goodmon is chairman of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, which publishes the Philanthropy Journal, and chief executive officer of Capitol Broadcasting Co. Inc.

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