Letter to the editor – Nonprofit sector a success

To the editor,

I found your editorial [Change demands leadership, Philanthropy Journal, 10/30/03] muddled, misguided and mean.

As a long-time nonprofit observer and opinionist, I’m sure you know that it is unfair and misguided to lump all charities into the inflamed diatribe you put forth as “truth” – even if it is just your opinion over the loudspeaker.

Second, charities are but a part of a system, which includes foundations, business, government and the public.

Certainly, nonprofits must forever seek efficiency and effectiveness in our work — but must we be forever on the dime for the complete retooling of the civic under girding of America, or is that the responsibility of all players?

You point to the need for collaboration and you point at nonprofits for subverting true collaborative efforts with turfism and control issues.

I wanted to make sure that you knew, just for the record, that collaboration is expensive — kind of like operation costs and policy activities — and no one, no one, is actively funding that work to any extent.

Collaboration, retooling and executive transition are all fair issues to be pointed at; however, paying for the skill sets, time and operational costs of these worthy goals will take the partnership of parties both internal and external to the sector.

Two-hundred-word, finger-wagging editorials that blow yet more hot air onto the flame of public sentiment serve no constructive purpose and they are easy to do.

The real work on the ground is much harder, dear.

I, for one, see an amazing array of smart, capable leaders managing dramatically increasing demand with far fewer resources.

The sector is solving problems, changing people’s lives and providing an unequaled quality of life in America despite its challenges. Far from muddled, the nonprofit sector today is a success story.

Perhaps you should get over it and tell that story.

Karen Beavor, executive director, Georgia Center for Nonprofits, Atlanta

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