Civic renewal

By Todd Cohen

Charity needs to get to work on change.

That is a lot to ask: Charity is overworked, underpaid and unappreciated.

But without attacking the roots of social problems that trouble the people it serves, charity will be no more than a band-aid.

And while it is expected to shoulder a greater social burden in the face of rising demand for services and shrinking government support, charity thrives with smart leaders who want to fix what is wrong.

Charity has tested a broad range of ideas to take on our huge social ills.

Now, through “civic assemblies” they should convene at the national, state and local levels, charity leaders can build on what works.

They should target the most critical social problems, identify and integrate the most promising strategies, and secure the money, know-how, partners and tools to make them work.

Charity operates in the social marketplace, which works best when supply and demand are in sync.

In addition to providing critical services, charity can play a bigger role in making the market more efficient and productive.

By convening civic, government and business leaders, and pushing them to work together, charity can create a market for civic renewal.

Todd Cohen is the Editor and Publisher of the Philanthropy Journal.

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