Progress demands vision, courage

By Todd Cohen

Americans live in a dream world.

Poverty is growing, schools are failing, health care is sick, and social services are in chaos.

Yet what we whine about are soaring energy prices.

Our leaders lack the vision and courage to fix our broken tax system and write a business plan to heal and repair our society.

Instead, fueled by self-absorbed citizens with a phobia about taxes, political leaders like those in North Carolina turn to quick fixes like the lottery that preys on poor people.

Four years after 9/11, we have failed to take the urgent steps needed to protect ourselves against terrorism.

In the wake of natural disasters like the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, we dig deep to help those in need.

But in the face of the invisible disasters millions of Americans suffer in silence every day, we turn our collective back.

Instead of enlisting all citizens in shared sacrifice to fix what is wrong, our leaders expect private charity and religious groups to shoulder the burden.

Nonprofits and foundations must move quickly beyond business as usual and take on the critical job of leadership, pushing to change deeply flawed public policies and create a new social vision.

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

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