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Philanthropy and the Stimulus Package

January 25, 2009

piggy-bankThere certainly has been a lot of conversation about a possible Congressional stimulus package, and there has been a lot of conversation about the downturn in philanthropy. In an onPhilanthropy article,  Dr. Susan Raymond discusses the possible links between the stimulus package and philanthropy.  She argues “the strategy discussion that must take place in the sector is not about how to get the money, but how to strengthen philanthropy and voluntarism through the very presence of the stimulus package itself.  The financial stimulus is an organizational opportunity of a lifetime for the nonprofit sector.”

In support of her argument, she makes several important points.  The first of which is that the stimulus package is evidence of the depth of this country’s economic pain,  and such pain provides an opportunity to connect people.  “The Federal government may bring the money; the nonprofit sector can bring engagement.”  Second, she argues it is in the interest of the the nonprofit sector to bolster the stimulus packages efforts to create jobs.  “The nonprofit and philanthropic sector’s task in partnership with the stimulus package is not to get the money, it is to establish (or re-establish) strong relationships with those who can return to the workforce, and to provide them with the reason and the means to connect their restored incomes to the problems of the societal commons.”  Third, Dr. Raymond states that with the stimulus package comes a new generation of leaders, and nonprofits have an opportunity to build new relationships.  “The stimulus package provides an opportunity for nonprofits and philanthropies to pick up the phone and call public leaders — local, county, state, and federal — and offer not to take the money but to stand together to build private voluntary commitment as finances build roads and bridges and schools and hospitals. ”

I think Dr. Raymond makes some good, general points to keep in mind. I am hoping her organization, Changing Our World, Inc., will provide more specific data on the impact of the stimulus package on philanthropy.

SAPP readers, what do you think?  Do think there is a relationship between the stimulus package and philanthropy or not?

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