Non-profits brace themselves for 2010

Check out this article in the SF Gate about the struggles of non-profits in the Bay Area in these challenging economic times.

Bay Area nonprofits brace for 2010 shakeout

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Nonprofits are seeing an alarming drop in funding and increased demand for help this year, setting the stage for a complete shakeup of the sector in 2010.

Unlike recessions past, this one could permanently alter the nonprofit landscape, say nonprofit CEOs, forcing possible closures and mergers as the sector restructures to survive.

Hardest hit will be the Bay Area, home to one of the highest concentrations of nonprofits in the nation. There are 25,000 nonprofits in the region; 7,000 in San Francisco alone. Among them are 10,000 charitable nonprofits with budgets above $25,000. Their combined budgets account for 14 percent of the Bay Area’s gross national product – twice the national average.

Click here to read the full article.

The article discusses the constant fears of non-profits around the country including bracing themselves for a significant drop in funding in 2010. Many non-profits feel comfortable with their budgets for 2009 because funding was acquired before the economic downturn – but 2010 proves to be quite a challenge. Funding from most sources is being cut – foundations are scaling back grant amounts, government agencies are revisiting funding priorities, corporations are facing their own budget cuts, and most individuals are feeling more hesitant to donate money instead of saving it for a “rainy day” that might occur at any moment.

“The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the leading newspaper of the nonprofit world, surveyed 73 of the nation’s largest foundations in December about their 2009 grant making plans and found 39 percent expect to decrease the amount they contribute to charities this year.”

However, it is important to note that these are generalizations and that some entities are actually increasing funding because they recognize the increased need for non-profit services during this time. A need which does not necessarily correlate with an increase in funding.

“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest in the world with assets estimated at $30 billion, plans to raise its giving from $3.3 billion in 2008 to $3.8 billion in 2009 to help charities survive. The San Francisco Foundation plans to give the same amount to charities that it did last year, despite a shrinking endowment.”

As funding sources and amounts shrink, this is a crucial time for non-profits to think creatively and explore different options for fundraising. Check out these links for some useful tips:

If you are interested in attending some workshops around fundraising during these tough times – register for the 2009 South Asian Summit to have access to those workshops and much more!

The Good and the Bad in the Stimulus Bill

After weeks of intense debate and negotiations, Congress passed an economic stimulus package that is headed to President Obama’s desk for his signature today. The final law includes spending for domestic infrastructure projects, funding to state and local governments, and tax relief in the form of cuts and credits. The government knew that it needed to take quick action to pull the economy out of its downward spiral, which has affected everyone’s lives – from immigrants and citizens, to students and seniors, to the wealthy and the working-class.

No one can claim to be unscathed by the recession that we are going through, including H-1B workers. Vast numbers of South Asians rely upon this visa, including lawyers, engineers, artists, and scientists. Yet many fear losing not only their jobs, but also their immigration status, during these rough economic times. Take, for instance, Shalini, whose story was captured by Little India

Shalini (name altered), who came to New York City from Mumbai one year ago to work with Ernst & Young, is coping with just such an eventuality. Within a few months she was promoted from assistant manager to manager in her division. However, in November, the company let her go. Her first thought was, “How am I going to find another job in the next six weeks in this kind of environment?”

Shalini is on an H1-B work permit, which means that if she doesn’t find work within 30 to 60 days, she has to leave the country. Her prospects are bleak. Most companies in the U.S., India and across the world have either frozen hiring or are sacking their workforce. Shalini has realized that there is no safety net in the U.S. without a Green Card or citizenship. So she is following the example of several NRIs [non-resident Indians], who have applied to non-U.S. companies, sent resumes to contacts in corporate India, put up notices to sell their homes and furniture, and postponed plans to get married or start a family.”  [Little India]

These workers help build the vibrant innovation of this country. In fact, Thomas Friedman had a thought-provoking piece in The New York Times recently about how we need more immigrants, not less, because it’s good for the American economy …

“We live in a technological age where every study shows that the more knowledge you have as a worker and the more knowledge workers you have as an economy, the faster your incomes will rise. Therefore, the centerpiece of our stimulus, the core driving principle, should be to stimulate everything that makes us smarter and attracts more smart people to our shores. That is the best way to create good jobs.” [New York Times]

Unfortunately, Congress went the other way on this issue. As part of the stimulus bill, financial institutions receiving funding through the Department of Treasury’s Troubled Assets Relief Program (or TARP) intended to stabilize the financial markets, must jump through extra hoops before they can hire H-1B workers. Given the immense contributions of H-1B workers to help America remain on the cutting-edge, it makes you wonder if this is not only bad news for South Asians, but bad news for the economy.

Daily Buzz 2.11.2009

1.) The Associated Press presents a comparison of economic stimulus plans.
2.) The South Asian Philanthropy Project discusses Philanthropy and the Stimulus Package
3.) Updated statistics about wage discrimination in the United States.
4.) Award Winning journalist Pratap Chatterjee discusses his new book, “Halliburton’s Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War”, on Democracy Now!
Transcripts, Audio, and Video all available.
5.) How is the economy affecting money being sent family members abroad?
6.) India’s tangled relationship with the kiss.