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.