(This article first appeared in the November 15, 2007 issue of The Chronicle of Philanthropy)
By Gar Alperovitz, Steve Dubb, and Ted Howard
As the 2008 elections approach, many nonprofit groups that focus on fighting poverty, aiding decaying cities, creating jobs, and closing the growing gap between rich and poor people have begun to hope that a shift in presidential power toward the Democrats, and a tighter hold on Congress, would open a significant flow of federal money.
Stark fiscal trends, however, suggest both that such hopes will be disappointed and that very different approaches will be required to deal with issues of growing concern. Nonprofit groups will be a big part of the solution.
With help from foundations and other supporters, nonprofit organizations have pioneered efforts to build the assets of poor people and their neighborhoods, and those efforts will need to be greatly expanded. What’s more, new projects will have to be started to encourage colleges, hospitals, and other large nonprofit groups to change how they do business. Already a small number of such institutions are making efforts to buy products locally and make investments in businesses that can help create wealth and anchor capital
in disadvantaged communities, but far more need to do so.