“Welcome Judy Grey” Assignment

After exploring the three websites for SURDNA, the Community Foundation of New Jersey, and the Geraldine R. Dodge foundation, we can come to the conclusion that the three offer grants and support to nonprofit organizations as each of their mission is to create a more sustainable world. This includes a more sustainable nonprofit sector.

The Geraldine R. Dodge foundation, for example, is particularly passionate about funding innovative Arts, Education, Environment, and Media initiatives. The GRD foundation is New Jersey based and meant for NJ organizations, and is very local to our community partners. This would be a great place to start looking for grants as the organizations may directly affect the area of the GRD foundation.

CFNJ would be attractive to our partners because as small, New Jersey based nonprofit organizations, it may be more difficult to receive funding from national organizations, whereas CFNJ is meant for organizations found in New Jersey. This “home base” of sorts may be a good place to start looking for grants, or looking for other local organizations that offer grants.

The Surdna Foundation is a large foundation based in New York, close to home but possibly too large for a fledgling organization. The website mentions that they sponsor organizations in larger cities, and small organizations in small towns may have a chance for a grant (and possibly a large one), but competing with larger organizations may provide a problem.

Each of these organizations have their pros and cons, but our partners may find more difficulty with a larger one. There’s no harm in trying for a grant, but there may be more hoops to jump through and different processes for each. Each foundation is looking to fund sustainable organizations, environmentally friendly organizations, and arts/media related organizations, so all of our community partners would do well partnering with any of these foundations.

Salamon & Drew

Drew University’s mission statement claims that it is devoted to its students, and that it is determined to foster the best liberal and social education it can for its small body of students. Salamon’s chapter on education states that, due to the economic downturn of 2008 and beyond, small, private liberal arts colleges in particular are taking a hit financially. While Drew has met its standard for students, Drew has downsized over recent years. The school has become less selective academically, but students here are aware that there are less than the standard quota of students on campus during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years. Students and their families have taken a hit financially and can no longer afford a $60,000 per academic year education, and Drew wants to make its education as financially available to potential students as possible. However, with tuition climbing each and every year and financial aid being given to less people less often, it has become nearly impossible for most to attend without taking out hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans or by, unfortunately, transferring after their first year.

Drew’s strategic plan also claims that it wants to make its students as financially able as possible to attend the student-driven university, and to improve our institutional and financial sustainability. We are failing. What may seem glaringly obvious to any Drew professor or student is that the largest issue students face is a financial one. As previously stated, practically no one can afford Drew without taking out loans or transferring at some point or another. Unfortunately, students are often led into Drew with a great financial package: merit scholarships, civic engagement scholarships, and a “fabulous” grant offer. While some students do not qualify for aid from the FAFSA, they may receive a grant from the university. Often this grant is not offered again the next academic year, and so these students suddenly need to come up with $10,000 to come back. Not only do students face the stress of fighting their way through their piles of work, but fighting to keep afloat because they are drowning in a pool of financial misery. Faculty and staff are often not paid much at all (despite their Ivy League alma mater and various doctoral degrees), and it makes students wonder where their money has gone and/or where it is going to. Oftentimes (and currently) the board of trustees consists of various benefactors to the university, people who have made significant contributions to the community of and surrounding the school and/or have made large donations of money to the university. Students view these people as a Godsend as they are helping us to better afford what we are paying for, our education while they assist us with educational resources. However, if our money isn’t going to our professors (and we all know it’s definitely not going to the food) then where is it going? Is it going to the $40,000 per month electric bill of the DoYo? Is it going to all of the shrubbery planted before 2013’s Alumni & Family weekend or the spectacular fireworks display?

We’ve expanded many educational programs, such as our CBL’s (also mentioned in the strategic plan), and the campus as a whole is passionate about civic and social engagement. We’ve also brought the Forest to the City and vice versa, and do an excellent job of having a presence in the local community (i.e. Madison and Morristown), so this section of the plan in particular has been successful. However, one of our top priorities needs to be making this once prestigious education affordable to the students who have worked for it. Drew needs to prepare its students for a life of service, leadership, and success instead of preparing them for future financial instability. 

Salamon: Chapters 3-5 response

In Chapter 3, we explore the anatomy of America’s nonprofit sector. Organizations can be divided into two basic categories: member-serving organizations and public-serving organizations. Member-serving organizations aim primarily at providing benefits to their members rather than the public at large. They include labor unions, business and professional associations, social and recreational clubs, veterans organizations, mutual insurance companies, credit unions, cemetery companies, and cooperative telephone companies (31). Public-serving organizations exist primarily to serve the public at large rather than primarily the members of the organization. Public-serving organizations are the only ones entitled to tax-exempt status. To be eligible for tax-exemption, organizations must operate “exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes” (33). However, religious organizations are the only ones automatically entitled to tax exemption (55). The primer primarily focuses on public-serving organizations. These organizations receive their revenue through substantial government support and private giving, and also through fees (service charges, tuition payments, and other commercial income) (38). America’s non-profit sector is larger than most people are aware of, but not the largest in the world (considering that the US is still considered a somewhat young country in comparison to many others).

 

Chapter 4 is titled “The Nonprofit Sector in Context: The Government and Business Presence.” While tensions exist between the government and the nonprofit sector, a widespread partnership has developed between the two (67). However, the government has a large presence in health, education, and social welfare, and approximately half of the government’s spending is for these purposes (68-69). The largest portion of social welfare spending went to health benefits, the second largest to social insurance, one quarter to education, and under ten percent to be split among the rest of activities. Government and nonprofit sectors have grown and continue to work together, though Americans have a greater reliance on private charity and the nonprofit.

 

Chapter 5 discusses the historical developments and recent trends within the nonprofit sector. Government involvement in the nonprofit sector began in the 1930s. However, government involvement in social welfare and education is not a recent development in the US. FDR created the New Deal system of social welfare aid which consists of three principal programs: old-age pensions, unemployment insurance, and needs-tested cash assistance. During the 1960s, there was change within the government and nonprofit sectors, including: human service programs, health care for the elderly, health care for the needy, pre-school and other education and research aid, and broadened health care coverage. The 70s included inflation protection for retirees and food aid. It was in the 60s and 70s that the partnership between the government and the nonprofit sector was brought to a state and local level. Private philanthropy is essential to supporting the nonprofit system, but income from government and fees is even more important 

Writing for Real: Page 37, Question 4: What do you expect of your relationship with your agency mentor?

Working with various non-profit organizations in the past, this will not be the first time I have had an agency mentor. From my past experiences, I am aware of what I prefer to see in a mentor over certain other details, but every mentor is different and I am looking forward to see what this mentor has to offer, and what I have to offer them. The mentor/student relationship truly is a two way street; one cannot do their job without the other. I cannot learn about the organization and expectations without the mentor teaching me, and the mentor will have less hands without me. 

I expect and would prefer that my relationship with my mentor develop over time; I want our relationship to progress and for us to rely on each other within reason. I hope that we can teach each other more about the organization and the non-profit world, and that we will have reasonable expectations (as far as work) of each other, as one is most likely a full time employee of the organization and I am a full time student. I have had mentors that have taught me a great deal about their organization and I would like that to be the case in this project as well as those projects were all successful and I was able to carry the knowledge I gained working with them and keep it for future use. 

However, I have also had not so positive experiences with mentors that did not teach or had high expectations; for example, I was expected to do things that were not in my volunteer/job description, such as pick up organization employees and cart them around for supplies they needed or to use my personal money for the project. I found these situations unacceptable and demeaning, and I wish to be treated as a member of the organization as much as possible. I expect my mentor to expect a reasonable amount from me and to be available when needed for help or guidance on the project, so that I may, to the best of my ability, produce the best project and fulfill the needs of the organization as efficiently and fully as possible. I will maintain an open mind with my mentor and hope that they will do the same for me. I look forward to having a close relationship with my mentor so that we can both learn from each other and produce a brilliant project together that will affect the community.

Writing For Real Short Essay: Page 11, Question 3

While working for the non-profit organization, ARTS By The People, I often found myself working in company branding and marketing for our art classes and our various types of work with youth and senior citizens. Most commonly, I worked in the Lester Senior Housing facility in East Hanover, NJ, where I assisted teaching artists (artists that ran classes in their own artistic medium) with their classes, programs, projects, and so on. At the end of the rotation for classes, the organization held a large Arts Day that each senior student could participate in, whether it was singing a song they wrote in the song writing class or displaying a pastel art piece in the art show in a separate room. In order to gain not only artistic participants but audience members and visitors, we needed to advertise on the organization website and in the facility itself efficiently.

Now, I have never before taken a marketing class, but I am educated in social media and basic computer skills. I also have great people skills and had become personally acquainted with the comings and goings of the organization and all policies. What I find most important in not only academic writing but in community-based writing is to actually know your audience. There is no better way to get their attention without knowing them, whether personally or by acquaintance. One should know their target audience not necessarily personally, but know enough about their age group, their likes and dislikes and their capabilities. Know what captures their attention. To gain participants and spectators for our Arts Day, it was important to capture the attention of the seniors, their caretakers, and their families. This is a broad range of people, and when targeting a wide range it is important to keep things as simple as possible, but still remain upbeat and respectful of their time and intelligence.

Aside from public announcements within classes and directly approaching students to participate and inviting them to invite their families, I developed a more formal announcement that I blew up for posters to post around the building, inserted into e-mails to send to residents (they do have access to internet and personal e-mails), as well as forwarding the document to the offices of the facility so they could enclose it within their weekly news letters and post them on their news bulletins. The font was large and noticeable and the language was simple. I also made the font different colors in order to grab and maintain attention. I find that, with a wide audience (and with seniors in particular), their attention is fleeting and so it is important to grab their attention and get one’s point across quickly so they have the information and do not walk away because of too many little details. Only include the vital information but keep it upbeat and exciting.

When Arts Day arrived, we had over one hundred people in attendance, the most ARTS By The People has ever had. Overall, I think our advertising worked, and I contribute our success largely to the posters and flyers that were posted and handed out. After getting to know the seniors I was working with and seeing how and what they read and some other examples of posters hanging around the facility, I realized that it would be a good idea to follow a similar method. The only change I would make is to make the actual size of the poster larger instead of the standard paper size. Increasing the size of the actual paper would allow us to use even larger font and it would be instantly eye-catching. Overall, we as an organization were happy with our turn out and plan to use similar flyers for our next Arts Day.

America’s Non Profit Sector Chapters 1 & 2 Summary

Chapter one of Lester M. Salamon’s America’s Nonprofit Sector services as an introduction to both the primer and the world of nonprofits. Most modern societies have “found it necessary to make special provisions to protect individuals against the vagaries of economic misfortune” and other issues, no matter the age (Salamon 1). In America, we require an organized system in order to build a structure to respond to the ever increasing problems we find in the arts, education, the environment, health care, housing, and many other areas. The United States system is one of the most complicated and confusing, and the primer serves to help readers understand this system. There is an increasing “mixed economy” of welfare that blends public and private action, and this leaves a large role to nongovernmental institutions and nonprofits. Nonprofits are commonly misunderstood and many do not know what they are. The primer is broken down into sections and chapters each addressing vital questions to understanding nonprofits and who and what they serve. Examples of questions include: what are nonprofit organizations, what features do they have in common, and why do they exist? The book works to clarify this and other questions for readers and to discuss the overall scope of American nonprofits, and while assembling a full picture of the scope of nonprofit activity and how it compares to the scope of government is indeed a major and impossible task, the author does his best to provide as much detail as possible in as few words.

Chapter two is titled “What Is the Nonprofit Sector and Why Do We Have It?.” Nonprofit sectors were once identified as one of the most distinctive and critical features of American life and government, but this sector severely declined in the 1930s. Since, the sector has grown and become as crucial and necessary as ever, and includes some of the most prestigious and important institutions. It “engages the activities and enlists the support of literally millions of citizens, providing a mechanism for self-help, for assistance to those in need, and for the pursuit of a wide array of other interests and beliefs” (Salamon 10). There is great diversity in the nonprofit sector. However, the most well known are the “religious, charitable, and educational” organizations eligible for tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS. These can include prestigious universities, day care centers, museums, soup kitchens, and various other organizations. Charities receive funding from private donations, the independent sector is outside of the government; the voluntary sector emphasizes the input that volunteers make to manage and operate the sector; the tax-exempt sector is well, exempt from taxes; the civil society sector emphasizes citizen engagement. Social economy refers to the various organizations whose primary purpose is to maximize common needs of stakeholders instead of maximizing shareholder profits, and social venture depicts a particular class of organizations that use market-type approaches to pursue social objectives.The primer describes the difference between philanthropy and nonprofit sectors; nonprofits are exempt from most taxes and philanthropy refers to a source of support organizations can receive through voluntary gifts of time or money. The five defining characteristics of the nonprofit include:

  • Organizations
  • Private
  • Non-profit-distributing
  • Self-governing
  • Non-compulsory

The nonprofit sector is crucial to modernization. The traditional means of yesterday can no longer support those that lived by them, and so it is necessary for nonprofits to accommodate the ever changing American culture and government. According to the “market failure” theory, nonprofit organizations exist to meet citizen demands for “collective” goods and services that both markets and governments cannot necessarily meet in diverse societies (Salamon 18). Finally, nonprofits create solidarity; when we do not have equal conditions, we do our best to make them anyway. Nonprofits provide service provision, meaning that they address unmet needs, foster innovation, provide goods that portions of communities wish to support, and adapt publicly funded general policies and programs to local needs. Nonprofit organizations also raise awareness about local and global issues, whether through educational forums or meeting people to get them involved in their community or greater community. The need and use for the nonprofit sector is undeniable, and whether it will always be necessary is not certain, but guaranteed for today and some time in the future.