query: United Way and social action
colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Tue Sep 7 16:17:09 CDT 1999
[ed: thanks to Spencer, Mike, and Eric for continuing the fascinating
conversation on United Ways and community organizing funding.]
From: Spencer Wells <ohiotenants at earthlink.net>
Responding to Randy's comments about UW in Toledo.
1. There seems to be an interesting model for allocating funds for
community work down in the Dayton UW. Often a UW bureaucracy will be
more responsive to a model that already exists.
2. the rhetoric in all of united way is to move towards "buying
services" rather than funding agencies...that could open doors to
organizations that have a better package than some of the dinosaurs
that have been traditional United Way. this rhetoric may not produce
results in our lifetimes, but there's something here to watch.
Preserving Ohio's Affordable Housing
(a project of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio)
voice/fax 888-290-RENT email: ohiotenants at earthlink.net
From: "Mike Hodge" <mmhodge at ccs1.org>
HERE'S A MESSAGE I SENT DIRECTLY TO PETER AND DID NOT COPY TO THE LIST.
Incidentally, I used to work for Community Shares of Tennessee -- one of the
alternative funds mentioned in some of the posts. I highly respect
Community Shares and the other alternative funds. They are indeed willing
to support social change -- community organizing, etc. You might want to
contact the National Council for Responsive Philanthropy about how to get an
alternative fund started (if you haven't already). Most United Ways will
not touch community organizing or environmental work, etc. Ours is only
slightly different in that "Building Strong Neighborhoods" is one of their
focus areas. See below.
The United Way in Nashville, TN is actually funding neighborhood-based
organizing to an extent. They have moved away from the traditional method
of having "United Way agencies" that are funded forever and with no
accountability. They have established 7 "Community Solutions Councils"
here -- each one around a particular area. There is one called the
"Building Strong Neighborhoods Council". Some of the groups that have
gotten funded have been Boys and Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, and other
"traditional" agencies. But they have been asked to show how the programs
they offer produce measurable results in the community.
There have also been two neighborhood organizations funded -- as well as the
Neighborhood Resource Center (which I work for) which helps neighborhoods to
organize on the problems that they identify. We've helped folks organize to
stop zoning changes, to fight specific crime problems, etc. And we can
provide Leadership Training and GIS-related info that an individual
neighborhood most probably would not have the resources to develop. (Be
glad to go on with some shameless self-promotion at another time.)
All of this is being done as a part of an OBI process (Outcome Based
Investment). This process (to my mind) has some very good points but also
has some serious drawbacks. However, the idea of accountability is
relatively new to United Way and perhaps improvements will come.
Be glad to tell you more later. Off to a meeting now (at United Way,
Mike Hodge mmhodge at ccs1.org
Neighborhood Resource Center
From: Eric Weir <eweir at mindspring.com>
At 10:23 PM 9/6/99 -0400, colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu wrote:
>Of course, United Way is the best source of nice long-term stable funding...
Probably not. Almost certainly not. Way far and away, most of the
philanthrophy in the U.S., at least -- like 80 percent of it! -- is private
individual giving. Most nonprofits with a solid base of discretionary
funding, i.e., funding that they can use to pay basic operating costs, for
example, have learned to tap this source.
There's a whole industry devoted to it. Progressives are not excluded from
it. The problem is you have to find the people who're likely to identify
with you and want to support you, and it takes time. But it's also likely
to pay-off in a bigger way, and to be more lasting.
There's a "technology" that you can at least learn from. I imagine that
some organizers -- those who're sincerely interested in connecting and
making a difference, not just in tooting their own horn -- would be good at
eweir at mindspring.com
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