Unexpectedly, so many people told us how “courageous” we are for daring to criticize funders and the press in last issue’sÂ Just AwardsÂ for Narcissism in Philanthropy and Abominable Press Coverage of Nonprofits. What was really new was not that we criticized the Rockefeller Foundation and the New York Times, but that we named them.
The relentless search for funding makes us in nonprofits fearfully cautious about offending any powers that be. Combined with our “A student” drive and the deep desire to have our work appreciated, we tend to be a tip-toeing, jumpy bunch. But this understandable fearfulness leaves foundations and the press even less accountable, less likely to be called on the carpet for bad behavior.Â
And isn’t journalism supposed to take on the powers that be? At Blue Avocado we aspire to be the kind of journalism thatÂ provokes, illuminates, helps, and heartens. Given a choice between speaking out for community nonprofits on one hand, and on the other hand getting funding and favorable treatment from Rockefeller or the New York Times, we pick speaking out for nonprofits.
This kind of independence is only possible because our sponsors, donors, advertisers, and members want to ensure that such independence is possible. Thanks to our two key sponsors — theÂ Nonprofits Insurance Alliance GroupÂ andÂ CompassPoint Nonprofit ServicesÂ — and the hundreds of Blue Avocado member/donors, we truly can be an independent voice (you can make a donation now by clickingÂ here).
* This issue we take aim at another sacred cow: the Serve America Act — AmeriCorps et al. How can we find something not to like in $1.15 billion in federal funds for volunteerism? And if you’re confused about “stipended volunteers,” “interns” and “volunteer interns,” Ask Rita spells out how to have interns legally . . . in other words, explaining the difference between stipended interns and below-minimum-wage employees. And I love this issue’s Board Cafe on a new type of structure for board terms: the first term is one year; the second term is three years, and the third is two years. Imagine yourself a lone cow at twilight, considering it all. 🙂 — Jan Masaoka