Presidential politics and Nonprofit Street

By Janine Vanderburg, President/CEO, JVA Consulting

JVA’s blog started in the 2008 recession, when the media was making endless comparisons between Wall Street and Main Street. One of our staff quipped: Well, who is talking about Nonprofit Street? This blog was born.

For the most part we talk about things of interest to our clients, all of who are involved in community and social change in some way. We mostly have avoided politics, although some of you thought we were getting too political in a 2012 blog and JVA 411 stories that discussed the respective charitable contributions of those running for president.

Today, we are changing our rules and the conversation. Those of you who don’t want to see JVA engaged in politics and who want us to stick to writing about boards and fundraising may want to stop reading.

The issue as we see it. With the addition of Paul Ryan to the Mitt Romney ticket this weekend, the implications for Nonprofit Street and all of us who walk along it have never been more clear. The Obama/Biden and Romney/Ryan teams present stark and significant contrasts in values and proposed policies in all of the following areas, the areas of Nonprofit Street work:

  • Access to health care
  • Safety nets for older adults, people with disabilities, children
  • Hunger and access to nutritious food
  • Women’s reproductive rights
  • Environment
  • And more

Moreover, Ryan’s budget proposals and underlying philosophy call for shredding domestic funding—funding that supports the vital services that nonprofits provide in the community.

What you can do. While an individual 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization cannot endorse candidates, there are a number of ways that those of us walking on Nonprofit Street can stand up for the values and policies we believe in and ensure that those we have worked with continue to have a chance in America.

  • As individuals who work in the sector, we have countless stories that illustrate the need for programs and the impact of policies. We need to share them everywhere and anywhere we are, with friends, colleagues, strangers at bus stops.
  • As individuals, we can campaign (not on company time), volunteer, go door to door and make political campaign contributions. We can share our thoughts on social media.
  • As organizations, we can create scorecards of policies that affect our work, and simply indicate and share where candidates (national, state and local) stand on these policies.

The time to do so is now. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

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2 Responses to Presidential politics and Nonprofit Street

  1. Alisha says:

    It really saddens me that JVA has taken a very liberal approach to business now and basically endorsed a candidate. Non-profits are much worse off now than we were 6 years ago and that is because of the leadership in the country and our own state. Now you are wanting people to follow you and support more of this?! I will be unsubscribing from all of JVA’s materials, trainings, and communications. Good bye!

  2. Alisha, thank you for your comment. I appreciate your honesty. I’m sharing my viewpoints, not because I want to endorse a candidate, but because I want all of us involved in working in the social sector to really think about what elections mean for our constituents and our communities. Like you, I’ve worked a lot with older adults, and the proposals around Medicare terrify me. The idea of people who work really hard not having access to health care does as well. That Pell grants might disappear for those who are trying to make their lives better by going to college. And so I’m looking at policies being proposed and asking: How are they going to affect the people I work with, the communities I work in? And I realize that there are some people who will reach one set of conclusions, and others whom I value (like you) will reach another. What’s important to me is that we have considered the impact of elections on our work, and get involved in some way.

    All the best

    Janine Vanderburg

JVA welcomes your comments and feedback on all Nonprofit Street articles. While JVA will post all relevant comments, it will not post comments that are advertising products or services or those with obscenities. Leave a Reply

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