Monthly Archives: September 2011
|September 30, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Management, Philanthropy, Research||
According to Census 2010 data, over a ¼ of the population of Pennsylvania (27 percent) is located in rural areas, and a considerable amount of our region of western Pennsylvania is considered rural. Yet in my admittedly anecdotal experience, it seems that much of the mainstream discussion in the sector focuses on urban organizations. The challenging issues faced by rural nonprofits, accessibility (a dispersed population), transportation (rarely any of a public sort), technology (reliable connections and coverage) and needs specific to non-metropolitan areas may be a bit of a mystery (hopefully not an afterthought) to the thinkers and influencers in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.
A report from The Bridgespan Group, Small but Tough: Nonprofits in Rural America by Alex Neuhoff and Andrew Dunckleman, turns the lens on rural nonprofits in the United States to examine what these organizations look like, identify their most pressing challenges and determine how they differ from their urban peers. Some highlights of the study:
- Rural nonprofits are funded at a lower rate per capita than their urban counterparts. Rural areas make up 18 percent of the total population of the United States, have a higher rate of poverty overall (22 percent of the country’s poor reside in rural areas) but represent 8 percent of the total spending in the nonprofit sector (including human services).
- In spite of the above, overall, rural nonprofits appear to be in a better fiscal state than urban nonprofits and are less likely to run an operating deficit.
- Data suggest that rural nonprofits have learned to be both nimble and aggressive, prioritizing and pursuing strategies perhaps different from those of urban nonprofits used to the close proximity of both clients and funders. The authors point out that rural organizations collaborated, merged and otherwise partnered with each other or a larger network, had strategic approaches to grants (private and public) and emphasized relationship-building outside of their communities.
- A major obstacle faced by rural nonprofits is leadership recruitment and retention, an issue Pennsylvania grapples with per a recent study on the challenges associated with rural leadership development.
The study (available for download at The Bridgespan Group website) provides an excellent initial picture of rural nonprofits, including a comparative case study of similar programs operating in two very different locations. I hope this type of organizational research continues, as there may be much to learn from the nonprofits operating 60 miles outside of Pittsburgh, but seemingly a world away.
|September 26, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Health, Policy, Research||
The human and economic cost of the nation’s ever-increasing obesity rate is the focus of a brief from the RAND Corporation cautioning against inaction in the face of potentially severe public health outcomes as well as the looming expense of future care for this segment of the population.
The brief, entitled Preventing Obesity and Its Consequences: Highlighting Years of RAND Health Research, summarizes research that links obesity to diabetes and heart disease, as well as evidence that obesity can exacerbate conditions such as arthritis or hypertension. In addition, studies have shown that obese women experience greater complications to fertility and pregnancy, and may even not survive some cancers at the same rate as their non-obese counterparts.
With the costs clearly identified, RAND has turned their attention to identifying and evaluating public policy responses to this potential health crisis. Measures such as accessibility to supermarkets (as opposed to fast food chains and conveniences stores), healthier school meals, promoting urban areas for recreation and physical exercise and taxes on non-nutritional items such as soda and junk food are discussed in this paper, as well as current studies being conducted by RAND on this important issue.
Can public policy drive better food and fitness choices? Have you successfully addressed nutrition and wellness issues of clients (or staff) at your nonprofit?
|September 21, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Budget, Federal Government, News||
With the summer nearly over, the political wires are abuzz with all things appropriations. As the deadline draws near for the fiscal year 2012 budget allocations to be finalized, the debate on spending continues.
The latest installment of The Cohen Report, Dwindling Money for Nonprofits in FY2012 Budget Appropriations by Rick Cohen at The Nonprofit Quarterly website provides an update on the appropriations process, and how nonprofits may be impacted.
Other recent developments include –
- The Health and Human Services funding bill is currently being held up in House subcommittee due to concern over the cost, but the Senate subcommittee may move to take up the bill.
- Yesterday, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee approved the 2012 bill that provides $158 billion in funding for programs to train workers, serve at-risk youth, reduce fraud and waste, prevent chronic disease and fund health research.
- Today, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers introduced a continuing appropriations resolution that would keep the federal government operating until November 18, 2011.