Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Now that (most) of the election results are in, it is an appropriate time to consider how an Obama presidency might affect nonprofits. Perhaps one of the most prominent aspects of the Bush presidency with respect to nonprofits has been the current Administration's efforts to expand government funding available for religious organizations, spearheaded by the White House office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, although some criticized whether those efforts were more symbolic than substantive. According to President-Elect Obama's campaign website, he plans to have a similar although somewhat differently focused effort. As part of his Administration's service initiative, President Obama states he will create a "Social Investment Fund Network" that will "use federal seed money to leverage private sector funding." He also promises to create a new agency within the existing Corporation for National And Community Service (home of AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and other service-promoting programs) which would be "dedicated to building the capacity and effectiveness of the nonprofit sector." Whether these promises turn into significant efforts, particularly in the tight-budget environment the federal government will face for at least the next couple of years, we will have to wait to see, although perhaps some hope can be found in the fact that Senator Obama has perhaps a greater degree of familiarity with nonprofits from his community organizing and other past efforts than the typical new President.