Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Antipoverty Activist Calls for Nonprofit Leaders to Push for Stimulus Dollars to Benefit the Poor

The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Government and Politics Watch, reported on December 26, 2008, about Angela Glover Blackwell, an anti-poverty activist, who recently, in a Huffington Post article, called for nonprofit leaders to push for federal, state and local governments to spend some of the multibillion-dollar stimulus funds to be received under President-elect Obama's multibillion-dollar stimulus plan to pay for projects that help the poor.  Below is an excerpt of the Chronicle report, with a link to the Huffington Post.

As President-elect Barack Obama develops his multibillion-dollar plan to stimulate the economy, nonprofit leaders should push federal, state, and local governments to use the money to pay for construction projects that help the poor, writes Angela Glover Blackwell, an anti-poverty activist.

Mr. Obama has proposed spending upwards of $300-billion to improve American roads and infrastructure; he says his proposal would create jobs and fight the country’s economic recession.

Ms. Blackwell, chief executive and founder of PolicyLink, a nonprofit group in Oakland, Calif., writes that the plan — if put together wisely — “could be one of the most successful anti-poverty programs the nation has ever seen.”

'First off, we must stop building more and wider roads out to far-flung exurbs. Instead, we need to fix the bridges, transit systems and roads we already have — especially those in low-income communities that have long been ignored in infrastructure spending,' she writes on The Huffington Post.

For the full story, please click here - Chronicle of Philanthropy.

In the Huffington Post article, Ms. Blackwell makes the following suggestions about how the monies can be better targeted to help the poor:

First off, we must stop building more and wider roads out to far-flung exurbs. Instead, we need to fix the bridges, transit systems and roads we already have -- especially those in low-income communities that have long been ignored in infrastructure spending.

We need smarter, more targeted spending. We must invest in the people, places and projects that will spread the most opportunity to communities that need it. These projects will create good-paying construction, technical and service jobs in the short-term -- but, more importantly, lay a foundation for more competitive, more inclusive, more opportunity-rich communities for generations to come.

Each investment in this massive recovery package should serve the long-term interests of America. If we improve and expand public transit, for instance, we can give working families a way to get to the good jobs they need. If we install new broadband lines in low-income communities, we can connect a new wave of entrepreneurs and small-business to the digital revolution. If we build new grocery stores in poor neighborhoods now reliant on junk-food laden convenience stores, we can improve healthy eating, cut down on obesity and diabetes, and create a source of permanent, good-paying jobs in these communities.

For the full story, please click here - Huffington Post.

I think that Ms. Blackwell is rightly focused on the strategic focus nonprofits, which focus on eradicating centuries-old racial and class disparities in this country, need to have to significantly change for the better and improve upon the quality of life poor Americans live.  What do you think?

AMT

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/nonprofit/2008/12/antipoverty-act.html

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