Monday, August 13, 2012
The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that state governments increasingly are soliciting assistance from charities and other nongovernmental organizations to comply with their federal welfare spending commitments under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Last year, says the story, thirteen states sought help from nongovernmental entities to meet their obligations under the program, and seventeen states report that they will “tap nonprofit groups for welfare funds in the future.” The United Way, YMCA, and Shriner’s Hospital for Children are named as primary supporters of the states needing welfare assistance.
The story is another reminder of the significant role that nonprofits serve in assisting the most vulnerable in society, especially when governments are struggling to maintain social services in a weak economy. Future discussions of how to promote fiscal responsibility at the federal level (including debates over federal income tax reform) should reflect appreciation for the relationship between dwindling state revenues and the resulting reliance of state and local governments on nonprofits.