Month: September 2016

In the early-ish days of blogging, it was normal to have a blogroll: a list of links to other (often more popular) blogs that the author was interested in. The blogroll would sit calmly in the sidebar and let readers browse their way to other blogs and other authors, discovering fresh ideas and insights. Now, nobody maintains a blogroll. The best hope you have of finding someone else is to follow a link in the body of a post or in a comment or in a link dump. Around here, they also show up in link posts that I share…
I’ll hide this little gem in here: With [Give Directly]’s rigorous measurement and auditing, they know that only 3% of their cash transfers are spent on vices (tobacco, alcohol, etc.), and vice consumption is identical to others in the community who did not receive transfers….which is about a fraction of my likely 15%. Medium: Here’s What Happens When You Give $1,000 to Someone in Extreme Poverty FacebookTwitterLinkedInredditBuffer…
This sermon was delivered at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Moline, Illinois on September 25, 2016. The scriptures for this sermon are Luke 16:19-31 and 1 Timothy 6:6-19. There’s a word in Albanian: Besa. It means something like ‘faithfulness’ or ‘honor’ or ‘keeping a promise’. But for centuries, it’s been lived our through hospitality. It was lived out this way during World War II, when Albania – a little country on the Adriatic Sea and just northwest of Greece – was the only country in Europe to end the war with more Jewish people than it started with……
For many of these families, the issue isn’t that they don’t qualify for help. It’s that the help they need isn’t available. That’s because unlike some other parts of the social safety net — such as food stamps — affordable housing is not an entitlement. Once the money appropriated by Congress runs out, the aid stops, no matter how much need there might be. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3 in 4 renting families that qualify for government housing programs don’t receive any assistance. FiveThirtyEight: Why So Many Poor Americans Don’t Get Help Paying For Housing…
Living with privilege means living in a world where you – or, at least, the privileged aspects of you – are ‘normal’. It means that you can live your entire life in spaces where you don’t have to perform. You don’t have to think about how you are presenting yourself. You can simply ‘be yourself’ all the time. What many people with privilege don’t realize is that this isn’t how things are for people without privilege. Without privilege, you need to learn to perform for different audiences. You need to think about how to ‘be gay’ around gay people,…
In the early-ish days of blogging, it was normal to have a blogroll: a list of links to other (often more popular) blogs that the author was interested in. The blogroll would sit calmly in the sidebar and let readers browse their way to other blogs and other authors, discovering fresh ideas and insights. Now, nobody maintains a blogroll. The best hope you have of finding someone else is to follow a link in the body of a post or in a comment or in a link dump. Around here, they also show up in link posts that I share…
Exacerbating states’ natural inclination toward grift, private companies have taken power at all stages of the welfare system and have done so with an eye on states’ and their own bottom lines. States almost universally contract with private corporations to administer their welfare programs. Welfare providers, such as hospitals, also hire private companies to help them maximize payment claims. States then hire additional private companies to help them reduce their payouts to providers and increase their claims from the federal government. The federal government hires the same or similar companies to audit Medicaid and other industries and to review…
One of the most powerful things that every fundraiser does is say ‘thank you’. It’s also something that a lot of organizations find difficult. There’s always the temptation to turn the thank you letter into a gift receipt, to ask for another gift, or to write about things that are more important to the letter writer than to the donor. Some organizations even forget to say ‘thank you’ altogether! So I’m providing this short guide on how to write a thank you letter. For my examples, I’ll use the Greater Madison Animal Welfare Center, which I’m pretty confident is…
When faced with dwindling funding, one response would be to cut a program or reduce the number of people an organization serves. But nonprofit leaders have shown themselves very reluctant to do that. Instead, many meet financial challenges by squeezing more work out of their staffs without a proportional increase in their pay: The Urban Institute report found that most nonprofits choose to cut salaries, benefits, and other costs long before scaling back their operations. “There is this feeling that the mission is so important that nothing should get in the way of it,” Elizabeth Boris, one of the…
The Obama administration recently banned ITT Technical Institute schools from accepting new students who receive federal loans or grants. Since ITT relies on that federal money for about 68% of its revenue, this could end up forcing the closure of one of the largest for-profit college chains in the country. This is important. But to understand why it’s important, it’s useful to understand how for-profit colleges like ITT make money. When a student takes out a student loan, that money goes from the lender – in this case, the government, to the school. For a for-profit school, every student who pays…

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