Submitted by Ben Ayers on Thu, 2008-12-18 08:22.
It appears that I’m back in the States. The holidays loom, snow piles up upon the roof then slides onto the lawn. I plow the driveway, fight with old logging equipment, talk to my colleagues in Nepal on the phone.
It’s been remarkable to have left the States when the end of our economy (as we knew it) was simply a conversation, and to return to find a full blown argument. The recession has led us at the dZi Foundation to step back and really consider our budgets for next year, to anticipate the inevitable drop in donations that correspond with the drop in disposable income. The hard work of dragging the scalpel through the spreadsheets has begun; the tragedy of having to prioritize which community projects get funded and which projects don’t.
The economic hardship brings to light the real vulnerability of the non-profit world. We exist in the realm between what governments and civil society should be doing for the poor and what the for-profit sector cannot (or does not tend to). I feel that many of us in this world, and in particular those who work for smaller organizations that don’t rely upon funding from the huge Foreign Aid machine, live in the shadow of Robin Hood. We fill our quivers and lurk around wealthy neighborhoods.