Yesterday, in The Daily Wrag (Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers), President Tamara Copeland explored “What sequestration means for philanthropy:”
I want to focus on the hidden issues. Much of the impact connected to sequestration will be far less overt. The social worker in me says that as already stressed individuals deal with this reality, mental health-related incidents will also increase. There may be increased incidences of domestic violence, more emergency room visits and falling school performance as home environments become tense. Consider this article about the recession’s impact on our region’s mental health, written when our local economy was actually faring better than the rest of the country.
“The Recession’s ‘Silent Mental Health Epidemic,’ the October 2011 Business Insider article to which Copeland points, discusses a Rutgers University study of “the long-term unemployed,” which found that “32 percent were experiencing a good deal of stress” and “at least 11 percent reported seeking professional help for depression.” Moreover, many more did not have the insurance benefits or financial resources to seek such help, despite potentially needing it.
As Copeland suggests, while our region’s funders should of course ensure that basic needs are met, “it is critical that we keep in mind the less obvious needs a failure to support those, particularly mental health care, can lead to dire consequences.” She also points out that, as much or more so than sequestration, tax reforms could have a critical and perhaps longer-term effect on the national and local nonprofit community.
What are your thoughts? What might be the more “hidden” effects of sequestration?
White House estimate spells out tough road for Washington region economy (Washington Post): “… the upcoming automatic spending cuts the Obama administration detailed Sunday would strike a tough blow, with nearly 150,000 civilian Defense Department employees facing furloughs and an estimated average loss of $7,500 in pay [...] funding for elementary and secondary education across the region would be slashed by $29 million.” Economist Anirban Basu (Sage Policy Group) points out that sequestration will have a deeper effect on this region than the nation as a whole, as DC, Maryland, and Virginia are “among the most reliant communities in the nation on federal spending.”
Nonprofit Branding 2013: What Has Changed? (Nonprofit Quarterly): “First, we needed to see information technology not as a peripheral function within our organization but central to our mission pursuits. Second, we needed to see our identity less as an extension of our mission statement, but more as a link between the public perception of the impact we create and our higher calling to strengthen communities.” Carlo Cuesta, founder of the Saint Paul-based firm Creation in Common, goes to point out that “We have access to the tools and resources needed to build meaningful relationships with our stakeholders, what we lack are the capabilities to do it in a way that advances authenticity and mobilizes the public will.” Do you agree?
Gray aims high with sustainability plan; can agencies deliver? (Greater Greater Washington): “Last week, the Gray administration unveiled its sustainability plan, which sets some very ambitious, yet very important objectives for 2032, like attracting 250,000 new residents and making 75% of trips happen by walking, biking, and transit.” GGW argues that “to achieve these goals, agencies will have to push forward not just on their existing laudable initiatives, but go beyond.” For example: “it would be better to focus more new housing near Metro stations, streetcars, and high-frequency bus corridors. To do that, though, some administration will have to modify the Comprehensive Plan and zoning to create denser areas somewhere.”
Plan to close VA institutions stokes worry for families of the developmentally disabled (Washington Post): “Virginia is among the last states to begin dismantling its large institutions for the developmentally disabled, a decision that was made as part of a year-old settlement agreement with the Justice Department [...] All but one of the commonwealth’s five training centers, as the state calls them, are to be shuttered by 2020.” Judith Korf, the mother of a resident of the Northern Virginia Training Center, points out that “I think the past has shown that is the only thing that works.” While Virginia officials remain “confident that the training centers’ residents can be properly cared for in the community, [..] there is deep concern that the state is rushing the process to meet unrealistic, arbitrary closure deadlines.”
Leaders of metro counties urge Congress to act on budget (Gazette: Prince George’s): “Impending federal sequestration could damage the fiscal stability of Maryland’s metro counties and leaders of those counties are urging congressional action [...] county executives Isiah Leggett, Rushern L. Baker III and Kenneth S. Ulman gathered Tuesday to call on Congress to compromise and stop sequestration.” Montgomery County executive Leggett argued that “the the federal job loss piece alone could cost the county as much as $500,000 a day in local income tax revenue” for his county and Prince George’s county executive Baker “said about 10 percent of Prince George’s jobs are federal.”
Gates, Buffett push Giving Pledge international (Seattle Times): “British billionaire and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and his wife Joan are among the newest philanthropists who have pledged to give away half their wealth to charity.” This year, the Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett-initiated Giving Pledge, has grown to include “its first international members, including 12 wealthy individuals and couples from Russia, South Africa, Australia, Germany, India, the United Kingdom and Malaysia.” Since 2010, over 100 individuals and families have signed the Pledge.