4 Reasons to Work at a Nonprofit

There are so many reasons to work for a nonprofit and make it a career for life. The options and ways to help that nonprofits offer are innumerable, ranging from actually working in the field to managing organizations to figuring out logistics and writing for grants. Not only can you earn a living (nonprofit salaries have been rising in the past few years), but you can also change the world and improve the lives of people everywhere. If that sort of job satisfaction isn’t enough, here are four more reasons why working for a nonprofit might be the right career choice for you!

  1. Millennials are wired differently: The fact is that the millennial generation was raised in a much different world, both technologically and politically, than previous generations. They have been bombarded with information coming at them at much faster speeds than anyone before them (thanks internet), allowing them to process different types of information faster. This means that millennials have ability to promote and support social and economic change better than any previous generation. They also are inheriting a world that is a mess; the empathy they have can lead to great things.
  2. Most degrees are useful: Nonprofits are complicated beings with multiple levels of administration and organization. Most majors studied in college are can be of great use to certain nonprofits. You can even major in nonprofit management at certain schools and get masters in it as well. This allows people to help more efficiently and specialize their careers so that they get the most satisfaction out of it.
  3. Create your own path: There are so many different types of nonprofits (and jobs within them) allowing people to do whatever they truly want to do. This sort of customization in career choice can also even apply to the country that you end up working and living it too.
  4. Love your job: People who help others are usually happier and more satisfied with their lives. Working in a nonprofit environment means that not only are you helping others, but you very well might be helping yourself as well. And who doesn’t want to be happy in life?

There are so many reasons to work at a nonprofit. Read this link for more information!

A New Orleans Nonprofit is Creating Affordable Housing

All around the country, housing prices are in flux as the economy swings wildly between recession, stagnation, and growth and as housing bubbles are formed and then burst. Cities are the most affected by these changes in the housing market and people living close to or under the poverty line are being increasingly marginalized and forced to move over and over again away from desirable locations and neighborhoods. With the way the trend is currently going, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that these issues are just going to continue in the future and possibly even be exacerbated. This means that more and more people are going to be priced out of affordable housing and forced to move into isolated communities away from services.jonathan offt, new orleans, public housing, cedar rapids, iowa

One new non-profit in New Orleans is seeing what’s happening to neighborhoods around the country and have decided they’ve had enough. The Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative is a newly created non-profit that focuses on building permanently affordable housing in New Orleans, focusing on the Mid-City neighborhood. So far, the initiative only has one building that’s undergoing renovations and in a delicious twist of irony, it’s only 3 blocks away from a massive $2 billion hospital complex that’s being constructed. The organization is working on a four-plex and is using a model called community land trust so that the apartments will be committed to low and moderate-income families in the future.

A community land trust is a nonprofit that develops land and housing, aimed at homeownership, that is directed by and on behalf of the neighborhood residents. The Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative was created in 2008 and was planning on waiting before starting any development. They bought their building in 2010 and only started working on it when they heard the news of the hospital complex being built, knowing that prices in the area would skyrocket higher when the hospital was completed. Because the building is held under a community trust, all the money being poured into the project is being invested for future generations. The trust allows rent prices to remain flexible, regardless of rising rents around the building. With both private and public funding being offered to the project, this could very well be the future of affordable public housing and that’s not a bad thing at all.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

Profitable Non-Profit Education

Charter schools are essentially non-profits who often hire for-profit companies to handle their finances and operations. A few years ago, auditors found that most revenue from the non-profit Buffalo United Charter went to a large management firm called National Heritage Academies (NHA) and the board’s involvement in running the school was almost ceremonial. This has caused ripples in the education world and this tradition of ‘sweeps’ contract, where almost all of the tax payers’ money is swept into a private management company, is brought into light for the first time. The public concern regarding surrendering responsibility of charter schools to private management is mostly about how these companies are not legally obligated to act in the best interest of the taxpayers.

The money is likely to be spent irresponsibly and unfortunately, more often than not, that is the case with most of these firms. For companies like National Heritage Academies, their relationship with public-funded institutions can conveniently pave the path to steady profits for themselves. Buffalo United’s board defended their decision to place faith on an external firm by saying that having someone else taking care of operational tasks, the board members can focus on fundraising. They also asserted that National Heritage Academies fully adhered to all state and federal laws, academic regulations and authorizer oversight requirements and all this was done under full transparency.

While the partnership between schools and such companies are under scrutiny, sweep contracts themselves haven’t received much attention and as of today, are not widely monitored. It is mostly because regulators or even the schools themselves do not have much access to the accounts of private companies. Alex Medler of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers says that this is an issue that requires immediate attention since sweep contracts demonstrate a blatant inefficiency in fulfilling public function and in some cases, a series of questionable spendings.

The auditors noticed inexplicable charges in terms of rent and equipment costs in the case of Buffalo United and NHA, but were unable to verify these suspicions or satisfactorily account for the school’s $10 million spending because they were denied access to the financial books of NHA. The auditors could do nothing more than issue ‘advisory recommendations’ on the matter since most of the audit process remained incomplete.

In the past few years there have been situations where the charter schools have pushed their management companies for more transparency, including the case in 2010 where 10 charter school boards sued the management firm, White Hat Management, when it refused to disclose basic information about expenditures. Heeding from these examples, some charter schools now understand the implications of their limited access and are beginning to push for more authority for its regulators. Unfortunately, the management firms are putting up an even stronger fight and so far, the dynamics have not changed particularly in favor of charter schools across the nation.

The Mayor’s Fund Gets a New Leader

NonprofitBill de Blasio, the current mayor of New York City, recently appointed Chirlane McCray, his wife, chairwoman of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, a nonprofit that raises money to support a variety of city causes.  De Blasio said he needed someone who understands New York City, its struggles, and is driven and dedicated to creating positive change within city communities to lead the nonprofit.  He believed his wife was the perfect candidate in that respect.

Defining the couple’s relationship during her husband’s campaign process and the road ahead McCray said, “If there is one thing I know from all our years together, it is that you and I are happiest when we are united behind a common cause.  That’s our marriage, and that’s our partnership, and I thank you.”  De Blasio emphasized that fact that the city’s Conflict of Interest Board had cleared the appointment of McCray to chairwoman of the city nonprofit and that she would be unpaid.  “By agreeing to do this for free, she’s giving a great gift to the people of New York City, and I think people will receive it as such,” de Blasio added.

Under Michael Bloomberg, the previous mayor of New York City, the nonprofit organization supported various environmental causes, anti-poverty goals, and public health and youth initiatives.  McCray said that she would add helping immigrant communities, children and families to the nonprofit’s agenda.

Gabrielle Fialkoff, the chairwoman of de Blasio’s inauguration committee, was given the role of senior adviser to the mayor in addition to being named the director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships.  The Office of Strategic Partnerships oversees the Mayor’s Fund and other similar organizations like the Fund for Public Schools and the Fund for Public Health.

For more information about McCray becoming chairwoman of the Mayor’s Fund please visit http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/07/nyregion/de-blasio-appoints-chirlane-mccray-his-wife-to-lead-nonprofit-group.html?_r=0.

Nonprofit serving it up efficiently

Jonathan OfftAccording to an article by the Christian Science Monitor, the Akshaya Patra Foundation, a nonprofit in India, serves 1.5 million lunches to school children each day. Over the course of the year, the organization gives out over 330 million hot lunches.

In just 12 years, the Akshaya Patra Foundation has become one of the world’s largest and effective non-government organizations.

The foundation made a point when it first began to make their operation scalable. They didn’t want to just take food from places to then put it in a couple of schools. They wanted to cast a wide net to provide for many people. They actually cook all of their own food in factories that can provide for an upwards of 200,000 kids. They have their own trucks that deliver the meals to the schools as well. They have basically created the whole operation, from production all the way to distribution – everything is in house. This helps cut down on costs as they don’t need to outsource for any materials along the process. That is the reason per kid a meal only costs .08 cents and the for the year $28. Remarkable numbers.

According to the article, the Akshaya Patra Foundation “constantly innovates – including using data analytics, cooking using clean energies, and constantly improving ingredients to have healthier food – while keeping the cost the same. It hires the best talent available – experts from India’s best schools and companies, and pays them a comfortable wage. And it maintains strong corporate governance with boards, auditors and others joining in.”

Central and state governments are also on board with the foundation and their vision and well as a growing middle class. With all the support and the ability to scale and make meals affordable, everyone will continue to benefit and the foundation should only continue to grow.