Which road will get us there?

Yesterday I attended The New Picture of Government Funding, hosted by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. The event offered an opportunity for nonprofit practitioners to deepen their understanding of the changing landscape of relationships among government and nonprofits. Speakers Jan Malcolm, Dan McElroy, Tom Hanson, Francy Hall, and Pete Dross all offered their perspectives on this pivotal moment ranging from the local, state, and federal levels.

Jan Malcolm set the context of this time of change and current uncertainty. In quoting, "When we don't know where we're going, any road will get us there" she cautioned us to be responsible stewards of our work. Nonprofits are critical providers of public goods and current conditions are calling us to sort degrees of merit among the variety of our sector's publicly provided services. Now more than ever is the call for systemic thinking, focused in a phase of real transformation. As nonprofit leaders and managers its our responsibility to re-examine our organizations and role among sectors. Does this call for a different way of working? Yes. Are there opportunities available to help us with re-envisioning our collective work? Yes.

Although not being framed by the federal government in this capacity, I would argue the $4.6 billion (through ARRA) provides Minnesota an opportunity to revitalize civic entrepreneurship through nonprofit and government relationships. With dollars available for innovative funds and teacher incentive grants in education; CSBG, senior nutrition, and homelessness prevention health information technology in health and human services; as well as funding in energy, broadband, housing, public safety and arts programs, these programs can (continue to) position Minnesota as a leader in public good provision. Click here for additional information regarding funding available from the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

PubTalkers, which road do you think we'll take to get there?

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