Where Stimulus Funds Can Make a Difference

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Buried in last month's staggering unemployment numbers ["598,000 Jobs Shed in Brutal January," front page, Feb. 7] are the thousands of nonprofit workers now without jobs. These losses do more than damage the lives of the employees -- they also undermine services that the unemployed and other vulnerable groups desperately need in these troubled times.

Nonprofits are a crucial part of the American economy, employing nearly 13 million people, more than the finance, insurance and real estate sectors combined. They improve the lives of virtually everyone in our country, never more than during periods like this. Hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers will turn to nonprofits for job training, food assistance, health care, emergency shelter and much more.

Yet nonprofits themselves are facing enormous struggles. Though demand for their services is skyrocketing, organizations across the country are laying off staff and cutting programs because of shrinking private contributions, reduced government funding and increasingly long delays in government reimbursements for services already provided.

The nonprofit community ties together many parts of the social safety net.

Any recovery package must ensure that nonprofit workers stay on the job: to keep those men and women employed, to maintain services for vulnerable communities and to help revitalize our economy.

DIANA AVIV

President and Chief Executive

Independent Sector

Washington


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