Equipping nonprofits to advance social change

Tag: Governance

Reflections from the 3rd Detroit People’s Platform Annual Meeting

“We have worked out a system to deal with the system.” These words, spoken by Detroit People’s Platform member Jocelyn Harris at our annual meeting, stand as a testament to the growing enthusiasm behind our method for social change in Detroit. Since its very first meeting... more

Lessons from Detroit

Many commentators have taken to calling Detroit the canary in the coal mine, as a warning to other cities facing de-industrialization, unemployment and other “urban” woes. But in this era of the city’s bankruptcy “crisis” and supposed comeback, what we see from Detroit is... more

Detroit People’s Platform, A Year Later

What does it mean when even after a last-minute venue change over 100 overworked community activists across seven city council districts turn out to an event committed to bringing about social change? I think it means a movement is building. Tuesday, June 12th marked the second annual meeting of the Detroit... more

Detroit (Still) on My Mind

Last week, Linda Campbell wrote about her experiences in Detroit. In These Times has a terrific article, Detroit’s Downfall: Beyond the Myth of Black Misleadership, by Marilyn Katz that gives a different narrative on Detroit’s current woes. Though not as pointed, I read two other pieces... more

Detroit People’s Platform and Convention held at Marygrove College

Patrick Geans, a reporter for the Michigan Citizen, recaps the Detroit People's Platform and Convention, organized by Building Movement Detroit, which took place on June 1st.  Over 200 community residents and leaders from all seven city council districts attended the Convention, which was organized around 5 main issue platforms- government, jobs, land acquisition, food and transportation.

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“Neoliberalism & Marketization” Revisited

Last month, the Building Movement staff and project team discussed two articles on the connections between neoliberalism, marketization and the current realities of the nonprofit sector. Co-Director Sean Thomas-Bretifeld reflects on what came out of that discussion, how these issues have impacted the nonprofit sector as a whole, and where we can go from here.

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Detroit Emergency Management and What it Means for Democracy

The City of Detroit has been in the news a lot recently, as Michigan Governor Rick Snyder decided to pass a controversial Emergency Manager law (a similar law was defeated by popular vote in November). The Emergency Manager law gives Michigan state officials the ability to appoint one person to take over almost all of city operations, and eliminates the powers of the publicly-elected City Council. Citing mounting debts and insufficient income, the state government says that Detroit’s dire financial straits necessitate bringing in an Emergency Manager- someone who will have unilateral authority to alter or eliminate collective bargaining agreements, cut city services, and lay off public employees. Since a similar provision went into effect in Pontiac, MI, the emergency manager there has privatized the Department of Public Works, outsourced many public services, and put every city-owned piece of property up for sale. All of this is done without any oversight from publicly elected city officials (though in some cases the mayor of cities with emergency managers remains on board in a consultant role). With so many problems facing the City, is the City Manager law the right response?

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Sequestration and the Need for Movement Building

Reflections from Sean Thomas-Breitfeld In my first few weeks at the Building Movement Project, I’ve been doing a lot of travel to get up to speed on the work that BMP’s nonprofit partners are doing around the country. Just last week, I was in Washington and spoke with many of our sector’s advocates about the “sequestration” – the mandatory across-the-board federal budget cuts that went into effect on March 1st. For months, advocacy groups and nonprofit associations have been warning nonprofit groups about the impact these harsh cuts will have on low-income people and organizations they go to for support. It’s true that the sign-on letters, human-interest stories, and op-eds were not enough to change the sequester policy and avoid the budget cuts and maybe it is unreasonable to expect the nonprofit sector can suddenly wield enough power to overcome the austerity framework that is limiting the policy discussion in the halls of Congress. The power imbalance that stacks the deck in favor of policies benefiting the rich is hard to overcome. But that is why social movements are so important, and why I believe in our sector’s potential as an engine for social change.

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Detroit Accountable Community Governance Event

In July, 2012 William Copeland and Rayven Roberts represented EMEAC at the Accountable Community Governance Convening held by the South by Southwest Experiment in Jackson, Mississippi. This event, to be held at The Commons on Thursday, August 30th from 6-8pm, will serve as a community report back. But furthermore will be a discussion about what does Accountable Community Governance look like in Detroit. more

Non Profit Governance Models: Problems and Prospects

This article by Pat Bradshaw explores existing and alternative non-profit board structures. The authors present four possible models and the possibilities of developing hybrid models based on the needs on individual organizations. more

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