Equipping nonprofits to advance social change

Tag: Government Accountability

Happy Poverty Day!

You didn’t know Poverty Day was a thing? I kid, it’s not really something worth celebrating, but this is the one time a year when we can count on the media to focus on the economy as it is experienced by the millions who are struggling...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

“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

SWOP’s Community Organizing Efforts Featured in NY Times

For over 10 years, the Southwest Organizing Project in Albuquerque, NM has worked hard to deliver water services to the Pajarito Mesa. A recent NY Times article takes a look at life on the Mesa, featuring SWOP organizer Sandra Montes who gave the Times a tour of the area and explained the organizing history, which has resulted in a water filling station, mobile health clinics and other services. SWOP is directed by Building Movement Project Team Member, Robby Rodriguez, and works primarily in low-income communities of color to gain community control of land and resources.more

BMP Contributes to Open Government Dialogue

The White House has launched an "Open Government Initiative" in order to generate new ideas for creating a more participatory, transparent, and collaborative government. The first step in this process is the Open Government Dialogue, which is an online forum for public engagement in policymaking. Log-in and vote for BMP!more

Talking About Taxes

A series of exercises to help understand the complexity of our relationship with taxes.

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