FEMINISM IN PRACTICE W O M E N S T D 3 5 0 / U N I V E R S I T Y O F M I C H I G A N
From the Editors We spent the past semester learning nonprofit management, community engagement, and feminist practice. This magazine serves as a communication tool to display what we and our fellow peers have taken away from the course both through lectures and through the service site work each of us performed. For this magazine, we had the flexibility to write about what each of us found most interesting about nonprofit management and the different course concepts and readings that were discussed. We hope you enjoy learning about how working with these nonprofits has impacted our perspective.
FIRED UP AND BURNT OUT Recognizing and Managing Fatigue in Nonprofit Work Exhaustion. Fatigue. Apathy. Weariness.
There are many ways to describe the feelings of burnout, and this intense workrelated stress has become widespread among nonprofit employees. Burnout is “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity” (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2018). Some people with burnout may feel that they are mechanically going through their daily work without feeling any attachment to their job or co-workers. Others feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or bitter about their current work situation. While almost anyone can experience burnout, the condition frequently occurs among those with emotional connections to their work, such as social workers, medical providers, and – unsurprisingly – nonprofit employees. Many people enter nonprofit work because they are inspired to make change in their communities and are driven to support the missions of their organizations, rather than seeking financial gain or notoriety. Nonprofits prefer to hire employees with a public-service mindset because organizations cannot offer much in terms of financial compensation or upward mobility within the organization (Armstrong, BluittFisher, Lopez-Newman, Paul,& Paul, 2009).
By: Hope Norris
Organizations hire highly motivated employees to ensure job satisfaction and maintain a stable employee workforce. However, when workers feel unsupported in their roles or that their work is not creating a significant impact, employee passion can dwindle. Nonprofits are under immense pressure to deliver high-impact programs and services with diminishing federal assistance, new regulations that complicate implementation, and a skyrocketing number of constituents in need. These stressors can result in increased hours and responsibilities for employees, decreased ability to develop effective programs and services, weak relationships between organizational leadership and employees, and, of course, burnout among staff (Armstrong et al., 2009, p. 7). Stressful circumstances can create a cycle where individuals leave the organization due to a lack of support or determining that the demands of their workplace are too overwhelming. The turnover further perpetuates high-stress situations for remaining employees and results in more departures. Scorch Marks While burnout isn’t a medical condition, it can affect emotional and physical wellbeing, so it is vital for individuals to recognize the warning signals of burnout. According to the Mayo Clinic (2018), signs of burnout include: Difficulty motivating self to go to work/trouble starting tasks Feeling cynical or critical while at work Feeling impatient and/or irritable with colleagues, clients, or managers ·
Having a lack of energy Having difficulty concentrating Feeling disillusioned with employer/organization mission Trouble feeling satisfied with achievements Using food, drugs, or alcohol to comfort oneself or reduce feeling Somatic symptoms, including: o Disrupted sleeping habits o Unexplained headaches o Stomach/bowel problems o Physical pains with unknown causes Furthermore, prolonged burnout can lead to negative health outcomes, such as insomnia, heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and increased susceptibility to (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2018). Once burnout has been pinpointed, it’s essential to begin reducing stress levels to avoid undesirable complications. Burnout isn’t just hurting employees – it also negatively impacts nonprofit organizations. Employee turnover due to job dissatisfaction leads to increased administrative costs organizationwide during the employee’s exit, position vacancy, and the hiring and training for the new worker. Furthermore, turnover results in decreased efficiency and productivity department-wide while the exiting employee is still working and the new employee is being trained (Armstrong et al., 2009, p. 7). Overall, high levels of turnover can result in mission drift, loss of organizational history, and discontent among remaining employees. With resources already stretched thin at many organizations, it’s crucial for nonprofit leaders to notice employee fatigue and promote a culture of engagement to reduce burnout.
What Puts Out the Fire? Christina Maslach and Michael Leiter, professors at the University of California, Berkeley, and Acadia University, respectively, have spent their careers studying and understanding the sources of burnout. They have determined six areas of organizational culture that influence workplace stress (Maslach & Leiter, 2005, p. 44): Workload: the level of work and availability of resources Control: power, accountability, influence, micromanagement Reward: pay,acknowledgement, satisfaction Community: isolation versus connectedness, conflict, respect versus disrespect ·Fairness: discrimination, favoritism, equity Values: ethical conflicts, meaning, purpose of tasks When there’s a lack of alignment between a person’s expectations and their job’s demands, this creates the circumstances for burnout. For example, a nonprofit employee may feel overloaded at work due a lack of resources and perceptions that they must overextend themselves to meet the organization’s needs.Overwork can also result in dissatisfaction (a lack of reward) and a loss of control in the workplace. Other employees may perceive a lack of community among the nonprofit team, resulting in conflicts between nonprofit leaders, organizational staff,and volunteers Continued in appendix...
Burnout isn’t just hurting employees – it also negatively impacts nonprofit organizations.
THE LEADERS OF TOMORROW, TODAY. Strong leadership drives success in nonprofit organizationsâ€”we have learned this throughout the entirety of the semester in lectures, readings and through guest speakers. Whether we realize it or not, we have also learned this lesson outside of the classroom, and outside of nonprofit organizations as well. It is a lesson that has surrounded us in the media, in books, in our education, and in many other narratives throughout or lives: strong leadership drives success. Over the last thirty years, however, there
has been a shift in the narrative of who can be a strong leader. The shift has leaned away from adult professionals running successful organizations, and has made way for a new definition of who can create change and influence in the professional worldâ€”youth. Youth driven organizations have emerged in the nonprofit world, paving the way for a future with more prepared leaders, more cohesive communities, and most importantly, more involved citizens who feel that their voices matter. The development of youth driven organizations in communities across the country is necessary to strengthen these communities in both the short term and the long term.them here.
After spending the semester working with teens to ensure their personal and academic success, I hope to highlight the importance of empowering youth to become better leaders in order to create a better future. -Rachel Bernstein
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Americans began to open their eyes to some of the ways in which children and adolescents were not only misrepresented in the media, but often times mistreated and not provided the opportunity to grow and develop into contributing members of society. During this time, news outlets often described teens as chaotic, and credited many of society’s safety problems and apathy to this emerging generation (Zimmerman, 2007). At the same time that this was happening, many teens were feeling abandoned by policymakers and other community members who had adopted many of the biases of the anti-youth movement. It was only after all of this adversity that many young people in the United States began to explore the idea of taking matters into their own hands, and becoming their own advocates. Teens around the nation began starting their own nonprofit organizations dedicated to advocacy, policy change, community engagement, and a plethora of other areas that they deemed necessary for their development into adults and future leaders. Kristen Zimmerman, a scholar in the youth engagement and leadership sector, says it best:
“By engaging youth in leadership and governance, young people have taken on roles normally reserved for adults in community organizations. Young people have become agents of change addressing real-world issues such as environmental racism, educational inequality and hate crimes. Youth-led organizations have developed culturally relevant organizational structures, redefined and healed intergenerational relationships, and become rich environments for individual and community development,” (Zimmerman, 2007).
In accordance with the youth leadership and engagement movement, it was the youth themselves that realized if they want certain opportunities to come, they will have to create the spaces to get them for themselves. So, youth began to make the push for their own voices to be heard, and for their own seat at the table. Shortly after this, supportive adults in the community began to hop on board to help youth make large and effective change. It is widely agreed upon that adolescence is one of the most critical points in human development. At this time, teens brains are adapting, and developing stronger connections to certain regions related to judgement and executive functioning. Aside from this, adolescents in a community are at an optimal period of learning and refining new skills.
This is why it is necessary to shape leaders from a young age. When teenagers are given the opportunity to lead their community and provide new opportunities for themselves and other teens, it allows them to feel like there voice is being valued from a young age. Additionally, it pushes them to think harder, make decisions, and consider important political issues that remain relevant for most of their lives from that point forward. Unfortunately, in the public education system, the longer that teens remain in the typical structure of school, the less motivated and likely they are to provide input to their own learning experiences. Also, as they get older, they are given less and less opportunities to do so. A survey completed in 2013 concurred, stating that: â€œOpportunities for expressing personal voice in decision-making plummets from 61% at the beginning of middle school to 37% by 12th grade,â€? (Adamec, 2013). This reason further emphasizes the importance of teens finding these opportunities to engage outside of the classroom, in order to work on developing their voice and skills for a brighter and more successful future for both themselves and their community.
In Ann Arbor, Neutral Zone is a wonderful example of a youth-driven, youth-led organization. The mission statement was conceived by teens, for teens, and the organization aims to strengthen youth development while simultaneously bettering the community in which they live. Teens are involved at every level of the organization, going so far as to serve on the executive board and help approve major funding and structural decisions. When teens feel that their voices are valued, and their input is important and necessary to the organizations success, they will gain confidence, and will be able to make more important decisions in the future that may extend even further into the community. The impact of Neutral Zone reaches primarily teens, but also goes far beyond that, as Neutral Zone has partnered with over 80 organizations in the local community in order to familiarize them with the benefits of youth empowerment. By providing teens with opportunities for leadership at a young age, they are gaining knowledge and skills that will allow them to be even stronger leaders in the future. The teens of today are the adults and future leaders of the next generation. By refining some of their leadership skills now, they will be even stronger later on.
Youth engagement and leadership is necessary for the success of nonprofit organizations and for the success of a better future. We must begin to shape future leaders now, so that they can ask questions now to more experienced professionals, practice making big decisions, and most importantly, so that they are prepared to handle whatever difficult decisions they may face in the future when they are truly making the big decisions for their community. Society is constantly changing, and adopting new ideas and principles that drive the mission and values of non profit organizations. Youth today have grown up in our changing world, and are the ones most familiar with how to integrate these modern beliefs and principles to run successful organizations. Youth leadership and engagement is important and necessary. Letâ€™s push to encourage more youth leadership. Letâ€™s create the leaders of tomorrow, today. References Youth Speak Out Coalition, & Zimmerman, K. (2007). Making space, making change: Models for youth-led social change organizations. Children Youth and Environments, 17(2), 298-314. Overview: Authentic Youth Engagement: Students at the Center. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://studentsatthecenterhub.org/toolkit/authentic-youth-engagement/.
Cheyanne Jorgensen 12/20/2019 “Organizations can be built with an understanding that we each hold multiple intersectional identities that give us powerful and unique insights that we can express and operationalize in any variety of ways.” As Nonprofit Quarterly explains, “shared leadership happens when we maximize everyone’s ability to step into, at the right times, the leadership they are most suited for while coordinating our activity to achieve an impact larger than the sum of its parts.” This seems very far off from traditional leadership, right? More collaboration, autonomy, and a dynamic work environment. Shared leadership through things like worker self-directed nonprofits might just be the radical innovation that the nonprofit industry needs.
The dominant model of organizational structure in nonprofits is not sustainable Nonprofit Leadership Deficit
Due to increasing demand and decreasing supply of nonprofit leadership, there is a concerning deficit in nonprofit leadership
projected in the coming years (Tierney). In addition to factors such as baby boomers retiring and a large increase in the number and size of nonprofits, retention rates are worsened by unclear career paths within nonprofit organizations (Cornelius). While traditional commercial enterprises hire the majority of their management from within the company, nonprofit organizations do not. This lowers the motivation of staff members to grow within the organization and prepare themselves for leadership, further decreasing the pool of potential leaders (Cornelius).
Potential of Staff is Overlooked
In addition to not having a clear path of advancement, the leadership capabilities exhibited on a daily basis by staff in various positions are often overlooked as leadership focus is on the individuals at the top. “Instead of harnessing everyone’s ability to lead, envision, and create, we are asking most of us to follow the few of us who assume a great burden” (Costello). Current organizational models do not allow for shared leadership as hierarchies place great responsibility on top leaders, expecting them to define and uphold a system to coordinate staff members across subsequent levels. This presents an issue to both leadership and staff. Adapting to a
strictly defined role inhibits staff members’ abilities to apply their own unique experiences and background in order to make an impact. Leaders, on the other hand, are overburdened and oftentimes underpaid for the work they are expected to do (Cornelius).
Where do we start in addressing structural issues in organizations? Rethinking leadership as a whole. The widespread belief that leadership should be individual-centered, with power coming from an individual with a specific skill set sitting atop a hierarchy, is often a source of great limitation within an organization. This traditional idea of leadership explicitly limits the number of leaders to the amount of formal positions in the organization and ignores the potential of staff members by limiting roles and defining exactly what they are to do. Taking a step back and looking at leadership simply as “the practice of maximizing the use of one’s individual talents and the potential of a team to develop and execute a vision,” (Costello) we can begin to visualize a more efficient organizational structure that does not inhibit creativity.
What does shared leadership look like in practice?
organization in which all workers have the power to influence the programs in which they work, the conditions of their workplace, their own career paths, and the direction of the organization as a whole” (Worker). This is essentially a mix of a worker cooperative and a 501c3, operating on the principle of workplace democracy. Instead of placing anyone in a position of hierarchal authority, systems coordinate activities and small groups are given zones of autonomy in order to disperse power (Costello). This creates more of a pool of leadership as opposed to a top to bottom flow within an organization. Though this idea of collaboration sounds simple, a worker self-directed nonprofit is not a one size fits all model. Instead, an organization must think about the best way to engage all stakeholders in decision making, leading to a more comprehensive solution to structure that aligns with the organization (Resist). The idea operates on three basic principles: 1. The staff collective sets the organizational priorities 2. The board of directors provides oversight, duty of care and duty of loyalty 3. We maintain a culture of mutual support and accountability (Resist)
What are the benefits?
A worker self-directed nonprofit is a great example. The Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) defines this as “a nonprofit
Defying the traditional idea of leadership and instead distributing it throughout an organization allows for more effective work in advancing a specific mission and offers greater autonomy to staff, while also positioning it to more easily adapt or respond to the landscape it operates in (Worker).
While traditional power structures “inhibit the dynamic, innovative, and agile responses that empowered people are capable of and choose static control and repetition instead,” worker self-directed nonprofits do the opposite (Costello). They allow for more ideas, new perspectives, and higher energy and involvement, which all combine to make a greater impact and provide new solutions to existing problems. In other words, “just as the richness of a harmony multiplies with each extra note, our work is strengthened by multiple, differing voices” (Resist). In addition, it has been proven that autonomy in the workplace improves job satisfaction, leading to more productivity and excitement for the work (Oligny). Greater job satisfaction can improve retention rates in this industry that faces a lack of staffing and leadership due in part to unclear career paths within organizations.
“Just as the richness of a harmony multiplies with each extra note, our work is strengthened by multiple, differing voices.” Takeaways The bottom line is that leadership must be reimagined in the nonprofit sector. With a lack of resources and a shared value for community improvement, leadership should be sourced from every individual in an organization. It is time to unleash the potential of the entire team of staff and stop limiting leadership opportunities to those at the top of a hierarchy. We must evolve our understanding of leadership
and the structure of our organizations will follow. More specifically, we must transition from individual-focused leadership and hierarchies to collective power as leadership and collaborative environments. Just as businesses focus great energy on finding the next disruptive innovation, nonprofits should be focused on keeping up with their dynamic landscapes and making sure they are prepared for change. What other traditions are we blindly following? Are there other aspects of nonprofit management that need redefining in our modern era? Reconsidering leadership, such a central aspect in any industry, seems to be a large step in innovation. If we can restructure organizations around this new definition, surely we can redefine other areas of interest while maintaining the integrity of our work. I’ll leave you with a thought about this idea of flexibility from SELC’s Simon Mont: “Organizations can be built with an understanding that we each hold multiple intersectional identities that give us powerful and unique insights that we can express and operationalize in any variety of ways” (Resist).
“It is time to unleash the potential of the entire team of staff and stop limiting leadership opportunities to those at the top of a hierarchy.” Author Bio Cheyanne is a senior studying Business Administration while pursuing a minor is Community Action and Social Change. She is determined to bring social justice into her work in the business world.
Cornelius, Marla et al. “Ready to Lead?” CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Meyer Foundation and Idealist.org. 2008 https://www.compasspoint.org/sites/d efault/files/documents/521_readytolea d2008.pdf Costello, Amy, et al. “The Future of Nonprofit Leadership: Worker Self-Directed Organizations.” Non Profit News | Nonprofit Quarterly, 17 July 2018, https://nonprofitquarterly.org/futurenonprofit-leadership/. Oligny, Ali. “Worker Self-Directed Nonprofits.” The Modern Nonprofit, 10 Jan. 2019, https://themodernnonprofit.com/work er-self-directed-nonprofits/. Resist. “Resist as a Worker Self-Directed Nonprofit: Part One.” Medium, Medium, 19 Mar. 2019, https://medium.com/@ResistFoundatio n/resist-as-a-worker-self-directednonprofit-part-one-6746a5ce51b7. Tierney, T. J. (2006). The Nonprofit Sector’s Leadership Deficit. San Francisco: The Bridgespan Group. “Worker Self-Directed Nonprofits.” Sustainable Economies Law Center, https://www.theselc.org/worker_selfdir ected_nonprofits.
WHAT KIND OF LEADER ARE YOU?
About the author: Abby Hackett is a senior studying environmental studies and international studies. Her experiences over the years have led her to nonprofits. She is interested in how nonprofits can expand the environmental movement.
he Michigan Model of Leadership is a leadership model developed in response to the challenges faced by our current generation (DeRue, Spreitzer, Flanagan, & Allen, 2013). DeRue, Spreitzer, Flanagan, and Allen recognize that previous definitions of leaders included charismatic and heroic figures, that lacked other important qualities (2013). They also recognize that leadership does not mean that someone has a formal title or position of power; everyone can be a leader (DeRue, Spreitzer, Flanagan, & Allen, 2013). In fact, we need a diversity of leaders to tackle the complex challenges we face today.DeRue, Spreitzer, Flanagan, and Allen identify leadership as “a set of actions that anyone can engage” and recognize that “we need each person to have a bias towards action with a commitment to the collective good”(DeRue, Spreitzer, Flanagan, & Allen, 2013). With this view, anyone can engage in leadership actions, regardless of their position and access to power.
QUIZ: What Kind of Leader Are You?
Duke | 102
The best leaders recognize these competing values and manage them (DeRue, Spreitzer, Flanagan, & Allen, 2013). It is very rare that someone has all of these values, but it is possible for anyone to learn how to manage the tensions between them (DeRue, Spreitzer, Flanagan, & Allen, 2013).So, what steps do DeRue, Spreitzer, Flanagan, and Allen recommend for learning to manage these tensions? 1. Readying for GrowthIn this step leaders prepare to learn in complex environments by “building an awareness of strengths in context, identifying specific, learning goals, and developing a learning mindset” 2. Taking Action to LearnIn this step leaders actively alter the way they are leading to try to figure out which manages tensions the best. This involves taking risks, trying new things, and actively seeking feedback. 3. Reflecting to RetainIn this step leaders build consistent reflection practices in order to learn from their action steps
With all of these steps and tensions in mind, what kind of leader are you? What kind of leader will you be? DeRue, D. S., Spreitzer, G., Flanagan, B., & Allen, B. (2013). Developing Adaptive Leaders for Turbulent Times: The Michigan Model of Leadership. The European Business Review, 57-61.
Source: Houston Public Media Demetric Pridgeon Generally speaking, not a lot of nonprofit organizations have a lot of staff members to run the organization, and to help ensure that the organization is providing their services they offer to the community. This is where the role of volunteers come into play. Volunteers are very important for many reasons when it comes to non-profit organizations. The first reason why volunteers are so important to their nonprofit organization is because volunteers do not get paid for the work they are doing, thus showing volunteers care about the work that they are doing because of the free time they are giving. Secondly, volunteers are important to nonprofit organizations because they are giving up their valuable time to help serve others who may need it. Moreover, volunteers are important to nonprofit organizations because they can help take
their organization to the next level as well. Just by having volunteers allow the nonprofit organization to save money or allocate it somewhere because volunteers do not get paid. Volunteers who serve on boards of directors and their committees are the pillars of nonprofit organization. In the article “ Volunteers: What Can They Do For You Today?”, mentions “While the Executive Director takes care of day to day matters, volunteer directors take responsibility for policy making, for assuring that the organization has adequate funding, and for meeting any legal challenges that might arise” (Consulting 2014). Moreover, volunteers can help with bringing more volunteers in that care for community service. Additionally, in the article “Volunteers: What Can They Do for You Today?”, the author mentions “As part of a development committee, volunteers can serve as prospectors, mining their networks for nuggets you want to pan out. They also
can be the go-getters who will put on special events such as auctions, galas, or raffles. Others can seek to get better media coverage” (Consulting 24). Volunteers help with the important roles that goes behind with planning events and helping get the support that is needed for funding. While volunteers are helpful to their nonprofit organization, their organization can also create an environment where they are not interested in volunteering anymore. In the article “5 Things that drive Your Nonprofit Volunteers Away”, the volunteer mentions “often spend my volunteer hours trying to find something to do or waiting for instructions that never materialize” (Engelhardt-Cronk & DoubleTake 2019). If a nonprofit does not have a great set of organization and leadership skills it can cause trouble with the routine that volunteers should follow. Additionally, from the article “5 Things That Drive Your Nonprofit Volunteers Away”, the volunteer mentions “I care about the missions of these organizations, but I also volunteered to become part of my community. I’ve felt like an outsider at all these charities” (Engelhardt-Cronk & DoubleTake 2019). Nonprofits have to realize that they receive a lot of volunteers that helps them out. Thus, providing events for their volunteers involving team building can help their volunteers feel more a part of the team, and connected to the organization as well. Conclusion: Overall, volunteers play an important role in helping nonprofit organizations survive. They are a vital asset in making sure that organizations are upholding their values, mission and their vision. Non- profit organizations suffer the most when their volunteers are not committed to their cause or their values. Volunteers need to ensure that they are doing reflects the mission and the values of their organization. With clear objectives and a plan
nonprofit organizations and volunteers can create great results. About Author: Demetric Pridgeon is a senior at the University of Michigan who has a passion for public health and gender and health. In the future, I hope to be able to change some of the burdens that people face with our healthcare system. References Engelhardt-Cronk, Kathryn, and MissionBox DoubleTake. “5 Things That Drive Your Nonprofit Volunteers Away.” MissionBox, 5 Sept. 2019, https://www.missionbox.com/article/517/5things-that-drive-your-nonprofit-volunteersaway. Consulting, Fundraising. “Importance of Volunteers for NonProfit Organizations.” Professional Fundraising and Capital Campaign Consultants, 20 Feb. 2014, https://cdsfunds.com/volunteers_what_can_t hey_do_for_you.
Why the Divide? LESSONS FOR NONPROFITS FROM FOR-PROFITS AND VICE VERSA
ByÂ Kimberly Yang Art by Kimberly Yang Photo Provided from Unsplash
Nonprofit. In the
name itself, there exists a clear divide in addressing nonprofits versus for-profit businesses. While this distinction may also suggest a divide in how both organizations are managed, this should not be the case. In an environment where forprofit companies are increasingly no longer just responsible for making money and nonprofits continue trying to tackle large scale societal issues, there are benefits for alignment between the two sectors. One key challenge nonprofits face is showcased within its own name. While there are other terms referring to the sector, such as independent
sector, third sector, or taxexempt sector, the terminology nonprofit is the most 1 commonly used . Nonprofits are being labeled by their limitations. It displays a key challenge nonprofits face: raising capital constraints. Nonprofits can make profits, but these profits must be kept within the organization and be utilized to develop its programs. This has also influenced the was we think about the nonprofit sector. There exists a belief system for the nonprofit sector that does not like it when large capital is used for internal and external uses. Internally, employees aren't able to be compensated as highly. This limits the poolÂ
of talent this sector can attract. Externally, nonprofits are not able to spend as much on advertising and marketing. Donors have a skewed perception their donations should go directly to the constituents a nonprofit is serving, while not seeing the greater value advertising could bring in. In Dan Pallotta's TedTalk, "The way we think about charity is dead wrong," he describes this as us having "two rulebooks. We have one for the nonprofit sector, and one for the rest of the world. It's an apartheid, and it discriminates against the nonprofit sector in five different areas." He argues nonprofits are being discriminated in compensation, advertising and marketing, risk taking, patience in results, and lastly, profit itself 2. This mindset is undermining the change nonprofits are trying to accomplish.
In the for-profit sector, businesses are increasingly being held accountable for not only profits, but also how they treat their employees and community. The mindset here is shifting from only maximizing shareholder values to considering the wider stakeholder network. In this year's Business Roundtable, a group of chief executives of nearly 200 major U.S. corporations including J.P. Morgan's Jamie Dimon and Amazon's Jeff Bezos issued a statement with a new definition of the purpose of a corporation. Dropping the age-old notion corporations should function first and foremost to serve their shareholders and maximize profits, they advocated rather for investing in employees, delivering value to customers, dealing ethically with suppliers and supporting outside communities as the forefront business goals 4 . These values are aligning the for-profit By allowing nonprofits to embrace business sector to share some of the responsibilities of practices, this could change previously "We have two rulebooks. We have one solve the only held towards discriminations and the nonprofit sector. for the nonprofit sector, and one for challenges the sector is facing. Nonprofit the rest of the economic world. It's an While in name and for-profit goals nonprofits and forapartheid, and it discriminates against don't have to be profits are given a mutually exclusive. clear distinction, in the nonprofit sector..." For example, one practice, both share nonprofit to learn from each organization, Share other. Increasingly so, our Strength, was nonprofits and forDAN PALLOTTA able to mobilize the profits are sharing food restaurant industry to help those in similar goals. Corporate business practices are hunger and partnered with American Express moving away from maximizing only to be their lead contributor, ultimately raising shareholder values to also considering broader millions towards their cause 3 . This was a winstakeholders. There is also an argument to be win for both Share our Strength and American made that by allowing nonprofits to act more express. American Express was able to like for-profit organizations, commonly faced generate more card usage and greater profits challenges, such as scale and attracting talent, through leveraging Share our Strength's could be overcome. There are benefits to be connections to the restaurant community. In mad both economically and socially if we start return, Share our Strength had more funds bridging the two sectors rather than distinctly provided by American Express's donations to keeping them apart. fund a large scale marketing campaign. This is just one example in how harnessing market forces and seeing business as a powerful Author Bio: As a senior studying Business and partner can shift the existing mentality towards Urban Studies, Kimberly is passionate about nonprofits to one towards supporting highcities and sees her life dedicated to bettering impact change. them all: Detroit, NYC, Shanghai, and all. 1. Worth, Michael J. Nonprofit Management: Principles and Practice. CQ Press, an Imprint of SAGE Publications, Inc., 2019. 2. Pallotta, Dan, director. The Way We Think about Charity is Dead Wrong. TED, Mar. 2013, www.ted.com/talks/dan_pallotta_the_way_we_think_about_charity_is_dead_wrong?language=en. 3. Crutchfield, Leslie R., and Heather McLeod Grant. Forces for Good: the Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits. Jossey-Bass,2012. 4. Fitzgerald, Maggie. "The CEOs of Nearly 200 Companies Just Said Shareholder Value is No Longer Their Main Objective." CNBC, CNBC, 19 Aug. 2019, www.cnbc.com/2019/08/19/the-ceos-of-nearly-two-hundred-companies-say-shareholder-value-is-no-longer-their-main-objective.html.
ARE ADVOCACY AND SERVICE THE “APPLES AND ORANGES” OF NON-PROFITS? by Payge Lindow
While “starting local” is important to address gaps in the immediate community, there is a plateau of impact an organization can have on an issue through this route. In Forces for Good, authors Heather McLeod Grant and Leslie R. Crutchfield discuss how high-impact non-profits can expand their impact outside the organization. They conclude that “[Highimpact organizations] may start out providing great programs, but eventually they realize that they cannot achieve systemic change through service delivery alone.” - Heather McLeod Grant and Leslie R. Crutchfield Growing Hope has a similar story. They started as a school-gardening program almost 20 years ago.
Since then, they have expanded to focus on increasing food access in the community by starting a farmer’s marketplace, a mobile food stand, and building gardens beds for people in low-income households. Coupled with their inclusion of volunteers on the farm and their education programs in schools, Growing Hope has connected the community and offered entrepreneurial opportunities. While there has been an increase in food access, they saw a plateau in their ability to further increase it. Food access is determined a few large institutions and grocery chains that control the food supply to this area. This often leads to a lack of affordable or nutritionally adequate foods, and increases rates of disease. This is where food sovereignty is important.
“Growing Hope has connected the community and offered entrepreneurial opportunities."
Birth Detroit, the Healthcare System, and Driving Change By Anna Levashkevich When Six Habits of Highly Effective
perceived as harmful. The incumbents in
Nonprofits was published it was one of the
such a system are hospitals, outpatient
first â€œbusinessy text booksâ€? for non profits. It
centers, and clinics. The majority of these
was groundbreaking because a comparative
are ran as non profits, they are self
study of its kind amongst successful non
sustaining despite billing high cost
profits had not previously been done and
procedures due to private insurance,
the insights that came from it helped inform
Medicaid/Medicare, and in some cases
up and coming and current non profits.
donations. My experience at Birth Detroit
Upon the publication of the text it was
has provided me with insight on what it is
criticized as being less applicable to smaller
like to try to break into this system to bring
non profits which caused the authors to
about change and what it takes for an
publish a second edition focusing more on
innovative non profit to find its footing. The
start ups and local non profits. The
Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits
healthcare category of non profits has not
include advocating and serving, making
been sufficiently considered as well and
markets work, inspiring evangelists,
differs quite a bit in structure and landscape
nurturing nonprofit networks, mastering the
than other non profits.
art of adaptation, and sharing leadership.
Healthcare is a 3.2 trillion dollar
After conducting interviews with
industry in the US, it is deeply entrenched in
stakeholders and gaining some first hand
politics as the debate over whether
experience the two practices that pose a
healthcare is a human right all Americans
different challenge to healthcare nonprofits
are entitled access to. In the US healthcare
are advocacy and making markets work.
is also deeply curative and entrenched in
Birth Detroit is an innovator in that it
biomedicine. In such a system physicians
dares to challenge the current status quo of
hold the all of the authority and other
maternal care and proposes a different
systems of healthcare do not hold the same
system based on safe, quality, and loving
weight, are looked down upon, and may be
care for every birthing person. The evidence
that the current system is not working for
Making markets work in such an
Detroitâ€™s birthing people is undeniable.
environment will also look different from
Detroitâ€™s maternal mortality is 44.4 per
what the authors described. For Birth Detroit
100,000 live births which is 3 times the
advocacy and markets are very tightly
national average. Birth Detroit envisions the
intertwined due to the Medicaid regulations
presence of a choice for birthing women in
which is ideally where Birth Detroit would
Detroit of an accessible midwifery model of
obtain 50% of the reimbursement for its
care. The end goal of the opening of a
services. Because Birth Detroit wishes to
sustainable birth center that is for the
serve all people regardless of ability to pay
community and provides care regardless of
the initial fundraising goal will be higher. For
the ability to pay has proven to have
Birth Detroit, in order to make markets work
significant policy and attitude barriers. When
they will have to follow the steps of what
the state of Michigan expanded Medicaid
any business start up would in order to raise
under the ACA it did not include birth
funds. They will have to show that their
centers as being eligible for reimbursement.
outcomes are close or better to hospital
Essentially, in order to come into existence
outcomes for non complicated pregnancies
in the way visualized Birth Detroit will have
in order to provide the state with the
to create a statewide movement, possibly
evidence that the midwifery model is a valid
including other nonprofits and organizations.
option as well as any funding or grants.
For Birth Detroit advocacy is necessary not
Then they will continue having to advocate
just to further the mission and their services,
within the state to expand Medicaid to birth
but rather to be recognized as a legitimate
centers and midwives. Additionally, they
organization providing healthcare. Because
have to consider unique things about the
Birth Detroit aims to provide evidence based
healthcare market that do not affect other
but not biomedical care, with an added layer
markets and are not something normal
of complexity of a primarily black
nonprofits have to consider. For example,
constituency its very nature is political. This
they had to set a payer mix of 50/50 private
is quite different from the dynamic described
and medicaid and consider the benefits and
in Six Habitsâ€Ś where the authors show
costs of both and even determining this is a
advocacy as a way of furthering the
nuance as not all private insurance will
mission, however when a non profit
reimburse birth centers and private
challenges the status quo in a system that is
insurance typically reimburses more per
so heavily regulated it will have to advocate
service when they cover it.
to obtain a seat at the table.
Birth Detroit will have to both work within the system causing many of the issues and advocate for change and the building of a new, more inclusive, woman and child friendly system. While Six Habits of Highly Impactful Nonprofits lays out the foundational ideas that nonprofits in healthcare will have to practice, it does not fully address the nuances of working within the healthcare system and simultaneously trying to disrupt it. The way advocacy and markets are very closely intertwined is also an interesting one to consider and use as a case study. Despite being nonprofits and not having ties to a specific political ideology, Birth Detroit is innovative, challenges the status quo, and personal to the founders making it political by nature. Birth Detroit is adapting its strategy to best address this situation while still working to get a birth center up and running within the next year.
A High-Impact Nonprofit Following the Recipe to Success By: Emily Africk Have you ever wondered how to concoct the perfect recipe for success in a nonprofit organization? Actually, there is not a perfect recipe or an exact formula, but there are six practices that can help your organization come closer to such desired success. Allow me to explain this in further detail in regards to Michigan Hillel.
For those who are not familiar with the organization, Michigan Hillel strives to engage Jewish students and provide them with a sense of community on campus. The organization’s mission is “to enrich the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world” (Michigan Hillel, 2019). In order to fulfill its mission, Michigan Hillel focuses on five goals in its vision statement to enhance campus life, embody Jewish values, engage Jewish students, nurture empowered leadership, and cultivate community. As an already well established organization, Michigan Hillel’s practices align very closely with those discussed in Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits. Success is something that takes practice and some failure along the way, and Michigan Hillel has achieved this success.
Such success can be discussed through Crutchfield and Grant’s Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits and how to follow them in order to achieve the best possible outcome a specific organization. Six Practices: Advocate and Serve Make Markets Work Inspire Evangelists Nurture Nonprofit Networks Master the Art of Adaptation Share Leadership Step 1: Advocate and Serve In order to stay connected with the Jewish community and issues that arise for students on campus, Michigan Hillel issues specific advocacy. For example, in 2017, the organization advocated against the BDS (Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel) resolution. During this time, Michigan Hillel took charge in creating a petition for students who opposed the movement to take action and sign. In a constantly changing environment, Michigan Hillel “provide[s] services [to] help[s] meet immediate needs” (Crutchfield & Grant, 2012). With its young staff team and constantly changing student population, the organization must adapt to the present environment and immediate needs in order to best serve the community. Hillel serves as an outlet for students and community members to practice their religion. The building holds Shabbat services every week and provides free Shabbat dinner meals for students on Friday nights. I attend Shabbat dinners weekly and always appreciate a home cooked meal that I can enjoy with my friends. Additionally, Michigan Hillel provides study spaces for students
throughout the year, and during finals weeks the building stays open 24/7 and provides snacks, caffeine, outlets, and Wi-Fi for those studying at any time of the day. Hillel has become a popular study spot during 24/7, and I frequent the building almost every day during finals weeks. Step 2: Make Markets Work Michigan Hillel works to adopt “ways to work with and through businesses to achieve more social impact” (Crutchfield & Grant, 2012). This organization does not follow the traditional business model, but rather it “leverage[s] the power of business” (Crutchfield & Grant, 2012). In order to follow closely with its mission and vision, Michigan Hillel has found a way to serve the community in the unique way in terms of dining. Hillel used to have the only kosher dining on campus, and instead of having a meal plan through the University of Michigan, students who kept kosher would purchase their meal plan through the Hillel Café. However, the location was not convenient for students to eat all of their meals at Hillel in between classes, so the organization partnered with the University of Michigan to open up a kosher kitchen in one of the dining halls. Although Michigan Hillel is not making the same profit that it used to make through the dining services, the organization looked past this loss and focused on achieving a greater social impact on campus by partnering with another business. Step 3: Inspire Evangelists Similar to how this practice is described in Forces for Good, Michigan Hillel goes “beyond building a community among their internal staff and clients: they mobilize the public for greater social change” (Crutchfield & Grant, 2012). While the staff members and donors contribute to the dayto-day workings of the organization, the
students and community members also play a large role in how Michigan Hillel functions and serves the community to the best of its ability. Students are constantly encouraged to pursue their interests and take advantage of every opportunity to better both themselves and the organization; as stated in the vision statement, Michigan Hillel engages Jewish students. Overall, Michigan Hillel does a great job to “build and sustain strong communities to help them achieve their larger goals” (Crutchfield & Grant, 2012). As someone who is part of the organization’s mission based constituency, I love the opportunities and resources that Michigan Hillel provides, allowing me to connect with the Jewish community in my own way. I enjoy connecting with the Jewish community both culturally and socially, and the organization has been very welcoming of my interests. Many staff members have taken me out for coffee chats to discuss my interests and larger goals that I would like to achieve while on campus. Through these conversations, I have been able to connect with the right people in order to make that change happen. Because of these experiences, I am inspired to continue working to achieve my goals and create change around me. Step 4: Nurture Nonprofit Networks Michigan Hillel works “with and through other nonprofits to achieve greater social change” (Crutchfield & Grant, 2012). Many of the 55+ student led groups within Hillel, including Challah for Hunger, are local chapters branched off of national nonprofits. Michigan Hillel works with the students and
the outside organizations in order to support our local community and eventually achieve the greater social change that comes. Specifically, I have worked with Challah for Hunger for the past three years at both the local and national levels. At the local level, Michigan Hillel staff members support the student leadership group and serve as a liaison to connect them with the national organization. Another organization, Birthright, provides students with a free trip to Israel, and Michigan Hillel leads many Birthright trips every year in order to promote the Birthright organization and help them achieve the greater social change that Birthright strives for. Step 5: Master the Art of Adaptation When the programming staff plans events to cater to the student community, they work through the cycle of adaptation to adapt to their mission based constituency. They must listen to the environment, which in this case is the mission based constituency, experiment and innovate, evaluate and learn what works, and modify programs and plans. If at first something does not succeed, there is always room for improvement! For example, Hillel adapts to the students’ needs during finals week every semester. During this time, Hillel remains open 24/7 and provides food, caffeine, outlets, and Wi-Fi. Much of the reason why 24/7 started is because it is difficult to find study space in the libraries during this busy time of the semester. Hillel is aware that the students who they cater to are in need of study space and fuel for their bodies, so the organization’s programming staff teams up with student leaders to plan the 24/7 study event. Step 6: Share Leadership This practice plays a key role in the inner workings of Michigan Hillel. This organization’s leadership style demonstrates
that “strong leadership doesn’t only exist at the very top of high-impact nonprofits; rather, it extends throughout the organization” (Crutchfield & Grant, 2012). Specifically, Michigan Hillel runs uniquely by nurturing empowered leadership in the student community, as discussed in its vision statement. As a volunteer led organization, Michigan Hillel does not put all of the power in the hands of the staff members. While there is a full time staff team working in the office on a day-to-day basis, “to run a program at Hillel, the students have to have some sort of buy in and ownership over it” and then the staff will find the funds to make it happen (Morgan, 2019). Without student input and support, the organization would not put on the events and programs that is does. For example, Michigan Hillel recently held an event called the Nice Jewish Ball (NJB). Hillel was willing to host the event because there was enough student interest. A group of student leaders envisioned the NJB taking place in the Big House, so they took action and planned everything, and the staff members worked on the back end to find the funds to support the students’ vision. There was a clear interest in the NJB, and due to the student leadership that Hillel always encourages, the event was very successful. Putting It All Together The six ingredients discussed above can be added into the recipe for success at any point and in any order. I cannot say for certain whether or not Michigan Hillel originally adopted the six practices in the exact order in which they are listed in Forces for Good, but I can confidently say that in the end the organization still achieved success. The path to success is not a straight line, and there is not one right way to get there, but adding all six ingredients in at different points in a specific organization’s career can help the
organization take steps closer to achieving the desired success. Apart from serving as a student intern at Michigan Hillel this semester, I have been involved with the organization as a student leader for the past three years. From a constituent’s perspective, I have seen all six practices discussed in Forces for Good being practiced within the organization. I watched Michigan Hillel advocate for the student community against the BDS resolution in 2017, and I constantly take advantage of all that Hillel has to serve its students throughout the year, whether it is focused on religion or education. I experienced the change that the organization decided to make when partnering with University of Michigan dining services to make the market work in a better and more convenient manner. Since my first day on campus, I have been inspired to strive for the change that I want to happen and to pursue my own interests. I have many friends who experienced Michigan Hillel nurturing nonprofit networks when they participated on Birthright trips led by Hillel. I acknowledge and appreciate the organization’s ability to master the art of adaptation by providing study spaces and snacks when I am studying for finals, and finally, I have participated in sharing the leadership in the organization as a student leader myself. I believe Michigan Hillel can serve as a great role model for other nonprofit organizations striving for the same level of success. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– –––––– About the Author Emily Africk is a senior at the University of Michigan studying Statistics. Through engagement and development work as a
student intern, Emily was able to combine her passion for connecting with the Jewish community on campus with engaging with
course material to analyze Michigan Hillel on a deeper level.
Works Cited Crutchfield, L., Grant, H. (2012). Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Michigan Hillel. (2019). Mission. Retrieved from https://michiganhillel.org/about/mission/ Morgan, S. (2019, November 13). Stakeholder Interview.
Achieving High Impact Using Direct Service in the Non-Profit Sector Hannah Lane
When David Christensen, program coordinator at the Michigan-based nonprofit Washtenaw Literacy, was asked what being a high-impact organization means to him, he responded quickly, “an organization that has an effect on a large number of people or has the potential to create and contribute to systemic change,” something all companies should strive to be. An organization that achieves this, in his opinion, is an organization that uses resources productively leading to smart and effective work that is able to affect a group that is exponentially larger than the organization itself. As someone who works directly in the nonprofit sector, Christensen has an intimate idea of what being high impact really means. His idea mirrors that of Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant. Crutchfield and Grant spent four years trying to figure out the secrets to success in the nonprofit world. In their book, Forces for Good, the duo outline six practices that make a nonprofit high impact (2012). These practices were discovered through interviews with and case studies of nonprofits all over the country. Their book serves an overview of 12 nonprofit organizations that they classify as high impact. They define high-impact nonprofits as organizations that “work with and through other organizations and individuals to create more impact than they could have ever achieved alone.” They go on to explain that high-impact nonprofits build social movements and transform business, government, other nonprofits, and individuals while changing the world around them (Forces for Good).
Build social movements? Transform business? Government? Change the world? These are not small tasks and are not easy to achieve. How can any nonprofit even begin to scratch the surface? Advocate and Serve While the authors acknowledge that most organizations can be placed in either one of two categories - direct service organizations or advocacy organizations - they argue that in order to be high-impact, organizations must encompass aspects of both types of organizations. This idea is encompassed in the first practice listed in their book: advocate and serve. Organizations that both advocate and serve program for their communities to provide immediate needs while also advocating for policy change at the local, state, or national level in hopes of reforming larger systems through governmental solutions. The authors argue that engaging in both practices is vital because it results in a “virtuous cycle”. By putting focus on both direct service and policy advocacy, this “virtuous cycle” results in organizations constantly keeping their mission in center stage throughout decision making processes, thereby increasing their impact. The authors emphasize the importance of the duality of high-impact organizations who engaged in both direct service and policy advocacy work by highlighting the fact that only nonprofits who participate in both were mentioned in their book. It is hard to argue with these principles outlined by Crutchfield and Grant. We learn that to better serve the constituency, an organization has to interact directly with the community while understanding the complexities of issues faced by the community that results in its perpetuation. However, I have come to disagree with Crutchfield and Grant following an internship with Washtenaw Literacy. I believe that Washtenaw Literacy has come to achieve high impact while leaving policy advocacy to national organizations. Washtenaw Literacy is a nonprofit focused around tutoring basic literacy skills and English as a second language. Through one-onone and group instruction, they hope to
eliminate illiteracy in Washtenaw County. With this ambitious vision in mind, it was easy for Washtenaw Literacy to realize that they could not manage it alone. While Crutchfield and Grant describe high-impact nonprofits as organizations who change business and government, they also describe them as organizations who form partnerships within their community and inspire community members to get involved. Washtenaw Literacy does this better than most, as they make it a priority to achieve high impact through all of their different community partners. It is imperative that nonprofits understand the underlying complexities of the issues their community faces, and Washtenaw Literacy does this in a way that many organizations do not. Washtenaw Literacy acutely listens to the community and continually works to discover underserved populations in their neighborhood. Washtenaw Literacy understands that literary proficiency is a sensitive issue. Illiteracy is an issue that has many intersectionalities resulting in almost every aspect of someone’s life being impacted. With our society having few accommodations for the illiterate, being unable to read competently is often deeply negatively stigmatized. In light of these barriers, it takes a lot of bravery for someone to ask for help. In order to combat this and make literacy assistance more comfortably accessible for community members, Washtenaw Literacy works hard to partner with relevant organizations where their services can best be utilized. In 1971, Washtenaw Literacy began by offering one-on-one literacy tutoring for their constituency. Throughout their history, they have grown their network in order to reach communities that they would have never been able to alone. Through partnerships with the local jails, hospitals, community colleges, senior centers, and religious organizations, their services can be widely reached in environments that are comfortable for sensitive populations. Tailored practice and expanding reach While a large portion of Washtenaw Literacy’s services are centered around English as a second language tutoring, the non-profit also tailors their programming to the needs of specific constituencies within the local
correctional facility. Washtenaw Literacy found that GED prep was most useful for the population found there. Through direct work with the community and other organizations, they are able to better understand what the community needs and reach populations that may not be serviced by other organizations. Washtenaw Literacy continues tailored practice through their partnership with local hospitals. Saint Joseph’s Mercy Hospital located in Ypsilanti reached out to Washtenaw Literacy with concerns that employees for whom English is a second language were at risk of losing their jobs due to a lack of understanding of computer programs and other duties necessary for the hospital environment. Washtenaw Literacy now comes into the hospital twice a week to work with these employees to ensure that they keep their jobs learn new skills needed to effectively work. The list continues with the partnership Washtenaw Literacy has with the local community college. Immigrants and people who do not speak English as a first language must take an exam in order to enroll in college classes in the United States. When people are not at an adequate skill level to enroll in these classes, the local community college refers them to Washtenaw Literacy, so they can improve their English literacy. Even this list is not exhaustive of Washtenaw Literacy’s far-reaching impact through partnerships to aid populations in the community. These partnerships allow this organization to undoubtedly double their reach, and without these partnerships, many of the constituents they serve would not be able to utilize their resources. Washtenaw Literacy is an extremely flexible organization that strives to serve the specific needs and concerns of the constituency allowing them to grow in ways impossible had they not collaborated. With an emphasis on community partnerships and tailored programs, Washtenaw Literacy places a great deal of importance on the larger picture to combat illiteracy in Washtenaw County. This passion-fueled focus from Washtenaw Literacy and all of their community partners inevitably results in their changing the world around them.
When the definition of a high-impact nonprofit describes an organization, which works with other organizations to create more impact than they could have ever achieved alone, Washtenaw Literacy meets the criteria easily. An unconventional example When asked if Washtenaw Literacy is a high-impact organization, David Christenson said unequivocally yes. While they do not have the capacity currently for advocacy work, he says, in his eyes Washtenaw Literacy is providing community members with the tools for self-advocacy needed to support success through their services. He said with conviction that this is Washtenaw Literacyâ€™s way of instilling a different kind of long-term impact when it cannot lobby for policy change. This organization challenges the conventional ideas of what it takes to be a highimpact nonprofit organization. While it is important to advocate to make systemic change, by reaching pockets of your community and equipping them with the skills to make real change in their own lives, an organization can make a larger impact than they may be able to by simply allocating resources to policy advocacy alone. Author bio: Hannah is a senior studying Biology who is passionate about becoming educated on different social justice issues in order to inspire others to get involved in social change. References Crutchfield, L. R., & McLeod Grant, H. (2012). Forces for Good. San Francisco, CA: JosseyBass. Forces for Good: Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits (2012). Retrieved December 17th, 2019 from http://www.forcesforgood.net/index.htm l
Katie Romero 12/2019 There are a lot of misconceptions about how a nonprofit organization should be run to maximize impact. The top six myths about nonprofits are that to be impactful, they should have perfect management, a large budget, a textbook mission statement, high ratings on conventional metrics (such as having low overhead), radical ideas, and brand name awareness. I have learned from experience that all of these are not necessary to make an impact and create change. While working at Recycle Ann Arbor, I have seen just how much a nonprofit organization can do with an average mission statement, a small budget, minimal brand name awareness, and imperfect management. The mission statement of Recycle Ann Arbor is, “to develop and operate innovative reuse, recycling, and zero-waste programs that improve the environmental quality of our community” (Recycle Ann Arbor, 2019). While this mission statement is accurate, it also does
not do much to invite their constituency to further interact with their organization. The mission statement gets their point across, and describes what they do, however, it does not include all of the services they provide to their constituency and does not have any exciting or enthralling information. Recycle Ann Arbor does much more than just “develop and operate” programs, they also manage city-wide curbside recycling, own a thrift store, and have the first non-university affiliated zero waste ambassador organization in the area (Recycle Ann Arbor, 2019). Although their mission statement has worked for them so far, I would encourage them to update it to fully encompass everything Recycle Ann Arbor provides to the community. During my interview with Recycle Ann Arbor’s Director of Strategy Bryan Weinert, he told me about their “shoestring budget” and how this budget presents challenges to the organization. Although a small budget means they do not have money to update old equipment as often as they would like, they are still able to do things for the community at or below cost.
Not only does the community still get free events and services, but the employees at Recycle Ann Arbor make good, livable salaries. Although larger salaries for employees leads to a smaller budget for other uses, Weinert says that these larger salaries are an important sacrifice to make in the budget, because it improves employees’ motivation and hard work. This, in turn, makes up for their small budget, because they have a group of innovative, motivated, and inspired employees that will work well within those financial constraints. Although Recycle Ann Arbor prides itself on being a well-known nonprofit organization in Ann Arbor, it seems to be more known among older residents, because they are the more involved constituents. Due to the University of Michigan, there are thousands of younger Ann Arbor residents that live in campus housing or apartments. Most of these students are unaware of Recycle Ann Arbor’s existence, because of their lack of weekly connection with the organization. However, because the curbside recycling program is sponsored by the City of Ann Arbor, residents may be using their services without ever even realizing. This broadens their constituency to include people who are not aware of the organization, but still benefit from its existence. Recycle Ann Arbor is well-known among homeowners and long-time Ann Arbor residents, but not as known among college students and folks who do not own their own house. Although broadening their social media skills may help Recycle Ann Arbor further their brand name awareness, they are still a high
impact organization without that awareness. Recycle Ann Arbor’s management has been unorganized since I began working there, however, right before my time at Recycle Ann Arbor ended, they revised their management plan to include two directors as the day-to-day “CEOs” (one of which being Bryan Weinert) to give the CEO more time to work on big-picture projects and communicate with the constituency. Before they made this change, the CEO, Bryan Ukena, was overworked and had too much on his plate. The directors had unclear job descriptions and the managers below them did not know who to report to. Due to the small size of the organization, this never posed a huge threat to their success, however, it is good to hear that they are making management positions more clearly defined to avoid any potential problems with their imperfect management. Recycle Ann Arbor functioned before the management change and still accomplished what was necessary, but their ability to recognize their imperfections and work on them shows another way in which the organization is strong and is able to make an impact. Although it would be nice for Recycle Ann Arbor to have a large budget, better brand name awareness, perfect management, and a textbook mission statement, they prove that an organization can still make a big impact without all of those things. Of course, they would probably make an even bigger impact if they did have more resources, but part of what makes Recycle Ann Arbor such a great nonprofit is their resilience and ability to make things work, even in hard times.
Recycle Ann Arbor has proved that an organization can be high impact by having innovative responses to their challenges, and that has, arguably, made them an even better organization than one that does have all of those resources and perfections. Author Bio Katie is a senior majoring in Psychology and Women's Studies, who has always been interested in working at a nonprofit organization. She is passionate about living zero waste and seeks social justice for all. References Recycle Ann Arbor (2019). Home Page | Recycle Ann Arbor. Retrieved November 24, 2019, from https://www.recycleannarbor.org.
THE SECRET FOR SUSTAINABLE OUTCOMES: COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND EMPOWERMENT by Maren Simonte Photos by Avalon Housing
Psst: Want to know a secret? A highly recognized factor to the lasting impact of a nonprofit organization is the magnitude of engagement with beneficiaries themselves. Authentically engaging individuals who are, or were, impacted by an inequity at all levels of the organization adds valuable assets who identify with the genuine needs of the community (“Voices for Racial Justice”, 2014). Furthermore, this means that the nonprofit emphasizes working with the community and not merely for it (“Voices for Facial Justice”, 2014). Subsequently, along with this, empowering the community throughout the transformative process enhances sustainable outcomes. Peter Block (2018) in his novel, Community: The Structure of Belonging, offers insight on how to authentically transform a community to reach its full potential. He writes, “Communities are built from the assets and gifts of their citizens, not from citizens’ needs and deficiencies”. Framing community engagement in this way shifts the focus away from victimizing affected individuals into a more empowering approach by recognizing that each citizen possesses a positive attribute to offer to society.
Moreover, restorative language is a critical, yet simple, approach to transforming faulty structures that inhibit community success (Block, 2018). For example, Block (2018) stresses the importance of conversing and asking questions rooted in the possibility, future healing and belonging. These components together work as large determinants to the success of a mission; a combination of both authentic engagement and empowerment is conducive to sustainable outcomes.
“Communities are built from the assets and gifts of their citizens, not from citizens’ needs and deficiencies”. -Peter Block
POSTMODERN PAINTING. Stella alternately paints in oil and watercolor
A large catalyst to the success and sustainability of Avalon Housing’s affordable housing units is the interactive programming for all tenants.Through my service learning this semester at Avalon, I particularly noticed the comprehensive and wide variety of services conveniently located at a community center within the housing complexes. Aside from the subsidized housing units, Avalon offers a wide variety of services including setting personal goals and eviction prevention plans, a 24/7 crisis hotline, support groups with medication adherence, substance abuse, mental health conditions and parenting support, in home primary health care or transportation tomedical appointments, community gardening, youth leadership development programs, and youth after school programming (Avalon Housing, 2019). These highly interactive community programs are derived from requested needs of the community and work closely to empower constituents to reach their personal goals.
Rather than simply providing constituents with basic needs, Avalon strives to rehabilitate each individual to reach their full potential and transformthe homeless population (Block, 2018). Furthermore, the services are rooted in recognizing and finding each constituents strengths (Block, 2018). Capitalizing on positive attributes on each individual helps Avalon guide each individual to their desired success. These ideas are reflective of Block’s (2018) recommendations of transforming a community, and Avalon’s success works to support and give credibility to the model.
are diminished through transportation and in home primary care, and disparities in education are actively decreasing thanks to Avalon’s youth after school tutoring programs.Without Avalon’s services, these disparities would persist in the Ann Arbor community. Furthermore, Avalon’s mission embodies the right to a home as a basic human right, exemplified in Avalon’s housing first model that requires no pre conditions from constituents prior to move in (Avalon Housing, 2019).. The first step to transforming the community into the best version of themselves is having a safe and secure home.
Public Health Impact While many people fail to recognize homelessness as a societal issue, Avalon actively works to see this seemingly “personal problem” as a political issue. The services offered at Avalon ensure their mission of creating “healthy, safe and inclusive supportive housing communities as a long-term solution to homelessness” (Avalon Housing, 2019). The engagement and empowerment component in these programs ensure sustainability of the housing accommodations and help guarantee a long term solution to chronic homelessness (Avalon Housing, 2019).In addition, providing services with an ultimate vision of ending homelessness recognizes the oppressive institutions that restrict access to healthcare, safe housing, quality education, support necessary to keep families together, and much more. Subsequently, health disparities between the homeless population and the greater community
Avalon Housing would not have the depth of, and growing, impact it does today without their adult and youth engagement programs that create an inclusive community of support and empowerment. Their tactics to sustainable results are reflected in experts’ work such as Peter Block (2018) and authors of Voices for Racial Justice (2014). These methods are truly the secret to transforming a community and maximizing civic involvement, and subsequently achieving the mission of a nonprofit organization. I am glad that I am able to contribute to such a great initiative in my own community that provides home security to constituents without any pre conditions and empowers them on their journey to sustainable recovery.
Author bio: As a student passionate towards public health, Maren is continuously questioning ways to create sustainable interventions to decrease health disparities across and within communities.
Works Cited Avalon Housing, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.avalonhousing.org/about-us/#section2. Block, P. (2018). Community: the structure of belonging. Oakland: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Voice for Racial Justice. (2014). Retrieved from http://voicesforracialjustice.org/wpcontent/uploads/2014/10/VFRJ.AuthenticCommunity-Engagement.09.11.14.pdf
Nayla Zylberberg 12/2019 Synopsis: Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan is the largest student organization on campus â€“ but is it necessarily the most successful? This interview attempts to delve into the complexities of nonprofit expansion: what's at stake? Is the mission of the organization diluted? Is it better to have a small group of passionate evangelicals or a large mass of mildly involved, but ultimately moneyproducing, volunteer base? A leader of the organization reflects on Dance Marathon's campus success and possible steps moving forward.
To Expand or Not to Expand: Maximizing Resources in Student Nonprofits Madi is the Internal Director of Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan. She focuses on coordinating people involved in the organization (students, families, members of leadership, sponsors), and ensuring everyone has a positive experience
working in/with DMUM. We touched upon a plethora of topics pertaining to the organization including culture, charity vs. change, and effective utilization of resources. Me: Would you say that the organization is working with and not for its constituency or would you say it's a healthy combination of both? Madi: Definitely a healthy combination of both. I would say that we do a lot of work with the community members, but I would say in the sense that we partner with them and we kind of get their feedback on what they want and what events they would like to be a part of, so we kind of listen to their needs... for example, weâ€™re working on teen event this year because we have members who are graduating our typical program so we're making sure that they're still included in our organization, which I think we're going to have something that we're doing working with the community members. I think in the sense that we are a fundraising organization, a lot of our fundraising is for the community and for these programs and a lot of it we do on our own. We seek help from the community members as well so
that we can band together and make sure that we succeed in our fundraising, but a lot of it is our efforts separate from some of the other work that we do. Me: Okay, if you wouldn't mind explaining what stories the organization tells about the kids like the constituencies, what kind of languages do we use around that, do you think it's an effective language or do you think it either focuses too much on deficits or strengths? Madi: A lot of times the language that we use is focusing on how these kids who have disabilities are still kids just like anyone else, and so I think it's focusing on a lot of similarities that these children have to many other children in the communities and kind of trying to bridge that gap and take away the sense of other from these children. I do think that by doing this we are kind of highlighting the society as a whole perceives them as ‘others’ right now and so I don't know how we could better do that. You asked if this is effective language, and I think that for our mission right now and what we're doing and I think – like for example I think of Becky, who is our recreational therapist and she just made a video about tree climbing and showed it at Family Circles and how these kids get to do things that other kids do – kind of like singling them out with their programs is almost less effective for what we're trying to do. So I think that there's some things that are working well and we're focusing on a lot of similarities, but just by nature of the work that we do it is pointing out differences and pointing out that there are deficits in the programs we offer and not deficit in the children. Me: Yeah, that's a good distinction to make. So this organization has been going on for 23 years now; do you think that the
organization has promoted growth and agency within the kids, that there's been a fostering of independence – because there's one thing to do physical rehabilitation and another to provide the tools in order to selfsustain and be – not not having a network to fall back on, but to kind of make their own life out of it, especially with the people that have been in this program for a very long time? Madi: Yeah, I think the key thing you mentioned how we're just doing physical rehabilitation is one thing but I think another element that comes with a lot of the DMUM programs and the culture that we foster is that we also kind of build the social skills that are required to continue on and graduate from our programs, and I think that, for example, in yoga we do actual physical work and we work on balance and motor skills and everything, but the main part of that is really to interact with the kids and have them find the role models and people to look up to and model their behavior after so that they can go on and succeed so I think we're teaching them a lot of valuable life skills other than just rehabbing their physical disabilities or injuries. I think that’s something that gives them a lot of agency and independence. Another thing it's not necessarily individual children that I see this with, but I see this with kind of families as a whole: DMUM is kind of like the conduit to connect these families with other families who have similar experiences, which allows them to build each other in that way. If you take DMUM as an organization and the families as 2 separate things, I think we're giving the families as a whole agency. I don't know about like individual family by family basis, but I think that as a whole they're able to rely on each other more than us once it gets to a certain point because we really foster those connections between families and between kids, and hope to make
sure that once they're finished with our programs they have something to show that's not just their connection to DMUM, it’s connection to the people they met and their ability to work with them and build each other up outside of the events that we host. Me: We talked a lot in class about the difference between charity and change; we've talked about charity can be short term solutions (just giving money to a problem) where change is like legislative change or actual long-term change. What do you think DMUM works better at? What do you kind of hope for the organization as a whole as it continues forward? Madi: I like to think it does change more than charity, and I think it's a little bit harder to see depending on what level of the organization you're in. As a director this year, I am involved in the allocations process and one of our priorities of what we donate money to and what programs we fund; these programs have to have an element of self-sustainability that they're not solely reliant on us, that we're not just a charitable organization that's donating and having this program that's going to be consistent for however many years. While that's really great, we want something that can take our funding and grow, actually create something on their own that could influence a need in the community and really help out. What I didn't know before I became a directors is this was one of our really big priorities – like I don't know that these programs kind of just relied on us, but we really are kind of influencing therapists to come up with ideas that actually make a change in the community, and so that's something that I think is really valuable and had no idea about before. Our whole grant application really focuses on “why do you need us… but once you're done needing us,
what impact will you have had?” and so that's something that we really stress and prioritize, which I'm really excited about. Me: Do you think the missions and values match the path that DMUM is taking? Madi: I do think it's a newer kind of model, just because we are still pretty young (23 years old) and I think that just getting an organization off its feet and then having it have this role in the community, that really pushes everyone forward and promotes change is something new, but now with like our exclusive partnership we kind of have more weight to say “no, we don't just want to fund programs we want these programs to actually meet the needs and include groups that are often under-represented and underserved” and make a larger impact than what we are currently doing. Me: What are we currently doing with the constituency, who else do you want to reach? Who are reaching now, what's the main demographic of who you're serving, and why is that not sufficient for you? Madi: I think this is something I've thought about a lot this year, especially working really closely with our families. A lot of our programs are for specific ages and specific diagnoses. I'd say our age range goes from about like 7 or 8 to maybe 14, but once you get below that there aren’t a ton of great programs for really young kids and to support their parents, and then there also aren’t a lot of great programs for older teenagers who are trying to transition into adulthood, and specifically looking at the older teenagers who are trying to transition into adulthood, a lot of them have autism, so they are working towards being independent members of society, and there isn’t enough work that we're doing to help them transition there because a lot of our activities and our
therapies are targeted for younger kids. In terms of diagnoses, there are some typical ones that our therapies help which are traumatic brain injuries, cerebral palsy and autism; those are like the three big ones we have stakes in in the therapy world, but I think that there are so many other diagnoses and ones that complicate even these 3 that arenâ€™t focused on enough, and they're not being treated well enough and so I think that by focusing on A) older teenagers and B) broader range of diagnoses we could influence more children in the community. How we talked about with charity versus change, I think specifically for the older group of kids that we need to give them the tools to be able to make this a successful transition and I feel like we're kind of just like dropping them at a certain age. Me: Do you think it's feasible, with the system we have now, to actually effectively enact these changes? You're saying you want to expand the programs to basically zero years old to 18, I'm assuming you still want to have a broad range of therapies. In the system and within the resources that we have as a university and how we fundraise and how we utilize those resources, do you think it's feasible to do that, and if not, what would you like to see changed to make it a better utilized system so that we can expand our programs? Madi: If we raise the same amount of money we raise every single year, I don't know how feasible that would be used to start entirely new programs because seed funding is really expensive, and getting programs off the ground takes like a year after year. Right now we have programs that are a couple years down from seed funding and we wouldn't want to give up those, so it would have to be finding a balance between the programs that we've already funded and new ones that we want to create. I don't think that
any of the programs we currently have now are bad; I think they're all incredible, they're all meeting a need, I just think there are more needs to be met and so I in order to make this change and grow in this way, we have to make changes to the way our organization runs. Whether that be like bringing back the dancer fundraising committee, as we did this past year, and making sure that everyone in our organization raises as much money as they possibly can and doing this peer-to-peer fundraising that we really heavily rely on, or whether that's going to like the corporate sphere, which is something we're pushing a lot now with our new partnership is finding corporations that are either local to the community or have a stake in the student world, and kind of utilizing their resources as well. But I think that in order for this to be something successful we would have to have more money, and that's why we're trying so hard and that's why we do what we do because all of the programs we currently fund are incredible, but there's just so much more we could be doing for these kids and young adults in our community, so other than money we would also need to change some of our events and our perception of what it means to be a kid. A lot of these kids are growing up, and they grow up and they become young adults, and to kind of have that same excitement about fundraising for them and getting them excited to come to our events and having teen events. Something I've noticed is that once children turn 18 people, are so much less likely to donate to adults who have disabilities than they are to donate to kids with disabilities, and kind of changing that perception first within our own organization will go a long way. Me: Do you think we utilize our financial and human resources effectively within the organization? Do you think our volunteers
are doing enough, do you think we could be doing better financially? What is your opinion on how this system is run? Madi: I am not a business person, but I do think that at this time there are substantial improvements that can be made and I think with the financial resources that we have, we're doing a good job of allocating them; that's a process that has gone really smoothly for a lot of years. I think we could always lower our expenses and there are different people in the organization who spend more than necessary and some that spend less, but I think that kind of having a standard for what counts as a valid expense would be good. I think in terms of human resources, being students, it's really difficult to mobilize and motivate our volunteers in the way that I think would be most effective for the organization and that comes by nature of the fact that this is not our full time jobs and that we have a lot more priorities on our plate than most people who run nonprofits, and I think finding a way to elevate DMUM to the highest priority for them would be a great way to better utilize the humans that we have now, and just make sure that everyone feels comfortable and included and kind of just establishing better standards and expectations and conduct for our people would be more effective and better able for us to make a greater impact. Me: How does the organization collaborate or compete with other organizations on this campus and how has that impacted our risk taking, how does that impact our numbers and how the organization interacts with both the people in organizations on campus? Madi: We collaborate really well with a wide variety of student organizations on campus just by the fact that they can create teams and help in our fundraising efforts, and we focus a lot on various pre-health
organizations because we're all united by similar missions and similar values that drive what we do for our organizations. We also collaborate really well with a lot of entertainment spheres because of our high entertainment factor and the public's view that goes into our events, but I think in terms of competition there like there are two organizations that jumped into my mind, and one of them is MRelay just because they're very similarly driven in helping people with health challenges and so they fund cancer research and cancer treatment and I think that, while very different than our mission, they can often be conflated with each other for kind of serving a purpose to a better public health and public experience. Since we're similar sizes we raise similar amounts of money, it's hard not to compete with that. MRelay this year was on the same day, and now there's an organization called Project Sunshine which is very similar in mission in fundraising and experiences to us â€“ and you mentioned risk taking â€“ in terms of making risks and trying new events it's hard competing with both of these organizations now because we have ones that are so successful that we don't want to focus our efforts away from those to a different event when we're not sure how successful that would be and if people would then switch to donating funds to MRelay versus our organization; I think we're really focused on the big things we do and trying not to spend too much on something else for fear of not making enough to justify that change, and having that sense of competition with MRelay scares us because there is a limited amount of A) effort that we can put in â€“ we only have a certain amount of bandwidth for the organization like bandwidth and students, and there's only so much that we can do and so if we take something away we won't have enough, and then B) there's only a certain amount of money in the community. Like bucketing, for example: if
we all go out and bucket, only a certain amount of people will donate, and so how do we justify changing something about our organisation that sell fundamental to who we are? Like if we were to do something different for Victorthon, an event we havenâ€™t changed in 23 years, it's been pretty much the same the entire time and if we were to change that it would change who we are as an organization, which could directly impact our fundraising. And with Project Sunshine I think is causing us to take bigger risks now because we have been around longer, we're much bigger and we want to make sure that we still have a place in the community that we do once Project Sunshine grows, and so I think we've tried to take more risks with Mott and volunteers and making sure that we're playing a role in the community so that we can maintain our place. Me: In the last steering meeting, you mentioned the difference between having a small but mighty organization versus a sprawling and a relatively low-commitment organization. What do you think are the pros and cons of having a big or small organization with maybe only 75 percent of the people involved and 25 percent not, versus 100 percent of a relatively small community being involved with this. Madi: Very controversial topic at the moment! Personally, I value small but mighty more for a couple different reasons. First: if we have a 100 percent involvement versus 25 percent of people not involved, I think those 25 percent of people can really bring down a lot of the organization by not having the same energy, drive and motivation, which can really be contagious throughout the rest of the organization and change the culture, so I think that having the 100 percent really high energy people who are dedicated to the cause and actually care would be better for the organization because
that energy would just be so much higher. I also think that, from my experiences in leadership, I've recognized how it's so much easier to motivate a smaller group of people than to motivate hundreds of people. It's really hard when everyone has different styles of how they work and how they like to be motivated. Itâ€™s also way easier to logistically to keep track of; I have an info background and I was the Information Management chair last year, and just keeping track of the sheer amount of data and being able to strategize with the data that we have would be much more efficient if we were smaller. So my personal opinion is that I think we should really narrow in our focus to the people that will actually care, fundraise and become the next leaders, but there are values to having a large organization and reaching a broader social network, but the culture of the org should not be sacrificed. Me: So what do you think the culture is currently in the organization - honestly. Madi: Honestly, I think it's at the point where it's almost too big right now that there are people that don't care and that's negatively affecting a lot of people. I also think that this point, because it's so big and there are so many different things that people are doing, there's a lot of overlap which causes some like inter organization competition for not so great reasons. We're all doing this for the kids and for the money that we raised, but a lot of it plays into interpersonal relationships that happen within the organization and once it gets as big as it is now, it's really hard to manage and mediate all of those conflicts, and so while there are a ton of people that are really excited and really motivated, there's a significant portion that isn't. They are kind of acting like a sink to all of our efforts.
Me: If you could make any change, structural change to leadership or anything that doesn't include raising more money or anything like that, how would you make the organization more efficient as a whole? How do you think people would become more efficient in the organization? Madi: Hard to answer, and I think if I knew the answer we would be a better place. Me: Do you think it's easy to make those decisions or to figure out what's more efficient without push back? Madi: Absolutely not. There will be people who push back no matter what you do; you just make one tiny change and people will be upset because that's not the way happened for the past three years that they've known it. For example, how the organization changed from one meeting and one house party every other week to one house party a month has received a ton of pushback in both directions. There are people that are like “oh this is so great, why didn't we do it sooner, why don't we have even fewer amount of events?” but there are some people that are like “no we need to have way more events because we're not motivating people as much,” and so I think it's really hard to make any sort of these decisions that change things because people are very adverse to change generally and when it comes out such a cost to the culture or to the success of the organization, it's hard to make that decision alone. I really wish I knew what would make the organization more efficient and it's really hard because it starts with everyone who's on leadership, and it's really hard to have people prioritize DMUM right now, and that's a bigger campus issue rather than a specific issue for us. Having a consulting group or something come to us and help us
out and see where our flaws are can really help us because right now we're stuck. Me: Like a stalemate where some people want to be more original than other people want to take risks, but taking risks may cause, I don't know, 400 fewer people signing up to registration and that heavily impacts numbers. But what if those 400 people are just the ‘zero-sum’ people that don't make any money anyway? Madi: Yeah, with the registration fee: do you take away the fee because that's been pushed back across campus, that 40 dollars is too expensive to raise more money for the kids, but what if we take away the registration fee and we don't make nearly as much money because the registration fee is a significant portion of our profits? But then what if we take it away and so many more people join, and so many more people who are motivated to fundraise but just really were turned off by the registration fee, and then our profits skyrocket? Taking that risk without the backing of everyone else in the organization is really hard to do, and because the organization is so large there are people with a very different visions. Me: Would you consider doing an experiment like that, where instead of 40 it would be like 20 all year round, or maybe zero and then you have to refer five people? Do you think that's a major motivator for a lot of people, not having registration fee, to join DMUM? Madi: I personally think it's a main factor right now that's limiting our growth, but there are definitely a lot of other people that feel differently about it and feel like it is the reason we are successful because it is a significant portion of our profits, but I think that having a better experiment – like kind of how we do it CashApp a couple weeks
ago but having it more well known. Getting everyone on campus to recognize it's only $20.00 versus 40... yeah zero dollars versus 40, I think testing it out for like a day could really show us the potential, to see the stats; without having any of that numerical evidence it would be hard to make that decision right now. Me: Do you foresee any further issues coming into the organization, and if you do see those issues (stagnating or declining, things like that) what are some emerging strategies that you're thinking of to mitigate those risks? I know it's hard because in this organization, at most you're in it for 5 years, so how do you foresee future challenges that are coming up how do you foresee mitigating them? Madi: I think a challenge that we're starting to see now that we really haven't seen in the past is attendance and just getting even our leadership to attend the events that we put on, and that's something that's a pretty new this year but I foresee it being an even greater issue in the future. Something that we're strategizing is to provide for the future is creating a more formal list of expectations and a code of conduct for everyone who's involved in our organization so that it’s well known what’s expected of you when you join an organization. It’s like how classes have syllabuses that outline everything that you're going to need to do for the semester, we have a similar thing pretty much where it’ll say everything you're going to need to do and it's more transparent, from the leadership down, so people will just have a better sense of what their role is and are able to do you more that, given all the information. I think that something we've started struggling with is making sure that everyone knows everything that's going on without overwhelming them, but we kind of just have to overwhelm them to make any
sort of success because hiding what they're going to have to do throughout the year isn't going to be beneficial to the organization. It’ll cause some of those cultural issues where people are unhappy, and then it’s a domino effect from there. Me: Thank you for your time. The conversation with Madi was comprehensive and highlighted many issues and nuances we have studied in our course, such as the “need” to shrink overhead, decreased risk-taking, and the importance of culture within an organization. Author Bio Nayla is a third-year senior studying English Language & Literature with a minor in entrepreneurship who has taken great interest in nonprofit work. She hopes to learn effective fundraising and leadership strategies in order to spread awareness, compassion and cooperation.
ASPIRE TO INSPIRE WITH ALZ In the World of Alzheimer's, many families are being introduced to the disease and have little knowledge on how to navigate the rough road ahead of them. This lack of knowledge stems from the lack of evangelists and advocacy that is often presented by our health care professionals today. This bridge that has not been connected between doctors and patients is being improved by organizations such as The Alzheimer's Association. This nonprofit aims to inspire evangelists in every way they can to advocate for this disease and those who are affected by it. By bridging the gap, The Alzheimer's Association inspires evangelists by networking and building relationships with people across the nation. In an interview with some of the employees, one expressed her love for advocating for Alzheimer's. She explained how her yearly goal was to attend her city fair and set up a booth for The Alzheimer's Association. She expressed how by wearing her nametag led to be a conversation starter and people would say things such as "I've heard of this organization before" or "my grandmother died from this disease." These statements would lead her to ask questions as well while also informing people of how this disease could be erased with along with their help. This help is completed through not just volunteering but also engaging in the same ways as the employee did with her own community. We have discussed how change starts within the community and people who make sure of this are evangelists but are also inspiring other evangelists. Change does not start with one but it starts with many and The Alzheimer's Association lives up to this standard. Advocacy leads to inspiring evangelists which then leads to a change in a community and it has been accomplished within the Azlehimer's community.
Words by Kala Coston Biography of Writer: As a young woman who lost her grandmother to the terrible disease known as Lewy-Body Dementia, it is my duty to advocate for families affected by this disease and similar ones.
ATTIC | JANUARY 2016
IN THE SPIRIT OF CARE BY JULIA HOWARD
H ave you ever thought about one day having
children? And when your hypothetical birthing experience came to mind, were you afraid or did you ever consider the possibility that you or your newborn might face complications? If your answer is no, then you possess an undeniable privilege that is not universal throughout America. Poor birth outcomes are a problem that has increasingly affected American mothers, and is more acute in certain populations than others. The Detroit community and mothers are particularly vulnerable to high rates of infant and mother mortality among other birthing complications. As a result of institutional racism and sexism, Detroit mothers and birthing people suffer in extremely tangible and poignant ways when it comes to healthcare and safe birthing.
The Mothers People who give birth in Detroit are dying at a rate that is three times the national average. The issue of differential birth outcomes for Detroit mothers in contrast to the national and global firstworld precedent is gravely severe: Detroit’s mothers endure the hardship of facing some of the worst birth mortality and morbidity rates in the US (Bouffard, 2014). For instance, Detroit saw 44.4 pregnancy related deaths per 100,000 live births from 2007 to 2013 (Maternal Deaths Highest in Detroit, 2019). Though this issue is so pressing,
when looking for raw data on maternal mortality, I could not find the complete break down. As it turns out, in 2017, the Public Act 479 of 2016 was signed into law to make maternal death reporting mandatory (Maternal Deaths Highest in Detroit, 2019). I was certain that this information was published somewhere on the internet. Upon further investigation, I was directed to the email of Melissa Limon-Flegler, the Maternal Mortality Surveillance Project Coordinator from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.After requesting the data from recent years, she redirected my request to Heidi Neumayer, a preventable Mortality Epidemiologist. Heidi disclosed to me that the MDHHS was still reviewing the data from 2018 onward. I was shocked that the data that was mandated to be published in 2017 had still not been made available. In my opinion, this lack of expediency and tentativeness to the project reflects the blatant lack of regard for women, and specifically the Black mothers of Detroit. In other words, these numbers have not yet been made accessible because between 2017 and now, no one considered it a priority to review the data and share with the public that Detroit has been suffering with high numbers of mothers dying from live birth. This absence of reporting highlights the negligence and lack of motivation that the state feels to get to the bottom of why women are dying in inordinate numbers from a process that the female body was evolved to naturally carry out;...
...this is part of the greater issue of the treatment of women in health fields in general. Detroit women are being overlooked and ignored. It is clear from the discrepancy in mother mortality rates between Detroit and other more affluent Michigan communities, that this neglect stems from the nation’s apparent inability to care about women, especially those from marginalized communities. This is made more horrific by the fact that while mother mortality rates are unimportant, infant mortality rates are always reported and published by the State’s health department. Infants can be born male or female, and while their deaths are not insignificant, completely disregarding alarming numbers of mother mortality reflects a distinct lack of care targeted only at women. The state decides to do less for mothers, overlooking a population of women not all seeing healthy birth outcomes for themselves and their community.
"A lot of the progress we’ve made in the last hundred years has missed the poorest and most marginalized communities in America. It’s left infant mortality looking more like it does in far poorer countries”
Birth Detroit Rewriting the Narrative
Why Brith Detroit then? The use of birth centers to remedy the issue of mitigating causes of poor birth outcomes is well-recognized in America. Studies of birth centers have demonstrated successful results, like reduced numbers of unnecessary c-sections, among other superfluous interventional procedures. While sometimes necessary, supernumerary operations like these contribute to our nation’s status as one of the worst in birth outcomes among first-world countries, and birth centers act directly to combat this problem (Stapleton, Osborne, &Illuzzi, 2013). So, yes, like all birth centers, Birth Detroit will aid in ushering in the transition to natural birthing. However, what makes Brith Detroit unique is its dedication to making birth celebratory and blissful through honoring the sacred roots of this The Newborns amazing period in womanhood. Birth Detroit’s mission is “Safe, quality, Relating directly into the issue of loving care for every birthing person” maternal mortality, is this issue of rginalized communities in (Birth Detroit, 2019). Birth Detroit infant mortality. Using the MDHHS America. It’s left infant mortality aims to offer services to aid in a data on infant mortality, from 2013 to looking more like it does in far healthy and happy pregnancy from 2017 there was an 8.4% increase in poorer countries” (El-Sayed, prenatal visits to postpartum visits, mortality rate. In Detroit, the mean 2019). The guest speaker, Lesliey covering even things like lactation rate over the five years was 13.6 per Welch, further elaborated, “We consulting to chiropractic referrals. 1,000 live births (Number and Rate of have zip codes in the city where This organization understands the Infant Deaths by Race for Wayne and needs and context of Detroit’s Detroit, 2019). These numbers starkly [the infant mortality is] as high as 22 percent” (Welch, 2019). women and birthing people, and is contrast the national average of 5.9 Overall, Detroit’s community is devoted to overcoming the obstacles per 1,000 live births (Siacon, 2018). During an episode on the America vulnerable to poor birthing in accessibility, transportation, Dissected podcast about infant outcomes, as many insurance coverage, and patient mortality in Detroit, the host Abdul El- predominantly Black education to empower this Sayed noted, “A lot of the progress communities in the US are as demographic with the birthing we’ve made in the last hundred years well. experience they are entitled to. has missed the poorest and most ma-
Author Biography: Julia is a senior majoring in neuroscience and minoring in Gender and Health with aspirations of improving access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, specifically in underserved communities.
BLACK and NATIVE MOTHERS ARE DYING AT DISPROPORTIONATE RATES. GIVE ATTENTION, MANIFEST CHANGE!!!
Facts and statistics
CALLS FALLING ON DEAF EARS: Racial and Ethnic Minority Mothers are Dying
By Roksolana Sudyk photo edits by Kayla Hatcher
I became involved in doula care because of a trauma that turned into a passion, as is often encountered among doulas. I had grown up hearing of and living with my mother’s trauma in giving birth to me, and I had become passionate about protecting the beauty of birth from the trauma that may overshadow it. My mother is an immigrant, and such an identity made all the difference in her birthing experience. Throughout her birthing experience, she experienced a lack of understanding of English language, a lack of understanding of American culture, and a lack of a support system, which left her feeling hopeless. A doula that would not have had a shared knowledge nor a shared belonging with my mother’s identities, could have caused further trauma. On the other hand, a doula that would have had such, could have understood, connected with, and empowered my mother. That was a single story; however, such a story is told and retold across generations and across cultures. Such a story is told and retold among Black and Native birthing people, who have two to three times the risk of maternal mortality, not because of biological factors, rather because of racial and ethnic disparities (“Racial and Ethnic Disparities Continue in Pregnancy-Related Deaths,” 2019). In Black and Native birthing people, the risk of maternal mortality increases with age due to the
effects of stressors associated with racial and ethnic discrimination (“Racial and Ethnic Disparities Continue in Pregnancy-Related Deaths,” 2019). In Black and Native birthing people, who hold additional underprivileged identities, the intersection and interaction of multiple underprivileged identities and multiple forms of discrimination even further increases the risk of maternal mortality with age (Cohen, 2015). Healthcare providers, the majority of whom are white, are unable to understand the effects of discrimination on maternal health, never having experienced the discrimination themselves (Cohen, 2015). Therefore, the healthcare providers do not monitor stress-induced complications such as cardiovascular and hypertensive disorders, throughout the birth, which are more common and contribute more so to maternal mortality among Black and Native birthing people (“Racial and Ethnic Disparities Continue in Pregnancy-Related Deaths,” 2019). In addition to racial and ethnic discrepancies, racial and ethnic prejudices affect the birthing experiences and outcomes in Black and Native birthing people. Healthcare providers are, more often than not, ignorant of their implicit biases, which leads to increased rates of maternal mortality among .....
About the author: Roksolana Sudyk is the daughter of an immigrant mother who was traumatized by her daughter’s birth. Having grown up living with her mother’s trauma, she became drawn to doula practice.
"If the stories and statistics of racial and ethnic minorities Take a peek into a day in the life of budding experiencing artist Stella Young, and how she birthing improves mortal her craft outcomes leave you with nothing else, then they leave you with the fact that a lack of cultural understanding in the medical environment can be detrimental." IMPRINT MAGAZINE | 38
(cont'd)...Black and Native birthing people (“Racial and Ethnic Disparities Continue in PregnancyRelated Deaths,” 2019). Healthcare providers fall into fallacies concerning the identities that at-risk birthing people hold. The majority of birthing people are women, and the stereotypes surrounding women need not be restated here; however, it is important to understand the effect that such stereotypes may have on the healthcare that women patients receive. Such dismissal is the gateway to further forms of mistreatment, such as greater waiting times for drug prescriptions and fewer drug prescriptions, themselves, due to greater diagnoses of psychosomatic pain – pain that is influenced my emotional, rather than psychical, distress (Pagan, 2018). It isn't difficult to see that such medical mistreatments stem from stereotypes. Moreover, racial and ethnic identities experience stereotypes that affect the healthcare that patients of color receive, as well. Patients of color experience delay upon vocalizing their distress, for the sole reason of implicit biases surrounding the perseverance of people of color. In terms of birthing complications, a delay of a few hours may make the difference between life and death (Roeder, 2019). In the case of women of color, who are birthing, the effects of such implicit biases do not add up, they multiply, proportional to the risk of maternal mortality.
The stories and the statistics concerning maternal health among women of racial and ethnic identities are loud, as they should be. BLACK MOTHERS ARE DYING AT DISPROPORTIONATE RATES. NATIVE MOTHERS ARE DYING AT DISPROPORTIONATE RATES. GIVE ATTENTION, MANIFEST CHANGE!!! Yet, they fall on deaf ears. They fall on the ears of people who rationalize the lack of diversity in doula organizations by stating that the presence any doula, regardless of race or ethnicity, is enough to better birthing outcomes. If the stories and statistics of racial and ethnic minorities experiencing mortal birthing outcomes leave you with nothing else, then they leave you with the fact that a lack of cultural understanding in the medical environment can be detrimental. It is, therefore, coherent that cultural humility, being the basis of diversity, inclusion, and equity, may be the antidote. Cultural humility incorporates reflecting upon the interconnection of our identities and challenging preconceptions about the self and others. It encompasses the life-long learning, self-reflection, accountability, and power imbalances. It encourages learning about identities and the intersections of identities, as well as the hierarchy of identities. It delves into the privilege and power dynamics that arise from the hierarchy. In essence, it allows one to understand the history, culture, experiences, and adversities of the communities which one serves; it allows one to develop a shared knowledge. But, it does not end there. It leads to diversity, inclusion, and equity within organizations, which allows for a shared belonging within the communities which one serves. Dial-a-Doula, a nonprofit doula organization, recognizes its lack of diversity, inclusion, and equity, as well as cultural humility as an antidote to its disparity. In my interview with Amani Echols, Dial-a-Doula Program Coordinator, Echols was swift to point out the homogenous culture within Dial-a-Doula. A noticeable trend is that white mothers are supported more than non-white and immigrant mothers as there is a lack of non-white and immigrant volunteers who may be able to support such mothers better through a joint knowledge of their history, culture, experiences, and adversities. Dial-aDoula is a safety program, intended to work with mothers who may not be able to afford the time, resources, or money for a more integrated doula program; however, Dial-a-Doula is unable to serve its intended communities or fulfill its intended impact in serving only privileged identities. Echols suggests partnering with offices and organizations on campus to provide cultural humility training for such volunteers.
Photo Source: https://laurenjturnerfineart.com/product/black-birthworkers-matter/
More than this, Echols suggests partnering with doula training programs to create more doula training opportunities that would be accessible to more identities. For the time being, doula training programs are accessible to privileged identities, as they are expensive, they are few and far apart, and they span throughout three work-days. Such conditions pose restrictions on the identities who are able to attend doula training and engage in doula care. Echols suggests offering low-cost doula training opportunities and transportation to said trainings for low SES prospective doulas. Echols suggests advocating for and empowering doulas to create doula training programs in their cities and towns in order to make doula training accessible across the US. As doula trainings span throughout three work-days, they are inaccessible to prospective doulas who have children or work, among other things. Echols suggests offering doula training opportunities in the evenings or on the weekends, or altogether offering doula training opportunities online in order to make doula training accessible to the schedules of on-thego prospective doulas. This would increase access of doula care to diverse volunteers, who would be able to connect with diverse birthing people. It would allow doula volunteers to have a shared belonging within the background from which birthing people come. The stories that are passed down across generations and across cultures shine a light upon the discrepancies in maternal health across races and ethnicities. It is not enough to state that such is the system; it is time to change the system. It is time to implement cultural humility, as well as diversity, inclusion, and equity, into nonprofits. It is time to create a shared knowledge and a shared belonging within the communities in which we serve.
Nonprofit Spotlight: The Imam Ali Association Samrawit Kahsay Tala Taleb (pronouns she/her/hers) is a University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business graduate (BBA‘18, MAcc‘19) and treasurer and board member of the Imam Ali Association. I chose to interview Tala to learn more about the Imam Ali Association, a new nonprofit organization in Dearborn, Michigan. The interview questions are based on personal interest and the evolving feminist framework.
the students in the class was inspired by Imam Ali’s charitable efforts at his time period, especially when it came to orphans. When he noticed there was a gap in organizations doing community work inspired by Imam Ali, our president Mohamed reached out to the class and asked who wanted to join him in doing the work. A few of us said yes and we started with a small group chat on September 1st, 2018. We voted on board members and I ran for treasurer since I have a business background. As treasurer, I manage fundraising, track cash inflow & outflow/ manage bank accounts, apply for non-profit status, and create budgets for events. After we got over 100 members we decided to apply for non profit status and became a 501c3 in October 2019. Q: What is your mission and core values? A: The purpose of the Imam Ali Association is to promote the teachings, philosophies, and values of the Holy Quran, the Holy Prophet(s), and the Ahlulbayt (as) through community-based initiatives and social activities. Our core values stem from the Islamic values of generosity, humbleness, humanity, brotherhood, community, etc. All of our leaders embody the Imam Ali Association’s mission, vision, and values.
Q: What is the history of the Imam Ali Association? What is your role? What do you do in this role? A: The nonprofit has been around for a little over a year. I started taking classes last year in an Islamic seminary, Al-Hujjah Seminary, so I can learn more about Islam and one of
Q: Who is your constituency? What services does the Imam Ali Association provide? A: Our constituency is the Dearborn/Dearborn Heights Community. We do not have specific on-going services that we provide, but some of our past initiatives have been game night at an
orphanage, senior house clean-ups, hygiene drives, blessing bags, Ashura Procession, community clean up & picnic, discussions (ex. Islamic presence on social media), and Ahlulbayt exhibition. Q: How is the constituency engaged? A: We usually reach out to the community and see what is needed and then create initiatives that way. For example, last year we did a blessing bag drive in Downtown Detroit and talked to the folks that came out to take bags. We asked them what they would like to receive in the future and they made a list for us. This year we partnered with Project Dignity that is already embedded in the Downtown Detroit community and used that list from last year to do a drive that is personalized to the needs of the community. Q: Does the Imam Ali Association focus on the problems or the possibilities/possible solutions within the community? A: Possibilities/possible solutions; we think about problems as needs and see how we can help fulfill those.
Q: Where do you envision your organization to be in the short term, intermediate term, and long term future? A: - Short Term (under a year): Standardizing memberships, documents, funding sources, IRS forms and bank accounts. Getting ready to grow. - Intermediate term (1-3 years): create new leadership structure under 3 wings to begin creating a unified community that caters to multiple
needs under our mission - Health & Wellness, Education, Humanitarian Outreach, and get members involved in leadership roles under these Long-term (3+ years ): Spread the organization to other cities while keeping our headquarters in Dearborn. The goal is to keep the strong community connection though so if that is not possible we will just continue doing the work we do within our community.
The Imam Ali Association is a new but impactful nonprofit led by young, passionate members of the Muslim Dearborn community. If you are interested in keeping up with the great work they do or donating, follow them on Instagram at: @weareiaa. Author Biography Samrawit Kahsay is a 4th year Women’s Studies student passionate about women’s rights, particularly women’s health and reproductive justice.
Doulas as Agents of Reproductive Justice
In an age of medical advancement and heavy reliance on professionals with degrees, childbirth has become more focused on what the doctor has advice on rather than what the birthing person feels is best. It is time we reverse this narrative; birthing people are not 'patients', but rather harness the ability to make informed decisions for their birthing experience. It is time reproductive justice takes the stage, and the people who can begin to alter the doctor-patient power dynamic are advocates for the birthing person: doulas. A birth doula is someone who acts as a birthing-companion. He or she will support the birthing person prenatally, during labor and birth, as well as postpartum by helping them physically, emotionally, and informationally. The goal of the doula is to provide information throughout the process of childbirth in order to help the birthing person be completely informed on what decisions they can make. Doulas will support the birthing person's choices no matter what, but the doula will not offer medical or professional advice. This is the key difference between a doula and a midwife or doctor. Midwives and obstetricians are trained health professionals who help deliver babies. Midwives can help with births in all settings, while doctors usually only deliver at a hospital. Doctors also have the training to perform surgery, and therefore many highrisk clients will have an obstetrician. As a third party, doulas have the ability to give support in a way that family, friends, midwives, doctors, and nurses cannot: the doula has the full ability to put the birthing person's interest first, always. This means doulas can act as agents for social change by empowering the birthing person to make informed decisions and ultimately lead the birthing experience in terms of the reproductive justice model. Before diving further into why doulas are agents of social change, I believe it is crucial to touch on the origin of the term reproductive justice. As you may have guessed, the term was derived by splicing social justice with reproductive rights to create reproductive justice. The activist movement resulted from a demand amongst women of color: a demand for their voices to be heard. Women of color felt the feminist movement did not make space for their thoughts and opinions, for the movement was and still is primarily dominated by the voices of white, wealthy females.
In light of this, a group of black women gathered in Chicago in 1994 to recognize the needs of women of color and coined the term reproductive justice as well as developed the framework of the movement (“Reproductive Justice,” n.d.). In order to achieve reproductive justice we must ensure “access to specific, community-based resources including highquality health care, housing and education, a living wage, a healthy environment, and a safety net for times when these resources fail” (Ross, L. & Solinger, R., 2017). Reproductive justice demands the right to safe and dignified pregnancy management, and that is where doulas come in. The medicalization of birth and the power dynamic between the birthing individual and the doctor go hand in hand. In order humanize maternity care and shift power from the medical staff to the birthing person, we must move away from the binary choice of medicalized or natural and towards a framework of simply having a good birth. According to Dr. Anne Lyerly, a good birth includes the birthing person feeling:
1.Personal agency 2.Personal security 3. Connectedness 4.Respected 5.Knowledgeable In my work as a birth doula, these are the exact qualities my support emphasizes and creates a space for. A crucial component of creating a safe space for a birthing individual to plan their pregnancy is ensuring they feel personal security, respect and connectedness before, during, and after the birth. Doulas must also strive to empower the individual through personal security and knowledge. Brianna Giese
The best birth doulas ensure the decisions made are finalized by the birthing person and upheld throughout the birthing process unless modified by the birthing person. This brings attention to the importance of granting parents the power to make informed decisions that suit their bodies and desired birth experience. When this is done correctly, this is exactly what it looks like to humanize maternity care - by centering the birthing person. Reproductive Justice takes into account the relationship marginalized people have developed with the medical model, and doulas can help to alleviate the discrimination birthing people face. Ultimately, this discrimination can lead to distrust, misinformation, or a lack of understanding that in turn can harm the birthing experience. These are all reasons women of color began the reproductive justice movement to begin with, and doulas can be the tool that ultimately upholds this model. To understand how doulas can uplift marginalized people to take control of the medical care they receive, let us take a look at The Diversity Wheel. In Privilege Power and Difference, the author Alan Johnson begs his readers to identify how they classify themselves based on these categories, and then imagine waking up the next morning with one of these characteristics altered. Perhaps you have changed from being married to not, you woke up with a disability where you were unable to walk, or your skin color changed from white to black. How would this affect the way people treat you in the medical setting? Johnson writes about how our differences are utilized as tools to punish, discredit, and oppress some while rewarding, crediting, and valuing others. When doctors or medical personnel intentionally or unintentionally discriminate against their clients, the experience and birth outcome of the client is put at risk. A wellstudied and common occurrence is black Americans are undertreated for pain compared to white Americans. People tend to stereotype black Americans as feeling less pain and complaining more about the pain they experience. Biases such as this one affect the decisions of medical personnel, whether or not they are aware of it. There is a reason why the infant mortality rate for black infants is twice that of white infants, and we must actively work against racism and institutional discrimination to help provide an accessible space for healthy birthing to take place (“Infant Mortality Rates,” n.d.).
I argue that doulas are the key in fulfilling the reproductive justice model and empowering women not only in their birthing experience, but also in their relationships with medical professionals in general. When a birth doula offers continuous care, they become experts on what their client feels, wants, and needs. There is another set of eyes and ears to hold others in the room accountable. For example, if the birthing person does not want an epidural and the nurse continues to suggest the epidural, the doula can encourage their client to ask the nurse to stop suggesting pain management options. This is a simple process, but having an extra voice of encouragement can make the difference between a traumatizing or empowering birth. These acts of encouragement, physical support, and emotional support work against racism, classism, sexism, and many other forms of oppression prevalent in the medical system. “By making connections between power imbalances inherent both in institutionalized childbirth and in larger society, [birth doulas] are developing an intersectional understanding of the meaning and practice of childbirth that acknowledges the histories of racism, class oppression, and colonialism, as well as gender oppression.”Monica Reese Basile, PhD in Women’s Studies Ultimately, the utilization of birth doulas branches beyond natural pain management and continuous support. Doulas provide a third-party perspective and support that puts the birthing individual’s desires first and ensures they are fulfilled to the best of their ability. The conversation doulas inspire can break down barriers between the binary forces of medicalized or natural as well as power or oppression. Doulas are agents of reproductive justice, and we must take action to increase awareness of the impact they have.
LOBBYING FOR GOOD Lobbying. The word probably sparks adverse emotions. Maybe you think of Big Oil or Big Pharma forcing their interests on to Washington.
We often think of lobbying negatively, but it is not inherently nefarious; there are just more organizations pushing their selfinterests than those promoting social welfare. While you may know of numerous corporations engaging in lobbying, there are also nonprofit organizations that are already “fighting the good fight” in Washington. The Sierra Club, for example, works with Washington “to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment” (Sierra Club, 2019). The American Cancer Society, through its Cancer Action Network, lobbies for “legislation as a catalyst to fight cancer” (American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, 2019). These nonprofit organizations acknowledge that to wholly fulfill their missions they need to affect the laws that govern their issues.Nonprofit organizations can be categorized into a couple of different tax exempt categories by the IRS. The organizations you engage with most are likely either a 501(c)3 or a 501(c)4. As you might know, your donations to a 501(c)3 organization are tax deductible, but in return, the government has imposed some restrictions on how the organization can lobby.
By Helena Ayan
501(c)4 organizations, on the other hand, have
is spent on lobbying based on a sliding scale of
no lobbying restrictions, but your donations are
the organization’s total expenditures. This means
not eligible for a tax deduction. The often
that the time spent organizing lobbying or any
confusing boundaries surrounding lobbying for
lobbying that the nonprofit can do for free is not
nonprofit organizations have kept them from
regulated (Worth, 2019, p. 308-309). Within this
engaging with Washington, but to create lasting
501(h) option, nonprofits are able to definitively
impact nonprofits must work to change the root
know if they are within or exceeding
causes, the laws.
lobbying limitations, and in this case, they may
Lobbying refers to “an action taken to support or
want to look into a 501(c)4 designation.
oppose specific legislation at a national, state, or
“In sum, the 1976 Lobby Law is quite
local level” (Worth, 2019, p. 305), and prior to
generous in permitting nonprofit
1976, the regulations surrounding lobbying for nonprofits were vague. 501(c)3 organizations had to keep their lobbying as an "insubstantial" part of their programming, but what that meant was not clarified. Some courts held that as long as organizations were spending less than five percent of their time and money on lobbying, they were fine, and others disagreed (Worth, 2019). Finally, the 1976 Lobby Law attempted to clarify the situation.
The law provided organizations with two options on how they can engage in lobbying. The first option maintained the prior "substantial part test" that examined the amount of time and money organizations spent on lobbying (Worth, 2019, p. 307). This option does not directly clarify what "substantial" looks like, but it provides a simple option for the organizations that will not engage in lobbying enough for it to be a stressor. While nonprofit organizations that desire impactful change should engage in lobbying, it is important to note that some nonprofits do have missions that do not require the engagement with local, state, or national governments to fulfill their purpose, and for them, the substantial part test works. The second option provides many benefits for 501(c)3 organizations that do need to lobby to directly address the issues they hope to change. The law provides organizations with the option to file a form with the IRS to be covered by the guidelines of Section 501(h) in the IRC. These guidelines only limit the amount of money that
organizations to engage in lobbying” (Worth, 2019, p. 309)
So, while nonprofit organizations do face some regulations in how they can lobby, they are still able to engage Washington and more need to start. We think of lobbying so negatively because corporations have overrun Washington with their lobbying efforts, but they lobby for a reason: because it can get you what you want. The top ten Fortune 100 companies are seeing $1,000 in federal grants and contracts for every $1 they invest in lobbying (Andrzejewski, 2019). While this return on investment is not necessarily what nonprofits would get out of lobbying, if they hope to truly address the issues they care about, they need to look towards Washington. In their book, Forces for Good, Crutchfield and McLeod Grant (2008) identify twelve "highimpact" nonprofit organizations. All of these organizations "realized that if they wanted to create more significant systemic change, they needed to influence the political process" (p. 33). The authors identify that lobbying is “a powerful force for good because it leverages the enormous resources of the government. When you combine [lobbying] with programs on the ground, you gain even more traction against the problems you are trying to solve” (Crutchfield and McLeod Grant, 2008, p. 213). While many nonprofits currently only focus on direct service programming, organizations that desire to create “high-impact” also need to integrate lobbying into their efforts.
When nonprofits start lobbying for good, we will
Q: What is the history of the Imam Ali Association?
see lasting change from these organizations and
What is your role? What do you do in this role?
positive outcomes from lobbying efforts. Lobbying
A: The nonprofit has been around for a little over a
gets a bad rap because we do not see enough
year. I started taking classes last year in an Islamic
policies promoting social welfare coming out of
seminary, Al-Hujjah Seminary, so I can learn more
Washington. While lobbying can appear daunting
about Islam and one of the students in the class
and confusing to organizations, the regulations
was inspired by Imam Ali’s charitable efforts at his
provide leeway for nonprofits so that they are able
time period, especially when it came to orphans.
to affect the laws. Creating lasting impact through
When he noticed there was a gap in organizations
lobbying needs to be a focus for nonprofits with
doing community work inspired by Imam Ali, our
desires of making a meaningful difference.
president Mohamed reached out to the class and
asked who wanted to join him in doing the work. A few of us said yes and we started with a small group chat on September 1st, 2018. We voted on board members and I ran for treasurer since I have
a business background. As treasurer, I manage
bank accounts, apply for non-profit status, and
By Samrawit Kahsay
fundraising, track cash inflow & outflow/ manage create budgets for events. After we got over 100 members we decided to apply for non profit status and became a 501c3 in October 2019. Q: What is your mission and core values? A: The purpose of the Imam Ali Association is to promote the teachings, philosophies, and values of the Holy Quran, the Holy Prophet(s), and the Ahlulbayt (as) through community-based initiatives and social activities. Our core values stem from the Islamic values of generosity, humbleness, humanity, brotherhood, community, etc. All of our leaders embody the Imam Ali Association’s mission, vision, and values. Q: Who is your constituency? What services does the Imam Ali Association provide? A: Our constituency is the Dearborn/Dearborn
Tala Taleb (pronouns she/her/hers) is a University of
Heights Community. We do not have specific on-
Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business
going services that we provide, but some of our
graduate (BBA‘18, MAcc‘19) and treasurer and board
past initiatives have been game night at an
member of the Imam Ali Association. I chose to
orphanage, senior house clean-ups, hygiene drives,
interview Tala to learn more about the Imam Ali
blessing bags, Ashura Procession, community clean
Association, a new nonprofit organization in
up & picnic, discussions (ex. Islamic presence on
Dearborn, Michigan. The interview questions are
social media), and Ahlulbayt exhibition.
based on personal interest and the evolving feminist framework.
Q: How is the constituency engaged? A: We usually reach out to the community and see what is needed and then create initiatives that way. For example, last year we did a blessing bag drive in Downtown Detroit and talked to the folks that came out to take bags. We asked them what they would like to receive in the future and they made a list for us. This year we partnered with Project Dignity that is already embedded in the Downtown Detroit community and used that list from last year to do a drive that is personalized to the needs of the community.
When he noticed there was a gap in organizations doing community work inspired by Imam Ali, our president Mohamed reached out to the class and asked who wanted to join him in doing the work. Q: Does the Imam Ali Association focus on the problems or the possibilities/possible solutions within the community? A: Possibilities/possible solutions; we think about problems as needs and see how we can help fulfill those. Q: Where do you envision your organization to be in the short term, intermediate term, and long term future? A: Short Term (under a year): Standardizing memberships, documents, funding sources, IRS forms and bank accounts. Getting ready to grow. Intermediate term (1-3 years): create new leadership structure under 3 wings to begin creating a unified community that caters to multiple needs under our mission - Health & Wellness, Education, Humanitarian Outreach, and get members involved in leadership roles under these Long-term (3+ years ): Spread the organization to other cities while keeping our headquarters in Dearborn. The goal is to keep the strong community connection though so if that is not possible we will just continue doing the work we do within our community.
Source: Akhil Parashar
Taking off the Mask: The Power of Advocacy Organizations in Decreasing the Stigma of Mental Illness Andrea Johnson
Stigma: a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. Unfortunately, this is a term that is widely recognized by most individuals affected by mental illness. Millions of people in the United States are affected by
mental illness each year, and it is important to recognize how this illness is exacerbated by stigma. Despite large scale advances in psychiatry and psychology, a vast amount of stigma still remains in the United States. The 46.6 million people in the United States with mental illness are greatly challenged on a daily basis (NIMH, 2017). Struggling with the illness itself, individuals must learn to cope with the symptoms of this disorder and
the implications it may have on themselves or family members. Additionally, these individuals are challenged by the stereotypes and prejudices that result from large-held societal misconceptions surrounding mental illness. As a result of this, individuals are robbed of many of the essentials necessary for an adequate and fulfilling life. Due to mental illness stigma, individuals are at risk for job loss, unstable housing, inadequate healthcare, and social exile (Corrigan, 2002). In hopes of a brighter future without these difficulties, this article focuses on Taking off the Mask of mental illness, a phrase that has inspired the mentally ill to be empowered, rather than shamed. The stigma associated with mental illness may be divided into two sections. Public stigma, the most problematic, consists of the general populationâ€™s reaction to individuals with mental illness (Corrigan, 2002). Alternatively, self-stigma is defined as the prejudice that individuals turn against themselves -- often perpetuated by public stigma (Corrigan, 2002). Stigmas surrounding mental illness can be found ubiquitously as mass media, popular culture, and even mental health professionals endorse and subscribe to stereotypes about mental illness. According to Corrigan (2002), several themes describe misconceptions about mental illness and corresponding stigmatizing attitudes. Based on media and film analysis, three defining themes have been identified as contributing to mental illness stigma. These themes include: people with mental illness are homicidal maniacs who need to be feared; they have childlike perceptions of the world that should be marveled; or they are responsible for their illnesses because they have weak character (Corrigan, 2002). Because of harsh and inaccurate media perceptions of the mentally ill, the stigma is perpetuated and results in individuals facing exclusion,
authoritarianism, and dismissal (Corrigan, 2002). Additionally, public stigma can contribute to the withholding of help, avoidance, coercive treatment, and segregated institutions (Corrigan, 2002). With the perpetuation of mental illness stigma in the United States, it is not surprising to see individuals left untreated, isolated, and in distress. Fortunately, nonprofit organizations nationwide have taken action to raise awareness on mental illness stigma, and vigorously fight against the continuation of stigma.
Graphic by: Dian Lofton/iStockphoto
StigmaFree The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nationâ€™s largest grassroots nonprofit organization that aids in fighting the harmful effects of mental illness stigma. One of the primary aspects of NAMIâ€™s mission is to fight against stigma through advocacy. NAMI has created a campaign called StigmaFree, with the central focus of eliminating stigma. In taking the StigmaFree Pledge, individuals, businesses, organizations, campuses, churches and others may assist in building a movement for change. StigmaFree emphasizes that all individuals in the mental health community need to raise their voices against stigma (NAMI, 2019).
“Every day, in every possible way, we need to stand up against stigma.” Additionally, NAMI promotes a nine-step model in fighting mental health stigma (NAMI, 2019). 1. Talk Openly About Mental Health 2. Educate Yourself And Others 3. Be Conscious of Language 4. Encourage Equality Between Physical and Mental Illness 5. Show Compassion For Those With Mental Illness 6. Choose Empowerment Over Shame 7. Be Honest About Treatment 8. Let the Media Know When They’re Being Stigmatizing 9. Don’t Harbor Self-Stigma At NAMI, this nine-step model was implemented in Family-to-Family educational classes. At Family-to-Family, the parents, brothers, sisters, and other family members expressed their concerns regarding stigma and the myriad of effects it has had on their loved ones. However, once these nine steps were discussed and encouraged, family members began to observe gradual changes in themselves and their loved ones. By implementing these strategies, members of the community have been able to decrease the destructive effects of the mental illness stigma. As noted from class, most family members found strategy two to be most effective. In educating others, individuals have expressed feelings of empowerment. By educating others, many people have been able to transform uncomfortable and rude remarks into a teaching opportunity to inform others of the harmful effects of using certain language. Moreover, many members of the class noted that compassion for those with mental illness has an immense impact. If the
government, businesses, society, and the general public were to express more compassion for the mentally ill, feelings of shame associated with the stigma would drastically decrease.
Graphic from: The Hello Doctor Team
Finding Your Organization A variety of organizations exist today to fight against the stigma of mental illness, both generally and for specific communities. The first step in lessening the burden of stigma is to support an organization that resonates with your values or fits to your specific community (Essig, 2019). Finding an organization that speaks to you is a key part of getting involved in the fight against stigma. Whether it be donating, volunteering, advocacy through social media, small involvement makes a great difference in the long run. By donating or volunteering your time or money, you can support organizations that are fiercely fighting to destigmatize mental illness and help populations that are at a higher risk. For instance, organizations such as the Trevor Project offer excellent mental health support services for LGBTQ youth — a group that is disproportionately affected by mental illness. Organizations like the Trevor Project have made huge strides in destigmatizing the double-faced challenges of being a part of the LGBTQ community and living with a mental illness (Essig, 2019).
Taking Back the Power Individuals living with a mental illness are challenged doubly. These individuals are often dehumanized and solely viewed as
their illness. In addition to the existing challenges of mood swings, depression, and other symptoms of mental illness, these individuals face the added burden of stigma that can lead to poor outcomes. These individuals are often held responsible for their conditions, expected to change their thoughts and behaviors, avoided, isolated, and viewed as unpredictable, erratic, and dangerous (NAMI, 2012). In order to solve this ever-pressing issue, advocacy groups such as NAMI must continue to protest inaccurate and hostile representations of the mentally ill. Protest campaigns such as StigmaFree have been proven to be highly effective in diminishing public stigma (Corrigan, 2002). More importantly, society must deconstruct the stigma that is inherent in social structures. Mental illness stigma is present in the law, social justice system, and shapes the way resources are allocated to the struggling mentally ill. In order for change to occur, society must deconstruct the mental illness stigma that is present in social institutions.
Author Bio As a junior studying Gender and Health and Biomolecular Science, Andrea is passionate about the social and scientific aspects behind mental health. She is dedicated to learning and engaging in advocacy work. References (APA) Corrigan, P. W., & Watson, A. C. (2002). Understanding the impact of stigma on people with mental illness. World psychiatry : official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), 1(1), 16â€“20. Essig, T. (2019, July 31). Three Ways To Fight The Stigma Of Mental Illness. Forbes Magazine. NAMI. (2019, February 2). Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/stigma. Mental Illness. (2019, January). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/ mental-illness.shtml
THE PRO-LIFE PREGNANCY CENTER WITH FEMINIST VALUES By Kayla Hatcher
A Pro-Life feminist organization sounds like an oxymoron. The commonly held belief is that pro-choice and pro-life centers are antonyms with each center hoping to achieve diametrically opposite goals. ProChoice pregnancy centers obviously support a woman’s right to chose in the case of pregnancy. Pro Life centers try to protect life at all cost, opting to avoid abortion unless it is absolutely necessary. After spending time at the “Another Way Pregnancy Center” in Farmington Hills, a pro-life pregnancy center, I learned that the commonly held beliefs and tropes about organizations like these and the labels we use to describe them may not apply.
Since the terms pro-choice and pro-life came about, American society at large has used the labels to separate its population among party lines. Republicans use an antiabortion message to bolster their beliefs on traditional family values. Democrats use pro-choice messages as a cudgel against their political rivals, touting their support of women’s rights. But neither of those messages are actually helping women in crisis pregnancies. In The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House, Audrey Lorde argues that “Interdependency between women is the way to a freedom which allows the I to be, not in order to be used, but in order to be creative. This is a
Take a peek into a day in the life of budding artist Stella Young, and how she improves her craft
"Interdependency between women is the way to a freedom which allows the I to be, not in order to be used, but in order to be creative. This is a difference between the passive be and the active being.”
difference between the passive be and the active being.” AWPC takes the active role. Rather than just holding a belief and
fighting for laws to make their belief the law, they run a women-lead organization that provides women with accurate
information and resources in order to for to make an informed choice on her options for a pregnancy which will ultimately affect her life.
Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice vs. Anti-Abortion: A Pro-Lifer Breaks it Down Karen Jewell, Executive Director of Another Way Pregnancy Center (AWPC): …when I think of anti-abortion, it is more of a political movement. More like what I was involved in when I was doing Right to Life (an anti-abortion organization). It’s more of the political, “lets vote in people who represent our values” kind of thing. There are a lot of singleissue voters on this issue because they believe that if you don't value life from beginning to end, it makes everything in between subjective. I come way back from the '70s when the whole issue of abortion was being debated: “do we wanna legalize this or not?” They always talked about the slippery slope because the thinking is if its subject to what somebody thinks, there's no absolute value given to it, which they would argue is in the constitution 'the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'. So anti-abortion would be antianything that would destroy life and you're gonna hear more of what we would term today as the "extreme.” That even for defects of the fetus, or the mental health of the mom, rape or incest--because of what happens in the body
when an abortion happens. So pro-life on the other hand, those who would term themselves pro-life instead of anti-abortion, they're more *for* something. They're more for the creation of life and those who carry life and it's a broader image--a broader purpose. So it’s not just pre-born and the vulnerable elderly on the extreme ends of the life cycle, but it’s all of life in between. They’re more concerned with the environment and how people respect and engage with one another and I would say that we're more *that*. We are not out there actually trying to stop abortion, that's for the anti-abortionist. we don't think that its necessarily the healthiest option for the woman, and certainly not for a child, it’s the end of that child’s life and we do value human life. But our main emphasis is to affirm life and affirm those who choose life, and to help women in less than ideal circumstances to make that choice. That she's not feeling forced into a corner like, "there's nothing else I can do, I mean what else can I do? I have to abort. This just won't work in my life", and we hope to offer other alternatives.
About the author: Kayla Hatcher is a graduating senior with a BA in Women’s Studies. She desires to work in women’s health.
FEMINISM IN PRACTICE W O M E N S T D 3 5 0 / U N I V E R S I T Y O F M I C H I G A N
University of Michigan Women's Studies 350: Nonprofit Management final project. As a final assignment, the class collectively created an onl...
Published on Dec 1, 2019
University of Michigan Women's Studies 350: Nonprofit Management final project. As a final assignment, the class collectively created an onl...