"Fast" Article, Dec. 99, "Social Justice"

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Donna Frederickson, Intl Falls Cohort -Grading Contract, Fall Semester, 1999 > Fast Company, December, 1999 "Social Justice", Cheryl Dahle, pp. 281+ > Quote by Alan Khazei, "If you are exposed directly to an injustice or a need, you want to do something about it." (p. 282) > This article renewed my faith in "Generation X", showing that there are those concerned about social injustice. It is disturbing to read about the world's problems and know that many people have worked for change and money has been poured into social reform and yet the problems exist. It is encouraging for one from an older generation to know that there are those from a younger generation who are willing to work for social justice and reform. It feels like a torch is being passed successfully. Vanessa Kirsch and Alan Khazei began their own separate, thriving social service nonprofit organizations. Kirsch began Public Allies in Washington, DC, in 1991 and Khazei began City Year in Boston, MA, in 1988. City Year is a domestic youth peace corps and Public Allies is a national youth service organization. > While Alan was growing up, his father always reminded him that he had lived under a dictatorship in Iran, but was so impressed by democracy in America after he immigrated here. The father brought up his son with the same appreciation for American ideals. Alan Khazei grew up seeing that Americans do not always example this country's ideals and recognized the injustice of so much wealth and yet starvation and homelessness. These frustrations made him wanting to get other young people involved in correcting social problems. Khanzei wanted to start a national service program while at Harvard obtaining a law degree and found some others who felt the same way he did. Thus, City Year was begun. The premise behind City Year is to employ youth, between the ages of 17and 24, to donate time in activities benefiting a community, such as cleaning up vacant lots, providing HIV education, tutoring and mentoring other youth, and helping the elderly. In exchange for 1,700 hours of service, the youth would receive a modest living allowance and some scholarship for further education. The program was funded by grants and funding from companies approached by Khanzei willing to contribute to nonprofit service organizations. City Year was the format President Clinton used to begin AmeriCorps in 1994. > Vanessa Kirsch has the same will for social action. Public Allies employs youth in 10 month apprenticeships with local nonprofit organizations to work on community projects and in exchange they receive a monthly stipend and an educational grant from AmeriCorps. > They met, discovered that they had the same ideals, married, discussed bigger and better ideas and recognized that even with so many nonprofits working for social improvement there are still many problems. However, they saw through their own organizations that there is start up money for nonprofits, but little money available for ongoing, successful nonprofits. To regroup and formulate new ideas, they traveled around the world and were encouraged by finding others, no matter what the nationality or political structure, who were concerned about social welfare and had ideas for social change and the funding of such programs. > Kirsch and Khazei feel that the nonprofit sector is broken and formulated a new direction for nonprofits. Along with some other thinkers, entrepreneurs, and financial advisors, they came up with a new sector, not nonprofit or for profit, but called "new profit." Thus, they formed an experimental organization called New Profit. New Profit, Inc., beginning in Boston, will provide four entrepreneurial nonprofits, chosen from applicants, with consulting and financial services worth up to $1million over three to five years. The four organizations chosen for New Profit to invest in will be set up as if they are "for profit" venues, with a representative from New Profit on the board advising and monitoring. The four organizations beginning under New Profit are: Jumpstart, which matches college-age tutors with preschoolers; Citizen School, a group that fosters community involvement in public after-school education; Working Today, a union for free agents; and Codman Square Health Center, a Boston clinic that serves the disadvantaged. If those receiving investments make favorable progress, support will continue. In other words, accountability, and that is a word that anyone in business or education is familiar with. > Society is ready for inventive ideas and financial methods for social progress. Governments cannot account for the money they have spent and poor management has thwarted many nonprofits, so we are ready for a new system. The corporate venue has progressed when there is good management and maybe if similar structure enters the nonprofit sector it, too, may succeed. What have we got to lose?

-- Anonymous, January 19, 2000

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