Spotlight on CIVIC's perseverance through wintry economic timesSubmitted Fri Jan 16 2009 12:44:00 GMT-0500 (EST) by Jason Z.
The Washington Times ran an illuminating piece today on CIVIC, the Campaign for Innocent Victims In Conflict and one of our favorite Salsa users. It's not only a heart-gladdening story to see CIVIC keep on keeping on, but underscores the perilous situation many small nonprofits are or soon may be facing.
CIVIC had nothing to do with crooked financier Bernard Madoff, but the relief organization was supported by the JEHT Foundation, a strongly progressive funder whose donor unfortunately fell prey to the Madoff Ponzi scheme.
That blow ultimately fell on CIVIC (and scores of other progressive nonprofits), and "illustrates how devastating the Madoff case has been for smaller charities" and has already resulted in one layoff on its four-person staff and the closure of its office.
CIVIC relies totally on grants from foundations and private donations, and that $50,000 grant [from the JEHT Foundation] was the only guaranteed money it had coming in for 2009. ...
The organization has a $350,000 budget. Compounding the problems is that donations are down about 40 percent, according to [Executive Director Sarah] Holewinski. She said CIVIC still needs about $200,000. Until a supporter in Europe gave a large donation last month, Ms. Holewinski said there was a real prospect that the organization would have to close entirely.
What a relief that CIVIC didn't close.
In this case, the Madoff-to-layoff chain is visibly apparent. But the systematic pressure of depressed donations, an implacable statistical inevitability fed by a thousand minute tributaries -- that's the thing to watch out for.