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Thirteen Nonprofits Worth Following/Emulating on Twitter (+ 1 More)

socialbrite sharing1 Thirteen Nonprofits Worth Following/Emulating on Twitter (+ 1 More)

The good folks at Socialbrite.org have recently posted a list of what they consider to be a ‘Top-Twelve List’ of social organizations and nonprofits that we all should follow on Twitter. The introduction gives you links to Twitter and how to become a ‘Follower’ of these organizations. It also includes links to individuals who might be worth following as well. It is worth noting that, though the number of ‘Followers’ for each of them is listed, the list is based on the work the groups do and the qualitative use of their Twitter presence, not merely their race to get X numbers on their lists (a quantitative benchmark that seems much more important to celebrities than to community organizations).

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| Category Community, Nonprofit, Technology, Web and Print | | Comments Off

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“Cultivating Grantmaker Relationships” Conference in Washington DC on 5 May

A recent blog post and extended commentary section on The Chronicle of Philanthropy discusses what might be the ‘Fund Raiser of the Future.’ The Chronicle is working on a full story on the topic and is now soliciting input and ideas. Certainly, as the MKCREATIVE blog has noted more than once in recent months, economic bad times can be good times to expand and enrich networks. Down time at the nonprofit’s office should be time spent keeping up with educational and promotional opportunities. We encourage you to participate in the Comments section and get your thoughts out there as they work on the story. We also want you to get out of the offices as well, so consider a conference.

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| Category Community, Conference/Congress, Grants and Funding, Nonprofit | | Comments Off

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Education Resources And Analyses In The Context of The Great Recession

 

300px Teacher in Laos Education Resources And Analyses In The Context of The Great Recession

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Education is a stunningly inefficient human endeavor. A teacher might invest hours of time on a student only to discover that the student’s family situation is too unstable to allow any of the teacher’s influence to stick after the school bell rings. Or the teacher might get dispirited about students’ indifferent reactions to a story, only to discover that a couple of those students recall the story years later and are inspired to write great novels or, better still, become teachers themselves. Or (an irony I have myself experienced) a ‘bad’ teacher might spur a child to believe she could do better if the roles were reversed, so she strives to reverse the roles. Unlike so many other aspects of our economic and social environment, the links of cause-and-effect are tenuous indeed when discussing the ‘value’ or ‘success’ of education.

 

Nevertheless, we must not give up on the ideal that everyone should have opportunity for a good education to help them strive for what they might choose to strive for. And we must continue to study how better to reform, adjust, and align the educational systems we have. As with environmental and housing issues so important to MKCREATIVE, we are pleased to pass on the word when private and public concerns combine to improve the educational environment of our communities. Today’s example is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation‘s report “PRIMARY SOURCES: America’s Teachers on America’s Schools,” a project done with Scholastic and recently published online.

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| Category Advocacy, Community, Education: General, Grants and Funding, Low-Income, News and Current Affairs | | Comments Off

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Government Announces Plans To Forestall New Wave Of Foreclosures

Jeff Swiatek of The Indianapolis Star (Indiana) reported two days ago that the wave of foreclosures that seemed to have been forestalled in that city is on the verge of swelling again. The report, specific to the Indianapolis region, is all the more chilling when we recall that Indiana (and Maryland) was (were) not deep into the risky subprime market. Thus the foreclosures that may come have been triggered by other systemic issues beyond speculation or risky mortgages then packaged off to other investors.

The example that opens his story is one of many, many, tens of thousands: The Gonzales family are over 90 days behind payments because he works in construction and his wife’s company (an auto-parts manufacturer) cut jobs. They both produce highly valued products we all depend upon, and yet they both are cut out by the machinations of the financial sector. The advice from the lender? Short sell to avoid foreclosure. Mr. Gonzales’s response? ‘I’m losing my home either way.’ Mr Swiatek’s report reminds us that the problems are not statistical ones but human ones. Hard working and productive people are being stymied by financial institutions who make money by moving it around, not by creating something of intrinsic value.

The political pressures continue to mount, though, and the Obama Administration has recently allowed leaks about steps they are unveiling today about how to deal with, at least ‘to mitigate,’ the problem.

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New York Seems To Be The New Green – Is Baltimore Next?

300px Bedstuybrownstone1 New York Seems To Be The New Green – Is Baltimore Next?

Image via Wikipedia

We spotted a tweet that nicely builds on our own report and interview with Steve Frillmann at Green Guerillas. Annie Novak, noted vegetarian and urban-eco farmer, posted a blog at “The Atlantic Monthly” this week, discussing her work with ‘Growing Chefs’ and with reclaiming rooftops for agriculture (a reclamation that lowers the energy demands of the building as soil insulates it from the sun’s heat and the winter’s snows). The entry is part autobiography – part call-to-action. Her work is certainly inspirational, if only for her ability to grow good food on top of a storage warehouse!

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| Category Climate Change, Community, Conference/Congress, Greening | | Comments Off

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Saving Money, Reducing CO2, and Getting Profitable IS That Easy

win981 150x150 Saving Money, Reducing CO2, and Getting Profitable IS That Easy

Shut down your machine!

The Ford Motor Company did not require the same sorts of bailouts that the General Motors conglomerate did last year. Its family-run structure likely kept its owners, managers, and designers on their toes because they had their own ‘skins-in-the-game.’ Now TreeHugger.com posts a story about how the company went ahead and saved another cool $1.2 million by, uh, turning off the computers at its headquarters at night and on weekends. The decision is rewarded thusly, according to TreeHugger: “By centrally controlling the power settings on the company’s computers, they are saving an estimated $1.2 million annually and keeping between 16,000 and 25,000 metric tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere.”

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| Category Automobiles, Climate Change, Community, Conference/Congress, Greening, News and Current Affairs, Site Administration, Sustainability, Technology, Urban Farming | | Comments Off

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ACORN Shuts Down and/or Breaks Up

7b8a2c81fb ACORN Shuts Down and/or Breaks Up

Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now closes national offices.


The board of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now announced today that its national organization was shutting down operations, though state-level community organizations may (and surely will) continue to function. The move likely was, as Frank James at NPR‘s blog put it, a “mercy killing.” The national organization faced charges of bending rules on early elections leading up to the presidential election of 2008, and its situation got only more precarious after the infamous ‘pimp’ video apparently showed ACORN employees assisting a self-proclaimed (albeit undercover former employee) pimp get a mortgage loan for a single-family home he wanted to turn into his brothel.

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| Category Affordable Housing, Community, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Opinion, Politics | | Comments Off

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We Know You Know, But: Health Care Reform Passed Last Night

It has proven to be about as contentious as whether to override the Articles of Confederation in 1788-1789 into a federal constitution, but laaaate last night H.R. 3590 by a vote of 219-212. The vote was exactly party partisan. President Obama responded with reference to the Constitution and to Franklin D. Roosevelt:

Tonight, at a time when the pundits said it was no longer possible, we rose above the weight of our politics. We pushed back on the undue influence of special interests. We didn’t give in to mistrust or to cynicism or to fear. Instead, we proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things and tackling our biggest challenges. We proved that this government — a government of the people and by the people — still works for the people.

John Boehner, Republican Representative from Ohio and House Minority Leader responded with calls for fear:

Americans are out there are making sacrifices and struggling to build a better future for their kids. And over the last year as the damn-the-torpedoes outline of this legislation became more clear, millions lifted their voices, and many for the first time, asking us to slow down, not try to cram through more than the system could handle. … In this time of recession, they wanted us to focus on jobs, not more spending, not more government, certainly not more taxes. But what they see today frightens them. They’re frightened because they don’t know what comes next. They’re disgusted, because they see one political party closing out the other from what should be a national solution. And they are angry. They are angry that no matter how they engage in this debate, this body moves forward against their will. Shame on us. Shame on each and every one of you who substitutes your will and your desires above those of your fellow countrymen.

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| Category Community, Healthcare, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Opinion, Politics | | Comments Off

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Video Satire Gets Personal-But What About My Privacy?

This bit of political satire might have you laughing hysterically. Or it might convince you that Progressives and Democrats are indeed Satan’s spawn.

So, if you are still willing to read what I have to say, I will admit I was in tears I was laughing so hard. But after the racket died down, we at MKCREATIVE began discussing the opportunities, and dangers, such technology might bring as we eventually move to Web 3.0.

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| Category Communications, Fundraising, Marketing, Media Review, News and Current Affairs, Public Relations, Reviews, Social Media, Technology, Web and Print | | 1 Comments

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NeighborWorks Offers $119 Million For Community Development

Neighborworks NeighborWorks Offers $119 Million For Community Development

After yesterday’s report about the trickle of federal recovery aid being used to assist mortgage holders on the brink of foreclosure, we can return to the topic of the housing crisis with some much better news. NeighborWorks America has announced that it will be distributing $119 million in grants for this year. The amount is made up of funds allocated by Congress and by philanthropic donations to the organization. Most of the money will go to regional and local NeighborWorks offices, so homeowners will best be served by working with one of their 237 (and growing) local offices.

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| Category Affordable Housing, Community, Grants and Funding, Nonprofit, Revitalization | | Comments Off

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Homeowners Getting Federal Help

300px Wall Street %26 Broadway Homeowners Getting Federal Help
Image via Wikipedia

The mortgage bubble that Wall Street players were puffing up and were betting would break has, of course, brought down almost everything else with it (save investor bonuses). The fallout was one of the many catalysts for the sweeping political change of the elections of 2008. One of the loudest political debates was over whether federal recovery and stimulus money should go to banks and investment houses who could not expect repayment on their loans or to homeowners whose hastily purchased and heavily leveraged houses were suddenly underwater. Though the debate continues, many of us seem already to have accepted the inevitable: banks and investment houses have lobbyists, home owners have bills. But some efforts to improve the situation on the ground can be found.

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| Category Affordable Housing, Banking & Finance, Community, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Opinion, Politics | | Comments Off

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Baltimore And Its Home-Seekers Want 1Gigabit Network

Gus G. Sentementes, tech guru at The Baltimore Sun, has recently reported on the efforts of the Greater Baltimore Committee (with the help of Under Armour, Inc.) to lure Google to bring its one-gigabyte-per-second network to Charm City. We reported on Google’s announcement and Request for Proposals about six weeks ago, and our fair city is now in the hunt. The MKCREATIVE blog reported on the many pluses of the project, though one of limited population scope. But here’s hoping… The faster network could help home shoppers find the houses of their dreams that nanosecond as well. If they are savvy about how to search…

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| Category Affordable Housing, Community, Local/Maryland, Politics, Revitalization, Technology, Web and Print | | Comments Off

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More Seminars Coming Our Way

We have gotten still more notices about various seminars in the region pertinent to the greening and mission-based sectors of the economy, so we wanted to continue to share the details on some of the news. The Big Picture remains the opportunity to build networks and gain new skills while the economy might be slowing your daily internal projects.

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| Category Community, Conference/Congress, Local/Maryland, News and Current Affairs, Nonprofit, Politics, Technology | | Comments Off

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Educating Ourselves To Expand Opportunities

Optimists often argue that a recession might move many out of work, but that time can be used advantageously by investing in some education and training in new skills. Certainly the present economic environment offers (too) many the opportunity to get trained for new work or to expand networks within their chosen fields. So let’s get a head start on the recovery by looking at a couple of seminars and networking events that have come to our attention. If folks get involved in similar such events in their own localities, we might find that we have all given the economy a decent push to start the recovery we’re training for…

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| Category Community, Conference/Congress, News and Current Affairs | | Comments Off

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Recent Developments in Website Design – Part III: The Finished Product

Screen shot 2010 03 10 at 4.49.45 PM 150x150 Recent Developments in Website Design – Part III: The Finished Product

Cute & widely accessible website (though not for dogs)

We have discussed the developments of CSS3 and some of the quick and easy ways to make websites accessible to the visually impaired. The technologies and evolution of code outlined these last couple of postings are meant to introduce you to some of the considerations your organization should have as you decide to refresh or redo your online presence. Indeed, as we are teased with signs of spring (at least in the Chesapeake Bay region), why not enjoy some clean and spritely websites that follow some of the best practices outlined here?

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| Category Community, Media Review, Site Administration, Technology | | Comments Off

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Recent Developments in Website Design – Part II: Accessibility

Yesterday we outlined how the new protocols for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS3) will open up a whole world of font to allow organizations and outreach groups opportunity to provide consistent font faces across print and web publication. But having the text presented by fonts, rather than by images of words (Try selecting the logo or the tagline at the very top of Clipart4you.com), does more than open up a treasure trove of toys for your design staff. It also opens up your organization’s work to the growing numbers of visually impaired users of the net.

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Recent Developments in Website Design – Part I: Fonts

web fonts1 150x1501 Recent Developments in Website Design   Part I: Fonts

CSS3 promises flexible font choices

We start this week with a consideration of recent developments in website design for charities and nonprofits. This blog (along with, well, most every design blog out there) has often commented on the need for nonprofits, charities, and mission-based businesses to extend their web presence wherever possible. Much of the point of social networking applications (think: Facebook, Twitter, Buzz!, etc.) is to promote timely information in a quick and concise manner. The presentation of that information is largely dictated by the servers and software that run the various applications and sites (though some basic modification and theme installation is available). Visually, what much of the audience is looking for when plugging into these sites is pretty standardized – which is especially true for those looking at sites presented by businesses and charities, rather by 20-somethings and their friends’ bands. But when people are looking for the dedicated website of their favorite causes or projects, their expectations are higher, and organization needs to raise their presentation game accordingly.

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| Category Site Administration, Software Review, Technology, Web and Print | | Comments Off

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Studies on Health and Family Stability Thru Recession

6881503604 49ed3c80cc m Studies on Health and Family Stability Thru Recession

Health (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

The ‘Great Recession’ has been with us long enough now that medium-term information is giving policy makers and think tanks information to discuss long-term changes in the American economy and society. We have already reported on a few of these, and more will becoming out over the coming months. Today we look at a report (PDF) by HealthyAmericans.org and a recent article in The Atlantic Monthly magazine. Chilling reading, to be sure, but being well educated on the subject should be a goal of everyone because we are all responsible for our own health and how our health care demands affect others.

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| Category Community, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Politics, Revitalization | | Comments Off

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Banks Back to Profitability (& Bonuses) But Homeowners Still Drowning

The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) likely kept the banking industry afloat, and few doubt the necessity to keep the banking industry solvent for the sake of functioning markets and businesses. The bailout began under the president who encouraged the housing bubble in the first place, and was accepted by the Obama Administration as a necessity, albeit an unpleasant one. But over the past couple of months, the present administration has spent much of its ‘political capital’ trying to explain the value of the $700+ billion dollar program while trying to move toward direct help to the very people the TARP was originally claiming to support: homeowners whose houses were mortgaged beyond the (falling) market value (thus, ‘troubled assets’). What issues confront the homeowner at this time?

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| Category Affordable Housing, Banking & Finance, Community, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Politics | | 1 Comments

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Nonprofits Looking for Ways to Bridge Gaps in Funding

More grim news about the economic situation we find ourselves in: The stock market rose by some 28 points on the news that ONLY 20,000 jobs were shed in February (as opposed to 60,000 in January). Our readers are well aware of the situation, of course. And all economics, like politics, are local as we each work through our situations from where we find ourselves right now. Which goes for the nonprofit sector as well, although that sector tends to be a ‘lagging indicator,’ as private benefactions and government support are planned and divvied in advance. Thus most nonprofits probably do not feel the greatest strain until the allocated funds run out, which could be months into the economic trough.

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#Tech: Low-Cost to Free Technologies for Nonprofits

Applicant Manager Overview from WizeHive on Vimeo.

In these tough economic times, we are all looking for ways to lower costs while keeping up productivity. The trick is to do so without getting into a state of confusion over cut corners or depending on sticky notes all over the wall. One great way to keep the nonprofit office organized while not shelling out too much for the privilege is with the fabulous application & grant management system by Wizehive. For as little as $75 a month your organization can keep up with 200 applications among up to 10 reviewers & writers. Land the big grant, expand the package rate, and have up to 1000 applications to share, comment upon, and store with an unlimited staff. It is a project-management system inexpensive to use and ready to expand with your organization. But wait (as a famous CEO says every year or so), there’s just one more thing.

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| Category Community, Nonprofit, Reviews, Software Review, Technology | | Comments Off

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Nonprofits To Expand In 2010 If They Communicate Clearly

March is upon us, although the madness for many of us thus far still comes from lingering snows and icepacks along sides of road – not our college hoops teams falling out of our office pool. With the turning of the month’s calendar, we find some reports about the previous year’s nonprofit community, as well as predictions as to what the rest of this year might look like for it. Spring means a chance to clean house, or at least update some features and fixtures, as well. It is never to early to start the processes (Indeed, what have you been doing these last two months to get the year off right?), so let’s consider some ways forward in 2010.

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