Thursday, January 7, 2010

Government Must Pay the Actual Cost of Services

Excerpts from “Government Must Pay the Actual Cost of Services,” by Peter Goldberg, Pres. & CEO of Families International in Milwaukee, Wisc., The Non Profit Times, 12/1/09.

"The notion that government believes it can pay less and less each year than it costs human service organizations to provide a contracted service, and that these services will simply be subsidized and supplemented with private giving, is upside down, inside out, and insensitive to the virtues of private philanthropy.

There is an urgent need to address the capacities of nonprofit human service providers to continue making up for their shortchanging at the hand of government. Human service providers serve children and families. Their history and values compel them to serve – even when they are financially abused. But that doesn’t mean that it is right.

Can we count on the administration of President Barack Obama to lead us to the promised land of more sensitive contractual pricing and other reforms? I am not certain. Its initial approach to nonprofits seems to be more framed around “social innovation” and less on so-called legacy organizations whose incredible work sustains year in and year out despite enormous challenges.

I would remind our public sector leaders that innovation is not consigned only to new organizations. Many organizations have long histories, and they have not survived that long by turning their back to innovation. The reason they have withstood every challenge thrown their way is due to their innovation, adaptation, and resilience."

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