Changes in the way the federal government plans to allocate money to increase and improve literacy pose a severe threat to one of the country’s best-known nonprofit groups, Reading Is Fundamental.
Known commonly as RIF, the organization, which provides free books to needy children and has been promoted in memorable public service announcements by celebrities like Carol Burnett and Shaquille O’Neal, stands to lose all of its federal financing, which accounts for roughly 75 percent of its annual revenues.
“We are looking at having to completely reinvent ourselves,” said Carol Rasco, chief executive of RIF, which has received an annual grant from the Department of Education for 34 years.
Under the federal budget proposed for the 2011 fiscal year, the Department of Education has proposed pooling the money it allocates to RIF, another nonprofit organization, the National Writing Project, and five of its own grant programs, and instead distributing it to state and local governments. Under that plan, RIF and the writing project would have to compete state by state for federal funds.
“They don’t have a huge amount of cash on hand that would buy them some time to change their business model to get different types of funding,” (Clara Miller, chief executive of the Nonprofit Finance Fund) said. “Switching from a program that is almost fully funded by government to one that is privately funded, or where you would be competing on a state level, that’s a new business model, and it will need time and investment in new skills.”
She said that putting longstanding organizations through such a complete overhaul so abruptly might not make sense from the taxpayer’s standpoint either. “The thing that’s getting lost here is that the government has already built whole programs in these organizations that it is now throwing out,” Ms. Miller said. “That’s kind of wasteful, unless they’re saying buying kids books is a bad idea.”
God, is this stoo-pid – as Wikipedia tells us here…
Today, through its contract with the United States Department of Education to operate the IBDP, now supplemented with private funds, RIF programs operate in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. RIF is also affiliated with programs in Argentina and the United Kingdom.
In 2004, Kappa Kappa Gamma, a national women’s fraternity, selected RIF as it’s national philanthropy. Together, Kappa and RIF have come up with the Reading is Key program, through which children are exposed to new books.
It would be simply beyond belief if RIF, which survived threatened budget cuts from prior Republican presidential administrations, ended up going under because of a change in funding allocation to make it compete with the states, an idiotic idea conceived, shockingly, by a Democratic president.
“Stevens retirement causes Republican fundraisers to rejoice.”
That’s an interesting bit of speculation totally unsupported by anything whatsoever in the post Halperin links to, I should note. Further, this story tells us the following…
The Democratic National Committee has reported $13 million in donations for the month of March, outperforming the Republican Party, which only raised $11.4 million. The disparity is unusual, as the Democrats typically draw fewer donations than their Republican brethren.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – A Democrat with the committee pointed out to the Huffington Post pointed to a rejuvenated and enthusiastic Democratic base that is willing to open up their wallets after the passage of health care reform.
Also, it looks like Our Man Snarlin’ Arlen isn’t going to get his wish after all (here).
Eleven months ago, the Justice Department suddenly and surprisingly dropped its case against three defendants and accepted a weak injunction against a fourth, stemming from the incident in Philadelphia on Election Day 2008 in which Black Panthers disrupted a neighborhood polling place. Since then, the Justice Department has stonewalled multiple requests for information from news organizations, a number of congressmen and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
In response, I give you this from Greg Sargent and TPM…
Fox News and other conservatives on the Web are pushing hard on the story that two black panthers may be intimidating voters at a polling place in north Philadelphia.
But an Obama campaign volunteer who’s been on the scene since 6:30 AM this morning tells me in a phone interview that there’s been absolutely no intimidation of voters at all today. And a Pennsylvania spokesperson for Obama said the two men aren’t in any way affiliated with the campaign.
Fox News’ story…says one of two black panthers on the scene was “allegedly blocking the door,” says another was “holding a nightstick.” and adds that “the concern was that they were intimidating people who were trying to go inside to vote.”
But Jacqueline Dischell, the Obama volunteer, tells me by phone that that’s false.
And by the way, for the record, the Black Panther Party members in the photo in the Times’ story are Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton.
Standing in front of the Party’s headquarters in Oakland, Ca.
And I would guess that the photo was taken in, oh, say, 1967 or so.
Stay classy, wingnuts.