Saturday, July 27, 2013

At least Detroit has great charities

Over at Kunstler's blog, frequent commenter Janet asked a rhetorical question.
So let’s see if the private sector steps up to fight hunger in Detroit.
I decided to demonstrate to Janet why asking a rhetorical question about Detroit around me is not a good idea if one wants it to remain a rhetorical question.
If by the “private sector” you mean the for-profit sector, forget about it except for private security, which is already looking after enclaves like Indian Village, which one of the few places outside of Downtown and Midtown where wealthy people still live in Detroit. Then again, you know that already.

If you were including the non-profit sector, which you probably weren’t, then they are trying to step up to fight hunger, mentor young women, and fix up homes.
As if on cue, WXYZ promoted Gleaners summer food drive to its YouTube channel today.


See, the non-profit sector is stepping up to fight hunger in Detroit, in this case by supplementing the food aid that government gives through the school lunch program.

Gleaners  Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan isn't the only local charity doing so.  Charity Navigator lists at least three non-profits dedicated to fighting hunger among its top charities in Detroit.  Immediately before Gleaners in alphabetical order is Forgotten Harvest, which Charity Navigator rates even higher in financial stability, accountability, and transparency than Gleaners.  Another is Yad Ezra, which specializes in "feeding the Jewish hungry."  That list doesn't include either the smaller food banks or the charities that provide food aid as part of a larger human and social services mission.

Speaking of Charity Navigator, I mentioned it in the rest of the comment.
I have my students research sustainability-related charities in Detroit every semester and I’m amazed how how many high-quality charities there are here. In fact, Charity Navigator rates Detroit’s charities as better than those of New York and Washington, D.C. I’ll have to write up that research and post the link.
I don't have time to do a complete write-up right now.  Instead, I direct my readers to the site's Metro Market Study 2013.  It shows Detroit's charities rank 11th in the U.S., while Washington, D.C.'s rank 17th and New York City's rank 18th.

That written, I acknowledged that Janet's point about the private sector stands.
Of course, they’re inadequate for the task even if they were the best charities in the country, and you know that, too.
Speaking of posting topical items on cue, Warren Buffet's son Peter posted The Charitable-Industrial Complex in the New York Times yesterday.  That makes the point that all the charity in the world, literally, will not compensate for lack of government action on behalf of the poor.

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