E-Alerts & Press Releases

Who's Holding the Net?

On Tuesday, November 17, 25 people joined PJC Executive Director John Nethercut and Legal Director, Deb Gardner for a provocative conversation about government disinvestment in social safety net programs, the extreme strain this has put on the people we serve and the role that philanthropic and nonprofit organizations can realistically play. The conversation was inspired by the PJC’s current class action suit pending against the State of Maryland because of the detrimental delays in their response to emergency assistance applications (insert link to our news alert about this and the city paper article.) Years of disinvestment in the infrastructure required to process applications has caused a very significant problem in Maryland and other states Furthermore, many government officials around the country have called on the philanthropic sector to fill the cracks. Kevin Griffin Moreno from the Baltimore Community Foundation offered perspective from the “independent sector” stating that the cracks in the system have become such deep chasms that nonprofit organizations cannot even begin to “catch” the large number of people falling through. This current economic crisis, he said, has highlighted the “fundamental philosophical difference in how we fund the safety net.” Philanthropy’s role is to lead the way by funding good innovation, not to fund the breakdown of services. Henry Bogdan, the Managing Director, Public Policy and Advocacy from Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations talked about the current tax structure in Maryland and how it is inadequate to meet the needs of our citizens. Policies and decisions made over the past few decades have led Maryland to a very serious structural deficit. This deficit can not be solved simply by reducing expenditures. Stimulating conversation ensued. The forum was hosted by our good friends at Brown, Goldstein & Levy as part of the popular series: “Justice For Breakfast” now in its fourth year. The next Justice For Breakfast will be held on March 23, 2010. Conversation will focus on the real costs of incarceration.

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