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I attempted to write this without any character assassinations or the names of local organizations. You have to agree there is a systemic challenge within the Black social service and non-profit community, which needs to be addressed sooner than later.
by Donald W.R. Allen, II – Editor in Chief/The Independent Business News Network
Minneapolis, MN (IBNN/Editorial Opinion on Black Non-Profits)…The Twin Cities is challenged with organizations that represent the Black community not meeting the expectations of the community or their funders. Minneapolis has seen a variety of normal-dysfunction within its social service community to the point where “the people” don’t get served and many questions go unanswered.
If we look at this from a political view-point, some local Black elected officials have decided that answering questions from their constituents can be overlook, downplayed and ignored. This creates a serious challenge when non-profits are not in sync with their local lawmakers, a seen that has been repeated too many times in Minnesota.
Let’s look at the qualities of a good Black organization meant to change the dynamics of the Black plight.
A Black organization must be progressive in the terms of being cutting-edge in organization and outreach. The organization must have some connection with the community they serve while providing services that are unique to the population. This is accomplished with research to determine “what is normal,” based on a case study or observation. For example; One might think the current economic situation in north Minneapolis is abnormal when in fact based on indicators like education, unemployment and economic underdevelopment what we find out is north Minneapolis is “normal,” which if the blighted area had the above mentioned in a positive base, it would be abnormal.
A Black organization must work with everyone. The White culture in Minnesota teaches their offspring the most important action item when doing business is “getting the job done.” The Jewish community is favorable in passing down knowledge and wealth to younger generations. The Black community has fostered a stigma of “We don’t like him/her so well bypass and publically marginalize these people.” This is the foundation of Black failure in Minnesota. The migration of new professionals into the Twin Cities from Atlanta, New York, California, North Carolina and Washington, DC discover quickly the disparity in Minnesota’s home-based Black community and avoid it. These Black intellectuals are being hired for prominent positions at local business and educational facilities, even though there are many qualified Black professionals here in Minnesota.
A strong Black organization must have a strong, active board of directors. One of the many challenges that many of the local Black flagship organization have is a lack of functionality when it comes to their boards. Fundraising must be a priority for board members. At Minneapolis non-profits, less than 1% of seated board members can donate $5,000 to the organization they govern. This becomes problematic when a sudden cash crunch hits a local non-profit. The first line-of-safety is the board of directors, if a local organizations cannot “lean” on their board in most cases, employees go unpaid, bills back up and eventually the doors close. The worst outcome is the “people” don’t get served.
A Black social service agency should never work behind closed doors and exclude the people, or general public. The “Social Kabul Syndrome” is common among Blacks in Minnesota. The Social Kabul Syndrome is a set group of individuals that have grandiose pride in just being on a board – god forbid they are the president or on the executive committee. For some this becomes an obsessive behavior and addiction for those who are power hungry. If you look carefully, you can find the same Negro (him/her) on several boards; which becomes a “social conversation topic.”