The Nonprofit-Industrial Complex – August 24, 2018
When I applied to DukeEngage Seattle, I knew that I would be placed with a “community partner” nonprofit organization. I would then work with this partner throughout my eight weeks in Seattle. To me, nonprofit work was unequivocally good. It was wholesome, selfless work done for the greater wellbeing of the community and the less-fortunate. After all, people in the nonprofit sector were selfless, passionate martyrs, those who care most and those willing to sacrifice for the good of the cause. After eight weeks with my community partner, a nonprofit called Solid Ground that combats poverty and racism, I can attest that a lot of these things are true. I’ve seen first-hand the passion and drive fueling nonprofits, I’ve seen the effects of the life changing work they do. But I’ve also come to understand that my previous view of nonprofit work was shallow and unnuanced. If my time with Solid Ground has taught me anything, it’s that one of the most important skills in the nonprofit sector is the ability to critically examine your own work. When you critically view the nonprofit sector as a whole, a number of uneasy inconsistencies leap out of the woodwork. A vague beast becomes visible, a conglomeration of nonprofits that over time evolved to serve their own existence in perpetuity….
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