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Forbes Funds, The;
Allegheny County is home to approximately 1,600 financially-active nonprofit organizations, including 357 human service providers that deliver a range of health and social services.1 Past research has suggested that Pittsburgh's nonprofits, as a group, are facing important organizational and program challenges as they plan for the future. De Vita & Twombly's study of nonprofit human service organizations in the county (2003) found that, in 2000, nearly 40 percent of these providers had expenses that exceeded their revenues.
In a paper discussing the future of nonprofits in the region, Paul C. Light (2005) listed additional challenges: difficulty responding to rapid environmental changes, challenges achieving gender and racial diversity in boards, and precarious financial situations.
While these challenges on the service supply side are worrisome, less is known about the demand for human services in Allegheny County, and how it may be impacted. Using client and provider data from the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS), The Hill Group (2005) examined service usage for each DHS Program Office (e.g., Office of Behavioral Health, Agency on Aging, etc). Campos, Inc., in 2004, contrasted the opinions of Allegheny County residents and nonprofit executives about the most serious problems at the community level. Neither one of these studies, however, asked consumers directly about the utilization of services at the household level.
To address this gap,The Forbes Funds commissioned the OMG Center for Collaborative Learning to conduct a study of the human service needs of households in Allegheny County. Specifically, OMG's research focused on service use of residents of distressed and non-distressed areas, and attempted to contrast service usage with the array of human services which are currently available.The study also looked at whether or not households were successfully accessing the services they needed, and explored barriers to service receipt and client satisfaction with services.
Forbes Funds, The;
Management, especially how it relates to staff time investments tracking outcomes and reporting results, is not clearly understood across the nonprofit sector (Gawande & Wheeler, 1999). To date, there is no systematic study that examines investments made by nonprofit staff to meet funder compliance. Recently, the Stanford Project on the Evolution of Nonprofits (SPEN) at Stanford University completed a two-year investigation of nonprofits in the Bay Area and found that many funders differ in their demands for meeting compliance, which created conflicting demands (Gammal, Simard, Hwang, & Powell, 2005). However, the study did not examine the amount of time nonprofit leaders spend on such activities or how much of the funding resources are used toward such activities. Thus, both nonprofits and funders alike have not been able to quantify, in dollars, how much is invested in meeting compliance. To address this gap, The Forbes Funds commissioned Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo to conduct a research case study of one Pittsburgh-area nonprofit to determine how the organization makes staffing decisions and carries out compliance-related activities; how much time is invested in these tasks; and how this time translates into dollars spent.
Forbes Funds, The;
The literature regarding nonprofit capacity building is expanding as funders, infrastructure support organizations, researchers, and others interested in strengthening the sector work to develop a better understanding of how to build organizational capacity effectively. In the spirit of this inquiry, The Forbes Funds commissioned Judith Millesen, at the Voinovich Center for Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University, and Angela Bies, at the Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University, to examine the incentives associated with engagement in capacity building. Specifically, the research team used organizational theory to frame an examination of the ways in which environmental characteristics, institutional attributes, and financial characteristics relate to the incentive to engage in capacity building.
Forbes Funds, The;
For as long as anyone can remember, congregations have played a vital role in nurturing the spirit of the community. Aside from being a source for spiritual grounding, congregations also provide social ministries to address the needs of the community. Over time, these social ministries have developed into more formal and professional faith-based programs and organizations, which often function independently from those offered by their founding congregations. Such national organizations as Catholic Charities, Young Men's Christian Association and the United Jewish Federation, and such local organizations as Holy Family Institute, Pittsburgh Project, the Jewish Community Center and East End Cooperative Ministries, have emerged from congregations as ways to respond to the social needs of the community. While faith-based organizations (FBOs) have played important roles in their communities for many years, the issue of public funding for their efforts has become the subject of extensive public debate relatively recently. The current national dialogue can be traced back to 1996 and the Clinton administration's support for changes to what has been called "charitable choice" legislation: making federal contracts more readily available to support the work of congregations and FBOs. Subsequently, in 2001, the Bush administration established the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives as a way to further address the needs of FBOs. Despite the great variety of beliefs represented by FBOs, they share some important characteristics: a broad commitment to community; support for spiritual growth and social justice; and a willingness to serve in areas of great need. These characteristics were confirmed by a recent survey of incorporated 501(c)(3) faith-based organizations carried out by a team of researchers led by Dr. Kevin Kearns, Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. For example, the team found that when compared to their secular counterparts, FBOs benefit from much higher levels of commitment from volunteers, and this commitment does not abate as the organizations grow larger and gain more professional staff. In recent years, government at all levels has come to rely on FBOs to deliver services to populations in need. Annually, FBOs in the United States provide more than $15 billion in social and human services, serving approximately 70 million persons. In some communities, government contracts with FBOs have increased more than 500% within the last two years. In 2002, the Hudson Institute released a study that examined government contracting with FBOs in fifteen states. Their report cited 726 examples of government contracting with FBOs, totaling almost $125 million. (Nine states were studied in the year 2000 and an additional six in 2002.)This study also found that government contracting with FBOs in eight of nine originally surveyed states increased substantially, from over $7.5 million in 2000 to over $88 million in 2002.
Forbes Funds, The;
In 1999, Brookings Institution Press published what it described as a "groundbreaking profile of the public service profession," THE NEW PUBLIC SERVICE by Paul C. Light. And groundbreaking it is. What Light documents is a remarkable generational shift in public service. No longer are graduates with ambitions to serve the public good settling into decades-long government positions. Rather, they are preparing for and expecting mobile careers, serving public interests by "bouncing back-and-forth" between positions in government, nonprofit agencies, and/or private firms. Responding to this shift, Light offered this advice to the nonprofit sector and its funders: Unlike government, which has always had more than enough managers to fill any middle- or upper-level opening, or the private sector, which has always had enough money to skim the cream for the talent it needs from other sectors, nonprofit agencies are notoriously flat organizations. Without painting the entire sector with a broad brush, it seems reasonable to suggest that funders pay increased attention to the nonprofit talent pool. Whatever the line of work, if nonprofits are to survive and flourish in the current environment of tight budgets and increased competition, they must have a stable corps of talented leaders. The Forbes Funds has heeded Light's suggestion. With the generous support of the Richard King Mellon Foundation, The Forbes Funds, in 2001, launched a multi-year applied research project: "LOOK HERE! Attracting and Retaining the Next Generation of Nonprofit Leaders." The resultant findings and recommendations are presented in brief in this journal.
Forbes Funds, The;
In 2005, the Forbes Funds commissioned a report called Service Clustering: Building Cohesive Public Service Capacity that described collaboration as a way to achieve greater efficiency through shared back-office or non-mission critical functions without reducing consumer choice. The researchers argued that collaboration could best be induced by focusing on providers that are geographically close together and that provide an overlapping set of services. According to the report, "It is easier to share, communicate, and collaborate with your neighbor than with an organization separated by distance." Though this idea is compelling, it has become clear in the years since the 2005 report that the identification of geographic clusters is not sufficient to inspire a host of new collaborations. Formal collaboration, the kind suggested in the past report and the focus of this work, remains a relatively rare phenomenon. Convinced that collaboration continues to promise greater efficiency and effectiveness when successfully implemented, The Forbes Funds revisited the topic this year, hoping to gain further insight into the factors that make collaboration successful and to identify additional clusters of providers that could provide the greatest potential for collaboration.
Forbes Funds, The;
In 2003, The Forbes Funds surveyed the population of nonprofits in Allegheny County.
In 2006, The Forbes Funds again commissioned the Allegheny County Nonprofit Benchmark Survey, and, upon receiving responses, called upon researchers from Carnegie Mellon University not only to make sense of the data but also to contextualize the findings against what we already know about the county's nonprofit sector as well as what we know about the state of things generally. Findings from the Nonprofit Benchmark Survey demonstrate the resilience as well as the fraying of our region's nonprofit sector.
Forbes Funds, The;
Five years ago, The Forbes Funds provided support for a new research series exploring challenges and strategic opportunities in nonprofit management in the Pittsburgh region.The intention of this research was to determine what works in strengthening nonprofits' organizational capacity and management abilities, as well as what may be the barriers or service gaps in building nonprofit capacity. As part of this research series, in 2004,The Forbes Funds commissioned Judith L. Millesen, at Ohio University, and Angela L. Bies, at Texas A&M University, to conduct a comprehensive analysis of Pittsburgh's capacity-building "industry." This "Pittsburgh study" offered detailed findings about the degree to which Pittsburgh's "industry of consultants, firms, management support organizations, and academic centers offer accessible, quality services to the 1,600 nonprofit organizations in Allegheny County."1 With ongoing support from The Forbes Funds, Drs. Bies and Millesen also conducted continuing analyses during 2005, which explored the incentive to engage in capacity building (Millesen & Bies, 2005) and the role of 'learning' in building nonprofit performance (Bies & Millesen, 2005).
During 2005-06, a replication study was conducted in and around Austin,Texas.2 A key purpose of the study was to help afford a comparative analysis of the nonprofit sectors in two metropolitan regions with differing environments, economies, and capacity-building industries. With support from The Forbes Funds, the Bremer Foundation, and the Minnesota Council on Nonprofits, a third replication study is planned for 2006-07 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.The Texas replication study shared the Pittsburgh study's focus on understanding the characteristics of effective capacity-building initiatives through an examination of a series of questions related to who (the capacity builders) is doing what (the kinds of support services provided) for whom (what types of nonprofits are engaging in capacity-building initiatives) and to what end (whether capacity-building initiatives produce desired organizational change).The core research purpose remained to describe and analyze several aspects of the capacity-building environment, including the quantity, accessibility, and quality of capacity building services, characteristics of effective capacity building, and challenges and barriers to implementing capacity-building interventions. Both the Austin study and the Pittsburgh study offered implications for practice and suggested directions for future research into capacity building's effectiveness and influence in the sector.
This report demonstrates that measuring how well a bank provides basic banking services to low-wealth consumers could be done using existing data. Using proprietary data collected from two bank branches located in low-wealth communities, it shows that the type of transaction level data, previously thought to be unavailable to regulators and costly to collect for financialinstitutions, is routinely collected by at least one large bank for marketing purposes.
Committee for Economic Development;
In 2009 the Committee for Economic Development called on district and state education officials to revamp the way that teachers are paid. New compensation systems are needed to attract highly qualified individuals into teaching under labor market conditions that have changed substantially since the typical framework for teacher salaries was adopted.
Forbes Funds, The;
Amidst increasing attention to nonprofit performance, interest in nonprofit capacity building activities has understandably intensified. A natural outgrowth of this interest is an expansion in the number and range of nonprofit capacity-building providers and approaches. In response to this growth,The Forbes Funds, in 2004, commissioned Judith Millesen, at the Voinovich Center for Public Affairs and Leadership at Ohio University, and Angela Bies, at the Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University, to examine the quality of Pittsburgh's capacity-building industry and to identify the characteristics of effective capacity-building initiatives.
This study expands on that earlier research by investigating questions of why and how nonprofit organizations engage in capacity building, as well as the ways in which organizational, managerial, and financial characteristics relate to capacity building.The current literature on nonprofits provides useful theoretical insight to understanding externally driven mechanisms for improvement, and, by extension, insight into incentives for engagement in capacity building.What is less well explored are the internal mechanisms that drive and motivate boards, managers, and key staff to pursue capacity building as ongoing and integrated processes of organizational change and capacity improvement.
Learning theory provides such insight.
This study addresses the following research questions:
What factors predict higher levels of engagement in capacity building by nonprofit organizations?What factors predict higher levels of organizational capacity?
Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest);
This report presents information on the clients and agencies served by Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The information is drawn from a national study, Hunger in America 2010, conducted in 2009 for Feeding America (FA) (formerly America's Second Harvest), the nation's largest organization of emergency food providers. The national study is based on completed in-person interviews with more than 62,000 clients served by the FA national network, as well as on completed questionnaires from more than 37,000 FA agencies. The study summarized below focuses on emergency food providers and their clients who are supplied with food by food banks in the FA network.
The FA system served by Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank provides emergency food for an estimated 353,700 different people annually.30% of the members of households served by Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank are children under 18 years old (Table 5.3.2).30% of households include at least one employed adult (Table 5.7.1).Among households with children, 59% are food insecure and 42% are food insecure with very low food security (Table 18.104.22.168).30% of clients served by Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel (Table 6.5.1).28% had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care (Table 6.5.1).31% of households served by Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank report having at least one household member in poor health (Table 8.1.1)Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank included approximately 437 agencies at the administration of this survey, of which 366 have responded to the agency survey. Of the responding agencies, 305 had at least one food pantry, soup kitchen, or shelter.64% of pantries, 69% of kitchens, and 40% of shelters are run by faith-based agencies affiliated with churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious organizations (Table 10.6.1).Among programs that existed in 2006, 75% of pantries, 67% of kitchens, and 44% of shelters of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank reported that there had been an increase since 2006 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites (Table 10.8.1).Food banks are by far the single most important source of food for agencies with emergency food providers, accounting for 87% of the food distributed by pantries, 54% of the food distributed by kitchens, and 43% of the food distributed by shelters (Table 13.1.1).As many as 94% of pantries, 89% of kitchens, and 56% of shelters in Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank use volunteers (Table 13.2.1).