The Illusion of Inclusion – Roadblock #12
The Façade of Philanthropy:
Grants, Goals, and Objectives…
Driven by Return on Investment (ROI) AND Gross Profits
“Not for profit” organizations ARE influenced by their ROI. While they claim to support employment for all individuals struggling with specific disorders; time and resources are typically invested in working with large corporations, who pay them (for profit) consulting fees to implement programs.
While many appear to be demonstrating their brands’ commitment to diversity and inclusion the mandate to maximize their ROI, leads them to fill positions, which appear primarily at the bottom of the corporate ladder.
For example, an organization, whose mission is “to increase job opportunities and long term career prospects for individuals with disabilities, especially for those with learning disabilities and/or attention disorder,” acknowledged that they focus on working with companies seeking to fill minimum wage jobs, because…that tactic results in the best “Return on Investment.”
However, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD),
“People with LD are of average or above-average intelligence.”
So, while it is a noble gesture…
Can they possibly achieve their mission to increase long term career prospects
for individuals with learning disabilities and attention disorders,
IF they are focused on minimum wage jobs?
Activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta calls out the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities.
Too many nonprofits are rewarded for how little they spend — not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses). Let’s change the way we think about changing the world.
Learn more about why “The way we think about charity is dead wrong.”
The New York Times published an article entitled, The Charitable-Industrial Complex, in which Peter Buffet, co-president of NoVo Foundation, explained, “with more business-minded folks getting into the act, business principles are trumpeted as an important element to add to the philanthropic sector. I now hear people ask, “what’s the R.O.I.?” when it comes to alleviating human suffering, as if return on investment were the only measure of success.”
Peter explains that as more lives and communities are destroyed by the system that creates vast amounts of wealth for the few, the more heroic it sounds to “give back.” It is what he calls “conscience laundering;” feeling better about accumulating more than any one person could possibly need to live on by sprinkling a little around as an act of charity. Unfortunately, this just keeps the existing structure of inequality in place.
The government has not fared any better with its Workforce1 and Acces-VR services. Job listings and employment connections tend to offer low wage positions, and roles requiring specific technical skills, while having minimal success serving individuals best suited to earn, what most consider, substantial gainful employment. The government’s definition of “gainful” employment fails to factor in education (and student loan debt), medical expenses, work experience, housing/overhead, or a percentage of prior income.
Recent events have uncovered fraud within programs targeted for Disabled Workers. CNN reported in Sources: Nation’s disabled work program mired in corruption, fraud that “The nation’s premier federal program that provides work for people who are severely disabled is mired in widespread corruption, financial fraud and violations of the law.” AbilityOne, along with the nonprofit agency that manages its program for the severely disabled, SourceAmerica, are being investigated by authorities for illegal operations, financial fraud, mismanagement, operating in violation of the law, steering of contracts, and possibly obstruction of justice. In fact, “instead of helping the severely disabled find work, the taxpayer-funded agency is at times allowing jobs to be taken away from the disabled.”