Nick Penniman is Executive Editor of TomPaine.com, a public interest journal inspired by Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense and The Rights of Man.
Before joining TomPaine.com, he was Director of Moving Ideas Network and an associate editor of The American Prospect magazine. He also served as the director of the Alliance for
Democracy, a national grassroots organization that focuses on corporate
globalization and campaign finance reform. He formerly served as the editor
of the Lincoln Journal, a weekly newspaper published in Massachusetts, and
headed an investigative reporting team for the Community Newspaper Company.
He grew up in St. Louis, MO, and now lives in Silver Spring, MD.
"Give it away, give it away, give it away, give it away now." --Red Hot Chili Peppers T he September 11 attack produced plenty of collateral damage, but one largely unnoticed casualty is the impending harm to the nonprofit sector. The 1990s were boom years for the sector, in no small part because the value of the stock market quintupled. Now, however, foundation endowments--already reeling from a down stock market--are being hit even harder. That means reduced payouts. Direct-service organizations that provide aid to the chronically needy are suddenly competing for funds with the more dramatic need for post-attack relief. In the meantime, America's nonprofits--everything from reproductive-rights organizations to community-housing initiatives to liberal advocacy groups to magazines like this one--are nervously eyeing their nervous funders. A terrible triage could be coming. Here's what people involved in charitable enterprises are seeing through their viewfinders: nonprofit donors...