ASU Lodestar Center receives $140,000 grant to assist nonprofits


May 22, 2014

For the past five years, the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation has partnered with Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations in selected communities. Through a series of trainings and offerings, this partnership has allowed nonprofit organizations additional access and assistance to help them become more sustainable.

Recently, the ASU Lodestar Center was awarded a $140,000 grant from Freeport-McMoRan Foundation to continue such important capacity building efforts. Specifically, the grant will fund a dedicated program coordinator at the ASU Lodestar Center to execute a robust agenda of capacity building activities, including fostering project development, to address the sustainability issues of targeted mining communities. ASU Lodestar Center logo Download Full Image

“We understand the importance of investing in the capacity of the nonprofit sector,” says Tracy Bame, president of the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation. “Partnerships with community organizations help fulfill our commitment to build capacity that grows, diversifies and sustains communities beyond the life of our operations. This grant is the next step in our overall effort to connect nonprofits in these communities with the resources they need to strengthen their impact, and as a result, our dollars have a multiplier effect.”

Now more than ever, nonprofit organizations are called upon to serve great community needs with extremely limited resources. This challenge is great for all nonprofit organizations, but even more so in rural communities. In order for nonprofits to be successful, it is critical that they are not only managed efficiently and effectively, but also that they operate with a focus on sustainability. Equally important to nonprofit organizations’ understanding of sustainability is the emphasis of local leadership on supporting sustainable programs and building collaboration that increases longer-term sustainability. Furthermore, it is increasingly necessary for organizations to work together along a collective impact continuum that requires coordination and collaboration around issues of systemic change and joint funding strategies.

“Our partnership with the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation is the sort of venture that is grounded in the best thinking and practice to advance overall community well-being,” says Robert F. Ashcraft, executive director of the ASU Lodestar Center and professor of nonprofit studies in ASU’s School of Community Resources and Development. “The nonprofit sector is well positioned in rural communities to lead positive community development, and we are delighted that this partnership uses the lever of capacity building to realize our shared goals.”

The new program coordinator will work with key community stakeholder groups to plan and implement a range of capacity building efforts that elevate the nonprofit capacity building work in targeted Freeport-McMoRan locations and incorporate the center’s resources as the knowledge and tools leader for nonprofit effectiveness.

Contact: Nicole Almond Anderson, 602-496-0185 or nicole.almondanderson@asu.edu

Heather Beshears

director marketing and communications, College of Public Service and Community Solutions

602-496-0406

Better leadership needed to get US government working again


May 22, 2014

Why has it become so difficult for our federal government to negotiate, come to agreement and pass legislation? How can we improve the policymaking process in Washington to boost overall government effectiveness?

Two panels of government leaders and policy analysts addressed these questions at a National and Global Issues Forum sponsored by Arizona State University, May 22, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The panelists, welcomed by ASU President Michael M. Crow, included Trent Lott, former U.S. senate majority leader, R-MS; Evan Bayh, former governor and former U.S. senator, D-IN; Jonathan Rauch, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; and Michael Barone, senior policy analyst of the Washington Examiner. Moderators were Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, and Jon Kyl, former U.S. Senate Majority Whip, R-AZ. Download Full Image

Kyl is also a Distinguished Fellow in Public Service in ASU's College of Public Programs and an O’Connor Distinguished Scholar of Law and Public Service in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

Crow, in his welcome, said bemoaning what is wrong with U.S. government does nothing to solve the problem. He encouraged the panelists to probe how government and the governing process are designed, and to discuss solutions to breaking the gridlock.

While the discussion and solutions from both panels were diverse, there were several common threads: presidential leadership could be stronger; congressional leaders need more dedicated supporters in their own parties; there needs to be respect for difference of opinion and debate; and the state presidential primary process needs improvement.

“The center has fallen away in the house,” said Bayh, adding that only 18 percent of republicans voted in the primary, and those were likely the most extreme of voters. The situation was similar with the democrats.

“Once in office, you are expected to vote with the party down the line, or lose financial support,” Bayh added, saying that compromise is statesmanship, yet is often viewed as betrayal.

Wallace asked the panelists if President Obama could be doing a better job leading. Both Bayh and Lott agreed that Obama has many strengths, but that his inexperience as an executive has hurt him in office. Lott said it would be helpful if the president engaged members of Congress more, as Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton did when they were in office. He also said that members of Congress at that time, while differing on issues, were not as polarized on a personal level.

“Members of Congress today don’t spend enough time here; their families are at home,” he said. “They don’t know each other, they don’t socialize with each other."

The topic of presidential primaries focused on two different possible solutions: open primaries and strengthening the existing parties to make it more unlikely that extreme candidates get on the ballot. The goal is to have more moderate candidates from both parties in office who are more amenable to working through differences in the best interests of the country.

Rauch also suggested that congressional earmarks, while needing to be transparent, helped party leaders move legislation forward.

“We don’t have a crisis of leadership, we have a crisis of followership,” he said. “There are few incentives to reward and protect the followers, who help move legislation forward and minimize the detractors. That is when party leadership falls victim to outside influence.”

Wallace argued that you have to have leaders who want to lead and, with both parties on weaker political ground, they are reluctant to do so. Both parties, he said, are afraid of losing the next election instead of being focused on what is best for the country.

Kyl agreed, adding that the 24-hour news industry contributes to this fear, as it starts focusing on the next election the day after someone has been seated in office.

“We used to have twelve to fifteen months after an election to legislate, to take a breather and do the job,” he said, adding that the constant news coverage and focus on controversy to build viewership has created a new challenge for today’s political leaders.

Sharon Keeler