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News Release

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-3843
Phone: (410) 516-7160 | Fax (410) 516-5251

July 10, 2003
CONTACT: Glenn Small
(410) 516-7160

U.S. Nonprofit Sector Feeling Squeeze of
Government Budget Cuts

'Listening Post' Project Takes the Pulse of Nonprofit Sector

Nearly two-thirds of a broad cross-section of U.S. nonprofit organizations are feeling financial stress from recent government funding cuts, according to a survey by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies and its partner organizations in the new Nonprofit Listening Post Project. These budget strains come on top of pressures resulting from the national economic downturn, which has constrained private charitable giving.

The Listening Post Project is designed to take "soundings" from a group of about 1,000 nonprofit organizations across the country to assess the health of the nonprofit sector in America and the coping strategies nonprofits are adopting. In its first survey, 63 percent of respondents currently rate local, state or federal government budget cuts as a "very significant challenge." Among agencies serving families and children, the elderly and disadvantaged communities, more than 70 percent reported significant budget strain.

"This is particularly significant because these agencies obtain close to 40 percent or more of their total income from government, and because private fund raising has also been under pressure," said Lester Salamon, director of the Listening Post Project and of the Center for Civil Society Studies at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies. In fact, he noted that an even larger proportion of agencies -- 80 percent in all -- reported that fund raising poses a "very significant challenge" for their agencies at the present time.

"These pressures are directly affecting client services," said Katie Sloan, senior vice president for member services of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. "Non-profit aging service providers are having to turn away clients, reduce staff, and/or dip into reserves."

Further complicating the fiscal picture of nonprofit organizations are escalating health benefit costs. Some 60 percent of those surveyed reported health benefit costs as a "very significant challenge."

This figure reached 75 percent and 82 percent, respectively, among agencies serving children and families and the elderly. In response to these new fiscal realities, nonprofit executives are seeking new ways of operating, including new fund raising techniques and new ways to measure performance.

"While some observers are criticizing nonprofits for not being 'entrepreneurial' or responsive, our first Listening Post 'sounding' shows they are already moving in that direction," Salamon said. "The real question is how this will change their ability to remain focused on their core missions and on those most in need."

The Listening Post is a joint undertaking of the Center for Civil Society Studies at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies and a network of nonprofit umbrella groups representing state nonprofit associations, nonprofit management assistance providers, and agencies working in the fields of family and children's services, elderly services, health care, community and economic development, and arts and culture. The other member organizations are The Alliance for Children and Families, the American Association of Museums, the National Congress for Community Economic Development, the Theatre Communications Group, the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, and the National Council of Nonprofit Associations.

Peter Goldberg, CEO of the Alliance for Children and Families and the chair of the project's steering committee, said Listening Post is an important early warning system for the nonprofit sector.

"Through the series of targeted 'soundings' this project will provide, we will finally have the ability to respond effectively and speedily to the enormous challenges facing nonprofits in this country," Goldberg said.

The Listening Post project is funded through grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Kauffman Foundation and The Surdna Foundation. Attached is a list of nonprofit organizations that participated in the Listening Post project. They are available for interviews.

For information, contact Rick O'Sullivan, project assistant director, at 410-516-8473.

Press Contacts for the Listening Post Project

Sorrel Bowman-Rogers, Pres. & CEO
Family Service Agency
Phoenix, AZ
(602) 264-9891

Judy Frost, Managing Director
PCPA Theaterfest
Santa Marina, CA

Michael Fields, Managing Artistic Director
The Dell'arte Company
Blue Lake, CA
707-668-5663 x12

Denise Freestone, Artistic Director
OpenStage Theatre and Company
Fort Collins, CO

Noreen Keleshian, President and CEO
Human Services, Inc.
Denver, CO
(303) 321-6363

Victoria Nolan, Managing Director
Yale Repertory Theatre
New Haven, CT

Alison Irvin, Executive Assistant
Arena Stage
Washington, DC
202-554-9066 x219

Stephanie Norman, Producing Artistic Dir
City Theatre
Miami, FL

Martha Aldridge, Director
The History Center
Cedar Rapids, IA
(319) 362-1501

Hilary Freeman, VP of Strategic Initiatives
Chicago, IL
(312) 424-6823

Lorne Render, Executive Director
Marianna Kistler Beach Art Museum
Manhattan, KS
(785) 532-7718

Carol Katz, CEO
The Loomis Communities
South Hadley, MA

Michael Ross, Managing Director
Center Stage
Baltimore, MD

Thomas L. Curcio, President and CEO
Board of Child Care
Baltimore, MD
(410) 922-2100

Kenneth Basile, Executive Director
The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art
Salisbury, MD
(410) 742-4988 x 102

Sylvia Quinton,
Suitland Family & Life Development Corp
Glenarden, MD
(301) 386-4337

Jim Goodwin, President and CEO
Whaley Children's Center
Flint, MI
(810) 234-3603

Richard Ney, President and CEO
Life Guidance Services
Grand Rapids, MI
(616) 774-0633

Jeanne Donado, Vice-President
Ella Sharp Museum Association of Jackson
Jackson, MI
(517) 787-2320

Bethany Gladhill, Director of Operations
Theatre de la Jeune Lune
Minneapolis, MN

Hal Cropp, Executive Director
Commonweal Theatre Company
Lanesboro, MN

Al Renna, President and CEO
Family Services, Inc.
Winston-Salem, NC
(336) 722-8173

Mary Jo Buchanan, Executive Director
Family Service of Morris Co.
Morristown, NJ
(973) 538-5260

Richard Dina, President & CEO
Family and Children's Association
Mineola, NY
(516) 746-0350

Terry Greiss, Executive Director
Irondale Ensemble Project
Brooklyn, NY

Alexander Campos, Executive Director
Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning
Jamaica, NY
(718) 658-7400

Barbara Thomas, Executive Director
Kendal at Oberlin
Oberlin, OH

Anne Williams,
St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, Inc.
Eugene, OR
(541) 687-5820

Krista Larson, Executive Director
Metropolitan Family Service
Portland, OR
(503) 232-0007

Paul Nicholson, Executive Director
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Ashland, OR

Nick Sauvie,
Rose CDC
Portland, OR
(503) 788-8052

Don Goughler, CEO
Family Services of W. PA
Pittsburgh, PA
(412) 820-2050

Kevin Jones, CEO
Ingilis Innovative Services
Philadelphia, PA

Claude W. Blakely, Administrative Director
Centre Stage - South Carolina!
Greenville, SC

Nancy Hard, Executive Director
Family Service Assn. of San Antonio
San Antonio, TX
(210) 299-4494

Deborah Delgado-Robinson,
UU Housing Assistance Corporation
San Antonio, TX

Richard Salcido, Executive Director
Family Service of El Paso
El Paso, TX
(915) 533-2491

Frank Rowland, Director of Planning & Governmental
Affairs, EPIC
Yakima, WA
(509) 248-3950

John Baule, Director
Yakima Valley Museum
Yakima, WA
(509) 248-0747

Robert Pieters, President/CEO
The Lutheran Home, Inc.
Milwaukee, WI

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