Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Giuliani Makes the Choice Clear for Nonprofits

I'm watching the Republican National Convention right now, with former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani giving his speech. Let me recount a bit of dialogue I just heard. He was talking about the Democratic Candidate, Barack Obama, and critiquing his resume...
"He worked as a ... community organizer?"
(Rudy makes strange face)
(audience laughs)

"Yeah, he worked as a community organizer!
And that's just the first problem with his resume!"

Well, if you're a reader of this blog, you are probably familiar with people who work as community organizers, and are possibly one yourself. You know that it's tough work, underpaid work, and often thankless work. You know that it's nothing to make jokes about.

But not at the Republican National Convention, apparently. At the RNC, community organizing and nonprofit work is the stuff of humor, proof of inexperience, and a disqualifier for any "real" public policy work.

Well, I'm certain that the professional thing to do here would be to put my opinions on my personal blog, and keep this blog politics free and opinion free. But the stakes in this election are too high. I care too much about the nonprofit sector, and I care too much about this country to not post this here.

In Barack Obama we finally have a candidate for President who actually understands and has links to the nonprofit sector. In Michelle Obama we have even more nonprofit experience, as she's a former local leader for Public Allies, an excellent organization that I've had the pleasure to work with in my region.

The line is clear here. There is one presidential ticket that honors the work of the nonprofit sector, and one that mocks it. Which do you think will be better for us, and help us to do the work we need to do in our local communities?

This blog is proud to be officially endorsing Barack Obama for President of the United States.

(NOTE: Vice Presidential candidate Governor Sarah Palin just repeated the anti-community organizer slander, this time adding, "The difference between a mayor and a community organizer is that a mayor has responsibilities.")


  1. Thank you for pointing out what I found most discouraging during last night's speeches. I tuned in to listen to standpoints on issues, not to hear the comedy stylings of Sarah Palin.

  2. Well, I couldn't disagree more and this post makes me realize that your blog is not for me. The Republicans were responding to the left's attacks on Governor Sarah Palin's experience and highlighting the fact that she has more experience in Government that Barack Obama. It's a fact, not a slander. She has since commented that she did not mean to offend any community organizer. And, I wouldn't link "community organizer" directly with nonprofit employee or even nonprofit leader/volunteer...they are not inherently the same.

    Also remember the current Pres. Bush's support of the nonprofit sector by initiating the Faith Based initiatives that have given so much to strengthen the link between organizations and faith based partners. The Republican Party deserves credit for these types of actions as well as a constant recognition of donors by our tax system which is essential to nonprofits. When Obama raises taxes on those making over $250,000or whatever his claim is today we will see it affect individual and corporate giving. Mark my word.

    Goodluck in your endeavors.

  3. Jen - Palin "did not mean to offend any community organizer"? What a wonderful joke that is.

    She, Giuliani, and others have repeatedly used that line, as a cheap shot at belittling a United States Senator and Presidential candidate, and they don't care who they offend.

    Thanks for your comment.