I am getting emails from fund raisers or giving consultants cheering on donors and foundations to do more in these times when wealth is contracting. Suggestions include spending down corpus, supporting only existing grantees, mission aligning trust corpus, and encouraging weaker nonprofits to die off or merge.
I find myself murmuring: How about direct action, social organizing, small group meetings, educating one another in doing more with less? The bottom line is that the solutions proposed by funders and by politicians of both parties are pitiful in comparison to the cataclysmic issues. We have seen what economic breakdown will be like. We have borrowed our way out of it, but that only postpones and amplifies the ultimate collapse. Worse than economic breakdown is the irreversible loss of species. Climate disruption foretells a new era in which we do not even know what portions of the earth will bear what crops. Nor do we know the cost of transporting food in the future. The water supply is also increasingly endangered. Peak oil portends the death of suburbia.
Paper assets have dropped in value. They may continue to trend lower. Solutions may be found that are not yet readily imaginable. Ecovillages, shorter supply lines, local food, and human capital that makes life worth living even as - blessed event! - the happy talk on tv fades to black.
Foundations, philanthropy, wealthy people are not outside our world finding solutions within it. It is not like they have the option of sitting back while "other people," alas, suffer. They are themselves stakes in the game. This is not about a them helping an us. It is about investing now in solutions without which the future is bleak for all.
Private armies? What will protect the child on her way to school from the mansion on the hill? Bodyguards with assault rifles? How much food can you stock even if you are Bill Gates in that house of his half buried in mother earth?
Culling nonprofits may be a place to start. The cull may go much deeper, though. And who knows who will be spared? Maybe the generous few.