ON-Lion Letter

"America may be divided over the meaning of the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri," begins a column by Howard Husock in Forbes on "Giving Tuesday" in December, "but there can be little doubt that the controversy they’ve engendered make clear we’re not yet in a post-racial society.  They remind us, moreover, that, no matter to what one attributes the underlying reason, African-Americans remain poorer, and by many other counts, worse off, on average than other groups -- and that efforts to do something about that deserve a high priority, on this Giving Tuesday, for those who would support effective charities.

"The choices, for those who would do so, often narrow to support for those organizations which seek legal remedies to discrimination, or those, such as charter schools, which would seek new ways for public institutions to address the most disadvantaged populations," Husock continues.  "Historically, however, there has been a third way -- African-American-founded and directed organizations through which those with the means seek to uplift those with less.  This black empowerment  tradition dates at least to the 1910 founding of the Urban League (originally the Committee on Urban Conditions Among Negroes), and, with little attention today, continues to be found at the local community level, even as it's arguably atrophied with the growth of the welfare state.  It's not at odds with the civil rights tradition -- but can be understood to complement it."

Husock is vice president for policy research and director of the Social Entrepreneurship Initiative at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, which is substantially supported by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee.

His Giving Tuesday piece then highlights three specific organizations that have been recognized by the Manhattan Institute with its Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship -- the New Jersey Orators in Somerset, N.J., Gospel for Teens in Harlem, N.Y., and Reclaim a Youth in Glenwood, Ill.

The New Jersey Orators group improves the public-speaking skills of New Jersey children between the ages of seven and 18 -- increasing their self-confidence, academic success, leadership skills, and ability to maximize academic success and career choices.

Gospel for Teens teaches teenagers about the importance of gospel music as an art form.  With its choir and classes, the teens serve as ambassadors of gospel music -- uniting people of every race, nationality, religion, or spiritual background with a universal message that we are more alike than we are different.

Reclaim a Youth shapes and enhances the lives of youths aged 12 to 18 through education and counseling.  It offers academic, social, and family-life programs that positively contribute to healthy growth and development.

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |