Answers on grant proposals if nonprofits were brutally honest, part 2

[Image description: An adorable red panda, staring directly at the camera with its piercing, soulful eyes. It looks like a raccoon This red panda has nothing to do with the content of this post, but every post can be made better by inserting a picture of a red panda. Image by Marcel Langthim of Pixabay.com]

Hi everyone. It’s been a rough few weeks, but I’m starting to feel hopeful again. Before we begin this week’s not-serious-at-all post, thank you to all the monthly patrons of this blog on Patreon. We are more than halfway to our goal of 250 patrons. Once we reach that, I’ll eliminate all the random ads from this blog (The ads on the side will remain). Also, I’m working on recording blog posts for patrons so you can listen to them while running or cooking or something, but it’s been rough, because hearing my own voice creeps me out. I’ll work on it.

Meanwhile, please go on Grantadvisor.org and write anonymous reviews of foundations you’ve interacted with, or if you are a funder, encourage your grantees to do so. It’s like a Yelp for foundations, and the more we use it, the better and more useful it becomes.

A few months ago, I wrote “Answers on grants proposals if nonprofits were brutally honest with funders.” Well, that was just Part 1. Here is Part 2. Thank you to nonprofit colleagues, who will remain nameless, for helping inspire these questions and responses.  Continue reading

It’s OK to despair, but here are 7 hopeful things to remember

[Image description: Protesters at a rally, holding various signs. In the forefront is a pink sign that says “RISE UP.”]

Hi everyone. Many of us had a pretty rough week last week. I’ve been talking to colleagues, and it’s been like the day after the election: The exhaustion, anger, fear, the sinking realization that the US is becoming a dystopian reality. It reminds me of that old sci-fi show, Sliders, where they travel to different parallel universes and must find a way to get back home to their universe, the real one. OMG, we are now one of those terrifying side universes that the main characters must attempt to quickly escape from! Continue reading

The America I know and love as an immigrant

[Image description: Closeup shot of the Statue of Liberty, displaying her head and part of the arm holding a torch, with a dark blue background. Image obtained by Ronile from Pixabay.com]

Hi everyone. There are hundreds of Families Belong Together rallies planned nationwide on June 30th, as the executive order the president signed still incarcerates kids and families indefinitely and does not unite the thousands of kids separated from their families. Please go here and enter your zip code to find the rally nearest you. 

I promised to write a more light-hearted post, but it’s been hard to find humor and joy lately. The images of kids and families, the audio clips, the “tender age shelters” haunt me. I know these visceral feelings come from the fact that I am a father with two small children, ages five and two. This week, I also realize that I’ve been affected because of my own story as an immigrant kid whose family fled poverty and a difficult life for the promises of America. I am sharing it here, mainly because it helps me to process my thinking, but it’s also a reminder for me, and hopefully for you, of the America that my family and I have known and loved since we were welcomed to its shores. Continue reading

Actions we can take to end the inhumane policy of separating immigrant kids and families

[Image description: Picture of a person holding a child. Only the adult’s arms and child’s legs are shown. The adult is wearing a short-sleeved dark-blue button-down shirt, and the child is wearing a dark blue denim dress, light blue leggings, and blue and shoes with pink lining. Image from Pixabay.com]

After last week’s serious take on mental health, I was hoping to write something more light-hearted this week. But it was Father’s Day, and all I could think about were the children separated from their families at the border under this administration’s cruel, inhumane policy. So my apologies; we’ll get back to funnier stuff soon, I promise. For this week, I implore each of us to learn more about this atrocity and to do something.

Two years ago, after the election, I wrote “I am fearful not so much for myself and my family, but for our friends who are Muslim, who are Latinx, who are Black, who are LGBTQ.” Since then, so much of that has come to pass as protective policies are rolled back to make way for a wave of policies based on fear, racism, and xenophobia.

I never once thought, though, that we would reach a point in our nation’s history where children as young as 18 months old or even younger are ripped screaming from the arms of their crying, desperate parents, after they have made grueling treks to flee from poverty, violence, and death. We now have an administration that defends the abuse and torture of innocent children. Continue reading

Nonprofits, we need to talk about mental health and suicide

[Image description: A bunch of flowers with yellow centers and white petals, likely daisies, resting on a metal railing of some sort. Blurry brown and beige background depicting land and a small patch of light blue sky. Image obtained from Pixabay.com]

Hi everyone, this post is going to be a little serious, but I hope you will read it and discuss with your team. The recent suicides in the news have made me think about our sector and our responsibility to one another.

Ten years ago, a friend of mine took her life a day after calling me asking to hang out. I would learn later from her mom that she had been dealing with bipolar disorder for a long time, and hid it from her friends and coworkers. I wished that I had been a better friend, that I had known what she was going through, that I had supported her more.

My friend’s suicide made me realize that we have a long way to go when it comes to mental health awareness, even among those of us who are in the nonprofit sector and thus are supposed to be more attuned to the people around us. Because mental health conditions are mostly invisible, our colleagues, friends, and family members may be going through challenges, and we may not be aware of it. Or we may be unintentionally creating an environment where mental illness is stigmatized, leading to further isolation. Continue reading