An Appreciation: Pablo Eisenberg’s CCC Swan Song: Pablo Sounds off

Roger M. Williams
November 1, 1997

About Foundations:

  • (How his criticisms impact on CCC) Some foundations have reduced their grants to us, but by and large we’ve gotten more foundation money. I believe that if you speak out with integrity and commitment, people will respect that. Unfortunately, the nonprofit sector generally doesn’t act that way: they’re still scared shitless of what would happen if they did.
  • I’m proud of having helped create the National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy [a D.C. – based watchdog group] and not having softened my tone over – time I’m too old for that.
  • As it stands, there’s no bridge between bright, energetic young interns and full-time jobs in non-profit organizations. Foundations could find those young people and pay their salaries to work in model nonprofits for a couple of years, so the people put down roots in the sector and look for a career there. To provide 200 of those jobs would cost about $12 million, a price a consortium of foundations could certainly handle.
  • (Re: the rich and famous) Look how little many of them give away in philanthropy. Steven Spielberg—how does he spend his money? And Ted Turner. And Bill Gates, that SOB—a damned bright SOB, I admit.

About CCC:

  • We pioneered citizen-based monitoring, as with spending under community development block grants in some 40 areas. Given the lack of monitoring by governments, that’s very important. We also monitored general revenue sharing, CETA programs, and – informally – public housing.
  • Building national conditions has been a CCC hallmark: the National Rural Coalition, for instance; the Coalition of Human Needs; the Friends of Vista; the National Neighborhood Coalition; and NCRP – I was its original convener.
  • We think the cluster idea is especially promising. We’ve already done it in other [than youth] areas. For instance, we’re just starting a cluster on the problems of multi-cultural, multi-racial situations: how to address the tensions that develop. From it, we’ll produce guidelines for use by community organizations.

About Youth and Youth Programs:

  • Our research has shown a real need for community-based organizations to work more closely with young people, to build bridges between the two. That may be difficult, however: a lot of adults tend to view youth as the problem, whereas if they’re brought into a project, they may turn out to be the solution.
  • (On the Philadelphia “summit” on volunteering) It was not a very serious enterprise. Much of it was showtime – focused as much on getting press as on promoting volunteerism. And people who should have been there weren’t: the recipient community. The whole effort seemed partly to deflect the administration’s cutbacks – a la Ronald Reagan – of welfare measures. Worse, with the exception of Jimmy Carter, nobody spoke about the fact that, no matter whether you attract lots of volunteers, money is still the most important ingredient in reducing poverty and helping poor people. You need money even to organize volunteers.

Williams, Roger M. "An Appreciation: Pablo Eisenberg’s CCC Swan Song: Pablo Sounds off." Youth Today, November/December 1997, p. 55.

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