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Business of Giving: Socialism in America Is Impossible

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Collaboration among nonprofits, donors, and the government is too successful.

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There has been a lot of debate lately as to whether proposals such as health-care reform will turn America into a socialist state.

Considering what I've learned in 35 years working for nonprofits, I confidently say that this can never be the case.

America will never become socialist because our advancement as a nation depends too greatly on the work of private donors (including individuals, corporations, and corporate foundations) in partnership with nonprofit organizations and the government to work together to find solutions to society's most complex problems.

This uniquely American "social trinity" ensures that responsibility for public welfare can't rest solely on the shoulders of the state. It hasn't happened, isn't happening, and won't happen because the system we've developed is too effective to be tossed into the recycling bin in favor of government agencies created to do the job nonprofits do so well.

Nonprofits are the idea labs, the guinea pigs, and the research and development departments for social theory. The government has no interest in taking on that role because it doesn't like to take risks. That's what non-profits do (thanks to the financial backing of their supporters). And when the right risks are taken, amazing results occur -- results that save taxpayers and the government money in the long run.

Here's an example: In an effort to find a solution to the intractable problem of juvenile justice and its related expense, private funders, including the Annie E. Casey Foundation and The William T. Grant Foundation, partnered with the New York City Department of Education, the Youth Leadership Academy, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and Children's Aid to develop a better and cheaper way of dealing with adolescents involved in the juvenile justice system.

Instead of detaining them at a cost of almost $20,000 a month or locking them up for a price tag of $120,000 a year, we came up with a program that costs a fraction of the current program, keeps kids out of correctional facilities, and teaches them skills to deal with school, work, and the real world.
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