As cities around the country continue working to provide urgent human and social services while advocating for stronger infrastructure through which to do so, HSC has been embracing any and all opportunities to help other communities build or strengthen their own nonprofit alliances. In the last year, we’ve engaged with leaders in three cities: Greenville, S.C.; Fort Wayne, IN.; and on Friday, we ventured to Louisville, KY., for a wide-ranging conversation about the power of the nonprofit community coming together to speak with one voice with and for the people it serves.
What is resonating with these other communities more than anything else? The importance of our sector emboldening its one, unified voice. Here’s why: Needs are escalating, with a further surge expected when a recession inevitably returns; and a continued flurry of federal regulations and executive orders is straining the ability of services providers to meet the needs of their communities.
Just last week: HUD stopped accepting public comments on a proposed “disparate impact” rule that would make it harder to challenge acts of housing discrimination. Concurrently, USDA took the rare step of reopening public comments on a restrictive SNAP proposal after a new analysis surfaced reporting that nearly one million children would lose automatic eligibility for free school lunches nationwide should the proposal be enacted.
(An important aside: If you already submitted public comments opposing that SNAP rule, you’re among 130,000 individuals and organizations that did so. Whether you submitted comments previously or not, we urge you to join us in submitting a comment during the reopened comment period; we have until November 1st to reinforce our opposition to the proposed SNAP rule. Our collective voice has already triggered this rare reopening of public comments; let’s keep it coming as we seek the retraction of this proposal altogether.)
But our sector’s voice is urgently needed in other ways; our sector’s voice uplifts the voices of others.
Last week alone, our members demonstrated this in numerous ways: Rela Leadership convened a cross-sector group of leaders who candidly talked about the pressing issues for our city and how uniquely impactful we can be if we put our heads and hearts together and set our individual agendas aside; at YWCA Columbus‘ Activists & Agitators event, a cross-sector group of leaders talked about the importance of our communities’ caretakers taking the time to take care of themselves, too; and at Goodwill Columbus‘ Extraordinary People Luncheon, a packed room was uplifted by a chorus singing, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.”
We can’t stop telling these stories of hope, even as we struggle in this fight for our community.