POOLING OUR RESOURCES TO FOSTER BLACK PROGRESS
AN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND IMPACT INVESTING FRAMEWORK
By Michael J. Isimbabi, Ph.D.
Published by Universal Progress Media
ISBN: 978-1-937143-26-8 January 2014
See also: SYNOPSIS OF THE BOOK
… [To address the challenges of unemployment, poverty and social ills in distressed communities, t]he obvious expectation is that public investment that can foster rapid job creation and poverty alleviation should occur quickly, as an integral part of the set of public policies that will generate greater economic prosperity. [footnote/citation omitted]
Sadly, that is not likely to happen on a large enough scale any time soon.
The current political gridlock in Washington, D.C., the toxic and racially-charged national political climate, and fiscal and budgetary constraints are likely to persist for several years. And, of course, advocates for substantive public investment in anti-poverty initiatives have very little political clout. Thus, it is highly unlikely that Congress will approve funding at the levels necessary to aggressively attack poverty and substantially improve conditions in poor communities, not even for proven initiatives that are generally acknowledged to be cost-effective, such as early childhood development. [footnote/citation omitted]
It is therefore imperative for African Americans to do the best we can with the resources we have – which are considerable – in order to address the most critical issues, such as limited educational and economic opportunities for poor children and youth. This will require getting all hands on deck in an all-out, proactive, take-charge effort to develop and implement the most potent and transformational self-reliance strategies, even as advocacy for anti-poverty public policies continues.
The most critical challenge in this regard is how to harness resources most effectively to foster entrepreneurship, business development, job creation, wealth building, academic achievement and job training. This is particularly important in relation to ongoing efforts to facilitate greater self-determination and self-empowerment–with respect to education, employment, poverty reduction, building strong and stable family structures, eradication of dysfunctional and destructive behaviors, etc.
For decades now, and particularly in recent years, the need to “pool our resources” to foster more rapid economic progress through self-reliance has been a common refrain in the black community. Notably, way back in 1958, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reportedly noted in an interview: “…Well has it been said by one that Negroes too often buy what they want and beg for what they need. Negroes must learn to practice systematic saving. They must also pool their economic resources through various cooperative enterprises.” [footnote/citation omitted; source: “Advice for Living” – The King Papers Project. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University]
… Recent trends in the political and economic environments … clearly indicate that it would be futile to wait for public investment on a large enough scale to substantively address the problems in our distressed communities …. Given the current noxious and racially-charged political climate, which will likely persist for several years, the onus is on those who are counting on, and waiting for, such public investment to precisely spell out the political strategies and pathways for getting Congress to appropriate the requisite substantial funding. They would need to clearly lay out strategies for making it happen soon, regardless of who is president and which party controls Congress. …
Chapter I – The Futility of Waiting for the Government…and the Imperative for Pooling Resources on a Large National Scale
…. Evidently, it will take close to a miracle for the type of targeted massive investment such as [Washington Post columnist Eugene] Robinson’s MPA [Marshall Plan for the “Abandoned”] to occur. It is soberingly clear that advocates of anti-poverty initiatives and public investment to revitalize neighborhoods lack the political clout to get Congress to allocate substantial levels of funding to implement the President’s proposed initiatives. And there is no indication that the makeup of Congress will change significantly in the next several years to make much of a difference in this regard, regardless of who is president. …
….While charitable giving by private foundations and individuals provides significant supplemental funding for many social services, it will continue to fall well short of filling the gap between the rising demand for services and shrinking government funding. [footnote/citations omitted]
Worse, one study suggests that charitable donors may sometimes be biased, even if unconsciously, against funding programs that help at-risk black youth who are past elementary school age — and who, ironically, often need support the most — because of negative stereotypes. [footnote/citation omitted]
… Clearly, therefore, rather than wait in futility for the government and any other potential savior, we need to get all hands on deck in an all-out proactive, take-charge effort to implement the most potent and transformational self-reliance strategies possible. Otherwise, the alternative is to simply throw up our hands, stand helplessly by, and watch yet another generation or more of black children grow up in so-called “permanent underclass” status, trapped in vicious circles of poverty, despair, and dysfunction. Pooling resources on a large scale through an initiative such as the Fund to invest in distressed communities can ensure that this does not happen. …
A sampling of exhortations on the imperative of “pooling of our resources” – by community and civic leaders, activists, commentators, entrepreneurs, intellectuals, writers, etc. – is provided in the Appendix in the book. Some of the numerous sentiments expressed are highlighted in the “Introduction”, which you can read further if you “look inside” the book – the first 10% — for free at Amazon.com.
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