Mentally ill become scapegoat in gun control debate

Mentally ill become scapegoat in gun control debate
In every mass shooting’s wake, the murderer’s motives monopolize national attention. Why would someone, in such calculated fashion, commit mass murder?  It’s too facile to blame school shootings on misguided anger and narcissism  within a socially awkward young man. Our curiosity leads us to transfer blame from the perpetrator to a ‘greater evil’: bullying, accessibility... Read more »

Your brain is greedy; your gut is more giving

Your brain is greedy; your gut is more giving
Holiday season has arrived, which means that the onslaught of charity solicitations is in full swing. “The ask” will come in many different forms – through e-mail, through snail mail, through charity events. With so many vying for your checkbook, one cause – or maybe even a few – is bound to get in your... Read more »

How nonprofits can avoid a media disaster

How nonprofits can avoid a media disaster
More often than not, a writer/blogger/journalist will have the same misconceptions about nonprofits and the people/causes they serve than the average lamen. They will assume all homeless shelters are full of cots and sleeping beds, when in reality, emergency shelters are far less abundant than interim/transitional housing shelters. They will likely see your agency’s work through a narrow lens: an art gallery... Read more »
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The ultimate half-baked idea may save the Prentice building

The ultimate half-baked idea may save the Prentice building
  The debate over whether to demolish Bertrand Goldberg’s cloverleaf building  has two seemingly uncompromising sides. In one corner are the architectural preservationalists, who argue that the now-vacant, former Prentice Women’s Hospital should receive landmark status and be adapted for a new purpose. In the other corner is the building’s owner, Northwestern University, which plans... Read more »

The potential power of the Wilson Red Line Stop

The potential power of the Wilson Red Line Stop
If there was one factor that shaped Uptown’s rich history as Chicago’s hub for film, theater, jazz, and mob activity, it was the construction of the modern-day Wilson Red Line stop. The Wilson terminal was built in 1900 and for years was the northernmost stop from downtown. It spawned a cultural and economic boom that... Read more »

April 5, 1968: the day that sapped life out of Chicago's ghettos

April 5, 1968: the day that sapped life out of Chicago's ghettos
Chicagoans that have never seen other cities’ ghettos might assume that all poor neighborhoods are sparsely populated, rife with vacant lots, and starved of commerce. This condition - the de-institutionalized ghetto – is actually  not symptomatic of all ghettos. Differences in density – of people, residences, banks, churches, grocery stores, social service centers, etc. – between rich and poor neighborhoods are far... Read more »
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CCE's and the WalMartization of human services

CCE's and the WalMartization of human services
In the for-profit sector, “Walmartization” has dangerous implications, ranging from the shrinking of the small business sector to my personal hoarding of Pringles variety packs and Jackie Chan DVD collections. However, in the nonprofit sector, the ”one-stop shop” approach is gaining momentum as the best way to deliver services to needy populations. The rationale is simple: needy... Read more »

Chicago teacher strikes: the latest chapter in the misguided Impact Metrics Movement

Chicago teacher strikes: the latest chapter in the misguided Impact Metrics Movement
Central to the Chicago teacher strike has been the debate over teacher evaluations. Over the past several years, millions of dollars have been thrown at universities and research groups to create an equitable evlauation tool to quantify teachers’ impact. And at the end of the day, the education industry has discovered what the nonprofit sector has long known: the push for accountability in the... Read more »

A mass migration: thousands of institutionalized Chicagoans moving back into the community

A mass migration: thousands of institutionalized Chicagoans moving back into the community
Until 2012, Illinois used a clear and inhumane approach towards mental health treatment: institutionalize people at unprecedented rates, and slash funding for long-term treatment solutions. This 20th Century method may finally change in the coming months, thanks to three successful law suits against Illinois that has led to the closing of approximately half of their mental health clinics. But... Read more »
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Sad day for Chicago's LGBTQ community: Catholic Charities takes over city's 311 emergency services

Sad day for Chicago's LGBTQ community: Catholic Charities takes over city's 311 emergency services
Few communities were more enthusiastic about Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s much-anticipated ”Chicago’s Plan to End Homelessness 2.0″ than the LGBTQ community. Chicago is, after all, a safe haven for thousands of runaway LGBTQ youth from all over the Midwest. And yet, in the wake of yesterday’s unveiling of “Plan 2.0,” Mayor Emanuel will likely receive backlash from the community that stood to gain... Read more »