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Long time readers of ESR should be well aware of the Capital Research Center's existence. Over the past few years, the center has been gracious enough to run some of their work in the pages of this magazine including a recent spotlight regarding the finances of Jesse Jackson's nonprofit empire.
For those not familiar with the CRC, it was established in 1984 to study nonprofit organizations like Jackson's Rainbow-PUSH coalition and other groups like unions. Its focus, however, is on "reviving the American traditions of charity, philanthropy, and voluntarism," traditions under attack because of the expansion of government into areas formally the concern of individual citizens and communities.
"Capital Research Center is committed to a vigorous and strong private sector, the cornerstones of which are the free-market economy, constitutionally limited government, individual liberty, and a strong sense of personal responsibility. These are the principles that fuel the economic growth that makes philanthropy possible. They are the principles that have animated America from its inception," says the group. Of course, the 1960s and the expansion of the American federal state marked a departure from that community based approach.
In order to study the thousands of ostensibly nonprofit groups that have sprang up since the launch of Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society, the center produces an impressive array of monthly news letters that concentrate their focus on advocacy organizations, trends in philanthropy, charities, unions, private foundations and the effectiveness of charity in general. It's an impressive amount of work that they do and it is reflected in the broad range of subjects the group has shined its spotlight on. In the recent past, the center has reported on how the tactics used against the tobacco companies were also used on the firearms industry, the welfare reform process, the WTO demonstrations in Seattle, the decline of the labour movement and potential problems cropping up at the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
While the CRC may not hold the monopoly in the study of charities and nonprofit groups, it does a very effective job and is justifiably considered one of the leaders in the field. With George W. Bush's recent announcement that he wants private charities to take a larger role in society, the CRC's work can only become more important and you should take the time and check out them out.
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