The Warehouse: Emblematic of Loaves & Fishes' follies
|Loaves & Fishes' new warehouse, pictured last month while in the middle of being constructed.|
The new warehouse will replace rented warehouse services across the street from the Loaves & Fishes Administration building, that was costing the homeless-services nonprofit $5,000/mo. That rented space also included space for Loaves & Fishes’ library; and Genesis, a homeless counseling service staffed by a pair of social workers.
The library will move to space at the Delany Center, a building L&F owns at 12th & Ahern, and Genesis will be moved into new space in or adjacent to the new warehouse.
|An apothegm this year by L&F's Safe Ground has been "House Keys Not Handcuffs."|
Surely the enmity that L&F CEO Libby Fernandez and Moe Mohanna have for one another1 should have been overcome by seeking arbitration on the rent charges such that the best, most-equitable arrangement could have been found, benefiting both the charity and Mohanna and, all-importantly, homeless people [Remember them?]. It also would have shown proper respect to donors to Loaves & Fishes who deny themselves when giving money intended to help the poor, in acts that are compassionate or meet Scriptural demands.
|Graphic from Charity Navigator website shows degree to which Loaves & Fishes fails to spend donations and interest revenue on homeless services. Green bar represents "primary revenue" while blue bar represents "program expenses" for each calendar year.|
Loaves & Fishes is a very curious organization: While the economy was in the tank, it raised money from suffering Sacramento citizens, while bulking up on its asset base and denying services to homeless and otherwise impoverished Sacramentans. [See bar graph.]
But, this happens. Like any self-involved bureaucracy [and L&F is perhaps the ultimate self-involved bureaucracy], the "mission" of 'growth and defending itself' fully supplants any wholesome justification for existence. And Loaves & Fishes long long ago forgot its original mission — to help the homeless — which it trots out only when it's in donations-grab mode.
A recent article in Fast Company magazine, "Why Charities Should Have an Expiration Date" makes the case that for-profit companies come and go — they don't live forever … like vampires. Whereas not-for-profit organizations just attach themselves to a new mission when what they are doing turns sour, for one reason or other. Nonprofits, thus, are created on the "vampire principle": suck blood for the purpose of sucking yet more blood out of people so that it can go on to suck more blood and continue to exist to suck more blood.
It's a bloody business.
The article concludes thus [emphases, mine]:
The broader principle here is that companies and organizations don't exist simply to exist. A not-for-profit should ideally be not-for-perpetuity. [They] should not be donor-funded jobs programs. People give not because they believe in [charities as places with] employable human beings but because they believe in what nonprofits do. Once [the nonprofit's mission is accomplished, its employees] should wear a termination notice as a badge of honor.-------
In other words, it's time we all invested in wooden stakes.
1 When Mohanna created a woman's shelter in space adjacent to, and in the same building, where warehouse, library and Genesis space was being rented to Loaves & Fishes, this was done without consultation with Libby Fernandez. When the shelter was 'revealed' to some in the press, Fernandez was fully left out. That shelter is not now being utilized, to my knowledge. Loaves & Fishes, which has a stated mission to shelter people [the subheading at its webspace is "feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless"] has failed to add any shelter space during the economic downturn. Instead, while it 'bulks up' its assets in the form of property, Libby Fernandez pumps her fists in the air demanding money from others for sheltering purposes. O, the hypocrisy!
Labels: Loaves and Fishes