Fiscal Sponsorship is a Means to a Larger End, Not an End in Itself

Sunday, April 1, 2007 (All day)

The prestigious Chronicle of Philanthropy’s April 5, 2007 issue features one of the more comprehensive articles (“Getting a Head Start”) about fiscal sponsorship that’s ever appeared in a major publication dealing with the American nonprofit sector. I commend it to anyone – including Community Partners project leaders and their funders – involved in a fiscal sponsoring relationship. Moreover, I applaud the Chronicle’s refreshing and informative look at this growing field.

It’s important to emphasize an important point implied, though not precisely stated in the article. To create lasting public benefit, fiscal sponsorship must go far beyond the needed, but insufficient, functions such as the legal, financial, accounting, personnel, oversight and risk management services we provide. Entrepreneurial individuals and groups of concerned citizens who partner with fiscal sponsors represent a powerful and scarce social asset. They embody and personify a kind of continuous civic regeneration that is basic to community survival and prosperity, yet too often taken for granted. Our cities and neighborhoods need sustained initiative and effort from citizens and their representatives to remain alert to pressing problems and to propagate solutions to emerging and persistent challenges. At their best, fiscal sponsoring organizations spotlight, name and nurture this precious resource, welcoming and helping translate into action untested ideas that have the potential for producing genuine public good.

Fiscal sponsorship of the kind Community Partners practices marries a deeply felt regenerative mission and the project plans our partners develop with robust service systems and highly capable staff. Most of the truly effective professionals, entrepreneurs and volunteers I’ve met in this field strive to live by these traits. In doing so, they mirror to the wider world both the very best energies favoring community and the caring toil of people unwilling to leave civic and social change to chance.

If you want to read the whole article, try retrieving it at the following web address:

http://www.philanthropy.com/premium/articles/v19/i12/12003501.htm

If you have trouble locating it, shoot me a line and I’ll email a copy to you.