Monday, July 30, 2007

In Through the Out Door

Tonight at WorkPlay, I had the distinct pleasure to meet two people not waiting for the world to change.

The first was Andrea, who helps lead the Community Kitchens of Birmingham. She has the very big job of trying to feed thousands of Birminghamians who can't afford lunch. She's worked in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, and now feels like she's exactly where she's supposed to be.

The second was Andre, who heads up The Terminal, a new Web site that attempts to be all things Birmingham. He's been in the nonprofit world and has recently ventured off on his own. He's trying to improve the world via positive news and calling attention to the good.

So here were two people who on the surface appeared to be at very different places in life. But they were both looking to make the world a better place as best they could. One was in the nonprofit world and one was out of it, as if they were passing each other along the road to influencing change.

While there will probably always be people wanting to work for nonprofits and wanting to improve the community, what happens when people, especially young talented ones, begin to believe that they can affect more change outside of the nonprofit sector?

And then what happens when they do, in fact, more good by not working for nonprofits? Does the sector disappear? Does its influence wane? Is entrepreneurship the new philanthropy?

Comment (1)

This is an interesting discussion because often a nonprofit doesn't move as fast as a young worker might want. On the other hand, meaningful change often doesn't come about within two years- the amount of time Gen Y'ers start itching to move on. More power to any young worker that can affect change without working for a nonprofit- we all need to learn from each other. However, the nonprofit sector won't disappear. There are certain services that nonprofits provide that will always be needed and cannot be solved by entrepreneurship. To think otherwise is to believe that life can one day be a utopia. Instead, we should be realizing the challenges we face are opportunities.