Philanthropic Watchdog Issues Critique
on Iraq War;
NCRP Board Questions Impact on Charity, Philanthropy
at Home and Abroad
- March 25 - The board of directors of the National Committee
for Responsive Philanthropy, the nation's foremost philanthropic
watchdog organization promoting social justice in U.S. grantmaking,
has overwhelmingly approved a statement expressing strong concern
about the preemptive war launched by the United States on Iraq
and the impacts of the war on charity and philanthropy.
At the organization's
spring board meeting in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 22, the
NCRP board approved the statement on the war in Iraq, emphasizing
the human and economic cost of the war and the conflict's potential
impact on the U.S. nonprofit sector and the disadvantaged Americans
it serves. At the same time, the statement called on support for
U.S. troops and their families, recognizing the hardships that
they face by being called up for prolonged service in this overseas
"The U.S. philanthropic
sector and many of the sector's nonprofit leadership organizations
have been unusually quiet about this preemptive war and the wartime
budget impacts on the disadvantaged Americans served by charities
and philanthropies, " said NCRP Executive Director Rick Cohen.
"The NCRP board of directors felt that it had to speak out and
express its deep concern about this war and its potentially devastating
impacts at home and abroad."
of the NCRP board called on philanthropy to provide more resources
and more support for social justice efforts around the globe,
to work toward securing human rights, and to support nonprofits
that encourage and promote fundamental debates about the civic
climate and threatened civil liberties that this war has exacerbated.
"The U.S. invasion
of Iraq should make every philanthropic institution think deeply
about the challenges to charity and philanthropy in responding
to the economic hardships that an exorbitantly costly war will
add to an already troubled economy and about their responsibilities
in promoting a vigorous and critically needed public discourse
about the national and international priorities and policies that
this nation's preemptive war reveals," Cohen said.
is the full text of the statement approved March 22, by NCRP's
of directors of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
(NCRP), dedicated to helping the philanthropic community more
effectively serve the nation's most disadvantaged and disenfranchised
populations, is concerned about the impact that our nation's military
action in Iraq will have on our constituencies, our nation and
our world. We feel compelled to issue this statement as we join
our colleagues in the nonprofit sector and in philanthropy in
dealing with the ways our reality has changed because of this
"We are concerned
about the United States government's preemptive war against Iraq,
which exacerbates the inequality that disadvantaged and disenfranchised
communities already experience. Beyond the tragic, unquantifiable
human costs of going to war, the economic costs will range anywhere
from $200 billion to more than $1 trillion dollars. That includes
not only the cost of mounting and carrying out an invasion with
more than a quarter million U.S. soldiers, but the post-invasion
occupation of Iraq, the costs of rebuilding and recovery, and
humanitarian assistance. The economic costs are dwarfed by the
"For our constituencies
among U.S. nonprofits, the war also means a new wave of cutbacks
in public investment, as the federal government will have to shift
more money into a war budget. The outcome will inevitably be reduced
human service and public infrastructure investment-and more pressure
on charity and philanthropy to fill the holes in our nation's
already frayed social safety net.
"While we are
concerned about the war, we support our troops and their families.
We call upon government and the philanthropic communities to be
aware of the many needs those who serve our nation have. Many
reservists forego regular salaries while they are deployed in
this conflict. Others called up for service have left families
at the brink of poverty because their economic contributions to
their households have not been replaced. Even when salaries are
replaced, military families are emotionally destabilized by this
"We are also
concerned about the civic climate that this war has exacerbated
and the range of civil liberties that are compromised in a climate
of war-driven public anxiety. We believe it essential to our constituencies
that the United States maintains a vigorous, open and accessible
debate about our national and international goals and purposes,
about our social and economic priorities and policies, and about
the preservation of our civil liberties. We urge the media to
play a constructive role in furthering this necessary debate.
We urge foundations to support those civil society organizations
that encourage and promote debate about our national direction.
urge individuals involved in philanthropy to provide more resources
for social and economic justice efforts at home and abroad and
to secure human rights around the world."
1976, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy is dedicated
to helping the philanthropic community advance the traditional
values of social and economic justice for all Americans. Committed
to helping funders more effectively serve the most disadvantaged
Americans, NCRP is a national watchdog, research and advocacy
organization that promotes public accountability and accessibility
among foundations, corporate grantmakers, individual donors and
workplace giving programs. For more information on NCRP or to
join, please visit www.ncrp.org
or call 202-387-9177.
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