As the world becomes more connected and globalized, the number of non-profit organizations (NPOs) has grown exponentially. These organizations are often created to help those in need, but unfortunately, some of the founders of NPOs have been found to underpay their employees or contribute to poverty in other ways.
One example of this is the exploitation of workers in developing countries by NPOs that claim to promote fair trade and social justice. These organizations may pay workers significantly less than they would earn in the local labor market, and may not provide benefits or safety protections. This can lead to a cycle of poverty for workers and their families, as they are unable to earn a living wage or improve their standard of living.
In Los Angeles it is no different.
Gentrification is another example. Where wealthier individuals and businesses move into a historically low-income neighborhood, leading to rising property values and the displacement of long-time residents. The historic Filipino town of Los Angeles, also known as “Little Manila,” has been affected by gentrification in recent years.
The area, located in the Westlake neighborhood, was once a thriving community for Filipino immigrants in the early 20th century. It was home to a variety of Filipino-owned businesses, such as markets, restaurants, and boarding houses, as well as cultural institutions like the Filipino Community Center.
However, in recent years, the neighborhood has undergone significant changes as wealthier residents and developers have moved in. Property values have risen, leading to increased rent prices and the displacement of many Filipino residents and small business owners. Many of the historic Filipino-owned businesses have closed down or been replaced by trendy cafes and boutiques. With all this investment in PROMISE NEIGHBORHOODS wouldn’t we see a rise in wages for the people?
Recently Howard Dixon Slingerland was charged with embezzling and misappropriating thousands of dollars from the federally-funded Youth Policy Institute, which provided education, job training and other services to reduce youth poverty in Los Angeles.The organization received more than $281 million in federal grants from 2009 to 2019, the year Slingerland was ousted as its executive director, a role he held since 1996. The nonprofit closed in 2019. Federal grants constituted the bulk of the Youth Policy Institute’s funding.
According to a Yahoo article: The spending also included:
- $14,703 to pay the property tax on Slingerland’s home in May 2017.
- $6,131 on a family dinner at Momofuku Ko, an upscale, two-star Michelin restaurant in New York City, in Nov. 2017.
- $10,805 on tutoring for a family member in early 2018.
- $1,979 on a computer and software in Feb. 2019.
Slingerland also misspent part of a $1.5 million federal grant his organization received to put toward a job opportunity program for young adults who had had run-ins with the criminal justice system, according to the plea agreement.
- $401,561 on Youth Policy Institute’s payroll, unauthorized under the grant, in July 2019.
- $201,466 to make payments on Youth Policy Institute’s credit cards, which included charges incurred by Slingerland.
Imagine what 281 million dollars over a decade means to people in our community.
I am really confused about the role in some of these nonprofits. Perhaps it’s the grants people are after? Perhaps it’s the ego? Perhaps it’s a savvy accountant? Perhaps there’s not enough accountability? I’m interested to hear what you think. Tell me in the comments.
If you want your community to do well. It’s not enough to talk about it, be about it. Would you help your neighbor if there was no tax discount? Would you pay a living wage if it meant you could keep your 7 homes?
Someone’s making a profit, let that be the community.