Monday, September 17, 2012

It's Time The Foundations Looked Beyond Downtown

We have numerous wealthy foundations here in Greensboro. Foundations whose wealth was built in the many Greensboro neighborhoods like the northeast Greensboro neighborhood in which I live. But when it comes to investing the money they "earned" while standing on the necks of the working class Greensboro neighborhoods these wealthy foundations seem to only be able to see tall buildings downtown.

Oh, sure, the Bryan Foundation, the Greater Greensboro Community Foundation, the Tannenbaum Sternberger Foundation and others all have a means by which smaller non profits can apply for money to use in their neighborhoods but the fact of the matter is: working class people haven't the time nor the expertise to found and manage non profit corporations when their every effort is spent towards raising children and day to day survival under the boots of the wealthy.

And so the cycle of the rich taking from the poor to give to the rich in the name of charity is born and never ends. That, my liberal friends, is why my conservative friends brand liberals like you and I hypocrites. And to my conservative friends: not all of us liberals are like that but I'm beginning to understand why you might think us that way.

So the time has come when Greensboro's wealthy foundations, liberal and conservative alike, must ask themselves, "Who are we really helping when we advance an agenda to spend $60 Million Dollars in Downtown Greensboro?" Reality is setting in: 99% of Greensboro's population neither works nor lives in downtown and the vast majority of our citizens never visit downtown unless we are forced to do so. To make the claim that downtown is Greensboro's biggest economic engine is pure BS and 99% of Greensboro knows it. Downtown hasn't been Greensboro's biggest economic driver since the Cone Brothers came to town in 1895.

Seriously folks, if downtown were to become Greensboro biggest economic driver then where would all the new downtown workers park their cars? Can you imaging parking 100,000 more cars downtown?

If the foundations are serious in their intentions to better the communities that made them fat and happy then the folks running the foundations need to get off their asses, get out into the neighborhoods and find out what is needed. And if you don't have time in your busy social life to do that then I suggest you tender your resignations so that someone who really gives a damn can take your place. Sitting on these boards isn't about your place in society, it's about what you can for society.

And before you say it, the money these foundations control is our money. It was taken out of the tax structure (sheltered) for the sole purpose of benefiting the community. So the next time someone tells you it's private money they are lying-- it is in-fact public money placed in private trust to be used solely to benefit the public good. That, my friends, is the law. So when they tell you it's not your business because it's private money... They're liars. Are you listening, Walker Sanders?

You are the people with the education and the know how to form and manage the non profits our neighborhoods need but you choose instead to sit around and wait for people who don't even know you exist to come to you to ask you for help. And then when they don't show up you give our money to the rich to build monuments to themselves downtown and call it charity.

It's time you, the board members of the wealthy foundations that look out over Greensboro, came down from your ivory towers and your Irving Park estates and went into our neighborhoods to see for yourselves what Greensboro really needs instead of depending on a few downtown voices who will tell any lie they can tell to take the money and run.

And while we're at it, let's impeach Robbie Perkins as an act of good faith.