Braided Threads: A Historical Overview of the American Nonprofit Sector (Paperback)

Braided Threads: A Historical Overview of the American Nonprofit Sector By Robert Penna Cover Image

Braided Threads: A Historical Overview of the American Nonprofit Sector (Paperback)

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The United States today supports the strongest, most varied nonprofit sector in the world, an economic force of about $2 trillion, responsible for 5.4% of the nation's Gross Domestic Product in 2014, and accounting that year for 10.3% of the country's private-sector workforce. Roughly three-quarters of all households in America give to charity, with the average total donation being $2,030 annually. Yet for all this, few Americans, and more specifically, a surprisingly small proportion of the sector's practitioners, know where the nonprofit sector came from, or how it developed and came to be what we know it as today. This work is a historical overview of that sector, presented less as a chronology than as a discussion of the major influences--some legal, some social, some political--that helped shape the arena.

The core message of the book is that the developmental trajectory of nonprofits has not been a straight line. Rather, its path over the years might be compared to that of a pinball, moving straight and building up momentum for a time, but then ricocheting off some event or social trend and taking off in a new direction altogether. Equally important, however, the sector is also the product of a founding genome that came out of colonial, Puritan-inspired New England and spread as that culture and its values became one of the dominant forces in American society. Knowing this history is a prerequisite for understanding and appreciating the character of this deeply influential part of American social culture.

Robert M. Penna is the author of The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox, as well as numerous articles that have appeared in such outlets as the Stanford Social Innovations Review and the Huffington Post. He served for five years as a consultant to Charity Navigator, and also as an outcomes consultant to the World Scout Bureau. He has presented before numerous nonprofit organizations and nonprofit associations across the U.S., and in Canada, Poland, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, and Australia.A native of the Bronx, he was a staff member of the New York State Senate for thirteen years beginning in 1982, over that period holding several senior-level positions including Director of Research for the Legislative Commission on Public-Private Cooperation, and Director of Communications for the Senate Finance Committee. He graduated from Fordham University and holds a Ph.D. from Boston University. He lives in Wilmington, NC, with his wife Elise and their two dogs, Charlie and Kodie, and Chester and Henry, their cats.
Product Details ISBN: 9780815393931
ISBN-10: 0815393938
Publisher: Routledge
Publication Date: March 23rd, 2018
Pages: 192
Language: English