Nonprofits Are People, Too


Buried in the middle of an interesting New York Times story on an editorial shakeup at Harper's magazine is a throwaway line that I think both reflects a certain ignorance about The Rich and provides a cautionary tale for those who see the nonprofit business model as the panacea for print journalism's continuing crisis:

The foundation model does not entirely protect a publication from a sputtering economy.

Not entirely! I won't repeat myself here, other than to point out that, yeah, even people who have enough money to give substantial amounts to nonprofits are affected by economic downturns. If you sell stuff for a living, and the economy tanks, you are now almost certainly making less of it. Ditto if you're a non-shortseller making your money on Wall Street during a bear market. And for those nonprofits big/smart enough to have substantial reserves, that money, too, is susceptible to rapid depletion via unsafe investing.

Best quote in the story:

"The business side is run like it's Esquire in 1968, and the edit side is run like it's Amnesty International in 1987," said one editorial staff member.

The site you are reading is published by a nonprofit; you can support it by subscribing to the print magazine, giving a donation to the Reason Foundation, or just continuing to read, watch, comment, complain, and forward. Thanks!