Nonprofits Could Lose More Than Money if Fannie and Freddie Giving Ends

The study released Monday by a coalition representing the nonprofit, philanthropic, government and business sectors in D.C. examining a decrease of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's philanthropy is creating a call to action for local corporations to become leaders in their communities -- and to use Fannie and Freddie as models of how it can be done well. Melanie Alnwick from Fox 5 asked me recently who should step up to fill this void. Our experience at Martha's Table echoes the Eight Neighbor's study's conclusion that it's not just Fannie and Freddie's money that we'll miss in the years to come -- it's also the long-term partnership and dedication to change that they've invested in the nonprofit community and in the people we serve.

A significant decrease of Fannie and Freddie's dollars will no doubt hurt the nonprofit community. For us, their financial commitment has been instrumental in growing Martha's Table's quality programs, especially our nationally accredited daycare. But in addition to funding, these two companies have set an example of how to successfully leverage resources and help nonprofits do what they do better. Fannie Mae's Help the Homeless Program educates people about a critical social issue, empowers people to act on that issue, and attracts corporate and private dollars outside of Fannie Mae. The Freddie Mac Foundation has had a transformative impact on nonprofits focused on long-term solutions to poverty and homelessness through a commitment to teaching nonprofits to focus on results and outcomes-driven programming.

The continued decline in financial resources for human services is a real problem for the entire community. We cannot afford to lose best practices too. I hope we can work with the corporate community to replace these dollars and carry on the lessons of leveraging corporate support and focusing on results.