Karen Woods

Posts by Karen Woods

Never a Countdown on Effective Compassion

The “10 years after welfare reform” articles of this past summer are old news, of course. Not surprisingly, indications were that, like any public policy, reform hadn’t been the all-time poverty solution, but that policies had, in fact, helped a significant number of people to move themselves to self-sufficiency. Continue Reading...

The Giving Thing

John Stossel’s 20/20 show last Wednesday night, “Cheap in America,” asked the tough questions about American generosity. It was an intriguing piece, weaving contrasting arguments for two key conclusions: Bureaucracies, government ones and even big charity ones (national or international), just don’t do as good a job as private, local donors and charities; and (2) Americans are truly more generous than any other people on the planet–no matter their means. Continue Reading...

An Election Day Fast

If David Kuo is disillusioned about the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives — or about anything else, really — he’ll need to stand in line. And I say that with no malice toward him or suspicion about his sincerity. Continue Reading...

An Army of Samaritans

The fable “The Blind Men and the Elephant” offers great insight about how Americans seem to perceive how charity and public welfare is done. Remember that depending on his placement around the elephant, each blind man had a different perspective, i.e., the guy on the tail had a much different perspective than the one grabbing the elephant’s trunk. Continue Reading...

Local Help on the Street

We’re working through the meaning of the tenth anniversary of welfare reform, debating important ‘next phase’ issues like marriage and fatherhood and what those mean to helping people leave poverty…permanently. That debate about government’s appropriate role in addressing social need is important. Continue Reading...

Subsidiarity in Action

In January, I wrote about the Central Plains wildfires as a very personal crisis in my Oklahoma hometown. I underscored the importance of subsidiarity, which is the idea that a central authority should perform only those tasks which cannot be handled effectively at a more immediate or local level. Continue Reading...

The Dignity of Every Human Being

The February 11 issue of WORLD Magazine includes a culture feature, “Giving their names back.” Profiled in the article is Citizens for Community Values (CCV), a nonprofit in Memphis that does a victim assistance program called “A Way Out.” It’s a reclamation program of sorts, literally reclaiming women ensnarled in the sex trade industry, and giving them back their lives, reclamation evidenced by names. Continue Reading...

Nonprofits Beware!

A friend forwarded a Website link for The Nonprofit Congress recently that was downright scary. It appears to be the epitome of good intentions fraught with unintended consequences. Or perhaps the consequences are not unintended. Continue Reading...