Last Saturday I was in attendance at a meeting and one of the people said he had just joined another organization. I asked the question how many do you belong to? As he began to make a mental calculation the question was extended to the remaining people, who numbered eight including myself. The total was 50 organizations, but I am a functioning member of only two, New Destiny CME Church and the Western Pennsylvania Black Political Assembly.


As you read this column contemplate two questions, how many organizations do you belong to and how many organizations are there in Allegheny County? Do you have any idea or do you care? There must be at least a thousand, churches number more than 300, then there are sororities, fraternities, Masonic, Eastern Stars, Elks, civil rights, human rights, voting rights, people with criminal records, mental history, housing, educational, social, rental and becoming homeowners, green, wind mills, tenant councils, political and a host of others.

There exists a genuine need for the overwhelming majority of these organizations. However, there are new organizations born every week and the question that am asking is to do what? I asked an individual who was telling me about the organization he just joined and the purpose. He lost me at the outset when he stated they were working on a proposal to solicit money from the foundations to improve not only the lives of our youth but to help themselves grow professionally. The tragedy is that all of the members fit the category of gainfully employed and that allowed me to asked the question when do we as a people begin to work toward paying our own way? When do we take a page out of Aesop’s book and cease going through life with our hands outstretched and palms facing upward being portrayed as beggars. With great regularity non-profits come into existence and I understand the reasons, but when do we as a people begin to focus as our parents and grandparents did by building a substantial number of “For Profits.”

It is my fervent belief that we have too many organizations that are nonfunctioning, and too few that focus or even provide partial or complete solutions to the problems the organization is allegedly founded upon. The Black communities and this multitude of organizations must begin to look inwardly and reevaluate what must change if we are save our youth.

I have repeatedly spoken and written for more than 50 years that the ultimate solutions to the problem that are attempting to devour our communities does not solely rest with money but in the hearts and minds of Black men and women. Cash does not convert into concern, commitment, compassion or caring.

Help yourself by sending a financial donation to Kingsley Association.

(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum page.)

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