Sunday, September 24, 2017

For black organizations, a simple solution to annual ‘hat in hand’ appeals

December 9, 2015 by  
Filed under Conversation

BY LOUIE OVERSTREET

Louie Overstreet

I trust that the readers of this column are bouncing back from excessive spending in the holiday season.

For some of you, that spending included purchasing tickets to often overpriced events sponsored by our hand-to-mouth black organizations from late October through mid-January — with ticket prices ranging from $75 to $150. Just the ones I know of total around a half-dozen or so. Some go in the hole, some break even, and some raise a nickel or two for scholarships.

These organizations’ missions are, for the most part, laudable and praiseworthy. They champion civic betterment activities that include civil rights, educational opportunity, and economic development initiatives. However, these groups have only produced marginal results or limited impact over the years.

Years ago, when I was the head of one of the black organizations here in Las Vegas, I proposed a joint solution to the yearly funding crisis. And let’s just say the idea was not well received.

There are two primary reasons I believe the idea was not embraced: the unexplained hostility that still exists between old-timers and recent arrivals to Las Vegas; and several well known people, who are members of a number of these organizations, seeking to receive often undeserved recognition for the labors of others.

I proposed that the groups get together and sponsor a concert featuring a major entertainer, at a venue capable of accommodating thousands of people. This would keep people from being approached to purchase tickets to a half-dozen different events, as well as broaden the participation base well beyond each individual group’s constituency.

The best reason to jointly host a major fundraiser would be that the net revenue would be more than sufficient to meet the annual operating expenses of these half-dozen or so organizations.

However, you and I know the ideal makes too much sense to ever happen here. Oh my!

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