COVID-19 and Class Inequalities

The national conversation about coronavirus highlights existing conversations about enduring class inequities in the United States. Elite colleges and universities, in line with the CDC’s preventive measures for institutions of higher education, have opted to move instruction online and reduce the numbers of students in their residential buildings. The decision has placed a tremendous burden on students from low income backgrounds, students from countries the US has banned travel to, and students who rely on income from their on-campus jobs to support themselves and their families. The impact extends beyond campuses as volunteer organizations supported by students from colleges and... Read More

Tips for Developing a Values-Based Compensation Structure

TSNE MissionWorks published the 2017 Valuing Our Nonprofit Workforce compensation and benefits report which gathered data representing 171 positions from 342 organizations reporting on nearly 35,000 individual salaries. You’ll find the report a wealth of information to use in your review of your organization’s compensation practices. There is no single right way to develop compensation practices. But clearly articulating organizational values related to compensation and benefits, and describing the ways in which they are reflected by practice, assures staff and stakeholders that compensation decisions are systematic and fair. And when employees feel they are being treated fairly, even if they wish... Read More

Five Human Resources Tips for Valuing Your Nonprofit Staff

We know one of the things that keeps nonprofit managers awake at night is concerns about personnel. In the social sector, employees are an organization’s greatest asset. Nonprofit leaders naturally want to get that critical piece of their work right. But this can be particularly tricky in smaller organizations that don’t have a designated human resources manager on staff. Often HR functions are spread out among numerous positions — someone in the finance office does payroll, maybe the office manager posts open positions and orients new employees, and the executive director inevitably handles personnel issues. And this works well enough... Read More

Thoughts on Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope by Kristoff and WuDunn

An essay adapted from Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, the new book by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, appeared in the paper’s Sunday Review section on January 9th. Focusing on “deaths of despair” occurring in the Oregon county where Kristof has roots, the piece tries to square common tropes about how those with social privilege and power write about poor people in the paper of record. To their credit, Kristof and WuDunn point out structural problems, name capitalism, and acknowledge the problem with attributing poverty to cultural deficiencies. But like many in their New York media... Read More

Noticing Inequalities: An Owning Class Student’s Journey to Class Awareness

By Sophie Hatcher-Peters I grew up in North Carolina as a preacher’s kid. My maternal grandfather was a Presbyterian minister in the bible belt, and my mother is an ordained minister and religious studies professor. I was raised in a small, predominantly white Presbyterian church – I remember being a child, getting ready for church in dresses with zippers I couldn’t reach, tights that were unbearably itchy, and patent leather shoes that I rapidly scuffed. When I was in middle school, my family moved out of our cookie-cutter house in the suburbs and into an ostentatious house in the middle... Read More

Celebrating Survival: The Experience of Being Working Class During the Holidays

By Anastasia Lynge Anyone who knows me well knows that the two most difficult days of the year for me are holidays – specifically Thanksgiving and Christmas. I typically spend these days hiding away in bed, watching bad TV, and sleeping until I can rest assured that I’ve made it through another round of winter holidays. I emotionally detach from the world, too overwhelmed by the idea of festivities to bear being participating in them. In truth, I don’t remember many of my childhood Thanksgivings and Christmases. I know that they were filled with fights amongst my various family members,... Read More

Listening For Change: How to explore aspects of class identity in therapy

Anyone who walks into my office is immediately searching for or noticing indicators of social identity. As a Korean therapist, I’m often tempted to think race is being centered however, it is not always clear which of my identities clients will focus on when they attend therapy. I have also had to make sense of my own experiences of viewing clients through their social locations of class, race, and gender, among other identities. And I see social class as an often overlooked identity that can be centered within therapy for clinicians and clients of all economic backgrounds. Working on how... Read More

Class Action Book Nook: The Privileged Poor

Anthony Jack’s book Privileged Poor offers unique personal insight into the challenges faced by low income, first-generation college students at the nation’s most elite colleges and universities. Although many colleges will pat themselves on the back for the mere presence of these students, what they fail the realize is how much further they need to go in meeting the social, psychological, emotional, and financial needs of these students in order for them to have parity with their wealthier peers. Dr. Jack combines personal memoir, rigorous scholarship, and rich insights to offer us a road map for improving the experiences of this talented... Read More
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