Posted by: Don Linnen | 23 January 2008

Conversation with the Mayor

Had a little visit with my buddy, the mayor, earlier this month. Okay, it wasn’t just me. It was me and 200 or so others active in the nonprofit world of Dallas.

And, though I believe Tom Leppert is a good guy, we’re really not buddies. But I sure have to give him credit for spending time answering questions off the cuff on a wide variety of subjects. I’m not sure previous Dallas mayors have spent time in a town hall meeting like the one organized by the Center for Nonprofit Management on January 16th.

The Center is an active member of the National Council of Nonprofit Associations, the national coordinator of the Nonprofit Congress. Other nonprofit groups are meeting in various cities around the country in preparation for the upcoming national meeting in June. There they will address the three current national priorities for nonprofits:

  1. Organizational effectiveness and efficiency (a familiar subject in earlier postings)
  2. Acting collectively for positive change (a more familiar subject from the past)
  3. Public awareness

There were a lot of good ideas and good questions from this meeting. For example, are nonprofits asking what the donors want? Public awareness is not a one way information push.

The mayor believes that the future of Dallas is in the hands of the nonprofits. He wants to encourage an entrepreneurial attack on problems from different angles. Some solutions will work. Some will not. Even in failure, there is value from this approach.

Mr. Leppert went on to say that unless the poorer rooftops of the city are improved, the more wealthy rooftops cannot continue to support the city. His goal is to make Dallas more competitive. Not just in Texas. Not just in the U. S. He wants Dallas to be more competitive among world cities.

Hear, hear, Mr. Mayor. Set that bar high. Extremely high. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

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