January 06, 2004

ASKING THE DO-GOODERS TO PROVE THEY DO GOOD turns out to be controversial, as even The New York Times is noticing:

There are millions of these groups commonly referred to as nongovernmental organizations, or NGO's worldwide, but few are subjected to that kind of meaningful oversight, say the specialists studying NGO accountability. . . .

Even activists like Ralph Nader and the anti-globalization firebrand Naomi Klein, who have often been at the forefront of efforts demanding accountability from corporations and governments, have lashed out at calls for holding NGO's similarly responsible.

Read the whole thing. I believe we're seeing a groundswell here. And I'm not the only one:

"Accountability is the central issue of our time," writes Coralie Bryant, a Columbia University professor who has done a survey of international emergency-relief organizations.

The tax-exempt status of nonprofits and foundations isn't an entitlement. It's there because they're supposed to serve important public goals. Do they? I think it's fair to ask that question.