Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Reporter's Notebook

Paul Leonard can be reached at

The state of local nonprofits

We hate being the bearer of bad news.

From time to time, the VBJ gets feedback from readers regarding the “gloom and doom” in our coverage – from the region’s deflated construction industry to the bottoming-out of its real estate sector. And with today’s jobless figures pegging Clark County unemployment at a miserable 13.9 percent, it’s no wonder much of the news lately has been a bit pessimistic.

But there’s more going right than there is going wrong in our communities. Even in tough economic times, Southwest Washington’s chief asset – the hard-working character of its people – remains steady and is even on the increase.

This isn’t just a business newspaper editor telling his readers what they want to hear. For proof of Washingtonians’ unique blend of self-reliance and empathy for one’s neighbors, one should look no further than VBJ’s forthcoming Philanthropy issue, which hits mailboxes and newsstands Friday.

In this issue, we talk to diligent and optimistic members of the region’s nonprofit community, working to help runaway teens, newly-homeless construction workers and blind athletes.

And surprisingly, some of them have told us that giving has remained steady, and in some cases, increased even as the recession continues to put the squeeze on many household pocketbooks.

With an economic recovery waiting in the wings, it’s clear what mettle Vancouverites and members of surrounding communities are made of – not of unforgiving iron, but of a tough, interwoven cloth that connects all of us with one another.

Festival of Trees

Vancouver Rotary’s Festival of Trees today put out a call for partner sponsors for the event, which takes place at the Red Lion at the Quay on Thanksgiving weekend. All funds will go to programs supported by the Rotary Foundation.

Partner donations start at $2,000. To make a pledge, or to request more information, email VBJ Publisher John McDonagh at