Charlie Humphrey ("Hold Us Accountable But Keep Us Alive," Feb. 11) delivers some insightful messages about charitable nonprofits.
As all charities must, the organization I direct, The Sonny Pugar Memorial, went through the intensive IRS vetting process before we won charitable status; it was ultimately an experience that clarified our mission, strengthened our growth strategies and refined our programs. The required public/private scrutiny reserved for nonprofits additionally ensures attention to detail, efficiency and effectiveness.
Despite this transparency and accountability, nonprofits are suffering in the present economy -- the arts nonprofits even more, being a sad fact that they are among the first victims in a budget crunch.
Yet Humphrey's assertion that "the arts benefit when the economy benefits" is also true in reverse. When citizens from every neighborhood support the arts, their patronage enhances the region's viability, creating a robust, diverse economy.
Humphrey observes that our local arts organizations have contributed to both "the quality of life in the region" and "the very character of the region." Representing a charity whose mission supports contemporary music in southwestern Pennsylvania (rock, blues, r&b, soul, pop and all related/derivative genres), I certainly agree that the arts -- music especially -- define a population. With such a significant common mission, the arts have a clear responsibility to work toward their own survival.
Perhaps, as Humphrey suggests, this economic crisis will encourage among regional arts groups a sense of joint purpose, something often missing in the past. In this dangerous situation, I choose to see the opportunity.
ANNIE DORN PUGAR
The Sonny Pugar Memorial Inc.
Upper St. Clair