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January 3, 2011

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January 3, 2011

This organization is a scam and should be avoided at all costs, especially if you are serious about progressive social change.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Its animosity toward anyone who is not part of their little clique.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Cease all operations and let another group start all over again with new leadership.

December 6, 2010

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December 6, 2010

I am one of the newest board members for the Thomas Merton Center. I would first like to thank the reviews from our members and donors because those carry so much weight. And I think cleighs has hit the rest of the points pertaining to the 1 star rating, so I'm not even going to address it.

As one of the newest members (and the youngest), the learning curve for me has been challenging considering the long history the Thomas Merton Center. The more I learn, the more I not only realize the important work it has done and continues to do, but also the effort the members put improving it every year. In no way is it a perfect organization, but I believe it is definitely an important one. And for this reason I continue to support it and will do so for the foreseeable future.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

taking part in the work that it does.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

love to see it get back into community organizing.

December 6, 2010

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December 6, 2010

As a long time member, I have to whole-heartedly agree with JCadice. Those criticisms have all been created and supported by a single person (who I will not name) over the past few months who I also think wrote the review. That being said, I know the Thomas Merton Center has gone through some very tough times, but what nonprofit hasn't. In fact, every hard working person has had a tough time during this recession. And that's why the work that the TMC does is so important. It fights for those hard working people and for their rights. Their new focus on Economic Justice has been a powerful message for me and has strengthened my support for it. I do hope it continues to add projects because it's important to remember that the TMC can always improve.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the long time it's been around.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

continue to add projects that are vital to improving the Pittsburgh community. This will mean have a dynamic plan that will change with the issues.

More feedback...

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

December 6, 2010

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December 6, 2010

I am a board member, volunteer and consultant at the Center. There is plenty to be critical of. We haven't figured everything out and we're human and it's hard to please everyone. This one star review is written by someone who has continually slammed us in the press, to various large groups of email recipients, unsolicited sent email and letters to our members and been red-baiting me (I am proud to be a socialist and won't take that as some kind out outdated, hysterical blanket condemnation of my work and who I am). Her story is full of misunderstandings about how things work, using little bits of information to prove evil intent and pulling various details that are of no consequence. Every single point is dripping in hypocrisy and lies. It's the ravings of a seriously upset woman and I can respect her outrage on a personal level, but it is not representative of most criticisms of the organization because it's only been experienced by a single person. No one else has demanded unfettered, free access for a project that currently takes up about 1/3 of our rented space. What is true of things ignored and not provided to Book'Em, ones that are true, is true of other projects and the Center. We did not keep up the building and we have had a rough transition to a Center run entirely by part-time staff and volunteers.

It's a great organization. Most cities don't have a peace and social justice center and we do. Pittsburgh is better for it, but we can certainly use it more effectively. Unfortunately, the Center suffers from what much of the left in the U.S. and globally does - fragmentation, demoralization, lack of practical training of new activists in basic organizational skills, lack of communication between groups and cow-towing to the Democrats. We are also a non-profit and those are hard to run. We currently run on very little paid staff labor and so there have been slip-ups, but we have assembled an amazing group of very dedicated volunteers (those who do not ask of the Center, such as this reviewer, that which would be insane and counter-productive to give up to merely a single project out of many) and a very committed membership. We have NOT lost 2/3 of our membership. Some mythical 1,000 number is floated from 2000, I'm not sure if we ever have that many and there was a time when people who were not members were counted as them (such as those who came to our award dinner, that routinely draws non-members). Our membership has grown quite a bit recently, considering how difficult it is for us to reach out and do the work necessary to do this because we are so strapped getting the bare necessities covered.

I wish we were able to be THE clearing house for progressive activism in the Pittsburgh area. But we are much too white, much too old and fail to convince others on the left in the city to join in with us, identify with us and work with us. We represent a rather tiny portion of the activism happening in Pittsburgh - we are better than not having a Center, but not up to the tasks ahead if we don't change things drastically and get seriously. We should engage with communities of color more and with young people, many of whom are just plain not involved in activism or only hooked into certain venues, not to the city as a whole and its activist community. We should also have more constructive relationship with our anarchist and anti-authoritarian brothers and sisters. There will be disagreements, but they are not worthy of keeping us from working together if it would benefit us both to do so and cultivate a more cohesive, organized, effective resistance to all the problems we are facing. We are on the same side and there is just too much to accomplish.

All the exploitation, oppression and injustice is out there and there are a lot of people resisting it, but we have to get together, get more people on our side, etc, if we will win and really change things. I believe it can and must and will happen, but it won't happen automatically.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen it organize protests and facilitate activism in a way other organizations can't really pull off.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make it more serious about activism, more cohesive, reach out more, get real about practical matters of finances, outreach, etc.

December 6, 2010

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December 6, 2010

I have to strongly disagree with the negative review by disillusioned. I as a member of the public, I have been following these "accusations" for a while now and have come to learn they are mostly fabricated and slanderous. And those accusations that are not fabricated are wildly skewed.

As for my experience with the TMC, I could not say enough good things about it. Over the past couple months, membership has grown, and the Center is now beginning to expand its work. This organization has surely passed the test of time and continues to strive for social justice and peace in the Pittsburgh area.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the work it's done around Pittsburgh.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

like to see it do more organizing in the Pittsburgh area.

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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