The Larson Report

(Points of Intersection and Introspection)


Browsing  is encouraged. (Each section has its own index.)





     Resources for 



U.S. News

   Foreign News



Think Tanks








   Foreign Affairs








From the Editor



About us






To download the 
Cape Cod 
Sustainability Indicators 
Report 2003, click




Stare at the picture for about 15 seconds, and you'll see the optical illusion of a giraffe head.  Pretty amazing.




This site is hosted by



To contact us, click here.














The Larson Report, copyright © 2008
Allen R. Larson,
Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts.





Priceless Philanthropy—It's the People Involved

We define "sustainability" simply as maintaining and improving the quality of life of a region. Here on Cape Cod, the nonprofit sector is at the core of activities that enhance our quality of life. Nonprofit organizations make up a significant component of our local economy: they operate year-round, employ thousands of Cape residents, serve thousands more, and strive each day to do more with less. In this economy, these capabilities are more important than ever.

If you are in some way connected to one of Cape Cod's nonprofit organizations, an event planned for March 12th to be held at the Cotuit Center for the Arts is worth attending. Well-established Cape nonprofits including the Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation, the Cape Cod Foundation, the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, capeAbilities, and the nonprofit consulting firm Copley Raff, Inc., are working with David Chase of Chase Solutions to present a program focused on how we can weather this roiling economy.

The event will connect people whose experiences and backgrounds are well versed in the nonprofit world. The panel includes several individuals whose insights are invaluable. Each has worked to achieve significant accomplishments.

Bob Dwyer of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History ( has injected his high level of energy and commitment to revitalizing the museum. For more than fifty years, the enthusiasm and dedication of the museum's extended network of volunteers have been the key resources on which it has established a natural history museum and a nature education center, and it has acted as an exemplary steward of 300 acres of museum-owned land and adjacent conservation property. The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History has long been a preeminent organization in its field.

Larry Thayer of capeAbilities ( has poured incredible creativity and innovativeness into the rebranding of the organization. Watching the development of the farm on Route 6A that now grows crops sold in local restaurants is to observe the flowering of effort by an extended network of people. In addition, capeAbilities provides a range of support services for people with disabilities including job training and placement, housing, transportation, and therapeutic services.

Maggie Van Sciver of the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod ( continues to build an organization committed to Cape Cod's arts community. The yearly open-air concert by the Boston Pops is as fresh with each Cape performance as if it's being presented for the first time. And at the same time, with each year, the benefits offered by the Arts Foundation continue to expand deeper into our arts community. As the regional arts agency for Barnstable County, the Arts Foundation supports and serves individual artists as well as Cape Cod's cultural organizations, museums, archives, performing arts groups, and arts-oriented businesses. 

Larry Raff's work at the Copley Harris Company, now known as Copley Raff (, focuses on helping nonprofit boards to improve their organizational effectiveness. His company has thought long and hard about how best to chart a course through these difficult economic circumstances. And the breadth of the clients they've served across a range of operational, philanthropic, governing, recruiting, and staffing concerns is very deep. Check out the backgrounds of the sixteen consultants presented on their Web page,  Cape Cod Healthcare is one of their success stories.

Tom Mundell of Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation ( can confirm the benefits of the expertise that Larry Raff's organization has provided. And he's then able to suggest how an organization receives good advice and implements it constructively. In doing so, Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation effectively secures funds to support and administer two acute care hospitals, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility, an assisted living facility, a home health service agency, ambulatory care centers, and community health services and programs. Overall, Cape Cod Healthcare employs 4,500 people and is supported by more than 450 physicians.

Elizabeth Gawron of the Cape Cod Foundation ( has been working to connect donors and organizations on the Cape for several years. She's pushed persistently and tactfully to encourage our Cape-based nonprofits to improve their competence as they strive to expand their capacity. For twenty years, the Cape Cod Foundation has linked community resources with community needs. In so doing, it now manages more than 170 individual charitable trusts that distribute the income from their funds to local nonprofit organizations and institutions.

Senator Rob O'Leary's career cuts across several sectors. In addition to his role as our state senator, Rob has taught history at the Mass Maritime Academy and Cape Cod Community College. He's been at the center of several community organizing initiatives over the years including the formation of the Cape Cod Commission and the charter that established Barnstable County's representative legislature, the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates. Rob is now working in the Senate to establish a planning framework for offshore waters. And key to each of these initiatives has been the need not only to define and recognize a public problem but also the need to build consensus that leads to implemented solutions.

David Chase of Chase Solutions ( will moderate the discussion. As a successful entrepreneur and active member of community efforts that enhance our quality of life, such as the redevelopment of the Kennedy ice skating rink in Hyannis, David will make sure that the discussion leads to actions that can be taken now within the capacity we have.

Apart from the insights this group of people can offer, those attending the discussion will benefit from the conversations and opportunities to share experiences with their peers. The cost is reasonable, and there are scholarships for those concerned about even this small outlay of funds.

As I look at the event and think of those who will be present, I realize that much can be gained from the insights to be offered. Each one of our nonprofit organizations has suffered financially this year. And to all of us, these times are cause for worry.

Nevertheless, the real loss that I've felt this year is not financial. Over the past few months, we've lost three people whose commitment and life activities on the Cape have been significant cornerstones of the community we've built. Most recently, David Cole. And before David, Pat Butler. And before Pat, John Creney.

These three people offered their expertise and resources of energy and knowledge. If you knew one or more of them, you know of what I speak. And if you did not know them, it's worth reading their histories and local contributions. They represent the type of commitment that many others have also made throughout the years to enhance the Cape's quality of life. Think of Dexter Leen, Grace Grossman, Paul Lorusso, and many others. The list is long.

From their stories, as well as from those of many others who have lived here, it's clear that the single resource we need to get through these difficult economic times is the support and commitment we each bring to the effort within the capacities we individually possess.

I hope you'll attend this event on March 12th, which you can learn more about by going to the following link: The setting at the Cotuit Center for the Arts ( is warm and inviting. The day will be time well spent. 




Allen Larson

Editor of the Larson Report and president of the
Cape Cod Center for Sustainability





Establishing a Management Support Organization 
to Serve the Nonprofit Sector

by Allen Larson

The article below, "Establishing a Management Support Organization to Serve the Nonprofit Sector," was first published here and in the Cape Cod Times in December 2003.  We are reprinting it now, in October 2008, because the current turmoil in the financial markets has the nonprofit sector heading into a serious financial storm.

Last week, in an article published on September 22 and linked to in the box above, the Boston Globe highlighted that nonprofits will face constrained giving by their usual funding sources. There's no time to dawdle now.  We need to come together and find ways that reduce costs and potentially add new sources of revenue.

One way would be to promote the existence of the Community Directory and its list of individuals interested to be engaged in the Cape community. This is something we had not developed at the time of the first printing of the article below in December of 2003.

Another way would be to become part of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (, which also did not exist in 2003 and is something that is patterned after discussions that we helped prompt at that time about the need to collaborate.

The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network ( is hosting its first conference October 24 at Bentley College, for which Gloria Larson, the president of Bentley, will be giving the keynote address. The conference will be organized similarly to the Volunteer Expos the Cape Cod Center for Sustainability has held in the past.

*     *     *


Revised and updated from the first version originally published in December 2003:

Sustaining Cape Cod involves a lot more than attention to the Cape's natural environment. Equally important are the people who live here, the factors that affect their ability to make a living and to use each day to fulfill their interests and ambitions. In this context, one sector of the Cape's economy that tends to be overlooked is the region's active and extensive nonprofit sector.

Over the past several years, the Center for Sustainability has been working with many of the nonprofit organizations that direct their efforts to serving Cape Cod and its residents. These organizations define their missions in terms of the economy, the environment, health concerns, and social welfare. Many have been struggling recently. Some have even closed. These events compel the effort to determine if there is anything to do.

From these discussions and observations, we've concluded that there is an outline of an idea that merits closer scrutiny by others who have knowledge and expertise. We suggest that there is a void in the nonprofit sector that could be filled and lead to improved administrative and operational efficiency. Doing so would provide economic and operational benefits that could help sustain our nonprofit sector.

     Common organizational tasks provide the context in which technology advances as well as specialized professional services could be used in ways that would save money by realizing efficiencies of scale and by providing access to a deeper reserve of managerial experience and counsel. These savings could be applied to the programmatic purposes for which any particular charity was formed.  (continued)















Photographs of
Harry Jr. and his sister Sally


March 2017


Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts






The Service Nation Day of Action was on Saturday, September 27, 2008. Some of the participating organizations are listed below. Their needs for volunteers and donations continue on; please contact them if you can help.

ServiceNation: "Uniting Americans in common cause. Tackling our greatest social challenges. Citizens giving back to community and country: We are building a national movement to inspire a new era of citizen service in America. ServiceNation is a campaign by the people, for the people, and of the people. It launches September 11, and we need your help."
City Year: "Give a Year. Change the World."
Be the Change: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world. —Gandhi."
Civic Enterprises, LLC: "Civic Enterprises is a public policy firm that helps corporations, nonprofits, foundations, universities, and governments develop and spearhead innovative public policies to strengthen our communities and country."
Points of Light
Volunteers of America

New Profit Inc.: "New Profit helps visionary entrepreneurs and their organizations bring about widespread and transformative impact on critical social problems."

And close to home: "Inform, share, thrive: We provide information about the nonprofit sector in Massachusetts. Check in frequently to be informed."

Cape Cod Center for Sustainability: Helps nonprofits sustain their activities

and the Larson Report's BarnRaisers section for resources for nonprofits, especially its list of local nonprofits, all of which are always in need of volunteers.





September 11, 2001




Sustainability:  Community Indictors: Media Reporting of Community Indicators Reports, a blog that tracks reports in the media on the use of sustainability indicators in local communities




A Day in the Life of
Cape Cod's Nonprofits


Opportunity Expo




Ecology Project International (EPI):

EPI involves student groups, individuals, and families in authentic field research that catalyzes conservation, science education, and intercultural exchange. Our programs engage local residents and international students in field research; inspire learning about science, culture, and communication; and empower citizens to engage in the world around them make a difference. EPI operates educational programs in Missoula, Montana (the Yellowstone Ecology Program); on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica; on the Baja California Sur; and the Galapagos Islands (a province of Ecuador). 





Interested to make a donation to a local charity?  You might find the information you need to do that from the Larson Report's list of Web sites for local charities: BarnRaisers.




Super Tuesday

The Boston Foundation's

Boston Indicators Project

Ecology Project International

Sustaining Cape Cod




Elizabeth Kilbride's Report from Iraq


Paintings Immortalize Fallen Troops


The Artist: Kazia the Goat Woman






New England Energy Alliance (NEEA)


Blue H Technologies


Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI)


The Wind Farm:  A Discussion


Video Recording of the Discussion


Moderator's Report: Winds of Change


Afterword:  The Need for Fresh Air


Cape Wind:
Energy for Life


Save Our Sound:
  Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound


Cape Cod Museum
of Natural History

Cape Cod Center
for Sustainability







        TeenAIDS PeerCorps:  "TeenAIDS is devoted to helping teenagers pass the news about HIV and AIDS among their generation to save the lives of family, friends and neighbors. 

        Our PeerCorps is a voluntary program for teens that is not government-run or funded. . . .   Our organization's message is simple:  HIV/AIDS is now infecting youth here in America and worldwide.

        The PeerCorps' mission is life-saving: to empower teens to protect themselves and their best friends from HIV.  We use a combination of personal contact and the Internet to spread our message locally and globally.

        Our program . . . emphasizes medically sound information and peer responsibility."