NFG Board Appoints Dennis Quirin as New President

The Board of Directors of the Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dennis Quirin as our new President.  Dennis comes to this position with two decades of experience as an activist, organizer, fundraiser and grantmaker working for social change.

We are thrilled that Dennis is joining NFG. He is a talented and highly-respected individual with considerable experience working with nonprofits, designing and implementing strategic programs, and working effectively with diverse stakeholders.  Most recently, Dennis designed and led the Race & Equity Collaborative at the Proteus Fund, a multi-city funding strategy supporting the growth of city-level alliances working at the intersection of racial justice and voter engagement.  His leadership efforts included developing a funding approach to help build new racial justice capacity in cities across the country, designing and convening funder briefings, and playing a strategic leadership role on voter engagement, race and social justice in funder convenings. 

 

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Texas Contractors Say Playing By The Rules Doesn't Pay

Homes in Texas are cheap — at least compared with much of the country. You can buy a brand new, five-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot house near Fort Worth for just $160,000.

But that affordability comes at a price — to workers, many of whom are in the country illegally and make $12 an hour or less, but also to business owners.

Let's say you own a big Texas construction firm, and you want to run your business the right way. You try your darndest to hire only legal workers and pay them a decent salary plus benefits.

Most importantly you pay all your taxes, Social Security, unemployment — everything you're supposed to — just like a normal company in other industries.

So, how's that working out?

"There's no way you can compete," says Stan Marek, CEO of the Marek Family of Companies, one of the largest commercial interior contractors in Texas. They've been in business 75 years, but Marek says the past four have been extremely difficult.

"When someone is paying less per hour, no workman's comp, no payroll taxes, [no] unemployment — we can't overcome that," he says.

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Construction Booming In Texas, But Many Workers Pay Dearly

Like almost everything in the Texas, the construction industry in the Lone Star State is big. One in every 13 workers here is employed in the state's $54 billion-per-year construction industry.

Homebuilding and commercial construction may be an economic driver for the state, but it's also an industry riddled with hazards. Years of illegal immigration have pushed wages down, and accidents and wage fraud are common. Of the nearly 1 million workers laboring in construction here, approximately half are undocumented.

Many of those workers have been in the U.S. for years, even decades. This critical mass of eager, mostly Hispanic workers means it's possible for a family from New York or California to move to Texas and buy a brand new, five-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot home for $160,000.

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