While many families are buying all the extra fixings to make Thanksgiving dinner special, 79 percent of low-income households in Feeding America’s client base report “purchasing the cheapest food available, even if they knew it wasn’t the healthiest option, in an effort to provide enough food for their household.” We also know from Feeding America’s report, Hunger in America 2014, that food insecurity has been on the rise since the Great Recession: one in seven Americans rely on food banks to see them through. Viewed by race, the results are even more startling: One in four African Americans relies on a food bank; one in six Latinos. Meanwhile, some 45 million Americans rely on food stamps. It’s 2015, and hunger is still a huge problem in America. And it’s a problem inextricably linked to larger issues of economic hardship. In fact, many Americans who work face food insecurity, with studies finding that a growing share of food stamp recipients participate in the labor force. This is part of a broader story of the difficulties that low-wage workers face in making ends meet. Earlier this year, a study found that about 48 percent of home health care workers are on public assistance, as are 46 percent of child care workers and 52 percent of fast-food workers. Another big category of hungry people are older and disabled Americans on fixed incomes that fall short every month.
Criminal justice reform is one area of philanthropy that’s been rapidly gaining steam. A number of top foundations want to see what can be done to bring down incarceration rates, and are putting up capital in a variety of ways to work on the problem.The Fall issue of Responsive Philanthropy, recently published by NCRP, takes a deep dive into the new funding for criminal justice reform, which—as Aaron Dorfman writes—cuts across a breadth of work now under way to change “policing, prosecution policies, reentry opportunities and more.”
A new precedent was set recently when Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced a plan to establish 20 as the age of jurisdiction for the state’s juvenile justice system. This would make Connecticut the first state to presumptively include anyone over 18 in the juvenile justice system.Not surprisingly, the announcement was met with widespread praise from social justice and child welfare advocates. The Southern Poverty Law Center, the Vera Institute and the Connecticut Democratic Party all shared the news on social media feeds, many trumpeting it as a monumental breakthrough in the fight against over-incarceration.
Impact investing has been on a lot of people’s minds lately in philanthropy, including ours. We are curious about how different foundations imagine and develop their strategies, and the Heron Foundation is one funder that’s been a real leader in this area. As we’ve previously reported, Heron is working to move its full endowment of some $300 million into investments that align with its mission by the end of 2017.To learn more about what Heron is up to, we got on the phone with Toni Johnson, who is a vice president charged with forging the path for Heron’s long-term public influence and engagement strategy.
Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:
Clever equity investors! Goldman Sachs is profiting by investing in Social Impact Bonds, which pay off by helping pre-schoolers avoid placement in special education. The pilot program is in Utah. Goldman Sachs makes money for every child who is not referred to special education services.
But critics are skeptical:
“Nine early-education experts reviewed the program for The New York Times and identified irregularities in how the program’s success was measured. These seemed to significantly overstate the effect of the investment.
“Goldman said its investment helped almost 99 percent of the Utah children it was tracking to avoid special education.
“Researchers say well-funded preschool programs can reduce the proportion of students needing special education by 50 percent at most, usually nearer 10 or 20 percent.
“The success rate in the Utah program was based on what researchers say was a faulty assumption — that many of the school children would have…
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Well, hallelujah. My poor daughter felt like a complete guinea pig for testing last year in the fourth grade. There needs to be strict limits to how much time is spent on these tests.
Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:
The Obama administration acknowledged that students are spending too much time on testing and recommended that no more than 2% of classroom instructional time be devoted to testing.
Apparently the administration is reacting to bipartisan opposition and widespread parent protests against the diversion of time and billions of dollars to high-stakes testing. Public sentiment, as recorded in recent polls, opposes the overuse of standardized testing.
In addition, the Times reports, the administration was reacting to a new report from the Council of Great City Schools, which found that the current regime of testing has not improved achievement.
You might say that the Obama administration is lamenting the past 13 years of federal policy, which mandated annual testing, and made test scores the determinative factor in the evaluation of teachers, principals and schools.
In short, the Bush-Obama policies have been a disaster.
This is a classic case of too little, too…
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Question: If funding to support boys and men of color is a priority, with some two dozen foundations involved, why are women and girls of color not an equal priority?The fact is that few new philanthropic efforts are aimed specifically at improving the lives of girls and young women of color.