Behind Knight’s City Awards: A Vision of Urban Renewal Driven by Three Key Ingredients – Inside Philanthropy

What does it take to create a vibrant city with lots of opportunity? Well, in an earlier times, people might have cited a big anchor business or port facility or prime tourist attraction. But after years of thinking and research about urban renewal, the answers have gotten more nuanced and complex.

A city has got to attract talented people—like those creatives we always hear about—but not in a way that pushes out the working class that actually makes things go. Developing a cutting edge industry can be a boon, but cities also need to nurture ladders of opportunity that lead upward from low-wage service jobs. You want engaged citizens, yes, but too much NIMBYism can make it hard to undertake big projects.

It’s not easy distilling the secret sauce of urban vitality, but the Knight Foundation is making an effort with its Knight Cities Challenge, which just announced 32 winners to divvy up $5 million in funding from the foundation.

via Behind Knight’s City Awards: A Vision of Urban Renewal Driven by Three Key Ingredients – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: Republican Budget Unfair and Unreal

From the Whitehouse press office:

Washington, DC – Early this morning, the U.S. Senate voted to approve the Republican budget resolution by a vote of 52-46. U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Budget Committee, released the statement below regarding the vote:

“I voted against the Republican budget proposal because it calls for severe cuts that would dramatically harm Rhode Islanders while protecting every single tax loophole for the rich and powerful. It would slash Medicaid and food stamps, undermine the promise of Pell Grants for students, and repeal provisions of the Affordable Care Act that have helped over 16 million Americans get affordable health care coverage. And yet it would preserve hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate tax giveaways, like incentives for shipping American jobs overseas and reincorporating in a foreign country, and special breaks for coal, oil, and gas companies. That’s why it has to rely on accounting gimmicks to achieve balance within ten years. It’s simply an unfair and unreal document.”

Whitehouse: Tax the Billionaires and Save Social Security

From the Whitehouse Press Office:
Senators Offering Amendment to Protect Social Security in Budget

Washington, DC – As the Senate continues debating the Republican budget proposal this week, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) will offer an amendment to guard against potential efforts to cut Social Security benefits. The Democratic amendment would establish as “not in order” any budget proposals that would reduce Social Security benefits, increase the retirement age, or privatize Social Security.

Senator Whitehouse will speak on the Senate floor at approximately 4:00 p.m. to call up this amendment. Please tune in on C-Span 2 or online. The amendment was filed by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), in addition to Whitehouse.

“Social Security benefits are a solemn promise that our seniors have earned over a lifetime of work,” said Whitehouse. “Sadly, Republicans have made it their mission for decades to dismantle that promise, attempting to turn it over to Wall Street and cut benefits through misguided ideas like the so-called ‘chained-CPI.’ Our amendment would protect Social Security from these kinds of right-wing attacks and ensure that seniors can continue to count on the benefits they have earned.”

“Social Security is the most successful government program in our nation’s history. Through good times and bad, Social Security has paid out every benefit owed to every eligible American,” Sanders said. “The most effective way to strengthen Social Security for the future is to eliminate the cap on the payroll tax on all income above $250,000 so millionaires and billionaires pay the same share as everyone else.”

The amendment could come up for a vote on the floor as early as this afternoon or tomorrow.

Social Security is projected to remain fully solvent through 2033 and is not driving our current budget deficits. Senator Whitehouse has long argued that it has no place in short-term budget debates, and supports a long-term solution that would make the program solvent for future generations by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share into the system.

The Arnold Foundation is Betting Big On Pay for Success – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

It’s hard to think of a funder that is more obsessed with finding breakthrough solutions than the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. One day, it’s laying out big bucks to find alternatives to expensive college textbooks, and the next day, it’s forging a left-right coalition to reform criminal justice policies.

Its big move last week? Pumping $8.4 million into a major initiative at the Urban Institute to advance Pay for Success (PFS), which aims to reward successful programs in the social sector. The investment will pay for a variety of technical resources aimed at bolstering and evaluating PFS projects, with an eye toward upping the game of all the players involved in PFS: government, service providers, evaluators, and funders. Tools developed by the Urban Institute will help to structure deals, determine which projects are most effective and cost-efficient, and set benchmarks for success.

via The Arnold Foundation is Betting Big On Pay for Success – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Capital One is Funding Digital Skills. Here’s Why. — Inside Philanthropy

If your boss told you to tweet something for her, would you know what to do? How about if she asked you to help with the company’s website or database management?

If you don’t have these skills at the ready, you’re not alone. Now, Capital One, along with the Obama administration, is launching a new effort to get more workers prepared for the challenges of a digitally-intensive labor market.

While many job sectors took a big hit in the Great Recession, one area where growth consistently rises is jobs requiring digital skills. So you can see why Capital One is homing in on this area as it pushes into workforce development—one of several big banks now focusing big philanthropic dollars on helping bridge the divide between employer needs and the current population of job-seekers.

via Another Bank Is Giving Big to Boost Worker Skills. Here’s Why. – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

The Mizuho Foundation Pitches in for Effort to Remove Financial Barriers to Re-entry – Assets | Financial Inclusion | Grants – Inside Philanthropy

For my friends and colleagues who work in corrections and re-entry, I bet many of you can bear witness to how valuable this work is. If we can help individuals get on their feet financially when they get out of prison, they are much less likely to make return visits. Here’s one funder that totally gets it: The Mizuho Foundation.

It’s not easy getting back on your feet when you’re released from prison. Many detainees leave the big house with little more than a few dollars and a bus pass, returning to deal with unpaid bills and unreviewed accounts, and often no real income potential in the future.

The Mizuho USA Foundation appears is wading into these difficult waters. Among other programs, Mizuho is the major funder of the New Ground Initiative. Currently finishing its second year of implementation, this initiative has supported 10 organizations and 20 programs that are practicing financial development strategies, reaching over 4,800 individuals to help remove financial barriers to successful re-entry.

via The Mizuho Foundation Pitches in for Effort to Remove Financial Barriers to Re-entry – Assets | Financial Inclusion | Grants – Inside Philanthropy.

A Reformed Peddler of Cigarettes Coughs Up $5 Million to Make the Next Gen Tobacco Free – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

Last year, CVS made a landmark commitment to end sales of cigarette and other tobacco products at its more than 7,800 retail stores. CVS was the first national pharmacy chain to do so, so that was a big deal.

Apparently, though, the company feels guilty for all the years that it did sell cigarettes. After all, what the heck was a pharmacy doing selling products that can kill people?

via A Reformed Peddler of Cigarettes Coughs Up $5 Million to Make the Next Gen Tobacco Free – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.