A Big New Attack on America’s Wasteful and Unjust Jail System Gains Steam – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

The MacArthur Foundation may be trimming its sails in some areas, like winding down its housing work, but that hasn’t stopped it from launching a new effort to reform America’s wasteful and unjust system of jails.

As we reported earlier this year, the foundation is putting up $75 million over the next five years to reform how U.S. jails operate, a new initiative that instantly made MacArthur one of the biggest funders of criminal justice reform in the country—and at an opportune moment when the pendulum is swinging fast against yesterday’s Draconian anti-crime policies. (The foundation has long worked on juvenile justice issues.)

Now the foundation has announced its winners for the Safety and Justice Challenge, awarding $150,000 to 20 jurisdictions across the U.S to foster innovation and reduce the use of jails.

via A Big New Attack on America’s Wasteful and Unjust Jail System Gains Steam – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

To Create an Inclusive Economy, Rockefeller Coaxes Business To Change How It Thinks – Inside Philanthropy

The concept of resilience is a great one to have planted in your brain early, and in fact, studies have shown that the more you know about and think about your own psychological resilience, the stronger you can become. But let’s face it—many people don’t really know what resilience means.

So what is resilience? It’s a term most frequently applied in the psychological and medical lingo, describing a person’s ability to withstand extreme hardship, trauma, or illness. The idea is that, constitutionally, people with more resilience are stronger.

via To Create an Inclusive Economy, Rockefeller Coaxes Business To Change How It Thinks – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Some Funders Move Beyond the Culture War Over Family Stability and Poverty – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

Not so long ago, the link between family stability and poverty was a highly divisive issue. The right tended to fixate on family breakdown as the main driver of a culture of poverty, while the left stressed the structural factors that limit opportunity. That debate isn’t over by any means, but many progressives have grown increasingly enthusiastic in recent years about anti-poverty efforts that focus on strengthening families and, in particular, the role of fathers.

That’s certainly true in parts of the funding community, and strong foundation support for the Center for Urban Families (CFUF) in Baltimore is a great example. Among other things, CFUF—which describes itself as a “leading voice in the national conversation on responsible fatherhood”—has an initiative called Couples Advancing Together, which seeks to ensure the success of couples with children by focusing both on strengthening relationships and employment assistance. Annie E. Casey is one funder that’s supported such work. And, earlier this year, the Kellogg Foundation swung behind this approach in a big way, a $1.5 million grant to CFUF.

via Some Funders Move Beyond the Culture War Over Family Stability and Poverty – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

What’s Behind These Surprisingly Big Grants to Boost Small Businesses?  – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

President Obama has talked a lot in the past year or two about “middle-out” economics—the idea that prosperity is driven not by a few job creators at the top, but by building a thriving middle class. Historically, a robust small business sector has been one key to such broad prosperity, and philanthropic efforts in this area have lately gained steam. Still, there’s not a huge number of funders focusing here in a big way, and many that do are from the business world and see a win-win in boosting mobility while expanding their customer base.

One funder in this space, as we’ve reported before, is Sam’s Club and the Sam’s Club Giving Program. Now it’s stepping things up, recently announcing the Small Business Economic Mobility initiative, a five-year investment in small business growth through increased access to capital and financial skills education. The move was unveiled during National Small Business Week.

via What’s Behind These Surprisingly Big Grants to Boost Small Businesses?  – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

May the Best Study Win: Will More Funding for Evidence-Based Policy Make a Difference? – Inside Philanthropy

If you want to change public policy in the United States, you’ll eventually find your way to the influential world of Washington think tanks. The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF), one of the most aggressive foundations seeking to move big ideas, has been investing in Beltway policy shops for a while now. Earliest this year, in its biggest such give yet, the foundation made an $8.4 million grant to the Urban Institute to help develop its Pay for Success work. Now Arnold is taking things a step further: It’s setting up its own wonk operation in the nation’s capital.

via May the Best Study Win: Will More Funding for Evidence-Based Policy Make a Difference? – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

A Look at the Arnold Foundation’s Big Bet on Social Innovation Financing – Think Tanks | Research | Grants – Inside Philanthropy

Three big multi-year grants went out from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation starting in 2014 to investigate and support “Social Innovation Financing.” And this is just part of the picture of what the Arnolds are doing to fund Pay for Success (PFS) initiatives. What is going on with this new trend?

via A Look at the Arnold Foundation’s Big Bet on Social Innovation Financing – Think Tanks | Research | Grants – Inside Philanthropy.

Edna McConnell Clark’s Big Experiment to Mobilize More Capital to Help Kids – Inside Philanthropy

We’ve all heard the complaint: Nonprofits, even some of the great ones, just can’t get to the scale needed to have real impact. And funders, even ones that believe in these nonprofits, too often won’t lift a finger to help organizations really break out.

Well, here’s a story about a funder that set out to break this familiar pattern, and what it learned.

In 2007, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF) launched something called the Growth Capital Aggregation Pilot, which was a collaborative funding effort to mobilize $120 million in capital to “propel the growth of effective nonprofits poised for scale.”

The foundation was taking some big risks. It was taking a risk on the three social service grantees in which it initially made exponential investments. It was also risking its time and money, as it not only rounded up a number of funders to join the effort, but greatly increased its own investments.

via Edna McConnell Clark’s Big Experiment to Mobilize More Capital to Help Kids – Children | Youth | Grants – Inside Philanthropy.