Funders Stick With a Think Tank for Workers, Whose Moment Has Now Arrived – Inside Philanthropy

We’ve been writing a lot lately about the role of philanthropy in influencing public policy, with examples of this popping up often in recent months—like the victorious battle for same-sex marriage, the mounting success of the “war on coal,” and the new overtime rule that the Obama administration recently proposed.

In regard to that overtime rule, we wrote about the National Employment Law Project, and all it has done to draw attention to weak and outdated labor regulations. NELP, we noted, has received $15 million in funding from the Ford Foundation since 2009.

via Funders Stick With a Think Tank for Workers, Whose Moment Has Now Arrived – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Who’s Funding Fatherhood Initiatives? | The Chronicle of Social Change

There’s lots happening in philanthropy these days around fatherhood, and with new attention being brought to the subject by President Obama, we at Inside Philanthropy figured it was a good time to survey some of the more innovative and promising fatherhood-fostering initiatives out there.

Foundations have been interested in fatherhood issues for at least two decades; see, for example, this 2000 overview of “donors and the burgeoning fatherhood movement” by the Philanthropy Roundtable. Today, a number of funders that address human services, criminal justice, and economic development invest to shape the role of fatherhood in these issues.

via Who’s Funding Fatherhood Initiatives? | The Chronicle of Social Change.

Behind a New Worker Overtime Rule: Hard-Hitting Policy Wonks and Generous Funders – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

Yesterday, we wrote about philanthropy’s major role in the Obama administration’s bid to regulate greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants through executive action. Well, here’s a similar story: As the administration unveils a tougher rule for overtime pay this week, foundations can justly claim some of the credit.

This has been a great month for the president, as many commentators have noted, but it’s also been a good one for progressive funders who seen several longstanding investments pay off.

via Behind a New Worker Overtime Rule: Hard-Hitting Policy Wonks and Generous Funders – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Not for Nothin’ But….Rhode Island Roads Stink! Sheldon Whitehouse Agrees

It really hits you how bad our roads are when they close the bridge on Park Avenue, so that we can’t even get to a friend’s house without having to go all the way down Reservoir and up Elmwood, making what used to be a 10 minute trip into a 25 minute ordeal. Infrastructure: the secret sauce that makes society possible. Please don’t let this funding lapse!

From the Whitehouse press office:

Whitehouse to Hold Press Conference on Highway Funding

Senator to Join Labor Leaders and Major Rhode Island Construction Company to Discuss Need to Pass a Highway Bill before Federals Funding Expires

Providence, RI – With federal highway funding set to expire at the end of July, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse will hold a press conference on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. to discuss the need to pass a long-term federal highway funding bill to create jobs, grow our economy, and make our roads and bridges safer in Rhode Island. Whitehouse will be joined for the press conference by labor leaders and a major Rhode Island construction company to discuss the effect a lapse in federal funding would have on Ocean State workers.

Whitehouse has been deeply involved in crafting the six-year transportation funding blueprint that passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last week and awaits further action in the Senate. Whitehouse succeeded in including in the bill a provision to establish an “Assistance for Major Projects Program,” to provide funding to assist states in completing large, important, and expensive projects like reconstruction of Rhode Island’s 6-10 Connector.

EVENT: Sheldon Whitehouse Holds Press Conference on Highway Funding

WHEN: Wednesday, July 1, 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: Apponaug Circulator Construction Site, 65 Centerville Road, Warwick (Across the Street from the Burger King)

According to a report compiled last year by the White House, Rhode Island had the highest percentage of deficient or obsolete bridges in America and was tied for the highest percentage of roads in poor condition. And according to the transportation research group TRIP, driving on roads in need of repair costs Rhode Island motorists $478 million a year – $637 per motorist – in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs.

Seeing a New Opening, Annie E. Casey Is Pushing Hard on Poverty and Opportunity – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

The Annie E. Casey Foundation is named after a widow who struggled to raise her four children as a single mother. One of her children, Jim, founded UPS and became wealthy—while never forgetting where he came from. For decades, the Annie E. Casey Foundation—now with assets of some $3 billion—has been a premier grantmaker focused on the well-being of children and families. Inevitably, these issues have taken the foundation deep into the realm of public policy, and since the mid-1990s, it has led a broad push to reduce poverty and expand opportunity for low-income communities.

As Casey’s director of policy reform and advocacy, Michael Laracy has been near the center of that push for 21 years. He advances the foundation’s efforts to inform, guide and influence public policy at the state and federal levels. He also takes care of the foundation’s KIDS COUNT network and State Priorities Partnership (previously called the State Fiscal Analysis Initiative, or SFAI).

via Seeing a New Opening, Annie E. Casey Is Pushing Hard on Poverty and Opportunity – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Shut Up About the Clinton Foundation’s Problems for a Minute to Look at Its Programs  – Inside Philanthropy

With all the hype in the media about the Clinton Foundation, we wonder how many Americans actually know what the foundation does—or how many members of the media, for that matter.

Listening to news reports, you’d think the sole purpose of this outfit is to help the Clintons get rich and do favors for their shady friends. And while, to be sure, some of the reports about specific donors have been troubling—and suggest questionable judgment by the Clintons—what’s missing is a broader, more balanced look at how the foundation mobilizes money for good causes and who, in reality, puts up most of that money. (Hint: It’s not dictators looking for favors from the State Department.) While people shouldn’t stop asking hard questions about the foundation, they should pay more attention to its approach and programs.

via Shut Up About the Clinton Foundation’s Problems for a Minute to Look at Its Programs  – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Still in the Dark: Why Philanthropy Remains a Black Box — Inside Philanthropy

When I started Inside Philanthropy 18 months ago, I was certainly interested in the age-old questions about transparency and accountability in the sector, but I can’t say I was preoccupied with them. To me, the most exciting stories are about how funders are trying to solve big problems, often in new ways. I still think that, and IP tries to tell those stories every day at a moment when more cool funders are doing more cool things than ever.

Over time, though, I’ve become ever more frustrated by just how hard it is to gauge what philanthropists are doing or who in this sector is having the most impact.

Compared to earlier times, I know the sector is doing a better job of assessing itself. And I know that more answers are now available to certain questions, like how grantees perceive funders, what kinds of collaborations are most successful, how best to evaluate grants, and so on. All that’s a good thing, and the pioneers of that work—like the Center for Effective Philanthropy—have moved the ball forward in impressive ways.

via Still in the Dark: Why Philanthropy Remains a Black Box – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.