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.

How a Cutting Edge Effort to Boost Family Financial Stability is Giving Out $3 Million – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

We’ve been keeping an eye on the Center for Financial Services Innovation, which is backing new ways to promote the financial health of Americans—especially the “underbanked and the underserved, traditionally an overlooked segment of the financial services market.”

A key premise of CFSI’s work is that companies can profitably serve the poor with low-cost financial service products—and help put the bottom-feeding predatory lending industry out of business.

via How a Cutting Edge Effort to Boost Family Financial Stability is Giving Out $3 Million – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

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.