Could This Simple Financial Device Be Key to Launching Low-Income Kids to the Middle Class? — Chronicle of Social Change

As the economy continues to recover and social movements directed at addressing inequality continue to gain steam, one field of philanthropy that is in ascent is asset building, which helps low income people build up savings to expand their economic opportunity.

For children, one feature of the asset-building strategy is child savings accounts, with the goal of getting more children to start saving and building a nest egg for the future.

via Funders Behind Asset Building.

Trendwatch: Foundations Get Serious About Backing Entrepreneurs and Businesses – Inside Philanthropy

Scholars like Benjamin Friedman have demonstrated that economic growth helps drive any number of positive trends: improved human rights, better health, women’s empowerment, higher education attainment, and on and on.

Historically, though, explicit efforts to foster growth haven’t been all that high on the agenda of a philanthropic world that cares about all the things I just mentioned. In particular, funders haven’t tended to do a lot in the way of supporting entrepreneurs, whose new businesses create many of the new jobs that propel growth. Meanwhile, small business has been on the decline in the U.S. for the last decade, a trend that was greatly accelerated by the Great Recession, with new business creation plunging by 30 percent in the wake of the economic crash.

via Trendwatch: Foundations Get Serious About Backing Entrepreneurs and Businesses – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

New Momentum After a Long Fight: Inside Kellogg’s Push on Children and Equity – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy

The high percentage of U.S. children living in poverty—one in five, at last count—hasn’t changed much in the past few decades. And while you’d think that would be a national scandal, this issue has just never had the political traction advocates have hoped.

Lately, though, things seem to be changing. Early childhood education is moving up on the national agenda and a new book by Robert Putnam on the deeply unequal lives of American children has received wide attention. Amid a growing debate over inequality, and also race, fresh opportunities are emerging to improve the lives of kids.

via New Momentum After a Long Fight: Inside Kellogg’s Push on Children and Equity – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Another Push to Help Workers, With an Online Twist – Inside Philanthropy

New coalitions and innovations seem to be springing up all over the country to address the challenges facing America’s workers, backed by a range of funders. Last week, we wrote about a big effort on jobs spearheaded by Howard Schultz and Starbucks. And yesterday we wrote about a workforce push in Newark that JPMorgan Chase is helping bankroll.

via Another Push to Help Workers, With an Online Twist – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Expanding Horizons and Hope: The Logic of a Bank’s Funding on Youth Employment  – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

Youth unemployment is a national problem that is now squarely on the agenda of funders. Just the other day, we wrote about a new initiative spearhead by Starbucks and its CEO Howard Schultz to provide jobs and opportunities to 100,000 young people. We’ve also written about a range of other philanthropic efforts to bolster the work readiness of young people.

Two themes stand out in these initiatives: One, most look beyond the concrete skills of young Americans, or what jobs are available to them, to a deeper, more complex problem—the alienation of many young people from the mainstream world of work and the challenges they face in engaging with this world.

via Expanding Horizons and Hope: The Logic of a Bank’s Funding on Youth Employment  – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

The Money Behind a Push to Bolster Black Male Leaders Across the U.S. – Inside Philanthropy

Attention to race keeps growing in the United States, and that’s true for a bunch of reasons. But, for sure, philanthropy has played a role in elevating race to the top of the national agenda.

Well before the events in Ferguson last year, a number of top foundations were already investing in new work to address racial inequities and empower leaders of color. Most notably, ten top foundations partnered with the White House in February 2014 to address the challenges facing young men of color. And nearly a year earlier, 26 foundations had come together in Chicago, pledging new work in this same area. As we’ve also reported, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched a big initiative on young men and boys of color, Forward Promise, in 2011. Looking even further back, the Open Society Foundations began its Campaign for Black Male Achievement in 2008.

via The Money Behind a Push to Bolster Black Male Leaders Across the U.S. – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

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.