Question: If funding to support boys and men of color is a priority, with some two dozen foundations involved, why are women and girls of color not an equal priority?The fact is that few new philanthropic efforts are aimed specifically at improving the lives of girls and young women of color.
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.
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.
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.
The desire to be a journalist — to tell the stories that inspire feeling and change lives — usually kicks in fairly early in life. Many of us discover in high school that a source of great meaning and gratification comes from being able to communicate with others through writing or another form of media.
Which foundations support youth journalism in its many current incarnations, which now include blogging, videography, Youtubing and podcasting? Which foundations should grant seekers for youth turn to if they want to do the work of cultivating media and journalism for young minds?
In her 2014 book, Generation Unbound: Drifting Into Sex and Parenthood Without Marriage, Isabel V. Sawhill argues that unplanned births are a main cause of poverty, and that one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty (as well as inequality) is to help women, particularly young women, prevent unplanned pregnancies.
This is hardly a new idea, but Sawhill’s research has given it more heft, and anti-poverty funders should be paying close attention. While reducing unplanned pregnancies isn’t easy, it’s arguably a much lighter lift than tackling many of the other factors that underlie poverty, and that’s especially true in light of advances in contraception, as we’ll see in a moment. Enabling women to better control their fertility is also a classic upstream intervention that forestalls the need to address a range of other social problems, delivering lots of bang for the buck. Still, for various reasons, many funders that work on poverty steer well away from this area.
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.