Walmart’s goal in funding a new $100 million initiative is to make training and advancement more accessible to low-wage, unskilled, and uneducated workers—and maybe even get them on a path to the middle class.
Recently we talked with Bob Friedman about the early days of the asset building movement and how this work drew in funders. Here, in our second article based on that conversation, we hear his thoughts on where the movement is today and where it may be going.
Back in the spring of 2013, when plans for the first enrollment period for ACA were underway, funders were skittish about the public knowing of their support for enrollment efforts, fearing negative backlash from conservative critics. Now, with the White House’s recent announcement that 11.4 million Americans have successfully signed up for Obamacare, funders are more openly acknowledging their support for enrollment efforts.
Money for financial education is flowing pretty steadily these days from banks and other financial services corporate foundations. Now PwC, one of the Big Four auditors and the world’s second largest professional services network, is coming through with grants big and small to improve financial education and skills development for children.
Youth advocates and their funders are hoping that 2015 is going to be a very good year for juvenile justice reform. The year is starting with bipartisan legislation submitted to congress by senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) which would overhaul outdated juvenile justice laws nationally, with a particular focus on ending imprisonment for status offenses, such as children who are truant, runaway, or violate curfew, alcohol, and tobacco laws. The new law also provides clear direction to state and local governments on how to stop racial profiling and reduce levels of imprisonment for young people of color.
Criminal justice is one of those areas where funders have been banging their head against a wall for years—working against harsh practices that defy social science research, not to mention common sense.
Now, that blood-stained wall is finally starting to crack, as policy leaders and the public alike wake up to the negative consequences of embroiling so many Americans in the criminal justice system. With the wind finally blowing in the right direction, some foundations are stepping up efforts to make change.
The Obama administration has broken new ground in bringing together the power of philanthropy and government. Near the center of that effort is Michael Smith, the White House aide in charge of My Brother’s Keeper.