The internet is a great platform to voice your ideas and advocate for social change. Kiersten Marek, writer for news website Inside Philanthropy, uses CoPromote to spread her knowledge and connect with other like minded individuals. Using real life experience, she brings different perspective on many issues. Check out the chat we had with Kiersten below about her content, and the issues she is most passionate about!
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.
In the United States, discussion of marginalized groups often revolves around terms like discrimination, rights, and integration. Elsewhere in the world, though, the focus is more on inclusion versus exclusion—which, arguably, is a more comprehensive and useful frame.
A commitment to battling exclusion is core to the Open Society Foundations, which has offices in over 30 countries and partners in dozens more. By now, the OSF story is the stuff of legend—how George Soros, the philosopher hedge fund king, used his market winnings to help bring down communism and went on to bankroll a global network of local foundations to advance the ideals of open society, making sure “no one has a monopoly on the truth” and no groups are consigned to the margins.
Well, here we are again. Another child sexual abuse scandal rocks the nation. Josh Duggar, star of 19 and Counting, sexually abused multiple girls as a teenager. His behavior was reported to the police (his police records are now conveniently destroyed) and the whole thing was kept under wraps in the proud state of Arkansas as the family went on to film a “reality show” touting their ultra-squeaky-clean Christian living.
Key takeaway for youth funders: Invest more in sexual abuse prevention here, there, and everywhere. There are still way too many people involved in ignoring, minimizing, and/or covering up these crimes.
Before Josh Duggar, another recent case prompted national discussion and awareness about child sexual abuse—the trial and conviction of Jerry Sandusky. And that one seems to have spurred an increase in funding that is worth looking at.
The health and safety of sex workers: It’s not an issue most of us tend to think about every day, but it’s yet another example of how marginalized populations are often left out of essential public policy discussions on subjects like health care, housing, education, and workforce development.
That’s why we thought it would be a good idea to jump on the phone with some leaders in the field of health and safety for sex workers to find out what philanthropy is doing, and what philanthropy could do, about this segment of our community. We talked with Scott Campbell, executive director of the Elton John Aids Foundation (EJAF), and Crystal DeBoise, co-director of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center, to learn more about what is going on for sex workers, and what philanthropy can do to bring this issue in from the margins.
We’ve all heard the complaint: Nonprofits, even some of the great ones, just can’t get to the scale needed to have real impact. And funders, even ones that believe in these nonprofits, too often won’t lift a finger to help organizations really break out.
Well, here’s a story about a funder that set out to break this familiar pattern, and what it learned.
In 2007, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF) launched something called the Growth Capital Aggregation Pilot, which was a collaborative funding effort to mobilize $120 million in capital to “propel the growth of effective nonprofits poised for scale.”
The foundation was taking some big risks. It was taking a risk on the three social service grantees in which it initially made exponential investments. It was also risking its time and money, as it not only rounded up a number of funders to join the effort, but greatly increased its own investments.
It appears that Harry Potter books bring the power of “Lumos” to the world in more ways than one. While research suggests that young people who read the Harry Potter books are more tolerant and compassionate, and while the books have sprouted a millennial-style fandom nonprofit called the Harry Potter Alliance, the greatest contribution to human progress may be coming directly from the author, J.K. Rowling, and her profound understanding of the disservice that institutionalization does to children—and how we need to move away from it as a model to address emotional, behavioral, and social problems.
Rowling recently came to New York to announce the start of Lumos USA, the new U.S.-based outpost of the nonprofit she founded in 2005. The goal of Lumos is to redirect the care of disadvantaged children away from group homes and orphanages, and find more ways to support them, and their families, in the community. Its target is the 8 million children worldwide who are cared for in institutions.