“Dangerous, ineffective, unnecessary, obsolete, wasteful, and inadequate,” is how the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2011 report, No Place for Kids, describes the negative results of locking up youth. Once kids end up in jail, social workers do what they can to help them get out and start over on the right foot, but a better plan starts with keeping kids out of the slammer in the first place.
Think of the Gates Foundation and housing is probably not an issue that comes to mind. But the foundation has actually spent millions to reduce homelessness and boost affordable housing options for low-income people, with nearly all this money going to support work in Washington State.
The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is one funder that’s very attuned to young people’s interests in journalism and, as part of its larger grantmaking in this area, has often supported efforts to nurture that interest. Earlier this fall, for example, the foundation renewed its support of Free Spirit Media in Chicago with a two-year grant of $300,000 to expand its youth journalism program. The foundation also made grants to the True Star Foundation and the Community Television Network to support youth journalism.
De Groot recruited Eliza Squibb, recent Rhode Island School of Design graduate and global textiles expert, to help create a storytelling cloths that could accurately and attractively convey linkages between HPV and cancer, and teach Malian women about the benefits of the HPV vaccine. In collaboration with De Groot, Squibb produced a brightly-colored and medically sound storytelling cloth prototype. In blue, yellow, and orange, the cloth illustrates how vaccines prevent HPV infection, and how, unimmunized, women are prone to contracting HPV and potentially developing cancer.
To me, his foundation’s role in helping fan panic over deficits at the height of the Great Recession—when most economists argued that more stimulus was needed to spark growth, not austerity—was deeply irresponsible.
The American public is finally starting to recognize the connection between sugary drinks and obesity, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is helping schools and community organizations get water into schools, and soda and sugary drinks out.
This year, Washington State considered legislation to fund water stations in schools throughout the state, but the legislation was not passed. Advocates are not going away, though, and will be back and ready for round two next year.
Sam Zell is a Chicago businessman with a fortune of nearly $5 billion. His wife Helen is a philanthropist with wide interests and liberal views. The couple has been stepping up their giving, and we watch them closely, although we’re often struck by the inscrutability of the Zell Family Foundation’s giving, and always on the lookout for clues as to where the Zells’ philanthropy is going.