What’s Behind These Surprisingly Big Grants to Boost Small Businesses?  – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

President Obama has talked a lot in the past year or two about “middle-out” economics—the idea that prosperity is driven not by a few job creators at the top, but by building a thriving middle class. Historically, a robust small business sector has been one key to such broad prosperity, and philanthropic efforts in this area have lately gained steam. Still, there’s not a huge number of funders focusing here in a big way, and many that do are from the business world and see a win-win in boosting mobility while expanding their customer base.

One funder in this space, as we’ve reported before, is Sam’s Club and the Sam’s Club Giving Program. Now it’s stepping things up, recently announcing the Small Business Economic Mobility initiative, a five-year investment in small business growth through increased access to capital and financial skills education. The move was unveiled during National Small Business Week.

via What’s Behind These Surprisingly Big Grants to Boost Small Businesses?  – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

With the Ax Starting to Fall at MacArthur, Housing Takes a Hit – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy

On Twitter, lots of folks in the nonprofit sector are passing on the news of the end of MacArthur’s work in studying and building affordable housing. There is very little commentary, yet. It seems like people just don’t know what to say.

The article in the Chicago Tribune—the only article available online about the announcement so far—reads like a grim obituary, sharing the highlights of MacArthur’s investments in housing initiatives, and quoting housing leaders who are already feeling the pain about MacArthur bowing out. Other leaders pay tribute to MacArthur’s housing work and the way in which a lot of big things could not have happened without the foundation’s support.

via With the Ax Starting to Fall at MacArthur, Housing Takes a Hit – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Arnold Foundation Launches New Evidence-Based Policy Division

Kiersten Marek:

Some followup discussion on the need for findings to be “verified to ensure research is not subject to bias or political manipulations.” Thanks, bitts.org!

Originally posted on Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences:

The Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, equivalent to CEGA’s domestic counterpart and a leading force working to institutionalize evidence-based policy making, will merge with one of its funders, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF). Also a funder of BITSS, LJAF will integrate the staff of the Coalition into its newly established Evidence-Based Policy and Innovation division. The mission of the new division will be very similar to the one of the Coalition it is replacing which will close down its operations in the next few days and transition its staff to the LJAF in the coming weeks.

According to a LJAF press release, the evidence-based policy subdivision, that will be led by Jon Baron, the former president of the Coalition, will focus on “strategic investments in rigorous evaluations, collaborations with policy officials to advance evidence-based reforms, and evidence reviews to identify promising and proven programs” (LJAF). The innovation subdivision, to be led by Kathy Stack, former…

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The Facebook Effect (On Real Estate Prices)

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Four years ago, Facebook announced that they were decamping to Menlo Park from their longstanding home of Palo Alto. Just last month, the company finally cut the ribbons on a beautiful 430,000-square foot building designed by Frank Gehry that is basically one giant, open-air room with an enormous park on top.

The effect on the prices of surrounding real estate has been profound.

If you look at the chart below, published last week in the Almanac and Palo Alto Weekly, the price increases are mainly concentrated in Menlo Park and the neighboring city of East Palo Alto.

home-prices-epa

East Palo Alto is a historically black and now majority Latino community that took shape more than half a century ago through a legacy of racially discriminatory practices in Bay Area housing markets. Given that it is the most affordable community left in Silicon Valley, the city’s economy also supplies low-wage labor to the neighboring affluent suburbs of Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton. It…

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May the Best Study Win: Will More Funding for Evidence-Based Policy Make a Difference? – Inside Philanthropy

If you want to change public policy in the United States, you’ll eventually find your way to the influential world of Washington think tanks. The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF), one of the most aggressive foundations seeking to move big ideas, has been investing in Beltway policy shops for a while now. Earliest this year, in its biggest such give yet, the foundation made an $8.4 million grant to the Urban Institute to help develop its Pay for Success work. Now Arnold is taking things a step further: It’s setting up its own wonk operation in the nation’s capital.

via May the Best Study Win: Will More Funding for Evidence-Based Policy Make a Difference? – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

What’s Citi Doing to Help Low Income Youth Get on a Path to Career Success? – Workforce | Labor | Grants – Inside Philanthropy

We’ve been following Citi’s Pathways to Progress efforts for about a year, and now the grant-making to nonprofits in this arena is really taking off. This work is amping up employment opportunities for low-income youth, and it’s a great way to build a more inclusive economy.

via What’s Citi Doing to Help Low Income Youth Get on a Path to Career Success? – Workforce | Labor | Grants – Inside Philanthropy.