Three big multi-year grants went out from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation starting in 2014 to investigate and support “Social Innovation Financing.” And this is just part of the picture of what the Arnolds are doing to fund Pay for Success (PFS) initiatives. What is going on with this new trend?
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.
The latest news of big foundation funding to create tomorrow’s workforce comes from Virtual Enterprises International (VEI), which is starting a VE Junior Ventures Career Academy for middle schoolers to immerse them in hands-on entrepreneurial and work-based learning experiences. The funding for this expanding effort will come from the New York Life Foundation, which will invest $1 million over four years to support the Academy.
We’ve featured the New York Life Foundation’s work before, particularly its massive support for childhood bereavement—helping children navigate the difficult terrain of loss and the accompanying emotional adjustments. With this new grant, the foundation is more focused on youth educational enhancement rather than emotional support, and this time it is filling a critical niche in the path of young people into productive careers.
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.
Since the Great Recession, a slew of new workforce development efforts have launched all across the country, but how much do the different programs know about each other, and how can proven strategies be effectively replicated?
The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is on the case. This Boston-based fund is a group with a long list of big-name foundations working to improve career advancement for low-wage workers. By engaging employers in more than 30 communities across the U.S., the National Fund develops employer-led industry partnerships that guide educational and training investments. This is the kind of employer-employee matching that makes for strong, long-term employment prospects, and a more stable economy for the region.
The importance of cultivating innate learning and exploration in young children.
Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:
Defending the Early Years is an organization of professionals who have devoted themselves to early childhood education. DEY has just published a new report by Lillian G. Katz, Professor Emerita of Early Childhood Education at the University of Illinois, called Lively Minds: Distinctions Between Academic Versus Intellectual Goals for Young Children.
This comes from DEY’s website:
Dr. Katz argues that the common sense notion that “earlier is better” is not supported by longitudinal studies of the effects of different kinds of preschool curriculum models. Furthermore, her report maintains that a narrow academic curriculum does not recognize the innate inquisitiveness of young children and ultimately fails to address the way they learn.
“Young children enter the classroom with lively minds–with innate intellectual dispositions toward making sense of their own experience, toward reasoning, predicting, analyzing, questioning and learning,” says Dr. Katz.
“But in our attempt to quantify and verify children’s learning, we…
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May 19th is going to be a very big day for three of the seven cities competing for urban renewal dollars from Living Cities and the Citi Foundation. Three cities will find out on May 19th that they are the winners, cashing in on a $3 million jackpot to help drive innovation and workforce development in their hometowns.
Seven U.S. cities have made it to the final round of the Living Cities City Accelerator—Albuquerque, Atlanta, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Seattle—from which three cities will be chosen for the investment of $3 million dollars from Living Cities and the Citi Foundation to adopt innovative city plans to support low-income populations.