19 posts categorized "Juvenile Justice"

A New Way to Sustain the Campaign: Foundation Center and Open Society Foundations Launch BMAFunders.org

March 28, 2013

(Shawn Dove is the campaign manager for the Open Society Foundations' Campaign for Black Male Achievement. The original version of this post appears on Philanthropy New York's Smart Assets blog.)

Headshot_Shawn Dove_This June will mark the five-year anniversary of the creation of the Open Society Foundations' Campaign for Black Male Achievement, which was launched in 2008 to address the economic, political, social, and educational exclusion of black men and boys from American society. When I consider the upcoming five-year milestone I can't help but think that the campaign was originally slated to be just a three-year "initiative." But thanks to the determined and focused work of our partners in philanthropy, government, the not-for-profit community, and the private sector, our board extended the campaign's term limit and provided CBMA staff with much-needed breathing room, increased funding, and an opportunity to exhibit bold leadership on behalf of the emerging field of black male achievement.

During the past five years, the work of the campaign, along with the efforts of an evolving group of philanthropic partners and leaders from the policy, advocacy, practitioner, and research sectors, has expanded on the earlier work of funders like the Ford Foundation and the 21st Century Foundation to tackle a seemingly intractable problem. It has been fueled by a broad and diverse sector of organizations that combine a direct services and policy change approach. From the time we launched the CBMA, my daily mantra has been "sustain the campaign" in the belief that the philanthropic sector could not remedy a generational problem facing black men and boys with a short-term grant-cycle mindset.

In partnership with the Foundation Center, we have launched the Web portal BMAfunders.org to facilitate engagement, collaboration, and strategic decision making among funders, nonprofits, and policy makers working to promote positive outcomes for black men and boys in America. It could very well be the pivotal investment that enables this work to gain the sustained philanthropic commitment necessary to overcome the structural and systemic barriers that prevent too many black men and boys from realizing their full potential.

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5 Questions for…Cheryl Dorsey, President, Echoing Green

February 27, 2013

Social innovation and entrepreneurship are two of the most powerful tools available to those committed to black male achievement. So argued Cheryl Dorsey, president of Echoing Green, a global social venture fund based in New York City, at the Innovation and Impact Forum hosted by the Open Society Foundations' Campaign for Black Male Achievement last October. In part, added Dorsey, that's because they have captured the attention of, and increasingly are being driven by, a millennial generation interested in a networked, technology-enabled model of social change.

In 2012, Echoing Green partnered with OSF to launch the Black Male Achievement Fellowships and announced the first cohort of BMA fellows in June. Earlier this month, the organization announced the 2013 semi-finalists for both the Echoing Green and Black Male Achievement Fellowships.

Recently, PND spoke with Dorsey about the BMA fellowship program, her own experience as a social entrepreneur, and the role of public policy in the field of black male achievement.

Headshot_cheryl_dorsey_echoingPhilanthropy News Digest: What did you think of President Obama's State of the Union Address?

Cheryl Dorsey: I think the president's address presented a call for effective collaboration to solve crucial problems in our country. Many people make it their life's work to try to solve tough problems, from engineers working to create microchips that are smaller but carry more information to community bankers seeking to provide greater access to capital and teachers seeking to help more children in the classroom move ahead. President Obama's State of the Union address was a call for those who are on this path of enterprise, service, and innovation to work together.

These are the principles at the heart of the work of our fellows, who strive every day to solve some of the challenges and problems the president laid out in his speech. When the president talks about reducing the cost of solar energy, I think about 2012 Black Male Achievement Fellow Donnel Baird, who is doing important work to make clean energy accessible to all communities, especially low-income communities. When the president talks about expanding service opportunities for young people, I think about Echoing Green alums like Wendy Kopp, Alan Khazei, and Michael Brown, visionary leaders of the national service movement. The State of the Union address made me think about how Echoing Green can continue to support our fellows who are out there on the front lines in communities across the country and around the world.

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The Case for Using a Social Justice Lens in Grantmaking

August 21, 2012

(Over the course of his career, Michael Seltzer, a frequent contributor to PhilanTopic, has served as a program officer at the Ford Foundation, as president of the New York Regional Association of Grantmakers, and as founding executive director of Funders Concerned About AIDS. A version of this post appears in the summer issue of GMNsight, a new journal written for and by members of the Grants Managers Network.)

Social Justice -- A New Phenomenon?

Social_justiceNo. As early as 1972, in an internal memo to John H. Knowles, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, one of his officers suggested that the foundation use the phrase "Towards Social Justice in an Interdependent World" as a 'unifying theme' to describe its work.

Also, in the 1970s, select small- to medium-sized public, family, independent, and public foundations embraced the practice, language, and ethos of social justice, as evidenced by their early support of the U.S. civil rights movement. Their ranks included such private foundations as Norman, Field, Stern, New World, Taconic, and the John Hay Whitney. Subsequently, the public foundations that comprised the Funding Exchange Network -- the Tides Foundation; women's and LGBT funders such as the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice; and the Black United Fund movement -- joined their ranks. David Hunter, Stern's long-term executive director, served as a mentor and guide for many of these funds. The word justice also appeared in the literature of religiously affiliated grantmakers such as the Catholic Campaign for Human Development of the U.S. Catholic Bishops and the Jewish Fund for Justice. This was not surprising, since the precepts of justice are evident in the world's major religions and sacred texts.

Subsequently, this diverse set of donors, in terms of their structure and sources of revenues, began to meet annually under the aegis of the National Network of Change-Oriented Foundations. In 1981, the network's successor organization, the National Network of Foundations (NNG), asserted the following two purposes in its mandate:

To be a voice for issues of social and economic justice within the philanthropic community and externally in sectors of the broad community including government, business, labor and education, and to expand the resource base (human and financial) for social and economic justice activities.

As one indicator of the size of this community of funders, also in 1981 the National Network of Grantmakers and the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) in their publication, The Grantseekers Guide, A Directory for Social and Economic Justice Projects, listed more than one hundred foundations and corporate-giving programs.

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This Week in PubHub: Children and Youth: Juvenile Justice

September 30, 2011

(Kyoko Uchida manages PubHub, the Foundation Center's online catalog of foundation-sponsored publications. In her previous post, she looked at four reports that examine how well the rapidly evolving news business is serving local communities.)

After nearly twenty years of widespread "zero tolerance" school discipline policies, questions are being raised not only about their effectiveness but about their fairness and long-term effects. This week in PubHub, we are featuring four reports that explore how school discipline policies affect students' academic performance and involvement with the juvenile justice system, as well as efforts to reform that system.

According to Breaking Schools' Rules: A Statewide Study on How School Discipline Relates to Students' Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement (124 pages, PDF), a report from the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University, suspending or expelling students for disciplinary reasons increases the likelihood of their failing academically and/or becoming involved with the juvenile justice system. Funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and the Open Society Foundations, the report found that 54 percent of students in the state were suspended or expelled at least once between seventh and twelfth grade, with students of color and those with specific educational disabilities disproportionately at higher risk. The report also found that students who had been suspended or expelled were nearly three times more likely to come into contact with the juvenile justice system during the subsequent academic year, that 31 percent of those who were disciplined repeatedly were held back a grade, and that 10 percent of those who were disciplined repeatedly dropped out.

Suspended Education: Urban Middle Schools in Crisis (25 pages, PDF), a 2010 report from the Civil Rights Project, also argues that frequent suspensions and expulsions do not contribute to better school safety or student behavior but instead reduce opportunities for academic success and increase the risk of incarceration. The report examines the widening race and gender "discipline gaps," finding that while K-12 suspension rates for all students nearly doubled, from 3.7 percent to 6.9 percent, between 1973 and 2006, the 2006 suspension rate for African-American middle school boys was 28.3 percent. Indeed, with such policies resulting in minority students being separated from opportunities to learn at a disproportionately higher rate and facing greater risk of incarceration than their white peers, the issue is as serious a problem as low test scores and high dropout rates, the authors argue. Funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, the report offers a number of recommendations, including better data collection and analysis, providing alternative strategies and technical assistance to schools with high suspension rates, and taking measures to address unlawful discrimination in the use of suspensions and expulsions.

When students do get into trouble with the law, they often are tried as adults -- with negative consequences for the community (not to mention the students themselves) in terms of both public safety and economic prosperity. The Campaign for Youth Justice report State Trends: Legislative Victories From 2005 to 2010 Removing Youth From the Adult Criminal Justice System (52 pages, PDF) examines the unfairness of trying teenagers in the adult criminal justice system (where they are often housed in adult jails and prisons) given their still-developing brains and the (usually) minor nature of their offenses; the grave consequences (including higher recidivism rates and lifelong barriers to employment); and the social implications of a disproportionately high rate of minority youth being tried as adults. The authors also highlight encouraging trends at the state and local level, including raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction, changing transfer laws, and revising youth sentencing laws. The report was funded by the Casey, Eckerd Family, Meyer, Falk, Ford, JEHT, MacArthur, Public Welfare, Tow, and Open Society foundations; Atlantic Philanthropies; the  California Endowment; the Fund for Nonviolence; the Moriah, Rockit, and Chasdrew funds; the Carter & Melissa Cafritz Trust; Covington and Burling LLP; DHO Consulting, Gladys Jensen; and Julie Jensen.

The JustPartners report Bridges to Manhood: A Multifaceted Probation Strategy That Incorporates Fatherhood Development (28 pages, PDF) addresses a different issue: how to help young men complete their probation while learning to become responsible fathers and family members. Funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the report argues that because many young men who go through the juvenile justice system have either no relationship or a damaged relationship with their fathers, helping them become better fathers can help prevent recidivism and may contribute to breaking the negative intergenerational cycle of father absence.

What do you think? Are school disciplinary actions counterproductive? Are racial/ethnic disparities in suspensions and juvenile justice involvement indicative of a larger problem? Do you know of any programs that have been effective in addressing those disparities? Use the comments section to share your thoughts.

And be sure to check out PubHub, where where you can browse more than 765 reports on topics related to children and youth.

-- Kyoko Uchida

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