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54 posts categorized "Readings"

This Week in PubHub: Arts and Culture: Arts in the Community

October 14, 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 explore how school discipline policies affect students' academic performance and involvement with the juvenile justice system.)

October is Funding for the Arts Month, and this week in PubHub we are featuring four reports that explore the vital role that arts and culture play in our communities' civic life, economic development, and sense of place.

Much has been said about the role of social media in the Arab Spring uprisings. But in Egypt youth activists were using public spaces -- both virtual and physical -- dynamically to spur civic action well before the January 25 Revolution, according to Youth Activism and Public Space in Egypt (48 pages, PDF), a new report from the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University in Cairo and Innovations in Civic Participation. Along with blogs and outreach by youth organizations, artistic expression -- in the form of stencils and graffiti, for example -- was an essential element in calls for change by the Egyptian people. Funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the report uses photographs of art works around Tahrir Square to explore the role of public art in the revolution and as expressions of collective identity, dignity, and solidarity.

If the arts can help galvanize a revolution, it shouldn't surprise anyone that they can also reveal and help strengthen a community's sense of place, values, and identity. The American Planning Association report How Arts and Cultural Strategies Create, Reinforce, and Enhance Sense of Place (8 pages, PDF) suggests that identifying, assessing, and mapping a community's arts and cultural resources enables us to better understand its historic, cultural, economic, and social contexts and values. Such assets include not only arts, educational, and religious institutions but also architecture, signage, specialty stores, and street markets and fairs. The authors also suggest that a vision for celebrating a community's legacy, diversity, and identity can be implemented through master plans, arts and cultural programming, and public investment. Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the report calls for programming that inspires creative ideas, community engagement, and the integration of arts programs with other community plans.

The integration of the arts into the community is the focus of Building Community: Making Space for Art (20 pages, PDF), a report from the Urban Institute and Leveraging Investments in Creativity. Neighborhood residents tend to value not only traditional cultural institutions, the report argues, but a broad range of amateur and professional activities in unconventional venues. And they yearn to create art themselves. Indeed, a community's artistic vitality is associated with its health, social, and educational outcomes as well as economic development and civic engagement. In other words, the more accessible and integrated arts spaces and artists are, the better off the community. Funded by the Ford, Kresge, and Surdna foundations, the report profiles organizations that train artist-educators, produce theater pieces about social issues, and provide mobile arts programming in renovated transit buses.

Last but not least, Blueprints: Bringing Poetry Into Communities (319 pages, PDF) argues for bringing poetry into communities -- especially those that are geographically/economically isolated or otherwise disadvantaged -- in the form of readings, festivals, and other projects. Through essays by poets about their experiences organizing events in schools, bars, libraries, and refugee camps; the impact of poetry on our notions of community, language, and history; and the need for wider access to poetry, the book explores the role of poetry in community development. Funded by the Poetry Foundation and published by the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute and the University of Utah Press, the report also provides guidance on designing and sustaining poetry programs as well as insights into the place of the poet in the community ("[T]he poet reaches out to reveal our shared humanity out of which the spirit of community rises").

Where do you stand on the role of arts and culture in fostering collective identity, civic engagement, and healthier communities? Do you know of any programs that use the arts to address social justice issues? And what are some of the things your community does to encourage art making and appreciation? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

And don't forget to visit PubHub, where you can browse more than four hundred reports related to arts and culture.

-- Kyoko Uchida

This Week in PubHub: Women and Family

March 11, 2011

(Kyoko Uchida manages PubHub, the Foundation Center's online catalog of foundation-sponsored publications. In her last post, she highlighted several reports that examine the role and perceptions of labor unions, both private and public, in American life.)

To mark International Women's Day earlier this week as well as National Women's History Month, PubHub has been featuring reports in March about the issues women face today. This week the focus is on women and the family -- how women's roles both inside and outside the family are changing and, in turn, shaping the definition of family itself.

Demographic trends are changing the face of motherhood in the United States. According to The New Demography of American Motherhood, a report from the Pew Research Center, between 1990 and 2008 the share of births to women age 35 and older, those with some college education, Latino/Hispanic women, and the foreign-born grew significantly. The study also found that even as the overall birth rate fell by 20 percent (presumably due to more women not having children), a record 41 percent of births in 2008 were to unmarried women, up from 28 percent in 1990, reflecting both a decline in the percentage of adults who are married and the rising birth rate among unmarried mothers. Moreover, in an April 2009 survey, 87 percent of respondents pointed to "the joy of having children" as an important reason for deciding to have a child, while 47 percent also said "it just happened." In addition, the survey found that 33 percent of Americans believed that more women having babies after age 40 was "a bad thing for society," while 28 percent disapproved of women undergoing fertility treatment and 38 percent disapproved of more women not ever having children.

Attitudes and opinions about trends in family structure is the subject of the Pew Research Center report The Public Renders a Split Verdict on Changes in Family Structure. Among other things, the report found that Americans were sharply divided over the growing number of unmarried or gay and lesbian couples and single women raising children; about mothers of young children working outside of the home; and about women not having children -- though women and Latinos/Hispanics were among those more likely to be accepting of such trends. Yet even among this relatively tolerant group, the rising numbers of women not having children and mothers of young children working were seen as problematic.

The issue of paid family leave becomes even more urgent in this context, as women, who traditionally assume the role of primary caregiver -- not only to their children but also to family members who become sick -- are also often the only caregiver. In Leaves That Pay: Employer and Worker Experiences With Paid Family Leave in California, the Center for Economic and Policy Research examines how well the nation's first comprehensive paid family leave program has served employees, especially low-wage and female workers, as well as parents, families, and employers. The report found that men were offered better replacement wages and other benefits compared with women, as were managers and professionals in higher-paying jobs compared with others. Still, the authors argue, if a key obstacle to gender equality in the workplace has been women's disproportionate burden of caregiving at home, paid family leave not only mitigates the impact of caring for children or parents on a woman's earnings, it also serves to encourage men's participation in caregiving.

A mother's role as primary caregiver can lead to serious consequences when she does not have adequate support. The Urban Institute issue brief Infants of Depressed Mothers Living in Poverty: Opportunities to Identify and Serve notes that 11 percent of infants living in poverty are being raised by mothers suffering from severe depression -- a figure that jumps to 55 percent when mild and moderate forms of depression are included. While age, family structure, domestic violence, substance abuse, and health problems are all factors in the onset of depression, it is usually treatable -- a fact that leads the brief's authors to call for more rigorous efforts to identify and treat depressed mothers through public benefit programs they are already enrolled in.

What do these trends and challenges say about the changing nature of women's roles vis-à-vis the family, the workplace, and society? What successful strategies or programs are helping women and women's advocates to advance gender equality in the workplace, in the home, and in the public sphere? And what more could philanthropy do to support women in the U.S. and abroad? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

And don't forget to visit PubHub, where you can browse more than a hundred reports on women and women's issues.

-- Kyoko Uchida

Readings (February 9, 2011)

February 09, 2011

Here are some items that caught our attention over the last couple of days:

What have you been reading?

Readings (February 7, 2011)

February 07, 2011

Here are a few items that got our attention today:

Anything on your radar you'd like to share?

Most Popular PhilanTopic Posts (November)

November 30, 2010

As we did last last month, here's a list of the most popular PhilanTopic posts over the last thirty days. Enjoy.

What's the best thing you've read/watched/heard this month? Let us know in the comments section below...

Readings (November 16, 2010)

November 16, 2010

Here are a few items that got our attention today:

  • Marian Wright Edelman: The Threat of Persistent Poverty (Change.org) -- the Great Recession has thrown millions of children into poverty and is putting many more at risk, says the president of the Children's Defense Fund
  • Bob Herbert: This Raging Fire (New York Times) -- Times columnist Herbert weighs in on the cycle of dysfunction that has plunged young black males into crisis
  • Philip Henderson: Focus on Equity (Surdna Foundation) -- the president of the New York City-based Surdna Foundation explains how a simple change -- putting equity first -- has reshaped the kinds of strategic discussions the foundation has with its grantees and partners
  • Todd Cohen: Unsung Nonprofits Are the Big Story (Inside Philanthropy) -- Cohen, a longtime observer of the sector, says forget about the "giving pledge"; the real heroes of philanthropy are nonprofits that deliver every day "in the face of an economic crisis that has escalated demand for services and pushed many nonprofits to the brink of extinction"
  • Lisa Katayama: How the Omidyar Network Pumps Up Nonprofits (Fast Company)
  • [Video] Small Charities Could Get Big Lift From New Social Network (Chronicle of Philanthropy) -- the Chronicle's Raymund Flandez talks to Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes about Jumo, a new social-media platform for the nonprofit world

Got anything you'd like to share?

Readings (November 4, 2010)

November 04, 2010

Here are a few items that grabbed our attention on this rainy day...

Most Popular PhilanTopic Posts (October)

October 29, 2010

As we did last last month, here's a list of the five most popular PhilanTopic posts over the last thirty days. Enjoy.

What's the best thing you've read/watched/heard this month? Let us know in the comments section below...

Readings (October 28, 2010)

October 28, 2010

Some of the things that caught our attention today:

What are you reading/watching/listening to?

Readings (October 27, 2010)

October 27, 2010

A few items that caught our attention today as we were sailing the Twitterverse:

Thoughts, questions, concerns? 

Most Popular PhilanTopic Posts (September)

October 01, 2010

As we did last last month, we've pulled together a list of the most popular PhilanTopic posts over the last thirty days. Enjoy.

  1. George Soros Takes a Risk (Brad Smith)
  2. Google Looks to Renewable Energy as Next Market Opp (Mitch Nauffts)
  3. Nonprofits a Bright Spot in National Jobs Picture (Mitch Nauffts)
  4. Everyone Wants to Be a Hero (Thaler Pekar)
  5. [Anti-]Social Media (Reilly Kiernan)

Use the comments section below and let us know what you've been reading or would recommend....

Most Popular PhilanTopic Posts (August)

August 31, 2010

As we did last last month, we've pulled together a list of the most popular PhilanTopic posts over the last thirty days. Enjoy.

  1. Connecting Your Organization's Past, Present & Future (Thaler Pekar)
  2. 15 Ways to Improve Grantee Communication at Your Foundation (Kris Putnam-Walkerly)
  3. A 'Flip' Chat With...Matthew Bishop, 'Economist' Bureau Chief and 'Philanthrocapitalism' Author (Mitch Nauffts)
  4. NYC's 'Neighborhood of Conscience' (Michael Seltzer)
  5. The 'Giving Pledge' and Social Change (Mitch Nauffts)

Use the comments section below and let us know what you've been reading or would recommend....

Most Popular PhilanTopic Posts (July)

July 31, 2010

As we did last last month, we thought we'd share the five most popular PhilanTopic posts over the last thirty days. Enjoy!

  1. Connecting Your Organization's Past, Present & Future (Thaler Pekar)
  2. Diversity vs. Philanthropic Freedom? (Brad Smith)
  3. Values as Visuals (Thaler Pekar)
  4. Off the Pitch: African Philanthropy Comes Into Its Own (Michael Seltzer)
  5. A 'Flip' Chat With…Nancy Lublin of Do Something (Regina Mahone)
Use the comments section and let us know what you've been reading or recommend....

Readings and Other Stuff (July 9, 2010)

July 09, 2010

A few items for your weekend reading pleasure:

What's on your Kindle/iPad?

Readings and Other Stuff (July 7, 2010)

July 07, 2010

Here are a few items that caught our attention today:

What's on your radar?

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