18 posts categorized "Asians/Pacific Islanders"

Every Person Counts: Why Philanthropy Must Help Save the Census

July 31, 2018

2020_censusIn philanthropic circles, when we talk about protecting democratic institutions and values we often focus on expanding voting rights, improving representation, and connecting impoverished communities with the resources they need. However, all these issues — and many others — are tied to another fundamental pillar of American democracy: the decennial census.

Every decade since 1790, the government has counted the American population, as mandated by the Constitution. While it took the Fourteenth Amendment to ensure that all people were counted equally, the census has nonetheless performed an essential role in maintaining and improving our democracy. Today, our country uses census data to apportion congressional representation; to draw federal, state, and local legislative districts; and to enforce civil rights laws. Businesses use census data to decide where to open, offer jobs, and provide goods and services. The census helps cities and states identify locations for large infrastructure projects like schools, senior centers, public transportation, hospitals, and police services. It determines how roughly $700 billion in federal funds in 2015 were distributed and allocated to programs such as Medicaid, Head Start, and Section 8 housing.

If the 2020 census yields inaccurate data, programs like these — and the people who depend on them — will be in serious jeopardy. Projects may be deprived of crucial funding and entire communities denied fair representation in government. In other words, the consequences of a poorly conducted census will ripple through the public and private sectors, and through civil society, for at least the next ten years.

Unfortunately, there are mounting challenges to achieving a fair, accurate, and complete census in 2020.

The Census Bureau notes that certain populations — people of color, young children, and rural households among them — have been undercounted historically. On top of that, Census Bureau researchin 2017 revealed that the current political climate could further discourage census participation. According to the bureau's own Center for Survey Management, concerns about data sharing and privacy are growing, "particularly among immigrants or those who live with immigrants," which in turn could have a "disproportionate impact on hard-to-count populations."

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Building Democracy: People and Purpose in San Diego County

May 25, 2018

On a March evening at a community center in San Diego, Francisco "Panchito" Martinez stood at a public forum, a bedrock exercise of democracy, and before three District 8 City Council candidates.

With microphone in hand and more than a hundred people in the audience, several of whom wore headphones to listen in Spanish, Somali and Vietnamese, the college student asked the candidates about cultivating and supporting youth leaders in the eighth most-populous U.S. city.

Martinez's participation was a form of engagement in more ways than one. The youth questioned those seeking the privilege of representing people in government while also addressing the need for multi-generational civic involvement.

For Martinez, who often goes by Panchito, and other residents who questioned the candidates in English and Spanish, the forum marked a continuum of a broader community-leadership initiative in San Diego County — one driven by residents and grassroots organizations seeking greater voice and more meaningful representation in government and community affairs.

Like other parts of the U.S., San Diego County's population has been transformed dramatically over the last several decades. Today, people of color are the majority among the county's 3.3 million residents. Together, Latinos and Asian Pacific Islanders make up four out of every ten residents.

In Barrio Logan, the San Diego neighborhood that Panchito and about five thousand other people call home, there are industrial businesses as well as residences.

In this primarily Latino neighborhood south and east of the city's popular Gaslamp Quarter and within view of the Port of San Diego and U.S. Navy facilities, concerns over health are one reason why residents say local government should better mirror the makeup of this diverse region.

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5 Questions for...Lateefah Simon, President, Akonadi Foundation

January 04, 2018

At 40, Lateefah Simon has spent more than half her life as a civil rights advocate and racial justice leader. She was a 17-year-old mother when she went to work for the Center for Young Women's Development and was just 19 when she became the organization's executive director. In the years that followed, she helped position the center as a national leader in the movement to empower young women of color — an achievement for which she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2003. She later led the creation of San Francisco's first reentry services division, headed the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, and served as a program director at the Rosenberg Foundation, where she helped launch the Leading Edge Fund in support of the next generation of progressive movement leaders in California.

In 2016, Simon became the second president of Akonadi Foundation, whose mission is "to eliminate structural racism that leads to inequity in the United States." PND spoke with her about the work required to build a movement focused on racial equity — and philanthropy's role in that effort.

Philanthropy News Digest: The Akonadi Foundation, which is headquartered in Oakland, is focused on "building a localized racial justice movement." Why is it important for the racial justice movement to act locally?

Headshot_lateefash_simon_2017Lateefah Simon: What those of us in philanthropy and those working on the ground doing movement-building work know is that many of the racialized policies that have divided communities, from juvenile justice to local policing to school policies, have taken place on the municipal level. We also know that our efforts have to be extremely strategic to undo these policies — for example, the disproportionate overuse of school suspensions and expulsions against black and brown students that has been standard policy for many, many years.

To create racial justice in our communities, we have to go deep — to the source, where the policies come from, and also to the culture. Our work is not just about going after and disrupting racist policy but also about ensuring that all communities of color are working together, understanding that one group's organizing, movement-building, and advocacy work will benefit other groups. If we're fighting for anti-gentrification policies in Chinatown, African-American and Latino communities are going to be able to use those efforts to inform their own organizing, and so on.

PND: The foundation takes an "ecosystem" approach to its grantmaking. What do you mean by ecosystem grantmaking, and why do you believe it's the right approach for your movement at this time?

LS: Five years ago, the Akonadi Foundation set out to envision what Oakland could look like in ten years. Oakland has been a cradle of social movements — and is best known, of course, as the birthplace of the Black Panther Party. There's a historical narrative here around race and the interconnectedness of people of color coming together to defeat horrific racist policies; it's our legacy. In our ambition to create a ten-year period of change, our thought was, even as a small foundation, we need to make grants that address the ecosystem in which "justice" is created and delivered. We know that here in Oakland, for example, we have a responsibility to fund base-building groups that are enlisting people willing to fight back, to fund groups that are going to craft policy prescriptions, and groups that will — when those campaigns have succeeded — ensure implementation of those prescriptions as well as follow-up advocacy and legal oversight of the policies.

And just as importantly, we know that if we are pushing communities to organize and fight campaigns, culture has to be at the center of this work; much of our cultural work as people of color is about staking claim to a city we helped build. So thinking about how change happens, about how the people of Oakland move toward justice — it's broad, and must be led by an "ecosystem" of grant partners who are in movement together.

In 2018, we're going to be engaging our grantees and having them give us a better idea of where we are. The world has completely changed in the last year. And because the world has changed, and the conditions of our city have changed, it's important for us to go back and look at our theory of change and redefine and reexamine how ecosystem grantmaking needs to work.

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Toward More Inclusive Diversity in the Philanthropic Sector: LGBTQ People and People With Disabilities

July 28, 2017

DiversityThe philanthropic sector has taken steps to address the lack of inclusion of women and people of color in its talent pool. But newly released research from the Council on Foundations reveals that several demographics often are missing from philanthropic talent conversations and decisions.

The reason for this may well be a lack of data. For almost thirty years, the council has collected data on grantmaker staff composition and compensation in the United States. Our annual Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey represents a set of data points from more than a thousand grantmakers, including data on nearly ten thousand full-time paid professional and administrative staff members.

Using this rich dataset, we analyzed the demographics of the philanthropic sector looking back five and ten years, with a focus on the representation of women and people of color. Our recently released report, State of Change: An Analysis of Women and People of Color in the Philanthropic Sector, highlights findings based on that analysis.

Even our large dataset, however, lacked sufficient data for us to be able to conduct any meaningful analysis with regard to sexual orientation, gender identity, and physical/intellectual disability.

That raises a number of important questions. Are the LGBTQ population and people with disabilities simply underrepresented within the talent pool available to the sector? Are survey respondents reluctant to report on these particular demographics? There are no simple answers. Much has been said about the underrepresentation of women and people of color in top jobs at the nation's foundations, and several organizations have developed fellowship and pipeline programs designed to bolster the diversity of the next generation of philanthropic leaders. Role models such as the California Endowment's Robert K. Ross and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's La June Montgomery Tabron also serve as champions for the importance of diverse and inclusive institutions that embrace equitable grantmaking practices.

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Weekend Link Roundup (January 30-31, 2016)

January 31, 2016

Woolworth_sit-inOur weekly round up of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Climate Change

According to Jessica Leber, a staff editor and writer for Fast Company's Co.Exist, Al Gore, at one time "possibly the gloomiest man in America," is feeling somewhat hopeful for the future of the planet, thanks in part to what he sees as the success of the recent Paris climate change talks.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Hey, you CSR types, looking to achieve more social good in 2016? Saudia Davis, founder and CEO of GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning, shares some good advice.

And Ryan Scott, founder and CEO of Causecast, a platform for cause engagement, weighs in with six reasons businesses need to increase their CSR budgets.

Criminal Justice

"It is clear," writes Sonia Kowal, president of Zevin Asset Management, on the NCRP blog, "that our justice system is designed for control rather than healing. And with the alarming demographics of national incarceration rates, it's also clear that it helps facilitate an economy of exclusion that considers many people of color to be unemployable and disposable." What can foundations and impact investors do to change that paradigm. Kowal has a few suggestions.

Education

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has announced the launch of EDInsight, a new education-related blog that will  "provide a forum for discussing a variety of topics related to education — including teacher preparation, school quality, postsecondary attainment, use of education data and other education news and trends."

Giving Pledge

The New York Times reports that, since July, investor and Giving Pledge co-founder Warren Buffett has gifted $32 million worth of stock in Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company he controls. The Times also notes that the total represents "a relatively small part of Buffett's plan to give most of his $58.3 billion fortune to charity." Interestingly, despite giving roughly $1.5 billion a year (mostly to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) since launching the Giving Pledge in 2010, Buffett's personal net worth, most of it tied to Berkshire stock, has increased by more than $10 billion, while Bill Gates's net worth has grown by $27 billion, from $53 billion to $80 billion. In other words, neither man is giving his fortune away as quickly as he is adding to it.

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Latino Entrepreneurs: How Philanthropy Can Fuel Small Business

October 15, 2015

Hand-with-FlagsAs National Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, it's a good time to recognize and celebrate the critical role that Latino-owned businesses play in the U.S. economy. Consider, for starters, that between 1990 and 2012, the number of Hispanic entrepreneurs in the United States more than tripled, from 577,000 to 2 million (Source: Partnership for a New American Economy).

While significant, however, those gains are modest compared to the growth of white-owned businesses over the same period. What's more, Latino-owned businesses generate less annual revenue than non-Latino small businesses and grow at a slower rate. And, like many small businesses and entrepreneurs, Latino-owned businesses report that access to capital is a major barrier to growth.

That should not come as a surprise. A recent Harvard Business School study (66 pages, PDF) reports that small business loans as a share of total bank loans in 1995 was about 50 percent, compared to only 30 percent in 2012. And a report on minority entrepreneurship by researchers at UC-Berkeley and Wayne State University finds that minority-owned businesses typically encounter higher borrowing costs, receive smaller loan amounts, and see their loan applications rejected more often.

The reasons for such disparities are many, but one thing seems abundantly clear: resolving them is not just a question of social justice; it goes to the heart of American competitiveness in a fast-moving global economy.

On the plus side, there are no shortage of examples of dynamic businesses started — and nurtured — by Latino entrepreneurs who have secured access to affordable loans from lenders who understand their dreams, their businesses, and their challenges.

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'Under Construction': SEARAC - Washington, D.C.

May 20, 2014

Under Construction is a multimedia online exhibit showcasing some of the best and brightest organizations working with males of color. The UC team of filmmakers, photographers, writers, and nonprofit experts worked directly with each of these organizations for several weeks. The collaborations yielded comprehensive portraits of the services men of color receive. Each profile features a short video, a photography exhibit, a visual program model, and a narrative essay detailing the efforts of these organizations.

Under Construction is a project of Frontline Solutions and was made possible through the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For more profiles, click here.

He'd stayed calm as a cop dumped the contents of his backpack onto the sidewalk.

Scenes like this had already played out with most of his friends. Today he was riding his skateboard to school and running late, and now it was his turn to be the law's concern. He was told to take his shirt off so they could take photos of his tattoos. All the while he stood quietly, insisting that he wasn't in a gang, saying softly, "I don't belong to nobody," over and over. But when he saw the cop get angry and toss his skateboard into the street, he ran after it, picked it up, and came right back to the questions. At 14, that plank of wood and those wheels were the only place he felt good.

"What gang are you in?" the officer asked Anthony Hem, a son of Cambodian immigrants. How many times would he have to say it? "I don’t belong to nobody." Finally the officer went to his car, came out with a list of area gangs, and picked one near the top. "He just came up to me and said, 'Now you're on gang file. You're from this gang now, the Asian Boyz'," Hem says. The Asian Boyz are affiliated with the Crips. From now on, that's how the law would see him.

Under-construction-searac-2In a country where conversations about racial equality are focused heavily on African Americans and Latinos, the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center in Washington, D.C., serves a different population. SEARAC supports grassroots organizations that are looking out for kids like Hem, children of refugees who face many of the same issues other minority groups face, like poverty, violence, prejudice, racial profiling, and despair.

The national organization focuses intently on state and national policies and helps organizations like Khmer Girls and Boys in Action in Long Beach, California, and the One Love Movement in San Diego, relentlessly push lawmakers to reconsider policies like the one that put Hem in a gang file with no notification of his parents and no due process for having his name removed. The policy knowledge that SEARAC shares serves as a tool that smaller organizations integrate into their mentoring and cultural education activities. The collaboration helps foster young leaders who can speak for a refugee community still reeling from the effects of genocide and war.

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Documentary Film and Gentrification (Part 2)

April 15, 2014

(Kathryn Pyle is a documentary filmmaker and a regular contributor to PhilanTopic. Click here to read part one of this two-part series.)

Poster_holding_groundIn my previous post, I wrote about a handful of documentary films that explore the phenomenon of gentrification. In this post, I'll consider urban redevelopment in a broader sense – with the pressure coming not only from private developers but from city government and, in some cases, endowed institutions with agendas of their own.

Over the past decade, the Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia has offered a variety of programs designed to build the media skills of community activists. Through its Precious Places project, for instance, Scribe has provided video production support to nearly seventy organizations looking to record the stories neighborhood residents have to tell about the buildings, public spaces, parks, landmarks, and other sites that define where they live. The series has been broadcast on WHYY and screened in film festivals and community settings around the country.

A number of Precious Places films focus on the eroding sense of community in urban neighborhoods. Two of those short films address the value of green space and community-based arts and, in the process, challenge public policy assumptions about "redevelopment."

Featuring sixty local gardeners and other residents. La Mott Community Garden (2011) tells the story of a two-acre community garden located just outside the city line adjacent to La Mott, the oldest historically black community in Pennsylvania. Part of a larger twelve-acre parcel deeded to Temple University in 1939, the garden has served the community for more than eighty years. At some point along the way, Temple built the Tyler School of Art on part of the property, leaving the garden intact. But when a new facility was constructed for Tyler on Temple's main campus in 2009, the entire parcel was put up for sale. With support from Cheltenham Township and the Conservancy of Montgomery County, the La Mott Community Garden Group is attempting to save the garden and has requested that Temple donate the garden to the community under a land trust agreement or set a fair market price for the property so it can be purchased by the community. Both options have been rejected by the university, and negotiations are at a standstill as gardening season approaches.

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5 Questions for...Charles Bailey, Director, Agent Orange in Vietnam Program

August 19, 2013

Headshot_charles_baileyFrom 1997 to 2007, Charles Bailey was the Ford Foundation representative in Vietnam. At the start of his posting, the war in Vietnam had been over for more than twenty years, but one of its legacies, environmental contamination caused by the U.S. military's use of Agent Orange, was an under-addressed concern. Bailey looked into the facts of Agent Orange use in the Southeast Asian country and began to develop a vocabulary that American and Vietnamese officials could use to discuss the issue. After a few years, Ford invited the Aspen Institute, which has expertise in facilitating difficult conversations, to initiate a dialogue around the issue, and the two governments began to talk. Eventually, the United Nations, other NGOs and foundations, and several European governments joined the conversation.

But one thing was missing, says Bailey, and that was a way to connect the American public to the effort. With his encouragement, Active Voice, a social documentary shop in San Francisco, put together a three-minute public-service video, "Make Agent Orange History," while San Francisco State University contributed fresh reporting to the discussion through its Vietnam Reporting Project. In 2011, Bailey moved to the Aspen Institute, where he continues to support dialogue, advocacy, and public education around the issue.

Recently, PND spoke with Bailey about the Agent Orange program and what remains to be done.

Philanthropy News Digest: Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang recently met with President Obama in Washington, D.C. Why was the meeting significant?

Charles Bailey: President Sang is the second Vietnamese head-of-state to visit the U.S. since the two countries normalized relations in 1995, and his visit was an important opportunity to celebrate the remarkable progress made since 2007 in at last addressing the legacy of Agent Orange. Over the last six years, our Agent Orange in Vietnam Program has had a hand in raising over $100 million to assist Vietnam to begin to deal with this legacy from the U.S.-Vietnam War. Even more important for the future, President Obama and President Sang issued a joint statement at the end of their talks on July 26 that contained a key statement: "The president reaffirmed the United States' commitment to providing further medical and other care and assistance for people with disabilities, regardless of cause."

I published an op-ed in the Huffington Post on the occasion urging both presidents to take advantage of this breakthrough and include language on disability services and rights as part of a new comprehensive partnership agreement between the U.S. and Vietnam.

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Preparing Students for College and Careers

October 19, 2012

(Jessica Pliska is the founder and executive director of The Opportunity Network, an intensive, six-year program designed to equal the playing field for high-achieving underserved high school and college students on the road to college and career success.)

Jessica_pliska_headshotThe son of a mail courier and a homemaker, Eric Santiago is the first generation in his family to go to college. He grew up in a low-income family in the Fordham section of the Bronx. When his acceptance letter to Columbia University arrived, Eric made history, becoming the first student from his high school to ever gain admission to the Ivy League.

At Columbia, Eric was unprepared for the academic rigor. "I didn't even know what office hours were, let alone how to use them," he remembers. Assigned The Odyssey in freshman English, he found that many of his classmates had already read it -- in sixth grade. He learned to hold his own with students from tony prep schools who wore designer clothing to class while his blue jeans were stapled together. In his last semester, a financial aid snafu almost prevented him from registering for classes. Less resilient students drop out in the face of similar challenges.

Eric negotiated these situations, graduated in May, and recently landed his first job. But this makes him unusual -- only 10 percent of low-income students graduate college. This number is even more staggering when you consider how many more low-income students are starting college.

It's easy to blame academic unpreparedness or lack of financial resources, both critical issues. But according to a recent study by the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, "even after taking their demographic backgrounds, enrollment characteristics, and academic preparation into consideration, low-income and first-generation students are still at greater risk of failure" – an indication that "the problem is as much the result of [their] experiences during college as it is attributable to the experiences they have before they enroll." Indeed, while a student's academic or financial problems may seem trivial, the smallest of mishaps can spiral into debilitating problems, no matter how much the student wants to succeed.

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This Week in PubHub: Minorities and Higher Education

February 23, 2012

(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 the role of racial/ethnic disparities in wealth, health, and educational attainment and how those factors are linked and reinforce one another.)

Diverging Pathways: How Wealth Shapes Opportunity for Children (16 pages, PDF), a report from the Insight Center for Community Economic Development included in my last post, cites 2007 data showing that 69 percent of Latino and 71 percent of African-American households are income-poor, while 40 percent (for both groups) are asset-poor. The report argues that without the financial resources to pay for high-quality early childhood education or college, children in these households face a future of limited opportunity. This week in PubHub, we're featuring four reports that focus on trends in college enrollment among students of color, as well as the role of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs).

According to Hispanic College Enrollment Spikes, Narrowing Gaps With Other Groups (30 pages, PDF), a report from the Pew Hispanic Center, the number of Latino students between the ages of 18 and 24 enrolled in two- or four-year colleges jumped 24 percent in 2010. That compares favorably with modest increases of 5.2 percent and 5.4 percent for African Americans and Asian Americans, and a decline of 4 percent (due in part to demographic trends) among white students. Funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the report also found that 44 percent of Latino high school graduates attended college in 2010, accounting for 15 percent of all college students in that age group, and that while college enrollment among Latinos is up significantly in recent years, completion rates remain low, at 13 percent, among 25- to 29-year-olds.

Raising college completion rates among Latino students is the focus of Roadmap for Ensuring America's Future by Increasing Latino College Completion (20 pages, PDF), a report from Excelencia in Education. Given demographic trends, the report notes, Latinos will have to earn 5.5 million college degrees to close racial/ethnic gaps and meet the nation's degree attainment goal by 2020. To that end, the report's authors recommend that communities develop partnerships between school districts and institutions of higher education to improve college readiness and participation rates; that colleges guarantee need-based aid for qualified students; and that states track data on equity and success in degree attainment. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Lumina Foundation for Education, the report calls on the federal government to support capacity-building efforts at established and emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) to strengthen educational quality as a way to boost degree attainment.

According to the reports, college enrollment among African Americans and Latinos reached record highs in 2010, with just over half of Latino undergraduates enrolled at HSIs. Indeed, Students Speak! -- Understanding the Value of HBCUs From Student Perspectives (39 pages, PDF), a report from the UNCF Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute, notes that while HBCUs account for only 4 percent of all four-year institutions in the U.S., they graduate 21 percent of all African Americans with a bachelor's degree. According to the report, the decision to attend an HBCU is influenced by many factors, including the perception that they provide a welcoming, supportive environment and a measure of cultural empowerment. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the report suggests that students who feel connected to and supported by their institutions, both academically and socially, are more likely to stay in school, and that student-faculty interaction is a key factor in raising retention and graduation rates.

The Lumina Foundation for Education has been working with HBCUs, HSIs, tribal colleges and universities, and Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions to boost degree attainment. The Role of Minority-Serving Institutions in National College Completion Goals (9 pages, PDF), a report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy, describes Lumina's MSI Models of Success program, which aims to build capacity for data collection and analysis, foster a collective advocacy voice on behalf of minority-serving institutions, strengthen policy and practice related to developmental education, and raise completion rates, especially among men of color.

How do you think we should be addressing racial/ethnic disparities in educational attainment? Do you know of any promising initiatives to raise retention rates among students of color at non-MSIs, or best practices for boosting college completion rates at the community level? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

And don't forget to visit PubHub, where you can browse more than two hundred and sixty reports on topics related to minorities.

-- Kyoko Uchida

5Qs for...Alandra Washington, Deputy Director, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

February 15, 2012

Alandra_washingtonIn January, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, with support from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, released a report based on the work of its Cultures of Giving program, which since 2005 has supported identity-based funds that serve groups traditionally underserved by larger philanthropic institutions. Among other things, the report, Cultures of Giving: Energizing and Expanding Philanthropy by and for Communities of Color (112 pages, PDF), offers a glimpse into the strategies and lessons learned by the largest single funder of identity-based funds in the country and challenges other funders to develop new ways to collaborate with and advance identity-based philanthropy.

As the report suggests, philanthropy in the United States is becoming more diverse -- not only because there are more ways to give than ever before, but also because giving by communities of color is on the rise. And while those communities have supported leadership development and social change initiatives for decades, the growth in identity-based funds has boosted the visibility of such giving. "Communities of color are overflowing with practices of philanthropy and giving, and have been for a long time," says Alandra Washington, deputy director at the Kellogg Foundation. "But very few people in communities of color define their traditions of giving as 'philanthropy.'"

Washington, who joined the foundation in 2002 and oversees its Family Economic Security and Education and Learning programs, served for five years prior to that as CEO of the Greater East St. Louis Community Fund and before that led the New Spirit Organizing Office, also in St. Louis. PND recently spoke with her about the report.

Philanthropy News Digest: From your perspective, what has been the biggest change in philanthropy over the last twenty years?

Alandra Washington: As the report points out, how we define philanthropist and philanthropy have changed a lot over the last twenty years. Today, we're seeing members of communities that are most at-risk pool their resources to address problems in those communities. Small gifts, when combined, can be quite effective in addressing local issues. And, of course, the explosion of new technologies and platforms, things like mobile giving, has made it easier for individuals across the socioeconomic spectrum to give.

PND: How do you and your colleagues define identity-based philanthropy? What are some of the advantages of an identity-based approach for communities of color? And what are some of the challenges?

AW: At its most basic level, identity-based philanthropy is a collective investment in a community by members of that community focused on addressing problems -- across race, class, gender, or whatever else it might be -- affecting that community. One advantage of this type of giving is that it allows individuals who already are giving back to their communities to organize and pool not just their resources but also their knowledge, influence, energy, skills, and pride to build social capital.

At the same time, as with any group working to actualize social change and address specific injustices, our identity-based grantees have come up against a number of social, political, and economic challenges. Volatility in the stock market, for example, has been a challenge for identity-based funds. Even so, they have been able to work around the ongoing economic uncertainty and raise and distribute a record amount of money.

PND: Did the recession have an effect on identity-based philanthropy?

AW: The whole sector was affected by the recession. Unlike traditional donors, however, communities of color continued to give at increasing rates and levels. As the report shows, 63 percent of Latino households now make charitable donations, as do nearly two-thirds of African American households, to the tune of about $11 billion per year. While communities of color weren't immune to the economic downturn, a 2005 paper by John J. Havens and Paul G. Schervish found that aggregate charitable giving by African Americans was increasing at a faster rate than either their aggregate income or wealth. In fact, identity-based funds now raise and distribute nearly $400 million annually, which, as our report notes, is roughly the same as what a foundation with $8 billion in assets would award in grants annually.

PND: The report examines not only what worked for the Cultures of Giving program at the Kellogg Foundation, but also what didn't and why. What was the biggest surprise for you in the report? And what does the foundation hope to gain by sharing this information with the public?

AW: I was most surprised by the resiliency of these organizations and how they learned from their challenges, learned from their failures, and were willing to go back to the drawing board to figure out innovative solutions when confronted with challenges.

By sharing this information with the public, the foundation hopes to show funders and donors alike that there are resources, networks, influencers, and change strategies happening across these communities. We're hoping that others seek out and partner with identity-based groups and leverage their resources. People should walk away from the report knowing that communities of color and identity-based groups have power, influence, and resources, and that they are a great go-to partner.

PND: What advice would you give to funders looking to support identity-based funds?

AW: I would tell them to approach communities of color with a listen-and-learn attitude. It is important for them to understand that this is an emerging field and that there is a lot to learn. Yes, they should also look for ways to partner and collaborate, but first they need to learn as much as they can about the communities they are looking to fund, what's most important to them, and what their approach is to giving. Finally, I would say that funders should try to identify opportunities to leverage the human resources of these communities. All grantmakers, not just those supporting communities of color as part of their mission, should know that there's a cadre of folks in these communities who are willing, able, and ready to partner with them.

-- Regina Mahone

An Opportunity to Lead: South Asian Philanthropy in Canada

August 10, 2011

(Archana Sridhar is assistant dean, graduate program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and co-founder of the South Asian Philanthropy Project, a forum to inspire increased giving and volunteering among South Asians in North America. A version of this article appeared in the most recent issue of The Philanthropist, a quarterly review for practitioners, scholars, supporters, and others engaged in the nonprofit sector in Canada.)

Archana_Sridhar While the category of "South Asian" comprises quite a diverse population in Canada, it has become an accepted demographic category and identity, particularly beyond first-generation South Asian immigrants. Although a small number of South Asians came to Canada in the early 1900s to work in British Columbia's lumber industry, more arrived after 1960, growing into a diverse population in various professional sectors, including finance, medicine, small business, and service. South Asians now make up about 4 percent of Canada's population, with a total population of about 1.3 million, according to the 2006 census.

About 70 percent of South Asians in Canada live in Toronto or Vancouver. In fact, South Asians make up 12 percent of Toronto's population and more than 8 percent of Vancouver's. Statistics Canada notes that South Asians embody cultural values such as strong family connections, social networks with other South Asians, and preservation of heritage languages. And while South Asians have very high voting rates -- especially when compared to other visible minorities -- and an increasing political presence, their giving practices have not yet been analyzed. The economic health of South Asians is above average as compared to other Canadian visible minorities. Indeed, several notable South Asian Canadians have built enormous wealth and business success, including Sir Christopher Ondaatje; Sabi Marwah, vice chair and COO of the Bank of Nova Scotia and a director of the Toronto Star; Calgary real estate developer Bob Singh Dhillon; and many others.

The South Asian diaspora in North America is strikingly diverse on a variety of axes, such as religion, class, caste, country of origin, language, and immigration status. This vast diversity certainly impacts philanthropy. For example, Ismaili Muslim South Asians give from their personal income as a part of their religious practice, while Hindus often participate actively in a tradition of giving (sometimes known as dakshina) that up to this point has been devoted primarily to supporting local temples in the United States and Canada. In addition, as with other ethnic groups, socioeconomic class can impact the means and manner of giving -- with a few millionaire South Asians establishing private foundations or community foundation-based donor-advised funds, while less affluent South Asians make smaller gifts through community organizations or religious institutions.

The diaspora also faces certain specific needs from the social services sector, which philanthropy could help to address through new and existing charities and other innovative approaches. These include the need for free or low-cost legal services for new immigrants; for domestic abuse shelters for women and children; for English-language instruction and interpretation; and for healthcare education and services for conditions that disproportionately affect South Asians such as heart disease and diabetes. Juxtaposing these community-specific needs against available resources highlights the need for more research and education around philanthropy.

A brief philanthropic history

A variety of philanthropic traditions exist among South Asians in North America. As noted above, religious giving is one key known form of South Asian giving. For example, Hindu communities from around the world raised approximately $40 million for the Swaminarayan Temple in the greater Toronto area. Ismaili Muslims, often originally from South Asia (via Africa and/or the UK), share a strong religious commitment to charitable giving; construction recently began on the $300 million Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Centre, also in Toronto. Religious centers are also a powerful venue for fundraising for non-religious causes. The Sikh Community of British Columbia raised more than $1.5 million through the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Society for Haiti relief efforts within a few weeks of the 2010 earthquake.

South Asians also give to charities in their countries of origin, establishing NGOs to provide education, health care, or other services in their hometowns or villages. In addition, South Asians give in Canada both to mainstream organizations and to those focused on their own ethnic communities. In the first category, the YWCA Vancouver benefits from fundraisers by the Indo-Canadian Business Association, and the Royal Ontario Museum and Art Gallery of Ontario have had very public fundraising campaigns with South Asians such as Arti Chandaria at the helm. One of the most high-profile examples of this trend occurred last year with the announcement that the Canada-India Foundation (CIF) had entered into a joint initiative with the University of Waterloo to establish the Chanchlani India Policy Consortium. Under the agreement, the CIF will contribute up to $2 million and will raise another $10 million from government and other private sources to fund endowed chairs, graduate students, lectures, and conferences on India-Canada relations and foreign policy.

Many other organizations are focused on the diversity of Canada's population, and all of them benefit from South Asian donors and volunteers. There are other organizations and federations focused primarily on the South Asian diaspora in Canada, such as the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA), specialized organizations like the South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC), community service organizations like the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP), and organizations and shelters focused on South Asian women such as the South Asian Women's Community Centre of Montreal. While these types of small, community-based organizations receive some support from individual South Asians, much of their funding comes from government agencies.

Many South Asians, much like members of other immigrant groups, also come together to help extended family members emigrate and settle in North America, and to support their children's college and graduate education. And, similar to other ethnic groups, South Asians often send remittances to their families in India, Pakistan, and other countries. In terms of volunteering, board service is a key metric because of formal or informal requirements to give financially and because of the required commitment of time and resources to the community. In Canada, the Maytree Foundation's DiverseCity initiative found that (as of March 2009) visible minorities are underrepresented in the seniormost leadership positions in the greater Toronto area: "Just 13 percent of leaders we analyzed are visible minorities....Within the largest charities and foundation, visible minorities represented 14 percent of executives and 18 percent of board members" (Maytree Foundation, 2009). There is a great need to engage South Asians in this type of philanthropic service, both to diversify civic institutions and to bring the talents of South Asians to bear on broader societal issues.

State of the research field

No one has yet been able to describe empirically the landscape of giving among South Asians in Canada (or the United States). The state of the field in terms of understanding this community's philanthropy appears to be in complete disarray, relying heavily on assumptions and anecdotal evidence. Research does exist at the periphery, primarily related to two themes. First, several scholars have examined the impact of South Asian diaspora populations on giving overseas and the impact of giving from the West to South Asia (Hewa & Hove, 1997; Kulabkar, 2004; Niumai, 2009; Rajan, Pink, & Dow, 2009; Viswanath, 2004). Second, there is some research on diversity in philanthropy writ large. For example, Imagine Canada has collected some data on the giving and volunteering patterns of landed immigrants. When we look at the samples upon which these and other existing studies are based, we find that South Asians are either not represented to any significant degree, or their representation is unclear. The only comprehensive study of a particular South Asian community has focused on the Pakistani diaspora (Najam, 2007), and other smaller and narrower studies have focused on the Indian-American community or subsets thereof (Anand, 2004).

A few academics are beginning to go beyond these themes and examine other trends in South Asian philanthropy and civic engagement in North America (Sidel, 2003; Venkatesh, 2008). In addition, several nonprofit organizations and professional associations have engaged in some preliminary studies on South Asian giving and expressed an intention to study and promote South Asian philanthropy. For example, the South Asian Philanthropy Project is collecting existing resources and assembling a catalogue of South Asian–focused charitable organizations to aid donors in decision-making. Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) has supported or published several white papers and reports on Asian-American philanthropy, for example through giving circles (Ho, 2008). Finally, in both Canada and the United States, charities and community organizations serving South Asian constituencies have come together to found various coalitions or federations, such as CASSA -- noted above -- and the National Coalition for South Asian Organizations (NCSO), in Washington, D.C.

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The Art of Rebuilding: A Japanese Earthquake Update

July 07, 2011

(Laura Cronin is a frequent contributor to PhilanTopic. Her last post was a Q&A with Don Crocker, executive director of the Support Center for Nonprofit Management.)

Dream_Gong The economic importance of the arts has been well documented, and funders with an interest in community development have long recognized that artists and nonprofit arts organizations are essential to community revitalization.

More recently, in the wake of several large-scale natural and man-made disasters, funders have focused on support for arts and culture as a part of the larger effort to help people rebuild their lives. Award-winning television producer David Simon even made the idea that culture can help heal a devastated city the premise for his critically acclaimed HBO series Treme.

In the United States, the Coalition for Artists' Preparedness and Emergency Response, a task force of more than twenty arts organizations, arts funders and individual artists, has been working to build a nationwide safety net for artists and the arts organizations that serve them before, during, and after disasters.

In the months ahead, this approach will cross the Pacific when the Asian Cultural Council (ACC) -- whose mission is to support international dialogue through cultural exchange -- launches Arts in Action, a grant program to support artists working in communities recovering from natural disasters.

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This Week in PubHub: Minorities

February 21, 2011

(Kyoko Uchida manages PubHub, the Foundation Center's online catalog of foundation-sponsored publications. In her last post, she introduced several reports that explore aspects of democratization, political transition, and nation building in the Muslim world.)

Throughout the month of February, PubHub is featuring reports about racial/ethnic minorities. ccording to Marrying Out: One-in-Seven New U.S. Marriages Is Interracial or Interethnic, a new report from the Pew Research Center, 14.6 percent of all new marriages in the United States in 2008 were between people of different races (i.e., white, black, Asian, American Indian, mixed race, or some other race) or different ethnicities (between a Latino/ Hispanic and non-Latino/Hispanic). The report also found that while intermarriage rates have gone up significantly since 1980 for whites and African Americans, they've declined slightly for Latinos/Hispanics and Asians. Trends vary by race/ethnicity and gender, with the rate of intermarriage for African-American men (22 percent) far outpacing that of African-American women (8.9 percent) and Asian women much more likely to intermarry (39.5 percent) than Asian men (19.5 percent).

Among those who often go unmentioned in such surveys or are subsumed into the "other race" category are Native Americans. Two reports from the National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center, Investing in Tribal Governments: Case Studies From the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and Investing in Tribal Governments: An Analysis of Impact and Remaining Need Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, describe how partnering with tribal governments can support policy innovations with the potential to spur economic growth in Indian country, even as they make the case that the stimulus funds, while helpful, only begin to address Native Americans' long-term needs. Among other things, the reports call for structural changes to give tribes greater access to federal funds on a consistent basis, more frequent direct engagement with tribal leaders, and better data collection to inform policy.

What about philanthropic support for Native peoples? The Ford Foundation report Native Arts and Cultures: Research, Growth and Opportunities for Philanthropic Support highlights the foundation's Indigenous Knowledge and Expressive Culture initiative and brings together the cumulative findings of three reports. One, a grantmaking evaluation, found that philanthropic support for Native arts and artists remained inadequate, even though grantees managed to leverage funding to achieve greater impact; a second revealed a need for more opportunities to deepen the knowledge and skills of Native leaders; and the third, a feasibility study, determined that creating a Native arts and cultures fund could help support artists at the community level. In response, the Ford Foundation, in partnership with the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and the Wiyot Tribe, created the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation in 2009 to help develop and revitalize Native American artistic expression and foster indigenous arts in American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native communities.

What should be philanthropy's role in supporting diversity and minority communities? How is it doing, and could it be doing more? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. And don't forget to visit PubHub, where you can browse more than two hundred reports related to issues affecting minorities in the United States.

-- Kyoko Uchida

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  • "Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated...."

    — Kofi Annan (1938-2018)

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