240 posts categorized "Health"

Organize, mobilize, and train the most affected residents: A Q&A with Peggy Shepard, co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice

May 13, 2022

Headshot_Peggy_Shepard_WEACT_for_Environmental_Justice_Allie-HollowayPeggy Shepard is co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice and has a long history of organizing and engaging Northern Manhattan residents in community-based planning and campaigns to address environmental protection and environmental health policy locally and nationally. She is a national leader in advancing environmental policy from the perspective of environmental justice in urban communities. Previously, she was named co-chair of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council as well as chair of the New York City Environmental Justice Advisory Board, and was the first female chair of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She serves on the executive committee of the National Black Environmental Justice Network and the board of advisors of the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.

Shepard has been awarded the Jane Jacobs Medal from the Rockefeller Foundation for Lifetime Achievement, the 10th Annual Heinz Award for the Environment, the William K. Reilly Award for Environmental Leadership, the Knight of the National Order of Merit from the French Republic, the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award from the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and honorary doctorates from Smith College and Lawrence University.

PND asked Shepard about the importance of organizing to build healthy communities, sustainable policies that would bring about change, the root causes of environmental racism, the benefits of science and community partnership, nonprofit climate change strategies, the legislative response to environmental justice, and the need for climate migrants from South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa to receive equal attention to the impact of climate change migration in their regions.

Philanthropy News Digest: The lack of power and representation in political and economic systems makes it difficult for communities of color to build climate resilience. What is the importance of organizing low-income people of color to build healthy communities for themselves, and how does your background inform the support communities need in advocating for the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment?

Peggy Shepard: I discovered the power of a well-organized community early on in my career. I had the opportunity to experience the communities that had resources and strong advocacy and those that did not, such as the community in which I lived. I was a Democratic district leader in West Harlem when the North River Sewage Treatment Plant was built in our neighborhood after originally being rejected by other communities that were whiter and more affluent.

Once the plant started operating, the odors and emissions were unbearable. At that time, the facility had open sewage pools, so the odor of raw sewage filled the air in West Harlem. It was so bad that residents had to keep their windows shut, even on hot days. Even motorists along the West Side Highway would roll up their windows as they drove by.

A core group of us began to organize people and develop a plan of action. We learned that the emissions coming out of its smokestacks failed to comply with federal clean air standards and that the air pollution was having an adverse impact on people’s health. We began to share this information with people throughout the community and invited them to join our campaign to force the city to address these issues. It took longer than we expected, but after we sued the New York City Department of Environmental Conservation in 1992, the city committed $55 million to retrofit the facility, and our lawsuit was settled for a $1.1 million West Harlem Environmental Benefits Fund. We decided to create West Harlem Environmental Action, aka WE ACT for Environmental Justice, to institutionalize advocacy in underserved communities of color with low income.

Our theory of change is to organize, mobilize, and train the most affected residents to engage in environmental decision making. We are a base-building organization where our members provide direction to and engage with our campaigns through membership meetings, trainings, and working groups on Climate Justice, Healthy Homes, and Worker Training. As a result, they are able to testify at legislative hearings, lead rallies, and attend lobby days to educate their elected officials. With their support, WE ACT has been successful in contributing significantly to the passage of a dozen or more bills at the New York City Council and the New York State legislature, laws that protect the health of children from toxins, and that support decarbonization and electrification. WE ACT started a 501(c)(4), WE ACT 4 Change, to engage our members and community residents in civic and political engagement through trainings, briefings, and candidate forums. Community-based planning has been a hallmark of WE ACT, and we mobilized 400 of our members and community residents to engage in developing the Northern Manhattan Climate Action Plan, which prioritized energy security and democracy. We maintain an active and well-organized membership who inform and support our work at the city, state, and federal levels....

Read the full Q&A with Peggy Shepard, co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice.

How to support human rights, health, and well-being in Ukraine: A commentary by Christian De Vos

May 12, 2022

Migration crisis on the border with Belarus_GettyImages_NzpnIn its violent and unlawful invasion of Ukraine, Russia has launched indiscriminate attacks against civilians and the places where they gather, including hospitals, schools, and humanitarian corridors. Thousands of civilians, including children, have been killed and many more injured. Thousands more are in danger of dying in besieged areas cut off from water, food, and electricity. Almost five million refugees have already fled the country, while nearly eight million are internally displaced within Ukraine. Millions more remain at grave risk.

The global spotlight on and solidarity with Ukrainians have been inspiring, with governments, organizations, and individuals rallying in support of Ukraine and its vast humanitarian needs. Still, philanthropic funders can do more and do better to alleviate suffering in Ukraine, meet humanitarian imperatives, and support justice and accountability in several key areas of need.

Here we offer six approaches that should guide where and how philanthropic organizations can support human rights, health, and well-being in Ukraine....

Read the full commentary by Christian De Vos, director of research and investigations at Physicians for Human Rights.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Nzpn)

A paradigm shift toward investing in public health: A commentary by Adam M. Doyno

April 19, 2022

Doctor_patient_PeopleImages_GettyImages-1300493714Let’s not lose momentum in public health funding

It’s a haunting irony that New Yorkers and the nation have crossed the second anniversary of the COVID-19 lockdowns just as the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) has recommended the PREVENT Pandemics Act to the full Senate—but without a firm commitment to fund it. Can we hope for a bipartisan, sensible outcome that supports a unified response to future crises by funding infectious disease surveillance, forecasting, and preparedness centers?

Indeed, the nearly one million deaths in the United States and six million deaths worldwide to date call for a paradigm shift in which science- and data-driven public health becomes a leading investment focus for government, foundations, and individual donors.

The need for public health funding is as great as it ever has been. Enormous global emergencies are looming—with the spread of COVID-19, polio, and other viruses among Ukrainian refugees as one tragic possibility. There is an urgent need for public health institutions to transform their learnings about COVID-19, Ebola, HIV, and other deadly illnesses into guideposts for preventing or responding to the next pandemic....

Read the full commentary by Adam M. Doyno, executive director of CUNY SPH Foundation.

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

A fundamental realignment of power between funders and community: A commentary by Emily Yu, TC Duong, Brittany Giles-Cantrell, and Chris Kabel

March 30, 2022

Balance_power_dynamics_GettyImages_akinbostanci_553x482In recent years, amid calls for greater social, racial, and health equity, philanthropy has rallied together with communities to dismantle deeply rooted systemic inequities that jeopardize our nation’s safety, health, and prosperity. For many foundations, the pursuit of equity has become a powerful and unifying call to action. Yet supporting communities in the sustainable advancement of equity remains a challenge for the philanthropic sector.

As members of The BUILD Health Challenge®—a funding collaborative launched in 2015 to support partnerships among community-based organizations, health departments, and hospitals/health systems to reduce health disparities—we’ve hosted a series of conversations with community leaders, partners, and peers across the country to ask what their communities needed to advance equity and how philanthropy could be a more effective partner on that journey. The response was clear: There must be a fundamental realignment of power between funders and community—one that reflects and honors both groups' expertise and experience. The conversations surfaced four vital approaches to centering equity: 1) designing with, not for; 2) building equity capacity; 3) changing deeply rooted policy and practice; and 4) sharing power....

Read the full commentary by Emily Yu, executive director of The BUILD Health Challenge, TC Duong, program officer at Blue Shield of California Foundation, Brittany Giles-Cantrell, senior program officer at de Beaumont Foundation, and Chris Kabel, senior fellow in the Kresge Foundation’s Health program.

(Photo credit: GettyImages/akinbostanci)

How organizations are responding to the Ukraine crisis

March 08, 2022

Ukraine_credit_Joel Carillet_GettyImages-1371827450According to UNHCR, between February 24 and March 8, 2022, an estimated 2,011,312 refugees left Ukraine. The vast majority (1,204,403) fled to Poland, while others went to Hungary (191,348), Slovakia (140,745), the Russian Fedeartion (99,300), Moldova (82,762), Romania (82,062), Belarus (453), and other European counties (210,239). On March 1, the United NationsOffice for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs issued a funding appeal for $1.7 billion in support of humanitarian relief efforts for people in Ukraine and refugees in neighboring countries.

Meanwhile, numerous NGOs are working on the ground in Ukraine and in the region to address the humanitarian needs of those affected by the Russian invasion. Needs range from medical supplies, food, water, hygiene kits, and psychosocial support to mental health assistance for children and families fleeing the region.

Here we highlight just some of the organizations directly assisting  and/or supporting efforts to assist internally displaced Ukrainians and refugees and the communities hosting them.

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

The New York City-based American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has operated in Ukraine for three decades and supports nearly 40,000 low-income Jewish people in 1,000 locations across the country. Through its emergency hotlines, volunteer corps, and network of social service centers, the organization provides essentials such as food and medicine. JDC also is preparing to respond to mass displacement and deploy psychosocial support and increased aid to the most vulnerable. JDC has received grants from funders including Genesis Philanthropy Group, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and the Jewish Federations of North America.

American Red Cross

According to the American Red Cross headquartered in Washington, D.C., as of March 6, 2022, Red Cross teams have distributed more than 90,000 food and hygiene parcels to families on the move across Ukraine, including Mariupol; provided first aid training to more than 12,000 people in metro stations and bomb shelters; delivered more than 32 tons of food, blankets, medicine, medical supplies, trauma kits, and household items; assisted with the evacuation of people with disabilities; and distributed critical care items to more than 7,000 people seeking safety in bomb shelters from shelling. The American Red Cross also has deployed crisis responders to provide humanitarian relief in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Moldova, Croatia, Lithuania, and Russia, where Red Cross volunteers are supporting displaced people. ARC has received grants from funders including Bank of America, Key Bank, and Wells Fargo.

“The escalating conflict in Ukraine is taking a devastating toll,” said International Committee of the Red Cross director general Robert Mardini in a statement. “Casualty figures keep rising while health facilities struggle to cope. We already see long-term disruptions in regular water and electricity supplies. People calling our hotline in Ukraine are desperately in need of food and shelter.”

Americares

Based in Stamford, Connecticut, Americares has worked in Eastern Europe for decades, delivering $120 million in medicine and supplies to Ukraine to date. To help provide health services for Ukrainian families affected by the current humanitarian crisis, the organization has sent an emergency response team of physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals to Krakow, Poland. The organization will deliver medicine, medical supplies, emergency funding, and relief items to the region and provide primary care services, emergency treatment for injuries, and mental health and psychosocial support services to help survivors cope with stress and trauma. Americares has received commitments from Boeing and United Airlines, among others.

CARE

Atlanta-based CARE works to address global poverty—with an emphasis on empowering women—and deliver emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters. In Ukraine, the NGO is supporting local partner organizations to provide warm, safe spaces for refugees to rest at border crossings and to send food, sleeping bags, diapers, and other essentials into Ukraine. At the Ukrainian-Romanian border, CARE and its partner, SERA, are training 200 psychologists in emergency psychosocial support to help arriving refugees overcome the trauma of war and leaving their homes and also are supporting social services and child protection services at arrival points and on transit routes for the most vulnerable children. In addition, CARE has warned that “[f]or women who have been forced to flee their homes, who are far away from their usual support networks and usual means of income; exploitation—including sexual exploitation—is a real risk” and is calling for coordinated protection services to register and accompany those fleeing the conflict.

“One of the best ways to ensure a gender-sensitive humanitarian response is to fund women’s organizations in Ukraine, and other local organizations led by and serving specific groups, such as people with disabilities,” said CARE emergency media manager Ninja Taprogge in a statement. “These groups also need to be consulted as the international humanitarian response is planned, because their local knowledge, skills and networks are invaluable.”

Center for Disaster Philanthropy

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) in Washington, D.C., has created the CDP Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Recovery Fund, which will focus on addressing needs among the most vulnerable, marginalized, and at-risk internally displaced peoples, and refugees. The organization is in contact with and can award grants to Ukrainian and other international organizations that are not 501(c)3 entities. In addition, CDP has a list of suggestions for disaster giving by foundations.

“Although it will take a few days before we get a better understanding of the scale and extent of additional humanitarian needs from this rapid escalation and expansion of the conflict, we know that people forced from their homes need shelter, food, clean water and other basic necessities, particularly in the harsh winter climate,” the organization said on its website.

Direct Relief

Based in Santa Barbara, California, Direct Relief works to equip health professionals in resource-poor communities to meet the challenges of diagnosing and caring for people in need. As of March 3, 2022, Direct Relief—which has supported hospitals in Ukraine for years—has sent two shipments of medical aid to Poland for transport into Ukraine. The shipments include medicines and supplies requested by Ukraine’s Ministry of Health, such as medical oxygen concentrators, antibiotics, wound dressings, and respiratory medicine, as well as field medic packs. The organization anticipates a rapid expansion of medical relief to Ukraine in the near term, as dozens of medical manufacturers, including Eli Lilly and Co. and Merck, lend their support. FedEx is also working with Direct Relief to provide in-kind support of a charter flight containing medical aid.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), with U.S. headquarters in New York City, has delivered a shipment of emergency medical supplies—including surgical kits, trauma kits, and basic necessities for intensive care units, emergency rooms, and surgical operating theaters—to the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in Kyiv. Experienced MSF emergency and specialist medical staff are currently entering Ukraine, with more scheduled to arrive to support teams already working on the ground. MSF teams are assessing medical humanitarian needs at the Polish-Ukrainian border as well as elsewhere in Poland. The organization is also assessing the needs of refugees in Hungary, with a focus on identifying less visible needs for particularly vulnerable people; in southeastern Moldova, with a focus on chronically ill patients or mental health needs; and in border areas in Slovakia. In addition, MSF has an established presence in southern Russia and in Belarus—with its tuberculosis and hepatitis C programs—where it is assessing whether new medical humanitarian needs have emerged.

Global Giving

Global Giving, based in Washington, D.C., works to facilitate donations to reliable, locally led disaster relief and recovery efforts around the world through its online giving platform. The organization has set up a Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund in support of humanitarian assistance in impacted communities in Ukraine and surrounding regions where Ukrainian refugees have fled, including shelter, food, and clean water for refugees; health and psychosocial support; and access to education and economic assistance. As of March 7, the fund has raised $6.47 million toward its $10 million goal. Global Giving also provides a Ukrainian Crisis: Fast Facts page that provides historical context for the war and its impact on humanitarian challenges.

International Medical Corps

The International Medical Corps, based in Pasadena, California, is on the ground in Ukraine, has created a logistics and support hub in Poland, and is working with health agencies and local partners to provide primary and emergency health services; mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS); gender-based violence (GBV) response services and protection services for women, children, and other at-risk people who face risks during conflict; and medicines and medical supplies, including personal protection equipment, to help provide critical care and prevent infectious diseases like COVID-19 among refugees and displaced populations. The organization first delivered essential relief and medicines to Ukrainian healthcare facilities and trained local doctors and medical staff in 1999; since 2014, when the healthcare system in eastern Ukraine collapsed, it has been providing primary health care, MHPSS, GBV, and COVID-related services.

International Rescue Committee

The New York City-based International Rescue Committee (IRC), which helps those whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive and recover, is on the ground in Poland, working with local partners there and in Ukraine. The organization is providing critical information to some of the one million people who have arrived in Poland from Ukraine and are also procuring medical supplies and essential items such as sleeping bags and blankets for distribution at reception centers on the Ukrainian/Polish border. In addition, IRC is also working to quickly mobilize resources and connect with partners in Ukraine to establish a response that will provide life-saving support to civilians forced to flee their homes. The organization has received a grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

Project HOPE

Project HOPE, based in Omaha, Nebraska, is coordinating with local NGOs, hospitals, and government officials across Poland, Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine, as well as the World Health Organization, Logistics Clusters, ministries of health, and other authorities. The organization’s immediate focus is on continuing to source and ship essential medicines and medical supplies for primary health and trauma care to affected areas, including hygiene kits, Interagency Emergency Health Kits, and insulin. In Poland, Project HOPE is procuring vital medical supplies to be delivered to a neonatal hospital in Kyiv, supporting an NGO in Kyiv in purchasing and transporting medicines and medical supplies to civilian hospitals, and assessing health needs in the Dnipro region, including for those who are internally displaced. In Moldova, the organization also is procuring and delivering critical medical supplies to the Ministry of Health to serve refugees. In addition, in Romania, Project HOPE is sourcing hygiene kits, medical supplies, and medicines for transport into Ukraine and for the refugee population.

“These refugees have no idea when they will be able to return home or what home they will return to. Many of them only have the few belongings they could grab before fleeing,” said Project HOPE’s Vlatko Uzevski in a statement. Within these waves of refugees are untold thousands who are pregnant, nursing, elderly, or managing serious medical conditions. The doctors and medicines they rely on are gone. There were already three million people in Ukraine in need of humanitarian assistance before this invasion. They are the ones who will bear the brunt of this war.”

Project Kesher

Based in New York, Project Kesher works to build the Jewish community and advance civil society by developing and empowering women leaders. Their work in Ukraine is to mobilize globally to support Ukrainian women and families. Project Kesher Ukraine staff are currently on the ground, either sheltering in place or traveling in search of safety. At the same time, Project Kesher activists are crossing into border countries in Europe, many with children and elderly family members, while those in Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and Israel are fielding requests from Ukrainian women for help with evacuation, support at the border, immigrating to Israel, and accessing emergency support services. The organization is in daily contact with Jewish relief efforts on the ground and in Europe.

Razom

New York-based Razom works to foster Ukrainian democracy and civil society through a global network of experts and organizations supporting democracy activists and human rights advocates across Ukraine. Razom’s emergency response to the crisis is focused on purchasing medical supplies for critical situations like blood loss and other tactical medicine items through an extensive procurement team of volunteers that tracks down and purchases supplies, and a logistics team that then gets them to Ukraine. Razom also is coordinating with several partner organizations worldwide, including Nova Ukraine, United Help Ukraine, Revived Soldiers Ukraine, Sunflower for Peace, and Euromaidan-Warszawa; working with governments and embassies on establishing humanitarian corridors; and arranging for warehouses and points of delivery in Poland and Ukraine. Donated funds will be used to purchase tourniquets, bandages, combat gauzes, sterile pads, and satellite phones.

Save the Children

Connecticut-based Save the Children is supporting humanitarian programs aiming to reach 3.5 million children and their families with immediate aid and recovery through its Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund, which will provide children and families with immediate aid such as food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support, and cash assistance. Save the Children is on the ground in Romania, working with migrants and asylum seekers in five reception centers. Teams are currently conducting a needs assessment in four refugee camps in northeastern Romania and preparing to distribute essential items and set up spaces where children have a safe place to play, learn, and cope with grief and loss; it is also urgently assessing needs in Poland and Lithuania. In addition, Save the Children is calling on neighboring countries to provide access to asylum, protection, and assistance to all people fleeing Ukraine, regardless of their nationality or visa status.

Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights

California-based Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights partners with women’s movements worldwide to support women’s human rights defenders striving to create cultures of justice, equality, and peace. In response to the crisis in Ukraine, the fund supports women, trans, and nonbinary activists on the ground in Ukraine and the surrounding region by providing flexible funding and security support. To that end, the organization is responding to requests from groups and individuals seeking help with emergency evacuations and relocations; legal, financial, and medical support; security and disaster survival training; increasing shelter capacities for children, women, and all other civilians; and access to alternative communication channels, mobile internet, power banks, VPNs, proxy, spare phones, and tablets.

World Central Kitchen

Founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen (WCK), based in Washington, D.C., provides meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises while building resilient food systems with locally led solutions. WCK is on the ground in Ukraine and nearby countries, serving thousands of fresh meals to Ukrainian families fleeing home and those who remain in the country. Within hours of the initial invasion, WCK began working at a 24-hour pedestrian border crossing in southern Poland and now feeds families at eight border crossings across the country. In addition, WCK supports local restaurants preparing meals in eight Ukrainian cities, including Odessa, Lviv, and Kyiv. WCK teams are also on the ground in Romania, Moldova, and Hungary and plan to assist in Slovakia. Andrés ,who last year was awarded a $100 million “courage and civility award” from Jeff Bezos for his humanitarian work, has said via Twitter that he will commit support from that award to Ukraine.

“It’s hard to know that, even in this moment, there are mainly women with children walking for hours out of Ukraine to safety, to different countries,” said Andrés s in a recorded message. “Every country is welcoming them, and every country is doing their best, but it’s hard to know there are people walking in the streets or spending the night in a car with no gas, with no way to heat themselves.”

The majority of these organizations has earned a Candid Seal of Transparency at the Platinum, Gold, or Silver level.

A Candid Seal of Transparency indicates that an organization has shared publicly information that enables informed funding decisions. Depending on the level (Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum), requirements include information about its mission, grantmaker status, donations, and leadership, programs, brand details, audited financial report or basic financial information, board demographics, strategic plan or strategy and goal highlights, and at least one metric demonstrating progress and results. Learn more about how nonprofits can earn a Seal of Transparency. https://guidestar.candid.org/profile-best-practices/

Find more articles in Philanthropy News Digest about  philanthropy’s response to the war in Ukraine.

Find more updates and resources on Candids special issue page on the philanthropic response to the war in Ukraine.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Joel Carillet)

Lauren Brathwaite is content editor and Kyoko Uchida is features editor at Philanthropy News Digest.

 

Corporate America’s philanthropy model doesn’t work. It’s time for a better one.

March 01, 2022

Child_health_care_Drazen_Zigic_GettyImages-1287924870Corporate America is exceedingly generous. With nearly $17 billion in donations in 2020 alone, businesses are working hard to address everything from equity to education to addiction. Yet while it’s undeniable that corporate America is philanthropically minded, it’s highly questionable whether all this giving is truly effective. Businesses need a better way to tackle society’s biggest problems.

When it comes to philanthropy, businesses take a traditional approach. They lean heavily on traditional corporate foundations: nonprofits through which they dole out grants to specific causes and marginalized communities, or provide free or reduced-price products and services. While this giving matters, it can’t drive the systemic change that’s needed to address long-standing issues like poverty or economic inequity. Such problems can be solved only by long-term innovation, not short-term programs.

That’s why businesses should adopt a new nonprofit model: a public charity spinout from a corporation. It’s significantly different from traditional corporate foundations and exponentially more effective at driving systemic change.

This new nonprofit model, which my organization has adopted, springs from the realization that public charities have more flexibility than corporate foundations. Public charities are required to receive most donations from noncorporate sources, which means potentially greater resources. They are free to invest in promising innovators and reinvest the returns to spur faster progress—something corporate foundations avoid. At the same time, a public charity can draw on the expertise and infrastructure of the founding company and its employees, giving it the benefits of the business itself.

Add it all up, and public charities can operate more like a corporate startup incubator or seed investor than a corporate foundation. They can easily invest in startups and promising solutions that require more resources or a longer time frame. They can also more easily support innovators who are not well-known in traditional investor circles. This outside-the-box strategy is key to driving comprehensive solutions to society-wide problems.

How can a business make this happen? First, establish a public charity, either instead of or in addition to a traditional corporate foundation. Give it a mission of finding and investing in promising innovators and social changemakers who can tackle the root causes of major social challenges.

Next, get your employees involved in its work. They can donate their time and professional expertise to the public charity, empowering it to support promising innovations far more effectively. That’s another difference from a foundation, which doles out corporate money but not the subject mastery of a corporate workforce. An independent board can ensure there’s no corporate self-dealing.

The next step is to solicit donations from outside the business—a requirement for a public charity. Fortunately, philanthropists have a good reason to support this nonprofit. Their donations are amplified by the founding company’s resources and employee expertise, exceeding the impact that donor dollars would otherwise make. They can also watch their support grow more powerful over time, as investments generate returns and get reinvested.

Add it all up, and what do you get? Groundbreaking solutions to pressing social problems. The public charity gives changemakers the funding they need but often can’t find, as well as the business expertise they want but often don’t have. Historic lack of support for social innovation means that countless advances have never seen the light of day. With this new nonprofit model, they finally have the chance to shine.

My organization is potentially the first to adopt the public charity model. We were stood up by Roivant Sciences, a technology-driven health care company, and our mission is to use technological advances to expand health care access and improve health outcomes for underserved groups. While typical health care-related corporate foundations facilitate free or cheap therapeutics, we focus on supporting innovators who can advance health equity over the long run.

Consider Sunflower Therapeutics, which my organization supports. It is developing a cost-effective means of manufacturing vaccines locally in less developed countries—a basic matter of health equity and an urgent need coming out of the pandemic. In addition to funding, my organization provides Sunflower with corporate expertise. With a public charity like ours supporting it, Sunflower Therapeutics could fundamentally change how the world makes and gets vaccinations, which will protect health globally and end long-standing inequities in large parts of the world.

This new nonprofit model could be applied to virtually any industry. A bank could support innovative fintech startups that expand access to the financial system for the unbanked or underbanked. A homebuilding business could invest in new manufacturing processes that make homes more affordable or more durable. Tech companies could expand consumer access to digital currency, which is being embraced globally and can empower minority communities in America too. Such nonprofits will need to comply with applicable state and federal charitable rules, and also develop a robust fundraising plan for substantial, ongoing donations beyond their founding companies, in order to maintain public charity status.

The possibilities are vast, yet they won’t be unleashed if companies stick with the traditional corporate foundation model. That tried-and-true system has its purposes, but it’s insufficient for tackling massive problems and ending long-standing injustice. A new model can spark systemic change, one that combines the best of for-profit businesses with the benefits of nonprofit public charities. What is corporate America waiting for?

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Drazen Zigic)

Headshot_Lindsay Androski_Roivant_Social_Venures_PhilanTopicLindsay Androski is president and CEO of Roivant Social Ventures and a trustee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

Ensuring vaccine justice for countries in the Global South: A Q&A with Rosalind McKenna

January 31, 2022

In October 2021, the Global Alliance of Foundations issued an open letter to the leaders of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund calling for measures to ensure a fair and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Headshot_McKenna_Rosalind_Open_SocietyIn their letter, the foundation leaders argued that the pandemic has “divided the world in two.” Wealthy nations in the Global North have broad access to vaccines that not only reduce the number of deaths due to the virus and its variants but also help stave off economic catastrophe. In the Global South, however, low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) struggle to gain access to enough of the life-saving vaccines and the funding needed to support their distribution.

The alliance advocated for two primary objectives: to achieve the World Health Organization’s vaccination target of at least 40 percent of the population in LMICs by the end of 2021—a goal that was not met—and 70 percent by mid-2022, and to spur high-income countries to reallocate at least $100 billion in recycled Special Drawing Rights for LMICs and commit to a $100 billion replenishment of the World Bank’s International Development Association fund in support of pandemic response and economic recovery in the poorest nations.

PND asked Rosalind McKenna, a special advisor to the Open Society Foundations, a founding member of the Global Alliance of Foundations, about vaccine equity and the role that philanthropic organizations must play to help end the disparities while the world works to end the pandemic.

Philanthropy News Digest: What is the Global Alliance of Foundations, and what is its role in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic?

Rosalind McKenna: The alliance brings together leading philanthropies from around the world that share the goals of urgently accelerating COVID-19 vaccine access globally and ensuring a global economic recovery. The Aliko Dangote Foundation, Archewell Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Chaudhary Foundation in Nepal, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Ford Foundation, Fundación Saldarriaga Concha in Colombia, Kagiso Trust in South Africa, Mastercard Foundation, Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Open Society Foundations, OppGen Philanthropies, Rockefeller Foundation, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation are some of the foundations collaborating to date, and they are inviting other philanthropies to join their efforts.

These foundations recognize that their voice and impact are stronger together. With their international networks and experience in advancing global health and economic justice and supporting civil society, they can catalyze more funding, identify and address critical gaps, and advocate collectively and strongly for bold, global goals.

Philanthropic leaders recognize the need for structural solutions, not charity, to ensure vaccine justice for countries in the Global South. Justice means supporting low- and middle-income countries to develop the capacity to make their own vaccines and medicines for COVID and for future pandemics. Justice means ensuring low-income countries benefit from economic stimulus like that which helped wealthy nations weather the economic storm caused by COVID.

In addition to the individual efforts of specific foundations, members of the alliance have also collaborated to provide surge funding to advocacy and campaigning efforts like those of the ONE Campaign....

‘Trust is critical in a gender-responsive approach’: A Q&A with Mary Marx, President and CEO, Pace Center for Girls

January 27, 2022

Headshot_Mary Marx_Pace_Center_for_GirlsFounded in 1985 in Jacksonville, Florida, Pace Center for Girls works to provide girls and young women who are experiencing challenges in their home or school environment with opportunities for a better future through education, counseling, training, and advocacy. Today the organization’s twenty-two locations in Florida and Georgia provide more than three thousand girls with academic instruction, life skills, coaching, and counseling to help them face their past and prepare for their future. In addition, over the past decade, Pace’s public policy advocacy work has helped reduce the number of girls who are referred to Florida’s juvenile justice system by more than 60 percent.

Mary Marx joined Pace as vice president of external affairs in 2007 and has served as president and CEO since 2010. PND asked her about Pace’s advocacy efforts around juvenile justice reform, its national expansion strategy, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on needs and programs.

Philanthropy News Digest: What does the “gender-responsive” framework that Pace Center for Girls uses in its academic and social services entail, in concrete terms?

Mary Marx: I’d like to start by explaining why we’re using the gender-responsive framework and why it’s one of Pace’s foundational pillars. Pace Center for Girls was founded because a growing number of girls were entering Florida’s juvenile justice system, largely driven by experiences of trauma and the impact that trauma had on their behavior and physical, emotional, and mental health. Trauma places girls at significant risk for poor life outcomes, including dropping out of school, poor physical and mental health, long-term economic dependency, and involvement in human trafficking or the delinquency or dependency systems.

In 1985, there was no research on girls and delinquency, so our approach intuitively was centered on girls’ unique needs. Then, as the research findings came to light, we were able to validate that the gender-responsive model was the correct approach. Of course, then the question becomes, “What does that mean? What is a gender-responsive approach?” First, it means that you create an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for girls. For example, each Pace center has an enrollment of about sixty to eighty girls, by design. Rather than attending a school with three thousand students, you’re getting more individualized attention at Pace and access to wraparound services such as counseling, leadership skills development, and workforce training.

A gender-responsive model also entails that we take a holistic approach when we look at someone’s treatment strategies. This means taking into account all areas of development, such as physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional health. Another really important facet of a gender-responsive approach is that it’s relationship-based; meaningful connections fuel healthy development, and that is particularly important for young people who may have experienced abuse or neglect early in life. Healthy relationships are modeled by the staff and include helping girls develop healthy peer-to-peer relationships. We do a lot of peer mediation, peer mentoring, and group work so the girls are developing healthy relationships among themselves and with staff.

Another facet of the gender-responsive model is taking a strength-based approach, meaning that we focus on the strengths of each girl rather than her shortcomings. This also has to be based in health. At Pace, each girl has her own counselor, whom she can see at any time. There’s a minimum requirement that each girl be seen at least twice a month, but most, especially when they come to us in the beginning, are seen almost every day. In terms of physical health, we have our own health clinic in the Pace Center. We also have a relationship with the county department of health, where we take the girls for wellness checks, as oftentimes trauma is written on the body, for example, in the form of self-harming and eating disorders.

Trust is critical in a gender-responsive approach, as is ensuring that each girl has choice and control. One of the most important facets of our model is that we’re a voluntary program; no one is court-ordered to be here, and girls can leave of their own volition. That’s a really important piece, because they haven’t had mastery or control over their lives for a long period of time. We are very collaborative in how we make decisions with them and share power with them. And finally, we consistently prioritize empowerment and skill building for our girls....

Read the full Q&A with Mary Marx.

We have good tools to address the pandemic in youth mental health. Let’s use them.

January 25, 2022

Adult_and_child_hands_mental_health_GettyImages_fizkesWe are just beginning to appreciate the long-term impact of the past two years on mental health—and especially for children and adolescents. But we already know that lockdowns, isolation, and uncertainty have contributed to increases in anxiety and depressive symptoms and that parents have been pushed to the breaking point as the crisis disrupts their fragile support networks.

Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic caused mental health symptoms—it has revealed the lack of basic support for the emotional health of our children, who as a group are underserved by current systems. In a recent report on the state of youth mental health, noting the disproportionate impact on marginalized communities, the Office of the Surgeon General encourages responding with a “whole of society” approach.

We, who are working at the forefront of philanthropy and child mental health, urge our peers across sectors to embrace this call to action and come together in a “whole world” approach. We need to be able to give our mental health the same attention we give our physical health, recognize that this is a universal problem, and finally remove the stigma that hinders healing. The single most important takeaway from the COVID mental health crisis is the need to build capacity to support children’s emotional health.

This isn’t an easy task. In the United States, deficits in training and workforce development in children’s mental health at all levels—at school, in the pediatrician’s office, and in mental health care settings—has been a persistent barrier to access and utilization. Seventy percent of U.S. counties don’t have a single child and adolescent psychiatrist. (The same is true for most rural areas in Greece, where we are collaborating on a mental health initiative.)

And that was before the pandemic. In the same way that COVID revealed weaknesses in our pandemic preparedness, it also revealed weaknesses in our mental health care system, which has historically ignored children almost completely and is still woefully underdeveloped. The risks of untreated mental health problems are significant and long-lasting—including higher rates of continued mental health disorders, school dropout, family dysfunction, social isolation, and suicide. Yet two-thirds of individuals with mental health disorders never get the treatment they need.

The mental health crisis shares another similarity with the coronavirus pandemic: It is global and has a disproportionate impact on marginalized and underresourced communities. According to the Child Mind Institute’s 2021 Children’s Mental Health Report, Black and Hispanic/Latinx teens are more likely than white teens to express concerns about pandemic-related mental health challenges. In Greece, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s (SNF) Health Initiative has seen that households in remote areas, refugee and migrant populations, and Roma are less likely to have access to adequate mental health care. There is a critical, global need to invest in access to evidence-based mental health care for all children and adolescents—particularly those most at risk.

When we listen to the needs of the people on the ground who are awake to the barriers and inequalities present, we hear calls for capacity building. The Child Mental Health Initiative (CMHI), a new joint initiative between the Child Mind Institute and SNF that is part of the latter’s Health Initiative in Greece, hopes to do just this: to expand capacity for mental health support for children and youth in Greece.

The CMHI aspires to reinforce and extend the critical work done by mental health and child protection providers across the country. Through a collaborative, interdisciplinary model between the institute and regional teams of Greek professionals specializing in child mental health and psychosocial care, the program aims to increase care access, capacity, and resources while developing a country-wide network and improving mental health literacy and awareness. By collaborating and bringing together international and local expertise, our initiative is using field-leading research to build robust and accessible mental health support for young people across Greece.

We see this capacity-building effort in Greece as a blueprint that can be applied across Europe and potentially around the world.

This work is not optional. Organizations like ours must recognize that addressing challenges facing children and young people is both an immediate priority and a long-term commitment. Governments and NGOs can play their part by sharing best practices and openly communicating with the local professionals and communities who utilize this care.

Whether it’s COVID or mental health, public health crises require sustained international collaboration to determine the best ways to direct resources and build capacity for preventing further harm. We need to demonstrate a common will to come together across borders and agree that access to mental health care is an area we cannot be divided on. As Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy writes: “It would be a tragedy if we beat back one public health crisis only to allow another to grow in its place.”

Andreas_Dracopoulos_Harold_Koplewicz_philantopicAndreas Dracopoulos is co-president of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), and Harold S. Koplewicz is founding president and medical director of the Child Mind Institute. A version of this post originally appeared on the Child Mind Institute’s blog.

(Top photo credit: Getty Images/fizkes)

(Harold S. Koplewicz photo credit: Brian Marcus/Fred Marcus Studio)

Going beyond community engagement, building community power: A commentary by Aditi Vaidya

January 14, 2022

Hands_collaboration_trust_GettyImages_Prostock-StudioWhy does the country’s largest foundation dedicated to health and health equity care about community power? I get that question a lot when discussing our support of Lead Local, a collaboration funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to advance our understanding of the role community power plays in catalyzing, creating, and sustaining conditions for healthy, equitable communities.

In its nearly fifty-year history, RWJF has long valued and invested in efforts focused on community engagement to improve health. Through our own analysis and evaluation, we’ve come to recognize that community engagement is critical but in and of itself not enough to create systemic and enduring change. We’ve learned that community power can be designed to specifically target the root and structural causes of health inequities — racism, sexism, and classism within the structures and systems that govern our lives. We know what the social determinants of health are, and now we also know that community power-building strategies developed and led by those communities most impacted by structural inequities are critical to addressing all determinants.

RWJF funded Lead Local nearly three years ago to learn what the sector could teach funders like us that are committed to dismantling structural barriers to health such as powerlessness, housing segregation, and lack of access to quality jobs, food, or medical care....

Read the full commentary by Aditi Vaidya, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

(Photo credit: GettyImages/Prostock-Studio)

We need an integrated approach to serving homeless youth: A commentary by Melissa MacDonnell

December 13, 2021

Boy_depression_homeless_violence_GettyImages_MotortionFalling through systemic gaps: The invisible plight of youth experiencing homelessness

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, 4.2 million young people in the United States were homeless. According to the Voices of Youth Count initiative at the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall, one in thirty adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 and one in ten young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 had experienced some form of homelessness in any given twelve-month period.

You might ask: Where are these youth? They are, quite literally, right in front of us. They’re blending in near college campuses or at bus stations. They’re moving from one friend’s couch to another’s. In too many cases, they’re exchanging security for exploitation. Often, youth experiencing homelessness don’t want to be found. They’re running from families that have abused them and systems that have failed them. By the time they’re on the streets, their young lives have been mired in loss.

The “experience” of youth homelessness is not one that is equally shared. LGBTQ+ youth are more than twice as likely as their peers to report homelessness. Black or African-American youth face an 83 percent higher risk of being homeless. Over a third of homeless youth were in the foster care system, and 35 percent of homeless youth have experienced the death of at least one parent or primary caregiver.

While our nation’s attention has understandably been on older adults with the highest risk of mortality from COVID-19, recent reports illustrate untold stories of its impact among young people: alarming levels of school absenteeism, hunger, housing insecurity, and mental health challenges. When the COVID wave recedes, it’s bound to leave far too many young lives devastated in its wake....

Read the full commentary by Melissa MacDonnell, president of Liberty Mutual Foundation.

 

Centering Black women and their lived experiences: A commentary by Stacey D. Stewart

December 09, 2021

Mother_with_baby_doctor_hospital_getty_imagesWant to advance racial equity? Prioritize the needs of Black women

This year, as we turn to philanthropic giving and think about how we can better invest in our communities, it is crucial that we center Black women and their lived experiences.

Black women have always been at the heart of the fight to repair centuries of disinvestment, neglect, systemic racism, and social injustice, but our communities and organizations are continually underfunded and under-supported. This means that Black women and Black communities often have to fight simply to be heard.

The lack of investment and understanding of culturally appropriate care translates to real-life health disparities: For example, Black women in the United States are three times more likely to die from pregnancy compared with white women. The lasting legacy of systemic racism still plagues our country — and it continues to disproportionately affect Black women in many ways. According to data from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 74 percent of Black mothers serve as the breadwinners in their household. This has a cascading effect on Black families — meaning fewer groceries in the kitchen, smaller family savings, and less money, if any, to set aside for child care or future investments in higher education.

As the president and CEO of March of Dimes, a Black woman, and a mother to two daughters, I am deeply invested in ensuring that mothers and children are happy and healthy and receive the care they need. It’s also very personal for me. Growing up as the child of a Black physician, I witnessed early on how health inequities influence the health outcomes of Black mothers and children. Our healthcare system has failed Black Americans for centuries, and our communities deserve better. I am proud to lead this organization with its rich, eighty-year history of ideating and innovating to better serve and uplift all families, regardless of wealth, race, gender, or geography....

Read the full commentary by Stacey D. Stewart, president and CEO of March of Dimes.

(Photo credit: GettyImages)

'All that we hold sacred hung in the balance': A Q&A with Allie Young, Founder, Protect the Sacred

December 07, 2021

Headshot_Allie_Young_Protect_the_SacredAllie Young is a citizen of the Diné Navajo Nation from the Northern Agency of the reservation in Northern New Mexico. She is founder of Protect the Sacred, which educates and empowers the next generation of Navajo and Indian Country leaders and allies to use storytelling and community building to strengthen Indigenous sovereignty and protect Indigenous elders, languages, and medicine ways. Protect the Sacred is a program of Harness, an organization launched after the 2016 presidential elections to educate, inspire, and activate an interdependent community of cultural organizers to use the power of storytelling to imagine and create a more equitable world.

Protect the Sacred began as an emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic — which struck the Navajo Nation particularly hard — to organize Navajo youth to stay home and keep their families safe. Ahead of the 2020 elections, Young organized Ride to the Polls, which encouraged tribal citizens living on reservations and in remote communities to saddle up and travel to polling places. Over the past year, Protect the Sacred has expanded into a grassroots movement supporting frontline efforts to address the pandemic and ensure access to healthcare information and vaccines.

This Native American Heritage Month, PND asked Young about her work with Protect the Sacred, including efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on Native cultural heritage; her focus on youth; and the impact of storytelling on racial equity.

Philanthropy News Digest: What compelled you to return home to the reservation and launch Protect the Sacred? What were your immediate priorities in the earliest days?

Allie Young: In March 2020, I made the decision to travel from Los Angeles — where I’ve resided the last five years — to my homelands of the Navajo Nation to be with family and in my community. The first confirmed COVID-19 case reached the Navajo Nation before I did. By the end of March, the community was abuzz with talk of the rapidly rising positivity rate. By mid-May, the Navajo Nation dominated national headlines for having the highest per-capita infection rate in the United States. Few of these early articles spoke to the threat of cultural devastation posed by COVID-19. For my community and others like it, much more than death was at stake: All that we hold sacred hung in the balance.

When my former colleagues at the Indian Health Service asked in early March whether I’d be interested in helping them execute a social media campaign centered on COVID-19 awareness, I agreed without hesitation. This felt like a glimpse of hózhó (beauty and balance) — an opportunity to help change the trajectory of the virus in the Navajo Nation.

Read the full Q&A with Allie Young.

'A new platform for funding collaborative research': A Q&A with Margaret Goldberg, President and CEO, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

November 30, 2021

Headshot_Maggie_Goldberg_2021_reeve_foundationThe newly appointed president and CEO of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Maggie Goldberg, has spent twenty years with the foundation, providing leadership, management, and vision to help establish the only national paralysis-focused organization centered around a dual mission — "Today’s Care. Tomorrow’s Cure®." In addition, by overseeing the foundation’s National Paralysis Resource Center, Goldberg brought to the role her personal experience of suffering a C2 vertebrae injury at age 16 — an injury from which she fully recovered, but which catalyzed her work on behalf of the paralysis community. Most recently, she served as the chief operating officer of the foundation and before that was the senior vice president of marketing and communications. In her new role as president and CEO, she plans to launch a modern approach to the foundation’s scientific endeavors and establish new collaborative partnerships to bring greater awareness and attention to the needs of the paralysis community.

PND asked Goldberg about her plans to launch a modern approach to the foundation’s scientific endeavors, the development and delivery of treatments that move the field closer to cures for spinal cord injury, new partnerships she’d like to align the foundation with, the current status of stem cell research and other therapies, and leading the National Paralysis Resource Center.

Philanthropy News Digest: You’ve indicated that you plan to launch a modern approach to the foundation’s scientific endeavors as CEO. Could you share a little about those plans and how you envision implementing them?

Maggie Goldberg: Since 1982, the Reeve Foundation has awarded over $140 million to a vast network of researchers worldwide. When we began, spinal cord research was in its infancy and was considered the “graveyard of neurobiology.” Many were given no hope of recovery because the prevailing dogma was that the spinal cord was incapable of repair or regeneration once damaged. However, we know much more now, and — finally — innovative therapies and interventions are on the horizon.

To that end, one of my highest priorities is launching a modern approach to the foundation’s scientific endeavors with a new platform for funding collaborative research from the bench to the bedside, designed to address critical roadblocks along the scientific continuum and accelerate progress toward meaningful therapeutics.

Read the full Q&A with Maggie Goldberg.

Addressing global hunger — the equity challenge of our lifetime: A commentary by Barron Segar

November 11, 2021

Woman in traditional african clothes holding black beans_GettyImages_beingbonnyWhy global food security is the equity challenge of our lifetime

For more than half a century, the global food system operated with a singular mantra: Produce more food.  At the time of the Green Revolution in the 1950s, much of the world was in the throes of hunger as a result of the Second World War. The industrial agriculture model pioneered in places like the United States — monocultures of improved crop varietals fueled in their growth by chemical fertilizers — was unleashed on the world.

That system did its intended job well, driving global hunger numbers down. But today, its legacy has created new challenges of its own, including land degradation and an explosion of noncommunicable diseases resulting from diets rich in carbohydrates but low in important micronutrients. 

Today, too many people are at the mercy of, not willing participants in, the global food system. In a world that produces almost $90 trillion in wealth each year, some forty-two million people in dozens of countries face the looming prospect of famine. As many as eight hundred and eleven million people go to bed hungry each night, and a third of humanity does not have access to adequate food....

Read the full commentary by Barron Segar, president and CEO of World Food Program USA.

(Photo credit: GettyImages/beingbonny)

Quote of the Week

  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."


    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

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