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State Constitutions and Abortion Rights: Building Protections for Reproductive Autonomy

April 22, 2022

This report outlines 11 states in which high courts have recognized that their state constitutions protect abortion rights and access independently from and more strongly than the U.S. Constitution or have struck down restrictions that were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The analysis considers how this jurisprudence can expand and shape efforts to secure reproductive rights.

Housing Affordability in the Omaha and Council Bluffs Area: An Assessment of Housing Affordability, Needs, & Priorities

April 16, 2021

In 2019-2020, a collaborative comprised of nine local foundations partnered with Development Strategies, a research firm based in St. Louis, Missouri, to explore affordable housing across the Omaha metro area and Council Bluffs. While the purpose of the study was to gather data that would guide philanthropic leaders in a strategic investment, the information gained provided valuable insight for the broader community regarding the need for affordable housing.The study highlights seven key issues across the focus area (Douglas County, Sarpy County, and the City of Council Bluffs). 

Black Homicide Victimization in the United States: An Analysis of 2017 Homicide Data

June 1, 2020

This study examines the problem of black homicide victimization at the state level by analyzing unpublished Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) data for black homicide victimization submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The information used for this report is for the year 2017. This is the first analysis of the 2017 data on black homicide victims to offer breakdowns of cases in the 10 states with the highest black homicide victimization rates and the first to rank the states by the rate of black homicide victims.It is important to note that the SHR data used in this report comes from law enforcement reporting at the local level. While there are coding guidelines followed by the law enforcement agencies, the amount of information submitted to the SHR system, and the interpretation that results in the information submitted (for example, gang involvement) will vary from agency to agency. This study is limited by the quantity and degree of detail in the information submitted.

Gun Violence in Iowa

February 1, 2020

This fact sheet is a summary of data contained in EveryStat for Gun Safety, a free, interactive website that contains data about gun violence by state, county, race and ethnicity, gender, and intent. These materials have been designed for users to better understand how gun violence impacts the communities they care about.

Foundation Openness Cohort Report

April 1, 2019

Over two years, the Iowa Council of Foundations (ICoF) engaged 23 funders in a journey to improve openness and transparency with grantseekers and our communities. While they joined funders across the country pursuing this shared goal, the cohort set out to try new methodologies. Importing user experience (UX) techniques from the high-tech and human-centered design world, the cohort focused on the experience of users (grantseekers) to put grantseekers in the center of the foundations' design, strategy, and culture. The following report details two years of research, analysis, and learning as Iowa funders explored foundation openness and transparency through user experience.

Teen Substance Use and Abuse in the Growing Metro of Des Moines, Iowa

July 13, 2017

uVoice, a youth philanthropy board comprised of twelve students from seven Des Moines-area high schools, spent 2016 identifying unmet needs of central Iowa youth, specifically issues related to substance abuse.Students wrote and released a "White Paper" discussing the results of the survey. The group made community-wide recommendations on how to best address the issue of youth substance abuse in Polk County.

Immigration: A Demographic Lifeline in Midwetern Metros

March 23, 2017

This report focuses how immigrants have helped offset native-born population loss and revitalized an aging workforce by examining 46 Midwestern metro areas as a refresh of a similar study published by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in 2014. Metro areas are a useful barometer by which to measure the impact of immigration because the economies of central cities and their suburbs are tightly connected and because large immigrant communities are found in both central cities and suburbs of metro areas. Also, the extent to which immigration matters to metro-area economies heightens the importance of immigration as an issue and raises the stakes for immigration reform.

Shared Success: Great Lakes 2016 Philanthropy Report

March 9, 2017

At Great Lakes we work to make postsecondary degrees, credentials and certificates accessible to as many students as possible. Specifically, we focus our philanthropy on helping those who traditionally have the most to gain from college, but who often have the least support in getting there: students from low-income homes, students of color and first-generation students.This Report highlights our belief that overcoming barriers to graduation requires engaging both students and colleges—with success being their shared goal. In it you'll find details on many of the 50 grants we launched in 2016, several key findings and our goals for the coming year.

Profiles in Parole Release and Revocation Iowa

October 28, 2016

Iowa does not have a sentencing commission or sentencing guidelines. It is an indeterminate sentencing state that has, over time, adopted mandatory minimum penalties for certain crimes. Its Board of Parole was established in 1907, and has operated continuously since.

2014-2015 Career Ready Internship Grant: Closing Report and Best Practices

April 1, 2016

Ascendium funded $2.1 million in Career Ready Internship grants to 16 Midwest community colleges to establish and administer paid internship programs to give low-income students real-world experience in their area of study. 

Fooling Ourselves: Voluntary Programs Fail to Clean Up Dirty Water

February 1, 2016

Drinking water, lakes and rivers in Iowa and across the Corn Belt are in serious trouble because of polluted farm runoff.To tackle the problem, for decades we've taken the approach favored by agricultural interests – making federal tax dollars available for conservation practices that curb runoff, encouraging farmers to adopt those practices, then hoping enough of them volunteer to do the right thing.But that approach has a fatal flaw: farmers who voluntarily start conservation practices can just as easily stop.And that's exactly what's happening in eight key Iowa watersheds, an EWG investigation found. If what we found is true statewide and throughout the Corn Belt, it's no wonder the water is still dirty.EWG used aerial imagery to track what happened between 2011 and 2014 with two simple but important practices – stream buffers and grassed waterways – in eight watersheds prioritized in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. In that period, some landowners in those watersheds started following practices to control runoff, but others stopped. In the end there was no lasting gain in protection and no or miniscule progress in reducing runoff. 

State Profile Iowa: Assets and Opportunity Scorecard

January 25, 2016

The Assets & Opportunity Scorecard is a comprehensive look at Americans' financial security today and their opportunities to create a more prosperous future. It assesses the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 130 outcome and policy measures, which describe how well residents are faring and what states are doing to help them build and protect assets. The Scorecard enables states to benchmark their outcomes and policies against other states in five issue areas: Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care, and Education.