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Review and Analysis: Resilient Communities Grantmaking Portfolio (2020-2022)

July 27, 2023

The Sozosei Foundation launched its Resilient Communities Program (RCP) in the summer of 2020 at the request of Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (OAPI), with the intent of evolving the company's longstanding commitment to philanthropy. The goal of the program was to refine the company's philanthropic commitment by designing guidelines and priorities to support diverse, under-resourced communities where the company has a presence. Over the two years of its grantmaking, the program provided over $1 million in grants and served over 177,000 people across six target communities.

New Jersey Tutoring Corps, Inc. School Year 2022-23 Efficacy Report

July 11, 2023

With funding from the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund (NJPRC) and the Overdeck Family Foundation (OFF), The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) School of Education launched the New Jersey Tutoring Corps pilot program in summer 2021. The overall purpose of the NJ Tutoring Corps pilot program was to provide tutoring for PK-5 students in New Jersey (NJ) in order to address pandemic-related learning loss.TCNJ's Tutoring Corps pilot program ran in the summer of 2021 and the 2021-22 school year and focused on mathematics, aiming to improve students' confidence in and attitudes toward learning math as well as build their self-esteem and growth mindset. The program partnered with two prominent youth organizations in NJ – Boys and Girls Clubs of NJ (BGC) and the Y Alliance of New Jersey (YMCA) – to implement small group tutoring in under-resourced communities around the state. While at TCNJ, the program also operated in the summer of 2022.

Stop the Raids: The Clean Energy Fund Should Fund Clean Energy

January 12, 2023

The health and safety of every New Jersey resident is threatened by the state's reliance on fossil fuels to power our homes, businesses, and transportation. Fossil fuels — such as gas, oil, and coal — account for a majority of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions, with a large percentage generated by energy produced for heat and electricity. Air pollution and environmental toxins disproportionately harm New Jersey's low–income families and residents of color, who are more likely to live and work closest to sources of pollution.In recent years, state lawmakers and the Murphy administration have set ambitious goals to reduce emissions that will require a transition to alternative energy sources that are clean, affordable, sustainable, and reliable. Renewable sources of energy have many advantages to fossil fuels — they are abundant, increasingly cost-efficient, healthier, and create jobs — but they require investments in new technology and infrastructure. The state's Clean Energy Fund, which is supported by a surcharge on monthly utility bills, is designed to support these investments in renewable energy, but the fund has been consistently raided by lawmakers to plug holes in the state budget. Since Fiscal Year 2010, lawmakers have raided nearly $2 billion from the fund, hampering the state's ability to meet its clean energy goals, improve air quality, and mitigate against the worst harms of the climate crisis.

Collaborative Outcomes from the Youth Justice and Employment Community of Practice

October 18, 2022

Established in mid-2021, the Youth Justice and Employment Community of Practice (CoP) is a partnership of the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF), the National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC), and Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) formed to improve outcomes for youth with justice involvement by increasing collaboration among local workforce and juvenile justice systems. The CoP began during the middle of COVID-19 at a time when counterparts in each jurisdiction were seeking to reestablish pandemic-disrupted communication and collaboration. CoP participants met monthly to share knowledge and expertise on topics of importance to both systems. Based on work from the CoP, participating cities and counties produced notable improvements in building relationships, expanding partnerships, and promoting investments that benefit justice-involved young people in their communities. This report documents successes and offers recommendations for others seeking to improve outcomes for these young people.

How Higher Mortgage Interest Rates Can Widen Racial Gaps in Housing Wealth: The Case of Newark, New Jersey

August 30, 2022

Trends in macroeconomic conditions and policy have helped to boost longer-term interest rates, including mortgage rates, over the past year. This has important implications for the wealth gap between white and Black or Hispanic households. The standard narrative is that higher interest rates, especially when combined with higher house prices and lower incomes, reduce homebuying affordability for Black and Hispanic households relative to white households. And this, in turn, implies that these households of color will find that achieving homeownership has become more difficult, thereby widening the racial wealth gap. This report illustrates that under a higher mortgage rate regime, the pace of principal reduction is slower over most of the life of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Using data covering purchase loans on one-to-four family mortgages across the city of Newark, NJ, we also show that Black and Hispanic households buying in Newark obtain higher mortgage rates relative to their white peers and therefore pay more in interest for a slower principal reduction. In response, we suggest that more local policymakers assess the benefits of interest-rate buy-downs to improve affordability, close racial wealth gaps in housing, and better insulate historically marginalized communities from macroeconomic shocks.

Continuing Efforts To Slow Violent Crime: Promising Innovations From 3 Democrat-Led Cities

July 27, 2022

Historically, the United States' approach to crime has been reactionary and overreliant on criminal legal sanctions, and it has failed to adequately address the social, health, and behavioral factors that drive crime. Still, as the country continues to grapple with a rise in gun violence, a new wave of "tough-on-crime" rhetoric has emerged, blaming progressive policies for the increase in violent crime. While violent crime rose across the country in 2020, progressive leaders in cities are investing resources into proven public health and community-based solutions to stop gun violence before it starts, and these cities are seeing early signs of success in stemming the tide.Rather than accept calls for tough-on-crime policies, leaders in Houston, Boston, and Newark, New Jersey, have taken a more holistic approach to prevent violence before it starts. These cities are three examples of jurisdictions that have implemented comprehensive public safety plans focused not only on stopping violent crime but also on prioritizing community-driven and public health-focused innovations that break the cycle of violence.

New Jersey Nonprofits: Trends and Outlook 2022

May 3, 2022

The New Jersey Center for Nonprofits conducted its annual survey of New Jersey nonprofits online from February 25-March 14, 2022 to assess how nonprofits fared in 2021 and to gauge their outlook for the coming year. This report is based on the 225 online responses from New Jersey 501(c)(3) organizations submitted during the survey period.Nonprofits overall have clearly experienced some key improvements since the worst of the pandemic in 2020. However, a number of significant challenges and opportunities remain.Demands for services and rising expenses are still outpacing funding – a longstanding problem with deep ramifications for delivery of programs and services in our communities.Nonprofits are struggling with significant workforce shortages that threaten their ability to meet community needs.Nonprofits also weighed in with their observations about the funding practices of their philanthropic partners, revealing significant opportunities to improve these vital relationships.Incorporating diversity and equity as a permanent and intentional part of all aspects of nonprofit work remains critically important.

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.

New Jersey Executive Order 83: Preventing Gun Violence through the Power of Procurement

January 11, 2022

State and local executives can — and must — act decisively to ensure that firearm sellers, distributors, and manufacturers adopt safe business practices that prevent guns from being diverted to the illegal market. In 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy did just that when he exercised his procurement powers to issue Executive Order 83 (EO 83), a policy designed to guarantee that firearm industry businesses and financial institutions providing services to the state are committed to gun safety principles. Toward that end, New Jersey state offices sent Requests for Information (RFIs) to the state's firearms and finance vendors to assess their commitment to public safety principles.Brady subsequently submitted open records requests for the vendor responses to these RFIs, and our analysis of their content found that EO 83 was successful both in promoting gun safety and laying a strong foundation for future action on its behalf. The firearms industry responses show how seriously different vendors approach their obligation to minimize the public safety risks posed by guns — information which can be used to better inform the state's procurement decisions. The responses from the finance industry revealed that merely sending an RFI to its members can promote gun safety by giving them good reason to assess their approach to working with the gun industry, educate their executives on gun safety, and even adopt new policies regarding their relationships with gun industry clients.This report shows how EO 83 established a broad foundation for future actions that will further advance the state's commitment to gun violence prevention, providing concrete recommendations to state and local executives around the country who wish to replicate and expand on New Jersey's landmark approach to procurement and gun safety. With the epidemic of gun violence claiming more than 40,000 lives a year, states should focus on measures they can take to promote legal compliance and safe business practices by leveraging their procurement powers — a life-saving, indeed necessary, tool that should be adopted by every state in the nation. This is particularly true in the current national climate, where a few states, such as Texas, are implementing regressive policies that seek to dissuade financial institutions from adopting gun safety strategies. If more jurisdictions follow New Jersey's lead, however, the industry will face mounting pressure to adopt practices that ensure compliance with the law and protect public safety, leading to less gun violence and more saved lives. 

English Learners in New Jersey: Exposing Inequities and Expanding Opportunities in the Wake of the Pandemic

November 16, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shift to virtual learning brought into sharp relief the inequities that English Learners (ELs) experience in New Jersey's public education system. Despite tremendous work on the part of educators, parents, and other caregivers to provide continuity of learning during this time, their efforts were hindered by school districts that fell short of meeting their obligations under New Jersey's Bilingual Education Code - the state regulations governing EL education - before and during the pandemic, and by a lack of sufficient guidance, support, and enforcement from the State, including shortcomings in the Code itself.The aim of this report is to identify EL-specific needs and rights within New Jersey's education system; understand whether schools are meeting these needs and respecting these rights; and, where they are not, make appropriate policy recommendations.

Essential and Excluded: How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Impacting Immigrant Families

February 23, 2021

Between April and November 2020, organizers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and North Carolina had in-depth conversations with over 900 primarily Latinx immigrants—including nearly 400 undocumented community members. While capturing different moments of the pandemic, important issues facing immigrant communities were surfaced across the surveys.

Rapid Response Survey #2: The COVID-19 Crisis and New Jersey’s Non-Profit Community

April 1, 2020

From April 3-7, 2020, the Center for Non-Profits, in partnership with the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, conducted a second rapid response survey to gauge the evolving effects of the novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak on New Jersey's charitable non-profits and the vital programs and services they provide. This was a follow-up to the survey we conducted in mid-March of 2020. Nearly 350 organizations responded to this second survey.