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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.

Giving in Florida

April 1, 2022

Florida's nonprofit sector plays a vital role in supporting local communities. However, the nonprofit sector also has room for growth. According to the Florida Nonprofit Alliance's 2020 report, Summary of the Economic Benefits of Florida's Nonprofit Sector, Florida ranks 47th out of 50 in the United States for the number of nonprofits per 1,000 residents with 4.5 nonprofits per 1,000 residents and 40th out of 50 in the financial impact nonprofits have on the state.This report aims to increase the understanding of philanthropy and provide the region's nonprofit sector, donors, and policy makers with valuable research allowing them to understand the motives and incentives behind individuals' charitable giving behavior. The study also provides analysis of how giving and volunteering patterns change with different donor demographics with the goal of encouraging the nonprofit sector to better connect with a wider range of donors.The study also offers unique insight into the wide range of ways that Floridians give back, including giving money directly to friends and loved ones, contributing to crowdfunding campaigns, and helping in ways other than giving money. The result is a more complete picture of how Floridians are investing in their communities.Finally, the research identifies areas of opportunity for the nonprofit sector. With both the sector and the larger Florida population still dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the information in this report can help the nonprofit sector to keep moving forward to provide Floridians with a brighter future.

Making the Case: Philanthropy’s Role in the Movement to Reimagine Criminal Justice

March 31, 2022

Bridgespan's experience and relationships working with institutional foundations and philanthropists created an opportunity to dive into the common challenges we've heard funders navigate: What role could philanthropy play in movement building in criminal justice reform? How might mindset and practice need to shift to enable effective giving to movement?The purpose of this report is to provide guidance for some of those common challenges by offering the perspectives and wisdom of those doing the work. Our research included interviews with more than 40 movement leaders, funders, and others across the ecosystem seeking transformative change of our criminal legal system, as well as a review of literature to understand how social movements can achieve equitable change.Bridgespan recognizes that this research is indebted to the work of many others who have long been thinking about these issues deeply. We hope to contribute to that ongoing conversation and the fight for equity and justice. 

Ensuring that Eligible Voters in Florida Jails Have Access to the Ballot

December 14, 2021

All Voting is Local Florida and the ACLU of Florida teamed up to assess how difficult it is for eligible voters in Florida jails to cast a ballot. We wanted to know: Did county jails have policies and procedures to facilitate the voting and registration of eligible voters in jails, and did they cooperate with volunteers who sought to provide those services?We found that most counties have no written policies to facilitate elections in jail. Even for those that do have policies, important steps or details are missing.The right to vote does not end at the door of a holding cell. State laws require eligible voters in jail to be able to cast a ballot. People who are in jail are often awaiting trial, conviction, or are being held for misdemeanor crimes. In Florida, as in most states, these individuals are eligible to register and vote, and no eligible voter should be denied their right. Yet there is a sharp difference between being simply eligible to vote or register and being able to make one's voice heard.

Florida Grade-Level Reading Campaign Impact Summary: 2015-2020

October 21, 2021

This impact summary from the Florida Grade-Level Reading Campaign, an Initiative of the Florida Children's Council, details the transformational work being done around the state to effectuate change in third grade reading proficiency to help students reach their full potential in the classroom and in life. Since its inception in 2015, the Florida Grade-Level Reading Campaign has worked across systems to provide opportunities for funders, non-profits, government entities, educators, and community partners to work in alignment to enhance early learning outcomes.

Democracy Defended: Findings from the 2020 Election

September 2, 2021

Despite an unprecedented series of challenges—a global pandemic, extreme weather, rampant misinformation, voter intimidation, and coordinated efforts to disenfranchise millions of voters of color—Black voters turned out in record numbers in 2020 to have their voices heard in one of our nation's most important election years.But let's be clear. The election did not go smoothly. Record turnout nationally and in many states was only possible thanks to a Herculean effort on the part of many non-profit organizations and many thousands of individuals and volunteers, as well as the enormous sums of money spent on election security and countering misinformation.

The Power and Problem of Criminal Justice Data: A Twenty-State Review

June 30, 2021

Despite accounting for a substantial portion of local, state, and federal budgets, our criminal justice institutions are among the least measured systems in our country. In an effort to bring transparency to this sector, MFJ has collected, standardized, and made public 20 states' worth of criminal justice data.The purpose of this report is to share what we have learned through this effort, including: (a) what we cannot see when data are missing, and (b) the value that data can provide when they are available and comparable. In particular, we identify patterns around the following:There is a substantial lack of data around pretrial detention and release decision-making, as well as individual demographics (particularly indigence).New data privacy laws are also making it needlessly difficult to obtain certain data. This poses challenges to understanding how individuals experience the system in cases that do not result in conviction.There is great variation in how counties dispose of and sentence nonviolent cases; how financial obligations are imposed on individuals; and the collateral consequences that individuals face when convicted.Across many of these findings, where demographics are available, we have an opportunity to identify and respond to significant disparities in group outcomes.This report challenges stakeholders and policymakers to dig deeper into these patterns and missing data. It also implores policymakers and legislators to improve criminal justice data infrastructure to ensure a more transparent, fair, and equitable implementation of justice.

Overcoming the Unprecedented: Southern Voters’ Battle Against Voter Suppression, Intimidation, and a Virus

March 16, 2021

This report describes the 2020 elections in five Southern states—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi—with a particular emphasis on election administration problems; voter suppression; the efforts of voting rights organizations to mobilize voters and protect their votes; and the actions of extremists who sought to intimidate voters and spread disinformation.As this report shows, it is abundantly clear that our electoral system needs repair. Numerous states have erected new barriers to voting since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 gutted a critical component of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Many also cling to Jim Crow-era laws, such as felony disenfranchisement, that were specifically designed to suppress the Black vote—or they refuse to enact commonsense changes that would make voting easier and accessible to all citizens. At the same time, some states maintain archaic administrative systems that are woefully inadequate to meet the needs of voters today and ensure fair elections.This report provides a blueprint for reforming the electoral system. The Biden administration and Congress must act quickly to shore up the stability of the electoral process and put our democracy on a firmer footing. Passage of federal laws, including those that strengthen the Voting Rights Act, are necessary steps forward on the path to reform—toward ensuring that all Americans have easy and equal access to the ballot box.

Sounding the Alarm: Criminalization of Black Girls in Florida

March 11, 2021

More than 300,000 Black girls attend K–12 public schools across Florida. Black girls represent about one in five girls, although this varies by location. It is imperative to consider data by race and ethnicity within gender to better understand differences in girls' experiences. The data illuminate ongoing systemic failures and criminalizing responses that put the overall well-being of Black girls at risk. This research brief is sounding the alarm about the experiences of Black girls, who are disproportionately impacted by the education and juvenile justice systems. Disparate responses across systems increase risk of exclusion, criminalization, and system involvement. This is a pressing priority that calls for transformational reforms. 

Using State-level Policy Levers to Promote Principal Quality

November 17, 2020

In this report, we examine how seven states use state policy levers to advance policy change to improve the quality of school principals. These states are all actively engaging in a collaborative initiative focused on principal preparation program redesign. We consider the following questions, drawing on data about the use of various policy levers in the states:How does a state's context shape its use of policy levers to improve principal quality? What  policy  levers  are  states  using,  how  are  the  levers  used,  and  what  policy changes have states made that affect the way levers are used? What supports the effective use of policy levers?What are the barriers to and facilitators of policy change?All seven states in the study were part of The Wallace Foundation's University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI). Launched in 2016, UPPI is supporting seven university-based principal preparation programs to work in collaboration with their district and state partners to redesign and improve the programs to better support the development of effective principals.  The programs were chosen for the initiative, in part, because they were located in states that had favorable conditions for supporting principal quality. In addition, the programs had expressed interest in and already conducted some initial work toward redesigning their principal preparation programs. The UPPI programs and their respective states are Albany State University (Georgia), Florida Atlantic University (Florida), North Carolina State University (North Carolina), San Diego State University (California), the University of Connecticut (Connecticut), Virginia State University (Virginia), and Western Kentucky University (Kentucky).We drew on three data sources for this analysis: (1)  biannual interviews with UPPI participants, (2) interviews with state-level stakeholders across the seven UPPI states, and (3) relevant secondary data, such as state plans, state licensure requirements, state legislation, reports from state departments of education, and research literature on school leadership. In this report, we focus on seven policy levers that states can use to improve school leadership. The first six of these were drawn from research as described by Manna (2015), and the seventh was derived from Grissom, Mitani, and Woo (2019): setting principal standardsrecruiting aspiring principals into the professionlicensing new and veteran principals approving and overseeing principal preparation programssupporting principals' growth with professional development evaluating principalsusing leader tracking systems to support analysis of aspiring and established school leaders' experiences and outcomes.

Black Funding Denied: Community Foundation Support for Black Communities

August 1, 2020

In light of the national uprising sparked by the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (and building on other recent tragic movement moments going back to the 2014 murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri), NCRP is analyzing grantmaking by community foundations across the country to find out exactly how much they are – or are not – investing in Black communities.We started by looking at the latest available grantmaking data (2016-2018) of 25 community foundations (CFs) – from Los Angeles to New Orleans to New York City to St. Paul. These foundations represent a cross section of some of the country's largest community foundations as well as foundations in communities where NCRP has Black-led nonprofit allies.

Goal: Clean Seas Florida Keys

March 11, 2020

Marine debris is a significant challenge facing our ocean and marine wildlife, and it is an ongoing challenge in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.Marine debris, including lost or abandoned fishing gear and trash, entangles stony corals, sea fans, sponges, sea turtles, manatees, and other marine life. It also degrades seagrass, hard bottom, coral reef, and mangrove habitats, and detracts from the natural beauty of the islands.Established in May 2018, the Goal: Clean Seas Florida Keys initiative aims to remove underwater marine debris from Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and educate the public about its role in marine debris prevention. Goal: Clean Seas Florida Keys partners work with sanctuary-recognized Blue Star Dive Operators to educate dive professionals and recreational divers on best practices for removal of marine debris; perform scoping dives to identify debris hotspots; remove, dispose, and recycle underwater debris; conduct post-removal data reporting and analysis; and engage the public in marine debris awareness and prevention through education and outreach.In the first year of Goal: Clean Seas Florida Keys efforts, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation-funded divers conducted 49 cleanup trips, engaged 450 volunteer divers, and spent nearly 900 hours underwater removing 78 intact lobster traps, hundreds of pieces of lobster trap debris, 16,369 feet of line, and 14,693 pounds of debris from Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.