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A Road Map for Asset Based Investing in Central Appalachia

September 26, 2023

The Appalachia Funders Network (AFN) is a rapidly evolving and maturing cross-sector funding network that supports our members in effectively contributing to the transformation of the Central Appalachian region.We prioritize equal access to the resources, systems, and infrastructure essential to thriving Appalachian communities. Our members include private and family foundations, government agencies, banks, and community development entities. Our region of focus is the Central Appalachian counties of West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina.This report addresses the following questions:● What new or existing approaches could address barriers to accessing philanthropic capital, including organizational practices and lack of place-based funders?●  How can existing local assets (e.g., community-based organizations, expertise, space/land, local businesses, services, infrastructure) be fully leveraged to contribute to wellbeing?● What bridges and capacities to accessing federal and private resources and funding need to be strengthened or created?● Does the data gathered reflect the totality of what the audience for this work needs to move forward with decisions about individual or collective investments?● How can the data be presented in the most useful manner for AFN members and partners?● How can the results of this work, and Town Hall/convening synthesis, help lift up and acknowledge local assets to identify and activate social justice investing?

Virginia Philanthropy’s Response to the Challenges Facing Older Adults

August 26, 2023

This report report highlights the need for philanthropic resources to support the growing population of older adults. Using a field scan survey of 24 funders, the report analyzes current work being done in philanthropy to address challenges faced by older Virginians and identifies where investments are needed to ensure older adults are able to age in place.

Federal Child Care Relief Funds: Increased Access and Supported Providers

August 1, 2023

This report notes that the COVID-19 relief funds and federal childcare relief funds will be concluding in September 2023 and September 2024, and how that might impact the children and families in the four states of Michigan, Louisiana, New York and Virginia. It also outlines key themes in what the funding accomplished and how the funds have been used in each state. Laying out the worst-case scenarios and challenges families and their children will have to endure when the relief resources end.

Infant and Toddler Gap Analysis 2023

June 1, 2023

The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF), which implements the state's Mixed Delivery program, initiated this gap analysis to identify and document the status of infant and toddler ECCE services across the state and to understand where gaps exist in the system. The analysis, which sought to answer six core questions, included a review and analysis of secondary data, as well as primary data collection from Virginia families with infants and toddlers who are unserved or underserved by the ECCE system.

Wealth Opportunities Realized Through Homeownership (WORTH): Baseline Report

May 15, 2023

This report is part of an evaluation of the Wealth Opportunities Realized through Homeownership (WORTH) initiative. Led by the Wells Fargo Foundation, WORTH supports efforts to close persistent disparities in homeownership in Atlanta, Houston, Milwaukee, New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, San Diego, and rural and tribal areas. In each market, we examine housing supply and demand, homebuying activity, homeownership trends, and preservation conditions. We found that in almost every market, white households have higher homeownership rates than every other racial or ethnic group. Moreover, macroeconomic forces driving market conditions, like higher interest rates and moderating house prices, can significantly dampen or thwart market collaboratives' efforts to boost homeownership rates for people of color. Future evaluation will examine the implementation processes used in each market. The larger body of work contributes to understanding the crucial connection between homeownership and wealth-building and the multitude of barriers that households of color face in achieving homeownership. It also supports research-backed strategies for increasing homeownership for households of color and for reducing racial disparities.

Practical Guidance: What Nonprofits Need to Know About Lobbying in Virginia

December 6, 2022

Bolder Advocacy's Practical Guidance – What Nonprofits Need to Know About Lobbying state law resource series is designed to help nonprofits determine if lobbying rules in their state might apply to their state or local work, and if they do, how best to navigate them!Each Guide Includes:Summary of lobbyist registration and reporting triggers in the stateKey critical takeaways for nonprofit organizationsFAQs – giving practical perspective on how to interact with the state rulesCase study for a hypothetical small student voting rights organizationList of helpful additional resourcesWho are these Guides For?Nonprofit Advocacy Organizations: Leaders and staff of nonprofit organizations that work on (or are thinking about working on) advocacy initiatives at the state or local levelLawyers: Lawyers and compliance professionals interested in working with nonprofit advocacy organizations doing state and local level workFunders: Funding organizations working to ensure strong organizational capacity and infrastructure for the groups they fund doing advocacy work at the state and local level

Agricultural Conservation Practices: Clean Water and Climate Smart Investments

November 2, 2022

The six states and the District of Columbia that share the 64,000-square-mile Chesapeake Bay watershed are currently carrying out plans—called Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs)—to achieve the pollution reductions called for in the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the science-based plan designed to restore the health of the Bay. The 2025 deadline for implementation is fast approaching and more than 90 percent of the remaining reductions must come from agriculture. Though progress has been made, it is still far short of what is needed. Increased funding for conservation practices, as outlined in the state plans, is therefore critical to success.The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) worked with natural resource economists to estimate the economic impact of implementing the remaining agricultural conservation practices in the state plans. The analysis shows that investing in these conservation practices is truly that—an investment with positive economic effects above and beyond the cost. For every dollar spent implementing additional agricultural conservation practices under the Blueprint, the Chesapeake Bay region can expect $1.75 in economic returns to local businesses and workers through additional sales of goods and services and greater earnings, totaling $655.2 million annually through 2025. This investment will also support an estimated 6,673 jobs a year between 2020 and 2025.

Virginia’s Connected Future: A guide for funders and philanthropists to address digital divides in the Commonwealth

November 1, 2022

In the last three years, Virginia has made significant strides to curtail the many facets of the digital divide that exist throughout the Commonwealth. Examples include a $700 million commitment to broadband funding, the expansion of electric cooperatives into retail broadband, community and county commitment through innovative programs, and the passage of legislation to encourage greater deployment.There has never been a more crucial time to get involved in broadband planning and deployment, both in Virginia and around the country. The 2021 Infrastructure Act's $65 billion commitment to broadband deployment, access, and equity is the largest public investment in telecommunications in the nation's history, and Virginia funders can help the Commonwealth prepare for an influx of capital funds and lay the groundwork for crucial connectivity work in the next five years.As part of the Virginia Funders Network's (VFN) efforts to support the Commonwealth's commitment to achieve universal connectivity by 2024, this memo serves three functions. First, it provides funders with a high-level, plain-language overview of broadband developments in the Commonwealth of Virginia with a focus on the pandemic years of 2020-2022. Second, it highlights the efforts of a few Virginia funders who have supported broadband deployment. Third, it serves as an invitation and welcome to funders – of all shapes and sizes - who are considering investments in broadband or who are just starting to think about the critical role broadband plays in areas such as education, health care, economic development, workforce, and more.

Chesapeake Bay 2022 State of the Blueprint Report

October 5, 2022

Less than four years remain to the 2025 implementation deadline for the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. The success of the science-based, federal-state plan to restore water quality in the Chesapeake Bay is critical to our region's health, economy, outdoor heritage, and quality of life.Our State of the Blueprint report asks one question: Are the Bay states on track to reduce pollution by the Blueprint's 2025 deadline? Based on our assessment of progress in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, which together account for roughly 90 percent of the Bay's pollution, the answer collectively is 'no.' States are not on track to reduce pollution to the levels needed for a healthy Bay, or implement the practices necessary to achieve them by the 2025 deadline.

Challenging the Dominance of Big Tech: For Us, Not Amazon in Arlington, VA

August 25, 2022

This case study is part of Demos' new Economic Democracy project, which asks how poor and working-class people, especially in Black and brown communities, can exercise greater control over the economic institutions that shape their lives. This framework has 3 goals:Break up and regulate new corporate power, including Amazon, Google, and Facebook.Expand the meaning of public goods and ensure that services are equitably and publicly administered.Strengthen "co-governance" strategies so that people and public agencies can collectively make decisions about the economy.This case study spotlights how For Us, Not Amazon (FUNA) coalition resisted the power and influence of Amazon in order to secure affordable housing, investments in the health, education, and economic futures of Black and brown communities, and stop a police surveillance partnership.

Addressing the root causes of gun violence with American Rescue Plan funds: Lessons from state and local governments

August 15, 2022

In June 2022, the most significant piece of gun violence prevention legislation in decades, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, became law. Alongside several common-sense gun regulations, the law allocates $250 million for community-based violence prevention initiatives—a promising step toward promoting safety through non-carceral and community-centered approaches.This federal action is important, but it only scratches the surface of what can be done to keep communities safe from gun violence. From investing in youth employment programs to revitalizing vacant lots to improving the quality of neighborhood housing, a wealth of community-based safety interventions are proven to reduce violent crime—including gun violence—in the places most impacted by it, and tackle the conditions of inequality that allow violence to concentrate in the first place. But far too often, these community-based interventions are under-funded, particularly when compared to more punitive approaches.Luckily, another source of federal aid can fund community-based safety investments: the American Rescue Plan's (ARP) $350 billion in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. In addition to helping states and localities recover from the pandemic, the funds also provide local leaders with an unparalleled opportunity to address the public health crisis of gun violence.This research brief documents how state and local leaders are leveraging ARP funds to invest in non-carceral community-based safety initiatives; presents perspectives and case studies from leaders on-the-ground innovating on such strategies; and offers recommendations for how state and local leaders can maximize ARP funds to promote community safety prior to 2024 (when all funds must be obligated) and 2026 (when all funds must be spent). This is an unparalleled—and time-limited—window of opportunity, and states and localities should be thinking strategically right now about how to not only invest in proven strategies to reduce gun violence, but also promote life-affirming safety investments that support thriving communities.

Finding our Way Back to Mental Health: The Need for Accessible, Affordable Treatment in the Midst of Collective Trauma

March 15, 2022

In 2019, about 8 percent of the population was dealing with "active symptoms" of anxiety or depression. Now, that figure is 28%, a fourfold increase impacting over a half million adults in Northern Viginia. This doesn't include some 200,000 adults whose anxiety and depression levels are transient, but have received, or sought to receive medication or talk therapy in the previous four weeks. In total, whilst 750,000 adults in Northern Virginia have mental health needs, 370,000 who want therapy or counselling are unable to get it.This report investigates four systemic barriers to people getting the care they need, offering recommendations on how Northern Virginia can work to support this large group of people by addressing systemic barriers to treatment, and what the roles the nonprofit sector, from foundations to community programs and others, can play.