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Model Estimates of Poverty in Schools

June 29, 2022

Most researchers and policymakers rely on the share of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals when describing student socioeconomic background in schools. But shares of students receiving free and reduced-price meals, and other measures related to the distribution of school meals, vary by state and across time because of changes in school meal eligibility criteria.In this report, we describe the development of a new measure: Model Estimates of Poverty in Schools (MEPS). This measure estimates the school-level share of students from households with incomes at or below the federal poverty level between fall 2013 and fall 2018. The MEPS measure aims to be comparable across states and over time and to broadly align with the school's enrolled population (as opposed to a neighborhood measure).We find that MEPS broadly aligns with aggregate state measures of student poverty and are strongly correlated with geographic district poverty as measured by the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program. We also find that MEPS can under- or overestimate poverty shares for certain districts. In particular, we find that our model underestimates school-level poverty for districts enrolling high shares of Black students. To correct for this, we produce modified MEPS, a second measure that mechanically adjusts our estimate to align with geographic district poverty rates. Because of wider margins of error for districts with small populations in the SAIPE data, we recommend using modified MEPS only for analysis of geographic districts with more than 65,000 residents.These statistical estimates should be used primarily by researchers. MEPS could be useful for those conducting research across states or years or for policymakers who want to understand how a school's socioeconomic characteristics may have changed over time. But these estimates are not appropriate for allocating resources within a state or district or for other uses when having a true count, rather than a model estimate, is required.

Unlocking Cross-border Philanthropy in Asia: An Assessment of Donor Interest and Infrastructure Readiness

June 15, 2022

When Give2Asia was founded 20 years ago, international philanthropy primarily flowed in one direction, as donors in the West supported nonprofits in other locales. Strong tax incentives for charitable giving fueled a steady increase in overseas philanthropy.Today, the landscape of potential donors is far more diverse. With increasing levels of wealth across the Asia-Pacific, there is great potential to address pressing humanitarian needs by increasing funding flows between countries in the Global South.Produced in cooperation with the Asia Philanthropy Circle, King Baudouin Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this report provides a roadmap for establishing a cross-border giving network for Asia.The multi-year research effort included interviews with 150 high-net-worth donors/institutions and survey responses from 135 nonprofits. The study aims to answer two key questions:1) Is there an appetite and need for infrastructure that supports cross-border giving within Asia?2) If so, what institutions might participate in building it, and where?

Leveraging Nuanced Data to Inform Research and Policy for Immigrant Students and Families

June 9, 2022

More than a quarter of US children have at least one immigrant parent, but researchers and policymakers often do not have adequate data on these children's experiences in school. Information on the languages students speak at home can provide perspective on students' experiences and takes communities' unique strengths and challenges into account. States must report data on languages spoken at home to the federal government each year, yet district-level data are rarely published.Home language data have untapped value, with far-reaching implications for instruction, student support services, and policy. Better and more public data on student background can enhance our understanding of students' experiences and provide nuanced information to educators, researchers, and policymakers to better serve distinct student subgroups. Publishing district-level home language data could inform education policy decisions, providing much-needed nuance to public education data systems.

English Learner Testing during the Pandemic: An Early Readout and Look Ahead

May 17, 2022

In addition to upending daily life in the classroom, the pandemic has affected how states administer annual assessments to their students—disrupting a key means of collecting data on new or growing learning gaps that demand attention. This report explores how states have approached testing English Learners during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what 2020-21 assessment data can and cannot tell us.

Digital for Good: A Global Study on Emerging Ways of Giving - Brazil

May 12, 2022

Current research on the philanthropic environment in Brazil shows improvement in the country's donation culture over time. Recent studies have shown both a more mature donation culture and that empathy, solidarity, and an openness toward donations are on the rise. Brazilians have a more positive perception of civil society organizations (CSOs) and a greater understanding of what they do. Their impact is increasingly communicated, and there is a greater acceptance that CSOs should help address social and environmental challenges. This improvement in donation culture was accompanied by the development of new technological tools for donating, including giving platforms, greater reliance on social media, and even a slight emergence of crypto giving.This report examines three nonprofits and social businesses representing three different donation models advancing the donation culture in Brazil: Arredondar, BSocial, and Editora MOL. These initiatives were chosen with their broader transformative power in mind; in addition to the direct financial impact, they influence donors' mindsets, therefore strengthening giving culture in Brazil. They emphasize accountability and transparency and believe that digitalization will unlock growth potential. Critically, they overcome three barriers to donating: lack of money, the belief that causes are irrelevant to potential donors, and uncertainty whether the donation will be well-spent.In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, all three initiatives found a change in the mentality of the public and companies and a more pro-donation attitude. Once the economic situation is improved, this may lead to a consistent recovery in donations. With knowledge and an understanding of new models for enabling donations that this report offers, it will be possible to go even further.

Digital for Good: A Global Study on Emerging Ways of Giving - United Kingdom

May 5, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally altered many aspects of day-to-day life and the philanthropic sector in the United Kingdom (UK). Pandemic restrictions limited in-person interactions and accelerated an already growing digitalization of the UK philanthropic sector. However, past research found no conclusive evidence of the degree to which digital interactions will replace in-person fundraising. While 2020 witnessed a growth in online donations alongside a drop in cash donations, only a little more than a quarter of charities said digital fundraising was as effective as in-person fundraising.Key findings do affirm some pre-pandemic trends in giving methods in the UK. There was a marked increase in the proportion of people giving via website or app, which occurred at the same time as a decrease in donors giving via cash. Younger people donate online more than older adults, yet older age groups have also engaged more with online giving. On average, 60 percent of donors' gifts were made online in the 12 months prior to this study.Nevertheless, the findings also suggest that philanthropy will retain a human element. Most who used social media to request donations from family and friends also tended to make those requests in-person. And most British people expect that in the future we will give digitally rather than in cash, but almost half expected this to occur via in-person contactless donations tins.Overall, this report concludes that the post-pandemic fundraising landscape seems more likely to develop as a hybrid one, where online interactions complement—rather than substitute—offline interactions.

Lighting the Way: A Report for Philanthropy on the Power and Promise of Feminist Movements

May 5, 2022

Feminist movements are powerhouses for social change, but they are under-resourced, undervalued, and grossly underestimated. New Bridgespan research with Shake the Table shares five recommendations for funders on how to find and fund feminist movements, and calls on philanthropy to invest an additional $6 billion in them by 2026.

Educating English Learners During the Pandemic: Insights from Experts, Advocates, and Practitioners

April 13, 2022

There is a growing body of evidence about the disproportionate impact the pandemic had on English learners (ELs). We sought to capture the complexity of learning conditions for this student population during the COVID-19 pandemic by interviewing 20 EL education leaders. These experts' experiences revealed that while remote learning posed significant challenges to EL education and services, educators improvised, collaborated, and continued to innovate throughout the pandemic. To help EL students moving forward, education leaders on all levels must acknowledge both the struggle and perseverance that shaped their educational experiences during the pandemic.

Economic vulnerability to the Russia–Ukraine War: which low- and middle-income countries are most vulnerable?

April 13, 2022

The global economy is still recovering – modestly – from the pandemic and is now facing significant uncertainty over the ongoing Russia–Ukraine war. It is too early to tell the magnitude of the impacts, which will depend on the duration and the escalation of the war and on the corresponding regional and global responses (e.g. economic sanctions) against Russia. Estimates suggest that the ongoing war will reduce global output by 0.4 percentage point to 1 percentage point (pp) in 2022 (Juanino and Millard, 2022; OECD 2022; Peterson et al, 2022). This will amount to global costs between $380 billion and $950 billion in 2022.Global shocks can derail the growth and economic transformation trajectories of low- and middle-income countries (L&MICs). While this war is isolated to Russian and Ukraine territories, its impacts on L&MICs will be felt through various channels, such as disruptions in trade and upward pressure in global prices of products (e.g. oil, metals, wheat) of which Russia and/or Ukraine are major global suppliers. For instance, Brent crude oil prices went up by 11% between 25 February 2022 and 1 April 2022, while wheat prices increased by 30% during the same period. Such increase would occur in a context of already rising commodity prices. Global price indices increased for food (11%) and metals and minerals (12%) between December 2021 and February 2022 (World Bank, 2022).This paper quantifies the economic vulnerabilities of 118 L&MICs to the economic effects of the Russia–Ukraine war through different impact channels. In this paper, economic vulnerability to the war at country level is measured as the combination of direct economic exposure to Russia and Ukraine (e.g. through bilateral trade and investment, migrants) and indirect exposure to the global effects of the war (e.g. through levels of commodity imports, trade and investment openness, tourism), minus resilience (e.g. quality of economic governance, capacity for energy transition, food security) to manage the negative impact of shocks that may emerge from the war.

Stories from the Frontier: Breakthroughs, Challenges, and Recommendations from the First Five Years of Open 990 Data

April 6, 2022

Open data projects have been in existence for decades, especially as the amount of data stored on computers throughout the world has skyrocketed. Accessibility to that data is at the heart of these efforts, as public and private entities work to make data freely available and useful to the public. Also critical is the role that freely available data in general -- and public or government data in particular — play in accountability and transparency in government, as well as increasing both public participation and public awareness. As one interviewee noted, "Data makes it clear that the earth rotates around the sun — not the sun around the earth. Data can lay plain the places where our worldview needs to change."The Open 990 Project of the Aspen Institute and its partners represents a giant leap forward, providing nonprofits a connected, data-informed future. After only five years, there are compelling examples available from individuals, nonprofits, and collaboratives alike of how the Open 990 Project is seeding and empowering change throughout the nonprofit sector. A large number of websites, projects, researchers, governments, and companies are now using IRS Forms 990, 990-EZ, and 990-PF data (hereafter, "990 data") to redesign how they work and how they engage with stakeholders.

The Impacts of Emergency Micro-Grants on Student Success: Evaluation Study of Georgia State University’s Panther Retention Grant Program

March 31, 2022

The Panther Retention Grant (PRG) program at Georgia State University (Georgia State) is one of the nation's pioneering examples of a retention or completion grant program, a type of emergency financial aid program aimed at supporting students with immediate financial need. The program, which specifically targets students who are in good academic standing and have exhausted all other sources of aid, automatically awards up to $2,500 to clear students' unpaid balances and allow them to remain enrolled for the term. Since the program was piloted in 2011, it has awarded over 10,000 grants to Georgia State students and has undergone many changes in scope, focus, and eligibility criteria. This study is the first to attempt to estimate the causal impacts of the grant on student outcomes and institutional finances.

The Path Forward: A Post-Omicron Strategy for the Global COVID-19 Response

March 28, 2022

At this pivotal moment, the world's response to the pandemic must shift from emergency crisis management to a sustainable control strategy. This strategy should help to build resilient health systems with capabilities to address potential future COVID-19 outbreaks and other public health threats. Driving the urgent need for an updated strategy are important recent developments related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the impact of current vaccines, and the world's response to the pandemic.