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LIGHTING THE PATH to Remove Systemic Barriers in Higher Education and Award Earned Postsecondary Credentials Through IHEP’s Degrees When Due Initiative

April 29, 2022

Higher education is the surest pathway to a better living and a better life. Yet, the goal of a valuable college credential goes unrealized for too many students, especially students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. Today, more than 36 million Americans have some college credit, but no awarded degree and, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the studies of even more students, deepening inequities that already are pervasive.Lighting the Path shares key findings from Degrees When Due, a nationwide completion initiative to reengage students and build institutional capacity. The report sets forth key findings on barriers to reenrollment, persistence, and completion; outlines strategies to best support returning students; and offers recommendations for policymakers at every level--institutional, state, and federal--to promote equitable degree completion.

Evaluation and Learning at Foundations: A Field Guide

April 18, 2022

This brief grew out of conversations with evaluation and learning leaders working in foundations across the United States about both the value of evaluation and learning in philanthropy, and the challenges of implementing this function well across diverse institutional contexts. Our intent is to provide practical guidance that new and existing leaders can use to navigate their roles in support of more effective and equitable philanthropy. It is based on indepth case studies of the Irvine, Kauffman, and Kresge Foundations along with our own experience partnering with foundations on evaluation, strategy, and learning efforts.

Climate resilience for health care and communities: Strategies and case studies

March 4, 2022

This report provides a strategic framework for building truly climate-resilient health systems and communities, and explores how health care institutions can leverage investments to support equitable decarbonization and build community resilience, health, and wealth. Through case studies, this paper outlines actions health systems can take to improve their ability to adapt and recover from climate-driven service impacts, strengthen long-term sustainability, and support health and equity in the communities they serve.

How Post-Pandemic Tax Cuts Can Affect Equity: An Examination of How State Tax Changes Affected Different Income Groups and Representative Households in Arizona, Maryland, New Mexico, and Ohio

February 9, 2022

State policymakers across the country are considering tax cuts in 2022. While there are many reasons and ways to cut taxes, state policymakers should keep in mind that the pandemic's negative effects were unequal and that future state revenue growth is uncertain. This report, using the Tax Policy Center state tax model, analyzes 2021 tax cuts passed in Arizona, Maryland, New Mexico, and Ohio, showing how each state's tax cut affected different income groups and representative households from different racial and ethnic groups. In general, states that expanded refundable tax credits provided larger benefits to representative Black and Latino households.

New Orleans and the Hollow Prize Problem: Structural Limits on Black Political Power

January 10, 2022

Mayors in the United States often have more influence on the day-to-day activities of residents within their unique jurisdictions thanany other elected office. While each U.S. president holds significant power as Commander-In-Chief, the primary direct interface mostcitizens have with the U.S. Government is either through its taxing function or by receiving some form of financial benefit such as SocialSecurity or Medicaid. Each governor has wide powers in determining state funding priorities for highways, healthcare, and education,but not all citizens rely on these services to the same degree. Mayors, however, have a say in the provision of the services that residents use every single day. This includes water, sewerage, electricity, sanitation, roads, and drainage, to name a few.1

Public Health Forward: Modernizing the U.S. Public Health System

December 2, 2021

Public Health Forward: Modernizing the U.S. Public Health System defines a vision for a modernized public health system in the 21st century and provides a framework of practical, prioritized, and bipartisan actions for policymakers and public health officials to guide strategic investments and decision-making to help translate the vision into a reality with a focus on equity. The federal government continues to provide critical leadership and funding to navigate the current pandemic and has a responsibility to make significant investments and changes in public health for the post-pandemic future. Long-term, increased, sustainable funding and policy leadership from the federal government will be crucial to support this five-year vision, framework, and set of actions, as most public health departments are concerned over their funding levels, notwithstanding the recent infusion of money.

Art Is Work: Policies to Support Creative Workers

October 19, 2021

This report examines the role artists and other creative workers play in contributing to modern society and it highlights the lack of policy measures supporting them, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has impacted jobs and sales related to the arts. To support creative workers, the report outlines four key principles: (1) Include artists in federal policy-making decisions; (2) Recognize how creative work happens, through the investment of time and labor; (3) make equity a central feature of grant-making and other forms of support; and (4) Think Locally and share nationally, so that creative endeavors, which are by nature local, do not become siloed.

The Benefits of Community-Driven Green Infrastructure

October 13, 2021

Communities across the nation are increasingly turning to green infrastructure solutions as part of a multi-pronged stormwater management strategy. Green infrastructure refers to a suite of installations that mimic natural processes to slow and reduce the stormwater volume flowing into traditional stormwater drainage systems. Every gallon diverted from flowing directly to existing drains eases the pressure on conveyance systems and reduces the severity of urban flooding caused by storm drain backups. New Orleans is especially vulnerable to flooding and stands to benefit in numerous ways from the continued installation of distributed green infrastructure.Water Wise Gulf South (WWGS) in partnership with Greater Tremé Consortium/Water Wise Tremé, Healthy Community Services/Water Wise 7th Ward, and Upper 9th Ward Bunny Friend Neighborhood Association/Water Wise Upper 9th Ward has been installing green infrastructure projects in New Orleans since 2013. The Water Wise model relies on a partnership approach between community-based organizations that strive to reduce repetitive flooding, subsidence, and climate change impacts while also improving water quality. The partnership empowers diverse community members to implement green infrastructure solutions, addressing community concerns through educational and training support as well as community-building events.WWGS supports community-driven green infrastructure solutions that mitigate repetitive flooding and subsidence as well as improving water quality and reducing climate change impacts like sea-level rise. WWGS empowers individuals, neighbors, and communities through training and other events. As of 2020 the neighborhood organizations have conducted workshops, planted over 160 trees, and implemented over 142 green infrastructure projects that have added more than 48,450 gallons of stormwater retention capacity ranging. As the accompanying fact sheet shows, these neighborhood groups have completed other projects since 2020 that store thousands more gallons of stormwater. These projects include rain gardens, concrete removal, French drains, rain barrels, stormwater planter boxes, pervious pavement, and bioswales. Figure 1 shows completed projects and planned green infrastructure installations in these neighborhoods. To interact with this information and view the map in more detail please visit https://arcg.is/1XzC1v0.Earth Economics (EE) analyzed the value of current and future green infrastructure installations by Greater Tremé Consortium, Healthy Community Services, and Upper 9th Ward to ground WWGS's advocacy with data-driven evidence for engagement with the City of New Orleans and prospective funders to increase installations of community-driven biophilic solutions. This report supplements a fact sheet of the analysis by providing additional context and references.

Does a Drop-in and Case Management Model Improve Outcomes for Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness: A Case Study of YouthLink

September 30, 2021

This study used two approaches to examine YouthLink as an example of a drop-in and case management model for working with youth experiencing homelessness. These approaches investigated the same group of 1,229 unaccompanied youth, ages 16 to 24 and overwhelmingly Black, who voluntarily visited or received services from YouthLink in 2011. Both approaches looked at the same metrics of success over the same time period, 2011 to 2016. One approach—Study Aim 1—examined the drop-in and case management model overall, asking whether YouthLink's service model resulted in better outcomes. It compared a YouthLink cohort with a group of highly similar youth who did not visit YouthLink but may have received similar services elsewhere. A second approach—Study Aim 2—investigated within the YouthLink cohort the ways in which YouthLink's drop-in and case-management approach worked toward achieving the desired outcomes.

Art for Life’s Sake: The Case for Arts Education

September 14, 2021

In 2018, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences convened a Commission on the Arts to examine the state of arts education in the United States, and to assess the need for greater support. The Commission ultimately focused on the challenges of access to arts education in public schools.The resulting report, Art for Life's Sake: The Case for Arts Education, finds ample evidence for the attributes, values, and skills that come from arts education, including social and emotional development, improvements in school engagement, as well as more vital civic and social engagement. It also offers concrete recommendations to improve educational policy at the local, state, and national levels.

Drinking Water Equity: Analysis and Recommendations for the Allocation of the State Revolving Funds

August 9, 2021

In this report, we evaluate how states allocate support from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) using national and state-level data from 2011 to 2020. This program already helps address disparities and has even more potential to do so. We find that states address disparities by targeting assistance towards:Health: Communities with more health-based Safe Drinking Water Act violations are more likely to receive assistance.Income: Communities with lower median household incomes are slightly more likely to receive assistance.We also find that states could do more to address disparities by expanding:Reach: 7.1 percent of eligible drinking water systems have received assistance.Additional subsidies: 26.6 percent of total assistance was distributed as principal forgiveness, grants, or negative interest loans, despite a federal ceiling of 35 percent for disadvantaged communities.Diversity: Small communities and more racially diverse ones are less likely to receive assistance.

The Saving Power of Community Creativity: Highlights of Arts, Culture, and Creative Placemaking Responses to COVID-19

June 29, 2021

For several years, the Center for Community Progress (Community Progress) and Metris Arts Consulting have explored how arts and culture organizations are revitalizing communities that have been hit hard with vacancy and abandonment. In mid-2020, as we began to understand the pandemic's devastating health, economic, and social impacts on communities and the policy demands surrounding the calls for racial justice, we also began hearing how community-based organizations using arts and culture had shifted their work to provide critical community support. This resource highlights the efforts of creative leaders during the pandemic and also seeks to inspire others trying to address acute needs.