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The Art of Economic Justice: An Impact Report on Guaranteed Income Pilots for Artists and Creative Workers in Minnesota

February 9, 2023

In 2021, Springboard for the Arts launched one of the first Guaranteed Income pilots in the country focused on individual artists and creative workers.This innovative pilot and narrative change strategy was designed in partnership with the City of St. Paul's People's Prosperity Pilot guaranteed income program. The City of St. Paul is a leader in the national Mayors for Guaranteed Income network, which works to incorporate learning and research from local pilots into state and federal policy recommendations.Springboard undertook this work to demonstrate that artists should be recipients of economic system change and that they are powerful allies in movements for economic justice.The goals of Springboard's GI original pilot were:1) Provide 25 artists and creative workers located in the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods of St. Paul, MN with $500 monthly payments for 18 months.2) Support a cohort of artists to lead narrative change projects to build understanding about the need for economic justice in our community.3) Develop research and inform policy by specifically demonstrating the impact that guaranteed income has on artist communities and the ways in which artists can contribute their skills to movements around economic justice.

Clean Jobs Midwest 2022 Report

December 12, 2022

Clean Jobs Midwest is an annual report based on survey data on clean energy employment in 12 Midwestern states.These states include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The Midwest's clean energy industry employed 714,323 people in sectors including renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, advanced transportation, grid and storage, and clean fuels at the end of 2021. 

America + Civic Language

October 18, 2022

The words Americans use to describe, debate, and examine our civic values, ideals, and practices are also the words we use to connect, share, and co-create our community and national future. What can we know about how aligned we are on our language choices related to our civic lives? Perhaps another concern underlies this question: are we talking past each other about values we think we share? This was the core inquiry that animated Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE)'s Civic Language Perceptions Project. In November 2021, PACE and Citizen Data surveyed a nationally representative sample of 5000 American voters to understand their perceptions of 21 terms that are commonly used in democracy and civic engagement work, and who they associate using those terms. In March 2022, we released the data to the public and embarked on an effort to analyze and disaggregate the data from multiple angles and perspectives. We now combine the quantitative and qualitative analysis to highlight key findings.

Politics of Knowledge

March 7, 2022

The compendium The Politics of Knowledge: Understanding the Evidence for Agroecology, Regenerative Approaches, and Indigenous Foodways (English | Español | Français) tackles the dominant questions about evidence that are holding back food systems transformation. Authors unpack the narratives and legacies behind these questions and explore the many ways funders, researchers, and policymakers can take transformative action.

American Democracy in Crisis: The Challenges of Voter Knowledge, Participation, and Polarization

July 17, 2018

"American Democracy in Crisis: The Challenges of Voter Knowledge, Participation, and Polarization"— the first of a series of surveys from PRRI/The Atlantic examining challenges to democratic institutions and practices— finds an alarming number of Americans do not know what factors qualify people for or disqualify people from voting. The survey also finds large divides by political party, race, and ethnicity regarding the biggest problems facing the U.S. electoral system. At the same time, there is strong, bipartisan support for a range of policies that increase access to the ballot.

Feeding Ourselves Thirsty Update

September 12, 2017

Updated Ceres report, co-funded by McKnight. How the food sector is managing global water risks, a benchmarking report for investors.

Decades of Delay: EPA Leadership Still Lacking in Protecting America's Great River

November 1, 2016

This report demonstrates the continuing failure of EPA's voluntary approach and the continuing and growing threats of unregulated nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. EPA has the power and the duty to act to require reasonable, common-sense regulations to address the growing scourge of nutrient pollution, and it should do so. Once again, MRC calls upon EPA to remedy this state of affairs, specifically recommending that EPA:Develop numeric phosphorus criteria for each of the eight states that have yet to adopt them, and numeric nitrogen criteria for all 10 states.Require states to assess their waters for nitrogen and phosphorus pollution and to prioritize TMDL development and implementation planning accordingly.Increase oversight of the state NPDES programs to ensure that both narrative and numeric nutrient criteria are implemented through limits in permits, including the use of Water Quality Based Effluent Limits (WQBELs) where appropriate.Disapprove TMDLs that lacking reasonable assurance that nonpoint source reductions are likely to occur and lack monitoring and timelines to ensure that planned reductions actually take place. Further, EPA needs to provide oversight to ensure consistency among EPA Regions in TMDL review and approval (especially in Regions 4 and 6.)Ensure that states' Nutrient Reduction Strategies contain implementation plans detailing point and nonpoint source reductions needed, responsible parties, funding mechanisms, milestones, measurement metrics, and reasonable timelines.Require states under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act to identify programs and practices for controlling nonpoint sources of pollution to the maximum extent possible.

Starting Strong: Pre-K through 3rd Grade Success Stories from Across Minnesota

October 1, 2016

Research consistently shows that high-quality, well-aligned early learning opportunities can help kids succeed in school and in life. So, in spring 2014, we hit the road to meet with educators who are embarking on comprehensive PreK-3rd grade alignment in Deer River, Winona, Proctor, St. Paul, Brooklyn Center and Pelican Rapids.In this report, we share what we learned from teachers, school leaders, early childcare providers and others who are using collaboration across grade levels, intentional and differentiated instruction, innovative parent engagement strategies and more to effectively increase student achievement. We also offer recommendations—both for practitioners and policymakers—to further align resources, professional development, curriculum and standards to benefit young learners across the state. We hope that this report will pollinate seeds of PreK-3rd grade alignment across Minnesota!

State of the River Report 2016: Water Quality and River Health in the Metro Mississippi River

September 19, 2016

Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) and the National Park Service's Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) are pleased to present the second edition of the State of the River Report.In 2012, we partnered to develop the inaugural State of the River Report. That report spurred a series of river management milestones, including closure of the Upper St. Anthony lock, statewide phase-outs of triclosan and coal tar sealants, and improved targeting of state clean water funds.For the second edition, FMR and MNRRA once again ask the question: "So, how is the Mississippi River?" The State of the River Report highlights 14 key indicators of river health and presents each in a way that non-scientists can understand. The report examines the status and trends of each indicator and highlights strategies for improvement.

Improving Early Literacy in PreK-3: Lessons Learned

August 23, 2016

In 2011, The McKnight Foundation partnered with a set of districts and schools in the Twin Cities area, all serving high-needs students, on a PreK–3 literacy initiative. The Pathway Schools Initiative aims to dramatically increase the number of students who reach the critical milestone of third-grade reading proficiency, an indicator predictive of later academic outcomes and high school graduation. This report focuses on findings from Phase I of the Pathway Schools Initiative (2011–2015).The McKnight Foundation selected the Urban Education Institute (UEI) at the University of Chicago to serve as the initiative's intermediary. UEI was tasked with providing the intellectual, conceptual, and managerial leadership for the initiative as well as professional development and technical assistance focused on literacy and leadership to the Pathway districts and schools. UEI anchored this support on two, validated diagnostic tools developed at the University of Chicago: the Strategic Teaching and Evaluation of Progress (STEP) developmental literacy assessment and the 5Essentials Survey.Participating Pathway schools and districts carried out the day-to-day work of the initiative. They used grant funds to expand or refine their PreK programs; hire additional staff such as program managers, literacy coaches, classroom aides, and family engagement liaisons; and purchase high-quality instructional materials, such as classroom libraries or tablets.An advisory group, the Education and Learning National Advisory Committee (ELNAC), was established in 2010 to help inform decisions about the initiative. SRI International has served as the initiative's evaluator since 2010.

Duluth ’s Energy Future: Economic Modeling of Proposed Biomass and Solar Initiatives

May 27, 2016

Executive SummaryIn early 2015,several dozen community leaders from Duluth's city government, local businesses, electric utility company, nonprofit organizations, and the University of Minnesota Duluthparticipated in a charrette to determine an Energy Future Vision for the city.The goal was to capture "the ambitions and concerns" of the key stakeholders, with relevant economic, social, environmental, [and] sustainability aspects."One of the group's priority conclusions was the need to understand jobs and economic development impacts of different energy options. They asked the Energy Transition Lab to help Duluth analyze the economic and jobs implications of more locallyproduced energy from biomass and solar energy. As part of thisresearch on Duluth's Energy Future Planning, the Energy Transition Lab approached UMD'sBureau of Business and Economic Research(BBER)to assist in the economic modeling required for the project.The modeling consisted of five proposed projects, which focused on the increased use of biomass and solar. Each of the five projects was selected based on local feasibility and interest.Projects selected for modeling included the following:I.The Grand Marais Biomass District Heating SystemII.The Duluth Energy SystemsPlant Retrofit and Biomass ConversionIII. A Torrefaction Processing PlantIV. Two Biorenewable Chemical Production PlantsV. Solar Power Production Arrays

Spatial and Skills Mismatch of Unemployment and Job Vacancies

May 1, 2016

Opportunities for integrated transit planning and workforce development. Report by Yingling Fan, Andrew Guthrie, and Kirti Vardhan Das, produced at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, with support from Hennepin County, the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation, and The McKnight Foundation.