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Partnering with Federal Agencies to Advance Racial Equity

May 12, 2022

Partnering with Federal Agencies to Advance Racial Equity is a report by Race Forward and PolicyLink  that describes the work that commenced in partnership with federal agency offices, considers observations and lessons learned along the way, and discusses efforts that must continue at the federal level to fully realize the intentions of the executive order and move this country toward a more racially just future.Race Forward and PolicyLink co-led a Racial Equity Governing Pilot Project with federal agencies in the fall and winter of 2021 and 2022. This report discusses critical elements of these partnership pilots and lessons to inform and support the longer term aspirations of the federal government to become actively antiracist. 

The Open Road: How To Build a Sustainable Open Infrastructure System

April 29, 2022

The open infrastructure ecosystem spans open source software and standards, and is a shifting constellation of individuals, organisations and private and public bodies. Working with Omidyar Networks, this report sets out how governments, civil society and philanthropic organisations can build sustainability in the open infrastructure ecosystem.Over the past decades, open source and open standards have emerged as the de facto way digital technologies are created. From individual developers building a profile and skills to interoperability between multi-billion dollar companies, open source software and open standards are universal technological forces.Despite this economic and industrial reliance on open infrastructure, the ecosystem as a whole faces a sustainability crisis. There is a major gap in funding, a gap felt most acutely at the foundations and by open source communities outside the digital limelight. For some developers, upskilling, economic security and a love for coding covers the costs of participation, but for many potential participants the barriers remain high. This includes non-code participants in an ecosystem where legal, management, governance and communications skills are in short supply. Where funding is available there remain gaps in tooling, governance and skills for OS communities to manage the money they receive and the responsibilities that come with it.But money isn't everything. We need to defend the open infrastructure ecosystem from state and corporate capture, inadvertent or otherwise. We need to support its maintenance. We need to incentivise participation from a diverse group of participants. And we need to talk about why this all matters to a non-technical audience, be they corporate budget holders or government decision makers. These priorities should inform philanthropic decision-making.

A New Paradigm for Justice and Democracy: Moving beyond the Twin Failures of Neoliberalism and Racial Liberalism

November 3, 2021

Our democracy is in crisis—from weaponized partisanship to an economy that has not produced shared equality for decades. Much of how we got here is due to the twin failures of neoliberalism and racial liberalism, which upheld a racial capitalism that subjugated people of color with racist rules while exacerbating existing inequalities. Together, these old paradigms have excluded and divided. They have limited our politics and institutions, and they have hindered the policies and narratives that could advance racial equity and justice. But a new worldview is possible.In this report, Kyle Strickland and Felicia Wong argue that to fulfill the promise of a 21st century multiracial democracy and economy that work for everyone, we need a new paradigm for racial justice.The report contends that this new paradigm must be rooted in the values of today's racial justice movement: repair and redress; material equity; and freedom and liberation. Moreover, it must center the role of race in our economic policy debates and in our broader politics.

Consumer Protection for Online Markets and Large Digital Platforms

May 20, 2021

Consumer protection law is vital for ensuring that market-based economies work in the economic interest of consumers as well as businesses, and thus to the benefit of civil society. This is the case for online markets just as it is for offline markets. However, despite broad consensus on these points, too little has been done to ensure that the various standards applicable in offline markets are sufficient or adequate to guarantee efficiency and fairness in online markets. This paper outlines eleven key features of online markets that might necessitate standards additional to or different from those that are applicable offline, and provides a menu of possible policies in relation to each. Many of these are general to all online markets, but some are specific to the largest digital platfroms. Many if not most of our policy proposals could be enacted through minor changes to existing law or regulation or through decisional law interpreting existing legislation. Some have already been implemented in some jurisdictions. What is needed in all jurisdictions, however, is a regulator or regulators with sufficient expertise around technical issues such as A/B testing and algorithmic decision-making to understand, anticipate, and remedy the myriad ways that online firms can disadvantage consumers.

More Competitive Search Through Regulation

May 20, 2021

This paper identifies a set of possible regulations that could be used both to make the search market more competitive and simultaneously ameliorate the harms flowing from Google's current monopoly position. The purpose of this paper is to identify conceptual problems and solutions based on sound economic principles and to begin a discussion from which robust and specific policy recommendations can be drafted.

Being the Change: 12 Ways Foundations Are Transforming Themselves to Transform Their Impact

April 1, 2018

Many foundations are adopting new approaches for creating social change—approaches that aim to influence the actions and investments of the public and private sector, as well as address the complex conditions that hold social problems in place.Based on interviews with 114 practitioners representing 50 foundations and 8 philanthropic services organizations, Being the Change explores how foundations are applying their assets, knowledge, skills, networks, and people in new ways in order to create impact at scale and change systems.

Constiuent Voices: Lean Data Learnings

March 1, 2018

This report sets out results from a consultation to explore ways to stimulate and develop community philanthropy as a means of contributing to the sustainability of civil society and supporting the effectiveness of development aid.The consultation was undertaken by the Aga Khan Foundation USA and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in association with the Global Fund for Community Foundations. The Ford Foundation also contributed resources to the process.Three meetings were held (in Washington D.C., Johannesburg, and Dhaka). Three working papers were written during the process, and two articles published in Alliance magazine so that a wider constituency could offer feedback. People who took part in meetings are listed in Annex A.

Public Scrutiny of Automated Decisions: Early Lessons and Emerging Methods

February 27, 2018

Automated decisions are increasingly part of everyday life, but how can the public scrutinize, understand, and govern them? To begin to explore this, Omidyar Network has, in partnership with Upturn, published Public Scrutiny of Automated Decisions: Early Lessons and Emerging Methods.The report is based on an extensive review of computer and social science literature, a broad array of real-world attempts to study automated systems, and dozens of conversations with global digital rights advocates, regulators, technologists, and industry representatives. It maps out the landscape of public scrutiny of automated decision-making, both in terms of what civil society was or was not doing in this nascent sector and what laws and regulations were or were not in place to help regulate it.Our aim in exploring this is three-fold:1) We hope it will help civil society actors consider how much they have to gain in empowering the public to effectively scrutinize, understand, and help govern automated decisions; 2) We think it can start laying a policy framework for this governance, adding to the growing literature on the social and economic impact of such decisions; and3) We're optimistic that the report's findings and analysis will inform other funders' decisions in this important and growing field.

The Preschool Promise: The Opportunity to Transform Learning Outcomes for India’s Working Poor

November 1, 2017

In India, only 35 percent of 9th and 10th graders are able to read at a 4th-grade level. Implementing high-quality preschooling in urban India's affordable private schools can improve the country's learning outcomes by building a strong educational foundation.86 percent of low-income parents send their children to affordable private schools. As these families make up 70 percent of the urban population, affordable private schools are compelled to cater to their wishes. Shifting parents' expectations toward high-quality preschooling could transform the quality of education being delivered.We surveyed over 4,000 low-income parents to understand their beliefs and behaviors on how they choose schools and how they gauge academic progress. By knowing what drives these parents' choices, we can identify how to shift these beliefs and behaviors in order to encourage affordable private schools to enact higher-quality schooling.

Informal Housing, Inadequate Property Rights: Understanding the Needs of India's Informal Housing Dwellers

December 1, 2016

In India, as in many other developing countries, urban population growth and the shortage of planned affordable housing have led to 26–37 million households (33–47 percent of the urban population) living in informal housing (slums and unauthorised housing). Slum dwellers often live in poor conditions and face the threat of eviction or demolition. Unauthorised housing dwellers usually have some basic services (such as electricity and water). However, they may lack proper roads, sewage, or drainage, and they also face the potential threat of demolition.The Indian government has tried many different approaches to help improve living conditions for informal housing dwellers, but without sizeable impact. Redeveloping and relocating slums has not scaled, improving service provision has been slow, and "legalising" unauthorised housing has been limited. Unfortunately, informal housing is going to exist for the foreseeable future in India, and there is an urgent need to improve the lives of people who are living in such sub-optimal conditions.This report applies a property rights lens to segment the different types of informal housing, to understand the size and the needs of these segments, and to identify potential solutions to meet these needs. The research focuses specifically on owner-occupants, since they are most likely to invest in improving their housing as they will benefit from these improvements—both as residents and as owners of the asset.Research for the report involved reviewing 40 reports, speaking to 56 experts, conducting around 200 qualitative interviews of informal housing dwellers in 90 settlements, conducting quantitative interviews of 517 informal housing dwellers in 40 settlements in four cities (Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad, and Cuttack), gathering feedback on the findings in a workshop with 10 experts, and feedback on a draft report from 21 experts.

Impact Investing 2.0: The Way Forward

November 4, 2013

"Impact Investing 2.0: The Way Forward – Insight from 12 Outstanding Funds", created in partnership with the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University and Impact Assets, identifies twelve high-performing funds that have seen both financial and social returns on their investments. This report is designed to be a resource for the broad community interested in the future of impact investing, but especially for impact investing practitioners – those fund managers, investors, entrepreneurs, policymakers and advisors creating and managing new and existing funds and working hard to achieve successful social and financial performance.

Building Future Leaders Diagnostic Survey

June 12, 2012

This free diagnostic tool is designed to help social sector leaders assess the strengths and weaknesses of their organization's leadership development and succession planning for senior leader positions. The survey includes 31 statements that relate to 5 core processes, including: 1) engagement of current leaders; 2) understanding future needs; 3) developing leaders effectively; 4) hiring leaders externally; and 5) measuring and improving practices. Organizations rate their current performance and receive a diagnostic results report with their own responses as well as the average responses of other survey takers, in order to help identify their organization's areas for improvement and target their actions accordingly. An accompanying guide, "What's Your "Plan A" for Growing Future Leaders?" features best practices from the field to help organizations think differently and address leadership development gaps.