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Information Gaps and Misinformation in the 2022 Elections

August 2, 2022

The problem of election misinformation is vast. Part of the problem occurs when there is high demand for information about a topic, but the supply of accurate and reliable information is inadequate to meet that demand. The resulting information gap creates opportunities for misinformation to emerge and spread.One major election information gap developed in 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic drove many states to expand access to voting by mail. Inadequate public knowledge about the process left room for disinformation mongers to spread false claims that mail voting would lead to widespread fraud. Election officials could not fill information gaps with accurate information in time. As is now well known, no less than former President Trump promoted these false claims, among others, to deny the 2020 presidential election results and provoke the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.In 2022, false narratives about a stolen 2020 election persist, even as an unprecedented spate of restrictive voting law changes across the country has created fresh information gaps and, thus, fresh opportunities for misinformation. Since 2020, at least 18 states have shrunk voting access, often in ways that dramatically alter procedures voters might remember from the past. Meanwhile, lies and vitriol about the 2020 election have affected perceptions of election administration in ways that complicate work to defend against misinformation.This paper identifies some of the most significant information gaps around elections in 2022 and new developments in elections oversight that will make it harder to guard against misinformation. Ultimately, it recommends strategies that election officials, journalists, social media companies, civic groups, and individuals can and should use to prevent misinformation from filling gaps in public knowledge. Lessons from other subjects, such as Covid-19 vaccine ingredients and technologies, show how timely responses and proactive "prebunking" with accurate information help to mitigate misinformation.

The impact of policy changes from the perspective of providers of family planning care in the US: results from a qualitative study

July 6, 2022

In recent years, there have been several state and federal policies that have disrupted access to publicly supported family planning care in the United States, including the 2019 rule that altered the federal Title X family planning program. In late 2020, we conducted in-depth interviews with health care providers from 55 facilities providing family planning care in Arizona, Iowa, and Wisconsin with the aim of learning how sites were affected by policy changes. We identified perceived effects on clinic finances, patient confidentiality, contraceptive counselling and service provision, and options counselling resulting from state and federal policy changes. Some clinics lost funding and had to pass some of the cost of services on to patients, raising new confidentiality concerns and creating new burdens on staff to carry out financial counselling with patients. Other sites had to grapple with restrictions on the pregnancy options counselling that they could provide, concentrate counselling on fertility awareness-based methods, and increase efforts to include parents/guardians in the care of adolescent patients. State and federal policies impact how publicly supported family planning care is provided, and compromise efforts to provide patient-centered care.

Centering equity and justice in climate philanthropy

June 9, 2022

Despite its urgency and potential, according to available funding data, most institutional funders do not incorporate climate or climate justice strategies into their work, largely relegating it to a few environmental funders. As a result of underestimating its importance and its connection to other philanthropic priorities, not enough funding is flowing to climate change efforts and even less of it for reducing harm to communities most impacted by the climate crisis.This field guide for funders identifies common barriers to supporting climate justice strategies, describes ways to overcome them, and shares insights and case studies from experienced funders who have helped their institutions use a climate justice lens for greater impact within their existing grantmaking priorities.

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.

UNFENCING THE FUTURE

March 9, 2022

At its core, this guide is about relationships. These are not relationships that may exist in the jargon of the non-profit or philanthropy worlds, usually termed "grants" and framed by "project periods." These are relationships dependent on time, listening, understanding someone else's perspective and desires, and letting go of power and control to work together respectfully and reciprocally.It is about world views and how people with differing views and experiences can come together to first know each other. If the getting to know you part goes well, folks might identify common goals, then work together to advance some or all of them. As we look around the world, we see this is not easy work; struggles are ongoing for money, land, water, and what the land provides. Climate change is heightening and contributing to these struggles.

The Case for Enlarging the House of Representatives

December 9, 2021

This report makes the case for expanding the House of Representatives to bring the American people a little closer to their government, and their government closer to them. The Case for Enlarging the House of Representatives is an independent byproduct of Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century, the final report of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship. The Commission represents a cross-partisan cohort of leaders from academia, civil society, philanthropy, and the policy sphere who reached unanimous agreement on thirty-one recommendations to improve American democracy. The report takes as a premise that political institutions, civic culture, and civil society reinforce one another. A nation may have impeccably designed bodies of government, but it also needs an engaged citizenry to ensure these institutions function as intended. As a result, Our Common Purpose argues that reforming only one of these areas is insufficient. Progress must be made across all three. To build a better democracy, the United States needs better-functioning institutions as well as a healthier political culture and a more resilient civil society.

Tempered expectations and hardened divisions a year into the Biden presidency

December 1, 2021

Joe Biden entered the presidency in January aiming to strengthen American democracy by delivering popular policies and reducing partisan enmity. A year later, he convened a democracy summit to address the challenges that rising authoritarianism poses around the world. Here at home, however, the promise of unity has faded and our democratic vulnerabilities remain.In this report, we describe the findings from parallel surveys we conducted November 5–19, 2021 among political science experts and the public to gauge the status of our democracy and the prospects for reforms that might improve it.

Foundations Respond to Crisis: Lasting Change?

November 29, 2021

Philanthropic and nonprofit leaders have called for changes in foundation practice for decades, asking funders to, for example, provide more flexible and unrestricted funding; streamline and simplify processes; listen to, trust, and support their grantees; and pursue racial equity and racial justice.But there had been little evidence of change until the spring of 2020, when many foundations shifted their practices as the scale of the COVID-19 crisis became clear. In a series of three reports released late last year by CEP, we found that foundations made many changes to their practices, such as providing more unrestricted support and streamlining processes. In addition, many foundations reported providing new support to lower-income, Black, or Latino communities, and to organizations created and led by people from the communities most affected by systemic inequities.Since then, CEP has collected new survey and interview data from foundation and nonprofit leaders to examine whether these changes continued into 2021 and whether they will continue in the future.

Time to Act: How Philanthropy Must Address the Climate Crisis

November 2, 2021

As the climate crisis deepens, FSG shares this call to action for private foundations and donors, especially those that may not have focused on climate previously. The report presents a set of practical recommendations and vignettes to illustrate how a wide range of funders, varying in size, structure, and expertise, can further their existing missions by supporting effective climate action through grantmaking and investments. The report encourages funders to support frontline communities most affected by the climate crisis to transform economic, political, and social systems toward a more just, regenerative, and livable future.

Bold Ambition: International Large-Scale Science

June 1, 2021

This report, Bold Ambition: International Large-Scale Science, describes the essential role of large-scale science initiatives, also referred to as megascience initiatives, for the U.S. scientific enterprise. It identifies best practices for building large-scale scientific collaborations in the future. 

Foundations Respond to Crisis: Toward Equity?

December 9, 2020

The disproportionate public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on certain communities, along with nationwide protests against police violence and racial injustice, have intensified the calls for foundations to focus on equity and reckon with anti-Black racism in a deeper way than they had before. To what extent have staffed foundations changed their practices in 2020 in response to this push for substantial shifts in how philanthropy approaches its work?CEP surveyed and interviewed foundation leaders to find out. Foundations Respond to Crisis: Toward Equity? reveals that almost all foundations participating in CEP's study report placing new, or more, focus on supporting Black, Latino, and lower-income communities; and most foundation leaders say they are reckoning with racism and paying greater attention to racial equity in their work. However, there remains still significant room for further progress, and it remains to be seen how deep and sustained this new focus will be.

Foundations Respond to Crisis: Toward Greater Flexibility and Responsiveness?

December 1, 2020

Nonprofits and funders alike have long called on foundations to be more flexible and responsive, to provide more unrestricted funding, to reduce what they ask of grantees, and to build more trusting relationships. In 2020, these calls for change only intensified in a time of immense challenge for nonprofits and the people and communities they serve.Have foundations responded to these calls with newfound urgency? And if so, is that response merely a momentary adjustment? Or will the crises of 2020 spur substantive, long-term change in how funders approach their work?CEP surveyed and interviewed foundation leaders to find out. Foundations Respond to Crisis: Toward Greater Flexibility and Responsiveness? reveals that foundations say they are loosening grant restrictions, providing more unrestricted funding, and reducing what they ask of grantees. Many plan to continue these practices in the future, though to a lesser degree than during their pandemic response.Findings in this report are based on survey data gathered from 236 foundations — 170 of which signed the pledge hosted by the Council on Foundations to act urgently in response to COVID-19, and 66 of which had not — as well as in-depth interviews with leaders of 41 foundations that signed the pledge. All data was collected between June and August 2020.This study is the final in a series of three reports from CEP examining the extent to which staffed foundations have changed their practices in response to calls for change to meet the unprecedented challenges of 2020.