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Environmental Justice and Philanthropy: Challenges and Opportunities for Alignment

March 3, 2020

Across the country, environmental justice (EJ) organizations and communities of color are leading influential campaigns and initiatives aimed at protecting public health, developing stronger climate and environmental policies, and building new economies rooted in Just Transition principles. However, the power and scale of grassroots environmental justice organizations are often misunderstood or overlooked by philanthropy, despite a long record of community organizing and action. As a result, funding disparities persist, and the most important voices acting on behalf of equitably adapting to and mitigating climate change and environmental degradation are often excluded from critical decision-making processes.This study of the underlying dynamics of misalignment between the philanthropic and environmental justice sectors in the Midwest and Gulf South regions confirms that environmental funders are largely granting to mainstream environmental organizations (99%), with just a tiny fraction (1%) going to environmental justice organizations. While it is clear there are barriers to alignment between philanthropy and the EJ sector, it is equally clear that there are significant areas of opportunity.

Race, Ethnicity, and the Design of State Grant Aid Programs

January 26, 2023

Most states use need-based state grant programs to reduce financial barriers to college for students from low-income households. The policy design and eligibility requirements of these grant programs vary from state to state and even across sectors. But some policies may unintentionally disproportionately exclude students from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups.In this report, we analyze data on students who attend college in their state of legal residence and examine how the characteristics of need-based state grant programs affect students from different racial and ethnic groups. We focus on 11 states with significant need-based grant programs and examine both program structure and the distribution of aid among students from different racial and ethnic groups. We find that some of the eligibility restrictions for state grants, including those based on time part-time enrollment, time since high school graduation, and high school academic record, may have differential impacts by race and ethnicity.The data show that differences in aid receipt are not as large or as prevalent as one might expect, but in some states, Black, Hispanic, or Asian students are less likely than others in similar financial circumstances to receive state grant aid. These differences usually do not occur within the public four-year sector but occur either among public two-year college students or among college students overall. Another significant issue is the relatively small share of state grant aid going to students attending public two-year colleges, which tend to enroll relatively large shares of Black and Hispanic students.Each state has a unique program design for need-based aid, and both student demographics and enrollment patterns vary considerably among states, so the most effective policies will differ from state to state. If states want to ensure inclusivity in their need-based state grant programs, they would be well advised to examine their policies for differential impacts by race and ethnicity.

Building on Completion Gains: Amplifying Progress and Closing Persistent Gaps

January 26, 2023

Across the country, colleges using Complete College America (CCA) strategies are improving graduation rates. But despite these overall gains, data continues to show persistent institutional performance gaps for BILPOC (Black, Indigenous, Latinx, People of Color) students and students ages 25 and older.Students in both of these groups disproportionately attend college part time, and data consistently shows a range of institutional performance gaps for part-time students. But these facts tells only part of the story.Enrollment intensity is not a factor in all of the institutional performance gaps that BILPOC students and students ages 25 and older experience. For example, part-time enrollment rates cannot account for these students' experiencing dramatically lower gateway course completion rates.Thus, colleges must use multiple lenses for reforms.Of course, colleges must implement reforms to address the challenges facing part-time students. These changes—such as course schedules that accommodate working learners and supports that facilitate increased enrollment intensity—are essential for improving retention and completion rates.At the same time, improvements that better serve part-time students are not enough. Colleges and universities also must address institutional performance gaps that are specific to BILPOC students, students ages 25 and older, and students who fall in both of these groups.Closing these gaps begins with identifying them. This report includes data from CCA Alliance members, allowing CCA to provide national numbers on metrics not tracked in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Using this CCA data, combined with publicly available data, this report highlights critical institutional performance gaps—and explains how colleges can act to close them

In Defense of the Movement: Policing, Criminalization, and Surveillance of Protesters of State Violence

January 25, 2023

The Communities Transforming Policing Fund, Center for Protest Law and Litigation, CS Fund, Piper Fund, and Funders for Justice are calling on our peer philanthropic organizations to partner with us in defense of the movement. The movement to end state violence is unique, but deeply connected to all movements for equality and justice. Every right fought for and won in the United States has come through mass protests and mobilization. Every right taken away and criminalized is enforced by police and often with the use of surveillance, legal targeting, and violence. To reinforce our Democracy and to be in alignment with movements for justice and equality, philanthropy must commit to the long-term legal, safety, and security support of protesters.

Addressing the Legacies of Historical Redlining: Correlations with Measures of Modern Housing Instability

January 24, 2023

"Redlining" of neighborhoods, one of a number of explicitly racist United States federal housing policies in the mid–twentieth century, blocked Black households and other communities of color from accessing home mortgages—and as a result homeownership—for decades. The practice has been linked to present day racialized neighborhood poverty and ongoing negative impacts on formerly redlined neighborhoods.In an attempt to address or mitigate decades of racist housing policies, some policymakers and jurisdictions are considering reparative policies and otherwise prioritizing Black households and others disenfranchised by past racist housing policies. Given the prominence of redlining maps and analyses that find associations between redlining and negative impacts on neighborhoods, some policy makers have focused on redlined areas as a criteria for qualifying for direct assistance.In this brief, we explore the extent to which historical redlining patterns correlate with current risk of housing instability. Using redlining maps for more than 200 cities digitized by the University of Richmond as a base and a number of instability indicators including the Urban Institute's Emergency Rental Assistance Priority (ERA Priority) Index, eviction filing data from the Eviction Lab, and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) data, we examine the extent to which redlined areas correlate with concentrations of people who are most at risk of housing instability. It is important to note that the overall practice of restricting access to housing based on race still happens today, but for the purposes of this brief, when we talk about redlining, we mean the legacy of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

Contraceptive Deserts

January 20, 2023

More than 19 million women of reproductive age living in the US are in need of publicly funded contraception and live in contraceptive deserts. Living in a contraceptive desert means that they lack reasonable access in their county to a health center that offers the full range of contraceptive methods. Around 1.2 million of these women live in a county without a single health center offering the full range of methods. For all of these women getting contraception means having to do more than showing up to an appointment. They must find a babysitter, take time off work, or travel long distances to access their preferred birth control method. And they're not alone. We know that there are women across the US who aren't eligible for publicly funded contraception but still rely on the same health centers. Whether for convenience, privacy reasons, or instances of reproductive coercion, women who have insurance may still seek contraception at health centers that primarily serve low income women. It only tells part of the story to say that 19 million women live in contraceptive deserts.This resource provides a visual description of where women in need can access birth control—and where they can't—across the country. As the map moves from dark purple to yellow to dark pink, access declines.

The State of Reproductive Health in the United States: The End of Roe and the Perilous Road Ahead for Women in the Dobbs Era

January 19, 2023

In June 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that nothing in the United States Constitution guarantees a women's right to abortion. Within six months of the decision, 15 states had banned abortion. More are anticipated to do so in the 2023 state legislative sessions that will commence this month.This study reports on the state of reproductive and sexual health in the United States during the final years of the Roe era. Gender Equity Policy Institute's "The State of Reproductive Health in the United States," analyzes data on key indicators such as teen births, maternal mortality, and newborn deaths, and compares trends between groups of states. Our objective in this inaugural report is to establish a baseline for future assessments of the effects of abortion bans on women's health and well-being in the coming years.

The economics of abortion bans: Abortion bans, low wages, and public underinvestment are interconnected economic policy tools to disempower and control workers

January 18, 2023

Abortion has long been framed as a cultural, religious, or personal issue rather than a material "bread and butter" economic concern. Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, more economic policymakers have been emphasizing the issue as a pressing economic concern. In perhaps the first public comment on the issue by a major political figure, Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen noted: "eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades" (Guida 2022). This direct connection between abortion and reproductive access and economic rights is critical (Banerjee 2022). This report argues that abortion access is fundamentally intertwined with economic progress and mobility. Specifically, in states where abortion has been banned or restricted, abortion restrictions constitute an additional piece in a sustained project of economic subjugation and disempowerment.The states banning abortion rights have, over decades, intentionally constructed an economic policy architecture defined by weak labor standards, underfunded and purposefully dysfunctional public services, and high levels of incarceration. Through a cross-sectional quantitative analysis of state level abortion access status and five indicators of economic security—the minimum wage, unionization, unemployment insurance, Medicaid expansion, and incarceration—we find that, generally, the states enacting abortion bans are the same ones that are economically disempowering workers through other channels.The results of the analysis underscore that abortion restrictions and bans do have economic effects, given the strong correlation between abortion status and various economic wellbeing metrics. Further, the consistent pattern of state abortion bans and negative economic outcomes shows how abortion fits into an economics and politics of control. Abortion restrictions are planks in a policy regime of disempowerment and control over workers' autonomy and livelihoods, just like deliberately low wage standards, underfunded social services, or restricted collective bargaining power. Economic policymakers must prioritize this issue as widespread abortion bans will contribute to a loss in economic security and independence for millions in the current and future generations.

Collaborative environmental data stewardship: Opportunities for ecosystem building and project application

January 18, 2023

The collection and use of environmental data is proliferating, supporting communities, researchers, and governments to solve environmental and climate crises on local and global scales. With data coming from disparate sources and actors, collaborative tools are increasingly necessary - especially if we're to responsibly account for and integrate the complex and intersectional nature of environmental issues. Environmental data users, collectors, and owners can practice responsible data stewardship in collaboration with others in new and profound ways in order to leverage the power of expanding data resources.Open Environmental Data Project convened stakeholders from government, academia, environmental nonprofits, community organizations, and the legal sector to discuss the challenges and promising solutions they've faced in collaboratively managing and stewarding environmental data. Different needs and opportunities emerged based on the actor's role in the collaboratively managed data space; we categorize the opportunities as either ecosystem-building opportunities, based on their application towards building the larger environmental data space, or as project application opportunities, opportunities for environmental data stewardship in practice or applied to specific collaborative environmental data projects. This brief focuses on the following thirteen opportunities on both the ecosystem-building and projection application levels. 

Who Profited from Election Deniers?

January 17, 2023

As election-denying secretary of state candidates spouted rhetoric that eroded people's faith in our free and fair elections, political operatives behind the scenes were raking in the dough.A new Issue One review of state campaign finance filings reveals a slice of which companies and political consultants across the country converted election denialism into profit during the 2022 midterm elections.

Are Immigrants a Threat? Most Americans Don’t Think So, but Those Receptive to the “Threat” Narrative Are Predictably More Anti-immigrant

January 17, 2023

As politicians struggle with how to address immigration issues, Americans' views on immigration have become increasingly polarized, with Republicans becoming significantly more anti-immigrant in their attitudes over the past few years. Republicans have continually attacked the Biden administration's handling of immigration, claiming that his policies will increase the flow of immigrants over the southern border and calling for U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to resign. These criticisms are expected to increase now that Republicans have regained control of the House of Representatives.Though the Trump-era narrative still resonates among certain portions of the American public, this report reveals that majorities of Americans do not view immigrants as a threat. But people who are more likely to think of immigrants as a threat — including those who most trust conservative media sources and Fox News — they are considerably more anti-immigrant and less supportive of open immigration policies.

10 Years of Delivering for Immigrants: Evaluation of the Delivering on the Dream Project

January 17, 2023

Launched in 2012 in response to the opportunity presented under the Obama administration for hundreds of thousands of young people to qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), GCIR's Delivering on the Dream (DOTD) network has proven to be a powerful example of philanthropic collaboration in pursuit of immigrant justice. Through a unique partnership model that leverages national matching funds, state and local funders engage in coordinated grantmaking to strengthen the immigrant rights and service infrastructure in diverse locales. Since its inception, the DOTD network has included 27 collaboratives in 21 states, with more than 160 local, state, and national funders supporting over 700 grantees working in multiple areas, including immigration legal services, education and outreach, and crisis response.Though DOTD in its current form will be sunsetting in 2023, many of the regional collaboratives will continue to convene, providing opportunities for local grantmakers to collaborate and respond to the needs of immigrants in their communities. This brand-new report synthesizes lessons learned from the DOTD network over the past ten years and provides recommendations for future philanthropic collaboration.