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Iowa Council of Foundations;
Over two years, the Iowa Council of Foundations (ICoF) engaged 23 funders in a journey to improve openness and transparency with grantseekers and our communities. While they joined funders across the country pursuing this shared goal, the cohort set out to try new methodologies. Importing user experience (UX) techniques from the high-tech and human-centered design world, the cohort focused on the experience of users (grantseekers) to put grantseekers in the center of the foundations' design, strategy, and culture. The following report details two years of research, analysis, and learning as Iowa funders explored foundation openness and transparency through user experience.
Chicago Council on Global Affairs;
This report focuses how immigrants have helped offset native-born population loss and revitalized an aging workforce by examining 46 Midwestern metro areas as a refresh of a similar study published by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in 2014. Metro areas are a useful barometer by which to measure the impact of immigration because the economies of central cities and their suburbs are tightly connected and because large immigrant communities are found in both central cities and suburbs of metro areas. Also, the extent to which immigration matters to metro-area economies heightens the importance of immigration as an issue and raises the stakes for immigration reform.
Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation (an affiliate of Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates);
At Great Lakes we work to make postsecondary degrees, credentials and certificates accessible to as many students as possible. Specifically, we focus our philanthropy on helping those who traditionally have the most to gain from college, but who often have the least support in getting there: students from low-income homes, students of color and first-generation students.
This Report highlights our belief that overcoming barriers to graduation requires engaging both students and colleges—with success being their shared goal. In it you'll find details on many of the 50 grants we launched in 2016, several key findings and our goals for the coming year.
Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice;
Iowa does not have a sentencing commission or sentencing guidelines. It is an indeterminate sentencing state that has, over time, adopted mandatory minimum penalties for certain crimes. Its Board of Parole was established in 1907, and has operated continuously since.
Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates;
With over half of jobs now requiring a postsecondary credential, college completion has never been more important. Yet it remains elusive for too many students -- especially students from low-income backgrounds, students of color and first-generation students. For 50 years, Great Lakes has focused on helping traditionally underserved students who have the most to gain from a college education -- yet often have the least support in getting there -- make their way to and through college. Our 2015 report highlights the three distinct and purposeful funding approaches we use in pursuit of this goal and details several grants we made over the past year.
Drinking water, lakes and rivers in Iowa and across the Corn Belt are in serious trouble because of polluted farm runoff.
To tackle the problem, for decades we've taken the approach favored by agricultural interests – making federal tax dollars available for conservation practices that curb runoff, encouraging farmers to adopt those practices, then hoping enough of them volunteer to do the right thing.
But that approach has a fatal flaw: farmers who voluntarily start conservation practices can just as easily stop.
And that's exactly what's happening in eight key Iowa watersheds, an EWG investigation found. If what we found is true statewide and throughout the Corn Belt, it's no wonder the water is still dirty.
EWG used aerial imagery to track what happened between 2011 and 2014 with two simple but important practices – stream buffers and grassed waterways – in eight watersheds prioritized in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. In that period, some landowners in those watersheds started following practices to control runoff, but others stopped. In the end there was no lasting gain in protection and no or miniscule progress in reducing runoff.
Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED);
The Assets & Opportunity Scorecard is a comprehensive look at Americans' financial security today and their opportunities to create a more prosperous future. It assesses the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 130 outcome and policy measures, which describe how well residents are faring and what states are doing to help them build and protect assets. The Scorecard enables states to benchmark their outcomes and policies against other states in five issue areas: Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care, and Education.
Iowa Women's Leadership Project;
A statewide collaboration of organizations who aim to increase awareness of the key issues facing Iowa's women and girls. The report, which follows a 2012 survey of the status of women and girls in the state, charts a course to improve that status in six areas: Economic self-sufficiency; leadership; pay equity; safety from violence; STEM Careers; Women-owned businesses.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation;
Why is there so much difference in the health of residents in one county compared to other counties in the same state? In this report, the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program explores how wide gaps are throughout Iowa and what is driving those differences. This information can help Iowa state leaders as they identify ways for everyone to have a fair chance to lead the healthiest life possible. Specifically, this document can help state leaders understand: 1. What health gaps are and why they matter 2. The size and nature of the health gaps among counties within Iowa 3. What factors are influencing the health of residents, and 4. What state and local communities can do to address health gaps.
Iowa Women's Leadership Project;
She Matters: 2015 Issues and Actions contains recommendations and strategies for all of us as we work to ensure equity, education, safety, security, and opportunity for females across the state. We hope this report serves as a valuable tool for development of initiatives and policies for key stakeholders and decision-makers.
Center for Effective Government;
Now more than two years after the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion, this report asks the question that haunted the community in the aftermath of the tragedy: why didn't the people who arrived to help fight the fire know that extremely flammable and explosive materials were inside?
Ten volunteer firefighters who rushed toward the fire were among the 15 killed in the explosion that followed. In addition to the deaths, the explosion destroyed three schools, a nursing home, and 37 city blocks, and over 200 people were injured. But it seems that neither the firefighters nor the town officials who approved the school sitings fully understood the risks the fertilizer storage facility presented.
Congress passed a law almost three decades ago that was designed to ensure that local communities are fully aware of hazardous substances near them and that emergency personnel know what to do in the event of a disaster like West, Texas. A few years later, an additional law required more reporting and planning. But local communities in many areas of the country still seem unaware and unprepared to deal with emergencies. As the number of chemical facilities increases and population centers expand, as plants age and inspection funds decline, the number of individual Americans at risk from toxic emissions, leaks, and explosions will grow.
This report examines the chemical reporting to states that occurs under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA), using a sample of six states, and the reporting to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that was established under the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments and the federal Risk Management Program.