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Dallas Women's Foundation;
The process of creating a new women's fund requires thoughtful planning and strong commitment. In this edition of Creating a Women's Fund, we expanded the guide to incorporate the creation of stand-alone women's foundations. It is designed to share the experiences and perspectives of nine women's funds – small and large, new and established – from across the country.
In this guide, we provide two distinct courses of action – to set up a women's fund within a community foundation or to set up a stand-alone women's foundation. The guide takes the reader through the succession of phases for each: PLANNING, ESTABLISHING and BUILDING. However, since the decision to create a women's fund within a community foundation or a stand-alone women's foundation must be thorougly researched in the PLANNING phase, we recommend all readers begin with PLANNING.
At the end of the PLANNING section, readers may choose to either read the ESTABLISHING and BUILDING sections for funds within a community foundation (designated in blue for easy reference) OR for stand-alone foundations (designated in magenta). We have done this for brevity and ease; however, we strongly encourage readers to read through the entire guide to fully determine the advantages and challenges of both formats. Since there are many common steps involved in building a fund within a community foundation and a stand-alone foundation, those who read both sections may encounter some repetition.
Laura and John Arnold Foundation;
In the brief, LJAF Vice President Josh McGee and LJAF Sustainable Public Finance Analyst Paulina S. Diaz Aguirre explain that unless local leaders take immediate steps to pay down the pension debt and address the plans' underlying systemic flaws, the challenges will continue to escalate.
"Dallas is at a tipping point," McGee said. "Without immediate reforms, the city's pension problems will become too big to fix. Workers deserve a fair and secure retirement. Local leaders must work with public servants and taxpayers to develop a sustainable solution. This is true not only in Dallas, where the problems are particularly acute, but in cities across the state. Officials must take action now to ensure that their communities remain vibrant and financially stable."
The most immediate pension problem facing the city of Dallas involves its Police and Fire Pension System. The fund's Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP), a savings account provided to members when they reach retirement eligibility, is nearly bankrupt. In the past six months alone, retirees have withdrawn at least $300 million in savings. If this "run on the bank" continues, the police and fire fund may run out of cash to pay retirees' benefits.
The issues with the Dallas pension system stem from a decade of insufficient funding for both the police and fire fund as well as the plan for other municipal employees. With the police and fire fund, the problems have been compounded by two key factors. First, a broken governance structure allowed members to increase their own benefits without establishing a plan to pay for those increases. Second, a series of reckless investment decisions made by the plan's prior leadership went unnoticed. Former plan administrators invested more than half of the fund's assets in private equity and real estate, including high-risk properties such as luxury homes in Hawaii and a resort and vineyard in Napa, California. The city made less than expected on these investments, which led to a nearly $1 billion investment shortfall, hundreds of millions of dollars in asset devaluations, and a reported Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) review.
In addition, the police and fire fund is controlled by the state legislature, which means that local leaders do not have the authority they need to make the changes that are urgently required.
In the brief, McGee and Diaz Aguirre explain that plan administrators, city officials, and state legislators must immediately come together to enact comprehensive reforms. The co-authors present a number of recommendations that would help protect workers' retirement security and improve the stability of the pension system.
Obtaining local control of the police and fire fund
Developing a fair and sustainable plan to pay down the pension debt
In 2014, the Citi Foundation launched Pathways to Progress, a three-year, $50 million initiative in the United States to help 100,000 low-income youth -- ages 16 to 24 -- develop the workplace skills and leadership experience necessary to compete in a 21st century economy.
To achieve its ambitious goal, the Foundation enacted a multi-tiered strategy in ten cities: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Newark, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. The U.S. strategy also includes complementary national and local investments, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the National Academy Foundation, and the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues. In addition to the core and complementary program investments, the Citi Foundation's multitiered strategy includes substantial volunteer engagement by Foundation employees, and a significant communications platform -- augmenting grantee organizations' efforts to share their impact with the field.
In its efforts to advance youth economic opportunity on a significant scale, the Citi Foundation has invested in solutions that offer promise of sizeable and replicable impact.
Center for a New American Security;
The King Foundation and a collaborative of funders commissioned the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) to assess the needs of veterans in the region to assist in planning future philanthropic investment by the Foundation and its partners. This report summarizes research conducted by CNAS researchers between August 2015 and February 2016, using a mixed-methods approach that included qualitative research on regional trends; quantitative research using data made public by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and other agencies; a targeted survey of veterans in the region; and discussion groups with participants representing more than 50 organizations that serve those veterans.
The following assessment attempts to answer the following research questions: What is the state of veterans in the DFW region? Where do needs exist among the DFW veteran population? How are the needs of veterans being met in the DFW region? What are the main efforts at meeting the needs of veterans? How does the coordination of existing services take place, and is there a collaborative structure in the region that guides investments, services, and the overall care?
Galveston Bay Foundation;
Galveston Bay is resilient, but faces an uncertain future. The Bay's watershed is home to the fourth- and ninth-largest cities in the U.S., Houston and Dallas. It's also home to three ports, and remains a hub for the manufacturing and refining of chemicals and petroleum products. But people, industry, and commerce often come with environmental challenges. Galveston Bay's most significant problems are tied to pollution, declines in habitat acreage, and to the impacts of climate change, like sea level rise.
That Galveston Bay could receive C for overall health despite facing these monumental issues shows how resilient it is. This offers hope that we can change our negative impact on water quality, wetlands, seagrasses, and wildlife. But a healthier Galveston Bay is in everyone's interest.
Through this three-year Pathways to Progress portfolio review, Equal Measure will Provide a comprehensive narrative about the reach the Citi Foundation investment has had on youth, individual programs, and the grantee organizations. We also will examine how this investment fits within, and contributes to, the broader fields of youth, leadership, and 21st century workplace skills development.
Cultural Data Project;
In the summer of 2013, the Cultural Data Project (CDP) partnered with Slover Linett Audience Research to engage leading researchers in a virtual dialogue about cultural data and its role in supporting the long-term health, sustainability, and effectiveness of the cultural sector. The resulting white paper, New Data Directions for the Cultural Landscape: Toward a Better-Informed, Stronger Sector, identified six key challenges that appear to be inhibiting the field from more strategically and effectively engaging in data-informed decision-making practices.
With that report as a starting point, the CDP sought to expand the conversation to include the perspectives of arts practitioners, artists, service organizations, and funding agencies working on the "front lines," by hosting a series of town hall-style meetings in five cities across the country. At these meetings, participants discussed the challenges identified in the New Data Directions report, articulated other challenges they're facing, and began to suggest solutions. In this report, we summarize what we heard and learned from approximately 185 cultural practitioners in town halls in Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, and Philadelphia.
Meals On Wheels America;
The national Meals on Wheels network continues to face limited funding, rising costs, unprecedented demand and need and increasing for-profit competition. That is why Meals on Wheels America set out to compare the experience and health outcomes realized by older adults who receive three different levels of service: daily traditional meal delivery, once-weekly frozen delivery and individuals on a waiting list.
This study, funded by AARP Foundation and conducted by researchers at Brown University, implemented a groundbreaking approach to investigating the impact of meal service delivery on homebound seniors receiving Meals on Wheels. The study's findings validate what we've all known for decades anecdotally through firsthand experience: that Meals on Wheels does in fact deliver so much more than just a meal.
This report is the second of five volumes from a five-year study, funded by The Wallace Foundation and conducted by the RAND Corporation, designed as a randomized controlled trial that assesses student outcomes in three waves: in the fall after the 2013 summer program (reported here), at the end of the school year following the program, and after a second summer program in 2014 (to show the cumulative effects of two summer programs). The goal of the study is to answer one key question: Do voluntary, district-run summer programs that include academics and enrichment activities improve student academic achievement and other outcomes, such as social and emotional competence?
Many community development initiatives traditionally funded by foundations and the federal government evolved to respond to the economic conditions and barriers facing communities in big cities of the northeast and midwest. But conditions are dramatically different in Houston and other fast-growing metros like it. Neighborhood Centers, Inc. is developing and testing strategies for connecting underserved people to opportunities that reflect the realities of Houston's geography, demographics, and economy. This paper is intended to start a discussion about how these strategies differ from more traditional place-based antipoverty strategies, and how similar approaches may suit other metros like Houston.
The underground commercial sex economy (UCSE) generates millions of dollars annually, yet investigation and data collection remain under resourced. Our study aimed to unveil the scale of the UCSE in eight major US cities. Across cities, the UCSE's worth was estimated between $39.9 and $290 million in 2007, but decreased since 2003 in all but two cities. Interviews with pimps, traffickers, sex workers, child pornographers, and law enforcement revealed the dynamics central to the underground commercial sex trade -- and shaped the policy suggestions to combat it.
Pew Charitable Trusts;
The Great Recession created fiscal challenges for the 30 cities at the centers of the nation's most populous metropolitan areas that continued well past the recession's official end in June 2009. For most of these cities, the fiscal brunt was borne later than for the national and state governments and recovery has been slow.
Cities dealt with fiscal strain in a variety of ways: dipping into reserve funds, cutting spending, gaining help from the federal or state governments, and increasing revenue from tax and nontax sources. Although these strategies offered short-term solutions, many cities still faced declining revenue in 2011, the consequence of reduced spending, shrunken reserves, and rising pension and retiree health care costs.
Property taxes, which can be slow to respond to economic swings, helped delay the early fiscal effects of the Great Recession for most of these cities, but they began to decline in 2010, reflecting a deferred impact of the housing crisis. This trend was compounded by increasingly unpredictable aid from states and the federal government that were dealing with their own budgetary constraints.
Researchers from Pew standardized data from the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports from 2007 through 2011, the latest year of complete data available, for all of these 30 cities. This report examines key elements of each city's fiscal conditions, including revenue, expenditures, reserves, and long-term obligations, and adjusted them for inflation to facilitate comparison across the years. These adjustments allow insight into fiscal trends across cities and over time. Direct comparisons between cities may be limited, however, by differences in cities' tax structures and the range of services each city provides