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In 2019, Candid and Centris, with support from PeaceNexus Foundation, conducted a survey, Philanthropy for a Safe, Healthy, and Just World. The results, based on 823 civil society organization responses, reveal philanthropists can do better to support global peacebuilding efforts.
The world today continues to be shaken by armed conflicts, yet, according to research by Candid, peace-related grantmaking comprises less than 1 percent of all grants. Further, the study found that only 18 percent of survey respondents indicated that conflict transformation and peacebuilding were "very important" to their work; in fact, it ranked at the very bottom of the list. Still, 57 percent of respondents said that supporting resilience and stable societies—a key component of peacebuilding— is either important or central to their work. Moreover, it was more common for organizations to see their work through the lens of social justice or human rights than through the lens of peace, suggesting a broader understanding and acceptance of these frameworks compared to peace.
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation;
The second edition of Social Accountability Guidebook for CSOs is a learning resource that is intended to support the building of a community of practice of social accountability practitioners, advocates, and champions in West Africa. This guidebook is an updated version of the first edition which was published in 2018. The Guidebook presents case studies of social accountability initiatives from the West African region, interspersed with definitions of terminologies related to the concept. It is intended to deepen understanding and foster appreciation of the concept of social accountability, its potential for strengthening accountability in the region, and the challenges that may be encountered in implementing social accountability initiatives in the West African Context. It is hoped that the Guidebook will serve as a catalyst for further development and tailoring of the concept of social accountability in West Africa, by CSOs, development practitioners, local and central government agencies, the donor community, and all others who are interested in advancing accountability in West Africa.
Global Fund for Community Foundations (GFCF);
Civil society organisations (CSOs) in Ghana are generally fragile and dependent on donor funding mechanisms for survival. Recent studies show that financial sustainability of CSOs is challenging, which has spurred conversations on new alternative funds mobilisation routes, innovative methods and strategies to ensure its sustainability. This scoping report highlights the opportunities and challenges associated with faith-based giving as a domestic resource mobilisation (DRM) strategy that CSOs could explore in Ghana. Specifically, the report highlights the experiences of funds mobilisation, the strategies, the opportunities and successes and the challenges. It draws on in-depth interviews from 6 faith-based organisations (FBOs), three CSOs that have funds mobilisation connections with FBOs and 2 key informants or experts working within the civil society space in Ghana. The report stresses four key messages.
First, the key sources of domestic faith-based giving for Faith-based organisations are: (i) Special collections and offerings collected by affiliated religious bodies to support the FBOs; (ii) Individual contributions, appeals, pledges and gifts from members of religious affiliations (local and foreign); (iii) Allocations from headquarters or the 'root' organisations from which the faith-based organisations were formed and (iv) Volunteers and in-kind contributions from partners and stakeholders. However, faith-based domestic resource mobilisation has not been systematically integrated into the core strategy of domestic resource mobilisation efforts of some faith-based organisations as they draw their funding mainly from external sources.
Second, religious organisations affiliated to Faith-based organisations use multiple strategies to encourage and mobilise funds and resources from givers. Four commonest approaches identified are: i) using education, doctrines and psychological preparation towards giving; b) instituting 'special days' for collection from givers; iii) being accountable and effectively communicating results and iv) effectively communicating mission to givers.
Third, opportunities for mobilising funds and resources from faith-based sources exist because (i) large religious base of the country who are motivated by faith to give; (ii) indigenous systems and culture of giving in Ghana and (iii) growing technologies and digital infrastructure that provide convenience for givers. Strong connections to a 'base'/constituents is important for generation of funds.
However, there are some challenges that constrain the prospect of domestic mobilisation of faith-based funds to boost financial sustainability of CSOs while also promoting socio-economic development in Ghana. Six key challenges have been articulated below: (i) general perceptions of CSOs and development actors ; (ii) culture of giving is skewed towards ad-hoc social welfare causes than long-term development actions that address systemic changes ; (iii) The difficulty of working with rising middle class and high-net worth personalities and (iv) weak transparent and accountable systems of CSOs. Some non-faith-based organisations also find it difficult mobilising domestic faith-based resources because of: (i) unfavourable perception and risk of associating with faith-based organisations and ii) clash of religious doctrines and some principles and values held by organisations.
Justice Policy Institute;
The Justice Policy Institute is pleased to share our newest report, Restoring Local Control of Parole to the District of Columbia.
In January 2019, the District of Columbia government enlisted the Justice Policy Institute to explore the feasibility of restoring local control of parole and make recommendations for how release decision making can be transferred from the federal government to DC government. Transferring supervision responsibilities and parole decision-making from the federal government back to the District is an ambitious, complicated undertaking. Fortunately, local leadership can draw on a wealth of data, evidence, and experience from other jurisdictions as they evaluate how best to move forward.
This new report highlights the best available research and practice in the parole field, provides 22 recommendations for parole decision-making and supervision, and outlines three options for restoring local control of release decision-making. JPI undertook a series of activities to produce this report. These included:
Interviewing District and federal officials to understand how the current system functions and how best to build upon its strengths.
Speaking with attorneys who handle parole applications to the United States Parole Commission.
Attending community speak-out events and local criminal justice coalition meetings to solicit input from a wide range of community and system stakeholders, including currently and formerly incarcerated people with experience in the District's parole system.
Consulting with experts from multiple organizations that provide technical assistance to help states improve their parole practice, including attending the 2019 Association of Paroling Authorities International Chairs Meeting and Annual Training Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.
Examining a broad array of research in academic peer-reviewed journals, technical white papers, and state agency reports.
The recommendations outlined in this report should guide the development and staffing of a new parole board, the criteria for release decision-making, and how individuals are supervised in the community. If the District follows this plan, we believe it has the opportunity to serve as a model jurisdiction for other states. We also hope the report can be useful for jurisdictions currently considering reforms to their parole systems.
European Foundation Centre (EFC);
30 years. 30 contributors. 30 takes on the future of philanthropy.
With so many complex and urgent challenges facing contemporary society, clearly treading water isn't enough. How can philanthropy adapt to tackle these challenges head on? How can the EFC be the catalyst in this process?The answers to these questions are going to be critical.This commemorative book, marking 30 years since the establishment of the European Foundation Centre, turns to some of the most influential thought leaders on philanthropy from around the world to have their say on the future of the EFC and the wider philanthropic sector.
Ascendium Education Group (formerly known as Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates) has invested heavily to advance postsecondary success for low-income students, students of color, and first-generation students. Since 2012, Ascendium has awarded over $10.2 million in Dash Emergency Grants to 63 two- and four-year institutions. Through Dash, colleges administer emergency aid (EA) grants to meet students' unanticipated expenses so that more of these students stay on track for completion. These small grants, often $500 or less, can make the difference in whether a student is able to remain in school. Ascendium contracted with Equal Measure in late 2017 to create a set of tools to help the field codify the process of awarding emergency aid. Emergency Aid for Higher Education: A Toolkit and Resource Guide for DecisionMakers is the result of more than 10 months of research, interviews, focus groups, and webinars with Dash Emergency Grant recipients that elucidated current best practices, and gaps, in administering EA programs.
Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS) is an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support colleges that seek to incorporate technology into their advising and student services. In iPASS, such technology is intended to increase advising's emphasis on a student's entire college experience, enabling advisers to more easily (1) intervene when students show early warning signs of academic and nonacademic challenges, (2) regularly follow up as students progress through college, (3) refer students to tutoring and other support services when needed, and (4) provide personalized guidance that reflects students' unique needs.
To study how technology can support advising redesign, MDRC and the Community College Research Center partnered with three institutions already implementing iPASS: California State University, Fresno; Montgomery County Community College; and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The three institutions increased the emphasis on providing timely support, boosted their use of advising technologies, and used administrative and communication strategies to increase student contact with advisers. The enhancements at all three institutions are being evaluated using a randomized controlled trial research design.
This report shows that the enhancements generally produced only a modestly different experience for students in the program group compared with students in the control group, although at one college, the enhancements did substantially increase the number of students who had contact with an adviser. Consequently, it is not surprising that the enhancements have so far had no discernible positive effects on students' academic performance. The findings also highlight the potential for unintended consequences. Before the study, each of the institutions had required that certain groups of students see an adviser before registering for classes in the next semester. Each institution expanded this preregistration requirement to include all students in the study's program groups, but at one institution, the requirement appears to have contributed to a small reduction in earned credits.
National Conference of State Legislatures;
Across the country, businesses striving to fill their workforce needs are turning to hard-toemploy and chronically underemployed parents. Business and government leaders face aging demographics, slow population growth, low unemployment rates and industry-specific workforce shortages as they attempt to increase, or at least sustain, economic growth and competitiveness. States are intensifying efforts to connect industry's workforce needs with available workers to get more people on a sustainable career path, leading to a stronger economy."Benefits cliffs"—or "the cliff effect"—are a hurdle for businesses and workers alike. The cliff effect refers to the sudden and often unexpected decrease in public benefits that can occur with a small increase in earnings. When income increases, families sometimes lose some or all economic supports. These can include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), school nutrition programs, health care, child care assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and housing. Often, wage increases result in a net loss of income or only a small overall increase. Sometimes the cliff effect looks more like a slope or plateau, but it is still a disincentive to work. When lost benefits outpace a wage increase, many families "park" or fall off the cliff's edge, stalling progression in their jobs and careers.
Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace;
Individual giving in India, Russia, the Arab region and Brazil is part of PSJP's Philanthropy Study. Previously the study has focused on producing a series of papers on philanthropy in four emerging market countries/regions – India, Russia, the Arab region and Brazil. These studies have taken a broad view of philanthropy, encompassing everything from individual giving (by the very wealthy and by people of more modest means, including crowdfunding) to giving by private and corporate foundations, CSR, community philanthropy, social justice philanthropy, self-funded movements and impact investing.
The current paper looks at individual giving by ordinary people in these countries/ regions in more depth. Seen as an area of great promise in India and Russia, it is at an earlier stage in Brazil. In the Arab region giving to the social sector is barely making headway, though traditional giving is very much alive.
Carsey School of Public Policy at The University of New Hampshire;
When low-income residents struggle to make ends meet, non-profit social service agencies can help fill the gaps. In doing so, these agencies must find sufficient funding, retain qualified staff, and craft efficient service delivery mechanisms that are respectful of clients and communities. Some of the challenges that service providers encounter are exacerbated by rural characteristics, such as vast geographic distances and the lack of economies of scale. Yet in some ways rurality is beneficial, as small communities can facilitate community engagement and providers can engage natural supports in their service delivery work.
Ascendium details how colleges have learned to probe for the underlying issues that contribute to financial emergencies, and are connecting students to community agencies as well as offering enhanced campus resources.
While the report offers many lessons learned and insights, three key messages prevail:
Colleges created an institutional culture where students feel safe asking for help.
Colleges are more aware of students' holistic needs.
Emergency aid is a vital retention tool.
For many low-income students, an unforeseen car repair or medical bill can mean the end of their college hopes. While typically not large expenses, they can be enough to force these students into a tough choice: stay in college or pay the bill. Since its inception, Ascendium's Dash Emergency Grant Program has helped more than 100 two- and four-year colleges throughout the U.S. implement emergency grant programs on their own campuses.
West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI);
This strategy paper has been developed as a one-stoptoolbox of ideas, initiatives and strategies for making Ghanaian civil society viable and sustainable. This strategy paper analyses the different approaches, models and resourcing strategies commonly used by CSOs around the world drawing inspiration from previous work by the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) on issues around sustainability and the characteristics of sustainable CSOs. From the national CSO convenings, it has become clear that there is growing interest in the development of alternative funding models that reduce a CSO's dependence on traditional gift-incomes and official aid.