All posts in Special Initiatives
Some of you may have already heard that the Kapor Foundation is co-sponsoring an exciting new opportunity to gather research about how hidden biases impact our lives and behavior, particularly around perceptions of fairness and access.
Along with our sibling organization, the Level Playing Field Institute, The Hidden Bias Research Prize will be awarded to two scholars who have conducted rigorous research with compelling findings to contribute significantly to the field of hidden bias research.In Winter 2010, the Level Playing Field Institute will award two $20,000 Prizes as part of this competition – one for research on K-12 or institutions of higher education and one for research on workplace programs.
The deadline is rushing up soon, so check out the call for papers at: www.lpfi.org/news/HiddenBiasResearchPrize.html!
We’ve just completed a process to identify new key partner organizations. And while the bulk of our funding will support this cohort, I want to reiterate to the broader community that we are still able to consider quarterly grant requests for special opportunities and efforts like convenings and tech-related work.
You may have noticed (or maybe not) a few new changes and updates on our website, such as the goodies on the Assistance & Advising page and the simplified grant application (in Cybergrants).
As stated, we remain an eager partner in helping to build equity, access, and fairness for communities of color.
Image from all-free-download.com
The Funders Committee for Civic Participation winter convening was chock full o’ learning and strategizing opportunities. Yours truly had the honor and pleasure of not only attending my first meeting as a newly-elected member of the Steering Committee, but also chatting with Lani Guinier, our keynote speaker. Professor Guinier, now serving on the faculty of Harvard Law School, is a prolific academic and author. She is perhaps best (and unfortunately) known for being thrown under the bus by a panicky first-term Bill Clinton during hearings about her nomination as Assistant Attorney General.
Professor Guinier continues to challenge traditional thinking about race and power in the U.S. She spoke with this rapt audience about the “electocracy” and questioned whether our current electoral system truly allows for representation. Actually, it wasn’t that simple; her assertion is that there are precious few spaces for public discourse around determining policy issues. She cited promising examples in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and domestically, in Chicago with a collective budgeting process (and thanks, Professor, for emailing me the article!).
FCCP participants also heard and discussed much new information about a precipitous drop-off in potential participation in the mid-term elections. Many voters who were energized by last year’s presidential elections are turned off, burnt out, or simply not motivated to vote in 2010. A similar civic burnout may also hamper participation in the dicennial census, due to kick off in March. Both of these events – elections and the census – have huge implications for communities across the nation – redistricting and reapportionment of Congressional seats, budget allocations according to population shifts, governor-ships, and the President’s policy agenda.
Just when I thought we might have a little respite, 2010 promises to be a tough year. Kudos to FCCP for yet another stellar meeting of the minds. These opportunities for funders synch up are always valuable and serve our individual and collective work well.
I also had the great pleasure of attending the “Transformational Leadership Retreat” sponsored by the Open Society Institute and the Knight Foundation in Miami. Organized by and for OSI’s Campaign for Black Male Achievement grant recipient organizations, this three-day convening provided a forum for networking, reflecting, and most importantly, galvanizing around a common agenda for promoting efficient and effective work with black men and boys in programs throughout the nation.
After dodging a contamination scare, and without betraying any confidences from the conversation circle, I found it liberating to finally break the unspoken tension around the role of gender equity and inclusion in this work – namely, how do we appropriately and respectfully include women in this male-focused work? While we collectively recognize the importance of focusing on this very “endangered” demographic group, we also need to develop an appropriate gender lens – what do we mean, exactly, when we talk about “manhood”?
While the discussion was impassioned and even tense, it was a very necessary bridge to cross as we try to work together as a community to ensure better pathways and futures for young black men and their families, neigbhorhoods, and greater communities.
All in all, the trip was simultaneously terrific and sobering. And I got to wear shorts and a pea coat in the same week.
Last year the push was for voter education and registration; this year we’re focusing on ensuring that people know about Census 2010! The Census is a critically important occurrence – its data is used to reapportion Congressional seats and to distribute over $400 billion in federal funds, among other things.
In order to help spread the word to historically hard-to-count populations in the Bay Area, the Kapor Foundation has earmarked $50,000 for an aligned grantmaking effort focusing on census outreach led by the San Francisco Foundation. The combined funds will support outreach efforts undertaken by nonprofits in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties. The grant request deadline is Friday, so Bay Area organizations make haste! [Please note that this is NOT a Kapor Foundation initiative; your organization should apply for these funds through the San Francisco Foundation's grant application portal.]
Let’s get it done folks!
I’m so pleased to share that our College Bound Celebration was a fantastic gathering and recognition of the BBCBI organizations and participants, including 25 graduating seniors who are off to college in the fall!
The event made the front page of the Oakland Tribune and the evening news broadcasts on KTVU-2 and ABC-7. There is also a wonderful article in the Oakland Globe. So rather than me recounting the event, I’ll let the press speak for us. LOL
This is just the beginning – if we have our way, next year’s event will be standing room only, full of young brothas who are proudly college bound, changing stats and stereotypes in the process. Stay tuned.
Photos by Hahn Nguyen
The month of May wore me OUT! So much going on – can I capture it in 300 words or less? Here goes!
On Tuesday the 19th, I headed to Denver for the FCCP spring convening, Shifting Landscapes: Exploring Civic Engagement Strategies, Partnerships and New Possibilities. These gatherings are always informative with interesting people, and this was no exception. I presented a brief historical overview during the session Turning Promise into Practice: Strategies for Transforming Antiquated Voter Registration Systems – a fired up name for a strategy session on voter registration modernization. Check out the slideshow (pdf) for more information.
California’s special election was also held on Tuesday. We were concerned about the potential (and realized) low turnout for an election with huge budget implications, so the Foundation made a grant to Citizen Voice in support of their nonpartisan Special Elections Project. In two weeks they reached over a million people! See more on their website.
I also moderated a panel at A Dream Deferred: The Future of African American Education, the annual conference sponsored by The College Board. Our panel, The Black Boys College Bound Initiative: A Philanthropic and Community Collaborative, highlighted the work and strategies of three of our grantee organizations – Young Scholars Program, M3 Education Foundation, and SACREA’s My Brother’s Keeper Summer Algebra Academy. Again, check out the slideshow (pdf) for more details.
Last but certainly not least, I attended a U.C. Berkeley commencement ceremony to happily witness my colleague Carmen Rojas as she received her Ph.D. in City Planning. Many congrats, Carmen! Or should I say “Dr. Rojas”?
More stuff next week. I’m going to rest.
Flickr photo by Mark Jarvis
At the begining of the new year, we wanted to give everyone a sense of our direction. 2009 is an odd-but-breathtaking combination of historic and unparalleled political possibilities and the worst financial crisis in most of our lifetimes. Needless to say, we’ll keep moving thoughtfully forward in the midst of uncertainty.
(Authors: Cedric – VoICE and BBCBI, Carmen – Green Access, Tiffany – Grantee Support)
Voting Integrity and Civic Engagement (VoICE): Formerly named Project 2008, our VoICE work will build on the tremendous energy of this past elections year. Because we have limited dollars to deal with a wide range of elections-related issues, we’re continuing to narrow our focus on several sub-areas. In 2009, we will:
- Look for opportunities to convene grantees and funders in meaningful ways in order to advance a sense of collaboration and movement.
- Concentrate on our particular interest in elections administration, enfranchisement (NVRA, automatic registration, etc.), and public campaign reform.
- Map out a strategy for possibly supporting journalism/media-related efforts.
Black Boys College Bound Initiative (BBCBI): We’ve had a low-key start of the initiative, which was launched nearly a year ago. In 2009 we will:
- Host a summer convening of organizations working with young black men on collegiate goals.
- Assess the possibilities of a second phase of BBCBI focusing on college-level recruitment and retention programs.
- Continue to work with a smaller cohort of grantees on basic college preparedness strategies.
Green Access: With a new administration entering office and a wide-range of actors engaging in Green debates, our Green Access granting area is looking forward to positioning ourselves, in partnership with our grantees, to be at the forefront of the exciting transformations ahead. In 2009, we will:
- Establish learning communities with our grantees in order to encourage collaboration, increased understanding, and movement building.
- Clearly define Green Jobs and push for a standard definition to make sure the labor and green components maintain integrity and benefit communities of color and low-income communities.
- Build alliances with our private-sector and investment partners in order to increase investment and explore the challenges of these relationships.
- Position our grantees to be leaders of national debates around climate change, green jobs, and healthy and sustainable lifestyles.
Photo from AFL-CIO blog 2008.
Grantee Support: The current financial crisis makes helping grantees with organizational development, problem solving, and crisis management a very important one. In 2009, we will:
- Develop a formal capacity building strategy to foster deeper communication with grantee organizations and to better help them meet critical needs.
- Work more closely with intermediaries, technical assistance providers, and other foundations that support capacity building work to make sure the Foundation best leverages its resources and provides information to grantees as efficiently as possible.
- Create more opportunities for grantee organizations to share experiences across all of our program areas.
Photo from Fieldstone Alliance.
Being here makes us even prouder of the Foundation’s staff and the work of its grantees. It’s clear that we have not only identified cutting edge issues to focus on – the green economy, educational access, and civic engagement – but we also have chosen the right lens through which to do all of our grantmaking, i.e., the impact of policy initiatives on low income people of color.
We know that many of our grantees are either in attendance or have influenced the conversations which are taking place here. For instance, we were delighted to have the opportunity to hear Maria Teresa Petersen, co-founder of Voto Latino, on a panel about racial, gender and age bias in the media’s coverage of the election. The panel and its accompanying research were also funded in part by the Foundation.
Speaker after speaker here at the convention has hit hard the need and opportunity to create up to five million new jobs as America weans itself from oil dependence and develops renewable sources of energy. Our Green Access program, with its focus on making sure that low income communities and communities of color benefit from this shift rather than be hurt by it, could not be more timely or more strategic.
Finally, we hope that this historic first of an African-American Presidential candidate will provide a perfect example as our BBCBI grantees inspire young black men and boys to think big!
Mitch & Freada