Philanthropedia Blog

Launching Research: Minnesota Early Childhood Development 2015

February 22nd, 2015 by admin 20 comments »

Early childhood development is at the forefront of Minnesota’s current policy agenda. In 2011, Governor Mark Dayton issued an executive order identifying kindergarten readiness, affordable early childhood education, and state coordination as priorities of the administration. Later that same year, Minnesota was awarded a $45 million, three-year federal Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant to “improve early learning and development opportunities for Minnesota’s young children” (Minnesota Department of Education). Since the award was granted, Minnesota has made great strides to coordinate early childhood education across the state. However, experts note many areas where work remains; Minnesota still has one of the highest achievement gaps in the nation. As part of our Custom Research offering, we are partnering with Minnesota Philanthropy Partners to explore the nonprofits that work in Minnesota’s early childhood development sector.

In preparation for this research, the Philanthropedia team interviewed 14 experts working in early childhood development related fields in Minnesota. Their insights have helped define the scope of this research. (Thank you to those of you who offered your time and expertise!)

 

Scope of the Research

 

In this next phase of the research, we ask that sector experts recommend up to 4 high-impact nonprofits and up to 3 promising start-up nonprofits that are having a strong impact in the early childhood development sector.

 

Experts noted areas of need in terms of geography, demography and types of services:

Geography: Providers face different challenges in urban vs. rural areas. Challenges include accessibility of services and resources, concentration of poverty, and varying needs of different racial/ethnic groups (e.g. access to services for non-English speakers, or access to services on tribal reservations).

Demography: Minnesota is home to a variety of different racial and ethnic groups. Early childhood services must be adapted to the range of cultures, languages and socio-economic statuses of these groups. The achievement can may be particularly pronounced within the following communities:

  • Urban and rural poor in general
  • Native American reservations
  • African American communities
  • Immigrant communities: such as Hmong, Somali, Latino, Southeast African, Bhutanese, Nepalese and Karen

Types of Services: Organizations in Minnesota have adopted a holistic approach to early learning that includes a broad range of services. Services can target children, families, and early childhood education professionals:

  • Children: Focus on learning environment, parent/guardian relationships, mental health, and nutrition
  • Families: Focus on guidance and tools for early childhood learning, assistance with housing and education, support for mental health and/or substance abuse
  • Child care professionals and teachers: Focus on training professionals to work with parents and diverse communities, setting standards for care, licensing, and advocacy for higher wages and policy change

Types of nonprofits – We ask that experts consider many types of nonprofits including:

childcare centers, direct service organizations, Head Start programs, preschools / primary schools , professional development organizations, policy and advocacy organizations, referral agencies, and research organizations

 

Participation in the Research

If you are a professional (foundation staff, researcher, nonprofit staff member, etc.) working in the field of early childhood development in Minnesota and have insight on nonprofit organizations working in this field, we’d love to hear from you. You may have received an email from us with a link to our survey. The survey will be open until mid-March 2015. We hope you will share your perspective and insights! If for some reason we have missed you and you think you have a valuable perspective to offer, please contact Jasmine Marrow at jasmine.marrow@guidestar.org with information about your current position and background, and we would be happy to send the survey to you to include your recommendations.

Additionally, we invite your feedback and thoughts about how you might frame this type of work. For those readers less familiar with this topic, we hope you learned something new and will check in again when we have the results of this research. Thank you all for your participation!

 

Launching Research: Minnesota Housing 2015

February 22nd, 2015 by admin 3 comments »

In Minnesota, public and private organizations are working hard to ensure that people have the housing support they need. Housing is an expansive topic and covers numerous (often connected) efforts related to inadequate amounts of affordable housing, increased barriers to housing, low rates of vacancy across housing types, racial and socio-economic equity, tenant rights, place-making, social mobility, and more. While housing and homelessness are deep and pervasive issues in and of themselves, it is important to remember that a lack of stable housing can exacerbate a host of issues including mental illness, chemical dependency, health concerns, and more. Homelessness can be harmful and stigmatizing for individuals and costly in a number of ways to the community.

Through methods such as referrals, financing, land development, and direct support numerous organizations support the work of creating safe and supportive housing opportunities for those in need. The housing landscape is supported through government agencies (such as Minnesota HUD), for profit organizations, nonprofits, foundations, coalitions, and hybrids. For the purposes of this research, we will be asking experts to identify only nonprofits and non-private foundations.

In preparation for this research, the Philanthropedia team interviewed 13 experts working in housing related fields in Minnesota. Their insights have helped define the scope of this research. (Thank you to those of you who offered your time and expertise!)

Scope of the Research

This research will highlight the work of nonprofits supporting those with acute and ongoing barriers to market-rate housing. Barriers to housing include credit, chemical dependency, criminal history, physical and mental disability, poverty, and more. A variety of intervention strategies exist across the spectrum.

In this next phase of the research, we ask that sector experts recommend up to 4 high-impact nonprofits and up to 3 promising start-up nonprofits that are having a strong impact in the housing sector.

Areas of focus

Experts noted the following prominent focus areas in the sector:

Additional Support Services – Supportive housing is the combination of service delivery and housing and can be offered on a short or long-term basis. It brings needed supports directly to individuals who face complex challenges. Service delivery models vary according to individual needs and population served. Some examples of populations who may utilize supportive housing services include individuals with chemical dependency, those with physical and mental health issues, those with disabilities, and those who have very low incomes.

Diversity issues in housing – For many years, housing organizations often have not been representative of the communities they serve. Likewise, low-income housing developments have often been isolated in ways that could have long-term, negative consequences for residents (e.g. creating housing away from transit can have negative implications for employment and childcare). Across MN, important conversations have started to emerge around these issues and how to address the issues holistically.

Homeless Families – Many experts noted that funding and services often lend themselves far more easily to housing individual adults. For example, housing development is measured in terms of units built as opposed to people housed. For these reasons the housing needs of homeless families can go under-supported. The long-term costs of not adequately supporting homeless families is high for individuals and society. Childhood homelessness and high rates of school transfer can lead to poor educational outcomes. Likewise, one of the leading indicators of adult homelessness is childhood homelessness.

Housing as a component of the economy – The creation and maintenance of low income housing is often only thought of in terms of costs. However, it is important to note that it is also a vital part of the economy; from the job creation that construction brings to the stability it can provide workers.

Housing availability and affordability – One underlying issue in the housing sector is that there is a distinct lack of affordable housing. Waiting lists for some forms of housing can be years long.

Housing Development and Retention – In order to develop and construct new low-income housing, large initial investments of time and resources are required. This can often be a barrier to creating more housing. It is equally difficult to retain low-income housing. Physically, housing units can deteriorate. Also, they are often lost over time as owners shift their prices to market rate.

 

Types of housing

Across these topics, there are several types of housing

Emergency shelter – facilities that provide temporary overnight sleeping accommodations to those who are homeless

Transitional housing  – housing with various forms of support designed to help facilitate movement to independent living (within 2 years)

Permanent supportive housing – housing for people who need long-term housing assistance with supportive services in order to stay housed

Affordable housing – housing offered below market rate (generally through a subsidy) in order to make housing affordable to those whose income is below the area median income (also called workforce housing)

Home ownership programs – support for low income and/or first time home buyers

 

Range of clients

We ask that experts consider nonprofits serving various populations including:

Homeless youth, people with chemical dependencies, people with physical and mental disabilities, older adults, families, and people with health concerns

Types of nonprofits

We ask that experts consider many types of nonprofits including:

Direct service organizations, housing providers, intermediary organizations, policy and advocacy organizations, referral agencies, and research organizations

 

Participation in the Research

If you are a professional (foundation staff, researcher, nonprofit staff member, etc.) working in the field of housing in Minnesota and have insight on nonprofit organizations working in this field, we’d love to hear from you. You may have received an email from us with a link to our survey. The survey will be open until late-March 2015. We hope you will share your perspective and insights! If for some reason we have missed you and you think you have a valuable perspective to offer, please contact Jasmine Marrow at jasmine.marrow@guidestar.org with information about your current position and background, and we would be happy to send the survey to you to include your recommendations.

Additionally, we invite your feedback and thoughts about how you might frame this type of work. For those readers less familiar with this topic, we hope you learned something new and will check in again when we have the results of this research. Thank you all for your participation!

Launching Research: Criminal Justice 2014

September 30th, 2014 by admin 3 comments »

Criminal justice is one of the major topics within social and civil rights in the U.S. Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. With over 2.2 million men and women living behind bars, our imprisonment rate has increased 500 percent over the past thirty years, making the U.S.’ imprisonment rate the highest it’s ever been. As a result of these trends, the US experiences severe prison overcrowding and a rapidly expanding penal system (The Sentencing Project).

Contrary to many people’s assumption, most of the people in prison have not committed serious crimes and the increase in incarceration rates are not a result of an increase in crime rates. Most people are in jail because of minor, non-violent offenses. This includes drug offenses, inability to pay for child-support, or violating technicalities during their probation. So it is a shift in sentencing policy (not behavior) that has dramatically increased the number of people incarcerated. There is also mounting evidence that large-scale incarceration is not the most effective tool for maintaining public safety (The Sentencing Project).

Nonprofits play a vital role in the criminal justice field working on issues that range from criminal justice reform to direct support of prisoners. We first explored this topic in 2011; and our research revealed 16 national nonprofits and 21 local nonprofits making a strong impact in the field of criminal justice. In order to keep our information relevant we refresh the research every three years, so we are looking into the cause once again.  We’re eager to discover how the sector and the research results will prove changed (or not!)

 

Scope of the Research

We are asking that experts recommend up to 4 national/multi-state nonprofits and up to 3 local nonprofits having a strong impact in the criminal justice sector.

Criminal justice support is generally thought of in terms of a time spectrum: the beginning (before conviction), middle (during incarceration), and end (reentry)

Before conviction

Avoiding incarceration – These interventions begin as soon as an individual comes in contact with the criminal justice system. One major intervention is obtaining proper council. A large majority of people arrested cannot afford to hire their own lawyer to represent them. This is unfortunate because at times, public defenders do not have the training, resources, or time to properly represent their clients.  This can contribute wrongful convictions.

Criminal Justice Reform (at-large) – on a whole criminal justice reform works to shift the number of people incarcerated through systemic changes. This includes introducing alternatives to incarceration, decreasing the length of probation, changing sentencing norms for first time offenders and those convicted of non-violent crimes. Criminal justice reform can also include issues related to police brutality, juvenile justice and detention, and life without parole for juveniles.

The School to Prison Pipeline – This phrase is used to describe a disquieting national trend in which young people are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Disciplinary systems, such as “Zero-tolerance” policies, criminalize minor infractions of school rules. Students are often criminalized for behavior that has traditionally been handled inside the school. Students of color are especially vulnerable to push-out trends and the discriminatory application of discipline.

Racial disparity – More than 60% of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities. For Black males in their thirties, 1 in every 10 is in prison or jail on any given day (Sentencing Project). This disparity is due to racially bias trends in arrest rates and sentencing, not differences in criminal behavior.

 

During Incarceration

Prison conditions – Work in this area focuses on ending cruel, inhuman, and degrading conditions of confinement. Too often there are instances of and physical and sexual violence in prisons and jails as well as the absence of medical treatment, and the over use of solitary confinement. These inhumane conditions are often unconstitutional. Combating these violations starts with increasing public accountability and transparency in jails and prisons. One of the major contributors to poor conditions is prison overcrowding. It not only contributes heavily to the above conditions, but limits inmate access to supportive and rehabilitative programming and increases potential for prisoner violence.

Death Penalty - The U.S. is virtually the only industrialized country that maintains the death penalty. Many reformers find this problematic (especially when coupled with the reality of wrongful convictions).

Gender Disparity – The number of women in prison is increasing at twice the rate of men. This large-scale female imprisonment has a disproportionate effect on their children who suffer from their mother’s incarceration and loss of family ties (Sentencing Project).

 

Reentry

Felony disenfranchisement – Reentry refers to the post incarceration when individuals return home and attempt to reintegrate into society. This period is fraught with difficulties as laws impede voting, obtaining employment, buying or renting a home, getting credit, and providing child support. Many people who have served time lose their welfare benefits, access to educational grants, and housing benefits as the result of convictions for minor drug offenses.

 

We encourage experts to recommend various types of nonprofits including:  legal defense organizations, service providers, research groups, advocacy groups, community organizing groups, membership groups, organizations that provide education and public outreach, technical assistance providers, and communications strategy organizations.

 

Participation in the Research

If you are a professional (foundation staff, researcher, nonprofit staff member, etc.) working in the field of criminal justice and have insight on nonprofit organizations working in this field, we’d love to hear from you. You may have received an email from us with a link to our survey. The survey will be open until late-October 2014. We hope you will share your perspective and insights! If for some reason we have missed you and you think you have a valuable perspective to offer, please contact Jasmine Marrow at jasmine.marrow@guidestar.org with information about your current position and background, and we would be happy to send the survey to you to include your recommendations.

Additionally, we invite your feedback and thoughts about how you might frame this type of work. For those readers less familiar with this topic, we hope you learned something new and will check in again when we have the results of this research. Thank you all for your participation!

 

 

 

 

 

Launching Research: International Violence against Women 2014

September 30th, 2014 by admin 4 comments »

According to a 2013 global review of available data, 35% of women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence. What’s more, some national violence studies show that up to 70% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime from an intimate partner (UN Women).

Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation and can take many forms including rape, domestic abuse, dowry deaths, and so-called honor killings. It devastates the lives of millions of women and girls — in peacetime and in conflict — and knows no national or cultural barriers.

Nonprofit all over the world work to support survivors and prevent these atrocities. We first researched this cause in 2011 and revealed 14 high-impact nonprofits doing this important work around the world. In order to keep our information relevant we refresh the research every three years, so we are looking into the cause once again.  We’re looking forward to discovering how the sector and the research results will prove changed (or not!)

Scope of the Research

In this research we are asking experts to recommend up to three nonprofits doing high-impact work across multiple countries/regions, and up to three nonprofits doing high-impact work in a specific country/region because we want to be able to highlight both large and smaller scale nonprofits.

Areas of Focus

Nonprofits could focus on one or more of the following areas:

  • Peace and Gender Violence - Women and girls are uniquely and disproportionately affected by armed conflict. Violence against women happens during active conflicts and in post-conflict societies, and can include the systematic use of rape and sexual assault as weapons of armed conflict, terror and intimidation, and repression of women’s freedoms. A disproportionate number of women and children are killed during these times. In modern warfare, an estimated 90% of the casualties are civilians, and 75% of these are women and children. (Amnesty USA)
  • Domestic Violence, Battering, & Marital Rape – This is one of the most common forms of violence against women. Worldwide, almost one third (30%) of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner, in some regions this is much higher. Globally as many as 38% of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners. (WHO). A World Bank study in 1994 found that on ten selected risk factors facing girls and women in the age group of 16-44 years old, rape and domestic violence were more dangerous than cancer, motor vehicle accidents, war, and malaria.
  • Customary Practices - Many instances of violence against women are rooted in culture and tradition. These deeply rooted practices are no less harmful and ultimately preventable. Customary practices include, but are not limited to female genital mutilation, so called “honor killings”, female infanticide, and dowry-related violence.
  • Forced and Early MarriageWorldwide, one third of the world’s girls are married before the age of 18 and 1 in 9 are married before the age of 15.(ICRW). Many factors contribute to this including poverty, social norms, customary or religious laws, perceptions of protection and family honor. Forced and early marriages can result in early pregnancy and social isolation, interrupt girls’ schooling, limiting her opportunities for career and vocational advancement. (UNICEF) These girls also more likely to experience domestic violence and suffer PTSD than their peers who marry later.

Types of nonprofits could include (but are not limited to):

  • direct service providers.
  • intermediaries
  • policy and advocacy organizations
  • research organization
  • research organizations
  • those providing legal services

 

 

Participation in the Research

If you are a professional (foundation staff, researcher, nonprofit staff member, etc.) working in the field of violence against women and have insight on nonprofit organizations working in this field, we’d love to hear from you. You may have received an email from us with a link to our survey. The survey will be open until late-October 2014. We hope you will share your perspective and insights! If for some reason we have missed you and you think you have a valuable perspective to offer, please contact Jasmine Marrow at jasmine.marrow@guidestar.org with information about your current position and background, and we would be happy to send the survey to you to include your recommendations.

Additionally, we invite your feedback and thoughts about how you might frame this type of work. For those readers less familiar with this topic, we hope you learned something new and will check in again when we have the results of this research. Thank you all for your participation!

 

 

Launching Research: Aging 2014

September 29th, 2014 by admin 1 comment »

As the baby boomer generation ages, the United States is undergoing a dramatic demographic shift. Each day, 10,000 baby boomers generation turn 65. By 2030 there will be about 72.1 million older persons in the United States. That’s more than twice the number in 2000 (AOA).

This significant change in the dependency ratio paired with the changing needs and demands of older adults is the catalyst for much attention and positive change in the sector. We took a close look at nonprofits in the aging sector in 2011. Our research then revealed 13 high impact nonprofits working in the sector. In order to keep our information relevant we refresh the research every three years, so we are looking into the cause once again.  We’re excited to discover how the sector and the research results will prove changed (or not!)

Scope of the research

We ask that sector experts recommend up to 4 national nonprofits and up to 3 local nonprofits that are having a strong impact in the aging sector.

 

Recommended nonprofits may focus on any the following focus areas

  • Aging protection – Some elders have physical, mental or emotional disabilities that make it difficult to care for themselves or to protect themselves from maltreatment. Measures, such as early detection protocols and mandated reporting, are put into place to protect vulnerable seniors from abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
  • Building lifelong communities – Increasingly, seniors are opting to stay in their homes (or the homes of their choosing) until much later in life. As a result service provision is becoming increasingly mobile and community based. Infrastructure, such as transportation, built environment, and technology, are needed to keep communities thriving for people at all stages of life. There is a growing movement to ensure that all communities rural and urban are prepared to support older adults in issues related to memory and mobility loss.
  • Economic Security – Factors such as decreased income and dramatically increased health care costs make the aging population particularly economically vulnerable. In addition, even with social security and Medicare, 25-40 percent of older adults don’t have enough income to cover their daily expenses. Nonprofits that work on advocacy to protect substantial cuts in Medicare and Medicaid and ones that offer financial assistance and guidance, prevent discrimination against older adults in the workplace, and help older adults make career changes play a crucial role in helping older adults gain economic security.
  • Health – Nearly 80 percent of individuals age 65 and up have one or more chronic conditions. An estimated 65 percent have multiple chronic conditions. Issues related to health include cost, quality, and convenience. This burden is shared by health service providers (both community and hospital-based, insurance carriers, long-term care providers, and care givers. Health concerns for older adults cover healthy aging and preventive care, intensive health care strategies, and end-of-life-care. Additionally, many services are related to a specific diagnosis including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia.
  • Housing. While many have a preference to stay in their homes as long as possible, in many cases seniors may need to live in a structured, or institutional, setting at some point. Institutionalized care includes respite care, group homes, retirement homes, or long term care in nursing homes. There is an ongoing need high quality and affordable options and there is often scarcity in rural and urban areas.
  • Redefining work and retirement – As life expectancy and age vitality changes, individuals are being encouraged to continue working in both paid and nonpaid roles. Communities greatly benefit from the ongoing contributions of older adults and those adults in turn benefit as well. In order to facilitate this, organizations must have a greater competency around the needs of elders in the workplace. Additionally, seniors are being encouraged to plan and prepare for their retirement and end of life needs.
  • Supporting caregivers – As the demographics shift, there is a growing deficit in the number of formal and informal caregivers available. Since families and friends provide the vast majority of care to older people, there is a large need for services and supports for these informal caregivers. Needed supports include wrap-around service models, workplace accommodations, and education. These roles are especially important, as without the role of caregivers, elders require institutionalization or state supported care much sooner.

** It should be noted that the term older adults spans a wide range of ages, beginning at 65 and moving well into an individual’s 80s and 90s. The needs of older adults will change many times during their various phases of aging. This research attempts to capture all of those varied need.

Types of Nonprofits

Experts are encouraged to recommend various types of nonprofits including:

  • Advocacy organizations
  • Associations
  • Civic engagement organizations
  • Coalitions
  • Direct-service providers
  • Research organizations
  • Social organizations

 

Participation in the Research

If you are a professional (foundation staff, researcher, nonprofit staff member, etc.) working in the field of aging and have insight on nonprofit organizations working in this field, we’d love to hear from you. You may have received an email from us with a link to our survey. The survey will be open until late-October 2014. We hope you will share your perspective and insights! If for some reason we have missed you and you think you have a valuable perspective to offer, please contact Jasmine Marrow at jasmine.marrow@guidestar.org with information about your current position and background, and we would be happy to send the survey to you to include your recommendations.

Additionally, we invite your feedback and thoughts about how you might frame this type of work. For those readers less familiar with this topic, we hope you learned something new and will check in again when we have the results of this research. Thank you all for your participation!

 

 

 

Launching Research: At-Risk Youth 2014

June 10th, 2014 by admin 12 comments »

There are numerous nonprofits that serve the needs of at-risk youth. This work ranges from educational attainment to violence prevention, and everything in between. Collectively these nonprofits serve the needs of the millions of young people in need of intervention and support.

We first researched this cause in 2011 and revealed 9 high-impact nonprofits. In order to keep our information relevant we refresh the research every three years, so we are looking into the cause once again.  We’re excited to discover how the sector and the research results will prove changed (or not!)

 

Who Are At-Risk Youth?

Broadly speaking, at-risk youth are young people who have a strong potential for negative life outcomes. These outcomes include:

  •      Criminal justice infractions
  •      Low wage earning
  •      Poor health outcomes (including STIs, diabetes, etc)
  •      Shortened life expectancy
  •      Violence

Common general factors associated with at-risk youth include:

  • Community/environmental risks (high crime, low education attainment)
  • Court involved youth
  • Homelessness
  • Involvement in the foster care system
  • LGBT Youth
  • Little or no family history of higher education
  • Low socio-economic status
  • New Immigrants/English language learners
  • Opportunity Youth – young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor working.
  • Racial and ethnic minorities
  • Teen parents

Types of services nonprofits provide include everything on how to service the child outside of academic enrichment. This can include:

  • After school programming
  • Child abuse and neglect prevention
  • Counseling
  • Economic supports for families
  • Housing
  • Criminal justice support
  • Mentorship
  • Workforce development
  • Youth development

Types of nonprofits could include

  • direct service providers.
  • evaluation,
  • intermediaries
  • policy and advocacy
  • research,

 

Participation in the Research

If you are a professional (foundation staff, researcher, nonprofit staff member, etc.) working in the field of at-risk youth and have insight on nonprofit organizations working in this field, we’d love to hear from you. You may have received an email from us with a link to our survey. The survey will be open until mid-July 2014. We hope you will share your perspective and insights! If for some reason we have missed you and you think you have a valuable perspective to offer, please contact Jasmine Marrow at jasmine.marrow@guidestar.org with information about your current position and background, and we would be happy to send the survey to you to include your recommendations.

Additionally, we invite your feedback and thoughts about how you might frame this type of work. For those readers less familiar with this topic, we hope you learned something new and will check in again when we have the results of this research. Thank you all for your participation!

 

Launching Research: International Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene 2014

June 10th, 2014 by admin 11 comments »

Like clean air, most of us living in developed countries take the availability of clean water for granted. However, almost half of the developing world’s population – 2.5 billion people – lack improved sanitation facilities, and over 884 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources. (Source: UNICEF) Poor water, sanitation, and hygiene have many serious repercussions. Children- and particularly girls-can’t attend schools because their schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities. Women are forced to spend large parts of their day fetching water, leaving children unattended in homes. And 3.5 million people die each year (three million of whom are children) because of water-borne diseases. (Source: World Water Relief)

We first explored this cause in 2011 and revealed 15 high-impact nonprofits working in the sector.  In order to keep our information relevant we refresh the research every three years, so we are looking into the cause once again.  We’re excited to discover how the sector and the research results will prove changed (or not!)

Scope of the research

I interviewed several sector experts better understand the scope of this issue area. Thank you to those of you who shared your expertise with me to shape the scope of this research!

When thinking of water systems, it is important to pair water, sanitation, and hygiene (also known as WASH). As one expert noted, when water, sanitation, and hygiene are combined, the impact on community health outcomes is three to five times stronger than if these programs didn’t include information to help people practice sanitation and hygiene.

n this research we are asking experts to recommend up to three nonprofits doing high-impact work across multiple countries/regions, and up to three nonprofits doing high-impact work in a specific country/region because we want to be able to highlight both large and smaller scale nonprofits.

Many nonprofits compare one or more of these elements in their programming:

  1. Water activities include water filtration, provision, well drilling, well rehabilitation, providing water purification technology, and working to improve water quality and quantity.
  2. Sanitation activities include all aspects of environmental cleanliness from safe disposal to solid waste management.
  3. Hygiene activities include health education and implementation around healthful practices such as hand washing and open defecation.

We ask that experts consider many types of nonprofits including those working in direct service, advocacy, litigation, research, education, and other areas.

 

Participation in the Research

If you are a professional (foundation staff, researcher, nonprofit staff member, etc.) working in the field of water, sanitation, and hygiene and have insight on nonprofit organizations working in this field, we’d love to hear from you. You may have received an email from us with a link to our survey. The survey will be open until mid-July 2014. We hope you will share your perspective and insights! If for some reason we have missed you and you think you have a valuable perspective to offer, please contact Jasmine Marrow at jasmine.marrow@guidestar.org with information about your current position and background, and we would be happy to send the survey to you to include your recommendations.

Additionally, we invite your feedback and thoughts about how you might frame this type of work. For those readers less familiar with this topic, we hope you learned something new and will check in again when we have the results of this research. Thank you all for your participation!

 

Launching Research: Animal Welfare, Rights, and Protection 2014

June 10th, 2014 by admin 3 comments »

Animals play a significant role in the lives of nearly all humans. They fill the role of companions, service animals, educational subjects and more. Not surprisingly, animal welfare, rights, and protection is one of the most popular issue areas to which individual donors give.

We first researched this cause in 2011 and revealed 15 high-impact nonprofits working at the national level  as well as 16 outstanding local nonprofits . In order to keep our information relevant we refresh the research every three years, so we are looking into the cause once again.  We’re excited to discover how the sector and the research results will prove changed (or not!)

Research Scope

I interviewed several sector experts better understand the scope of this issue area. Thank you to those of you who shared your expertise with me to shape the scope of this research! Without human support, many animals face the potential doe abuse, neglect, and suffering at the individual and systemic level.

For this research we are asking experts to recommend up to four nonprofits working at national or multi-state level with a track record of doing high-impact work in the field of animal welfare, rights, and protection, and up to 3 nonprofits working at the local level.

Experts are encouraged to consider a range of animals including:

  • Animals used for entertainment
  • Animals used for research
  • Companion animals
  • Farm animals
  • Wildlife animals

Types of nonprofits might include:

  • Advocacy organizations
  • Animal fostering organizations
  • Animal adoption organizations
  • Animal conservatories
  • Animal sanctuaries
  • Education intuitions
  • Nature centers
  • Rescue organizations
  • Zoos

 

Nonprofits excluded from this research include for-profit organizations and private funders.

Participation in the Research

If you are a professional (foundation staff, researcher, nonprofit staff member, etc.) working in the field of animals welfare, rights and protection and have insight on nonprofit organizations working in this field, we’d love to hear from you. You may have received an email from us with a link to our survey. The survey will be open until mid-July 2014. We hope you will share your perspective and insights! If for some reason we have missed you and you think you have a valuable perspective to offer, please contact Jasmine Marrow at jasmine.marrow@guidestar.org with information about your current position and background, and we would be happy to send the survey to you to include your recommendations.

Additionally, we invite your feedback and thoughts about how you might frame this type of work. For those readers less familiar with this topic, we hope you learned something new and will check in again when we have the results of this research. Thank you all for your participation!

 

Launching Research: Animal Protection, Education and Appreciation in Minnesota

February 10th, 2014 by admin 69 comments »

Animals play a significant role in the lives of nearly all humans. They fill the role of companions, service animals, educational subjects and more. We partnered with Minnesota Philanthropy Partners to explore the many ways that nonprofit organizations across MN protect, appreciate, and learn from animals.

Scope of the research 

In preparation for this research, I interviewed 11 experts working in animal related fields in Minnesota. Their insights have helped define the scope of this research. (Thank you to those of you who offered your time and expertise!)

There are a many facets of the animal sector including diversity of animals, services, and missions focus. This research will concentrate on animal protection, appreciation, and education. These wide ranging and overlapping areas together paint a clear picture of Minnesota’s diverse nonprofit landscape related to animals.

 

Protection

The causes of animal suffering can be thought of in two broad categories: Harm inflicted by individuals (either through malice or ignorance) and harm imposed through systemic conditions, such as food industry regulations, poor treatment of entertainment animals, commercial breeding industries, and the like. While some animal protection efforts seek to eliminate the use of animals for food, entertainment, hunting, or science entirely, many work to minimize animal suffering and exploitation in these situations.

Habitat preservation and restoration efforts are another form of animal protections. This both ensuring mutual safety and comfort in spaces shared by human and animals as well as preserving and maintaining space specifically for various animals. Similarly, animals and their habitats must be protected from the negative effects of climate change such as habitat displacement, diminishing health, and changes in their diet.

Education

In many ways, animals help us to better understand and appreciate the world around us. Exotic, local, free, and captive animals alike, have the ability to open imaginations and peak curiosity. Guided interactions provided by zoos, nature centers, conservatories, and the like give people of all ages the opportunity learn so much more about the world around them. Through this informal scientific instruction, people have the opportunity to learn about habitat, their own role in conservation, and more.

Science and education play a large role in conservation, habitat restoration, and re-population efforts across Minnesota. Scientists, researchers, breeders, zoo keepers and many others work to ensure that animals with dwindling populations or compromised conditions are restored. They research health issues that may be infecting particular species, run re-habitation and breeding programs for dwindling populations, share new methods of care for animals, and more. Many, work to mitigate the negative effects of climate change on animals as well as share those challenges to better educate the public on climate change as a whole.

Appreciation

This research also honors the important roles that animals can fill in our lives. Service and therapy animals support humans experiencing a wide range of emotion and physical difficulties. From hospital visits to daily care, these animals are trained to provide support and companionship that often is unmatched. Nonprofits train these helpful animals and their owners to work together. Not only that, they also work to ensure that the public is educated about the rights of individuals with service animals as well as accreditation process, which ensure that animals are well trained.

Types of Animals – All of the categories listed here overlap with a range of animals. Experts may identify nonprofits working with the following types of animals

  • Captive animals
  • Companion animals
  • Exotic animals
  • Livestock
  • Pests
  • Service animals
  • Wildfire

Types of organizations

  • Advocacy organizations
  • Animal fostering organizations
  • Animal adoption organizations
  • Animal conservatories
  • Animal sanctuaries
  • Education intuitions
  • Nature centers
  • Rescue organizations
  • Service animal training organizations
  • Zoos

 

Participation in the Research

If you are a professional (foundation staff, researcher, nonprofit staff member, etc.) working in the field of animals in Minnesota and have insight on nonprofit organizations working in this field, we’d love to hear from you. You may have received an email from us with a link to our survey. The survey will be open until mid-March 2014. We hope you will share your perspective and insights! If for some reason we have missed you and you think you have a valuable perspective to offer, please contact Jasmine Marrow at jasmine.marrow@guidestar.org with information about your current position and background, and we would be happy to send the survey to you to include your recommendations.

Additionally, we invite your feedback and thoughts about how you might frame this type of work. For those readers less familiar with this topic, we hope you learned something new and will check in again when we have the results of this research. Thank you all for your participation!

Launching Research: Nonprofits in the Aging Sector in Minnesota

February 10th, 2014 by admin 52 comments »

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that more than 23 percent of Minnesota’s population will be 60  and older by the year 2030, an increase of more than 33 percent from 2012 (Minnesota Administration on Aging).  

 

Minnesota is experiencing a dramatic demographic shift that is mirrored throughout the rest of the nation. The number of older adults is expected to rise greatly and disproportionately to the rest of the population.  This significant change in the dependency ratio paired with the changing needs and demands of older adults is the catalyst for much attention and positive change in the sector.

Scope of the research

In preparation for this research, I interviewed 14 experts working in the aging sector in Minnesota. Their insights have helped define the scope of this research. (Thank you to those of you who offered your time and expertise!)

Areas of focus

Experts noted the following prominent focus areas in the sector:

  • Aging protection – Some elders have physical, mental or emotional disabilities that make it difficult to care for themselves or to protect themselves from maltreatment. Measures, such as early detection protocols and mandated reporting, are put into place to protect vulnerable seniors from abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
  • Building lifelong communities – Increasingly, seniors are opting to stay in their homes (or the homes of their choosing) until much later in life. As a result service provision is becoming increasingly mobile and community based. Infrastructure, such as transportation, built environment, and technology, are needed to keep communities thriving for people at all stages of life. There is a growing movement to ensure that all communities rural and urban are prepared to support older adults in issues related to memory and mobility loss.
  • Health – Nearly 80 percent of individuals age 65 and up have one or more chronic conditions. An estimated 65 percent have multiple chronic conditions. Issues related to health include cost, quality, and convenience. This burden is shared by health service providers (both community and hospital-based, insurance carriers, long-term care providers, and care givers. Health concerns for older adults cover healthy aging and preventive care, intensive health care strategies, and end-of-life-care. Additionally, many services are related to a specific diagnosis including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia.
  • Redefining work and retirement – As life expectancy and age vitality changes, individuals are being encouraged to continue working in both paid and nonpaid roles. Communities greatly benefit from the ongoing contributions of older adults and those adults in turn benefit as well. In order to facilitate this, organizations must have a greater competency around the needs of elders in the workplace. Additionally, seniors are being encouraged to plan and prepare for their retirement and end of life needs.
  • Supporting caregivers – As the demographics shift, there is a growing deficit in the number of formal and informal caregivers available. Since families and friends provide the vast majority of care to older people, there is a large need for services and supports for these informal caregivers. Needed supports include wrap-around service models, workplace accommodations, and education. These roles are especially important, as without the role of caregivers, elders require institutionalization or state supported care much sooner.
  • Maximizing the use of technology – Across the board, Minnesota is working to use technological tools more efficiently to help smooth the transition of the demographic shift. Use of technology can be implemented for improvements in long distance health care, self-managed care, tele-health to address worker shortages, performance management systems, and expanded access to information.

Types of nonprofits

  • Advocacy organizations
  • Associations
  • Civic engagement organizations
  • Coalitions
  • Direct-service providers
  • Research organizations
  • Social organizations

Participation in the Research

If you are a professional (foundation staff, researcher, nonprofit staff member, etc.) working in the field of aging in Minnesota and have insight on nonprofit organizations working in this field, we’d love to hear from you. You may have received an email from us with a link to our survey. The survey will be open until mid-March 2014. We hope you will share your perspective and insights! If for some reason we have missed you and you think you have a valuable perspective to offer, please contact Jasmine Marrow at jasmine.marrow@guidestar.org with information about your current position and background, and we would be happy to send the survey to you to include your recommendations.

Additionally, we invite your feedback and thoughts about how you might frame this type of work. For those readers less familiar with this topic, we hope you learned something new and will check in again when we have the results of this research. Thank you all for your participation!

 



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