Philanthropedia Blog

Archive for September, 2012

Identifying High-Impact Education Nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area

September 20th, 2012

“Education is a precondition to survival in America today.” – Marian Wright Edelman

In 2010, Philanthropedia took a close look at early childhood and middle/secondary education nonprofits working in the San Francisco Bay Area. The two overlapping causes were researched separately. Sixty experts participated in our early childhood research and collectively identified 6 high-impact  early childhood education nonprofits. In middle/secondary education, 96 experts participated, recommending 15 outstanding nonprofits

We refresh our research every three years, so we are turning again to Bay Area education to re-run our survey. In the course of our research, we discovered that many experts and nonprofits in the Bay Area focus on young people of all ages. So this year we’re combining our early childhood and middle/secondary causes into a single cause: Bay Area Education. We’re asking experts who work in the education field in the San Francisco Bay Area to contribute to our research and let us know which nonprofits they think are doing the best work in Bay Area Education today.

Scope of the Research

For this research we are asking experts to recommend up to four nonprofits with a track record of doing high-impact work in education (Pre-k through high school) in the Bay Area, and up to two start-up nonprofits that have the potential to scale and have an impact at that level in the future.

The nonprofits recommended might be working or supporting education as far south as San Jose, along the Peninsula, into the East Bay, in San Francisco, and just north of San Francisco, as well.

Education is a vast topic and improvements and support can take on many forms. When recommending nonprofits experts may want to consider nonprofits addressing the following issues:

  • After-school programming
  • Child development
  • College preparation
  • Curriculum development
  • Data collection
  • Human capital
  • Instructional improvement
  • Literacy
  • Low-performing schools, turnarounds
  • Parental involvement
  • School readiness
  • School reform
  • Standards and assessments
  • Summer programming
  • Teacher training/education
  • The achievement gap
  • Truancy

 

We’d like to encourage experts to consider a diverse array of organizations. Types of organizations working in education could include:

  • Advocacy
  • After-school program providers
  • Community based organizations
  • Policy/advocacy
  • Public schools/ public charter schools themselves
  • Research
  • Training

Participation in the Research

If you are a professional (foundation staff, researcher, nonprofit staff member, etc.) working in education in the San Francisco Bay Area 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 early November 2012. 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!

 

Identifying High-Impact LGBT Equality & Support Nonprofits

September 20th, 2012

Overview

At Philanthropedia we are pleased to announce the launch of our research on nonprofits supporting the LGBT community. This is Philanthropedia’s newest addition to our list of causes on which we can supply vital information for donors.

The LGBT Movement is a social justice movement in which lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their straight allies work to bring about equity and well-being to LGBT individuals in various capacities all over the world. For years, nonprofit organizations have been helping to achieve those goals in various ways. Philanthropedia’s research will take a closer look at these organizations and identify top nonprofits achieving their mission in powerful, tangible ways.

Research Scope

In preparation for this research, I spoke with several experts from key organizations working in the issue area of LGBT Equality and Support. Their collective insight has helped define the scope of this research. (Thank you to those of you who offered your time and expertise!)

While attaining LGBT rights and support is a global issue, for capacity reasons this research will focus specifically on identifying organizations within the US. We are asking experts to recommend up to four high-impact organizations working at a national level on LGBT Equality and Support and up to three organizations having a high impact at the local level. Below is an overview of the LGBT nonprofit landscape.

Area of focus within the cause

Over the course of the interviews, experts identified a set of prominent issues that are being worked on in various ways throughout the movement.

  • Aging – Right now, estimates show there are 1.5 million LGBT elders in the United States, and by 2030 that number will nearly double to 3 million LGBT people 65 and older (source: National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce). Issues of ageism and health care access can be easily compounded by homophobia, trans-phobia, and racial and economic injustice. Often LGBT older people don’t have access to adequate health care, affordable housing and other social services they need. This is due both to a lack of resources and a fear of discrimination. One study indicated that LGBT older adults may be as much as five times less likely to access needed health and social services because of their fear of discrimination from the people who are supposed to help them (source: SAGE). This type of social isolation has an enormous impact on the health and well-being of LGBT older adults.
  • Family and Relationship Recognition – –Under Federal and many state laws, same-sex and transgender couples do not receive the same legal protection and recognition as married opposite-sex couples. Not only does the lack of legal recognition invalidate same-sex couples’ commitment, the denial of benefits, tax status, medical decision-making and more is financially and emotionally harmful. Same-sex couples, even those legally recognized by their states, are denied the 1,138 federal benefits available to or required of married opposite-sex couples. LGBT headed families are particularly affected by these prohibitions . There are policies and laws that prevent qualified and caring LGBT people from foster parenting or adopting kids. Additionally, there are laws and practices that interfere in custody and visitation relationships between LGBT parents and their children. These discriminatory practices leave LGBT families vulnerable both economically and socially, which can cause harm for adults and their children.
  • Health & HIV/AIDS –LGBT people suffer disparate health outcomes in numerous health categories. The most visible health struggle in the LGBT community has been the HIV/AIDS epidemic which continues to disproportionally impact gay men, especially men of color. Additionally, negative physical and mental health outcomes ranging from obesity to substance abuse are more prominent in the LGBT community. Lack of heath care, societal pressure, stigmatizing and discriminatory practices by health care providers, and a host of other factors that can contribute to diminished income for LGBT individuals all play an important role in these outcomes.
  • Nondiscrimination – Many LGBT people suffer discrimination in employment, housing, education, medical care and more. For example, in 29 states, a person can be fired solely because that person is gay. If a person is transgender, there are 38 states in which that person can be fired (source: Gill Foundation). The lack of legal protection and attempts to weaken the existing nondiscrimination laws make LGBT individuals vulnerable to discrimination in all aspects of their lives. These conditions significantly hinder even the basic ability to support and care for one’s self and family.
  • Racial & Economic Justice – The LGBT population is vast and diverse in terms of culture, income, and other aspects of identity. Within the movement, there is a growing awareness of the personal and political concerns unique to LGBT individuals who are people of color and/or low income. LGBT immigrants, for example, have a unique set of policy concerns around deportation and relationship recognition. The intersection of these not only has the potential to translate to compounded institutional discrimination, but can also result in marginalization from within their own racial and ethnic communities because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Transgender – People who are transgender and gender nonconforming face issues that are both interrelated with and independent from other populations within the LGBT community.  Often individuals are faced with heightened instances of violence and discrimination. Other issues that are of particular concern in the Transgender community include:
    • Health Care – Trans people are more likely to be uninsured, to be unable to afford to pay for health care out of pocket, and to delay seeking health care because of cost or fear of discrimination (source: IOM). Additionally, insurance plans still frequently exclude coverage of any services for a transition-related medical purpose, even when the same or comparable services are routinely covered for other medical indications.
    • Identity Documents – There are state and federal legal barriers to transgender people obtaining government identity documents appropriate for their gender identity. For example, governments often require proof of surgery and/or court orders to alter identity documents; a set of requirements that have made it impossible for many trans people to obtain an accurate and consistent ID. This requirement limits access to travel, opening bank accounts, starting new jobs, and sometimes voting.
    • Police and Jails – Trans people are at high risk of abuse in prisons, jails, and juvenile detention and there are few regulations to protect them.  The categorical denial of transition-related medical care is common, as is prolonged isolation, which has been shown to have devastating effects on mental health (source: NCTE).
    • Violence and discrimination – These are issues shared across the LGBT community. However, they tend to be experienced more acutely among Trans individuals. For example, LGBT individuals disproportionally experience homelessness. Trans individuals face increased risk of violence within a shelter as well as discrimination from the agencies where they seek help.
    • Violence/Hate Crimes - LGBT people frequently face violence motivated by their sexuality or gender identity. Violence can range in severity from bullying all the way up to murder. While some hate crime legislation is in place, the targeted violence toward the LGBT community represents a significant threat to safety.
  • Youth – Coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender can be challenging for young people. LGBT students encounter widespread bullying, harassment, and alienation in high schools and college campuses. Additionally, ex-gay ministries have decisively shifted their focus to young people. These things have likely contributed to the climbing suicide rates as well as the overwhelming rates of homelessness among LGBT youth.

 

Types of organizations doing this work

The nonprofit landscape of those working for the LGBT cause is broad and diverse. There is a good deal of overlap between the various organizational focuses and categories. In general, it may be helpful to look at the landscape of nonprofit organizations in two broad categories.

  1. Nonprofits working to achieve social justice and equitable treatment for LGBT individuals
  2. Nonprofits working to ensure the mental and physical well being for LGBT individuals

Nonprofits working to achieve social justice and equitable treatment for LGBT individuals

Organizations we’re placing in this category work to change policies and regulations at the national, local and organizational level to ensure safety and equal treatment. This would include:

  • Academic and research organizations
  • Advocacy organizations
  • Legal organizations
  • Public education organizations
  • Watchdog organizations

Nonprofits working to ensure the mental and physical well-being for LGBT individuals

Organizations in this category work in various ways to support individuals, focusing on their emotional, social, spiritual and physical wellness. Organizations in this category include:

  • Community Centers
  • Crisis support centers
  • Faith-based organizations
  • Homeless shelters
  • Medical treatment centers
  • Social clubs and organizations
  • Support groups

Participation in the Research

If you are a nonprofit expert in the field of LGBT Equality & Support, you should have received an email from us with a link to our survey. The survey will be open until early-November, 2012. We hope you will share your perspective and insights!

Experts I interviewed overwhelmingly mentioned that in addition to the rich landscape of nonprofits, there is a passionate network of individual activists and volunteers who fuel this movement. While this research does not highlight individuals (our research is limited to highlighting nonprofits), we hope these individual will contribute to our research so that we can highlight some of the most effective nonprofits working in this sector.

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 will send the survey to you to include your insights.

Identifying High-Impact Arts and Culture Nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area

September 19th, 2012

In the 1960s, there was an explosion of nonprofit arts organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1961, before the birth of the National Endowment for the Arts, San Francisco passed a law to require part of the hotel tax to go to funding the arts. Over time, each Bay Area region evolved to have different kinds of arts and culture groups across disciplines, styles, and ethnicities: jazz, classical, folk, performing arts, choreography, visual arts, literary arts, poetry, film, video, and so on. In fact, at one point, the San Francisco Bay Area was second only to New York in terms of having the largest number of dance companies. Therefore, with decades of support and development, the vibrancy and variety among the arts in the Bay Area has led to a unique texture in the cultural fabric of this region. Today there are hundreds and hundreds of arts and culture nonprofits, of all sizes and varieties, all across the Bay Area. 

In 2010, we launched our research to identify high-impact arts and culture nonprofits working in the San Francisco Bay Area. In many ways access to artistic and cultural activities is essential for a vibrant and healthy community. For this local cause, 127 Bay Area arts and culture experts identified 21 top nonprofits working in the San Francisco Bay Area.

We are now refreshing these research results (we re-run our research every three years), and we’re inviting experts once again to help identify high-impact arts and culture nonprofits working in the Bay Area. We hope that many of you will participate in this research to help inform individual donors about which nonprofits are making the biggest impact in Bay Area arts and culture!

Scope of the Research

In this research we are asking experts to recommend up to four nonprofits doing high-impact work around arts and culture in the Bay Area, and up to two start-up nonprofits that have the potential to scale and have an impact in the future.

The nonprofits recommended might be working or supporting arts and culture as far south as San Jose, along the Peninsula, into the East Bay, in San Francisco, and just north of San Francisco, as well.

Arts and culture is a diverse field and we encourage experts to consider all of the types of work that nonprofits may be doing to create an impact in this field. Nonprofits can serve any age or demographic and have any budget size.

Focus areas might include:

  • Developing or producing new work
  • Engaging and supporting artists directly
  • Exhibition and performance
  • Increasing arts and culture access for traditionally marginalized populations
  • Offering educational services
  • Preserving and promoting traditional culture
  • Providing arts grants

We are encouraging experts to consider the following types of organizations when making their recommendations:

  • Traditional arts and culture organizations: theatre, dance, music, visual arts, television, media, and film organizations
  • Funders: organizations that fund nonprofit organizations or artists themselves
  • Policy and advocacy organizations: groups that organize people to support arts in the public policy space
  • Educators: schools or organizations that teach arts

Additionally, experts are encouraged to consider the following kinds of arts disciplines:

  • Design and architecture
  • Literary arts (comics, literature, poetry)
  • Media arts (film/video, new media, interactive computer based virtual art)
  • Music (blues, classical, country, electronic, folk, hip hop, international, jazz, rock/pop)
  • Performing arts (dance, opera, theatre)
  • Visual arts (ceramics, design, fashion, multi-media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, 3D, 2D, fiber arts)

Participation in the Research

If you are an expert (foundation staff, researcher, nonprofit staff member, government official, etc.) working in Bay Area Arts and Culture 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 early November 2012. 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!

 


Philanthropedia is a registered 501(c)3 organization. All of your donations are 100% tax-deductible.