05/23/2014

Here's a wrap-up of just some of the news New Profit and its portfolio organizations made this week:

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AMERICA FORWARD: America Forward Commends Congress for Workforce Legislation Announcement, Urges Swift Passage "America Forward applauds the bicameral, bipartisan agreement on the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) reauthorization deal announced earlier today and urges the swift passage of final WIA legislation in Congress. WIA was last updated the year that Google was incorporated (1998) and it is noteworthy that in this challenging political environment that legislators are coming together to recognize the importance of developing America’s workers, particularly those who need training to succeed in our economy. We are particularly happy to see the inclusion of the Pay for Success option that enables local boards to tie dollars to outcomes. America Forward and the America Forward Coalition worked closely with Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Michael Bennett (D-CO) and Representative Susan Brooks (R-IN) to develop this option and believe that when WIA is signed into law, this will result in a stronger, more inclusive workforce by ensuring that our limited workforce funds go to providers that deliver results."

CURRENT PORTFOLIO ORGS:

Health Leads
NationSwell: Back to Basics: How One Health Nonprofit is Rethinking Clinical Care A look at Health Leads and how it is keeping its focus small: "Rather than expanding on a large scale, the project is partnering with just a few institutions — such as academic medical centers and for-profit hospitals — to create models for other institutions to emulate. Health Leads is also focusing on collecting data from its partnerships to further support transformation across the health care industry... 'Going small may not be glamorous,' Health Leads’s Rebecca Onie, Sarah Di Troia and Sonia Sarkar write. 'But if we can couple a powerful on-the-ground demonstration with pathways to change the sector, we will have the opportunity at last to transform health care for patients, physicians, and us all.'"

The Atlantic: How Being Poor Makes You Sick A look at how some patients are being "prescribed" bicycles and groceries as doctors attempt to treat the lifestyle consequences of poverty, in addition to its medical symptoms. Health Leads is highlighted as an organization partnering with hospitals, where doctors are incorporating the treatment of poverty-related obstacles into their medical routines. "Today, Health Leads allows doctors in 20 clinics across the country to 'prescribe' services like healthy food or safe housing to their low-income patients. Health Leads volunteers (usually med students) set up card tables in clinic waiting areas and try to connect patients with prescribed services."

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Mass Live: Viewpoint: Both liberal and conservative, Roca deserves a chance An opinion piece by Ron Chimelis, The Republican's general columnist and opinion writer, where he weighs in on how Roca, Inc. appeases both parties: "It is a very liberal program, run by people who swear that no at-risk young man is a lost cause. It is a very conservative program, one that draws heavily from private sources and demands verifiable results for money spent on social programs. However this innovative project turns out, the undertaking by Roca, Inc., is a very American program. For that reason alone, everybody should be rooting for its success and supporting that it is even being tried."

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The Tennessean: Nashville teachers, principals disagree on school conditions "An anonymous survey of 4,912 educators employed by Metro Nashville Public Schools found teachers have a much more positive outlook overall than last year. Metro school officials are glowing at this week's results from its fourth annual district-wide survey called Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning, or TELL, conducted by the national nonprofit New Teacher Center. With marks improving on every single question from the year before — led by spikes on questions related to instructional practices, time and support — a contractor who led the survey called the results 'phenomenal'...But there remains a sizable gap — albeit an expected one — between the perceptions of teachers and principals."

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YouthBuild: Are You listening? Don't Call them Dropouts As an Alliance Partner with America’s Promise, YouthBuild USA is joining them in taking the first step in changing the conversation about young people that do not finish school on time. "We deeply believe in the power of youth voice... This new report from America’s Promise Alliance raises up that voice through stories of young people who have not finished high school. Through their first-hand accounts, readers will better understand the challenges and choices they face."

NationSwell: Two Wrongs That Make a Right Soon, five homeless veterans in Ogden, Utah "will be living with a roof over their heads, thanks to students who remodeled a home as part of the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College’s YouthBuild program."

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New York Times: For Schools, Long Road to a Level Playing Field New York Times columnist Eduardo Porter wrote about New Classrooms efforts to tailor education to students' individual needs, abilities, and learning styles. "Joel Rose, who heads the educational technology nonprofit organization New Classrooms, is testing a model that blends live and virtual teaching to tailor education to students’ abilities and interests, designing classes based on the ease and speed with which each student works. This kind of tailoring, Mr. Rose believes, provides a way to effectively educate children of many disparate abilities in one class. 'If one sixth grader is at the fifth-grade level and another is operating at the ninth,' Mr. Rose says, 'we can teach to both.'”

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WNYC: Opinion: NYC Teachers Need More Help to Combat Burnout Nick Lawrence of Educators 4 Excellence, discusses the need to combat teacher burnout. "Over the last six years I've watched dozens of talented, intelligent teachers leave the public schools in the Bronx neighborhood where I teach...For all the difficulties teachers face in every New York City school, those facing educators of our most disadvantaged youth are compounded. The new teachers’ contract begins to address this issue with a salary differential for teachers in certain 'hard-to-staff' schools."

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Family Independence Initiative: Torchlight Prize "Today, Family Independence Initiative (FII) officially opens nominations for the 2014 Torchlight Prize, a national annual award that recognizes and invests in the initiative that self-organized groups of families, friends, and neighbors are taking to strengthen their communities. Each year, the Torchlight Prize awards $10,000 to each of up to four self-organized, grassroots groups, from communities with the fewest resources, that have come together to create positive change in their communities. The winning groups don’t wait for policy-makers, nonprofit organizations, or philanthropy to improve their communities—instead, they take the initiative to set their own priorities and create their own solutions."

Inside Bay Area: Guest commentary: Responsible state budget will restore many of drastic cuts "Fifty years after Lyndon B. Johnson declared a War on Poverty in the United States, children and families in Alameda County are facing difficult times. The wealth of the Bay Area may be rising, but some 57 neighborhoods in Alameda County have child poverty rates that exceed 30 percent...Locally, innovative programs like the Family Independence Initiative help lead the fight against poverty by connecting families to resources and giving them the room to lead their own change. In a two-year survey of their work, families enrolled in the Family Independence Initiative on average increased their savings by a remarkable 120 percent and increased their earnings by 24 percent."

LIFT
LIFT: The Power of Millennials "At LIFT, volunteer Advocates, primarily college students, work one on one with low-income community members to help them set goals and work towards achieving them. In fact, this past year, LIFT mobilized over 900 volunteers, many of which are Millennials, to engage in over 77,000 hours of service working with LIFT Members...In some ways, LIFT can be considered a Millennial. At 15 years old, we are no longer a startup, but we are still carving out our place in world. Being a Millennial comes with a sense of possibility...We know that things are not okay in this world, that they can be better, and that we can and will change them."

Year Up
GeekWire: Year Up: How this program transforms low-income young adults into rising tech stars. A profile on Year Up, a program that offers computer education, internships at Fortune 500 companies, and even money to at-risk young adults with the potential to land careers in technology. When Selemun Welderfael first read about Year Up, he thought it was a scam. "But in fact, it was 100 percent real. Just listen to Welderfael now, 10 months after his July 2013 Year Up graduation. 'I wouldn’t be here without Year Up,' he says. Welderfael, who now works as an IT analyst at Boeing, is just one of many success stories to come out of the non-profit Year Up Puget Sound program."

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The Mission Continues: The Mission Continues and Wounded Warrior Project® Commit to Expand Community Service Opportunities for Wounded Veterans "National veterans’ nonprofits The Mission Continues and Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) are working together to expand service programs that solve community challenges while helping wounded veterans successfully transition to lives at home. With support of a $6.3 million, two-year investment by WWP, The Mission Continues will grow its veteran Fellowship and community Service Platoon programs – engaging thousands of veterans and communities across the country in local volunteerism. The collaboration will also serve to augment WWP’s 20 existing programs designed to meet the needs of more than 50,000 wounded veterans."

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The Advocate: Executive says community, tech colleges can help fill jobs Monty Sullivan, Louisiana’s Community and Technical College System system’s new president, and a strong supporter of the Single Stop program (which sets up offices on college campuses to provide low-income students with benefits and services they qualify for but possibly don’t know about) notes that "employers must be consulted in order to maximize Louisiana students’ chances of grabbing well-paying jobs as today’s industrial expansion continues for years into the future.'Employers are a part of the discussion,' Sullivan insisted. He said they help educators determine the size of demand for certain jobs, help recruit students for two-year degrees and help fund scholarship programs."

PAST PORTFOLIO ORGANIZATIONS:

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Charlotte Observer: We need more black teachers like me "Mario Shaw is a 7th grade teacher at Charlotte's Ranson Middle School and a Teach For America product. With the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling this Saturday, Shaw wanted to reflect on where things stand today on inequalities in public education. Perhaps his most important point: Black males make up only 2 percent of U.S. teachers, leaving very few role models for many of the nation's struggling youth."

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Center for American Progress: All Hands on Deck: How Expanded Learning Time and Community Partners Can Benefit Students "Significantly lengthening the school day is a promising strategy to close achievement and opportunity gaps that must be considered by state, district, and school leaders who serve large numbers of low-income students. Fortunately, there is already a growing movement among policymakers and educators to increase the amount of in-school time devoted to teaching students the 21st century skills needed for future success." Citizen Schools partnership with Elmhurst Community Prep is highlighted as a prime example of how expanding the learning day for low income middle school students benefits both teachers and students.