2018 Member Survey: Foundations Value SECF Network, Have Strong Interest in Equity
Author: David Miller
Attendees at this year's Annual Meeting in Louisville received an advance look at the results of SECF's 2018 Member Survey - the Key Findings Report, now available on SECF.org, reveals critical insights into the operations and interest of foundations across the region.
Here are some highlights from this year's findings:
Staff sizes are gradually increasing: In our 2016 survey, 63 percent of respondents reporting having five or fewer full-time staff members - that number went down to 51 percent in this year's survey. Staff sizes vary widely based on the type of foundation. Community foundations averaged 12 full-time employees, while family foundations average four staff members.
Community and networking remain major draws: Nearly half of respondents, 47 percent, said they joined SECF to be part of a philanthropic community. Nearly three-quarters said networking opportunities were a top SECF benefit. Research on philanthropic trends was the second-highest rated benefit, followed closely by leadership development and legislative updates.
SECF’s Southern Trends Report Now Updated with 2016 Grantmaking Data
Author: Stephen Sherman
The Southern Trends Report, SECF's statistical dashboard on Southern Philanthropy, has just been updated with new information reflecting grantmaking across the region in 2016.
The Southern Trends Report, the result of a partnership between SECF and Foundation Center, provides the latest on foundation numbers and assets, giving priorities, and trends in regional giving. Launched in 2016, the Southern Trends Report provides the latest data on philanthropic trends in the Southeast.
Each year, the site is updated with a new information on grants shared with Foundation Center through its eReporting program. The inclusion of 2016 grants information marks the report's third update since launch, providing an increasingly clear picture of Southern grantmaking - one that will only improve in the years ahead!
Here are some of the trends in Southeast philanthropy that we've identified:
Philanthropic Networks Have a Powerful Role to Play in Advancing Equity
Author: David Maurrasse
Racial inequities have persisted over generations. Social movements have challenged structural racism and encouraged the societal and policy changes required to alter various dimensions of deep-seated inequities. Whatever progress has transpired over the last several decades, recent developments have reminded us of the depth and breadth of contemporary racism. From incidents of police brutality, to the continued criminalization of people of color, to the normalizing of anti-immigrant sentiments and white supremacist thinking that were exacerbated during the 2016 elections, we have received many reminders how much work is to be done. And it is difficult to grapple with, what feels much more like movement backward in an area where so many had hoped we were on a faster track to progress with the election of Barack Obama in 2008.
In this context, conversations about race and racial equity and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) have increased in the field of philanthropy. As philanthropic contributions are often designated to address many of the issues (education, health, etc.) in which racial disparities are highly apparent, it is no wonder more voices inside and outside of the field are wondering about the role of foundations in advancing racial equity. While there is much to be done in society at large, there is also a great deal of work required if philanthropy is going to become a reliable catalyst toward racial equity and inclusion.
When Data Inspires a Movement: How Arkansans Are Working Together to Boost Student Reading Scores
Author: Heather Larkin
Only 37 percent of Arkansas third graders read on grade level. Thirty-seven percent. That’s according to student scores on the 2016 ACT Aspire Assessment, the state’s standardized achievement test.
Almost two-thirds of Arkansas children lack the critical early literacy skills they need to be successful throughout the rest of their educational careers and beyond. For those of us who aren’t teachers, principals or school administrators, we might wonder “What can I do about it?” A growing coalition of Arkansans are answering that question with a resounding “Take action!”
When Arkansas Community Foundation produced the first edition of our Aspire Arkansas report, we wanted to provide community leaders with better access to information that would spark conversations about community-minded solutions. Access to key facts and data about our communities can serve as a roadmap, giving us a sense of where we are now and where we can go. We’ve been working to answer the question, “What can everyday Arkansans do to move the numbers in the right direction, and what can Arkansas Community Foundation do to help?”
When we learned about the critical need to improve our kids’ reading scores, we knew we had an opportunity to find out what it could look like to join partners across Arkansas using data to spark positive change.
Here’s what we’re learning:
Data Shows More Needs to be Done to Bring Widespread Prosperity to the South
Author: Stephen Sherman
While economic disparities in the U.S. are widespread, nowhere in the country is the gap in economic mobility more pronounced than the South. Just look at the map below and you’ll notice the broad swath of red indicating the lack of upward mobility in the region. Raj Chetty and a team of researchers from Stanford, Harvard, and Berkeley used data from the most-recent Census and tax returns to chart the chance a child born into the bottom fifth income bracket could reach the top fifth by adulthood.
From a list of 741 commuting zones, four Southern cities were ranked in the bottom ten in terms of upward mobility. These were Atlanta, Charlotte, Jacksonville, and Raleigh, all of which have shown indicators of strong economic growth. The chances of a child going from the bottom quintile to the top in these cities were some of the lowest in the country—nowhere higher than 5 percent. By contrast, the leading cities in upward mobility – New York, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, to name a few – all measured 10 percent or higher.
But is it just geographic differences that are to blame for the lack of economic mobility in the South? In addition to location, Chetty and his fellow researchers found that another primary factor in upward mobility was an individual’s racial identity. The latest research from the Equality of Opportunity Project finds that in 99 percent of Census tracts in the United States, black boys earn less in adulthood than white boys who grew up in families with comparable income. This suggests that differences in resources at the neighborhood level, such as access to quality schools, cannot by themselves explain the intergenerational gaps between black and white children.