The importance of public space

2016-nelson-beckford-blog-photoThis week we welcome Nelson Beckford, Senior Program Officer for Strong Communities at Saint Luke’s Foundation, as guest blogger.

By definition, a public space is a social space that is open and accessible to people. Streets, public squares, plazas, parks and beaches are examples of public spaces. These spaces are a social utility or public good because they:

  • Promote democracy, inclusion and social cohesion allowing people from various socio-economic backgrounds to share common ground to celebrate, recreate, to remember, to reflect or protest.
  • Define a city or neighborhood, think Golden Gate Park, Public Square, Washington Square Park – the spaces are reflections of the values, culture and history of a place. Ditto with the simple neighborhood park.
  • Promote active living; when people live close to a park or trail, they walk more.

park2These are just a few of reasons that drove the Saint Luke’s Foundation along with Philanthropy Ohio to form the Public Space Community of Practice. The members represent the full spectrum of public space work from funding, research, land disposition, land acquisition, planning, design and programming. The goal of the group is broad but simple: to reflect and learn from the multiple efforts happening in Cleveland around public spaces.

park6We opened our first gathering with this check in question: “Public Spaces are important because____.”  From there we did some context setting, framing and highlighted public space efforts happening at various scales and across sectors, from a memorial pocket in honor of a police officer – Derrick Owens – killed in the line of duty, to a large-scale intergenerational playscape. We also gave a sneak preview of the landmark research effort – National Park Study – conducted by City Parks Alliance, the National Institute for Health and the RAND Corporation.

Stay tuned for more information and/or opt in for one of the few remaining seats available on the Philanthropy Forward ‘17 “Why Parks Matter” learning tour where we will explore parks and public spaces that work and those that could better serve their nearby residents. If you haven’t registered, click here to sign up.

I challenge foundation staff and board to reflect on how our work (regardless of type of funding priorities/focus) touches on or is influenced by public spaces. As a member of society, take a moment to think about the value you, your family or neighbors get from the public spaces. Discuss.

Nelson Beckford

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Register for the Philanthropy Forward ’17 conference at http://www.philanthropyforward.org.

 

 

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September 11, 2017 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

Working for just, equitable communities

headshot of claudia smilingJust a week has passed since the violence in Charlottesville and, like many others, here at Philanthropy Ohio we are thinking about how we can increase our efforts working with our members toward just, equitable communities. We’ve focused over the past 10 years on diversity, equity and inclusion, adopting a DEI Statement, engaging members in a CEO Circle, educating members about racial disparities and creating the Michael G. Shinn Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Philanthropy. Our October conference has a major focus on equity, from the plenary with Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr. to individual breakout and reflection sessions.

Last month, four of our staff attended the United Philanthropy Forum’s conference, where Dr. David Williams presented sobering data on the inequality in 21st century America, saying that philanthropy should play a leading role in:

  • Raising awareness levels of the reality of racial inequities;
  • Helping to establish a credible voice that is anti-elite, anti-authority and has little trust in social institutions;
  • Convening all relevant stakeholders and experts to establish a coordinated and sustained mass media campaign to re-define race in American culture and society;
  • Raising awareness levels of deeply embedded, subtle forms of prejudice (implicit biases) that are pervasive and unrecognized;
  • Building the political will to address racial inequities in America;
  • Working with the public, private and voluntary sector to identify and disseminate feasible and optimal strategies to dismantle institutional racism; and
  • Developing and sustaining structures that will identify, nurture, and mentor the next generation of leaders to sustain an agenda focused on truth, racial reconciliation and transformation.
Williams_David

David R. Williams is a Professor of Public Health, African and African American Studies and Sociology at Harvard University.

His talk and the hatred that fueled the violence in Charlottesville reinforce that there is so much work to be done and amplify the important role the philanthropic sector can play. Here are just a few of the resources that can inform and guide philanthropy’s work:

Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities Framework (RPBC) created by the Association of Black Foundation Executives, which builds upon grantmaking with a racial equity lens and tailored specifically to grantmaking in and for Black communities.

Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s work around Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation.

The June 2017 webinar from the Association of Black Foundation Executives on The Color of Philanthropy: Southern Leaders, National Potential.

The equity assessment quiz created by CHANGE Philanthropy with questions from the D5 Coalition and the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity.

The 2017 report from Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees about Supporting Immigrants and Refugees in Volatile Times: What Philanthropy Can Do.

On a related note, one of Ohio’s champions for diversity, equity and inclusion retired last week: Sister Sally Duffy, former head of the SC Ministry Foundation headquartered in Cincinnati. Hundreds of people attended her reception last week to recognize and honor her work, including elected officials, colleagues and nonprofit leaders. She was a tireless advocate and while I will miss her participation in our efforts, I know she will continue her social justice work in her retirement.

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Claudia Y.W. Herrold

August 21, 2017 at 4:09 pm Leave a comment

Philanthropy Forward ’17

headshot of claudia smilingPhilanthropy is shifting. It’s applying new practices and strategies addressing equity disparities and focusing on the future of philanthropy in Ohio – and that’s the focus of this year’s statewide convening, Philanthropy Forward ’17. Registration opened last week online for the conference we’re holding in Cleveland on October 4 – 6.

As always, the planning team has crafted three days of outstanding learning and connecting opportunities for the year’s largest gathering of Ohio philanthropic organizations and individuals.

Our plenary speakers will challenge you to think and act differently on big picture themes that have daily application to your work:

plenary collage philanthropy forward 17 squarePhil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, will headline the conference with his session Leading Effective Organizations in Complex, Changing Times. He’ll draw on recent CEP research (The Future of Foundation Philanthropy and other studies) to offer insights on the state of philanthropy. Small group discussion will let you react to the data and share your own experiences.

Dr. Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. (chair, Center for African American Studies at Princeton University) will lead a conversation on The Value Gap: A Challenge to Equity, focused on philanthropy’s role in addressing equity and racial disparities. His latest book, Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, provides the context for his discussion of the value gap that has left many behind socially and economically as well as the complexities, vulnerabilities and opportunities for hope.

Our third plenary speaker is Trista Harris, president of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, who will speak about the future of philanthropy as she explores trends and leads a panel discussion of Ohio philanthropy leaders who reflect on leading from where they are, strengthening the leadership pipeline, new skills for the constantly changing landscape and stepping fully into a place at the table.

The learning continues in our 20+ breakout sessions that cover a multitude of topics, including fundraising practices, early literacy, neighborhood instability, civic engagement, gender gaps, racial disparities and immigrant populations. The list goes on and on, with something for everyone at every level of experience.

PhForward17-image 1300x650And, we know how much conference attendees value opportunities to network with colleagues they see once a year so we’ve planned lots of time for informal conversation. Meet up during designated networking breaks, dine-arounds, and the Welcome Party – Ohio Roots: Home Grown, a lively celebration at the Great Lakes Brewing Company Tasting Room.

There’s also time to explore Cleveland during four learning tours:

  • Why Parks Matter: Learn about the positive impact parks have on equity, health, property values and a sense of community as RAND and City Parks Alliance share recent research findings during a tour of public spaces and Cleveland’s neighborhood parks.
  • Social Enterprise for Sustainable Growth: Tour several Cleveland social enterprise organizations to explore how philanthropy and social enterprise can collaborate to promote sustainable growth. Learn how funding can facilitate entrepreneurial growth as a component of an entrepreneurial ecosystem to increase regional prosperity.
  • STOMP! Five Strategies for Professional Development: Experience the unique STOMP! System’s five self-guided strategies to assess, develop and fulfill your career ambitions. You’ll learn the top competitive-edge skills of extraordinary professionals, assess your current progress toward your career aspirations and learn to progress in your professional power.
  • Playhouse Square: With five fully-restored historic theaters, Playhouse Square is the largest theater restoration project in the world. Today, Playhouse Square is the largest performing arts center outside of New York City and hosts nearly one million guests and one thousand curtains each year. Join colleagues on a tour to discover how these gems were saved from the wrecking ball.

All this and much more await you at the 2017 conference: find out more online and register today.

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

July 10, 2017 at 12:30 pm Leave a comment

The American Health Care Act and preserving Medicaid

headshot of claudia smilingLast week we wrote the following letter to Senator Rob Portman, which several of our members signed on to, regarding the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

Dear Senator Portman,

The Philanthropy Ohio Health Initiative began as a member-initiated coalition focused on improving the health of Ohioans. Our membership includes private and community foundations, corporate funders, public charity grantmakers and United Ways. The Health Initiative envisions a future where Ohio communities – including the philanthropic sector and the health care system – support health promotion, disease prevention and patient-centered, quality care accessible by all Ohioans. To do this we also work with other community organizations, government and partners who share our goals, many who have joined us in signing this letter. Like many others who invest in the health and welfare of our communities, we are deeply concerned about the impact on Ohioans of key changes being considered in the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

shutterstock_445553Senator Portman, we appreciate your leadership in directly confronting the impact of Medicaid changes proposed in the House-passed version of the AHCA. As you said in your letter to Senate Majority Leader McConnell (dated March 6, 2017), Medicaid “reform should not come at the cost of disruption in access to health care for our country’s most vulnerable and sickest individuals…and we will not support a plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states.” We could not agree more.

We respect the concerns about the cost to the state and federal government of providing Medicaid coverage and want to collaborate with good-faith partners in addressing these concerns. However, we believe the longstanding state-federal financing partnership is not fundamentally broken.

As you indicated with Anthem’s announcement to withdraw from the Obamacare Exchange (the Marketplace), “the status quo is unsustainable.” We agree. The Anthem withdrawal leaves 19,000 Ohioans in 20 Ohio counties without any option to purchase an individual plan on the Marketplace; that is 11% of Ohio’s total Marketplace enrollment. However, despite the need to fix the Marketplace, there is no need to alter the current underlying federal-state financing structure for Medicaid—it works.

Today, Medicaid efficiently provides comprehensive health care for 3.1 million Ohioans, including 723,000 receiving coverage through the Medicaid Expansion. The AHCA’s proposal to shift Medicaid financing to ‘per- capita caps’ will jeopardize Ohio’s ability to provide health care to all Medicaid enrollees, including children, seniors, and people with disabilities, and would have a significant negative economic impact on our state. Consider the following:

Per-Capita Cap, Children & Other Extraordinary Medical Needs

  • Ohio’s child protection system is seeing a dramatic increase in the rate of opioid-exposed babies. The life threatening medical issues these babies face result in immediate and long term needs for care and support. These babies are not covered by the Medicaid Expansion. Their needs require an ongoing, guaranteed federal- state partnership, which cannot be assured with “medical CPI plus 1%.”
  • Ohio spends $2,488 per child on Medicaid, the 11th lowest in the country. With per-capita caps in place, this would become a permanent federal funding ceiling. Can we absorb the short and long-term cost of care for the opioid-exposed babies or other unexpected emerging public health threats? Further, as we work to improve health care quality and efficiency for children, if our spending falls below the federal cap, the recently discussed idea of periodic “rebasing” would further lower our federal funding ceiling, making the per-capita caps even more damaging.
  • We ask: How do we absorb the short and long-term cost of care for the opioid-exposed babies? How would Medicaid financed by per- capita caps support our state’s needs in times of health and economic distress?

A Dedicated Pot to Replace Medicaid Funding for Opiate Treatment

  • $650 million of the $1 billion dollars Ohio spent last year to reduce drug use and overdose fatalities was paid for by Medicaid. More than 50% of all prescriptions in Ohio for Buprenorphine (an opioid recovery medicine) in 2016 were paid for by Medicaid. Our healthcare system and these services are increasingly integrated to serve individuals holistically across the continuum of care, whether the need is identified in primary care, emergency rooms, or specialized services locations.
  • We ask: Will the opiate funding pot that is being contemplated be large enough and grow commensurate with our $650 million need? How would this pot address each individual’s comprehensive needs and be integrated in a system of care? Why would we create a pot of funding for treating opiate addiction? We don’t pay for hip replacements or care for diabetes that way–these are part of holistic healthcare coverage.

Impact on Rural Communities, Veterans, Elderly, and Intellectually Disabled Individuals

  • old_lady_with_drA Medicaid per-capita cap and phasing out the Medicaid Expansion will have a disproportionate impact on rural communities. Roughly 21% of Ohio’s Medicaid Expansion are individuals who live in rural communities. From 2009 to 2015, Ohio had the third largest decline in the number of uninsured adults nationally, as an additional 115,000 adults received Medicaid or Marketplace coverage.
  • The uninsured rate among non-elderly Veterans has dropped 42% since 2014.
  • Medicaid home and community-based services are an optional service. Today Ohio is serving almost 100,000 individuals in community services; that is 65% of our Medicaid long-term services spending. While seniors and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities would have a more generous growth rate in the per-capita cap, from 2000 to 2011 Ohio’s growth rate was higher than most states; 3.5% and 5.1% for aged and disabled, respectively.
  • We ask: Faced with estimated reductions of $22 billion dollars over a ten-year period to Ohio, can we honestly assure families and individuals that these optional home and community based services will be supported at a level commensurate with their changing needs and will not be a prime target for reduced funding? Can Veterans and those in rural Ohio feel secure that there will not be disruption in their access to services, at the expense of others who also have significant needs?

A per-capita cap means that Ohio will have fewer resources over time to address these issues and will not be able to respond effectively to future public health crises. A federal funding cap cannot account for the specific spending pressures, needs and values of Ohio. The current federal matching formula already takes into account changes in each state’s demographic and economic conditions. Ohio’s health transformation is being driven by Governor Kasich and his Medicaid leadership team: the fundamental federal-state partnership doesn’t need to be abandoned, but deliberate progress continued. The President’s new team at HHS has many tools to continue and enhance this progress.

Capitol Hill2With this in mind, we strongly urge you to oppose any health reform bill that would cause Ohioans to lose health care coverage or benefits that they currently have. Specifically, we urge you to vote against any bill that would effectively end the Medicaid expansion, as we know it by completely phasing out the enhanced federal match or end the Medicaid program as we know it by shifting billions in Medicaid costs to states through a per-capita cap.

In closing, we, and the others who have signed on, pledge to work with you in any constructive manner to improve our state’s health care system. We appreciate your continued leadership on these important issues.

Sincerely,

Philanthropy Ohio

June 28, 2017 at 2:35 pm Leave a comment

What I’m reading

headshot of claudia smilingPhilanthropy Ohio’s president and CEO, Suzanne T. Allen, Ph.D., and I are quite voracious readers, both on the job and off. Suzanne listens to a lot of books on CD during her travel around the state and I’m always amazed at the depth and breadth of what she’s reading. It’s a rare week that goes by without one of us saying to the other, “Here’s a GREAT book I just read, I think you’ll like it.”

The love of reading – and learning – has extended to us creating a “book club” for staff: the current book, which we’ll be discussing during a staff meeting on Wednesday, is Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. As J.D. explains, he wrote the book because “I want people to understand what happens in the lives of the poor and the psychological impact that spiritual and material poverty has on their children. I want people to understand the American Dream as my family and I encountered it.” If you haven’t read the book, check out his TED talk for a glimpse into his life. J.D. Vance has recently moved back to Ohio, as he explains in this NY Times piece, where he’s started a nonprofit focused on the opiate addiction crisis.

 

stack of books on a table

Another Ohioan’s experience about living the American Dream comes in Robert Putnam’s book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, in which he analyzes and compares his growing up in Port Clinton during the 1950s to what’s happening half a century later. Putnam is perhaps best known for his Making Democracy Work and Bowling Alone books, two of 14 books he’s written during his academic career. I’ve read a few of them and just recently finished Our Kids.

Putnam brings the same careful, thoughtful scholarship to this book as he portrays the lives of diverse families at opposite ends of the economic spectrum. At the beginning of the final chapter, Putnam writes, “This book has presented a series of portraits of the contrasting lives of American young people from more and less privileged backgrounds, alongside more rigorous evidence that those personal portraits represent nationwide realities. We have examined the concentric circles of influence… and we have seen how in recent decades the challenges and opportunities facing rich and poor kids have grown more disparate.” He then describes his recommendations for how parents, communities and schools can change the opportunity gap.

Another book I’ve dipped into is Bruce Bartlett’s The Benefit and The Burden: Tax Reform – Why We Need it and What It Will Take. Although published 5 years ago, it is still of great relevance to the debates heating up in Washington D.C. this year. Bartlett served in economic policy positions for both Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush and is a frequent contributor to a variety of news media outlets. One of my favorite quotes is this: “Ideally, one would like to start with a clear philosophy of what government should do and how much it should spend, and only then decide how to raise the revenue to pay for it” – not a likely scenario in 2017.

Next up on my reading list is The Givers: Wealth, Power and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age by David Callahan. He’s the founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy and co-founder of Demos, “a public policy organization working for an America where we all have an equal say in our democracy and an equal chance in our economy.” I’ll be interested to read his description and analysis – and his opinion of – the rise of new philanthropists and how they are changing life in America. I suspect I’ll get a different set of perspectives and opinions in the next book in my reading stack, Philanthropy in Democratic Societies, a series of essays edited by Rob Reich, Chiara Cordelli and Lucy Bernholz.

Claudia Y. W. Herrold

June 5, 2017 at 5:22 pm Leave a comment

Welcome Emily to Philanthropy Ohio

2016-jessica-blog-photoWe are pleased to introduce Emily Gneiser to the Philanthropy Ohio team! Emily will serve as the executive assistant to President & CEO Suzanne Allen and Executive Vice President for Communications and Public Policy Claudia Herrold, as well as manage calls and meetings in the Columbus office.

She’ll be posting questions to the listservs on behalf of members, supporting board and committee work, helping with registration for Health Initiative meetings and ensuring the Columbus office runs efficiently and effectively. Emily comes to Philanthropy Ohio with a background that includes nonprofit work and event planning.

Gneiser_Emily Philanthropy Ohio

Emily Gneiser joins Philanthropy Ohio as the executive assistant.

I asked Emily to tell us a bit more about her.

What’s the best part of your job?
Being connected to change agents in Ohio!

Career background/education?
I studied organizational communications at university. Since graduating, I’ve worked at a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., a family forum in Wisconsin, a resort in Vermont and an event company in Columbus.

What do you love about where you live?
I love all the coffee shops, breweries and great places to eat in Columbus.

 Favorite brand or flavor of ice cream?
Ben & Jerry’s strawberry cheesecake ice cream

What do you do outside of work?
In my free time, I like to hang with my sister and her family, hunt for the best donut and volunteer with Rock City Church.

Welcome Emily!

jessica signature
Jessica Howard

May 22, 2017 at 2:55 pm 2 comments

U.S. House vote ends Medicaid Expansion

headshot of claudia smilingI’m disappointed in last week’s U.S. House vote repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ending the Medicaid Expansion that we have supported since Governor Kasich first introduced it. Over 700,000 Ohioans have health insurance because of the expansion, insurance that is critical to getting care – whether it’s care that addresses pre-existing and chronic conditions or wellness and prevention – that improves their health, keeps them in school or lets them get and keep jobs. Ohio philanthropies – private and community foundations, United Ways, health conversion foundations and more – are strong co-investors in improving the health of Ohioans, and, because of Medicaid Expansion’s coverage of so many who were previously uninsured, have been able to redirect their resources to intractable problems like infant mortality and opiate addiction crises in the state. Philanthropy can’t possibly fill the gap that will be left by the bill’s elimination of the expansion group and the restructuring and decreased funding for Medicaid.

shutterstock_445553I’m glad that Reps. Joyce and Turner stood firm in their objection to the American Health Care Act and disheartened that so many of their colleagues chose to support the bill: Reps. Chabot, Davidson, Gibbs, Johnson, Jordan, Latta, Renacci, Stivers, Tiberi and Wenstrup. About half – 323,000 – of the Medicaid Expansion population lives in the districts of those who supported the repeal.

The bill now moves on to the Senate and faces two distinct barriers. First, the Senate parliamentarian must determine that the various provisions are appropriately in a budget bill. Second, as I’ve been hearing for months, the Senate (including our own Senator Portman) has its own ideas about repealing and replacing the ACA and will likely introduce its own version. Once any bill moves through the Senate, congress will need to iron out the differences.

Capitol Hill2

Our advocacy efforts will continue in coming months with members of Ohio’s delegation, educating them about the negative consequences of the AHCA bill as passed and urging them to keep Medicaid Expansion and the current structure and funding of the Medicaid program in place.

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

May 8, 2017 at 4:27 pm Leave a comment

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