Often times, philanthropy requires patience. We can research an issue, develop a policy framework, plan an education and awareness strategy, activate our advocates, and build our coalition of partners. It can take years to build a credible presence in a certain subject area, but it isn’t always easy to move an issue to the front burner.
Ellen S. Alberding's blog
Participation in the 2010 census is a huge opportunity to shape the distribution of roughly $400 billion a year in federal funds to state and local governments. Census data guide government decisions about where to build new roads, schools, and hospitals, and where to locate job training centers and services for the elderly. Census information is also used to draw state and federal legislative districts. Everyone loses if the numbers are wrong.
Chicago gets lots of attention these days, both good and bad. It’s a beautiful, wonderful, complicated, and diverse city, with great assets but many challenges.
Most recently, the beating death of a Chicago public school student was videotaped and displayed on YouTube for the world to see. The images are chilling and frightening. Upon viewing the video, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan responded, “America has seen a side of Chicago that we all wish didn’t exist. This young honor student had his whole life ahead of him—but now it has been cut short by senseless violence."
If philanthropy is an active effort to promote human welfare, how do we design our individual or collective efforts and chart a course of action to promote the welfare of our communities?
At Joyce, we begin with the premise that we have a vested interest in shaping the region where we work and live. We are fortunate to work with a host of issue experts, policy makers, and community leaders to develop workable solutions for many challenges throughout the Great Lakes region. But, collaboration is only one of the tools we use to further our mission. Other tools include:
Imagination is a powerful force. The human capacity to look at a problem, and imagine a way to solve it, lies at the heart of the progress and innovation for which our nation is so justly proud.
At the moment our country, and the Midwest in particular, face a host of challenges, many of which are rooted in the most serious economic downturn since World War II. One might ask, how can we hope to make progress on public policy issues when the financial deck seems stacked against us?