On a warm and sunny day more than ten years ago, I visited the Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the King Center in Atlanta. Having read and heard about the U.S. civil rights movement and struggle for freedom for black people in this country, I was excited to draw links and connections to the anti-apartheid movement. For me, it felt like visiting Robben Island, a place of historic magnitude and significance in my home country of South Africa.
Last week, I predicted that the itemized deduction could soon be back on the table as Congress looks for ways to raise revenue. It may not have been a great leap to predict that, but my crystal ball is working: Yesterday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) announced a February 14 hearing to examine the itemized deduction for charitable contributions.
Earlier this month, I joined the Council on Foundations after following a rather unique road in government relations, the law, and public policy. I’ve worked in all three sectors: public, private, and now independent. From my perspective, this new opportunity—this leap of faith that I’ve taken—is tailor made for what I do well, which is identifying opportunities, addressing issues, devising strategies, and solving problems in creative ways.
Today, 600,000 high-tech manufacturing jobs remain open in the United States and more than 82 percent of manufacturers report that these jobs are unfilled because they can’t find people with the necessary skills. More specifically, according to a Manufacturing Institute survey, there is a critical skills gap in advanced manufacturing. Jobs in this sector are more demanding than ever and require increasingly sophisticated skill sets. Veterans offer the technical, leadership, and critical thinking skills that advanced manufacturing demands.
Philanthropy is tightly woven into the fabric of American society. It’s hard to imagine life without the fruits of charitable giving, including hospice care, insulin, vaccines, civil rights, Sesame Street, the 911 system, and even white lines on roadways. These and other advances are among the products of philanthropy that support thousands of organizations serving millions of people every day.
Cities like Cleveland typically have rich assets in their “eds and meds”: top-tier academic and medical institutions that draw people from around the world. In NewBridge Cleveland Center for Arts & Technology, we at the Cleveland Foundation and our partners have created a dynamic resource that plays in both sectors, opening young minds to the value of education and training economically disadvantaged adults for careers as medical professionals.
Living inside the Washington beltway must be a profoundly disorienting experience. Maybe there’s something in the Potomac River, maybe it’s just too much time in the world’s most self-absorbed echo chamber, or maybe it’s just the pressure of too much traffic. Honestly, I don’t know.
Dental disease isn’t usually top of mind in the national conversation about health care. However, it is a serious, chronic, infectious illness—and it is preventable. Consider this:
On one of the most storied streets in urban Native America, you can see a dynamic future taking shape. Colorful banners along Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis proclaim the only Native American urban business district in the country. Established in 2010, the American Indian Cultural Corridor features five Native-owned businesses, including a tribally owned bank. The Corridor, reminiscent of New York’s Little Italy or San Francisco’s Chinatown, spans a half mile of a previously crime-ridden, poverty-stricken neighborhood. Culturally relevant concepts and programs, rooted in the community, are making it possible for residents to build their assets by opening businesses, developing job skills, and owning a home.
When the mainstream media pay attention to Native American communities at all, they most often tell stories of trauma and tragedy. There is truth in many of those stories, of course, but we at Northwest Area Foundation see a different reality that also is true. When we meet with people on reservations and in urban Indian communities, we see energy and vision. We encounter a passion for self-determination in a rising generation of young leaders. And we see innovative Native organizations building assets for the future. We support Native-led asset and wealth building programs that have potential to nurture thriving economies in Indian Country. Job-building programs and wealth-creation models anchored in Native culture have track records of success that should be more widely known and studied. These approaches could help other Native and non-Native communities in their pursuits of lasting prosperity.