Strengthening Communities

Immigration reform is a hot topic on the national scene as the 2016 presidential election looms. While no consensus legislation has emerged on Capitol Hill to date, our guests will discuss how funders can play a role in educating policymakers on the impacts of pro and con policies. Get an update on federal Executive Branch actions to implement the President's 2014 Executive Order that focused on cracking down on illegal immigration at the border; deporting felons, not families; and accountability through criminal background checks. Explore what funders can do to promote sensible policies that insure fair treatment of immigrants and their families.

It’s an ever-clear sky today. Just as it was in 2001. And yet ever-clear and jet trails slicing September blue-skies then are now reminders, important ones, of the events of 9/11 and the losses and learnings we have experienced since.

War and tragedy have always brought us together as a people, but we need more regular experiences that foster the understanding that we are in a common enterprise. When the Founders penned the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness, they weren't just talking about an individual right, but a common undertaking that we help one another to achieve.

California's historic drought has us talking about access to water — who gets it, where to store it, how much it should cost — for the first time in 50 years. Many of us have taken water for granted and can use much less. At the same time, empty wells and desperate drilling should remind us how vulnerable many households are. Access to water is a human right, even in a drought.

In Pennsylvania, we’ve recently seen the failure of our state’s political leadership become a threat to many local nonprofits that provide much-needed assistance to our friends and neighbors. The governor and the state Legislature have not yet agreed on a budget, which has frozen funding for nonprofits that depend on those dollars. Some nonprofits are almost entirely dependent on state funding for their operations. Others operate with little or no state funds. Which organizations will be affected, and how badly they will be affected, will depend in part on how long the impasse in Harrisburg drags on. Nevertheless, in prior budget impasses, the challenges to local communities have been significant. When a state government fails its constituents, it is up to communities to sustain those in need. That’s where community foundations come in.

This morning, Council President and CEO Vikki Spruill helped launch a new platform on the Huffington Post that highlights important developments and leading thinkers on social innovation. The blog features thoughts from leaders such as Clara Miller of the F.B. Heron Foundation and Maria Rodale of the Rodale Institute.