It was great to see this post by David Bornstein on his New York Times “Fixes” blog asking: Can Government Play Moneyball? That is, can government shift funding for social services and education programs to invest more in evidence-based solutions? Bornstein’s post highlights the work of Hewlett Foundation grantees Results for America and the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, and includes some observations from our own Daniel Stid.
Last month, Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer participated in a webinar with Nan Aron of the Alliance for Justice and Aaron Dorfman of the National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy on "Breakthrough Philanthropy: Leadership to Move Policy." AFJ later created a Storify about the webinar, and shared highlights from it on their Bolder Advocacy blog.
The OERu [Open Educational Resources universitas, a group of colleges and universities committed to providing free education to students worldwide] made history when a distance education student in our Open Learning Division who had completed an open course in the OERu received formal credit for this course by my university.
As part of our Grantmaker Training Series, Bill Somerville of Philanthropic Ventures Foundation talked to Hewlett Foundation staff about "Investing in People." During his talk, Bill challenged us to reduce the paperwork burden we place on our grantees and focus on people we believe can make a difference rather than our own concepts and strategies.
Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer recently sat down with the Higher Education Teaching and Learning Portal for an interview about the Foundation's commitment to Open Educational Resources (OER). Among the hghlights:
LK: Part of our goal with OER is to change the way people think about openness and sharing. Our current education system bottles everything up with “all rights reserved” copyrights that can only be overcome with significant justification and effort. We want to flip the presumption, to make openness and sharing the presumed default. With such a shift in mindset, we could dramatically increase access and productivity in higher education—and maybe find a way to serve those next 100 million learners around the world.
Federal environmental regulators, citing risks to water quality and salmon spawning grounds in one of the world’s richest fisheries, moved on Friday to block the development of a giant open-pit copper mine in the watershed of Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska.
While the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency was not an outright death blow to the project, called the Pebble Mine, it left little room for the mine and its supporters to persuade the agency otherwise. E.P.A. officials said they would now start gathering additional information and public comment under a provision of the federal Clean Water Act that could end any chance of the mine project’s going ahead.
This is a clear victory for the environment, and one made possible by the work of many of our Environment Program grantees, including Trout Unlimited and the New Venture Fund's Bristol Bay United Project.
Effective Philanthropy Group Director Fay Twersky recently helped kick off Sobrato Philanthropies' new speaker sereis, Building Blocks for Creating Greater Impact. The panel discussion focused on "theories of change and logic models, aligned performance metrics, and business models focused on sustainability and scale." Part Two of the discussion is also available on YouTube.
State air quality control commissioners voted 8-1 on Sunday to pass the rules with the support of leading operators Anadarko Petroleum, Noble Energy and Encana.
But they did so over the protests of much of the oil and gas industry, including the powerful Colorado Oil and Gas Association and Colorado Petroleum Association trade groups.
By passing rules aimed at reducing toxic emissions from oil and gas facilities, Colorado officials are trying to allow an energy boom while also protecting health and the environment. They needed to act because Front Range air already fails to meet federal health standards. The oil and gas industry is a growing source of volatile organic compounds that lead to the formation of ozone.
"This is in the best interests of public health," state health Director Larry Wolk said. "Methane and hydrocarbons being significant contributors to ground ozone — and climate change — anything we can do to control that is going to improve the health of our citizens — adults and kids. We have to look to the future."
"This is the toughest regulatory landscape in the country, no doubt about that," Noble vice president Ted Brown said. "But we really believe this rule is smart. It is cost-effective. It ensures that oil and gas is developed in the safest possible way for communities and the environment."
Great article by Susan Frey for EdSource about School Smarts, a program of the California Parent Teacher Association that help elementary school parents become more effective advocates for their children and their schools. Our Performing Arts Program provided funding for the pilot project in order to help build support for arts education across the state.
On a recent Thursday evening at Sunshine Gardens, about two dozen families gathered for dinner before the parents participated in the second weekly School Smarts training session. The sessions last from about 6:30 until 8 p.m. Child care is provided for the children in the cafeteria, while their parents attend the session in a nearby classroom.
Parents who have graduated from the program came to dish out the enchiladas, rice and beans and help the new parents – many new to the country as well as California’s public school system – get acclimated.
The graduates said the program has been transformative.
Erica Sanchez Vallejo, who graduated from the program three years ago, is from Mexico. “Over there parents do not get involved in education,” she said. “Here the focus is on educating the parents and being involved with your child even if you don’t know English. I want to see my daughter go all the way to college and graduate. This is what this program has taught me.”
Isela Ramirez said she has become more involved with her children since graduating from the program, expanding their learning beyond the normal school day.
“I read to them daily,” she said. “They’re involved in sports. I take them to the library. I do arts and crafts with them. I keep them engaged.”