Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Coalition for Community Schools Offers Awards for Stellar Community Schools

The Coalition for Community Schools is now accepting applications from community schools for the Individual Community Schools Awards and the Community Schools Initiative Awards.  A community school is a set of partnerships between the school and surrounding community resources, including supplemental academic resources, health services, social services, and youth and community development. Public Schools host the physical space for Community Schools and are open to everyone – all day and in the evenings on weekdays and weekends. Community Schools have proven effective in revitalizing communities across the country. The model builds the capacity of the community, leveraging the neighborhood physical and human assets to help children succeed.

The Individual Community Schools Awards will be administered to schools that have demonstrated success operating as community schools for at least three years. Each winner will receive $2,500.

The Community Schools Initiative Awards will go to initiatives that have facilitated the expansion of community schools, organizing multiple community schools sites with a strong commitment to scaling up across the community or school system. Two initiatives will be recognized and awarded $5,000.

In 2013, the Coalition for Community Schools recognized five high-performing community schools and initiatives with the Community Schools national Awards for Excellence. Roosevelt Elementary School, a member of the COMPASS Community School Initiative (Community Partners for Student Success) in Allentown, PA, is one example of Community School that has improved student performance and community engagement. The percentage of students scoring advanced and proficient in reading increased by 19% from 2006 to 2011 and by 13% on math assessments. Additionally, parent volunteerism and participation has increased. More than two-dozen community members attend adult English classes, and more than half of students from these families attend out-of-school time learning with summer activities run by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Allentown and other community partners.

Schools intending to apply for the awards must be operating as community schools. All applications must be submitted electronically through the Individual Community Schools and Community School Initiative application webpages. Applications are due January 30, 2015. For more information or questions, please reach out to the Heather Naviasky at 202-822-8405 ext 111 or To learn more in general, visit the Coalition for Community Schools

Monday, December 15, 2014

National Equity Atlas

PolicyLink – in partnership with the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern California – has launched the National Equity Atlas. An online resource, the National Equity Atlas will help community leaders and policymakers use data to track, measure and make the case for inclusive growth and equity in our communities.

According to The Equity Solution: Racial Inclusion is Key to Growing a Strong New Economy – a report from PolicyLink and PERE – whites make up 63 percent of the U.S. population. However, more than half of children are individuals of color. This demographic transformation will continue as the U.S. Census predicts that, by 2043, people of color will be the majority of the U.S. population. In the midst of this demographic trend, stark inequities remain between whites and people of color. As the report highlights, our nation’s economy would gain $2.1 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP) every year by closing its racial gaps in income: a 14 percent increase.

The National Equity Atlas is designed to help communities take stock of data on demographic change, racial inclusion and the economic benefits of equity by sharing information for 150 regions, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the United States as a whole. Specifically, the Atlas includes data summaries on demographic change, as well as stories about how local leaders are using equity data to implement growth strategies and policies. In addition, the Atlas includes charts, graphs and maps that you can use in your own presentations, proposals and fact sheets. All of this information is intended to provide you with the information needed to:
  • Understand how your community’s demographics are changing;
  • Assess how well your community’s diverse populations can participate in economic vitality, contribute to readiness for the future, and connect to assets and resources (and also see how it compares to other places);
  • Build a compelling narrative and shared understanding about why—and how much—equity matters to your community’s future; and
  • Inform the development of policies, plans, strategies, business models, and investments to advance equitable growth.

Want to learn more? Check out the National Equity Atlas and the accompanying report, The Equity Solution: Racial Inclusion is Key to Growing a Strong New Economy.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Promise Neighborhoods Webinar: Building & Sustaining Data Capacity When Resources are Scarce

Please join the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) from 3:30pm – 4:30pm (ET) on Thursday, December 18 for a webinar focusing on building and sustaining data capacity in your Promise Neighborhood. Participants will hear about some of the challenges facing Promise Neighborhood communities in the planning phase as they work to build data capacity, as well as examples of strategies for addressing them. The webinar will help both data and program staff who are planning or beginning to implement a Promise Neighborhood or similar community change effort in thinking about how the capacity to collect and use data can be built and sustained over time. Participants are strongly encouraged to join the conversation by asking their own questions and sharing their insights on the challenges presented.

Questions to be addressed include:

•   What are some of the biggest challenges in building and sustaining data capacity?
•   What role can partners play in sustaining data capacity over the longer term?
•   How might you prioritize your work given limited resources?   

The scheduled presenters for this event include:

•  Lisa Curless
   Project Director, Adams County Promise Neighborhood (FY 12 Planning Grantee)

•  Tim Jackson
    Project Director, Ogden United Promise Neighborhood (FY 12 Planning Grantee)

 Azenett Garza
Data Management Director, Ogden United Promise Neighborhood;
Community Research Coordinator, The Center for Community Engaged Learning of Weber State  
Associate Professor of Psychology at Weber State University

This event, hosted by the Center for the Study of Social Policy with support from the U.S. Department of Education, is part of the training and technical assistance program designed for Promise Neighborhood grantees.

For complete details regarding this webinar, please visit here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The BUILD Health Challenge: Improving Health through Community, Health System and Public Health Collaboration

The BUILD Health Challenge has announced that it will award up to $7.5 million in grants and low-interest loans over two years to support up to 14 community-driven efforts. BUILD stands for Bold, Upstream, Integrated, Local and Data-Driven, words that represent the core principles of the Challenge. These core principles serve as guidelines for the types of strategies the Challenge hopes to support: strategies that are innovative when facing complex problems, that focus on social, environmental and economic factors rather than direct service, that are committed to true partnerships between many different players in community health, that focus on solutions that are led by an urban community, and that use data to identify the needs of their communities and to measure their impact.

Eligible to partnerships located in cities with populations greater than 150,000, the awardees will also be given support in the form of technical assistance, coaching and networks of health innovators. The BUILD Challenge will give two types of awards: planning and implementation. These awards are designed to support community collaborations that strengthen partnerships among hospitals, nonprofits, local health departments and other community organizations around health in low-income neighborhoods. The partners in the BUILD Health Challenge are the Kresge Foundation, the Advisory Board Company, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the de Beaumont Foundation.
Round 1 of applications for the Challenge are due by January 16, 2015.  Invitations will then be extended to a number of select applications for Round 2 on February 20th.  Awardees will be announced in June 2015.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Local Voices Webinar Announcement

Please join the Center for the Study of Social Policy from 3:00pm – 4:15pm (EDT) on Wednesday, December 10th for a webinar focusing on the core capacities needed to achieve lasting community change. The webinar will focus on lessons from the Making Connections initiative and highlight research from the Local Voices report released earlier this year, which focused on the capacities communities developed that led to improvements in systems, programs, and in the lives of children and families.

Participants will hear about how Making Connections communities increased their capacity to conduct results-focused work in terms of 1) developing strong local leadership, 2) solid partnerships, 3) shared use of data, and 4) engaging community residents as decision-makers.

Key questions that will be addressed include:
  • What key capacities do communities need to be effective in mobilizing for lasting change?
  • How did these increased capacities lead to changes in outcomes for children and families?
  • Are these capacities self-sustaining – and what investments can be made to support and strengthen them over time?
Presenters for this webinar will include:
  • Juanita Gallion, Senior Consultant, Center for the Study of Social Policy (moderator) 
  • Scott Hebert, Principal Consultant, Sustained Impact 
  • Sili Savusa, Executive Director, White Center Community Development Association 
  • Dana Jackson, Former Director, Network Center for Community Change 
  • Dr. Henrietta Munoz, Vice President, Grants Research and Evaluation, United Way of San Antonio 
  • Lamont Hulse, Lamont Hulse, Leader, The Community Workshop
For more information, and to register, please click here.

This webinar, hosted by the Center for the Study of Social Policy with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is intended to inform a growing body of knowledge in the community change field.

Operation AmeriCorps Invites Tribal and Local Leaders to Apply to Fund Service Projects

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) introduces a new program, Operation AmeriCorps, that assists tribal and local leaders (including counties, cities, towns and school districts; and state commissions) in making a big impact in their community. Operation AmeriCorps is a subcategory of AmeriCorps, a service program that engages thousands of Americans in intensive community service projects. CNCS provides grants to a network of local and national organizations and agencies dedicated to placing AmeriCorps service members in areas that address critical community initiatives in education, health, the environment, disaster preparedness and public safety.

Operation AmeriCorps requests tribal and local leaders to identify a high-priority local challenge that service members can address in one to two years. The program has two funding priorities for the 2015 fiscal year. The first priority focuses on specific post-secondary outcomes for students. The second priority is flexible, allowing localities to identify their most pressing challenges. Proposals can focus on a new initiative or scaling up of an existing proven initiative. Initiatives should be place-based, coordinated with existing community organizations and demonstrate the ability to have transformational outcomes in the community. Operation AmeriCorps invites to apply for AmeriCorps State and NationalAmeriCorps NCCC and/or AmeriCorps VISTA service members.

Operation AmeriCorps differs from other AmeriCorps competitions for the following reasons:
  • Single application for multiple AmeriCorps programs: For the first time, applicants may request AmeriCorps State and National, AmeriCorps NCCC, and/or AmeriCorps VISTA resources in a single application.
  • Focuses on transformational impact: Successful applicants will propose how AmeriCorps members will be an essential part of the solution to achieve a dramatic and measurable improvement in the given locality in a two-year period.
  • Two-step application process: For the first step, applicants will submit a concept paper (maximum length: 10 pages) that describes their project. Then applicants selected for step two will receive technical assistance and be asked to submit a full application.
Because applicants are expected to show how they will coordinate with national service programs, applicants should reach out to their State Service Commission to learn about their state’s application process and deadline, which may be significantly before the CNCS deadline of January 13, 2015. Notice of Intent to apply is due December 29, 2014. To learn more and apply, visit the website.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

National Network of Sector Partners Offers Free Virtual Conference to Address Barriers to Employment

The Insight Center for Community Economic Development hosts the National Network of Sector Partners (NNSP), a free virtual conference on sector initiatives and other workforce models for individuals with barriers to employment. The Insight Center for Community Economic Development is a national research, consulting and legal organization dedicated to building economic health and opportunity in vulnerable communities. The conference features workshops, interactive discussions and networking opportunities with leading practitioners, policy-makers and researchers about important policy and practice lessons from the sector field.

The conference will feature four tracks addressing the most relevant topics for sector initiatives today:
  • Sector Initiatives and Career Pathways: Sector initiatives customize solutions for multiple employers and increase access to good jobs for low-income individuals. Career pathways connect progressive levels of basic skills and postsecondary education, training and supportive services to optimize the progress and success of individuals. 
  • Sector Initiatives and Registered Apprenticeships: Sector initiatives, with their strong connections to employers in target industries are well-positioned to incorporate registered apprenticeships into their services. Registered apprenticeship is an important and effective component of the potential education and training services the workforce system can use to address the needs of businesses, job-seekers, and incumbent workers.
  • Improving Employment Outcomes for People with Criminal Records: Sector initiatives have the opportunity to influence employer practices by increasing awareness of the challenges that people with criminal records face in the labor market, as well as helping to connect this population with jobs for which they are qualified.
  • Sector Initiatives and Youth: This topic gives the opportunity to learn from youth-serving sector initiatives about the innovations and effective strategies they use to help young people gain employment and develop in their careers.
Participants encouraged to participate in this conference include:
  • Community college, public workforce, and community-based workforce development leaders seeking examples of the most effective program models
  • Government representatives, policy-makers, researchers, and advocates seeking examples of supportive policy
  • Business and labor leaders invested in building a skilled workforce
The conference will run December 2 to December 12. To register and learn more, visit the website.