Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program FY 2015 Grant Announced

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) invites eligible entities to apply for the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program (BCJI) FY 2015 competitive grant, a program to plan and implement place-based, community-oriented strategies to address targeted crime issues within a neighborhood as a part of a broader neighborhood revitalization initiative. BCJI builds the capacity of local and tribal communities to identify and address significant crime issues through collaborative cross-sector approaches that help advance broader neighborhood development goals.

Neighborhood revitalization requires working on multiple areas, including public safety, health, education, housing and economic development to effectively transform the community. As such, applicants should develop a plan to coordinate BCJI with other existing neighborhood revitalization efforts—such as Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, Community Health Center grants, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) funds, or a Promise Zone’s designation—where possible.

Eligible entities to serve as fiscal agent include states, units of local governments, non-profit organizations (including tribal non-profit organizations), and federally recognized Indian tribal governments as determined by the Secretary of the Interior.

BJA solicits applications in two categories:

1) Planning: Under Category 1, BJA estimates that it will make up to 15 awards of up to $175,000 each for up to an 18-month project period, beginning on October 1, 2015.

2) Implementation: Under Category 2, BJA estimates that it will make up to 3 awards of up $1,000,000 for up to a 36-month project period, beginning on October 1, 2015.

To learn more, follow this link. Applicants must register with Grants.gov prior to submitting an application. All applications are due to be submitted and in receipt of a successful validation message in Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. ET on April 20, 2015.

Monday, February 23, 2015

National Endowment for the Arts Invites Applications for Challenge America Fast-Track

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) accepts applications for the Challenge America Fast-Track grants program, which will award fixed grants to projects designed to extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations, including those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation.

Applicants may be arts organizations, local arts agencies, art service organizations, local education agencies (school districts), and other organizations that can help advance NEA goals. All organizations must have a three-year history of programming prior to the application deadline. NEA will award fixed grants of $10,000 to support small and mid-size organizations that demonstrate projects focusing on:

  • Engagement: Engaging the public with diverse and excellent art
  • Livability: The strengthening of communities through the arts.

A minimum $10,000 match from an outside funder is required. Applicants are encouraged to consider partnerships with other organizations, both in and outside the arts, as appropriate to their project. The application deadline is April 16, 2015. For more information and to apply, see the website.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Local Initiatives Support Corporation Hosts Crime Mapping Webinar Series: Crime Mapping Level 1

Crime mapping can be a helpful tool for police and community members to track and address persistent crime problems in the neighborhood. Local Initiatives Support Corporation's (LISC) Community Safety Initiative (CSI) will facilitate a Crime Mapping Webinar Series led by crime analysis expert Julie Wartell of the Analysis Group. LISC has connected local organizations and community leaders with resources to revitalize neighborhoods and improve quality of life. LISC is a technical assistance provider for Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) Program, a program that is a part of the Obama Administration's Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, focused on supporting data-driven, comprehensive responses to crime in some of the country’s most troubled communities.

The first of the series, Crime Mapping Level 1 will provide beginners who have little or no past experience using crime mapping and/or geographic information system (GIS) software an overview of how these tools can be used to inform public safety efforts. The following will be covered:
  • History of crime mapping
  • Basic GIS concepts
  • Data sources
  • Case studies/examples
These webinars are open to practitioners involved in the BCJI program, other White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI) Programs, LISC's Community Safety Initiative and other interested parties. Crime Mapping Level 1 will be held on Monday, February 23, 2015 at 2p.m. To register, follow this link.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Report Calls for 60 percent Reduction in Child Poverty

The Children’s Defense Fund recently published Ending Child Poverty Now, a report outlining their approach to comprehensive child poverty reduction. According to the US Census Bureau and highlighted in this report, 1 in 5 children growing up in the United States live in poverty. Children of color have an even greater likelihood of living in poverty, with 1 in 2 black children and 1 in 3 Hispanic children living in poverty. Poverty doesn’t just have an adverse experience on children early in their lives. Children living in poverty experience lifelong consequences including poor health, lower educational attainment, and more frequent involvement with the criminal justice system.

While child poverty in the United States is inexcusably high (19.9 percent), there are programs and policies that have been shown to make a difference. CDF’s recommendations suggest building on these successful programs - and analysis conducted by the Urban Institute found that, if implemented, these recommendations would reduce poverty for 6.6 million children. The policy recommendations included in the report are projected to reduce child poverty by 60 percent when measured with the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM).

According to the report, reductions in poverty can be made by expanding federal policies that are already in place. The report suggests:
  • Increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit for lower-income families with children: 9 percent reduction
  • Increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10: 4 percent reduction
  • Creating subsidized jobs for unemployed and underemployed individuals ages 16-64 in families with children: 11 percent reduction
  • Making child care subsidies available to all eligible families below 150 percent of poverty: 3 percent reduction
  • Making the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit refundable with a higher reimbursement rate: 1 percent reduction
  • Increasing SNAP benefits: 16 percent reduction
  • Making the Child tax Credit fully refundable: 12 percent reduction
  • Making housing vouchers available to all households with children below 150 percent of poverty for whom fair market rent exceeds 50 percent of their income: 21 percent reduction
  • Requiring child support to be fully passed through to TANF families, fully disregarded for TANF benefits, and partially disregarded for SNAP benefits: 1 percent reduction in the number of children in poverty

The report also includes suggestions of ways to pay for these policy changes. They suggest investing $77.2 billion to pay for the recommendations included in the report and that the money could be found by taking any of the following actions:
  • Closing tax loopholes for corporations ($90 billion)
  • Eliminating tax breaks for the wealthy by taxing capital gains and dividends ($84 billion)
  • Closing tax loopholes included in the Tax Reform Act of 2014 ($79.3 billion)
  • Cutting 14 percent of the FY2015 $578 billion in military spending ($80.9 billion)
  • Scrapping the F-35 fighter jet program ($1.5 trillion)
The CDF report analyzes the impact of individual policies, but also demonstrates how the most successful anti-poverty strategy involves a combination of policy changes. Though these recommendations are based on federal policies, state policymakers can help to influence state counterparts of these policies and programs to reduce poverty among children within their states.

For the full analysis of each policy recommendation, please see CDF’s complete report.

For state policies to reduce child poverty, please read CSSP’s report Results-Based Public Policy Strategies for Reducing Child Poverty.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

ArtPlace America Invites Applications to Community Development Investments Program

ArtPlace America (ArtPlace) is accepting applications to its new Community Development Investments program from place-based nonprofit organizations with a primary mission of community planning and development. ArtPlace is a ten-year collaboration that exists to position art and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities.

ArtPlace will select one organization in each of six geographical regions (six organizations total) that can demonstrate a sustainable plan to incorporate arts and cultural strategies into its work of community planning and development. This one-time grant program will provide up to $3 million in funding per organization. Each selected organization will also work with national creative placemaking experts, a financial capital consortium, a federal grants advisory team, and a community documentation and research team.

Eligible applicants must:
  • be working to achieve a variety of social, economic, and physical outcomes in that geographic area
  • regularly partner and work across sectors to achieve positive community outcomes
  • have long-term vision and presence in a community
  • not have a significant history of working in the arts and cultural field
  • and operate in a defined geographic area of focus (Eligible organizations work in one of the following: a community of any size in Alaska; a community of any size in California; a non-metropolitan area community in Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas; a non-metropolitan area community in Minnesota; one or more neighborhoods of Philadelphia; or a metro area community in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, or West Virginia).
Submission deadline is March 12, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. (ET). To learn more and apply, visit the website.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Strive Together and National Taskforce Host Webinar: Five Ways Community Organizations Can Ensure Responsible and Effective Student Data Use

StriveTogether and members of a national taskforce on student data privacy will host a webinar on Wednesday, February 18th at 1PM ET:  Five Ways Community Organizations Can Ensure Responsible and Effective Student Data Use. Strive Together Cradle to Career Network is a national network of 55 community partnerships in 28 states and Washington D.C. working to improve education success for every child by bringing together cross-sector partners around a common vision.

Panelists will discuss five ways organizations can ensure effective and responsible use of student data, and share real-world examples of how these practices are helping communities improve education outcomes for kids. Panelists include:
  • Chris Kingsley, Data Quality Campaign, Washington, D.C. 
  • Theresa Pardo, Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany, New York 
  • Matt Deevers, Summit Education Initiative, Akron, Ohio 
  •  Matt Harris, Puget Sound Educational Service District and The Road Map Project, Seattle, Washington 
  • Greg Wong, Pacifica Law Group, Seattle Washington 
  • Geoff Zimmerman, StriveTogether Staff, Cincinnati, Ohio
Visit the website to learn more or register.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

College for Every Student Invites Applications for Closing the Gap Awards

College for Every Student (CFES) is currently accepting applications from low-income middle and high schools for its Closing the Gap Awards. CFES is a global leader at helping underserved students get to and through college, and ready to enter the 21st century workforce. CFES currently supports 20,000 students through partnerships with 200 rural and urban K-12 schools and districts in 27 states and Ireland.

CFES awards grants annually to implement programs that help prepare low-income students for college and a career. This year CFES will award funds to fully support two schools for three years. Three additional schools will receive grants covering half of their program costs (i.e., $12,500 a year for three years); schools in this category will be asked to find matching support from other sources. CFES uses three core practices – Mentoring, Leadership Through Service, and Pathways to College—to provide a frameowork for schools to help underserved youth get to and through college, ready to enter the workforce.

Expectations of CFES Schools:
  • Develop a CFES school and community-based team composed of teachers, faculty and staff, students, parents, and/or community members.
  • Appoint a CFES Liaison who serves as the main point of contact with the CFES central office and your CFES program director.
  • Provide CFES professionals access to your CFES Scholars so they can conduct leadership workshops, peer mentor trainings, development of The Essential Skills, etc.
  • Complete CFES Plan, Mid-Year and End-of-Year Assessments.
  • Brand College For Every Student within your school/ community.
  • Track and evaluate program impact for a subset of 100 students.
  • Engage your students schoolwide in the three core practices: Mentoring, Leadership Through Service, and Pathways to College.

Eligible applicants include middle or high schools in the United States in which at least 50 percent of the student population comes from low-income households. See the website for more information and to apply.