California’s minority and women business enterprises (MWBEs) have lost the potential equivalent of $1 billion in public contracts because of Proposition 209, according to a Surdna Foundation-funded report by the Equal Justice Society.
EJS released the report today during an informational hearing by the California State Assembly Committee on Judiciary. The hearing also heard other testimony related to the impact of Proposition 209 on public contracting.
2016 will mark the 20th anniversary of Proposition 209, which ended the use of race and gender conscious decision-making in California in the areas of public employment, public education, and public contracting or procurement.
Proposition 209 not only ended race-conscious programs in California, it unnecessarily ended the collection of procurement data related to race, ethnicity, and gender in most jurisdictions of California that had previously been collecting that data. Therefore, the report states the potential loss of contract dollars due to Proposition 209 and not the actual dollars lost.
EJS commissioned Tim Lohrentz, an expert in affirmative procurement and supplier diversity, to author the report. Lohrentz was formerly the Director, Inclusive Business Initiative, with the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. Lohrentz was assisted by Michael Sumner, Ph.D., former Research Manager at the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, UC Berkeley School of Law.
“Taxes from women and people of color help fund public contracts, but are denied equal opportunities to obtain those contracts, said Eva Paterson, EJS President. “We often tout the great economic engine of California, and public contracting is a major part of fueling that engine. This report clearly shows that Proposition 209 denied Black, Latino, Asian American, and women-owned businesses equal opportunities to contribute to our state’s economic growth.”
Lohrentz and Sumner found that MWBEs, which had been erasing the disparity between their availability and their utilization by participating in race- and gender-conscious programs, were heavily impacted by Proposition 209. Some of these businesses never recovered.
This study shows the following impacts in today’s dollars due to Proposition 209:
John Hawkins | Board Member | Surdna Foundation
My wife Joey and I were lucky enough (particularly given the recent weather) to attend a recent performance of "Schoolhouse Rock Live!" at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, VT. It was a performance of the Autism Theatre Initiative sponsored in part by a three-year Surdna Foundation grant to the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts to support a series of programs for artists and audiences with disabilities.
This adaptation of the Emmy-winning ‘70s Saturday morning cartoon series was presented as an autism-friendly performance. The content remained the same—a teacher nervous about his first in front of classroom who relaxes in front of the TV from which characters appear and show him how to win over his students using imagination and music.
This past summer I visited with John Killacky the Flynn’s Executive Director as he and his staff worked with the artists in the touring company and the National Autism Theatre Initiative to learn how to create a supportive environment for audience members diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or other sensory issues.
The most important lesson for me was how much both sides learned from one another in the process of setting up the single performance of “Schoolhouse.” There was significant disagreement initially around whether “Schoolhouse” should be a performance that encouraged participation by the broader Burlington community or whether it should be focused only on those with autism spectrum disorder.
The Flynn staff argued that all performances should try--if at all possible--to accommodate the entire range of the human condition. Killacky and his staff believed you should never make it your goal to serve a single audience. Ultimately, the decision was to have an inclusive performance to which all family audiences are invited.
A really interesting part of the conversation was that the Autism Theatre Initiative had never staged any single performances at any of the venues where they'd presented over the years. Somewhat surprisingly (to me at least), this was a new paradigm for the Autism Theatre. The planned performance at the Flynn, for those on the autism spectrum, was just one of several performances in all the other larger venues. At this point in the conversation, you could see light-bulbs coming on in people’s heads. --”You mean, this is the ONLY performance at the Flynn?
It was one of those "well-that-changes-things" moments and the conversation quickly shifted from how the Theater must be prepared to accommodate potentially unusual behavior to how the Flynn could make performers, the audience, staff and others feel welcomed and still accommodate potentially unusual behavior. To improve the chances that theater-goers would be able to relax and enjoy the production, the Flynn took special measures to make the theater sensory-friendly for people with autism, which means that the house lights would be a little brighter and typical rules, like enforcing silence in the audience, were relaxed.
The performance, and the preparations leading up to it, became an important learning opportunity for a community. The actual performance of Schoolhouse Rocks Live earlier in February, was but a single, albeit important part, of a months-long, intensive process designed to stage a performance that accommodated autism spectrum needs.
In their typically low-key manner, prior to the performance, the Flynn staff did a superb job of presenting all the auditory, visual, personal space, feelings of safety, and comfort adjustments they'd made to their usual practices.
"Schoolhouse Rocks Live!" may not have been award-winning theater, but it was great community building. Following the performance, John Killacky told me he was as pleased with the production as we were. I've learned a lot by closely observing a process from its initial planning stage to the the performance for the community. I'm proud that Surdna was able to make this grant.
John Hawkins, a fourth generation member of the Andrus family , lives in Strafford, Vermont, and has been a teacher, a cabinetmaker, a wooden toy designer and manufacturer, a software engineer and a college administrator.
While the loss of the organization should be mourned, many others continue its important work, argues Jessica Garz.
In a process led by Kounkuey Design Initiative, residents of St. Anthony trailer park in California’s Coachella Valley plan the design of a public space.
The recent closure of Architecture for Humanity, the San Francisco–based nonprofit known for its post-disaster rebuilding projects, had a distinctly funereal feeling. Founded by Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr in 1999, Architecture for Humanity (AFH) was guided by the tagline “Addressing global humanitarian challenges with architectural solutions.” In addition to managing the design and construction of specific projects in the U.S. and abroad, the organization was known for its international network of local, volunteer-run chapters and its high profile publications including the book Design Like You Give a Damn and associated museum exhibitions.
Read more in The Architect’s Newspaper
24 lenders chosen nationwide to receive intensive training and peer-learning opportunities to help small business succeed in underserved communities
Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), Surdna Foundation, and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses announced today that they have selected 24 mission-driven small business lenders to participate in the Small Business Finance Collaborative. This unique and intensive technical assistance program is designed to increase capacity of small business lending in underserved communities in the U.S.
Responsible, affordable credit is not readily available for small businesses, especially minority and women-led businesses, due to the decrease of mainstream finance serving this market. This new program will build the capacity of CDFIs (community development financial institutions) and other mission-driven lenders to deliver responsible and affordable loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs across the nation.
OFN will deliver the Finance Collaborative, providing 24 mission-driven small business lenders with an intensive two-year program of peer learning, training, and technical assistance. As a result, each participant will create and implement a strategic growth plan to improve lending strategies and practices, while maintaining asset quality. Participants will be expected to report regularly on growth goals and to adopt best practices. Funding is provided by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses with additional support from Surdna Foundation.
“Our nation’s economic recovery has been very uneven, with minority and women led small businesses in underserved communities experiencing barriers to the credit they need to succeed. The participants in the Collaborative are uniquely positioned to reach these communities, helping owners avoid high cost loans. They will build strategies to aid small business and encourage sustainability, growth, and job creation.” said Mark Pinsky, president and CEO of OFN.
The Small Business Finance Collaborative is built upon a successful prior initiative in 2011-2013 where participants reported doubling their assets, increasing their self sufficiency ratio, and number of small businesses reached. Participants in the Finance Collaborative will expand on concepts learned in a previous training, including value proposition, innovation, talent management, and the lending life cycle. The curriculum’s foundation is adapted from the Babson-designed Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses education program.
“Research shows that small businesses are the leading drivers of economic growth and job creation in this country. Our partnership with OFN will continue to support mission-driven lenders, so that even more entrepreneurs gain access to the capital they need to succeed,” said Esta Stecher, CEO of Goldman Sachs Bank USA. “These Small Business Financing Initiative lenders were chosen because of their expertise and leadership in this area. We look forward to seeing the impact they will have in underserved communities.”
The Finance Collaborative members reflect the diversity of mission-driven small business lenders and approaches. Some participants have a national presence, while others serve local communities. Working in urban, rural, and Native communities, these lenders offer a range of lending products and business models. Collectively, the 24 participants have cumulative assets exceeding $862 million with over 7,500 small business loans outstanding totaling nearly $600 million. The 2015-2016 Small Business Finance Collaborative participants are:
• Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, Inc. (ACE)
• Accion New Mexico ∙ Arizona ∙ Colorado ∙ Nevada
• Bridgeway Capital
• Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union
• California Coastal Rural Development Corporation (Cal Coastal)
• CDC Small Business Finance
• Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF)
• Community First Fund
• Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF)
• Entrepreneur Fund
• Excelsior Growth Fund
• Growth Capital
• Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation (KHIC)
• LiftFund, formerly known as Accion Texas
• Montana Community Development Corporation (Montana CDC)
• Northern Initiatives
• Pacific Community Ventures
• PIDC Community Capital (PIDC-CC)
• The Support Center
• Travois • VEDC
• Virginia Community Capital (VCC)
The Surdna Foundation seeks a Program Officer to join the Sustainable Environments grantmaking program. The Program Officer is part of a four-person team and works closely on all aspects of the program, including day-to-day operations, broader program strategy development, and the implementation of a learning agenda. Ideal candidates should have expertise and knowledge in one or more of the substantive elements of the grantmaking program and to help build networks among funders, as well as grantees, around issues that need attention.
Read the full description.
Jocelyn Downie | Board Chair | Surdna Foundation
Checks landing in the mailboxes of nonprofit organizations with foundation return addresses have long been considered philanthropy’s most important currency. Reflecting that view, foundations have tended to focus their operations, self-image, and financial management toward growing their assets, and then getting the dollars out the door. And so, the Surdna Foundation and thousands of other private, corporate, and family foundations are called grantmakers for a good reason: we make grants.
However, several years ago in a paper published by fellow board member Gwen Walden, a term was coined that captures an emerging philosophy among some foundations: “changemaking.” As Gwen wrote, “[m]any foundations are making the transition from grantmaking to changemaking by internally leveraging all of the resources present in the foundation to achieve the change agenda.” This is certainly true of Surdna.
For a generation now, we have been expanding our work to include activities that complement and add value to our dollar investments. Surdna has been practicing a different type of philanthropy—one that is articulated in the Identity & Method document we published as part of our strategic rethink three years ago. This type of philanthropy places an emphasis on connecting people and ideas, and being attuned to local practice, national networks, and policies. One way to think of this is weaving a web of support for the organizations and leaders we fund and the issues we’re trying to advance.
Money is still fundamental to our approach, but it is really only one part. Across the foundation, for example, we are also combining grants with technical assistance, Program Related Investments, research, convenings, communications, advocacy, and mobilization.
Surdna is supporting nonprorits like the Detroit Creative Corridor Center which offers business acceleration services for artists and culture makers, creative firms, and independent practitioners.
Under our Thriving Cultures program, for example, we’re weaving webs of support for artists and culture makers. Less than a generation ago, most private grantmaking in the arts followed a fairly predictable pattern: grants were typically awarded to support new work, operations, or capital campaigns. If we were to limit our view of artists to their roles as makers of aesthetic objects and experiences, our grants would primarily support new work. But artists and culture bearers are so much more than “makers”— their creative work can build the social well-being and cultural identity of a place and people while simultaneously creating jobs, attracting investments, and generating tax revenues. So to have the impact we want, our approach must acknowledge this complexity and find more nuanced and innovative ways to respond to the needs of artists and culture makers.
The support we offer artists therefore addresses their needs for business and marketing training, financial management, and new sources of capital that can help them sustain their work. And it addresses the very real difficulty artists face in trying to work—and live—in our communities.
We have funded the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3), to help creative entrepreneurs launch their businesses. DC3 provides artists with coaching, executive mentoring, office space, and other resources that help them become entrepreneurs. Working with DC3, artists first identify their business objectives and set realistic expectations. Mentors then guide them through strategic planning and business plan execution. This and similar programs are helping artists more fully realize—and make a living from—their roles as social and economic change agents.
We have contributed to the First Peoples Fund, a national organization based in Rapid City, ND, working with Native American artists to offer marketing and business skills that connect to community values. Efforts to help artists find and develop resources for their work, share ancestral knowledge, and find markets, have helped many women and men begin to realize their full potential as artists and entrepreneurs. For example, through the First Peoples Fund, Darrell Norman, an artist whose traditional and contemporary work presents Blackfeet imagery in mixed media, has improved his business skills and has expanded the market for his designs.
We are also helping artists access capital through our funding of projects like the Creative Industries Incentive Network (CIIN) and through a new open call for locally-funded, economic development projects that fully integrate arts, culture or creativity. CIIN offers small grants to help creative entrepreneurs who have the ability or promise to be commercially successful—but have difficulty financing their projects. And, in partnership with the Kresge Foundation, we will support projects we solicited via a recent joint Request for Proposals from community development financial institutions (CDFIs) for local economic and community development projects that are driven by artists or cultural enterprises. CDFIs are financial institutions that provide credit to underserved markets and populations. The RFP has raised the visibility among CDFIs of projects that fully integrate arts, culture and creativity in comprehensive community revitalization.
Surdna’s work under the Thriving Cultures program—and across all its programs—is about so much more than writing a check to a nonprofit that we believe can help us get closer to achieving our mission. It’s about weaving webs of support – leveraging all of our resources and using all of the levers available to us to ensure that grantees and those they in turn support have their diverse range of needs met – and thereby enabling all of us to meet our shared objectives.
Jocelyn Downie is a Professor in the Faculties of Law and Medicine at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada. Her work sits at the intersection of ethics, law, and health care with a principal focus on end of life law and policy.
A group of eight national foundations has jointly submitted a comment letter in support of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s (GASB) Exposure Draft on Tax Abatements.
The comment letter was signed by the presidents of the Annie E. Casey, Cleveland, Geraldine R. Dodge, Doris Duke Charitable, Ford, F.B. Heron, and Surdna foundations. The Ottinger Foundation’s Board Chair signed on their behalf.
For the first time ever, GASB, the body that oversees public-sector accounting standards, is proposing that state and local governments report how much revenue they lose to business tax breaks granted in the name of economic development.
A recent essay in the Chronicle of Philanthropy by Shawn Escoffery of the Surdna Foundation and Greg LeRoy of Good Jobs First helped to catalyze funders in support of the proposed changes.
The proposed accounting changes would be a landmark event for equity and transparency because states and cities spend an estimated $70 billion per year in the name of jobs, the vast majority of that in tax breaks, and much of it poorly disclosed. The revenue lost affects every kind of public service: education, health care, housing, infrastructure, and public safety. And spending patterns are not equal: low-income communities, communities of color, and immigrants are disproportionately impacted by the lost revenue.
by Brenna McCallick and Tonu Basu, Pacific Community Ventures
Last week, President Obama delivered his State of the Union address and spoke at length about the growing income inequality in the United States. The availability of jobs was a prominent theme; the hour-long speech included over 25 mentions of jobs, wages or worker benefits.
The President cited several promising statistics about the recent job growth across the nation, such as:
-- “Our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999.”
-- “Over the past five years, [American] businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs.”
-- “Since 2010, America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and all advanced economies combined.”
On the surface, overall job growth is a positive indicator, but it belies a troubling reality. Low-wage and part-time work has been on the rise since the Recession, while full-time, higher-paying jobs offering benefits have declined. , Eighty-six percent of full-time, private industry workers had access to medical coverage through their employers in 2014, while only 23 percent of part-time workers shared in this benefit. And according to recent estimates, almost a quarter of all U.S. workers are low-wage (23 percent), earning less than $11.90 an hour. Of those workers, 82 percent earn poverty-level wages, or less than $10.75 an hour. 
To his credit, President Obama did highlight a few issues that would directly benefit the lives of American workers. Some proposed measures included raising the federal minimum wage, eliminating income inequality between men and women, providing better job training and placement programs for veterans and unskilled workers, and guaranteeing paid sick and maternity leave.
These are issues that impact all Americans and concern both Democrats and Republicans. As we face increasingly limited economic mobility and the widest income gap since 1928,it is critical that we as a nation prioritize job creation. However, in this pursuit we must not overlook the issue of job quality. After all, a living wage, benefits, and opportunities for advancement are crucial factors in lifting individuals out of poverty, enabling them to access housing, education, healthcare, and other essential services.
Impact Investing As A Key Opportunity
Economists argue that continuing to lower unemployment will require investing both public and private resources in supporting entrepreneurs in the creation of new businesses.Impact investing is one such tool that unites public and private interests and capital to create positive social outcomes. Often discussed in relation to innovative social enterprises, impact investing also includes investments into more traditional businesses –especially undercapitalized small businesses – that employ residents of low- and moderate-income (LMI) areas.
Since 1998, PCV has promoted economic development in LMI communities by supporting small businesses to boost the creation of those quality jobs. We began as an equity fund investing in companies that served and employed LMI residents of the Bay Area, and have since evolved into a pioneering nonprofit CDFI. PCV is unique in that along with our lending and venture capital-style business advising programs, we also have a field-building research practice to advance impact investing as a tool to unlock more capital for LMI communities.
In October 2013, PCV joined with Enterprise Community Partners and the Initiative for Responsible Investment to launch a new project, the Accelerating Impact Investing Initiative (AI3). Through the AI3, we prioritize research and education to advance public policy that will drive private capital toward enterprises creating better social outcomes for all. In this work, we were proud to partner with the Surdna Foundation, a long-time supporter of initiatives that create sustainable communities and improve economic mobility in the U.S.
Taking The Conversation Forward
This year, one of PCV’s goals for this work is taking the national conversation about job creation forward, placing job quality at the center. In addition to other policy priorities, our efforts will include identifying ways to ensure that quality jobs are an outcome of the development and implementation of policies that harness private capital for public benefit, and that impact investors track and report on job quality. We are delighted to announce that Surdna will continue to support us in this effort over the next two years.
2014 was a year of major developments for impact investing policy: we saw the introduction of the Social Impact Bond Act in Congress, and the publication of a set of policy recommendations from the U.S. National Advisory Board on Impact Investing, among other crucial advances. On the practitioner side, the field is moving with renewed force toward more targeted investments and standardized metrics for evaluating the social returns of investments. As one of the key objectives of these efforts, stakeholders on all sides of the impact investing ecosystem must understand quality job creation as an important part of social impact performance.
PCV looks forward to partnering with Surdna over the next two years to advance our shared goal of promoting economic development through the creation of quality jobs – jobs that pay living wages, promise advancement opportunities and offer the benefits every working American deserves. Indeed, ensuring the availability of a quality job for every American is a social and economic imperative on which the nation’s long-term prosperity rests.
The Surdna Foundation is seeking a Human Resources Associate to provide general human resource and office administration under the supervision of the Human Resources and Administration Manager. The Human Resources Associate plays a key role on the Administration team. Their support directly impacts Surdna’s ability to accurately manage the administrative processes of its workforce and maintain the engagement and trust of its employees.
"The verdict is clear…expanding opportunity works," President Obama said in his State of the Union address Tuesday. "This country does best when everyone gets their fair shot."
An equitable economy, where all can reach their full potential, regardless of race, gender, immigration status, or zip code, is at the heart of the President’s vision of "middle-class economics." Increasing economic security for working families and expanding access to the education and training necessary for the jobs of tomorrow will help rebuild the middle class by lifting up those so often left behind by today’s economy.
Though the economy has made a comeback for some, the benefits of growth and recovery are not reaching everyone. Those hit "first and worst" by the recession — millions of struggling families and low-income communities of color — are still waiting.
According to new data from the Pew Research Center, between 2010 and 2013, the median net worth of African American and Hispanic households actually dropped by 34 percent and 14.3 percent, respectively. In 2012, the median wage for workers of color was than median wages for White workers.
As America’s workforce rapidly becomes more diverse — by 2030, the majority of young workers will be of color — failing to create pathways of opportunity into the middle class for these youth will jeopardize the very existence of a middle class.
That’s why policies to tackle inequities in income and opportunity are urgently needed.
Moving forward with policies to raise wages and secure essential job benefits, such as paid sick leave, overtime protection, and retirement savings, will help workers provide for their families and save for the future. President Obama’s proposed changes to the tax code will help low- and middle-income paychecks go farther and working family tax credits will put affordable childcare within reach. Investments in training and education will help the next generation of workers gain the skills necessary for good-paying jobs, whether through two years of free community college or employer-funded apprenticeships and on-the-job training.
By embracing equity-driven growth, the President has laid the blueprints for a brighter future, where everyone can contribute to and share in America’s success. We applaud the President’s policy agenda and encourage him to take immediate actions to create universally accessible pathways to opportunity. Because policies that lift up those left behind don’t only strengthen the middle class, they build a stronger, more resilient economy for everyone.
Fostering sustainable communities in the United States — communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures.