GLOBAL POLICY SOLUTIONS
DEAR CGPS SUPPORTERS:
2015 was a year of growth and a time for charting new directions at the Center for Global Policy Solutions.
After eight years as the national program office for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Leadership for Healthy Communities (LHC) program, we have transitioned to an exciting role as the national program manager for the Kansas Health Foundation’s Community Engagement Initiative. This shift allows us to build upon the lessons learned and skills acquired while expanding our strategic work in civic engagement and health equity.
In collaboration with an array of partners this year, we unveiled an agenda to close the racial wealth gap.
Through this and other projects, we continue to place a media spotlight on the need for policies that strengthen economic security for people of color. We also are helping to build a national constituency around expanding Social Security and are pleased to see more policymakers join the movement to increase retirement security for all Americans.
With four years of work under our belt, we at the Center for Global Policy Solutions continue to creatively and passionately advance our goal of making policy work for people and their environments. We are proud of our endeavors and invite you to read about and share our accomplishments with others in your network.
DR. CARROLL L. ESTES
DR. MAYA ROCKEYMOORE
PRESIDENT AND CEO
CLOSING THE RACIAL WEALTH GAP INITIATIVE
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE
LEADERSHIP FOR HEALTHY COMMUNITIES
The Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative (CRWG) is a national economic security effort managed by the Center for Global Policy Solutions, in collaboration with the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, with generous support from the Ford Foundation. The mission of the Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative is to inform the national economic debate about structural barriers that have created large disparities in wealth and to provide policy solutions to create a more inclusive and equitable future for all Americans. At the core of the Initiative is the Experts of Color Network (ECON), which comprises more than 200 of the nation’s leading Native American, Asian American, African American, Latino, and Native Hawaiian experts on issues ranging from housing, jobs, savings, and investment, to debt, credit, social insurance, and business development. These are scholars, advocates, community practitioners, policy analysts, researchers, private sector leaders, philanthropists, and government officials in the asset-building field.
The Center for Global Policy Solutions (CGPS) serves as the national program manager for the Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) Community Engagement Initiative, a program to support residents of Kansas communities that have elevated concentrations of health risks in their effort to create and implement policy, systems, and environmental change strategies that lead to healthier communities. In consultation with KHF and a national advisory board, CGPS is responsible for designing and implementing the overall initiative, which includes recruiting residents and building coalitions; facilitating technical assistance; managing program staff; and benchmarking progress. The long-term goals of the Community Engagement Initiative are to improve student outcomes and to increase healthy eating and active living in the participating communities.
The Center for Global Policy Solutions served as the national program office for Leadership for Healthy Communities, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation designed to support local and state government leaders throughout the United States in their efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic through public policies that promote active living, healthy eating, and access to healthy foods. Working with policymaker associations, such as the American Association of School Administrators, the School Superintendents Association, the Local Government Commission, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and Women in Government, LHC made measurable strides toward eliminating barriers to healthy eating and active living in schools and communities.
The Center for Global Policy Solutions is a leader in providing information, technical assistance, and practical support to improve outcomes for at-risk populations, particularly in health, education, economic security, and civic engagement. The following highlights demonstrate the reach and impact of our work during the 2015 fiscal year.
LEADERSHIP FOR HEALTHY COMMUNITIES
The Center for Global Policy Solutions, through Leadership for Healthy Communities (LHC) and with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, continued its work of supporting local and state policymakers seeking to advance meaningful changes in policy to help all children achieve and maintain a healthy weight. In early 2015, LHC launched a redesigned website to allow visitors—policymakers, advocates, and the public—to quickly and easily access its resources as well as those of its partners and previous grantees. The new site features an expanded discussion of key issues, including marketing and health equity, and 12 profiles of policymakers who have been champions of healthy eating and active living and are, therefore, making a difference for their constituents and communities. In the first quarter of 2015, the LHC website received more than 17,000 page views from 6,500 users, 79 percent of whom were new visitors.
LHC also launched an animated video titled “Cause & Effect,” which highlights how public policy affects the healthy choices available for children and, thus, the obesity epidemic. To date, “Cause & Effect” has been watched nearly 2,000 times.
In early 2015, LHC published the following two issue briefs for policymakers and other stakeholders seeking to advance innovative and effective policy changes:
COMPLETION OF LHC
After eight years, the Leadership for Healthy Communities national program closed in 2015. CGPS is honored to have received support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation during these years and to have worked with 20 influential policymaker associations.
Our efforts promoted healthy eating and active living policies throughout the nation by raising public awareness, cultivating partnerships, supporting champions, and building political will. Today, almost every state in the nation has legislation on the books related to Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL), and it’s clear that the strategy used by LHC and its partners contributed to this progress. Policymakers working with LHC enacted policies to improve school vending machines, provide healthier school meals, pass farm-to-school legislation, promote active living through park improvements and biking and walking trails, and more.
Recent studies show that, as a result of efforts like LHC, the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States may be leveling off. But while we’re thrilled to see these signs of progress, there’s still a lot of work to do. Many of our most vulnerable populations, including low-income and rural families and children of color, remain disproportionally at risk. Critical work remains to be done, and we remain as committed as ever to fighting for change.
KANSAS COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE
The Center for Global Policy Solutions, with the support of
the Kansas Health Foundation (KHF), selected five community organizations in Kansas to help residents lead efforts to implement policy, systems, and environmental change strategies to improve community health. CGPS first developed a rigorous process, which included RFP information meetings, convening the advisory group, technical assistance for applicants, and a two-tier proposal review process. The following organizations were selected:
Each grantee was awarded $250,000 to increase community access to and consumption of affordable healthy foods; improve community design to support active living; and improve academic, health, and fitness outcomes for students in community schools.
The Center for Global Policy Solutions focuses on eliminating health disparities and creating healthier, more equitable communities. In 2015, we continued to advance this goal by partnering with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other organizations on unique research projects that illuminate successful policy interventions and best practices as well as the challenges to achieving health equity in communities. CGPS plans to translate this research and strategic thinking into action in the coming years.
COMMUNITY ACTION PLANS
The five community organizations hosted visioning meetings, which set the stage for goals to be accomplished over the next three years and encompass a collaborative, open planning process aimed at harnessing the insights of all community stakeholders to create and support an action plan for transformative change.
Through the visioning sessions, the grantees were able to establish diverse partnerships. For example, Communities Creating Opportunity began working with Northeast Midtown Infrastructure Association and the Kansas Federal Reserve, and Wichita State University Foundation began working with the Fairmount Neighborhood Association and the Fairmount United Church of Christ.
The announcement of the KHF awards garnered positive media coverage for the community organizations and their visioning meetings. Several news outlets including The Wichita Eagle, KWCH12 Eyewitness News, and KSN News in Wichita; The Iola Register in Allen County; 98.1fm KMBZ in Kansas City; and the Topeka Capitol Journal in Topeka reported on the grantees. Additionally, community liaisons had the opportunity to participate in radio shows to promote the initiative and invite residents to attend their visioning meetings.
Each of the community organizations developed a Community Action Plan (CAP), which outlines its vision and sets the foundation for its work in the community. Further, each has made significant progress by selecting an objective and launching it as a pilot initiative. In Allen County, a vote resulted in decisions to implement a Complete Streets policy and open a new vocational-technical school. In Wichita,
a focus on community safety has led to a safety walk with residents, students, and university staff to identify problem areas where lighting and signage could be improved. In addition, Reno County and Topeka have made significant improvements in infrastructure, including crosswalks and signage in front of a local elementary school, and enhancements to the built environment in and around three public housing authorities.
Grantees also have developed key partnerships with local policymakers that will help ensure full implementation of their CAP. Reno County, for example, has been successful in leveraging partnerships with city council members and the city manager’s office to implement changes in the built environment to increase safety around the neighborhood elementary school.
The community organizations have received support from corporate foundations and local business owners who have pledged to sustain their efforts. In the Historic Fairmount Neighborhood of Wichita, Wal-Mart donated funds to improve signage and lighting in Fairmount Park and local business developers purchased apartment buildings to be occupied by community residents. In Allen County, a local businessman donated the building that will host the vocational-technical school. The grantees will continue to solicit support from local and national partners to sustain the community’s work as the initiative progresses.
Through digital outreach, publications, training sessions, and grassroots community engagement, CGPS health programs and initiatives in 2015 succeeded in advancing policies, programs, and practices that will improve lives. CGPS will continue its efforts in the health sector to ensure that every individual and family has the opportunity to live in a safe and healthy community.
CGPS has built long-lasting relationships with national organizations, experts, policymakers, and other stakeholders who are central to efforts aimed at ensuring that all Americans are economically secure.
CLOSING THE RACIAL WEALTH GAP INITIATIVE
As part of the Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative, CGPS organized several public events; held high-level meetings with federal policymakers and their staffs and with members of the Obama Administration; hosted webinars; and released publications designed to increase public awareness of the causes of, and potential policy solutions for, the widening racial wealth gap.
The 2015 Color of Wealth Summit, "The United States of Opportunity: Advancing a New Social Contract for a Fair and Inclusive Economy,“ was the capstone of these achievements. The Summit highlighted the social, demographic, and economic changes that have affected communities of color for the last several generations; examined current problems that are plaguing various racial and ethnic communities; and identified policy solutions that would shrink the racial wealth gap.
More than 280 participants including Members of Congress, congressional staff, the media, and the public attended the event. Notable attendees included Congressional Black Caucus Chair G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives John Conyers (D-MI), U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and former U.S. Representative J.C. Watts (R-OK). CGPS also convened a meeting during the Summit for members of the Experts of Color Network (ECON) to discuss strategies for closing the racial and ethnic wealth gap. Four leaders in philanthropy, advocacy, research, and government were presented with Asset Builder Champion Awards for their efforts to improve economic mobility in communities of color.
The 2015 Summit received significant praise from attendees, with 80 percent expressing a high level of satisfaction. This forum was sponsored by the Ford Foundation, the Prudential Insurance Company of America, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The Experts of Color Network participated in a process to define its priorities and develop proposals for addressing racial wealth disparities. As a result, CGPS published “A Policy Agenda for Closing the Racial Wealth Gap,” which outlines 37 policies in eight major categories, such as access to jobs and higher wages, entrepreneurship, housing, and retirement. These serve as the basis for an advocacy agenda at the federal and state levels.
CGPS and ECON discussed the Agenda at several meetings with policymakers on Capitol Hill, including meetings with the U.S. House Financial Services Committee and the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee. We also published several factsheets and infographics to highlight these urgent issues.
In addition, CGPS published a report titled “Obamacare Reduces Racial Disparities in Health Coverage,” which shines a spotlight on the elimination of the uninsured rate disparity between Black and White children as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Released in December, the report was covered in a Bloomberg View column by Christopher Flavelle and a Healthjournalism.org article by Politico’s health editor Joanne Kenen. The Morning Consult Health newsletter also covered it as the first item in the “Research Reports, Issue Briefs & Case Studies” section and included a graph under its “Today’s Chart in Review” section.
CGPS hosted a Public Voices Greenhouse—a series of training workshops about how to write op-eds that will have broad impact on public conversations about priority issues— for the Experts of Color Network. As a result, the experts published 36 op-eds in media outlets including TechCrunch, Quartz, The Conversation, Jet, The Hill, Truthout, Ebony, Pacific Standard Magazine, Women’s eNews, and Al Jazeera America.
National conversations about economic security are more inclusive of the racial wealth gap perspective because of the important work of CGPS. The Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative has informed the efforts of journalists and those of policymakers on Capitol Hill, who are now actively talking about and proposing policies that consider racial wealth disparities.
CGPS is regularly consulted to provide the racial wealth gap perspective for discussions focused on developing financial products, policy proposals, and research. As a result of our work, CGPS is regarded as a leader in the field and as a resource for information and data on the racial wealth gap, retirement security, savings, lending, and tax policy.
We are committed to ensuring that these accomplishments continue to inform conversations about the urgency of addressing structural barriers that serve to perpetuate economic and social inequities. We look forward to continuing the momentum into the 2016 fiscal year.
The following are selected quotations on the effectiveness of the Color of Wealth Summit:
“I would recommend this conference to others for years to come. It was valuable for people at multiple levels, not just the decision makers, but people on the ground doing the work. It was inspiring and informative. This conference must be duplicated exponentially to touch more organizations.”
“This conference is the perfect combination of theory and practice. I was impressed by how well planned it was, the quality of speakers, and the content covered. It is also accessible for practitioners who do not work in the economic field, but who are interested in integrating the content into their work.”
“The information is educational and insightful. I believe that this is where change has to start to create a new consciousness/way of doing business.”
We also launched Twitter and Facebook accounts for the Strengthening American Voices for Economic and Retirement Security (SAVERS) Initiative. These accounts have attracted followers from organizations active in the economic security field as well as reporters who cover these issues.
CGPS uses a skillful mix of print and online publications, social media, and speaking appearances to communicate with policymakers, advocates, opinion leaders, the media and the public, and, thus, to create momentum about priority issues.
CGPS President and CEO, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, enhanced our effectiveness through speaking appearances and numerous articles on priority issues. For example, Dr. Rockeymoore penned an opinion piece that was published in the New York Times’ Room for Debate on the importance of Medicare and Medicaid; an opinion piece in the Huffington Post about the South Carolina church shooting; and an article on Forbes.com about the precarious economic situation of black women. This last piece resulted in an interview on NewsOne Now with Roland Martin. Dr. Rockeymoore appeared on the same show on another occasion to discuss the Department of Justice report law enforcement and civil rights in Ferguson, Missouri. She was also quoted on CNBC.com and in the Washington Post in stories about investment and Social Security.
An article in BlackBuzzWorthy.com about Robert Smith, whom Dr. Rockeymoore interviewed at the 2015 Color of Wealth Summit, drove the number of views of that interview on the CGPS YouTube channel to 58,000, up from an initial 2,000 after the Summit.
The following are selections from Dr. Rockeymoore's speaking engagements:
“Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act at 50, Social Security at 80: What’s the Outlook?”
Panelist, Congressional Taskforce on Seniors Breakout Session, Democratic Caucus Issues Summit, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 29, 2015.
“Social Equity and the Role of Parks.”
Opening Plenary Panelist, The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince Georges County, Maryland, January 9, 2015.
“Creating a Culture of Health.”
Keynote Address, 9th Annual Southern Obesity Summit, Jackson, Mississippi, November 16, 2015.
“Tax Fairness and the Racial Wealth Gap.”
Panelist, RESULTS 2015 International Conference, Washington, D.C., July 20, 2015.
“Vision Equity: Equitable Approaches to Multi-Modal Transportation Policy Design and Practice.”
Keynote Address, 2015 National Bike Summit, Washington, D.C., March 10, 2015.
In 2015, we had the honor of partnering with the following organizations:
Change in Net Assets
Net Assets - Beginning of Year
Net Assets - End of Year
DR. CARROLL L. ESTES,
MR. ROBERT “BOB”
MR. JAMES “JIM” CARR
DR. VIVIANA ABREU HERNANDEZ, PH.D., SECRETARY
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN FRANCISCO SCHOOL OF NURSING
FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT
INSTITUTE FOR AMERICA’S FUTURE
CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA’S FUTURE
COLEMAN A. YOUNG ENDOWED CHAIR AND PROFESSOR OF RESEARCH
WAYNE STATE DEPARTMENT OF URBAN STUDIES AND PLANNING
DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS CHAIR AND PROFESSOR OF RESEARCH
1199 SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION
MR. ANDRICUS HUTCHERSON, TREASURER
DR. KILOLO KIJAKAZI,
DR. MAYA ROCKEYMOORE,
GRADUATE STUDENT OF SOCIAL WORK
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN FRANCISCO SCHOOL OF NURSING
CENTER FOR GLOBAL POLICY SOLUTIONS
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