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Spring 2017 Newsletter | The Joyce Foundation


Approved Grants from April 2017 Board Meeting

The Joyce Foundation awarded nearly $10 million in grants to support organizations in the Great Lakes region, whose work advances research and advocacy on workforce development, clean energy, gun violence prevention efforts, and more.

Ellen Alberding Addresses City Club of Chicago

Ellen Alberding, President of the Joyce Foundation, spoke to the City Club of Chicago in March about new research by the Urban Institute and provide insights on the future of the Great Lakes region. To view her City Club remarks, click here.

"Every Other Hour" Debuts from WBEZ

"Every Other Hour" is a new gun violence reporting initiative launched by WBEZ. It is an intensive, yearlong multimedia project focusing on many dimensions of the gun violence issue in Chicago, and last week marked the rollout of five stories to begin the series. In addition to broadcast, WBEZ created a custom-designed website to capture their reporting for the project in one space. Stories will be paired with illustrations, data and other multimedia components relevant to the content. "Every Other Hour" is supported by the Joyce Foundation.

The Urban Institute Releases "The Future of the Great Lakes Region" Report

The Urban Institute and the Joyce Foundation published new research on “The Future of the Great Lakes Region." The report, which looks at Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, provides a comprehensive analysis of recent economic, demographic, and social trends in the region, coupled with projections on how those trends will play out between now and 2040. It also offers policy and philanthropic strategies that could help the region manage its challenges and put itself on a path to growth and long-term prosperity. 

Lake Area Technical Institute Wins the 2017 Aspen Prize

The Aspen Institute announced in March that Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI) in Watertown, South Dakota was the winner of the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s preeminent recognition of high achievement and improvement in America’s community colleges and benchmark for community college reform. The $1 million Aspen Prize, awarded every two years since 2011, recognizes outstanding institutions selected from an original pool of more than 1,000 public community colleges nationwide. Joyce initiated the award and remains a funder.

Gun Violence Prevention Program Launches Quarterly Research Report

Joyce's Jessyca Dudley, Program Officer for Gun Violence Prevention, launched a new quarterly research report to elevate solutions that address gun violence in our communities. To sign up for her newsletter, click here.

Joyce's Ellen Alberding and MacArthur's Julia Stasch Co-Author Crain's Editorial

The Joyce Foundation’s Ellen Alberding and MacArthur Foundation’s Julia Stasch co-authored a February piece in Crain’s Chicago Business on how the Midwest and bipartisan solutions can drive a clean energy shift.

Three Questions w/ Beth Swanson, Vice President of Strategy & Programs

As this year’s high school graduates are preparing for college, can you share how the Joyce Foundation approaches the transition from high school to college?

The Joyce Foundation thinks about our education and employment grant making as the full education continuum – from cradle to career.

We understand the inextricable link between K-12 – higher education – and career – and then work to build a corresponding, integrated grant portfolio to mirror that. And we are particularly interested on better connecting systems and smoothing the transitions along this continuum of growth and learning. The education-to-career continuum involves multiple public systems, education institutions (both public and private), community based organizations, and others. But ultimately, we’re trying to think about this work from an individual’s perspective. And an individual doesn’t focus on all that infrastructure around their development – they just want high quality education and employment opportunities. So we work with partners throughout the region to help establish clear pathways from high school to post secondary opportunities.  

One critical transition point is the transition from high school to post secondary opportunities, including college. Right now, a student’s odds of earning a family-sustaining income go up significantly if she or he has a college credential or degree.  But for low-income students, only about one in three enroll in college, and only one in ten will go on to complete. In order to get low-income students better opportunities than their parents had, we’ll need to work with them long before and after they enroll in college.

Can you elaborate on the unique role that community colleges play to helping young people prepare for the workforce?

Community colleges educate about 40 percent of undergraduates, including about half of black and Hispanic students and about 45perecent of low-income students. So if we want to increase the number of individuals who have an education that leads them to a family sustaining wage, then community colleges are a crucial part of the solution. A great example of this is the College to Career programs launched by The City Colleges of Chicago (CCC). Over 100 businesses and organizations are involved in the program, helping to create curriculum, offer internships and work experience, and help CCC students gain the skills and knowledge they need to obtain jobs and succeed in high-growth industries. Since the launch of this initiative, graduation rates have more than doubled, nearly half of all graduates pursue a four year degree, and over 60 percent of certificate or degree holders are employed in their area of study.

How can we support community college presidents, who obviously have a big responsibility on their shoulders?

We are supporting the Aspen Presidential Fellows program, to help the next generation of college leaders get ready for a college presidency.  This work grew out of the Aspen Prize for community college excellence, which we helped launch in 2011. The Prize recognizes community colleges for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students. This year’s winner was Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, South Dakota. But the prize process not only celebrates high achieving institutions, it identifies transformational leaders. Decades of research and reform efforts in K-12 and higher education have yielded one area of near-universal agreement:  exceptional educational institutions have excellent leaders.  And the Fellowship intends to put research and knowledge into action by supporting the development of exceptional leaders for community colleges across the nation.