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Spring 2018 Newsletter | The Joyce Foundation


The Joyce Foundation Awards $14.2 Million in Grants

Joyce awarded $14.2 million in spring grants to reduce gun violence, broaden educational and economic opportunity, achieve cleaner air and water, strengthen democracy, and support artists of color and community arts programs in the Great Lakes.

Ellen Alberding Addresses the City Club of Chicago

President Ellen Alberding addressed the City Club of Chicago in February, highlighting Joyce's new grantmaking strategy regarding emerging economic and demographic trends in the Great Lakes region and the fragile state of our current democracy.

"The Artist As Problem Solver": 2018 Joyce Awards Convenings in the Great Lakes

As part of Joyce Culture Director Tracie D. Hall's annual series of convenings in the Great Lakes region, she hosted meetings in February and March in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Minneapolis/St. Paul focusing on the topic of "The Artist As Problem Solver." She also spotlighted the Joyce Awards, a competitive program now in its 15th year, that funds the commissioning of artists of color whose work and public engagement merit greater awareness.

The Latest Blogs and Reports By Grantees and Program Officers

It's a busy 2018! Stay on track by checking out research reports and blog posts from our grantees and program officers on topics such as clean water, the 2020 Census, March for Our Lives, higher education, and more.

Full Funding of the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS)

In an omnibus budget bill approved by Congress in late March, the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) can now reach all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more about the vitality of NVDRS here.

Beth Swanson Moderates A Panel on Chicago's Educational Gains

In early April, Beth Swanson, Vice President of Strategy & Programs, joined thought leaders from the Education Trust, Chicago Public Schools, the University of Chicago, the Chicago Fund for Education, and the Center for American Progress for a half-day symposium discussing Chicago's educational gains. Click here to explore resources on the educational progress being made in Chicago.

THREE Questions w/ Sameer Gadkaree, Senior Program Officer, Education & Economic Mobility

There seems to be increasing debate on the value of a college degree. What would you say to those questioning whether a degree is worth the investment? 

The data I see show that some college education after high school is a prerequisite to having a stable job and good wages, and the more education you have, the more you make, on average. The problem is that, as a society, we’ve been putting more and more of the burden of paying for college on individual students. Think of K-12 public schools: we subsidize that education completely and provide it for free. But on the college side, we’ve moved further and further away from giving money to colleges and universities – instead, we ask them to get the money they need to operate through tuition, and that increases the cost students have to pay. Worst of all, a lot of students are paying for college with loans that they have a tough time repaying. Recent estimates suggest as many as 40% of all student borrowers and 70% of black student borrowers will eventually default on their loans

So the upshot is: it’s important to get a college education. But it’s important to make sure the likely earnings from the major and college a student chooses don’t create debt that can’t be repaid.
What are the most interesting trends in higher education that you’re seeing, and how are they influencing your work? 

One thing that’s exciting in higher education policy is seeing more engagement from civil rights groups and groups that work for racial equity. Just in the last several weeks, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights weighed in with principles for Higher Education Act reauthorization, UnidosUS published a report on the Latino experience in higher education, and the Education Trust took a look at black student success – to name a few groups and pieces of work. And, there are others doing great work in this area as well. 

Along with many of my colleagues in philanthropy, I think it’s important to ensure that the policies set at the state and federal level meaningfully close the gaps between rich and poor students, between black or Latino students, and white or Asian students. That’s only going to happen if equity-focused groups help identify and support the policies that would close those gaps. 
What makes you most hopeful or inspired in tackling the challenges of higher education? 

There are amazing, wonderful people working in higher education, in setting policy, in teaching students, in running programs – and I get to meet them all the time as part of my work. And I often think about the students I’ve met – whether at the GED graduation ceremonies I attended when I was running adult education at the City Colleges of Chicago – or the ones I meet outside of my work – who have so much potential if we just make sure systems and policies don’t hold them back.