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Winter 2018 Newsletter | The Joyce Foundation

The Joyce Foundation Celebrates 70 Years of Grant Making

The Joyce Foundation observes our 70th year in 2018. As we honor this milestone, we are deepening our commitment to the mission and goals that have long inspired our work. Take a look at what we hope to achieve in our 2018-2020 grant making portfolio.

New Staff Members Join the Joyce Foundation

We are pleased to welcome Carrie L. Davis and Soledad A. McGrath to the Joyce Foundation program team, and announce the promotion of Jason Quiara. Click here to learn more about them and the knowledge, experience, and leadership they bring to Joyce.

Winners of the 2018 Joyce Awards

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Joyce Awards: Links Hall & Onye Ozuzu, the Charles H. Wright Museum & jessica Care moore, the Ordway Center for the Perfmorning Arts & Rosy Simas, and the Cedar Cultural Center & Aar Maanta. Over the years, Joyce Awardees have continued to amaze us with their capacity for storytelling and for listening, their artistic virtuosity, and their commitment to community building. We look forward to seeing these works come to life. Learn more about them and their projects here.

Progress and Promise: Chicago's Nation-Leading Educational Gains

In early November, the Joyce and Spencer Foundations convened a group of Chicago’s civic and educational leaders to discuss research reflecting on the root causes of improvement in Chicago Public Schools. For reports and slides presented at the forum, click here.

Approved Grants from December 2017 Board Meeting

Joyce awarded $13 million in new grants at our year-end meeting, closing out our 2015-2017 grant making cycle. Grant including several previewing the foundation’s new focus on policies supporting young people in the Great Lakes region, and on racial equity and economic mobility.

Free Spirit Pro Creates Videos to Commemorate 15th Anniversary of the Joyce Awards

This year marks another milestone for the Joyce Foundation – it is the 15th Anniversary of our Joyce Awards program! We extend a special thank you to the amazing Free Spirit PRO team for their vision and enthusiasm in the creation of videos to commemorate the awards. Free Spirit's young artists traveled across our Great Lakes cities to meet with artists and organizations. They fully captured the aim of the awards and our hopes for it as a vehicle for heightening the awareness of cultural production by deserving world-class artists and arts organizations.

THREE QUESTIONS w/ Carrie L. Davis, Program Director, Democracy

Carrie, welcome to the Joyce team! Do you come to the position with a sense of what you want to accomplish as leader of the Democracy Program?

I’ve been working on fair elections issues for many years and, as you might imagine, I have a long wish list. I’m excited that it aligns perfectly with Joyce’s new strategy for the Democracy Program.

So much of voting rights comes down to access. How easy (or hard) is it for people to register to vote and stay registered? Advancements in automatic and online registration can make a big difference in expanding access, but we also need to push back against insidious efforts to remove lawful voters. Likewise, a variety of practices large and small can impact how easy (or hard) it is for voters to cast a ballot – such as expanded availability of early voting, efforts to reduce long lines, ease of voter check-in at the polls, and removing barriers caused by burdensome voter ID requirements.

We also need to make sure those votes are meaningful, which means we need to put an end to gerrymandering. This is an incredibly exciting year to work on redistricting reform, as the tides of public opinion and the law are shifting. The Great Lakes region is playing a lead role on the front lines of this fight for #fairmaps, and I am eager to make sure our states have the tools to make that reform a reality.

Closely tied to these issues is the Census, which impacts what I like to think of as the 3-Rs: redistricting, representation, and resources. We need a full and accurate Census to protect our region from losing out on those 3-Rs.

New to the Democracy Program is the addition of media, which I envision as strengthening independent journalism in our region that offers in-depth coverage of pressing policy issues and reflects the diverse views of our communities.

You’ve arrived at Joyce during a critical time in our nation’s history. How do you reflect on that?

What strikes me as unique about this moment in America’s journey is that the public sat up and took notice that our democracy needs to be protected. People are literally marching in the streets to demand that government does better. Organizations that train people to run for office have been deluged by first-time candidates, especially people of color and women, many of whom never before considered running for office but feel an urgency to have a voice in government. We’ve seen a new surge in volunteerism and donations to organizations and causes that work for a stronger democracy.

All of this gives me immense hope that we can work for a stronger democracy and accomplish many of the reforms I alluded to above.

Who inspired you to pursue a career in democracy issues?

Oh, gosh, several people come to mind – from the high school vice principal who encouraged me to write about injustice, to the policy director who took me under her wing at my first internship in Washington, DC. The person who had the biggest influence on me pursuing democracy issues was my college faculty advisor, Kim Tunnicliff. He was the director of an interdisciplinary public policy and public service program that encouraged students to examine policy through a variety of perspectives, to listen to different views, and look for solutions that satisfied more than just one side. He had a remarkable talent to encourage students whose views spanned the political spectrum, from me interning at the Feminist Majority to my classmate at the Heritage Foundation. Kim believed that differing views could come together in the public interest. That stuck with me and is an underpinning of my passion for a democracy that represents all of us.