Sector Articles / Reports / Resources

In regions throughout the US, foundations and philanthropic groups convene panels, conduct webinars and interviews, create press releases, and develop various multi-media products to showcase the impact of philanthropic investment in Black communities. In this section, ABFE has compiled a growing list of these products to document the evolution of Black male initiatives in philanthropy and to highlight data of particular interest to members and colleagues throughout its networks.
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A "good life" for every student: High schools embrace many pathways to success

January 1, 2024

The Covid-19 pandemic and recovery period is a unique opportunity to understand contemporary issues in high school reform. Evidence has clearly demonstrated lingering Covid impacts on adolescent students that have deepened pre-existing inequities and worsened teen mental health. There's a natural desire to regain normalcy after the pandemic. But it's essential, and urgent, that we examine why that "normalcy" failed in the past to support every student's needs. We must identify effective, even new, ways to level the playing field for today's students, and for future generations. Research has shown that many high school educators and administrators experimented with new approaches during the pandemic. Can the lessons learned in this period contribute to more lasting, transformative shifts?This report begins to answer that question. Beginning in 2022, Arizona State University's Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) and Columbia University's Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL)—with support from the Barr Foundation—began studying innovations in six public high schools in New England. We chose schools in a range of contexts that all had some form of redesign underway. Over 20 months, we interviewed students who had begun high school around when the pandemic struck; most of them had graduated by the end of the study in December 2023. We also interviewed students' caregivers, teachers, and administrators. We wanted to know what success meant for students and the adults in their lives, and how schools were making changes—including before the pandemic—to ensure every student had the opportunity to learn and thrive. We listened for where schools were succeeding, and what challenges they faced in the new normal of a post-pandemic landscape.

Emerging Impacts: The Effects of MacKenzie Scott’s Large, Unrestricted Gifts : Results from Year Two of a Three-Year Study

November 28, 2023

This report outlines the extent to which Mackenzie Scott's unrestricted funds have had an effect on recipients of her funding. Over three years, she gave more than $14 billion in unrestricted support to more than 1,600 organizations. An analysis of her donations are included within, inclusive of the challenges, surprises, effects and figures of how this funding affected recipients over the past 1-3 years. 

Access to Clean Energy Jobs: Expanding Opportunities

August 31, 2023

Significant growth in clean energy jobs is expected from the energy transition, especially given recent climate-centered federal policies. Meeting this job demand will require a strong, strategic, well-resourced workforce development ecosystem and a focus on creating equitable, high-road job opportunities that people of color and women can plentifully access. To better understand these needs, Barr's Climate Program commissioned an analysis from Emerald City Collaborative—with partners Browning the Green Space, nomada Consulting, and Ponder Analytics—and BW Research.Through this research, Barr seeks to provide data to inform a field-wide conversation and to engage other foundations on this topic. We hope that the resulting report helps foster constructive dialogue between clean energy and workforce leaders, and that it inspires additional philanthropy in our region. For additional supporting materials from the research project, please visit: barrfoundation.org/ceworkforcedev

Impacts of COVID-19 and work from home on regional transit ridership and individuals' travel behaviors

December 22, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered personal mobility choices. During the pandemic, there has been a major shift towards work from home (WFH) arrangements, and travel behaviors and patterns have also undergone profound changes. Effective vaccines, new anti-viral medications and general population fatigue associated with the pandemic have combined to gradually shift larger numbers of people toward more regular daily routines. It is now particularly useful to understand to what degree the behavioral shifts that occurred during the COVID-19 period will continue as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, and society gradually returns to pre-pandemic activity patterns, or adopts new patterns. We take two approaches to understand people's travel behavior changes due to the pandemic disruption: (1) we quantify the impact of remote work on public transit ridership at the national level; and (2) we examine the change of Massachusetts residents' travel attitudes and behaviors in the fall of 2021 compared to the pre-pandemic situation.

Climate resilience for health care and communities: Strategies and case studies

March 4, 2022

This report provides a strategic framework for building truly climate-resilient health systems and communities, and explores how health care institutions can leverage investments to support equitable decarbonization and build community resilience, health, and wealth. Through case studies, this paper outlines actions health systems can take to improve their ability to adapt and recover from climate-driven service impacts, strengthen long-term sustainability, and support health and equity in the communities they serve.

From Transactional to Transformative: The Case for Equity in Gateway City Transit-Oriented Development

May 1, 2020

We as a society have made choices that have led to deep inequities. Whether intentional or not, these inequities divide places, races, classes, and cultures across the Commonwealth. To bridge these divisions, policymakers, leaders, and practitioners must reframe decisions and actions with equity as an intentional outcome and part of the process. We write this paper to present a framework of how transit-oriented development (TOD) can help cities, specifically Gateway Cities, embed equity into market-based and other policy tools and practices, thereby transforming their regions through equitable growth and development.This report expands on our 2018 recommendations and lays the groundwork for a series of future policy briefs that will explore the issues covered here in more depth. We call for infusing equity into TOD policies and practices for four specific reasons:Over the past 50 years, demographic change has divided people and communities socially and economically in Gateway City metropolitan regions.Gentrification fears have surged in Gateway Cities' weak real estate markets, where increasing property values threaten to destabilize households and neighborhoods, strip cities of their cultural vibrancy, and put vulnerable residents at risk of displacement and homelessness.Local and nationwide histories of socioeconomic exclusion—particularly along racial and cultural lines—persist today. These histories have exacerbated wealth gaps and income inequality and require both acknowledgement and correction.Finally, a false policy dichotomy that supports either large "urban" or small "nonurban" communities ignores the vital role Gateway Cities play as regional hubs for surrounding towns and cities, thus deepening geographic disparities across the Commonwealth.

Voters in largest Northeast, Mid-Atlantic states are open to new policy to reduce transportation emissions

December 1, 2019

Over the course of this year, the Transportation and Climate Initiative, a collaboration between 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic state and the District of Columbia, have been designing a new policy to curb carbon pollution from transportation. Key details are yet to be decided, but in broad strokes, the program would cap the amount of pollution from transportation in the region. Over time, that cap would decrease. Fuel distributors would have to pay for the pollution their fuels produce by buying allowances. The funds generated from the sale of those allowances would be distributed to the states participating in the program to invest in cleaner and better transportation options.As these states finalize the details of the program, new polling finds broad public support for the concept. The MassINC Polling Group conducted simultaneous surveys of registered voters in the seven largest TCI states: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.This report highlights key findings from the polling. Full topline results for the region and each state are appended to this report. Crosstabular results for the region each state surveyed are available online.

Teacher Leadership in Massachusetts: Roles, Opportunities and Gaps

November 1, 2019

At the request of the Barr Foundation, and with their support, Education First researched the teacher leadership landscape in Massachusetts.The goals of this research were to: understand the breadth of existing programs and opportunities available to Massachusetts teacher leaders, identify where and how these opportunities link together to create pathways for teacher leaders, and pinpoint gaps in the current ecosystem.Process: This research was informed by a review of the national research on teacher leadership, interviews with local and national leaders, and focus groups with Massachusetts leaders.This document is a summary of that research, and includes one potential framework to think about pathways for teacher leaders. It does not represent a comprehensive view of every role and opportunity available to teacher leaders in Massachusetts, and captures only a snapshot in time. The tools in this document can be used in whatever ways are most helpful to those in the field.

Field Notes: Equity & State Climate Policy

September 5, 2019

For more than a decade, states and cities across the country have served a leadership role in advancing science-informed climate policy through city, state and multi-state efforts. The rapid pace by which state climate policy is emerging is evidenced by the number of new laws, directives and policies adopted in 2018 and the first half of 2019 alone. Currently, there is an active ongoing dialogue across the U.S. regarding the intersection of climate and equity objectives with efforts targeted at addressing needs of disadvantaged communities and consumers. This climate/equity intersection is due to several factors, including recognition by many cities and states that climate change is and will continue to have a disproportionate impact on certain populations and will exacerbate existing stressors faced by disadvantaged communities and consumers. Research indicates that a greater proportion of environmental burden exists in geographic areas with majority populations of people of color, low-income residents, and/or indigenous people. It is well known that certain households (including some that are low-income, African American, Latino, multi-family and rural) spend a larger portion on their income on home energy costs. States and stakeholders are realizing that a transition to a low-carbon future by mid-century will require significantly increased participation of disadvantaged communities and households in the benefits of climate and clean energy programs.

A View from the Canopy: Building collective knowledge on school innovation

September 1, 2019

Databases and lists that offer information about innovative schools unintentionally contribute to the problem, as a lack of standard terminology and data structures forces them into siloes. As a result, knowledge of how schools are reimagining the learning experience for students remains deeply fragmented and woefully insufficient, creating real consequences—not only for funders, researchers, and school support organizations, but ultimately for the evolution and spread of promising practices.Recognizing this challenge, the Christensen Institute has worked with a range of partners to launch a project we're calling the Canopy: an effort to build better collective knowledge about the diverse range of schools offering learning experiences designed with students at the center. More than just another list, the Canopy reimagines both where information comes from as well as how it is structured to address some of the fractures in the current system. By casting a wide net through a crowdsourcing approach, Canopy surfaced 235 schools making strides towards student-centered learning—72% of which do not appear on other commonly referenced lists of innovative schools. Nominators and schools also used a consistent set of "tags" or common keywords to describe each school's model, meaning the dataset can be filtered, analyzed, and built out over time.This initial stage of the Canopy demonstrates how a process designed to advance collective knowledge has the potential to unveil a more diverse, complete picture of K-12 school innovation. We hope this leads to additional research efforts, and ultimately supports the development and scale of promising innovative approaches across the country.

Statewide poll: Open track for regional rail proposals

September 1, 2019

The MBTA's Commuter Rail is getting new scrutiny as part of a set of solutions to Eastern Massachusetts' three interrelated problems of transportation, housing costs, and income inequality. At the moment, the far-flung rail system functions more or less as the name suggests: carrying workers in and out of Boston during typical commuting hours. The state is currently conducting a "Rail Vision" study examining new ways of running the service, and a diverse set of proposals have made the rounds of political and policy leadership and advocacy groups.This new survey shows that, if policymakers are serious about remaking commuter rail as part of the solution for those challenges, residents would be willing to get on board. One idea is to remake commuter rail a "regional rail" network, with more frequent and robust service less oriented towards commuting in and out of Boston. Such a network would encourage riders to take the train to more places, at more times, and for more reasons. It could also spur the creation of jobs and economic development beyond Boston, including long-term efforts to revitalize the state's Gateway Cities.

Killer Heat in the United States: Climate Choices and the Future of Dangerously Hot Days

July 2, 2019

This UCS analysis provides a detailed view of how extreme heat events caused by dangerous combinations of temperature and humidity are likely to become more frequent and widespread in the United States over this century. It also describes the implications for everyday life in different regions of the country.We have analyzed where and how often in the contiguous United States the heat index—also known as the National Weather Service (NWS) "feels like" temperature—is expected to top 90°F, 100°F, or 105°F during future warm seasons (April through October). While there is no one standard definition of "extreme heat," in this report we refer to any individual days with conditions that exceed these thresholds as extreme heat days. We also analyzed the spread and frequency of heat conditions so extreme that the NWS formula cannot accurately calculate a corresponding heat index. The "feels like" temperatures in these cases are literally off the charts.We have conducted this analysis for three global climate scenarios associated with different levels of global heattrapping emissions and future warming. These scenarios reflect different levels of action to reduce global emissions, from effectively no action to rapid action. Even the scenario of rapid action to reduce emissions does not spare our communities a future of substantially increased extreme heat. For the greatest odds of securing a safe climate future for ourselves and the ecosystems we all depend on, we would need to take even more aggressive action, in the US and globally, than outlined in any of the scenarios used here. Our challenge is great, but the threat of not meeting it is far greater.

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