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Noyes News, November 2005

Our Grantees

Congratulations:

Sustainable South Bronx's executive director, Majora Carter, was selected as a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow. She received the $500,000 prize for her work in addressing the disproportionate environmental and public health burdens experienced by residents of the South Bronx. The MacArthur Foundation called her a "relentless and charismatic urban strategist." Majora has a history of recognition. In 2001, she was named one of the 50 New Yorkers to Watch by the Daily News.

Carter began working as an environmentalist in the mid-'90s, when a company proposed putting a municipal waste transfer station along the Bronx River. With the Bronx already handling 40 percent of New York City's commercial waste, she felt the community had to take a stand against this excessive burden and worked in partnership with local government, businesses and neighborhood organizations to successfully divert the plan. Today, Majora Carter continues to transform the quality of life in the South Bronx by educating residents about environmental injustices and sustainable development solutions to build momentum for change.


Nelson Carrasquillo, the general coordinator of Comité de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas (CATA), was named a 2005 Alston/Bannerman Fellowship award winner for his work over the last 35 years to give those affected by injustice the capacity to make change. CATA works in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the Delmarva Peninsula using popular education methods to develop proactive farmworker leadership in workplaces and communities addressing issues, including environmental justice and immigrant rights. CATA was instrumental in organizing the Kaolin Workers Union, the first group of Pennsylvania mushroom workers to secure a collective bargaining agreement.


Time Magazine named Antonio Gonzalez, president of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP), as one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in America. SVREP was one of three partners in the Campaign for Communities, which received a $75,000 Noyes Foundation Opportunity Fund grant in 2004 for voter registration and mobilization efforts. For more, go to: www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1093623,00.html


Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD, former grantee), was recognized by Amazon.com as one of ten U.S. organizations offering "unique approaches and breakthrough solutions that most effectively improve their communities or the world at large." ASD was chosen because of its work in building "self-reliant, ecologically sustainable communities in Central Appalachia by providing training and market access for farmers and other limited-resource entrepreneurs, and by linking them to consumers."


Grantee Stories

Tierra Madre, a sustainable housing development project in the desert outside of El Paso, Texas, received its first of five Noyes grants in 1998. It is now celebrating its tenth anniversary.

Tierra Madre is a 19.68 acre community based in Sunland Park, N.M. Tierra Madre Land Trust offers energy efficient affordable straw-bale houses to low/moderate income families. The idea behind the project is the preservation of the environment, utilization of a natural energy source (the sun) and the recycling of water and household debris. All exterior walls are built of compacted straw bales … This method provides a high thermal resistance value, which prevents heat transfer and loss. The 1536 sq. ft. homes consist of four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living area and kitchen. The end product is a thermo-mass house with guaranteed low utility costs. Sweat-equity teamwork … ensures the homebuilder (family) the opportunity to own an affordable home. Today, 26 houses with more than 100 people are living in Tierra Madre. Six more houses are in the construction process.


The SPIN Project, a resource for nonprofit social change organizations wanting to increase their communications skills, recently completed an article on Communications Capacity Building Throughout the Organizational Lifecycle, illustrating a developmental, incremental approach to communications capacity building. It uses SPIN Project clients as case studies and can be downloaded as a PDF document.

Coal River Mountain Watch (CRMW), Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC) and Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC) were among the organizations in Appalachia rallying with activists from across the country during Mountain Justice Summer (MJS) to call for an end to mountaintop removal mining (MTR), a destructive technique that is devastating the southern Appalachians. MJS participants reached out to area residents, helping swell the memberships of local organizations; participated in rallies, including a 500-person gathering organized by CRMW and OVEC at the West Virginia statehouse calling on the governor to end MTR; and protested in solidarity with residents against coal corporations' excesses, including a march with KFTC in Pike County, KY, to the headquarters of TECO Coal demanding that the corporation stop destroying homes, communities and the environment, and "operate their businesses as they claim to do in their corporate public relations."

Also supporting MJS was Christians for the Mountains (CFM), a new organization whose mission is "to summon faithful Christians to act responsibly to God's creation." Its focus is the southern and central Appalachian Mountain region, and it derives its stance from an array of scriptures, including Psalm 24: "The Earth is the Lord's, and everything in it; the world, and all that lives upon it." The group includes Catholics and Protestants, and several founding members are active in secular groups working to stop MTR. It will hold a Go Tell It On the Mountain conference in November in Charleston, WV. More information can be found at www.christiansforthemountains.org.


On October 7, the Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) won a major victory in a long, hard-fought battle to eliminate candy as a source of lead poisoning for California's children. Despite pressure from the National Confectioners Association urging a veto, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill entitled Adulterated Candies: Preventing Lead Poisoning. The law will require the California Department of Health Services to regulate lead in chili, tamarind and other ingredients in candy suspected of containing lead. It would require the department to test candy, issue related health advisories and order local health officials to remove contaminated candy from store shelves. It is the first law of its kind in the nation and will go into effect January 1, 2006. In the meantime, EHC's web site, www.environmentalhealth.org/LeadinCandyTableOct04.htm, warns parents about candies with high lead content which are still readily available, despite pleas to government authorities.


A September New York Times article described efforts by John Mackey, the CEO of organic foods retailer Whole Foods, to set in-store product standards for compassionate care of animals in agriculture. The move followed discussions with The Cornucopia Institute,which has been pushing for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) enforcement of rules requiring the pasturing of dairy cows. Loopholes in the federal organic law are being exploited by factory farms and their large corporate partners. The giant farms, with herds numbering up to 6000, are confining their milk cows to small drylots or buildings and feeding them concentrated rations instead of pasture. The management strategy allows them to squeeze more milk from the animals while milking them three times a day. It's also a huge cost-cutting approach that threatens to run the nation's family-scale organic dairy operators out of business. These smaller farmers, who built the coveted reputation of the organic label, have been dutifully following organic production rules and are now being placed at a competitive disadvantage.

A November Times article cited the Institute's work as an advocate for organic integrity and family farmers. The Institute has filed formal complaints with the USDA against the confinement practices on the organic factory farms and is prodding the National Organic Standards Board to pass guidelines closing the pasture loopholes.


This summer Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice (ACRJ) began meeting to examine chemical ingredients used in cosmetics. One of ACRJ's partner groups convened a safe cosmetics summit, bringing together a group of like-minded people, including policy-makers and cosmetic company representatives, interested in making safer products.
When the teens began to empty their bags of lipsticks, Chapstick, sun block, scented lotions, eye makeup and deodorant, they were shocked to learn about the toxic ingredients in these products and became determined to change their ways. A bill introduced in the California Senate would require cosmetic companies to disclose any hazardous ingredients used in cosmetic products sold in that state. This bill does not ban any ingredients or require labeling, but it has faced intense opposition from the $35 billion cosmetic industry. The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association spent $550,000 in 2004 successfully lobbying against legislation that would have banned a group of chemical compounds call phthalates, found in nail polish, moisturizer, hairspray and other products. There are 83,000 licensed manicurists in California, and 80 percent are of Vietnamese descent, mostly young immigrant women of childbearing age.

The National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) released its latest report Abortion Funding: A Matter of Justice this past spring. NNAF is a growing association of 106 community-based funds in 42 states and the District of Columbia that help women pay for abortions. NNAF is one of the few national reproductive rights advocacy groups linking the issue of access to abortion to a lack of financial resources. According to NNAF, a significant number of late-term abortions are directly connected to a lack of funds.
Breast Cancer Action (BCA) continued its strategy of shareholder activism through its Follow the Money – An Alliance for Accountability in Breast Cancer. The Alliance, in close collaboration with three socially responsible investment firms – Domini Social Investments (one of the Noyes Foundation's investment managers), Trillium Asset Management and Walden Asset Management – successfully placed a resolution before Avon's shareholders at last year's annual meeting calling for the company to study the feasibility of removing parabens, which may elevate breast cancer risk, from its products. A second resolution addressing the use of dibutyl phthalates was withdrawn prior to the meeting when Avon agreed to remove several phthalates from its products. BCA reinforced its shareholder activism with grassroots organizing and a media campaign designed to raise public awareness of the conflicts inherent in Avon's high profile breast cancer campaign and BCA's efforts to make the company more responsive to the demands of breast cancer activists.

New Jersey Work Environment Council won a major victory when a proposal reached between the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and industry groups was scrapped. Had this proposal succeeded, it would have allowed corporations to devise their own anti-terror and security plans. The DEP commissioner now says he will hold public hearings on chemical security and has announced guidelines to allow workers and union representatives greater say in inspecting the sites. About 100 chemical and nuclear plants, oil refineries and food and water processing plants governed by the Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act will be subject to developed rules.


Hunger Action Network of New York State hosted a meeting in New York City on the subject of "food justice," addressing issues of economic empowerment through the creation of more regionalized food systems. The New York Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NYSAWG) co-sponsored the event. The meeting was part of a series of gatherings held throughout the state to develop a common understanding among food activists and service providers of some of the diverse issues that impact community food security, including the gap between what farmers in the state produce and what people in New York City eat. Not surprisingly, New York farmers produce only a tiny fraction of what is consumed in the Big Apple. This gap, according to NYSAWG, represents an enormous economic opportunity: selling just ten percent more locally produced fresh food would generate 2,621 new agricultural jobs, while selling ten percent more locally produced processed food would generate 4,591 manufacturing jobs, adding a total of $6.8 billion in new annual income. For a copy of the group's Community Food Security Agenda for New York go to www.hungeractionnys.org.


To provide a cleaner environment for the residents of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, UPROSE has purchased four 20-passenger hybrid electric shuttle buses. The purchase of the Citibuses was made with funding from New York Power Authority (NYPA). UPROSE will distribute the buses to the Al Noor School, Chinese-American Planning Council and Sunset Park Senior Center. "Not only have these organizations been involved with the NYPA project from the beginning, but they also represent constituencies that range in age and ethnicity to reflect the diversity of Sunset Park," stated Elizabeth Yeampierre, UPROSE's executive director. "Through projects like the purchase of hybrid shuttle buses, UPROSE hopes to raise the awareness of pollution reduction efforts."


The Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development and its Initiative for Neighborhood and Community Organizing, which includes Make the Road by Walking and Mothers on the Move, won support from the City Council and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) for a new program aimed at ensuring repairs for neglected buildings. This new program is an important step forward in the city's enforcement of housing code laws, making code enforcement more strategic, proactive, and effective by drawing on local community groups to identify buildings most in need of repair and requiring the HPD to perform roof-to-cellar inspections in those buildings and, whenever landlords have failed to make repairs, guaranteeing that the City will bring court actions against them.


Noyes Foundation's Response to Gulf Region Hurricanes

Eight grants, totaling $75,000, were made for relief and recovery efforts in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

 

• Farmworker Association of Florida $8,000
• Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama $2,000
• Federation of Southern Cooperatives $15,000
• Louisiana Bucket Brigade $5,000
• Louisiana Environmental Action Network $15,000
• National Network of Abortion Funds $5,000
• Southern Echo $10,000
• Southern Mutual Help Center $15,000

The Foundation will be looking for opportunities in 2006 to provide assistance to grantees in the region working to actively involve residents in the planning and implementation process for rebuilding their communities.

Noyes In Action

 

Stewardship Principles for Family Foundations
Already on the Council's web site for best practices for family foundations, the Noyes Foundation will now be included in a new book, Built on Principle, which will expand on the Council's stewardship principles. The Noyes Foundation will be profiled for its work on mission-related investing and diversity.

At the Council's 2006 Family Foundation Conference, the Noyes Foundation will present a session entitled, There's More to It Than Compliance: How to Have an Effective Board. The session will focus on the foundation governance project, sponsored by the Center for Effective Philanthropy. The Noyes Foundation board was one of 53 foundations participating in this project.


Kolu Zigbi, a Noyes program officer, moderated the workshop, Sovereignty in a Globalized World: Where Food, Farmers and Funders Fit, at the 2005 Environmental Grantmakers Association conference. The workshop, co-sponsored by the Sustainable Agriculture Food System Funders group and the Funders Network on Trade and Globalization, focused on how small farmers across the globe are engaged in a "food sovereignty" campaign in which the food system is viewed through a human rights lens, where basic human rights include the right to food and governments are able to enact national policies that promote the ability of local farmers to feed their communities unconstrained by "free trade" laws. To learn more about the Campaign for Food Sovereignty, check out the following web sites: www.peoplesfoodsovereignty.org and www.viacampesina.org.

At the EGA conference, Vic De Luca, Noyes' president, participated in a luncheon discussion on foundation responses to Hurricane Katrina. He said "Hurricane Katrina has made the entire country focus on social justice, on the consequences of poverty and racism in our cities and rural communities. The challenge to us in the funding world is to look at our own grantmaking, using the same lens through which we viewed Katrina to assess how and where we make our grants. We need to address social justice issues each day and not just when responding to a natural or man-made disaster."


National Network of Grantmakers (NNG)
As a member of the People of Color Caucus (POCC) steering committee, Kolu Zigbi helped plan the workshop, Working Across the Lines, to explore ways to support racial justice through grantmaking. Led by Rinku Sen, communications director of Applied Research Center (ARC), the workshop gave funders the opportunity to review a racial justice grantmaking tool which ARC is beginning to field test. This important tool will be further refined, based on input given during the workshop, which defined justice, outlined a process for assessing the racial justice component of a grantmaking portfolio and explored challenges around establishing explicit programs to support racial justice work.


Bay Area Funders
Several Bay Area-based reproductive rights funders gathered this summer to discuss the latest trends in both philanthropy and the reproductive rights movement. Noyes program officer Wilma Montañez attended, as did representatives from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, Women's Foundation of California, and the David and Lucile Packard, Mary Wohlford, and Compton foundations.


The Noyes Foundation was well represented at the National Summit on Diversity in the Environmental Field, held at the University of Michigan at the end of August. Noyes Foundation Board member Dorceta Taylor, in her role as professor at the University and as program director of the Minority Environmental Leadership Development Initiative, was the organizer of the conference. She did a great job attracting a wide range of presenters for the more than 225 conference participants. Vic De Luca, Noyes' president, was on a panel entitled Diversity in Environmental Grantmaking Foundations. Noyes Board member Leslie Lowe moderated a panel called Understanding the Pipeline, which dealt with how students get positions in the environmental field. Lastly, Noyes Board member Betty Hung moderated a panel, Mid-Career Leadership Development, Minority Professional Associations, Networking, and Diversity.


Vic De Luca also spoke at:
• Public Welfare Foundation on socially responsible investing by foundations
• Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on diversifying a board of directors
• New York Regional Association of Grantmakers on foundation responses to Hurricane Katrina.


Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders(SAFSF), co-chaired by Kolu, chose its new fiscal sponsor: Community Partners, a southern California nonprofit incubator and support organization.

Recently, SAFSF began discussions on farm labor issues through the conference call briefing series, Passing the Field Test: the Role of Farmworkers in Building Community Health and a Sustainable Food System.

 

Related News

Unlikely Places for Information on Threats to Reproductive Freedom
The potential of a high gloss magazine to become an instrument for advocacy was evident with an article in the August issue of Self magazine:

Birth control lockdown: laws that let pharmacists deny you the pill. Tax dollars used to pay for anti-condom TV ads. Emergency contraception held hostage by politics. Why, in 2005, is our access to birth control being threatened?

This provocative article on the current status of reproductive rights for women was sandwiched between an ad for "Lady-Like Coats" and articles entitled, I Love to Flirt and Cheating Taught Me About Love. With no mention of any pro-choice advocacy groups, this piece provided accurate, in-depth information on how the current administration is creating barriers, insurmountable in some cases, for women concerning access to birth control, including emergency contraception. Another header stated:

FACT: Since 2002, the Bush administration has withheld all support for the U.N. Population Fund, which helps women overseas prevent unplanned pregnancy and HIV/AIDS.

States with the best and worst birth control laws were mentioned along with details about one of the groups behind much of the restrictions – Pharmacists for Life International. Although it is temptin to wish that the names of the advocacy groups that work to protect women's reproductive rights had received some recognition, nonetheless, this article will hopefully spur women into activism.


Northeast Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education Program has decided to make farm labor part of its request for proposals. In addition, beginning in 2006, the Northeast SARE program will initiate a new grant program aimed at reconnecting rural revitalization and development efforts with farming and agriculture organizations, addressing issues like land use, job creation, public policy and environmental quality. For more information go to: www.uvm.edu/~nesare/grants.html.


You Say Star Wars and I Say Store Wars
Following the success of The Meatrix, a web-based video produced by GRACE, which reveals the truth of confined animal feeding operations while parodying the movie The Matrix (highlighted on the Noyes Foundation's web site), a new web-based video has been released by the Organic Trade Association and Free Range Studios, called Store Wars. Store Wars educates consumers about pesticide contamination, irradiation and genetic engineering by spoofing the movie Star Wars. Check it out at www.storewars.org/flash/index.html.

Philanthropic News and Trends

From the Foundation Center, 2005 Foundation Giving Trends:

Foundation funding declined for a second consecutive year in 2003, as foundations continued to adjust to asset losses from the downturn in the economy and stock market. Among the more than 1,000 larger private and community foundations included in the Foundation Center's annual grants sample, giving fell 10.1 percent between 2002 and 2003 to $14.3 billion, while the number of grants awarded decreased by 5.5 percent, from 127,728 to 120,721. The median grant amount remained unchanged at $25,000, but the average grant size dropped from $124,678 to $118,649.

2005 Foundation Yearbook:

Overall, foundation giving grew an estimated 6.9 percent to $32.4 billion in 2004, up from $30.3 billion in 2003. Foundation assets increased 9.5 percent in 2003, ending two consecutive years of decline. Nonetheless, assets remained below the peak levels reached in 2000.

There were a total of 66,398 foundations in 2003 with nearly $477 trillion in assets. Two percent of foundations held seven out of ten asset dollars. The Noyes Foundation was in the top 5.4 percent. Over two-thirds of foundations, 45,685 or 69 percent, gave under $100,000 in 2003.