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Noyes News, July 2009

Grantees Noyes In Action Related News

Congratulations

 

Adisa Douglas, former Population and Reproductive Health Program Officer at the Public Welfare Foundation, received the "A Thousand and One Champions" award from the Asian and Pacific Islanders Coalition on HIV/AIDS. For those who have worked with Adisa as a grantee or colleague this is great news. Adisa's 16-year tenure at Public Welfare was filled with many examples of her heartfelt interest and work on reproductive justice, domestically and internationally. She is the author of Harm Reduction: A Critical Strategy in AIDS Prevention, a widely used resource on needle exchange, published by the foundation in 1999 and 2006 (revised edition). Currently, she serves as a senior advisor to the Funders Network on Population, Reproductive Health and Rights.


Marisol Becerra - a Motivated Leader

 

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization's Marisol Becarra was featured in the Sierra Club Magazineas an inspiring young leader – part of the millennial generation that is beginning to step out and step up. Marisol is fighting against environmental racism in her Little Village community, which is surrounded by industry and plagued by two coal-fired plants located in the Lower West Side of Chicago.

 

 

Earlier this summer, members of LVEJO, with Climate Justice Chicago and local Aldermen, visited communities in West Virginia battling mountaintop removal coal mining, including the Kayford Mountain home of Larry Gibson, member of Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. The delegation went to learn about the destructive beginning of coal in order to strengthen its campaign against coal, and to share stories of their struggles and find ways of working together. LVEJO plans to host a delegation from West Virginia and other mountain top removal communities this fall.


Pratt Center Hires New Director

Adam Friedman was selected as the new director for the Pratt Center for Community Development. He is the founding executive director of the New York Industrial Retention Network, a nonprofit economic development organization. Previously, Adam served as executive director of the Garment Industry Development Corporation and director of economic development for Borough Presidents David Dinkins and Ruth Messinger. He has also taught urban planning courses at Pratt Institute and Columbia University.

 

At Pratt Center, Mr. Friedman will focus on promoting environmental sustainability and economic opportunity for New Yorkers. "Adam is a seasoned professional and well-regarded leader who brings to the Center a deep commitment to the well-being of New York City's poor and working class communities," said Gary Hattem, chair of the advisory board for PCCD and president of Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation.

Healthy communities need a wide variety of resources, from housing and jobs to parks and strong local organizations. I am tremendously excited by the opportunity to take a comprehensive approach in working with communities to help them develop and implement their visions. - Adam Friedman

Grantees - New in Print, and on Radio and DVD

 

Faith Aloud, formerly Missouri Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, has introduced its newest resource, Words of Comfort: Clergy Speak to Women Before Abortion. This DVD features three, four-minute segments in which Rabbi Susan Talve and the Rev. Rebecca Turner, Faith Aloud's executive director, offer spiritual comfort and support to a woman considering an abortion. Rev. Turner's segment is featured in English and Spanish. A short clip of the DVD can be found on Faith Aloud's You Tube page.

 

 

War Dance of the Winnemen Wintu

This radio documentary, part of DataCenter's Indigenous Knowledge Project, aired in early May on the National Radio Project Making Contact series, an award winning public affairs program. DataCenter intern Michael Preston, an emerging leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe of North Carolina, worked with DataCenter's Rachel Gelfand and NPR's producer Andrew Stelzer to present the story of his tribe and its struggle to prevent the flooding of the sacred land and native ecology they have called home for centuries. The Winnemem evoked the ceremonial War Dance to protect their sacred sites, burial grounds, and historical village sites from further destruction in 1887, 2004, and again in 2009.

 

 

The goal of the Indigenous Knowledge Project is to strengthen grassroots capacity among traditional and indigenous communities to strategically use research, along with culturally-based systems of knowledge, to protect the environmental, spiritual, cultural, and economic integrity of their people and lands.






Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative is broadcasting on the Internet

Thanks to volunteer radio broadcaster Mark Madrid, MFSI is broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visit MFSI's website and click on "Listen to our new streaming radio." You'll get a live, free-wheeling mix of all kinds of music, some in Mvskoke language, gardening tips, Mvskoke stories and language lessons, Native news, Oklahoma farm news and much more.


10 Chairs: How Policy Distributes Wealth in the U.S.


Need a 10-minute, easy-to-understand intro to economics as we live it, but not explained by the talking heads? Right to the City highlights an online training tool, called 10 Chairs: How Policy Distributes Wealth in the U.S., developed by Just Economics. Part One, looks at robber barons, the great depression and demand-side economic policy. Part Two looks at Reaganomics, supply-side policy and the global pool of money. Stay tuned for Part Three, which will bring things up to date. Groups or individuals can download the program or use it online to help in understanding public policy decisions and the current economic meltdown, and how they impact communities.


ROC-NY Releases Study on Race and Gender in Restaurant Industry

 

Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York released a study on occupational segregation based on race and gender in the New York City restaurant industry. The Great Service Divide: Occupational Segregation and Equality in the New York City Restaurant Industry, concludes that expensive restaurants discriminate based on race when hiring waiters. It also highlighted that while white restaurant job applicants are twice as likely to get a job offer after an interview, women earn 22% less than men.

 

The study was based on experiments in which pairs of applicants with similar résumés were sent to ask about jobs. The pairs were matched for age, gender and appearance, with the only difference being race. Thirty-seven people were hired to act as white, black, Asian-American and Latino job applicants. Applicants were sent to 181 restaurants, resulting in 138 completed tests between January 2006 and June 2007.

 

 

According to Marc Bendick Jr., the economist who conducted the study, white job applicants were more likely to receive follow-up interviews at the restaurants, job offers, and information about jobs, and their work histories were less likely to be investigated in detail. His research found discrimination 31% of the time, higher than other industries where such experiments typically found discrimination between 20 - 25% of the time.

 

Test results also highlighted that the work experience of white job applicants was less likely to be subject to scrutiny; and that accents made a difference — with white candidates. White applicants with slight European accents were 23.1% more likely to be hired than white testers with no accent. However, accents in nonwhite applicants made no difference.

 

The report, prepared in conjunction with the New York City Restaurant Industry Coalition, proposes legislation that requires restaurants to adopt uniform promotion policies and make job information available for highly paid positions.


Grantee Updates


 

Illinois Caucus on Adolescent Health and its partners in the Campaign for Reproductive Health and Access Coalition celebrated the recent Food and Drug Administration decision to allow 17 year olds to access Plan B, the emergency contraception pill, without a prescription. Previously, the cut-off was 18 years of age. The drug consists of two pills that can prevent conception if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, and is not related to RU-486, the abortion pill. The decision follows a federal court ruling that found the FDA's previous 2006 decision, which limited access to those 18 and older, was driven by politics, not science.

 

 

Also, ICAH's national partners at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. released the sixth edition of its State Profiles for Fiscal Year 2008. The profiles represent the most complete portrait ever assembled of abstinence only until marriage programs and their intersection with sexuality education programs.


No doubt, 2008 was a year of change for the country and for many activist organizations, including Legal Voice – formerly the Northwest Women's Law Center. The new name comes with a renewed commitment and vigor to fight for and protect women's rights. Legal Voice works to ensure justice for women, and concentrates its efforts on three program areas: litigation, legislation, and legal education of individuals and communities. It focuses on activities that directly contribute to lasting systemic changes in society, from lawsuits and statutes, to agency rules, self-help materials and public education.

After being reprimanded by the U.S. Supreme Court in June for allowing one of its Massey Coal Co.-bankrolled justices to refuse to recuse himself on Massey court matters, the West Virginia Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision to allow the construction of another controversial coal silo within yards of the Marsh Fork Elementary School in Sundial, WV.

 

Permit maps show the construction site is outside the company's mining boundaries, but justices unanimously held that boundary markers at private mining sites – and not the maps included in publicly available permit files – constitute the official, legal limits on mining activities.

 

Photo by Vivian Stockman

"The West Virginia Supreme Court has once again proven that coal company profits outweigh law, science, justice, and basic human decency," said Vernon Haltom of Coal River Mountain Watch. The court has given Massey Energy the go-ahead to put more tons of fine coal dust in the air that children breathe every school day during their crucial development years. Placing a second coal silo within 300 feet of the school is a clear violation of the intent of the law, which is to protect the public. Now, more than ever, Governor Joe Manchin and the Raleigh County School Board must do everything in their extensive power and influence to get these kids a safe new school in their own community."

 

The Marsh Fork Elementary School sits a few hundred yards down slope from a 2.8 billion gallon coal sludge impoundment. The school and its children are also subjected to the toxic coal dust from an existing silo within a football field of their playground.

 

Three years ago, local resident and former coal miner Ed Wiley walked 445 miles to Washington, DC, in a "Pennies of Promise" campaign to get a new school built for his granddaughter and other local kids. If the state and the school board wouldn't do anything, Wiley decided, he'd start collecting money himself to try to protect his children. Pressure continues from CRMW and its allies to convince the state to move the children to a safer school.


 

Environmental Justice Activists

Meet With White House Council on Environmental Quality

 

In May, UPROSE's executive director, Elizabeth Yeampierre, and members of the Environmental Justice Leadership Forum on Climate Change traveled to Washington, DC, to meet with environmental organizations and legislators. The meetings were an opportunity to acknowledge and express appreciation for the Obama administration's inclusive approach, as well as to introduce some of the Forum's positions on climate justice and the green economy. UPROSE, along with many other members of the EJ community, is opposed to cap and trade programs because they:

 

• Commodify carbon and create a market that is not transparent, limit accountability, and allow polluters to profit from toxic emissions;


• Do not address the issue of co-pollutants, which are emitted alongside carbon and have the most damaging human health impacts. Under cap and trade programs, some facilities are able to pollute more than others if they purchase additional carbon credits, which then means they will produce more co-pollutants. These hotspots are inevitably located in environmental justice communities, such as Sunset Park, Brooklyn;


• Allow polluters who go above their established caps to "offset" their emissions by planting trees or engaging in similar projects. There is no requirement to do these offsets locally, and therefore polluters can continue to burden their surrounding communities; and


• Do not address the issue of siting power plants in communities locally and globally.

 

"Clean coal," the group believes, is a misnomer - in fact, no coal is clean. Workers and members of communities where coal is mined suffer greatly from detrimental practices, such as mountaintop removal, and face tremendous health impacts due to contaminated drinking water and poor air quality. Instead, they support moving away from a fossil fuel-based economy and believe focusing on "clean coal" distracts from renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and hydropower.

 

The group met with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, and members of Congress.


In May, over 3,000 people gathered at John Jay High School in Park Slope for the one-day Brooklyn Food Conference. Topics included, Obesity, Diabetes and the Food Crisis for Adults, Green Economic Development Strategies, Eating Locally, and Food Stores In Underserved Communities.

 

Several Noyes grantees – Added Value, Just Food, Make the Road New York, Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, Sustainable South Bronx, UPROSE and WE ACT – participated as educators in workshops. Noyes board member, La Donna Redmond, founder and current president of the Institute for Community Resource Development in Chicago, delivered a riveting speech in the morning forum, helping to set the tone for the day. In her work, she focuses on issues related to the development of local, sustainable food systems.

 

Many of the seminars addressed the ills of our national agribusiness industry. Naturally, a conversation emerged along with all this about race, class and the grave state of nutrition the poor in New York face every day.

What came out of this conference was a sense of there being a vibrant movement out there, and people want to be a part of it. We also learned that the food movement needs to include people who are focused on health, environmental sustainability, and social justice for consumers and workers in the food system. People also got a sense that this is an international movement, not just a national movement or local movement. - Nancy Romer, Conference organizer

Make the Road New York To Launch Exciting Partnership with New York University School of Law

 

This fall, Make the Road New York and New York University School of Law will launch the Law, Organizing, and Social Change Clinic, which will be co-taught by professor Sarah E. Burns and MRNY staff. Between eight and 12 students will work at the organization for close to 20 hours each week throughout the year to support and learn from MRNY's innovative mix of policy, community organizing and legal work. Students will be introduced to the background and needs of the largely Latin American communities served by MRNY, and explore the social change model developed by MRNY to tackle those needs.

 

Teams of students will work on the following MRNY campaigns: New Immigrants' Civil Rights; Tenants' Rights; Workers' Rights; and Improving Public Education. NYU's School of Law Dean, Richard Revesz, said: "We are excited to be collaborating with Make the Road New York ... Future NYU Law students will learn from MRNY's successful model, and develop the skills they need to partner creatively and effectively with the communities they wish to serve."

 

The Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition is piloting an expanded weatherization program with funding from the federal economic stimulus plan for low-income residents to reduce their heating/cooling costs. The Obama administration will spend $5 billion to make the homes of low-income Americans more energy efficient. Weatherizing 2.5 million homes could not only stimulate the economy, but possibly also save the average working family 20% or more on annual energy consumption. It will also provide new jobs in a growing field. At the NWBCCC, Fran Fuselli, the weatherization director will be able to tackle a five-year backlog of buildings ready to be weatherized.


 
These financial trends are alarming, not only because families are losing their land and livelihood, but also because, in many parts of the country, their loss becomes feedstock for increased consolidation of land devoted to industrial production practices increasingly dependent on GMO seeds and related proprietary inputs. - Kathy Ozer, NFFC Director

Worldwide Financial Crisis Hits Farmers

Many farmers depend on operating loans to cover expenditures in the spring before revenue comes through at harvest time when their loans are repaid. For that reason, farmers have been particularly devastated by the contraction in commercial lending. The credit squeeze combined with plummeting land values, volatile commodity grain prices, and a collapsing dairy market (prices received by dairy farmers for milk are down more than 50% in the past year) have resulted in a particularly acute financial crisis for farmers that may well accelerate the loss of family farm land, and further the consolidation of agricultural lands, as well as its conversion to non-agricultural uses.

 

In response, the National Family Farm Coalition is pushing for increased credit as a stop-gap measure, fairness in pricing, and the Department of Justice and USDA to restore competition and fairness in the agricultural marketplace. NFFC asserts that the billions of dollars being paid out in bank bailout funds must translate into changes in how banks treat their farm borrowers. NFFC has recommended that any such agreement require banks to consider refinancing farm loan debt rather than resorting to foreclosure or bankruptcy. Although the banks oppose this proposal, NFFC has been lining up support from allies in the housing and community development sectors to help make the case that family farmers, like affordable housing and local economic development, are part of the prescription for economic recovery.

 

 

Fighting a Brave New World

Every day we are confronted with new technologies that promise to improve and simplify life. In most instances, consumers can readily determine the truth of those assertions and make thoughtful decisions based on available information. However, agricultural biotechnology does not afford us that luxury. Without a law requiring labeling of genetically modified foods (GMO), we don't really know what we're eating. Now, in 2009, consumers will be further confused through a massive advertising campaign touting Monsanto as a promoter of sustainable farming practices in its efforts to "feed the world." This campaign coincides with legislation pending in Congress and passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to include genetic engineering as one of the practices considered "sustainable" for agricultural research funded by U.S. taxpayers (Global Food Security Act/S.384). NFFC has joined with other organizations to urge Congress to reject this language. Instead, these groups promote the language of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, Agriculture at the Crossroads, which found diversified, low-input, small holder farms can feed the world if, and when, supported by fair prices, good infrastructure, access to credit and the like.

 

For ten years, NFFC has sponsored the Farmer to Farmer Campaign on Genetic Engineering that has led grassroots organizing efforts to push USDA to serve the interests of farmers and consumers, and not only those of agribusiness when designing regulatory programs. In 2008, a broad coalition of farm and sustainable agriculture groups helped win an amendment to the Farm Bill mandating that USDA increase management and oversight of GMO crops during field trials to ensure an elimination of, or significant reduction in, contamination of non-GMO crops, and to reinvigorate a process for comprehensive revision of its GMO regulatory system, first initiated in 2004.

 

Despite the obvious need for more stringent regulations, USDA tilts dramatically in the opposite direction. It would significantly deregulate the biotech industry by eliminating broad categories of GMO crops from the scope of regulation, allowing developers of new GMO crops to decide whether they should be regulated, and sanctioning contamination through adoption of a "low-level presence" policy.

The Farmer to Farmer Campaign on Genetic Engineering and the National Family Farm Coalition together with allies from the environmental, consumer and public interest communities have made their concerns known to the Obama administration, which asked USDA to withhold making a final decision, and to extend the comment period in order to take a closer look at the proposed rules. The comment period just ended, but efforts to influence policymakers will continue. Get involved by contacting the Farmer to Farmer Campaign on Genetic Engineering for background materials, talking points and comment letter information.


Obama Administration Allocates Up to $1.25 Billion Dollars to Pay Black Farmers Denied Government Farm Loans Due to Discrimination

In May, the Obama Administration and Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack took bold steps to settle the Pigford Class Action Lawsuit first filed by Black farmers against the USDA in 1997. The President included $1.25 billion dollars in his 2010 budget proposal for payments to qualified Pigford plaintiffs.


In June, a network of Black farm organizations and advocates, including the Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund and the Land Loss Prevention Project, issued a press release hailing the announcement while asserting that the amount committed is still inadequate:

 

While we support President Obama's commitment of funds, we remain concerned that this sum falls short of the $2.5 billion we estimate will be required to provide full relief to all meritorious Black farmers unfairly excluded from the original Pigford settlement.

 

The Federation and Land Loss Prevention Project helped win an important amendment in the 2008 Farm Bill that corrects some of the procedural problems with the Pigford consent decree and placed a 90-day moratorium on farm foreclosures for claimants. Dania Davy of the Land Loss Prevention Project, in her paper, Solving the Heir Property Puzzle, explains historic mechanisms driving Black farm loss, including the role played by public institutions. For example, in 1865 the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands was established to grant 40-acre allotments of "abandoned plantations" and "unsettled lands" to former slaves, along with a government issued mule. By the time the Bureau was abolished by President Johnson in 1872, half the 850,000 acres the Freedman's Buereau had controlled was returned to white ownership.

 

By the turn of the century, an estimated 15 million acres of farm land was owned by Black Americans. These farms tended to be located on less fertile soils as Black farmers were not allowed to purchase more desirable and profitable land. This uneven playing field was tilted further against Black producers by a racist banking and finance system. The FmHA, was created to serve as the lender of last resort for limited resource farmers. However, USDA documents indicate that white farmers were the main beneficiaries. Biased lending patterns continued under the auspices of the Farm Service Agency, with the allocation of USDA's farm loans generally determined by all-white local committees not interested in supporting the success of Black farmers.

 

The Pigford Law suit brought national attention to this inequity and documented the fact that Black farm loan applicants were routinely: denied the opportunity to submit loan applications; awarded loans amounts much lower than what they were eligible to receive; given accelerating repayment schedules that were difficult to fulfill; and subject to processing delays and approvals coming after opportunities for investment had passed. Without loans, many farmers faced foreclosure and lost their farms. These and other practices fueled a wealth gap between Black and white farmers that persists to this day.

This (settlement) can lead to closure in the long sad history of discrimination by the USDA against Black farmers. The announcement follows the policy directives by the Secretary that provided a moratorium on federal farm foreclosures and strengthens the USDA's Office of Civil Rights to respond to numerous complaints of discrimination in USDA program activities and employment. We look forward to working with the USDA in providing fair access and equitable treatment to all Black farmers and distressed rural communities. - Ralph Paige, Executive Director, Federation of Southern Cooperatives

 

Strengthened Membership at First Meeting of NSAC

In March, 90 members, including 20 farmers, attended the first meeting of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition held in Old Town Alexandria, VA. NSAC represents the merging of two venerable old pillars of the sustainable agriculture movement - the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture and the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition - and strengthens the sustainable agriculture movement by marrying SAC's "inside-the-beltway" direct advocacy political savvy and credibility with the grassroots network and ground-testing capacity of NCSA. Already, the combined membership of the founding coalitions has been surpassed, as groups that had never joined SAC or the NCSA are attracted to NSAC's efficiencies and structure, and respond to its targeted outreach to organizations and farmers working in people-of-color and underserved communities.

 

NSAC Iowa delegation meets with Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack (far right)

One of the 65 organizations that joined NSAC since January is Flats Mentor Farm in Lancaster, MA. FMF assists and supports small farmers of diverse ethnic backgrounds with hands-on training and technical assistance on soil fertility, irrigation, pest and weed management, and marketing. It also provides opportunities for beginning farmers to increase their economic returns, and quality of life. In particular, FMF has served Hmong farmers and recent immigrants from Kenya and Liberia. At NSAC's inaugural meeting with Secretary Vilsack, Maria Moreira (below), FMF's Executive Director, spoke about their farm and expressed gratitude for USDA's recently released Request for Applications for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which received $75 million in the last Farm Bill. Moreira urged the Secretary to move swiftly on establishing the new Office of Advocacy and Outreach in the Executive Operations Office at USDA. The office is charged with improving beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers' and ranchers' access to USDA programs and overall viability. It also houses a "Farmworker Coordinator" position that is responsible for assisting farmworkers interested in becoming agricultural producers and landowners.

 

Secretary Vilsack met with NSAC's group and spoke about his goals. NSAC members were able to ask important questions and reiterate several top priorities, including funding for SARE, strengthened organic provisions, and programs for beginning and minority farmers.

 

(Right: Maria Moriera asks Vilsack about beginning and minority farmers)


Soya Think You're Eating Healthy?

Check Cornucopia's Organic Soy Score Card and Accompanying Report

For many vegetarians, soy-based foods are a major source of protein. For a growing number of omnivores soy is simply an increasingly available food choice. Soy is a ubiquitous ingredient in processed foods and 25 % of all baby formula. Cornucopia Institute's Organic Integrity Project is dedicated to ensuring that the certified organic label meets consumer expectations and serves the interests of family farmers. Its latest report reveals some disturbing information about the sourcing and safety of all this soy.

 

In Behind the Bean: The Heroes and Charlatans of the Natural and Organic Soy Foods Industry, Cornucopia analyzes the social, environmental and health impacts of the soy industry. It finds, not surprisingly, that the vast majority of soybean acreage in the U.S. is devoted to genetically modified varieties, while an increasing percentage of organic soy production has been outsourced to countries that produce a less expensive bean, but perhaps at a higher social cost. Some estimate that as much as 50% of organic soybeans consumed in the U.S. are from China where, according to Cornucopia, a USDA audit of organic certifiers working in China found some inspectors and farmers lacked adequate familiarity with USDA organic standards. Other organic soybeans are sourced from South America where their production is associated with deforestation of the Amazon rain forest. Another disturbing finding is that conventional, "natural" soy protein is often extracted from beans using an explosive petrochemical neurotoxin called hexane. According to Cornucopia, the largest manufacturers of baby formula use hexane to extract soy protein isolate. Hexane is also used to extract the algal and fungal oils DHA and ARA that is found in 99% of all infant formula in the U.S., including organic. To find out if your favorite soy brands are using questionable sourcing or processing techniques check Cornucopia's soy scorecard.


Luke Cole, Environmental Justice Advocate, 1963-2009

The Noyes Foundation wishes to extend our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Luke Cole, who died in a traffic accident while vacationing in Uganda. Luke was 46 years old and executive director of the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment in San Francisco.

 

The Center was a grantee of the Foundation in the early 1990s. Luke was an environmental justice lawyer-activist. He represented residents of Kettelman City, CA, in their successful fight against a toxic waste incinerator planned by Waste Management. Luke also worked with Camden, NJ, residents on a successful District Court case using the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. Although the Third Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the lower court decision, the case demonstrated the disproportionate impact of toxic sites on communities of color, an important contribution to the environmental justice movement.


Noyes In Action

 

What the Staff's Been Saying and Doing

 

Vic De Luca, Noyes President, was one of eight foundation CEOs selected by the Council on Foundations to have one of its mid-level managers shadow him for a day as part of a COF leadership development initiative. In June, Nadia Martinez, COF's International Member Services Manager, spent the day with Vic and the Noyes staff learning about the different management styles that exist in the philanthropic sector.

 

 

In May, Vic was a presenter at a mission-related investment luncheon at the Wallace Global Fund in Washington, DC. And in June, he was one of three funders speaking about private foundation grantmaking at the New York Fundraising Summit, sponsored by the Center for NonProfit Success.

 

Vic was one of two dozen private foundation leaders who endorsed Criteria for Philanthropy at Its Best, Benchmarks to Assess and Enhance Grantmaker Impact, published by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. The publication asks foundations what they can "do to improve their relevance to their nonprofit partners, to economically and socially underserved Americans, and to society as a whole." The report includes a quote from Vic about mission-related investing. As a proportion of total giving, it ranks the Noyes Foundation eighth in giving to ethnic and racial minority communities (46.4%) and fifth for social justice grantmaking (70.9%). The report's sample size was 809 foundations making grants from 2004 to 2006.

 

In April, Wilma Montañez, Program Officer for Reproductive Rights, helped design and facilitated a panel at the Washington Briefing of the Funders Network on Population, Reproductive Health and Rights. See How They Won: Lessons Learned from Recent Advocacy Campaigns dealt with state ballot initiatives seeking to limit reproductive health options for women. Wilma was also featured in a video documenting a funders' tour in the Central Valley region of California, Sowing Change – A Funders' Tour to Cultivate a Healthier Central Valley.

 

Edna Iriarte, Program Officer for the New York City Environment, was a presenter at the Neighborhood Technical Assistance Clinic. Held in June, the session was entitled, A Shared Agenda for Change: A Dialogue between Funders and Nonprofits Looking at Program Models for Change.

 

Millie Buchanan, Program Officer for Toxics and Environmental Justice, moderated a June funders' briefing, Accompanying the U.S. Social Forum Process, sponsored by the Funders Network on Trade and Globalization. And, as part of the Goldman Environmental Prize, Millie worked with colleague funders to sponsor a reception in San Francisco, which brought Bay Area activists and funders together to meet with Prize winner Maria Gunnoe and other coalfield activists.

 

Kolu Zigbi, Program Officer for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, spoke in May to the Funders for Gay and Lesbian Issues on a Structural Change Framework for Food Security and Opportunities for Leveraged Equity. She also spoke to Princeton University graduates about career opportunities in connecting food and environmental issues.

 

In June, Kolu moderated a session at the Sustainable Agriculture and Food System Funders annual conference. The session, Land Security and Access to Healthy Foods, focused on ways in which activists are working to protect land owned by people of color. Kolu was also co-chair of the annual meeting, which was held in North Carolina.

 

The Noyes Foundation was recognized for its work. In April, Philanthropy New York included WE ACT as one of the 30 highlighted grants made by PNY members in its website series 30 Grants in 30 Days. In May, the Foundation was highlighted for its practices in a new publication of The California Endowment, Foundation Diversity Policies and Practices Toolkit. The toolkit showed how Noyes posts its grantee and board diversity information on its website.

 

Woody Tasch, former Noyes Foundation board member and treasurer, wrote a new book, Slow Money: investing as if food, farms and fertility mattered. Woody is the chair of Investors' Circle, a nonprofit network that has facilitated the flow of $130 million to 200 early-stage companies and venture funds dedicated to sustainability. The book "brings a different vision – a meta-economic vision, looking above the top line and below the bottom line, a new way of seeing what is going on in the soil of the economy.


Related News

2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture

 

In 1950, there were over five million farms in the country on 1.2 billion acres of land. The average farmer was 48 years old. In 1974, less than half of the farms remained, 2.3 million, on about the same acres of land. The age of the average farmer rose to 52. In 2007, the good news is that the number of farms has stayed about the same, 2.2 million, an increase of 4% over the past five years. Farmland has gone down to 922 million acres and the average farmer is now over 57 years of age. Since 2002, about 300,000 new farms have begun operations, with more diversified production, fewer acres, lower sales and younger-operators who also have jobs off the farm.


Dr. George Tiller - A man of valor, compassion and commitment

The murder of Dr. George Tiller on Sunday, May 31st while at church in Wichita, KS, served to remind us that while our government is vigilant at fighting terrorism outside its borders, it has perhaps become negligent in monitoring it domestically. Dr. Tiller was one of less than a handful of doctors in this country who performed late-term abortions. Even after a 1998 attempt on his life, Dr. Tiller never abandoned his commitment to serve women in their most perilous time. He was resolute about women's right to make decisions about their body, their life and their families. An impressive number of reproductive rights advocates have responded with heart-felt words on how Dr. Tiller personally and professionally inspired them with his courage and compassion.

 

 

Following that awful event, Dr. Tiller's family announced that his Kansas abortion clinic, Women's Health Care Services, Inc., will not reopen. Although this decision is respected, as he and his family have lived for decades with constant threats, it leaves a tremendous void in the availability of abortion services.

 

Over the years, federal and state laws have failed to stop violence and harassment against abortion providers and women seeking services. In fact, proposed legislation has targeted abortion providers like Dr. Tiller with threats of criminal penalties and other sanctions not imposed on providers of comparable medical services. This is no time for capitulation. We must wipe our tears, gather our strength, galvanize our forces and expose these murderers for who they really are – dangerous hypocrites who kill in the name of life.


Kaiser Family Foundation Puts Health Care Disparities on the Map

According the latest report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Putting Women's Health Care Disparities on the Map: Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities at the State Level, women of color in every state continue to fare worse than white women on a variety of measures – health, health care access and other social determinants of health. This report comes a decade after the U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher called for the elimination of racial disparities. National statistics mask substantial state-by-state variation in disparities in health. The report goes beyond national figures to quantify where disparities are greatest, providing new information to help determine how best to combat the problem. The analysis also provides new state-level data for women of many racial and ethnic populations, emphasizing that it is not one problem but many, varying from state to state and requiring different strategies to bring about the necessary changes. This report is particularly relevant now for reproductive justice advocacy efforts as continued grassroots mobilization proves to be extremely effective and integral to ensuring needed policy change nationwide.