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Noyes News, April 2010

Grantees Noyes In Action Related News
Noyes Adds Enote and Matsuoka to Board

 

Jim Enote, who is a Zuni tribal member, high altitude traditional farmer and an interrupted artist, is the director of the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center at Zuni, New Mexico. He is a board member of the Grand Canyon Trust and a senior advisor for mountain cultures at the Mountain Institute. For over 30 years, he has tackled land and water conservation issues around the world, and is committed to preserving and protecting his own and other Native cultures. He is currently involved in reviewing and correcting misidentified Zuni objects in several museum collections, creating a new generation of museum collection catalogs that include Zuni descriptions and comments, and facilitating cultural mapping at Zuni with Zuni artists and cultural advisors.

 

 

Martha Matsuoka is an Assistant Professor in the Urban and Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. She teaches courses in urban policy, organizing, community development, environmental justice, community-based research and regional economic development. Martha is a founding member of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network and the East Asia, U.S., Puerto Rico Women's Network Against Militarism, and she served on the board of the Center for Third World Organizing. Martha received her Ph.D. in Urban Planning from UCLA and she previously worked for the Urban Habitat Program, an environmental justice organization in the San Francisco Bay area.

 

The Board consists of sixteen members, six family and ten non-family members, who live around the country. Terms of service are six years.


Congratulations



 

Carol Warren, project coordinator and faith-based liaison for Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, received the 2010 Martin Luther King, Jr. West Virginia Holiday Commission Advocate for Peace award. The prize honored her work for peace, beginning in the 1960s peace movement. With OVEC, she has taken numerous people of faith groups and others to witness the destruction of mountaintop removal coal mining and to speak with people who suffer from its impacts. She also works side-by-side with leaders in the United Mine Workers of America, advocating for their right to organize. Most recently, Carol organized a two-week period of prayer and fasting in advance of a significant federal court appeal on mountaintop removal—asking that people of faith who take part pray that, regardless of the outcome, both sides would act with peace and restraint.

 

From left to right: Deacon Todd Garland (Carol's husband), Carol Warren and Larry Starcher, former Justice of the WV Supreme Court and member of the West Virginia Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday Commission.


Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health's executive director, Soo Ji Min, was selected as a 2010 Chicago Community Trust Fellow. This is the second year for the Fellowship, which is designed to elevate the careers of Chicago leaders and increase their future impact on the Chicago metropolitan area. Min was one of nine fellows selected from an applicant pool of over nearly 100. Fellows – six emerging and three experienced – were selected for their demonstrated leadership and commitment to their field.

 

Since joining ICAH as executive director in 2006, Min has focused the agency's programming on developing leadership among youth from underrepresented and underserved communities of color, advocating for changes benefiting low-income and marginalized communities, and building a grassroots network of allied social justice organizations. Min will receive $30,000 to fund a professional development plan focused on the reproductive justice movement.



NYC youth leader goes to Antarctica




Crystal Domenech, an UPROSE Youth Leader, was chosen to go to Antarctica on a scientific expedition thanks to Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and Students on Ice, an award-winning organization offering educational expeditions to the Antarctic and the Arctic.



Farmers' Legal Action Group Honors Shirley Sherrod and Betty Bailey with Family Farm Champion Award


Betty Bailey has worked with family farmers her entire life. She served as director of the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA and was a founder of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. Betty is now retired, enjoying full-time farming with her husband in North Carolina.

 

Shirley Sherrod was recently named USDA Rural Development Georgia State Director. Shirley and her husband Charles were leaders in the civil rights movement in the Albany, GA, area. For 25 years, Shirley worked for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and in 2000, helped launch the Southern Rural Black Women's Institute.

 

Farmers' Legal Action Group, based in Minnesota, is a nonprofit law center dedicated to providing legal services to family farmers and their rural communities in order to help keep family famers on the land.


Noyes Board Member Honored:

Carol Kuhre, Vice-Chair of the Noyes Board, was one of three recipients of the Athens (Ohio) Foundation's 2009 Foster B. Cornwell Award for philanthropy and community service. The Awards are named for the local attorney who was instrumental in the growth of the Foundation and philanthropy in Athens County. In addition to Carol, Frederick Oremus and Leslie Schaller were honored.

 

 

Carol was recognized for her work in philanthropy in Athens County, Appalachia Ohio and throughout the nation. She co-founded the Appalachian Ohio Public Interest Campaign and was integral in its transformation into Rural Action in 1991. Carol acted as Rural Action's executive director for 15 years. During her tenure, she raised nearly $10 million dollars to improve the environment in the Ohio Appalachian region.

 

Carol was the co-director at United Campus Ministries for 12 years and co-founded the Athens Coalition against World Hunger, the Appalachian Peace and Justice Network, Students for Peace and Feminism, and Faith Partners. She is also an accomplished fiber artist.

 

The Athens Foundation is a community foundation conceived in 1980 with a mission to enhance the quality of life for the people of the region through building endowments, awarding grants, and providing leadership on key community issues now and for generations to come.


Grantee Updates


Another World is Possible
Another U.S. is Necessary
A New Detroit is Underway


Registration is now open for the second United States Social Forum, to be held in Detroit, June 22-26. The first forum in Atlanta in 2007 attracted more than 10,000 activists, and generated new coalitions and alliances. USSF 2010 will include hundreds of workshops, arts and culture, and opportunities for connections and inspiration.


USSF's National Planning Committee suggests that organizing your participation is as easy as ABC and D:

 

Assemblies: People's Movement Assemblies, pre-forum community gatherings to discuss and analyze conditions and come up with demands, commitments, and visions for how things could be different.

Brigades: Work crews that will come to Detroit to partner with local organizations and volunteer to help with projects on the ground before, during or after the forum.

Caravans: The People's Freedom Caravan, a social movement on wheels by van and bus, rolling across the country, meeting up on the road, stopping in communities along the way. BikeIt (BikeIt.org), pedaling its way from various starting points across the country. All will meet in Detroit in time for the opening march. More caravans are in the planning stages.

Detroit Expanded: Making the forum accessible to people back home by organizing a simultaneous event to happen in your town during the forum.

 


The latest anti-abortion attack comes as big, bold, bigoted billboards erected throughout Georgia, with a significant number within the Atlanta area, parading the shocking message: Black children are an endangered species. The billboards which show a close-up picture of a very young, worried looking African American boy, are attempting to convince the public that black women get a disproportionate number of abortions, particularly in Georgia, and that the numbers are escalating rapidly.

 

This destructive billboard campaign, covered by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, is attempting to create a wedge between reproductive rights and justice, and racial justice organizations. But much to its surprise, the campaign has been vehemently counter-attacked by local reproductive rights and justice groups, such as SisterSong, Feminist Women's Health Center and SPARK Reproductive Justice Now. SPARK launched a 1000+ email take-action campaign against CBS Outdoor (owners of the billboards). CBS Outdoor took notice and responded to SPARK, although Jodi Senese, Vice Executive President of CBS Outdoor stated the billboard would not come down. Reproductive justice advocates are not going away. SPARK states:

 

 

Black women know what is best for our lives, our families, and our communities and are capable of making these decisions without a coordinated assault by organizations that are not genuinely committed to addressing the host of social issues confronted by the black community. We strongly reject and denounce these billboards and the sponsoring organizations, Georgia Right to Life, the Radiance Foundation, and Operation Outrage for speaking about us, demonizing our decisions, and assuming they know what is best for our lives. We trust ourselves, we trust Black women. Let's keep the pressure up and the conversation going. Black women are not fooled by the misinformation campaign orchestrated by anti-choice zealots nor are we passive, uninformed and subject to their manipulative tactics.

Grassroots Activism for Food Justice Makes Good Legislation Even Better: NYC FRESH

New York City Mayor Bloomberg's Food Policy Taskforce commissioned the departments of Health and City Planning, and the Economic Development Corporation to study the relationship between lack of access to healthy food, and the incidence of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Their findings confirmed that areas underserved by grocery stores suffer from higher rates of diet-related illness. With strong data and GIS maps to support action, the city responded by working with the Pennsylvania-based Food Trust to adapt its model for incentivizing grocery store development in so-called food deserts. In December 2009, the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program was launched, providing zoning and financial incentives for neighborhood grocery stores in underserved communities in Northern Manhattan, the South Bronx, Central Brooklyn and Jamaica, Queens. The Good Food, Good Jobs Coalition, a collaborative of grassroots community and labor organizing and advocacy groups, including WE ACT for Environmental Justice and Families United for Racial and Economic Equity made sure the program would not hasten neighborhood gentrification, and would provide decent jobs and community participation in the development approval process. Stores seeking FRESH incentives must:

 

  • Meet with Community Boards, which in turn make recommendations to City Planning before the incentives can be approved.
  • Apply to participate in the WIC and EBT programs.
  • Answer questions about their business practices, and relationships with employees and communities, with answers posted online so that activists will be equipped to weigh in on decisions about awarding subsidies.

 

Peggy Shephard, executive director of WEACT said:

While FRESH is a good start for creating equity in the city's food environment with these improvements, a vision for justice in the food system must do better for the future of a truly sustainable city. We must ensure people can afford to purchase healthy food by providing grocery baggers and other supermarket employees with living wages. We must use health as measure for creating and evaluating city food programs and policies. And we must not only harness the city's purchasing power to localize our food system to have the freshest food in our communities while supporting small farmers, but we must also do what is within the city's legislative power to ensure that farm-workers have living wages and good working conditions.

 

This work will be hard and we will disagree with one another, as in any good democracy. Yet perhaps at no time in our country's history is this work more imperative than now, with the Great Recession giving birth to an unemployed, hungry, impoverished, obese, and diabetic generation who's life chances dwindle not just because of the individual decisions they make but also because their environment works against their health and well being. We must forge ahead together with our lessons learned to form race-transcending coalitions of community residents, advocates, business, labor, and government, led by the people most impacted and least represented to meet structural racism through organizing and advocating for policies and programs that create equity at every point in the food system. This is a vision that WE ACT stands ready to join with the Speaker and all of our allies assembled here on.


Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Commonweal, and the Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative recently released the first-ever biomonitoring report identifying toxic chemical pollution in people from the learning and developmental disability community.

 

Mind, Disrupted: How Toxic Chemicals May Change How We Think and Who We Are examines 61 toxic chemicals found in the bodies of study participants in the context of rising rates of autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other learning and developmental disabilities. The bodies of project participants were tested for the presence of a set of chemicals that are known or suspected to be neurotoxicants (hazardous to nerve cells) or endocrine disruptors. Mind, Disrupted asks pressing questions and urges society to take immediate actions to reduce exposures that may impair how we thinkand, in the most basic ways, who we are.

 

 

Alaska Community Action on Toxics and the Alliance for Reproductive Justice jointly convened a free public lecture by Dr. Sarah Janssen, a physician and scientist with expertise in chemicals that mimic hormones and interfere with fertility, reproduction and development of the brain. Many of these chemicals have been found in common consumer products. Collaborative efforts across the nation, as in Alaska, are working to reduce exposures by removing the worst offenders.

 


Can New York
Go Green?

Last October, the Green Collar Jobs Roundtable released its NYC Green Collar Jobs Roadmap with 30 recommendations for a coordinated, citywide agenda to advance sustainability initiatives and prepare New Yorkers for green collar jobs. Convened by Urban Agenda, the Roundtable brought together more than 170 partners, including green employers, community-based organizations, labor unions, workforce development providers, and environmental and environmental justice groups committed to creating jobs that enhance or sustain the environment while offering family-supporting wages, health and retirement benefits, and opportunities for career advancement. The city has already adopted one-third of the recommendations, and Roundtable members are continuing to advocate for the Plan's vision.



Breast Cancer Action's Think Before You Pink Campaign, Yoplait: Put A Lid On It! was awarded the 2009 BENNY Award by Business Ethics Network. The annual BENNY Award recognizes outstanding corporate campaign victories.

 

Eli Lilly is now the sole manufacturer of rBGH — the artificial growth hormone given to dairy cows. Eli Lilly also manufactures breast cancer treatment medications and a pill that "reduces the risk" of breast cancer. Tell Eli Lilly to stop making rBGH.



New York City Council Votes Down Proposed Kingsbridge Armory Mall Development, Community and Labor Declare Victory


 

As the poorest county in the nation, the Bronx needs living wage jobs for residents, not jobs that keep people in poverty. That'sthe guiding premise for Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition's work with the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance (KARA), an alliance of community leaders from tenant and neighborhood associations, congregations, community institutions, unions, businesses and elected officials. KARA opposed Mayor Bloomberg's plans to turn the Kingsbridge Armory, a 575,000 square foot fortress-like structure, into a low-wage shopping mall. After spending $25 million to repair the armory, and offering another $13 million in tax incentives, the administration planned to hand the building over to a developer who rejected a community benefits agreement.

 

Compelling businesses that receive public dollars to offer good wages has been in the mainstream of urban policy for well over a decade. The movement began in 1994 in Baltimore and has since spread to more than 145 cities and counties, including San Francisco. The key to rebuilding the middle class in the Bronx, argues NBCCC and its KARA allies, isn't the creation of more poverty-wage retail jobs, it's putting people on a path to self-reliance and economic independence.

 

Grassroots organizing and mobilizing made the difference, and when Council Majority Leader Joel Rivera (D-Bronx) finally announced the project's defeat by a vote of 45-1, cheers rang throughout the chambers. That the City Council voted against the Mayor's wishes on a development project is viewed as precedent-setting by many.

 

NWBCCC will continue organizing residents to ensure that the Kingsbridge Armory is redeveloped with: living wages, union protections and permanent jobs for local residents; community space, including an affordable recreation center; and environmental protections.

 


For over twenty years, Western States Center has developed initiatives that resonate with its constituencies and has built a regional progressive movement for social, economic, racial and environmental justice. Annually, WSC sponsors a Community Strategic Training Initiative (CSTI) for activists in the region.

 

The Gender Justice Initiative grew out of a CSTI training several years ago. One of GJ's efforts, the Uniting Communities Project, seeks to create public allies for the LGBTQ community's upcoming organizing and policy battles. Through training, relationship building and peer-to-peer learning, the dialogues around LGBTQ issues are initiated. A Reproductive Justice 101 curriculum, which includes an interactive timeline exercise covering the history of reproductive oppression in the U.S. and key elements of reproductive justice, was developed and successfully used. Last year, Uniting Communities–The Toolkit: A Manual for Organizations of Color to Support LGBT Equality was released.

 

The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health's use of a reproductive justice framework places its work in the middle of a broader social justice movement that is strengthened through the development of coalitions and partnerships. In recent years, NLIRH's work with promotoras/es (community based health workers) and immigrant women in Rio Grande Valley, TX, as well as with the La Voz Latina, confirms that the reproductive justice framework is resonating within these communities.

 

A framework that allows for a variety of opinions and that connects women's lived realities to the way they access health care struck a chord with the promotoras in a way that a reproductive choice analysis could never have done. Veronica Bayetti Flores, Senior Policy Analyst

 

NLIRH's recent report, Advancing Reproductive Justice in Immigrant Communities: Promotoras/es de Salud as a Model, highlights the effectiveness of training and engaging community-based health advocates to move a reproductive justice agenda forward and impact public policy. All the meetings and trainings were held in Spanish. The promotora model, used in Latin America and other countries for decades, is demonstrating its potential in the U.S.


 

New Mexico has some of the most progressive drilling regulations in the country, thanks to hard-fought citizen activism. During this year's legislative session the industry did its best to undo those protections. At the same time, champions of communities and the environment attempted to give regulators some much needed help. None of these initiatives succeeded.

 

Industry advocates attempted to rescind the "pit rule" that protects water resources by requiring waste pit liners and by forbidding pits entirely when groundwater is within 50 feet of the surface. Between the mid-1980s and 2003, the New Mexico Environmental Bureau recorded nearly 7,000 cases of pits causing soil and water contamination. The New Mexico Oil Conservation Division released data in 2005 showing that close to 400 incidents of groundwater contamination had been documented from oil and gas pits. Most recently, state sampling showed carcinogens in all pit samples and heavy metals in two-thirds of the pit samples. The state finally took action bypassing the pit rule in 2008.

 

The second attack, says the Oil and Gas Accountability Project, was pure spitefulness. Any local government so bold as to regulate drillers to protect its citizens, water and wildlife would have been denied severance tax revenue generated by drilling.

 

The citizens' proposal, which came very close to passing the House, would have allowed citizens to enforce state environmental statutes and regulations by lawsuit. As state enforcement budgets continue to shrink, this type of proposal becomes more important. "You shouldn't have to wait for the state to act if a driller is polluting your drinking water," says OGAP.

 

This is a big deal nationwide because New Mexico is a bellwether for the entire country. Drilling laws and regulations in New Mexico influence other states wrestling with similar issues, such as the rulemakings in process in New York and proposed in Pennsylvania.


 

Leading a Long-term Fight Against Corporations' Uncivil Rights

 

This winter, the critique of corporate power put forward by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund was thrown into sharp relief after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, in a 5-4 decision that deep-pocketed corporations have the same free speech rights as individuals when it comes to influencing elections. In the January 27th edition of the Chicago Tribune, writer Clarence Page asked, "When is a corporation like a freed slave?" He answered, "When it is trying to win human rights in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court." In seeking to understand why corporations are entitled to the same rights as individuals, Page discovered the work of CELDF. In CELDF's Democracy Schools, community leaders learn that corporate personhood is a legal concept which, while oft-applied, was never formally established through legal argument. Page writes:

The 1886 case of Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad Co. is often cited as the beginning of "corporate personhood" under the law. Yet this personhood comes ambiguously, not in the body of the decision but in something that Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite was quoted in the decision's legal summary as having said before oral arguments began. "The court does not wish to hear argument on the question" of whether the equal-protection provision in the 14th Amendment "applies to these corporations," he said. "We are all of the opinion that it does." As a result, the court appears to have ruled on the equal-protection issue without ever weighing it through any argument, deliberation or formal opinions. Thin as this legal reed may be, generations of lawyers have clung to it in arguing for an expanding galaxy of corporate rights.
That's how an amendment intended to thwart slaveholders is used to benefit stockholders. But is that what most Americans have in mind when they think of equal rights? Most folks probably don't, until they find themselves going up against a corporation in a dispute over a factory farm or toxic landfill. That's what Thomas Linzey, founder of the Pennsylvania-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, has found as he has helped local governments take on the principle of corporate personhood. Not only do corporations claim "personhood," he told me in a phone interview, but after winning a case on grounds of the interstate commerce clause, they sometimes have sued for damages, claiming their 14th Amendment rights to equal protection were violated.

 

Linzey believes that even legislative intervention to strengthen campaign finance reforms will do little to curb corporate "free speech" to influence elections until Congress takes on the central question of corporate personhood. Linzey, observes that, with both political parties finding ways to feed off corporate contributions, undoing the legal fiction of corporate personhood will require "some sort of grass-roots uprising" to amend the Constitution. Without such change, the democratic expression of living and breathing people will be stymied by corporations exercising their "civil rights."


 

Victory in National City! Council adopts Westside Specific Plan

 

Change has come to Old Town National City, and Environmental Health Coalition members are celebrating. In a historic victory for the health of children, families and the environment, the organization reports the San Diego City Council unanimously approved the Westside Specific Plan. Once implemented, the plan will reduce toxic air pollution, increase affordable housing and restore the health of the community.

 

Speakers ranging from EHC members to teachers, students, business owners, physicians, environmentalists and elected officials spoke in favor of the plan. Even as the council meeting edged towards 11 p.m., people continued to share their stories of suffering and the need for dramatic change in this challenged neighborhood.

 

"This (plan) will bring about the end of a dark, 50-year era and the beginning of a brighter, healthier future for the Old Town neighborhood," said Jose Medina, a 40-year Old Town resident and EHC Boardmember. "The promise that the Westside Specific Plan offers is a promise of a new beginning that's long overdue."

 

EHC leaders were instrumental in the creation of the Westside Plan and ensuring that the adopted guidelines meet the needs of the community. During the past five years, more than 500 residents and stakeholders participated in the Westside planning process.

 

For decades, the Westside or "Old Town" has suffered from unjust land use and haphazard planning. The community is a textbook example of how industries and residents don't mix. The plan lays out guidelines for development over the next 10 to 15 years.

 

 

Industries in and around Old Town emit 23,000 pounds of air toxics each year, some of which are linked to diseases like asthma, cancer and reproductive illness. About 70 percent of the reported toxics come from auto body shops. More than 20 auto body shops operate near homes and schools in the 100-acre neighborhood of Old Town. The neighborhood is also home to a diesel fuel bus station, which combines with traffic from Interstate 5 to create a high-level source of air pollution from motor vehicle emissions.

 

The plan will improve the environmental health conditions of the neighborhood by reducing collocation of houses and businesses that use, store or generate hazardous materials. In addition, the plan will allow mixed uses that increase local activity and create a neighborhood where people can walk for goods, services, recreation and public transit. Implementation of the City's Amortization ordinance will, over time, lead to the relocation of existing polluting industrial businesses outside of Old Town and away from homes and schools.

 

In an effort to enhance, improve and protect the natural environment of Paradise Creek, which flows through the community, the Specific Plan will limit polluting industrial and residential uses immediately adjacent to the creek, and enhance this natural resource through the creation of a public park and walking trails. The plan also calls for street and sidewalk improvements that, along with increased park space, will further improve walkability and community activity, one of many combined efforts to reduce the high rates of obesity and diabetes among Old Town residents. EHC plans to take a significant role in the plan's implementation to be sure its promise is fulfilled.


Melding research, organizing and advocacy

The long battle to correct problems left in the wake of the uranium industry in New Mexico, and to prevent new problems from new industry practices, is gaining energy from a new coalition and a new generation.

The Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment brings together a variety of people impacted by uranium milling and mining, supported by organizations long leading the fight for a cleaner New Mexico. In the latest example of growing collaborative efforts, DataCenter and MASE partnered in late 2009 to bring 12 young people together for an Indigenous Knowledge and Research Justice Camp. The 2-day camp was the first step in building a network of young people who can participate in and eventually lead the current uranium battles. Read more about it in the words of Nadine Padilla, MASE coordinator.


 

The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility was a sponsor of the recent conference Meeting the Demand: Growing Markets for Sustainable Meat and Dairy. A conference report will be available later this year.

 


Noyes In Action

 
 

What the Staff's Been Saying and Doing

 

Vic De Luca, Noyes President, was the keynote speaker at the 2010 Charity Effectiveness Symposium of the Education and Research Foundation of the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan New York. The theme of the symposium was Transforming Ourselves: Building Effective Leaders, Organizations and Communities. Vic's speech is available.

 

Vic moderated a discussion, Diversity in Philanthropy, among CEOs at a session sponsored by Philanthropy New York. And the end of 2009 brought about the completion of Vic's six-year term as a board member of the Funders Network on Population, Reproductive Health & Rights and a two-year term as a member of the Advisory Board for the Diversity in Philanthropy Project.

 

Kolu Zigbi, Program Officer for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, co-developed and moderated a Philanthropy New York session titled, Nourishing Strong Communities: Access to Healthy Food, as an Essential Ingredient of Community Building. Kolu also was a presenter at the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group's annual conference: How and Why Organizations Create Diversity in Leadership, Staffing and Programs.

 

Kolu spoke on Structural Racism in the Food System at Just Food's Community Supported Agriculture Annual Conference. She also was the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for the Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners conference, What's for Dinner? Food, Farming and Policy in the Black Community.

 

Millie Buchanan, Program Officer for Toxics and Environmental Justice, provided a funder's perspective on a training call for grassroots leaders, which was sponsored by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. Millie continued to work with funders in preparation for the U.S. Social Forum.

 

Wilma Montañez, Program Officer for Reproductive Rights, continued her work with the Women of Color Working Group of the Funders Network on Population, Reproductive Health & Rights. The Working Group is developing a reproductive justice toolkit.

 

 

The Noyes Foundation was included in a new publication of the Council on Foundations, Ten Ways for Family Foundations to Consider Diversity and Inclusive Practices. The pamphlet is designed as a how-to for foundations interested in broadening their board, staff and giving programs. It includes a joint quote from Ann Wiener, granddaughter of Charles F. Noyes, and Vic De Luca, Noyes president. Also, former Noyes president Stephen Viederman was quoted in the section on investment practices.


Noyes Foundation Evaluation

 

In 2008, the Foundation hired Copeland Carson & Associates to conduct an evaluation of its grantmaking process and results for the period 2003 to 2007. The consultants interviewed 70 individuals, including Noyes board, staff and grantees (current and former), and leaders in the philanthropic field. In addition, hundreds of documents were reviewed. We thank everyone who participated in the evaluation process.

 

Findings:

The Noyes Foundation is achieving its sustainability mission. We recommend keeping intact the basic grantmaking model and theory of change, as they have been very effective in promoting sustainability and social justice, particularly in marginalized communities.

The consultants found that the Foundation:

 

  • "Leveraged its relatively small grantmaking pool with technical assistance and advocacy to strengthen social justice organizations and coalitions;"
  • "Provided patient capital for constituency-based organizations through consistent core operating and coalition building support, often as the first funder;"
  • Engaged in "vocal advocacy for diversity in foundation and nonprofit grantee governance [that] has expanded inclusivity in the social justice movement;"
  • Helped "grantees, and the philanthropic field more generally, better understand how local issues are connected to broader global dynamics;" and
  • "Pioneered the development of the mission-based investing and environmental justice fields in philanthropy."
  • The "Noyes staff is creative and competent. They have provided critical technical assistance to community leaders, which has advanced the entire consistency-based grantmaking sector."
  • Additionally, "over its more than 60-year history, the Foundation's board has consistently created values and priorities that address the country's most challenging social problems."


Recommendations:

  • Document and share best practices – the Noyes Way - to benefit the broader field.
  • Create measures to track outcomes in key priority areas and integrate them into the grant review process.
  • Institute a more systematic grantee applicant evaluation protocol that is tied to the Noyes mission and core principles, including the applicant's capacity and performance, record of diversity and inclusivity, and movement building experience.
  • Incorporate an environmental sustainability criterion when evaluating grantee applicants.
  • Consider creative ways to expand non-grantmaking support through foundation funding partnerships, strategic advocacy, extended technical assistance and expanded coalition building support.
  • Update strategic plan to accommodate changing political and economic environments.


Actions:


The Foundation's board and staff are using the evaluation report as a working document, discussing ways in which to make improvements with grantmaking, philanthropic advocacy and internal operations.


Related News

Coal: The gift that keeps on giving

 

Facing South, from the Institute for Southern Studies, reports that environmental groups have identified serious water contamination problems caused by coal ash dumps at 31 locations in 14 states, bringing to more than 100 the number of U.S. sites where damages from coal ash have been confirmed, and strengthening the case for the release of delayed federal regulations. The latest coal ash damage cases are documented in a new report by Earthjustice and the Environmental Integrity Project titled, Out of Control: Mounting Damages From Coal Ash Waste Sites. Eleven of the contaminated sites documented in this report involve so-called "dry landfills," and two involve "structural fills" that were advertised as "beneficial reuse" of coal ash.

 

A 2007 EPA report [pdf] acknowledged 67 proven and likely environmental damage cases across the U.S. related to coal combustion waste, and since then the agency has acknowledged four more cases. Those 71, plus the 31 documented in this new report, put the total number of documented coal ash damage cases over 100.

 

Meanwhile, Facing South notes, it's likely that the extent of the environmental damage caused by coal ash is still being underestimated, since most coal ash dumps lack monitoring systems to track off-site contamination, and since EPA has never actively investigated the sites for problems.

 

Environmental advocates are urging the White House to take action to prevent further harm – especially since evolving requirements for reducing air pollution from coal-fired power plants creates ever greater volumes of ash for disposal, increasing the risk to the environment and human health.


Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney have followed their Peabody Award-winning documentary, King Corn, with a return to the heartland on a new mission: to begin an investigation of the downstream environmental impact of their little acre of Iowa corn.


They paddle from Iowa to the Gulf of Mexico in a canoe, seeing for themselves the bigger world their little acre has affected, knowing that half of Iowa's topsoil has washed downstream and that, with it, fertilizer run-off has created a toxic "Dead Zone" in the Gulf.


Obama's Budget Funds Nat'l Healthy Food Financing Initiative

 

In his FY2011 budget proposal, President Barack Obama addressed the urgent need for bringing healthy food options to underserved communities by calling for more than $400 million in investments in new and expanded supermarkets, farmers' markets and other food stores.

 

The public-private grant and loan program would dramatically reduce the roughly 23 million Americans who have limited access to full-service supermarkets, and create tens of thousands of retail and construction jobs in low-income communities.

 

"President Obama and leaders in Congress understand that access to healthy, affordable food is essential to healthy children and healthy communities. The president's proposal is an important step in reversing the nation's obesity epidemic, and we're thrilled that First Lady Michelle Obama will be leading a national effort to combat childhood obesity," says Yael Lehmann, Executive Director of The Food Trust, which conducted outreach to engage communities and store operators in the program.


First lady Michelle Obama: 'Let's move' on childhood obesity

In front of a packed audience in the State Dining Room at the White House, first lady Michelle Obama rolled out her national initiative to combat childhood obesity. Dubbed "Let's Move," the project also received a presidential nod of support, to be backed up with as much as $1 billion a year in federal funds for 10 years. Earlier in the day, in the Oval Office, President Obama signed a formal memorandum establishing for the first time a national task force on childhood obesity one that draws from the departments of the Interior, Health and Human Services, Agriculture and Education and is charged with turning the first lady's ambitious list of proposals into action. At its core, the initiative has four pillars: more nutrition information, increased physical activity, easier access to healthy foods and, ultimately, personal responsibility.