SkillWorks and the Boston Foundation launched the inaugural cohort of the SkillWorks Fellowship Solution & Design Lab for Workforce Innovation and introduced the first round of SkillWorks Fellows, followed by a discussion moderated by President & CEO, Dr. Lee Pelton, on the future of workforce and economic equity.
In order to address the housing crisis, we must reorient the process to improve equity — by focusing on representation, participation, and inclusive engagement. The report “Representation in the Housing Process: Best Practices for Improving Racial Equity,” by Boston University, prepared for the Massachusetts Coalition for Racial Equity in Housing, and related forum highlighted the disconnect between the traditional methods of developing and implementing housing policies and the needs and wants of the communities for whom these policies are developed.
For the final session of our “When the Bough Breaks” Coffee and Conversation series, we welcomed Amy O’Leary, Executive Director of Strategies for Children, Justin Pasquariello, Executive Director of East Boston Social Centers, and Ashley White, a Senior Policy Researcher at the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, for a conversation about budget and policy for early childhood education and care, and the opportunities to advocate for a more affordable, accessible system for families and workers alike.
The last of the three events in this series focused on issues of access and equity. Panelists discussed critical ways to engage Bostonians in the process—including encouraging residents from diverse communities to seek a seat on the School Committee, increasing voter engagement and participation in member selection, and empowering parents and teachers to connect with their local school board members—so that Boston’s school committee model becomes more inclusive and leads to a more equitable district and city.
On May 12, the Boston Foundation in partnership with the Latino Equity Fund and the Gaston Institute at UMass Boston hosted a forum to share and build upon the findings of a new report by Boston Indicators, '¡Avancemos ya!: Persistent Economic Challenges and Opportunities Facing Latinos in Massachusetts.' Following a presentation of research findings, WBUR’s Cristela Guerra facilitated a panel of experts who discussed strategies to expand the tremendous assets Latino communities bring to the Commonwealth. The event included live translations in Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.
This session, we highlighted the role of cities in solving the early childhood workforce crisis. We were joined by Kristin McSwain, the recently appointed Director of the City of Boston’s Office of Early Childhood and Senior Advisor to Mayor Michelle Wu, for a conversation with leaders from Cambridge and Somerville about how cities can address child care challenges in their communities.
More than 100 people, including Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, joined us for a special event at the Boston Public Schools headquarters in Nubian Square to launch Success Boston’s new equity framework, and to celebrate the commitment of 15 local higher education institutions to the postsecondary success of all Boston students, particularly those from historically and currently underserved groups. The plan includes a goal of a 70% college completion rate for all student demographics among Boston Public Schools graduates.
The second installment in our series of three conversations, this convening will delve into the characteristics of effective school committees within and across different governance structures (appointed, elected, hybrid). The panel conversation will feature perspectives from former district superintendents, scholars, and civic leaders.
On April 27, the Boston Foundation was pleased to host an Annual Campaign for Civic Leadership special event: A Conversation on Leadership between President and CEO Lee Pelton and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. The two spoke for an hour about the Mayor's first month in office and the leadership lessons they each have taken in during the course of their time in public service and civic leadership
In the second installment of our series of dialogues, we more closely explored the diverse ways reparations models are being rolled out in communities around the country, and what lessons Boston and Massachusetts might take from other models.
This month, the Early Childhood Coffee and Conversation series welcomed Dr. Kim D. Lucas to lead a discussion with and special guests Lindsay McCluskey of Community Labor United and early education consultant Wayne Ysaguirre, about the challenges of innovation in early childhood, and what innovation in early childhood looks like—as research and data are turned into action as a critical piece of co-imagining new systems, development, support, and compensation for the early childhood workforce.
Last November, nearly 80 percent of Bostonians supported a non-binding referendum to return to an elected school committee. With a new mayoral administration in place and a home-rule petition to switch to an elected format pending, the Boston Foundation is launching a series of convenings to create space for robust conversation and learning about school governance in Boston. The first of three, the March 30th event provided a look back at why Boston moved to an appointed committee in the 1990s, whether the shift fulfilled its charge, and how the city has changed since then. Key leaders from that time offered their perspectives.
On March 24, the Asian Community Fund at the Boston Foundation commemorated the one-year anniversary of the murders of eight people, including six Asian women, with an event to honor the resilience, strength, and power of Asian American communities. A series of speakers, including Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and national leaders Ai-Jen Poo and John Yang, reflected on the progress fighting anti-Asian racism to date, celebrated the leadership and contributions of local AAPI leaders, highlighted the importance of multiethnic and multiracial coalition building, and discussed strategies to continue advancing equity and solidarity throughout our region.
This month's conversation focused on data from a Boston Opportunity Agenda report about the availability of child care during the pandemic, and what the lack of availability has meant for the number of children receiving developmental screenings and accessing needed supports.
More than 300 people attended the first of a four-part series on the topic of reparations. Our President and CEO, M. Lee Pelton, was joined by Dr. Jemadari Kamara, Chairman of the Africana Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Imari Paris Jeffries, Executive Director of King Boston, for a conversation focused on the historical movement for reparations in America. The conversation explored reparations on both local and national levels—in places around the globe, and what those efforts could teach us as we confront the challenges and opportunities this issue presents for our communities going forward.
This third session of "When the Bough Breaks," an ongoing series of talks about the challenges facing early childhood in Massachusetts, featured the perspective of those closest to the work: childcare providers. Laura Perille (Nurtury Early Education) and Binal Patel (Neighborhood Villages) discussed the challenges and temporary solutions for providers during the ongoing pandemic.
After 18 months of mostly remote learning, most high school students in Boston returned to the classroom in person this fall. But the impact of the ongoing public health crisis and the economic dislocation are continuing to take a toll. This conversation, featuring a video presentation from Superintendent Brenda Cassellius, took a closer look at how well high schools are meeting students where they are, easing their healing, and supporting them in their return to “normalcy."
On January 7, the Boston Foundation continued its "coffee and conversation" look at the state of the early education and care system, with an exploration of funding for the fragile system. Colin Jones of MassBudget presented the current picture for state and federal funding, and took questions from the engaged audience.
The Asian Community Fund and Boston Indicators presented this opportunity to learn about the growing Asian American population in Greater Boston, explore recent successes and shortcomings in Asian representation, and discuss the opportunities and challenges facing this diverse community, with the goal of increasing visibility for all AAPI people.
The Boston Foundation hosted a virtual 2021 Annual Meeting, featuring a conversation between President and CEO M. Lee Pelton and Barr Foundation President and Trustee Jim Canales, plus the release of the 2021 Annual Report: Closing Boston's Equity Gap.
The Boston Foundation launched the Early Childhood Coffee and Conversation series for 2021-22 with the State Commissioner of Early Education and Care, Samantha Aigner-Treworgy. In addition, the Boston Foundation provided a preview of "When the Bough Breaks", a paper about the ramifications of the childcare crisis.
We hope you joined us for the presentation of Evaluating Children’s Physical Activity in School-Based Programs, a working paper prepared for the Boston Foundation by ChildObesity180 at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Research Assistant Professor Dan Hatfield shared the paper's findings on the impact of physical activity partners' work with the Boston Public Schools, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic., followed by a panel discussion about how to support daily physical activity for all young people.
The United States is a nation of immigrants. And so is the region of Greater Boston. Not only is racial diversity increasing in the aggregate, but a growing number of families are forming across racial and ethnic lines. While it is a near certainty that our multiracial population will continue to grow, it remains to be seen whether all people regardless of background will be able to fully participate in, shape, and lead social and economic institutions that have traditionally been White-dominated. In November, hundreds joined us to discuss these trends in the growing multi-racial population through the release of a new Boston Indicators report.
This forum provided a discussion about the First 1,000 Days program, a novel intervention that works across early-life systems to prevent obesity, promote healthy routines and behaviors, and reduce health disparities among young children and their families. Dr. Elsie Taveras, the lead researcher, presented the study’s research findings, the factors that led to the study's successful outcomes; and what can be done to disseminate these practices more broadly.
In October, we released a new Success Boston report about the effectiveness of transition coaching on the college success of Boston Public Schools graduates. The latest in a series of reports, this analysis focuses on the BPS Classes of 2013 through 2016, and includes updated findings on persistence and academic performance, along with the first set of findings on the impact of coaching on degree completion. The research—and the accompanying conversation—will also discuss the characteristics of effective programs that move the needle on college completion; what it takes for coaching to work; and what we can do to maintain the citywide gains we have made over the last decade.
At this forum, Boston Indicators and Massachusetts Housing Partnership Center for Housing Data released a new research paper, 15-Minute Neighborhoods: Repairing Regional Harms and Building Vibrant Neighborhoods for All, which details a vision for building a regional network of mixed-use neighborhoods where all residents can reach their daily needs within a 15-minute walk from their home.
This forum marked the release of the Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2021, Pandemic Housing Policy: From Progress to Permanence. This year’s edition of the Greater Boston Housing Report Card makes the case that the region’s most difficult housing challenges are still with us, that those challenges were compounded by recent events, and that the bold federal, state and local responses to the acute economic crisis should be parlayed into long-term responses to our ongoing housing crisis. The research presentation will be followed by a panel discussion of experts, each with a unique perspective on lessons learned during this unprecedented time.
The Boston Foundation and MassINC released a new report on the employment and earnings outcomes of community college students and graduates in Massachusetts. Drawing on a new statewide system linking data across high schools, postsecondary institutions, and employers, this research explores important and timely questions to better understand the impact of community colleges on students’ career trajectories and their value as a pathway to economic mobility in the Commonwealth.
Can a focus on data improve outcomes for Opportunity Youth? Since 2019, the Opportunity Youth Collaborative (OYC) has been partnering with the Boston Public Schools and Bunker Hill Community College, the largest youth- and young adult-serving institutions in the city, to incorporate a more comprehensive data strategy into their work to address racial inequity in student experience and outcomes. At this forum, representatives of both institutions, as well as youth and young adult leaders who will share lessons learned from this work and goals for the future.
Since 2014, the Boston Foundation’s Health Starts at Home initiative has brought together housing and health-care organizations in a series of partnerships. The purpose was to support work that demonstrates the benefits of stable, affordable housing on children’s health outcomes. This event marked the culmination of the seven-year Health Starts at Home initiative, with an assessment of its innovative and significant body of work. Representatives from the four Health Starts at Home partnerships described their work and researchers from Health Resources in Action (HRiA) and Urban Institute share the final findings from the Health Starts at Home outcome evaluation.
In the wake of anti-Asian hate and inequities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, increased visibility has allowed for a conversation about how Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities can build AAPI-led capabilities to mobilize for lasting change. On May 24, 2021, in honor of AAPI Heritage Month, the Asian Community Fund and the Boston Foundation shared a data presentation assessing the current needs of AAPI communities, followed by a panel discussion featuring community leaders who shared how we can build AAPI power.
Boston Indicators, the Coalition for an Equitable Economy and the Boston Foundation’s Economic Inclusion teamed up for the release of The Color of the Capital Gap: Increasing Capital Access for Entrepreneurs of Color in Massachusetts. The report analyzes the dynamics behind persistent racial disparities in access to capital and presents a set of bold and actionable solutions. After a presentation of the research, participants heard from policymakers, local experts advancing capital access solutions now, and entrepreneurs themselves.
The COVID pandemic provides us with an opportunity to reimagine education in Boston. Join us to explore data trends across our cradle to career outcomes in Boston and explore what data on student outcomes will be available in the near future to guide our recovery efforts. Attendees heard from community leaders about new ways that we can work together to advance equity and a just education ecosystem in Boston.
Through March and April, Boston Indicators released policy briefs through its new Seizing the Moment project. Written by a range of community leaders, briefs present concrete ideas for advancing equity and justice as we emerge from the pandemic, working to ensure that our region is more resilient when the next crisis hits. Guests at this unique event on Wednesday, April 14 to heard from and engaged with these authors.
While the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for the region’s arts sector and creative workers, there is some good news. Cultural organizations are finding new ways to build and finance space for rehearsal and recording, classes, performances, culinary enterprises, and more. Leaders of four Boston-area organizations operating or seeking to build new cultural space shared how they are approaching new business models, how they are faring in the pandemic, and the challenges and opportunities they see in retaining and creating new arts and cultural workspaces in the region.
MassINC, the Coalition for an Equitable Economy and the Boston Foundation mapped out the tools, resources and commitments necessary to achieve racial and ethnic parity in business ownership by the end of the decade. Presenters spotlighted findings from a new MassINC report, Unleashing the Potential of Entrepreneurs of Color in Massachusetts, and leaders and small business owners spoke about how we can come together to help more people of color achieve their business aspirations.
The City of Chelsea has been an epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in Massachusetts. This webinar focused on the innovative “Chelsea 2021” initiative, a new donor and community partnership aimed at ensuring a just and equitable recovery for Chelsea through deep engagement and enlightened philanthropy.
This forum marked the release of a new research report on the labor market experiences of recent college graduates from the Boston Public Schools. The report examines how well graduates of local four-year colleges and universities are connecting to internships and landing “that good first job” after graduation.
At this event, community leaders shared their learnings about investing in place and advancing spatial justice. The forum will address the promise and shortcomings of a place-based philanthropic strategy and, ultimately, highlight the role of community leaders in shaping vibrant, resilient, and equitable places.
SkillWorks partnered with PolicyLink, the National Equity Atlas, Burning Glass Technologies, and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions on the newly-released report Advancing Workforce Equity in Boston: A Blueprint for Action. This event included presentation of the report's data followed by a conversation about how we can leverage this data in Greater Boston to implement the changes necessary for an equitable economic recovery and future.
The Boston Foundation and Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tisch College invited guests to join in a conversation on evidence-based lessons on how to prepare young people to thrive in civic life. In this webinar, experts shared evidence-based research on how we can prepare young people to be active citizens.
In November 2020, the Boston Foundation released the Racial Equity Capacity Builders Directory, a compilation of individuals and organizations that provide consulting and training services to Greater Boston nonprofits seeking to advance racial equity within their organizations. Directory authors Curdina Hill and Molly Mead explained how to get the most out this resource and start or deepen your organization's racial equity work.