A RISK WORTH TAKING.  Creating a nonprofit organization is a risky proposition; many close their doors in the first five years, others end up operating on a shoe-string budget. Ten years ago in Worcester, Dr. Olga Valdman (an immigrant) and Kaska Yawo (a refugee) saw a need—to help students emigrating from Africa settle into a new life in an American city—and decided to take that risk. In year one, they offered tutoring and Saturday enrichment programs to 25 African students. The next year,   African Community Education   (ACE) became an independent nonprofit organization and in 2009 hired its first full-time employee. In 2010, this “little engine that could” approached The Clowes Fund. At that time, ACE had an operating budget less than $150K and a plan to expand its outreach to parents struggling to understand the Worcester Public Schools and how to help their children thrive at school. The Fund invested in that fledgling organization and six years later, we congratulate ACE on its 10th anniversary. More than 300 people gathered recently to celebrate what is now an organization that operates with a $500K budget and the equivalent of 11 full-time employees who serve nearly 300 immigrants with programs that support academic and family success, leadership development and cultural appreciation. The Mayor of Worcester and State Representatives Dan Donahue and Mary Keefe spoke at the anniversary event about ACE’s value to the City of Worcester, a refugee settlement community for immigrants from around the world. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey expressed her respect and admiration for ACE’s leaders and invited Kaska Yawo to be part of her new statewide Advisory Council on New Americans.

A RISK WORTH TAKING. Creating a nonprofit organization is a risky proposition; many close their doors in the first five years, others end up operating on a shoe-string budget. Ten years ago in Worcester, Dr. Olga Valdman (an immigrant) and Kaska Yawo (a refugee) saw a need—to help students emigrating from Africa settle into a new life in an American city—and decided to take that risk. In year one, they offered tutoring and Saturday enrichment programs to 25 African students. The next year, African Community Education (ACE) became an independent nonprofit organization and in 2009 hired its first full-time employee.  In 2010, this “little engine that could” approached The Clowes Fund. At that time, ACE had an operating budget less than $150K and a plan to expand its outreach to parents struggling to understand the Worcester Public Schools and how to help their children thrive at school. The Fund invested in that fledgling organization and six years later, we congratulate ACE on its 10th anniversary. More than 300 people gathered recently to celebrate what is now an organization that operates with a $500K budget and the equivalent of 11 full-time employees who serve nearly 300 immigrants with programs that support academic and family success, leadership development and cultural appreciation. The Mayor of Worcester and State Representatives Dan Donahue and Mary Keefe spoke at the anniversary event about ACE’s value to the City of Worcester, a refugee settlement community for immigrants from around the world. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey expressed her respect and admiration for ACE’s leaders and invited Kaska Yawo to be part of her new statewide Advisory Council on New Americans.

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       TIRELESS EFFORTS FOR REFUGEES.  Exodus Refugee Immigration   (Exodus) has welcomed refugees to Indiana from more than 33 countries since its beginning in 1981. Ethnic minority groups from Burma make up 59% of those currently making their home in Indianapolis through Exodus’ resettlement program, with Congolese being the next largest resettled group at 15%. In the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis and following the Paris terrorist attacks in 2015, Indiana and Exodus grabbed media attention when Governor Mike Pence directed all state agencies to halt the resettlement of Syrians in Indiana. Resettlement organizations such as Exodus were suddenly faced with the possibility of losing federal funding that would help provide services to resettled Syrian refugees. This action diverted the resettlement of one particular Syrian family of three who had been scheduled to arrive in Indiana. Exodus filed a federal lawsuit against Governor Pence, and on October 3, 2016, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling that blocked Indiana’s effort to prevent resettlement of Syrian refugees. Through Exodus’ perseverance, Indiana has welcomed more than 150 Syrian refugees this year.

TIRELESS EFFORTS FOR REFUGEES. Exodus Refugee Immigration (Exodus) has welcomed refugees to Indiana from more than 33 countries since its beginning in 1981. Ethnic minority groups from Burma make up 59% of those currently making their home in Indianapolis through Exodus’ resettlement program, with Congolese being the next largest resettled group at 15%. In the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis and following the Paris terrorist attacks in 2015, Indiana and Exodus grabbed media attention when Governor Mike Pence directed all state agencies to halt the resettlement of Syrians in Indiana. Resettlement organizations such as Exodus were suddenly faced with the possibility of losing federal funding that would help provide services to resettled Syrian refugees. This action diverted the resettlement of one particular Syrian family of three who had been scheduled to arrive in Indiana. Exodus filed a federal lawsuit against Governor Pence, and on October 3, 2016, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling that blocked Indiana’s effort to prevent resettlement of Syrian refugees. Through Exodus’ perseverance, Indiana has welcomed more than 150 Syrian refugees this year.

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       FOSTERING RELATIONSHIPS TO LEVERAGE IMPACT.  Seattle is known for its vibrant arts scene, yet some children remain at a disadvantage with regard to access and opportunities. The Clowes Fund has fostered collaboration among its cohort of grantees who are working to ensure that all Seattle school children have creative advantages, especially hands-on access to musical instruments.    Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras   (SYSO) and   Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra   (SRJO) are shining examples of savvy collaboration to maximize impact. Together they applied for and received a $250,000 grant from the Raynier Foundation for a three-year Musical Pathways project. SYSO’s Kathleen Allen led the charge. She and Susan Jenkins of SRJO said they developed trust, a shared vision among the Clowes cohort of grantees, which ultimately resulted in a joint effort and funding that will help them stabilize and expand the instrumental music continuum for middle and high school students in Southwest Seattle.

FOSTERING RELATIONSHIPS TO LEVERAGE IMPACT. Seattle is known for its vibrant arts scene, yet some children remain at a disadvantage with regard to access and opportunities. The Clowes Fund has fostered collaboration among its cohort of grantees who are working to ensure that all Seattle school children have creative advantages, especially hands-on access to musical instruments. 

Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras (SYSO) and Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra (SRJO) are shining examples of savvy collaboration to maximize impact. Together they applied for and received a $250,000 grant from the Raynier Foundation for a three-year Musical Pathways project. SYSO’s Kathleen Allen led the charge. She and Susan Jenkins of SRJO said they developed trust, a shared vision among the Clowes cohort of grantees, which ultimately resulted in a joint effort and funding that will help them stabilize and expand the instrumental music continuum for middle and high school students in Southwest Seattle.

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