Maine Initiatives and Social Innovation Forum

Maine Initiatives and Social Innovation Forum

COLLABORATIONS AT WORK.  When New England Program Officer Megan Reilly sits with nonprofit leaders working on behalf of immigrant advancement, two things are clear: vulnerable immigrants are scared, and the organizations that support them are stretched thin.  The Clowes Fund works with like-minded funders to find ways to bolster these organizations.  Doing this work in partnership means not only more money, but also a statement that philanthropy is committed to immigrants and the well-being of organizations on the front lines of immigration policy.  The Fund made two small but potentially powerful collaborative grants to strengthen nonprofits: $5K to the Solidarity Fund at Maine Initiatives and $10K to the Social Innovation Forum in Massachusetts.  

In response to public policy trends that seem unwelcoming to immigrants, our colleagues at Maine Initiatives raised $50K in rapid-response funding from foundations and individuals to support the Solidarity Fund for immigrant-led, grassroots organizations; 12 organizations received unrestricted grants of $4K to use however they needed.  In Massachusetts, the Fund and seven partners made grants to the Social Innovation Forum, which will select one promising nonprofit that serves immigrants and refugees as a Social Innovator to receive 24 months of intensive organizational support, as well as six other organizations to participate in a condensed version of the Accelerator program.  All of these organizations will benefit from new communications tools, executive coaching and connections to a network of potential supporters.  

By no means is this work complete!  The Clowes Fund will continue to align with partners to strengthen the nonprofit safety net for immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers.

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        SUNNY DAYS AT WRITEBOSTON.    WriteBoston  is a nonprofit organization with expertise in writing instruction. Boston International Newcomers Academy, known as BINcA is a public high school that enrolls newly arrived immigrants who often need intensive support learning to speak, read and write English, all while taking high school courses. The Fund first met BINcA during the 2011 EdVestors review process, and in 2013 the Fund helped WriteBoston and BINcA join forces to boost BINcA students' writing skills with an on-site Writing Center staffed by volunteers trained and supervised by WriteBoston.  New England Program Officer Megan Reilly visited BINcA and the Writing Center in fall 2016 and saw volunteers helping with a range of writing tasks, from college essays to research papers. All of the students and teachers Fund staff met shared their appreciation for the Writing Center volunteers. Successful partnerships between public schools and community organizations don't happen overnight; they require careful cultivation through staff time, a commitment to mutual respect, and often outside funding. WriteBoston and BINcA have invested in their partnership with a shared goal of helping the young people at BINcA develop the communication skills needed to succeed in an American high school and life after graduation.    In the image, two BINcA students work on a writing assignment.


SUNNY DAYS AT WRITEBOSTON. WriteBoston is a nonprofit organization with expertise in writing instruction. Boston International Newcomers Academy, known as BINcA is a public high school that enrolls newly arrived immigrants who often need intensive support learning to speak, read and write English, all while taking high school courses. The Fund first met BINcA during the 2011 EdVestors review process, and in 2013 the Fund helped WriteBoston and BINcA join forces to boost BINcA students' writing skills with an on-site Writing Center staffed by volunteers trained and supervised by WriteBoston.

New England Program Officer Megan Reilly visited BINcA and the Writing Center in fall 2016 and saw volunteers helping with a range of writing tasks, from college essays to research papers. All of the students and teachers Fund staff met shared their appreciation for the Writing Center volunteers. Successful partnerships between public schools and community organizations don't happen overnight; they require careful cultivation through staff time, a commitment to mutual respect, and often outside funding. WriteBoston and BINcA have invested in their partnership with a shared goal of helping the young people at BINcA develop the communication skills needed to succeed in an American high school and life after graduation.

In the image, two BINcA students work on a writing assignment.

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        CLEAR SKIES FOR TEENWORKS.    TeenWorks  is a primary summer youth employment program in Indianapolis that deploys the ABC approach -- A Job, Better Job, Career -- to integrate its programs into the economic and workforce development goals for Indiana employers. While TeenWorks is a current Clowes Fund grantee, the organization was first supported by the Fund through its Summer Youth Program Fund allocation to Youth Working for Indy. This collaborative funding effort introduced the Fund to TeenWorks' model of serving low income youth and opened the door for a direct grant. Current funding is being used to entice employers to become Corporate Worksite Partners and to provide TeenWorks youth with career-focused employment, skills development training and career exploration in high-demand, high-wage career sectors, and to ensure the capacity of TeenWorks staff to assess the personality, skills and career interests of participants. TeenWorks anticipates that after three years of philanthropic and government support, Corporate Worksite Partners will be fully integrated into the program and paying for 100% of hosted students' wages.  Clowes Fund staff visited two local TeenWorks worksites in July 2018: Children's Museum of Indianapolis; and a home revitalization worksite in the Mapleton Fall Creek Neighborhood. Youth at the Children's Museum worked on various projects to beautify the grounds, while those at the revitalization removed old and damaged walls in preparation for remodeling. Staff observed camaraderie and support between the youth work teams and their supervisors. Youth spoke of how the team-building and conflict resolution skills learned over their summer experience will help them in their future employment.  These youth have the opportunity to develop lifelong personal and career success through the TeenWorks program. One such success story is of a youth who was assigned to work at Indy Urban Acres, a multi-disciplinary inner-city farm, as a TeenWorks employee. This youth went on to be hired by Indy Urban Acres as a farm hand and now owns his own farm in South Carolina.    In the image, youth employees prepare house for remodeling in Indianapolis' Mapleton Fall Creek Neighborhood.


CLEAR SKIES FOR TEENWORKS. TeenWorks is a primary summer youth employment program in Indianapolis that deploys the ABC approach -- A Job, Better Job, Career -- to integrate its programs into the economic and workforce development goals for Indiana employers. While TeenWorks is a current Clowes Fund grantee, the organization was first supported by the Fund through its Summer Youth Program Fund allocation to Youth Working for Indy. This collaborative funding effort introduced the Fund to TeenWorks' model of serving low income youth and opened the door for a direct grant. Current funding is being used to entice employers to become Corporate Worksite Partners and to provide TeenWorks youth with career-focused employment, skills development training and career exploration in high-demand, high-wage career sectors, and to ensure the capacity of TeenWorks staff to assess the personality, skills and career interests of participants. TeenWorks anticipates that after three years of philanthropic and government support, Corporate Worksite Partners will be fully integrated into the program and paying for 100% of hosted students' wages.

Clowes Fund staff visited two local TeenWorks worksites in July 2018: Children's Museum of Indianapolis; and a home revitalization worksite in the Mapleton Fall Creek Neighborhood. Youth at the Children's Museum worked on various projects to beautify the grounds, while those at the revitalization removed old and damaged walls in preparation for remodeling. Staff observed camaraderie and support between the youth work teams and their supervisors. Youth spoke of how the team-building and conflict resolution skills learned over their summer experience will help them in their future employment.

These youth have the opportunity to develop lifelong personal and career success through the TeenWorks program. One such success story is of a youth who was assigned to work at Indy Urban Acres, a multi-disciplinary inner-city farm, as a TeenWorks employee. This youth went on to be hired by Indy Urban Acres as a farm hand and now owns his own farm in South Carolina.

In the image, youth employees prepare house for remodeling in Indianapolis' Mapleton Fall Creek Neighborhood.

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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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