The spread of COVID-19 in Seattle and across the country affects us all, but particularly those who are most vulnerable in our society. That’s why the Raikes Foundation has contributed $50,000 to the Seattle Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund. We encourage foundations, companies and individuals of means in our community to identify what they can do to support others, including contributing to this fund to get much-needed resources into the hands of front line service providers and impacted communities during this time of crisis.
It has never been clearer that our communities are connected and interdependent. That’s why we are so disturbed to hear of rising incidents of xenophobic harassment against Asian-Americans both here in our hometown of Seattle and across the country. We must not allow xenophobia to divide us at such a critical time.Read More
We’ve all heard of the school to prison pipeline, but there is another insidious structure feeding the prison system: foster care.
On December 5th, I spent the day with men from the Concerned Lifers Organization (CLO) at the Monroe Penitentiary, as they described their journeys toward serving life sentences in prison, which they say felt inevitable. Their ranks are thick with stories of abusive foster homes, committing crimes of survival, and countless social workers—but they also want to use their experience to prevent other young people from experiencing what they did. Their journeys may have been inevitable, they said, but that doesn’t have to be true for young people in state care today.
The State Raised Working Group, a subgroup of CLO comprised of men who experienced foster care prior to serving long prison sentences, works to raise awareness of a system that left them ill-equipped for life beyond state care and that seamlessly fed them into the criminal justice system. Last month they came together to share their findings with Washington state leaders in the foster care and justice communities.Read More
When you consider any of society’s most pressing problems, from homelessness to climate change to economic inequality, it’s clear that no one person, program or system can solve those challenges alone.
For example, homelessness is a complex problem at the intersection of housing affordability, healthcare, the justice system, and more. You’d be hard pressed to find a sector that doesn’t have a role in solving the climate crisis. Economic inequality encompasses education, the private sector, health care, transportation, the list goes on and on.
So why, despite a clear need to work across sectors to solve stubborn problems, are cross-sector partnerships the exception, not the rule?
Below are three reasons why I think cross-sector partnership are uncommon, and how I think funders can build bridges between systems to tackle big, complex challenges.
Challenge 1: Systems are perfectly designed to produce the exact results they’re getting.Read More
The American public education system has largely failed to foster environments where the innate greatness of Black boys is even acknowledged, much less fully expressed or realized. They are often viewed as problems to be contained, which is evident in the criminalization of their behavior. Black boys are suspended and expelled at three times the rate of white students. They are overrepresented in special education and underrepresented in challenging course work like Advanced Placement (AP) classes, a disparity owed to implicit biases carried by educators and others who assume Black boys aren’t ‘college material.’
That’s why the work happening in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is so exciting. OUSD knew it was failing Black boys, so it turned to Chris Chatmon, who had nearly ten years of experience successfully removing barriers to success and closing opportunity gaps that prevent Black boys from reaching their full potential, and the district’s Office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) was born.Read More