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John S. and James L. Knight Foundation;
Communities across our nation are experimenting with new ways to engage citizens in the decisions made by civic leaders from the public, private and non-pro!t sectors, working sometimes together and sometimes at cross purposes. Ultimately, success at making democracy work and sustaining healthy communities requires engaged individuals, organizations, and institutions.
Across our country, community engagement bright spots are emerging. These initiatives foster a sense of attachment, expand access to information and resources, and create opportunities for citizens to play more active roles in setting priorities, addressing issues, and planning the longer-term sustainability of their communities.
The National League of Cities, working with The John S. and James L Knight Foundation, selected 14 communities that the two institutions are engaged with to explore how well or poorly some of these experiments are faring today. This analysis then focused more closely on four communities -- Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Austin -- to document the lessons learned and the challenges ahead.
Does providing instruction-related professional development to school principals set in motion a chain of events that can improve teaching and learning in their schools? This report examines professional development efforts by the University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Learning in elementary schools in Austin, St. Paul, and New York City.
Whether we live in rural towns, big cities, or growing suburbs, the arts matter to all of us.
The arts spark discussion, raise questions, feed our imaginations, and link us to one another. Watercolor classes. Broadway musicals. Knitting groups. Dance performances. Storefront studios. Teen-painted murals. Choral groups. Outdoor sculpture. Battles-of-the-bands. Photos on coffee shop walls. Repertory theater. Cello solos. Paint-your-own-pottery places. It is all art, and it all matters in ways we seldom acknowledge.
The McKnight Foundation's conviction that the arts matter has always inspired our giving. That conviction also has driven us to find ways to highlight the arts and the nourishment they provide. This report is one such effort. A New Angle explores a growing commitment to the arts in the Twin Cities' suburbs. The report covers new ground by detailing the history, status, and direction of suburban arts activity.
We live in a time of continuous change. Regions with the ability to understand, anticipate and prepare for alternative future scenarios are rewarded in the New Economy. Strategic actions will improve the prospect for the Twin Cities to be globally competitive in the New Economy. The purpose of this paper is to ask the right questions and engage the right people in a common understanding of how to improve the likelihood for impact and sustained change. As initial steps in a process of strategy-making our region's leaders need to review assessments of the region, consider opportunities, choose priorities, and define roles and responsibilities for action.
Boston Foundation, The;
A new study commissioned by the Boston Foundation on how Boston and comparable cities support the arts shows that only New York City has higher per capita contributed revenue for the art than Boston, among major American cities.
The study, titled "How Boston and Other American Cities Support and Sustain the Arts: Funding for Cultural Nonprofits in Boston and 10 Other Metropolitan Cities," also examined Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Portland Oregon, San Francisco, and Seattle. "How Boston" is a follow-up of sorts to a 2003 Boston Foundation report titled, "Funding for Cultural Organizations in Boston and Nine Other Metropolitan Areas."
Key findings of this study, regarding Boston, include the fact that Boston's arts market is quite densely populated. While Greater Boston is the nation's 10th largest metro area and ranks ninth for total Gross Domestic Product, its non-profit arts market, which consists of more than 1,500 organizations, is comparable to that of New York and San Francisco, and consistently surpasses large cities such as Houston, Chicago and Philadelphia, in terms of the number of organizations and their per capita expenses.
Business Resources Collaborative;
Like any large infrastructure project, the Green Line construction posed considerable risks to businesses operating on the line. To help understand how these changes impacted local businesses, Wilder Research partnered with the CCFC's Business Resources Collaborative to survey more than 200 business representatives along the Green Line. This information provides useful feedback for similar projects, and the findings provide an opportunity to reflect on the challenges and successes encountered by businesses during and after construction. We would like to share three vital findings from this research.
Wallace Foundation, The;
Arts organizations of all kinds recognize that their futures depend on cultivating new audiences who will form long-lasting relationships with them. Perhaps no art form faces a bigger challenge in doing so than opera. Many people who've never been to the opera believe it's stuffy and elitist, and certainly not a place they'd like to spend a Saturday night. They think they'll feel like ignorant outsiders who can't possibly understand, let alone appreciate, what's happening on stage. Minnesota Opera set out to dispel those preconceived notions among women ages 35 to 60 through an unlikely partnership with a local talk-radio host who had a knack for relating to this demographic. An opera buff himself, he made the art form relatable and exciting to women who had never been to a performance, so much so that they jammed the phone lines when he announced ticket giveaways to Minnesota Opera on his radio show. After four seasons of the partnership, 1,114 households new to Minnesota Opera had redeemed their free tickets to attend a performance, and 18 percent had paid to come back. The company found that perceptions of opera as elitist were not insurmountable, but also discovered that one or two positive experiences were not necessarily enough to turn most of these new audience members into frequent attendees. Follow-up research identified barriers to that elusive return purchase, and the company has used these insights to adjust its marketing strategy to bring a number of those new audience members back.
Center for Neighborhood Technology;
This report examines the impacts of transportation spending on households in the 28 metro areas for which the federal government collects expenditure data and of rising gas prices on both households and regional economies. It finds that households in regions that have invested in public transportation reap financial benefits from having access to affordable mobility options, even as gas prices rise, and that regions with public transit are losing less per household from the increase in gas prices than those without transit options.
Center for Neighborhood Technology;
This brief describes a new information tool developed by the Urban Markets Initiative to quantify, for the first time, the impact of transportation costs on the affordability of housing choices. This brief explains the background, creation, and purpose of this new tool. The first section provides a project overview and a short summary of the method used to create the Affordability Index. The next section highlights the results from testing the index in a seven-county area in and around Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. To demonstrate the usefulness of this tool at a neighborhood level, the third section projects the effect of transportation and housing choices on three hypothetical low- and moderate-income families in each of four different neighborhoods in the Twin Cities. The brief concludes with suggested policy recommendations and applications of the new tool for various actors in the housing market, and for regulators, planners, and funders in the transportation and land use arenas at all levels of government. The Housing and Transportation Affordability Index is a groundbreaking innovation because it prices the trade-offs that households make between housing and transportation costs and the savings that derive from living in communities that are near shopping, schools, and work, and that boast a transit-rich environment. Built using data sets that are available for every transit-served community in the nation, the tool can be applied in neighborhoods in more than 42 cities in the United States. It provides consumers, policymakers, lenders, and investors with the information needed to make better decisions about which neighborhoods are truly affordable, and illuminate the implications of their policy and investment choices.
Wilder Research Center;
Provides a snapshot of the current status of African-American babies (whose parents were born in the U.S.) relative to other babies in St. Paul and Minneapolis. When data on African-American babies are not available, data on all black babies (including children of African immigrants) are presented.
Wilder Research Center;
Significant research has been conducted both locally and nationally documenting the tasks completed by caregivers, the impact of caregiving on health and well-being, and the economic value of this tremendous informal source of support for older adults. Our analysis attempts to build on this existing knowledge with a primary focus on the informal support that surrounds caregivers.
The ultimate goal of this initiative is to strengthen the fabric of support for family, friends, and community caregivers, and to do so in ways that are compatible with the values and needs of community residents.
First, this report provides an overview of the processes by which one assumes the role of caregiver, the time commitment and responsibilities involved, and the challenges that arise when providing care to a family member, friend, or neighbor. Distinctions between primary and secondary caregivers (i.e., whether or not the caregiver is mainly responsible for the care of the older adult) are discussed whenever relevant.
Next, the report presents general findings about the support surrounding caregivers including their use of home-based services, employer-based supports, and informal support. Lastly, we explore caregivers' experiences and levels of informal support through several frameworks.
MZ Strategies, LLC;
Several efforts are emerging in the greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul, MN (MSP) region (also referred to as the Twin Cities) to support more strategic partnerships and align investment decisions to support regional economic competitiveness. The Twin Cities region is known for its regional governance and collaboration on a range of issues including transportation, revenue sharing and waste water infrastructure. The region is also home to more Fortune 500 companies per capita than any other metro region and a population that is, on average, relatively well educated and financially stable.
Concerns have arisen over the last decade that economic and racial disparities are increasing, and that economic growth including business start-ups and wage rates are not keeping pace with regional expectations. In response, the Metropolitan Council (Met Council) and the newly created Greater MSP Partnership, among other regional economic stakeholders,are refining their efforts to advance equitable economic competitiveness for the Twin Cities region.
Through funding from the McKnight Foundation, the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) and MZ Strategies, LLC (the Project Team) partnered to survey a subset of regional planning agencies and examine efforts in Denver, Kansas City and Seattle metropolitan areas to highlight different approaches to economic competitiveness.
The study provides a snapshot of regional economic innovation and collaboration necessary to achieve equitable economic growth in the greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area.
The survey was distributed by NARC to directors and/ or lead economic development staff at 30 pre-identified regional agencies based on similarities and appropriateness to serve as a model for the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region. Overall, 16 of 30 regions responded -- a response rate of 53 percent.