A message fromEllen Alberding
The Joyce Foundation works with grantee partners to advance effective policy solutions for the central challenges of our time. We strive to use our resources to improve quality of life, promote community vitality, and achieve a fair society.
There are certain essentials our public systems must get right. These include providing quality public education for all children, no matter where they live…knowledge and skills for disadvantaged workers so they qualify for family-supporting jobs…a clean and healthy environment that nurtures body and spirit…safe neighborhoods, free of gunfire erupting in the night…widely accessible artistic experience enriched by the stories of all cultures and traditions…and fair, representative elections.
Taking risks, betting on good ideas, and testing innovative solutions are among the contributions we can make to advance social and economic change. We support solutions that are research-driven, road-tested, broadly supported, and that stand up over time. And though we may not hit the mark every time, we try our best to learn from setbacks and make adjustments along the way.
The Joyce Foundation focuses much of its investment on six states in the Great Lakes region: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Projects we support in the region may also have broader implications given the interplay between work on the ground in the states and national policies taking shape in Washington. Success in the states can point the way to federal policy changes and also serve as examples for local action. Conversely, we can bring promising ideas percolating at the national level back to the Great Lakes region.
We believe a community is healthiest when benefits are widely shared among its people. Level the playing field, and it just might turn out to be a field of dreams.
Ellen AlberdingOctober 2015
Helping disadvantagedworkers succeed in theworkforce
In a rapidly changing economy, it is difficult for disadvantaged workers with few skills to find good jobs. An estimated 36 million American adults lack the basic skills needed to succeed in college or most family-supporting jobs.
To improve employment outcomes for disadvantaged workers, our Employment Program seeks to enhance practices in the education and training sector and also to forge partnerships with employers on new ways to upgrade employee skills in the workplace.
We have collaborated with our partners to reform federal workforce policy and practice. One promising development is the advent of career pathway systems. Adults who go back to school to upgrade their skills are provided with a clearly defined and structured educational roadmap. This eliminates some of the barriers they traditionally face and charts a course to earning educational credentials with marketplace value. Joyce played a role in developing the career pathways concept, adopted by Congress in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act that took effect July 1, 2015.
Community colleges play a critical role in preparing people for jobs. Some do an excellent job, particularly for low-income and minority students. To recognize excellence in the field, we established the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, awarded every two years to recognize schools with outstanding education and employment outcomes, especially for students of color. This recognition also is inspiring innovation throughout the nation’s community college systems.
Our Employment Program also is building a new technology ecosystem to help adults acquire essential basic skills such as math and reading. Our initial investments are aimed at determining the scope of potential business opportunity for new technology in adult learning, and in that way draw interest from innovators and educators by determining the opportunity for new technology in adult learning. Not only is this a business opportunity—it is vital to the US economy.
Of course, employers are the ones who ultimately determine the qualifications and skills needed in the workplace, so we are focusing especially on companies upgrading employee skills and advancing entry-level workers to better jobs. We are encouraging more employer-led apprenticeships and other workplace learning opportunities, as evidence suggests the best outcomes come from combining classroom learning with on-the-job learning.Recent Grants
Quality educationfor all children,starting early
Our Education Program focuses on making sure students enter kindergarten ready to succeed and on ensuring they have high-quality teachers throughout their PreK-12 education. These strategies are especially important for students in low-income communities who often enter school far behind their peers, consistently land in classrooms with the least effective teachers, and often fail to graduate high school prepared for their futures.
The Education Program has spent the last decade helping establish a research base that shows excellent teachers are the main in-school driver for student success. We have worked to overhaul district hiring practices, make teacher evaluations more meaningful, link the evaluations to tenure and layoff decisions, and raise teacher voices. We are now focused on making sure teachers are properly prepared before they enter the classroom, that new evaluations help guide better professional development, and that teachers get the support and career opportunities they need to excel.
But we also know the best way to ensure children excel in school is to start early – by preparing them academically and developmentally for kindergarten. Studies show that at least half the achievement gap affecting low-income children already exists by kindergarten. A contributing factor is absenteeism: emerging research shows that chronic absenteeism long a problem in K-12 schools actually begins in preschool. About 25 percent of children enrolled in Washington, DC Head Start programs miss more than 10 percent of the school year. In Chicago, it is 36 percent of Head Start children and, in New York, a staggering 49 percent. The Joyce Foundation is working to address this problem by supporting a pilot program in Chicago to engage families of young children through the use of low-cost digital tools and by funding an effort to identify other such digital tools nationwide.Recent Grants
Joint Fund for Educationand Employment
From cradle to career
Becoming college and career ready is a process that starts early in life and continues into adulthood. But, far too many students emerge from high school unprepared to succeed in higher education or excel in an ever-changing job market, where employers across the Great Lakes region are looking for workers with a range of cognitive, technical, and personal skills. We saw a need to look at the entire system from cradle to career, and created the Joint Fund for Education and Employment.
The Joint Fund bridges our Education and Employment Programs to identify policy and practice innovations to improve education and employment outcomes—and then scale them up. This new portfolio focuses on building pathways that connect high school, postsecondary education, and work; growing personal success skills, such as initiative and collaboration, that are essential for academic and employment success; and increasing student engagement by scaling innovative teaching and learning approaches, including personalized learning, project-based learning, and tech-enabled learning, that improve student outcomes.Recent Grants
A clean naturalenvironment to nurturebody and spiritImage courtesy of Moheb Soliman
Our Environment Program supports policies that safeguard the region’s air and freshwater resources, including cleaner energy systems and the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes.
In our energy and climate work, we support strong state utility sector energy efficiency policies alongside cleaner power generation. Not only is energy efficiency the fastest, cheapest way to reduce carbon pollution, it also creates jobs and saves consumers money on their energy bills. We are also working with Midwest states to develop aggressive plans to reduce carbon pollution from the electric power sector as required by new US EPA rules. Research has shown that in all six states represented by our Environment Program, energy efficiency is the lowest-cost approach to implement the federal Clean Power Plan.
We believe the health and resilience of the Great Lakes can be significantly improved by making simultaneous progress on three interconnected issues: preventing aquatic invasive species such as Asian Carp from invading the Great Lakes; reducing polluted runoff from farms and cities; and maintaining the Great Lakes as a bipartisan policy priority, especially through the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
The spirit of regional and international cooperation that led to the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 and, more recently, the Great Lakes Compact of 2005 continues to this day. The most recent illustration of the binational commitment to the region was the June 2015 agreement between the states of Michigan and Ohio and the province of Ontario to reduce phosphorous runoff into the Western Lake Erie Basin to lower the risk of toxic algal blooms. These outbreaks threaten public drinking water supplies, disrupt recreation and commerce in Lake Erie, and have become a growing concern throughout the Great Lakes.
In addition to funding research and advocacy aimed at cleaning up the Midwest energy system and protecting our Great Lakes, Joyce often brings together diverse interests—public, private, and nonprofit—to discuss how best to protect and restore the Great Lakes region. Convening those who advocate and those who implement can help ensure that proposed solutions work as intended.Recent Grants
Gun Violence Prevention
We know all too well the impact of gun violence in America: nine people shot and killed at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, nine people shot dead as they participated in Bible study at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2015 ... 20 children and six educators killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 ... 32 people killed at Virginia Tech University on April 16, 2007. Mass shootings horrify the nation, but equally tragic are the individual firearm deaths, including the heavy toll of suicides. Of the 33,636 firearm deaths in 2013 (most recent year for available data), 21,175 were suicides.
As we work with partner organizations and individual citizens across the United States to curb an epidemic unique among our peers, we are guided by three strategies: reducing access to firearms by people who pose a risk to themselves or others, engaging law enforcement and other key stakeholders working together with communities in gun violence prevention, and building a body of research and data to inform prevention policies and practices.
Despite inaction in Washington, D.C., progress is being made in the states. Supporters of sensible gun violence prevention measures are building a sustained community of activists and allies. We believe progress can be made on policies such as expanding background checks on firearm purchases and strengthening the tools of law enforcement.
Oregon, for example, enacted two common-sense gun violence prevention laws in 2015. One expands background checks to include private gun sales—a secondary market in which guns can reach convicted felons. The second measure bars possession of firearms by people who are convicted of a domestic violence crime against a family member or subject to a domestic violence restraining order.
And a new California law taking effect in 2016 establishes gun violence restraining orders. Immediate family members, domestic partners, and police will have the ability to petition courts for an order that temporarily takes guns away from those who pose a heightened risk of violence to themselves or others.Recent Grants
Enriching our livesthrough arts andculture from diversetraditions
The arts are an integral part of communities and a major contributor to the economy. We work to improve communities through the arts and support art that reflects and challenges the community.
Our Culture Program supports a number of arts organizations in Chicago around efforts to build capacity, create important work, and reflect the community—from the board room to the stage. Building on our history of promoting greater diversity in the arts and supporting cultural institutions set in communities of color, Joyce launched a new partnership with 10 leading Chicago arts and cultural organizations to help them achieve greater sustained diversification along with long-term operating success.
We worked collaboratively with 10 of our long-time grantees to design a three-year grant program—the Spotlight Grants—that would provide resources and room to grow according their own priorities and needs.
On a regional level, we also invest in projects by artists of color to develop the Midwest’s creative capital and to catalyze community engagement through the annual Joyce Awards program. We’ve awarded more than $2.4 million to commission 46 new works since the program started in 2003.Recent Grants
Expanding votingrights and holding fairelections
The landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 was enacted to prevent state and local governments from suppressing the votes of African Americans. Fifty years later, voting rights advocates are fighting to protect that hard-won victory while also working to expand ballot access for all. Their challenge? An electoral system that is “ramshackle, rife with error, and prone to partisan manipulation,” as described by the Brennan Center for Justice, a Joyce grantee.
As we strive to repair outmoded voting laws, systems, and machinery, Joyce also engages with grantees on important democracy reform issues, such as campaign finance, electoral systems, election administration and judicial independence. Our Democracy Program is focused on the values and qualities that are the foundation of a healthy democratic system: honesty, fairness, transparency, accountability, competition, and informed citizen participation.
We work with grantee partners to embed these values in the political cultures of Great Lakes states to open the political process to more candidates, more voters, and more perspectives. A great deal is at stake, as political reform is not an end unto itself: it’s about having a government that can function effectively in the face of tough policy challenges.Recent Grants
|Liabilities and Net Assets|
|Deferred federal excise tax payable||3,023||3,498|
|Net assets--temporarily restricted||-||2,000|
|Total Net Assets||934,848||920,145|
|Total Liabilities and Net Assets||951,466||936,452|
|Year ended December 31,||2014 Unrestricted||2014 Temporarily Restricted||2014||2013|
|Net realized gains on investment transactions||72,587||-||72,587||63,009|
|Net unrealized (depreciation) appreciation of investments||(24,271)||-||(24,271)||73,843|
|Interest and dividend income||15,435||-||15,435||12,000|
|Net investment revenue||61,679||-||61,679||147,111|
|Net assets released from restrictions||2,000||(2,000)||-||-|
|Total investment revenue and other support||63,679||(2,000)||61,679||147,111|
|Specific grants awarded||1,864||-||1,864||1,034|
|Administrative and program expense||7,480||-||7,480||7,090|
|Federal excise tax and unrelated business income tax expense||1,712||-||1,712||908|
|Deferred federal excise tax (benefit) expense||(475)||-||(475)||1,432|
|Increase (Decrease) in Net Assets||16,703||(2,000)||14,703||102,506|
|Net Assets, at beginning of year||918,145||2,000||920,145||817,639|
|Net Assets, at end of year||934,848||-||934,848||920,145|
|The Joyce Foundation's most recent audited financial statements are posted at www.joycefdn.org.|
Board & Staff
Board of Directors
Roger R. Fross
Charles U. Daly
John T. Anderson
Ellen S. Alberding
José B. Alvarez
Robert G. Bottoms
Michael F. Brewer
Anthony S. Earl
Carlton L. Guthrie
Daniel P. Kearney
Tracey L. Meares
Margot M. Rogers
Ellen S. Alberding
Vice President, Finance & Administration, Secretary and Treasurer
Vice President, Strategy Programs
Chief Investment Officer
Senior Program Officer
Matthew M. Muench
Senior Program Officer
Gun Violence Prevention
Director of Communications
Senior Communications Officer
Manager of Digital Strategies and Engagement
Kerry M. Goese
Manager of Grants and Technology Specialist