Florida Philanthropic Network Calls for Statewide Goal for Post-Secondary Education Attainment

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Philanthropic organizations in Florida care deeply about our state’s education outcomes. They know that a quality education can improve Floridians’ lives in vital ways, and greatly enhance the overall well-being of our communities.

That is why Florida Philanthropic Network (FPN), through our Education Funders Affinity Group, has announced our support for establishing a statewide goal to have 60% of working-age Floridians possess post-secondary degrees or certifications by the year 2025.

FPN, a statewide association working to strengthen and grow philanthropy, recognizes that Florida’s future economic health is tied directly to the skills attained by Florida’s students in post-secondary education. State and national workforce projections predict that over 60% of Florida jobs will require some form of postsecondary education or training by the year 2020, yet currently only 38% of working-age Floridians hold an associate’s degree or higher.

This is an economic competitiveness issue for the state. In today’s global economy, competition for talent is intense, and Florida ranks just 29th among the states in post-secondary attainment. Educational attainment must improve if our state is to attract more technological industries and higher-wage jobs.

Post-secondary education attainment is also tied directly to a person’s quality of life. Studies show that, in general, the higher the education level a person achieves, the more likely he or she is to be employed and to earn a living wage and the less likely he or she is to be dependent on public assistance.

FPN knows that achieving a goal of 60% post-secondary attainment won’t be easy. As reported by the Florida College Access Network, between 2000 and 2012, Florida has increased its degree attainment rate 5.7 percentage points, from 32.4% to 38.1%. Although this trend is positive, the slow growth — a little less than 0.5% annually on average — is well below that of most other economically developed nations and is one of the reasons why we’re losing ground in the proportion of college-educated workers. If Florida continues at this same growth rate, we’ll have a post-secondary attainment rate of about 43% in 2025 — far short of the 60% goal. So we all need to figure out ways to step up our efforts — philanthropy included.

FPN’s Education Funders Affinity Group (EAG) is comprised of FPN members who share an interest in supporting education issues, organizations and needs in Florida. The EAG offers Florida’s education funders a space to learn and share together on improving the state’s education outcomes, and to be a voice for Florida philanthropy on key education policy issues.

Through the EAG, FPN members are committed to working together to use their full set of resources, beyond their financial support, to achieve the statewide goal of 60% post-secondary attainment by 2025. This can include efforts to increase awareness, serve as neutral conveners, partner with key stakeholders, and address key policy issues required to raise the level of post-secondary attainment in the state. Working together toward this goal will help ensure that Florida’s workforce is competitive and successful and that all Floridians have the opportunity to achieve career success.

To learn more, please read FPN’s new position paper, which further explains our support for a 60% statewide attainment goal in Florida and for related policy issues.

– David Biemesderfer, President & CEO, Florida Philanthropic Network. Follow me at @DBiemesderfer.

Florida Philanthropy Comes Together to End Homelessness

RethinkHomelessnessPhilanthropic organizations of various types from across Florida came together in Orlando in June for the kick-off of Funders Together Florida, a new member affinity group of Florida Philanthropic Network in partnership with Funders Together to End Homelessness. The group will be a vehicle to bring philanthropy together for collective learning, sharing and action on preventing and ending homelessness in Florida. Continue reading

To Enhance Oversight of Charities, Let’s Build on the Good Work Already Being Done

In an op-ed he wrote last week for The New York Times (Who Will Watch the Charities?), David Callahan claimed that the charitable sector is like the “Wild West” when it comes to oversight. After reading Callahan’s piece, you could not be faulted for walking away thinking that little is being done to regulate the sector and punish wrongdoing. The reality, however, is something quite different.

Here in Florida, our state’s charity regulators have been taking serious action to crack down on fraud and other misdeeds in the charitable sector, working in partnership with philanthropic and nonprofit leaders.   Continue reading

New Effort Brings Together Funders Working to End Homelessness in Florida

homelessnessphotoOn a single day and night in January 2014, Florida communities counted more than 41,000 people who were living on the street or in an emergency shelter, according to a recent report by Florida’s Council on Homelessness, while Florida’s public schools recently identified more than 70,000 students as homeless. A growing number of philanthropic organizations in Florida are working to tackle this serious societal issue, and they have now come together through Florida Philanthropic Network (FPN) to tackle the state’s homelessness problem in a unique state-national partnership.

To continue FPN’s efforts to build philanthropy to build a better Florida, we are pleased to announce the launch of a new member affinity group, Funders Together Florida, which is a partnership between FPN and Funders Together to End Homelessness (FTEH), a national network of funders focused on homelessness. Funders Together Florida will be FTEH’s first statewide affiliate.

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Transforming the Lives of Florida’s Women & Girls Through a Collective Philanthropic Voice

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Florida Philanthropic Network is pleased to announce and welcome our newest member affinity group, the Florida Women’s Funding Alliance. The Alliance seeks to transform the lives of women and girls through FPN members’ collective voice and resources. Continue reading

The Power of a Network to Amplify Philanthropy’s Voice

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Originally posted on the The Center for Effective Philanthropy blog

I recently wrote a post for the CEP blog about the power of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers — the Forum Network — to advance philanthropy across the field. That power of the Forum Network, the largest network serving philanthropy in America, was on display again in March when nearly 200 representatives of foundations and other philanthropic organizations converged on Washington, D.C. for Foundations on the Hill. The event is the one time each year when the philanthropic sector gathers together in the nation’s capitol to provide a collective voice for philanthropy with federal legislators and other policymakers. People from 31 states held more than 260 meetings with House and Senate members to tell their personal stories about the value of philanthropy in their states and districts, and to highlight important federal policies that can strengthen and grow philanthropy.  Continue reading

Florida Philanthropic Network Issues Statement on Extending Healthcare Coverage in Florida

Kids HealthcareWith the Florida Legislature in session and healthcare coverage being an important topic, Florida Philanthropic Network, through our Florida Health Funders (FHF) member affinity group, has adopted the following position statement on the issue:

Extending healthcare coverage to more Floridians is crucial to the state’s future. As philanthropic funders of health in the state of Florida, we witness daily the importance of healthcare coverage and its positive effects on our residents, businesses and economy. Florida Philanthropic Network’s Florida Health Funders group encourages Floridians to become educated on the funding of healthcare and to raise their voices on this critical issue. Continue reading