Tuesday, April 26, 2016

$100 million initiative launched to fund Chicago social services | Chicago Sun-Times


Chicago Sun-Times

News Home
Sports Home
Politics Home
Entertainment Home
Columnists Home
Opinion Home
Lifestyles Home
Copyright © 2016. Sun-Times Media, LLC All Rights Reserved.

BUSINESS 04/25/2016, 11:00am
$100 million initiative launched to fund Chicago social services
(From left) Julia Stasch, president, MacArthur Foundation Terry Mazany, president and CEO, The Chicago Community Trust and Jennifer Pryce, president and CEO of Calvert Foundation announce the creation of Benefit Chicago Ñ$100 million in investments to provide low-interest loans and other help to boost efforts of local organizations working to improve educational opportunities, childcare, affordable housing options and other things. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times
(From left) Julia Stasch, president, MacArthur Foundation Terry Mazany, president and CEO, The Chicago Community Trust and Jennifer Pryce, president and CEO of Calvert Foundation announce the creation of Benefit Chicago Ñ$100 million in investments to provide low-interest loans and other help to boost efforts of local organizations working to improve educational opportunities, childcare, affordable housing options and other things. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times
Maudlyne Ihejirika
@maudlynei | email
Chicago's social services providers will soon have access to a $100 million stream of funding for community help projects, under an initiative launched Monday by three powerhouse charities.

An impact investment fund created by the Chicago Community Trust, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and Calvert Foundation, will begin accepting applications this summer for low-interest loans for groups engaged in social good.

Cruz, Kasich team up against Trump and other weekend headlines

Politicians who served time

19 things to know about FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly

"MacArthur Foundation is really excited about this collaboration of organizations coming together to tap into the rising interest in impact investing — a national and global phenomenon. Our goal is to connect that rising interest to the needs of Chicago's social sector infrastructure," said MacArthur President Julia Stasch.

Impact investment funds have grown in the past decade as more investors seek opportunities to merge a desire to help meet social needs with a profitable return on their investments.

Impact investment funds allow individuals or institutions to invest those dollars in entities focused on helping society. The new so-called "Benefit Chicago" fund, a brainchild of the MacArthur Foundation, would be the nation's largest such fund.

The fund is expected to launch in mid-July. Anyone interested in investing in efforts to address such priorities as education and child care, job creation and training, access to healthy food, quality affordable housing, energy conservation, can buy into the fund.

"This goes beyond traditional grant-making, to enable individual donors to participate in community investment finance. There's no other community or city that has put together this type of collaboration to bring the expertise of loan-making in the community that MacArthur has, the financial platform of Calvert, and the deep knowledge of the community that the Trust brings," said Terry Mazany, President/CEO of the Trust.

Investors will be able to purchase Chicago-targeted Community Investment Notes issued by Calvert — fixed-income securities, with principal maturities ranging from 1 to 15 years, and interest payable annually.

It can be as small as $20 online, or through a brokerage account, $1,000. Or investors could start a donor-advised fund at the Trust, designating it for investment in a Chicago-targeted Note.

" 'Benefit Chicago' is about demystifying impact investing. Here's an opportunity for everyone to think about how they can put their investments to work in a good, social and financial way," said Jennifer Pryce, President/CEO of Calvert.

"This has never been available before. Impact investing has been complicated, or just for ultra high-end clients who have money for an advisor to help them structure these deals," she said. "So this is really democratizing and making it available for all of Chicago to get behind. The benefit is the amount of assets that we put to work for the community."

In recent years, MacArthur, with a 30-year track record in impact investing, saw increased inquiries for its expertise in the field; the rising interest in part driven by Millennials who are receiving large transfers of wealth from baby boomers; and women living longer, inheriting large sums, and building businesses.

So MacArthur reached out to the 100-year-old Community Trust, with its expertise in funding Chicago needs; and then to Calvert, with its expertise in connecting investors to causes since 1995.

More information can be obtained at benefitCHI.org

by Taboola Sponsored Links You May Like
Former Congressman: Get Ready For Financial Martial Law
Stansberry Research
Don't do it! The game that will have you hooked!
Stormfall: Free Online Game
10 Celebrities Who Are Said To Smell Awful
Homeowners Born Before 1976 Are In For A Big Surprise
She Puts An Onion In Her Ear. The Reason Why Is A Fascinating Trick That Everyone Should Know
These Pics of Cats Before & After Being Adopted Will Warm Your Heart

Follow "Chicago Sun-Times"

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 170 other followers

Enter your email address

Sign me up

Build a website with WordPress.com

Monday, April 25, 2016

$100 million investment fund aims to improve Chicago - Chicago Tribune

$100 million investment fund aims to improve Chicago
Julia Stasch
Julia Stasch, seen here in a 2012 file photo, is president of the MacArthur Foundation. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Gail MarksJarvis Gail MarksJarvisContact Reporter
Chicago Tribune
In a unique attempt to improve life in Chicago, individuals are now able to make investments of as little as $20 that can be used to support causes through a new $100 million impact investment fund announced Monday.

The joint effort between the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago Community Trust and the Calvert Foundation is called Benefit Chicago. It's intended to make it possible to lend money to nonprofits and community improvement endeavors that otherwise likely wouldn't raise the money they need.

Welcome, 'Benefit Chicago,' to social investing in this city
Welcome, 'Benefit Chicago,' to social investing in this city
Individual investors don't get to choose what causes their money supports, but the MacArthur Foundation will be taking requests for loans and investments from a broad range of social enterprises and nonprofits that need funding for education, child care, affordable housing, energy conservation, job creation and training, small businesses, healthy food and other community needs, said Julia Stasch, president of the foundation.

MacArthur already makes so-called impact investments throughout the world, but is responding to local needs and a growing desire by individuals to improve their neighborhoods through their investments, Stasch said.

The promise and risk of social impact bonds
The promise and risk of social impact bonds
MacArthur has committed $50 million to the effort, and the Chicago Community Trust $15 million. Calvert Foundation is selling bonds that start in $20 denominations and pay interest annually. They can be acquired, starting Monday, directly through Calvert's vested.org site or through brokerage firms.

For clients with donor-advised funds, the Chicago Community Trust will give them the choice of investing in impact bonds for Chicago instead of parking money in a money market fund, said Terry Mazany, chief executive of the community trust. The trust is establishing a board that will set criteria for the projects that will be funded. The board will begin reviewing applications in July. The results and updates on the endeavors that will be funded will be reported at www.benefitchi.org.

Individuals and families who want to make charitable contributions on an ongoing basis often set up donor-advised funds through philanthropic organizations like the community trust. The donor funds frequently are set up at tax time because taxpayers can then deduct the entire large contribution made into the fund that year and then take their time deciding which charities will get gifts from their fund as time goes by.

While donors decide where to devote their charitable contributions, the money is invested in stocks, bonds and money market funds. There aren't additional tax deductions as the process takes place, and the Benefit Chicago bonds won't carry extra tax advantages.

Research by MacArthur and the Chicago Community Trust shows a community need of $100 million to $400 million, said Stasch. Bonds will have different maturities, ranging from 1 year to 15 years, and interest rates ranging from 0.5 percent to 4 percent. After enterprises are given loans, they will make payments into the impact fund, and that money will then be available for loans to additional organizations.

"It allows the individual or donor to multiply and extend their impact," Mazany said.

National research has shown people are interested in improving their communities through their investments, rather than simply earning a return that will grow their own wealth. So-called "impact investing" is growing as a result, with firms such as BlackRock starting funds like the BlackRock Impact U.S. Equity Fund.

Calvert has worked with foundations in cities such as Minneapolis, Denver and Baltimore, but Stasch and Mazany said they hope the depth of the Chicago effort will be copied in other cities.


Twitter @gailmarksjarvis

Chicago Booth to give 8 full scholarships to nonprofit, government professionals

Here are some ways to give like Zuckerberg

10 things you might not know about geniuses

Copyright © 2016, Chicago Tribune
Business Catherine T. MacArthur

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Did Blacks Really Endorse the 1994 Crime Bill? - The New York Times

Did Blacks Really Endorse the 1994 Crime Bill?

by ELIZABETH HINTON, nytimes.com
April 13

Credit Matthew Hollister
Photo by: Matthew Hollister
AS political candidates and pundits grapple with the legacy of the 1994 crime bill and the era of mass incarceration that has seen millions of African-Americans locked in the nation's prisons, one defense keeps popping up: that black citizens asked for it.

When confronted about her husband's pivotal support for the bill, Hillary Clinton argued, even as she admitted the legislation's shortcomings, that the bill was a response to "great demand, not just from America writ large, but from the black community, to get tougher on crime."

Yet the historical record reveals a different story. Instead of being the unintended consequence of the democratic process at work, punitive crime policy is a result of a process of selectively hearing black voices on the question of crime.

There's no question that by the early 1990s, blacks wanted an immediate response to the crime, violence and drug markets in their communities. But even at the time, many were asking for something different from the crime bill. Calls for tough sentencing and police protection were paired with calls for full employment, quality education and drug treatment, and criticism of police brutality.

It's not just that those demands were ignored completely. It's that some elements were elevated and others were diminished — what we call selective hearing. Policy makers pointed to black support for greater punishment and surveillance, without recognizing accompanying demands to redirect power and economic resources to low-income minority communities. When blacks ask for better policing, legislators tend to hear more instead.

Selective hearing has a deep history. In the Progressive Era, W.E.B. DuBois and Ida B. Wells called for state authorities to offer blacks the same social investment that reformers used to manage crime in white immigrant communities. But while whites received rehabilitation and welfare programs, black citizens found themselves overpunished and underprotected.

During the 1960s, blacks argued for full socioeconomic inclusion and an end to discriminatory policing, which they argued was a root cause of that decade's urban unrest. Instead, they got militarized police forces and riot tanks in the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968.

In the ashes of the war on poverty, the trend accelerated. The penal system ballooned, while social supports directed toward the poorest and most vulnerable declined precipitously. Black leaders argued for full employment in the press and on the floor of Congress, urged vetoes of draconian legislation and drafted their own bills to support community-led anti-crime programs — and all to little avail.

Flash forward to the Clinton era. As soon as Chuck Schumer, Joseph R. Biden Jr. and others introduced their bipartisan crime bill in September of 1993, groups representing black communities pushed back. The N.A.A.C.P. called it a "crime against the American people."

While supporting the idea of addressing crime, members of the Congressional Black Caucus criticized the bill itself and introduced an alternative bill that included investments in prevention and alternatives to incarceration, devoted $2 billion more to drug treatment and $3 billion more to early intervention programs. The caucus also put forward the Racial Justice Act, which would have made it possible to use statistical evidence of racial bias to challenge death sentences.

Given the history of selective hearing, what followed was no surprise. Black support for anti-crime legislation was highlighted, while black criticism of the specific legislation was tuned out. The caucus threatened to stall the bill, but lawmakers scrapped the Racial Justice Act when Republicans promised to filibuster any legislation that adopted its measures.

In final negotiations, Democratic leadership yielded to Republicans demanding that prevention (or "welfare for criminals" as one called it) be sliced in exchange for their votes. Senator Robert Dole insisted that the focus be "on cutting pork, not on cutting prisons or police." The compromise eliminated $2.5 billion in social spending and only $800 million in prison expenditures.

This presented black lawmakers with a dilemma: Defeating the bill might pave the way for something even more draconian down the line, and lose critical prevention funding still in the bill. Ultimately, 26 of the 38 voting members supported the legislation. But those who broke ranks did so loudly: As Representative Robert C. Scott of Virginia explained, "You wouldn't ask an opponent of abortion to look at a bill with the greatest expansion of abortion in the history of the United States, and argue that he ought to vote for it because it's got some highway funding in it."

Mr. Scott had it right: The bill allocated federal funds for up to 75 percent of the cost of new prisons, defined 60 new capital offenses, constricted inmates' access to higher education and introduced 100,000 more police officers. Less than a quarter of the funding went to prevention programs. Over two decades later, this legislation continues to shape the lives of millions of African-Americans, overwhelmingly for the worse. This legislation further entrenched the idea that vulnerable urban communities are best managed through harsh punishment and heightened surveillance.

Making our neighborhoods places of mobility and fortune, not disinvestment and confinement, means that the voices of the people most affected must be heard and heeded. As we debate how to switch course, our popular understanding of the rise of "get tough" laws should not layer selective memory atop selective hearing of the past by justifying black incarceration with trite references to black voices.

© 2016 The New York Times Company.

The content you have chosen to save (which may include videos, articles, images and other copyrighted materials) is intended for your personal, noncommercial use. Such content is owned or controlled by The New York Times Company or the party credited as the content provider. Please refer to nytimes.com and the Terms of Service available on its website for information and restrictions related to the content.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The 50-20-50 Productivity Hack that Will Add Hours to Your Week | cloudHQ Blog


Integrate All Apps in Your Org


Request a Demo

The 50-20-50 Productivity Hack that Will Add Hours to Your Week





You need time to build great things. Specifically, you need blocks of "focus" time, especially if you're creating something new.

Unfortunately, many of us aren't good at carving out this kind of time in our daily schedules.

Consider: one study showed the average office worker changes tasks every three minutes. After an interruption, it took people an average of 25 minutes to fully regain their focus.

In other words, that 60-second "check Facebook" break doesn't just cost you one minute. It costs you 26.

The 50-20-50 Productivity Method

If you struggle with distractions or procrastination, 50-20-50 might be the cure, especially if you do work that demands blocks of "focused" creative time.

If you build software, for example, you need blocks of time to work through the challenges inherent in programming. We could say the same for writers, designers, UX professionals, or anyone whose job it is to create new things and bring them into the world.

How 50-20-50 Works

The numbers in 50-20-50 stand for three sequential blocks of time:

50-minute work session20-minute break50-minute work session

Together, these form a two-hour block of time. This is your focus time, your chance to ignore the little urgent stuff for a while so you can do the big, important things instead.

The Rules

50-20-50 isn't just about time. There are a few other rules to follow to get the maximum benefit.

1. Eliminate ALL Distractions.

The first thing that needs to go is your phone. If at all possible, turn it off and put it out of reach.

Then turn off all notifications on your computer. Turn off your email application. Close all social media accounts, and especially disable TweetDeck or any other program that might interrupt your focus during the next 50 minutes.

If you're on a Mac, turn on "Do Not Disturb", found under your system preference, and then under "notifications" as an added layer of disruption protection.



2. Set a Timer for 50 Minutes (DON'T Use Your Phone)

Use an egg timer if you have one. A standard stopwatch will work.

If you'll be online, you can use a simple countdown timer. Or if you're a fan of productivity music,Focus@Will has a built-in timer that's perfect for this application.


3. DON'T Respond to Phone Calls, Texts, or Any Inbound Notification

If your phone rings, don't answer it. If your phone buzzes from across the room, ignore it.

This is your time to do the important work. Resist the temptation to get pulled back into the world of urgent (but less important) tasks and communications.


4. Keep a "Remember This" Notepad Within Reach

Your brain is sometimes your worst enemy. You'll be 15 minutes into a focus session and you'll think, "I forgot to call Chris."

When this happens, write it down on a "remember this" notepad you have near your workstation.

Don't stop to do the task. Just write it down on the pad, then get back to your focus session. Your brain will be content with the knowledge the random "to-do" item won't be forgotten.


5. Take a 20-Minute Break (Away from the Computer)

When the timer goes off after 50 minutes, get up and do something completely different.

Reset the timer for 20 minutes. Then take a short walk. Or make a phone call. Or do anything that's NOT on the computer.

This gives your brain a chance to rest and reset. You'll find by doing this, you'll be much more productive in the second 50-minute focus session.


6. Reset the Timer for 50 Minutes

When your 20-minute break is up, reset the timer for 50 minutes and go straight into another focus session.

Same rules as before. No distractions. No stopping. Write down random "to-do" items that pop into your head along the way.


7. Collaborate

Depending on the study you read, the average office worker receives somewhere between 80 and 150 emails per day. Assuming an 8-hour work day, that's one email every 3-to-7 minutes.

While focus is a perfect way to keep your eye on the prize, there's really only so much you can do even once you enforce the 50-20-20 rule. Don't discount the power of a team.

Instead of worrying about whether or not you are answering your incoming emails on time, share your email load with your team. You can share a Gmail label folder with all incoming emails that are filtered for things like: sales, support, a specific project, etc.

cloudHQ offers a *FREE* Gmail Label share and Chat tool, specifically designed to make your team effort work fluidly.

When an email is answered, your teammate can comment in the email to mark it as closed:



The Payoff: More Focus Time Than Many People Get in a Week

Do these 50-20-50 sessions twice a day and you'll create four dedicated "deep-focus" work sessions for yourself, far more focus time than most professionals get in a week.

And don't hesitate to delegate. If you manage a team of any kind or participate within one, try cloudHQ's free team Gmail label sharing and chat tool so that all the incoming emails are not entirely on your plate. More often than not, a great way to focus on what you need to get done, requires a structured team effort.


Get Started 


Posted 12 hours ago

Local School Councils still matter to Chicago Public Schools parents - Opinion - Crain's Chicago Business

April 13, 2016


Yes, Local School Councils still matterComments Email Print

By: Janet Meegan

Education Albany Park Avondale Opinion & Columnists Opinion

What began in Chicago three decades ago as a "radical experiment" in neighborhood control of education has come to resemble—both through waning interest and a deliberate undermining of its powers by Chicago Public Schools—an overlooked and underestimated electoral artifact.

This need not, and should not, be. Parents can play a critical role in realizing the power of Local School Councils at their fullest potential.

When I joined the Local School Council at my son's school four years ago, I found out why the process is so intimidating: There are formal meetings governed by rules parents don't immediately understand. Even educated parents can't always figure out what these councils can and cannot do.

Despite the learning curve, I came to understand the importance of having these bodies and the need to make them stronger.

Soon after I joined the council, I was involved in the principal selection process at that school. Because of Chicago's great diversity—economic, racial, cultural—a principal who excels at one school may struggle when placed in a much different environment. Key to making a good decision is to pick a leader who fits into the school's culture, one who can work well with the community. Who would I want steering my son's education? His classmates'? That was a concrete choice I had to decide with others.

I found out then that one of the roles of parent LSC representative is a "decoder" for other parents—a decipherer of true and false information. We have to explain this information in a way that others can understand and become engaged around.

Being a local decision-maker, albeit a minor one, contributed to shaping my outlook on how such representatives fit into the bigger narrative.

When my son first began school, I became a super-"room mom," attentive to the needs of my child's classroom and our own school. My involvement in the Local School Council taught me that I also needed to look at the larger picture: What is happening in CPS? What is happening in Springfield? How might their budgets affect my child's classroom?

I had to become an activist. As parent representative, I convinced the other moms to call Springfield to ask for the resources our school (and schools like it) needed. The situation at many of our schools is dire, but If parents didn't do this every year, we'd have even less.

I am running this year in Albany Park-Avondale alongside five other 33rd Ward Working Families members who see a value in the LSC turning outward—taking a stance on city and state issues whose consequences play out at the schools we represent. We hope to use the Local School Councils to foster community advocacy around those issues.

Without the benefit of an elected school board, Chicago's Local School Councils races are the closest city residents get to democracy in education. At the most localized of scales, they are also the best opportunity to connect directly with the constituents represented.

That includes teachers, students and, not least of all, parents.

Janet Meegan is the mother of a fifth grader and a pre-K student. She is a parent representative at Carl Von Linne Elementary and a member of the community organization 33rd Ward Working Families.

Crain's Daily Alert

Get a roundup of important business news that happens each day.


The real reason women still get paid lessConsider this the next time you pay your nanny (or maid)Clinton can shrug off Wisconsin. Trump can't.






Privacy Policy • Terms of Service

Copyright © 2016 Crain Communication, Inc.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Grouped by Paul Adams


by Paul Adams


Everything you've been taught about social media is wrong… When you are sitting down to plan out your next social media campaign, or are trying to make your product "go viral", is part of your plan to target people with thousands of Twitter followers? As it turns out, we've all had a lot of misconceptions about how people share online, and what makes ideas spread.

Luckily for us, Paul Adams has started to set the record straight through his book "Grouped", where he outlines exactly how people share online, and what you as a business leader can do about it. Adams, by the way, lead the social efforts at Facebook and Google, so he has unprecedented access to the data on this topic, which means that he can back up his claims with reality.

His biggest insight is that there is a huge difference in what he calls strong ties and weak ties. At the end of this summary you'll understand the difference between the two, and how to centre your campaigns around strong ties so that your social efforts will succeed.


When we look at a Facebook profile with somebody who has hundreds of friends, it's easy to conclude that this person must be somebody who wields a lot of influence online. But even the best social media tools that let us know who is "influential" online doesn't really tell us much about who influences other people to buy products or services - which is what we are really interested in as business owners.

As Adams points out, there is an enormous difference between strong ties and loose ties. Let's look at how our relationships are structured, and then look at the difference between strong ties and loose ties.

At the core of our relationship structure are 5 people who we would consider to be in our "inner circle". These are your very strong ties, and are the people you communicate with on a very regular basis.

The next ring out would contain the people you are very close to, and typically contains about 15 people.

The next ring out contains the 50 people you communicate with semi- regularly so that you generally know what is going on in their lives.

Casual friends and acquaintances would fit the bill here. The next ring out contains the 150 people you can maintain a stable social relationship with. Stanley Milgram is famous for his research around the fact that this is the largest number of people we can maintain a relationship with before things start breaking down. Social media was supposed to change that, but hasn't.

Lastly, we have 500 weak ties, who are people you loosely know and can recognize.

Strong Ties, Weak Ties

Within those circles are your strong ties and loose ties. Let's look at the difference between them, and what it means for your business.

Strong Ties

Before the social media revolution, most of our strong ties were with our family members, friends, coworkers and neighbours. That makes sense, because those are the people we see and interact with every day.

We trust the people we know best, so those are the people we'd typically turn to for recommendations. That was supposed to change with the advent of social media. We could now connect with anybody, anywhere, and we would surely start creating more connections with people who we shared common interests with.

But consider this - the average person on Facebook (at the time of Adams' book) has 160 friends, but they communicate directly with only 4-6 of those people every month. The stunning finding here is that we are not using social media to find new strong ties, but are using it mostly to enhance our relationships with the people we are already have strong ties with.

Weak Ties

Although we communicate most often with our strong ties, we also communicate with our weak ties from time to time. When we do, it's usually because of a common interest. There are some things that weak ties are useful for. For instance, weak ties are often a better source of information than strong ties, and can lead us to insights or discoveries that we might not have otherwise made.

The downside to using weak ties as a source of information is that we don't know if we can trust them or their information. We simply don't know them well enough to implicitly trust them, and so in order to act on their information we need to know that they are qualified to talk about specific topics, and that they are trustworthy.

Conclusion - Market To Strong Ties

All of the research on decision making points to the fact that we are disproportionately influenced by the people we are closest to emotionally. In independent studies, research firms found that people are three to four times as likely to trust a friend or acquaintance than a blogger or expert for product purchase advice.

What it boils down to is this - when people are looking for information and opinions from others, they'll look to their strong ties first. Even though there are weak ties that have a higher knowledge on the topic, they go with the advice of their strong ties because they trust them.

So, as a business, you should be building your campaigns around strong ties rather than weak ties. This means you can't rely on a few handpicked social media power users to power your campaign. You need your message to be spread from one strong tie to another - and typically this means looking at your message and product and figuring out how to get it to spread between friends and family members.

If you get this right, they will automatically spread the word using their social media accounts anyways.

Check out some of the other books in our library, including:

Crush It
Gary Vaynerchuk

Youngme Moon

Sally Hogshead

Flip the Funnel
Joseph Jaffe



© 2016 2434824 Ontario Inc. All Rights Reserved.