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The Joyce Foundation Awards $17.5 Million in Grants


AUGUST 8, 2018

CHICAGO – With race and income gaps in higher education wider by some measures than they were 40 years ago, the Joyce Foundation is increasing its support for policies to expand opportunities for African American and Latino students to earn a college degree. Ten new higher education grants are among 83 awards totaling $17.5 million in the foundation’s latest round of grant making.

Other grants announced today aim to bring more community voices into environmental policy making, add to the body of research on gun violence, protect and expand voting rights, and spur more career opportunities in the arts for people of color.

Thirty-six percent of the grantees in this cycle are new to Joyce, marking further progress in adding new partners and voices as the foundation continues its transition to a strategic focus on racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region.

Race- and income-based inequities in higher education have widened, especially at public colleges and universities, as declining state aid has led to hikes in tuition and fees that put a greater financial burden on students. Young white adults are twice as likely as young Latino and African American adults to hold a bachelor’s degree – a bigger percentage point gap than in 1980. If racial equity is measured by whether top public colleges and universities reflect the racial composition of graduating high school classes in their states, the nation is also further from that goal than in 1980.

The new higher education grants include a two-year, $200,000 award to the Partnership for College Completion, which will advocate for increased affordability and equity in Illinois higher education policy. Policy Matters Ohio (two years, $200,000) will support policies that increase access and graduation for students of color and low-income students. And HCM Strategies (three years, $750,000) will work to improve transfer rates from two- to four-year institutions in Minnesota as part of a national effort in this area. Three grants will go to student-led advocacy groups to help ensure the next generation’s voice is represented in higher education policy conversations.

The following are among other grants announced today:

Education & Economic Mobility: $6.4 million (26 grants)
In addition to its higher education focus, the Education and Economic Mobility Program works to ensure equitable access to high-quality education and jobs through support for policies in educator quality and pathways for smoother transitions from high school to college.

In educator quality, Deans for Impact was awarded a two-year, $650,000 grant to advance national teacher preparation policy reforms and launch the Illinois Ed Prep Impact Network. The Center for American Progress received a one-year, $150,000 grant to support Joyce grantee advocates in Minnesota, Indiana and Illinois. The New Teacher Project Inc. (TNTP) was awarded a $25,000 planning grant to investigate the possibility of an alternative teacher certification program in Minnesota.

Helping high school students build early college momentum through rigorous, college-level coursework has been shown to significantly increase college access, affordability and completion for students underrepresented in higher education. Knowledge Works (two years, $600,000) will support a coalition of advocacy groups launching a national policy campaign to expand early college opportunities for low-income high school students and students of color.

Environment: $4.7 million (18 grants)
The Environment Program supports policies to achieve two critical long-term goals in the Great Lakes region: fighting climate change by accelerating the transition to clean energy systems, and working to ensure the next generation will have clean water from lake to tap.

Climate grants focus on state energy efficiency and renewable energy standards, and on accelerating adoption of electric vehicles and transportation systems. Clean Fuels Ohio (one year, $100,000) will engage regulators, policy makers, and community leaders in exploring how electric vehicle technologies can meet Ohio’s needs. Faith in Place (two years, $300,000) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (two years, $900,000) will work to ensure full implementation of Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act, including provisions on job training and job creation in the renewable energy sector.

The Midwest Environmental Justice Network (one year, $75,000) will draw more people into environmental policy making from communities directly affected by climate change and inadequate access to safe, clean water. The Ohio Environmental Council (two years, $550,000) also will focus on both energy and water issues, including stronger actions to fight toxic algae in Lake Erie.

Joyce awarded six grants for work on safe and affordable drinking water. Elevate Energy (one year, $100,000) will work on improving policies to reduce lead in drinking water in schools, childcare centers and private homes in Illinois. The Great Lakes Environmental Law Center ($60,000, two years) is working on a system that will allow citizen organizations to monitor water systems in Michigan for compliance with state standards.

And Freshwater Future (one year, $75,000) will help community organizations in Michigan play a greater role in state policymaking on issues such as lead contamination in drinking water and financing new water infrastructure.

Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform Program: $2.8 million (12 grants)
The Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform Program works to build safe and just communities by supporting policies to reduce gun violence and create a more fair and equitable criminal justice system. The program works in three policy areas: reducing gun violence in all its forms through research, education and advocacy; establishing police-community trust and legitimacy; and reducing incarceration of young people.

Three grants were awarded to major university research teams to study the impact of state gun laws, use of firearms in youth and intimate partner violence, and interventions that might prevent gun suicides. Duke University (three years, $374,000) will study the impact of laws setting a minimum age for firearm possession. Johns Hopkins University (three years, $407,000) will study the impact of state concealed weapons laws. And a team of Northeastern University and Harvard University researchers (two years, $540,000) will study gun violence involving youth, intimate partners, police, and suicide.

Northwestern University (two years, $307,000) will evaluate police-community engagement and street outreach and violence interruption efforts in Chicago. Mikva Challenge (one year, $100,000) will continue its youth council to advise the Chicago Police Department and integrate youth voice in community policing practices. A grant to the Fund for the City of New York (six months, $25,000) will support the Center for Court Innovation in organizing a fall 2018 convening of judicial leaders to explore justice system reforms.

Democracy Program: $2.1 million (14 grants)
The Joyce Democracy Program supports an informed, engaged, and representative democracy through fair elections and public-interest journalism. The latest round of grants includes support for the Common Cause Education Fund (two years, $600,000) in its work across Joyce’s six-state region to protect and expand voting rights, advocate for redistricting reform and seek an accurate count in the 2020 Census. A project housed at the New Venture Fund (one year, $50,000) will support emergency litigation and research related to the late addition of an untested citizenship question to the census. Grants to three Wisconsin organizations in that key battleground state – League of Women Voters of Wisconsin (two years, $130,000), Wisconsin Voices (two years, $150,000), and Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (one year, $60,000) will support their collaborative work to pursue redistricting reform, defend against voting restrictions and promote increased access to the ballot.

Culture Program: $1.4 million, (12 grants)
The Joyce Culture Program strengthens the role of artists and arts organizations in building culturally relevant, vibrant and sustainable communities through a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Recent grants include ones expected to increase career opportunities in the arts for people of color. A two-year, $200,000 grant to Americans for the Arts supports development of the first arts leadership program in the Great Lakes preparing mid-level arts administrators for executive management.

And a two-year, $200,000 grant was awarded to Chicago Theatre Group (Goodman Theatre) to increase racial equity in its artistic, administrative, and technical departments. The grant will test a new model for recruiting and training adults with low education and income levels for technical production jobs such as set and lighting design, production carpentry, sound engineering, and costumes and wardrobe. Many of these jobs do not require postsecondary degrees.

The Culture Program also looks for ways to broaden arts access and participation. To help meet the need for affordable arts access on Chicago’s South Side, Joyce awarded a two-year, $150,000 grant to the Hyde Park Arts Center to develop a tuition-free, arts instruction program.

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July 2018 Approved Grants


American Indian Center Inc. Chicago, IL $40,000
To support its new First Voice Gallery dedicated to presenting contemporary American Indian art and its associated schedule of exhibitions and programs (1 yr)

Americans for the Arts Washington, DC $220,000
To support the Arts and Cultural Equity Fellowship Program (2yrs)

Black Ensemble Theater Corporation Chicago, IL $120,000
To support their Educational Outreach Programs (2 yrs)

Chicago Community Foundation Chicago, IL $90,000
To support its Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development to expand its grantmaking to small cultural organizations run by or primarily serving African, Latino, Asian, Arab, and Native American constituents (2yrs)

Chicago Theatre Group Inc. Chicago, IL $200,000
Artistic talent development through on-the-job training programs and a new play incubator (2yrs)

Columbia College Chicago Chicago, IL $75,000
To support The Many Hats of Ralph Arnold: Art, Identity and Politics and Echoes: Identity and Politics in Contemporary Collage (1yr)

Court Theatre Fund Chicago, IL $200,000
To support Parson’s artistic residency at Court with an increase in pay, the ongoing mentorship of a fellow, and renewed and expanded community engagement efforts (2yrs)

Hyde Park Art Center Chicago, IL $150,000
To support a visual art school (2yrs)

Illinois Arts Alliance Chicago, IL $80,000
To support the Cultural Bill of Rights (1yr)

Museum of Vernacular Arts & Knowledge Chicago, IL $25,000
To support "Art Speakers' Corner" (1yr)

South Side Community Art Center Chicago, IL $150,000
For capacity building (2yrs)

Steppenwolf Theater Co. Chicago, IL $40,000
To amplify the voices of playwrights of color by producing their work and nurturing their careers (1yr)


CHANGE Illinois Chicago, IL $150,000
To support redistricting reform and Census work (2 yrs)

Common Cause Education Fund Washington, DC $600,000
To support its work on democracy issues relating to protecting and expanding voting rights, redistricting reform, and Census in the six Great Lakes states (2 yrs)

Fair Elections Center Jenkintown, PA $50,000
To support litigation challenging barriers for a Wisconsin college student ID to qualify as an acceptable form of voter ID (1 yr)

Leadership Conference Education Fund $100,000
To support the Access Democracy project's work to improve local election administration in communities of color. (1 yr)

League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Inc Madison, WI $130,000
To support its collaborative work to educate and advocate for redistricting reform, to defend voting rights and increase access to the ballot, and to educate and encourage participation in the 2020 Census throughout Wisconsin (2 yrs)

TakeAction Minnesota Education Fund St. Paul, MN $60,000
To support their work protecting and expanding democratic participation while promoting racial, gender, and economic equity (1 yr)

National Public Radio Inc. Washington, DC $300,000
To support its Midwest coverage, including member station collaboration and reporter training and professional development (2 yrs)

National Conference of State Legislatures Denver, CO $75,000
To support holding a Midwest convening of state legislators, election officials, and information directors about methods to address election security and potential reforms (1 yr)

New Venture Fund Washington, DC $50,000
To support emergency litigation and research related to the late addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 United States Census (1 yr)

Prison Policy Initiative Northampton, MA $70,000
To support research and advocacy to end prison gerrymandering, with a special focus on state outreach in the Midwest region (2 yrs)

Protect Democracy Project Washington, DC $150,000
To support further development and expansion of its Vote Shield technology that monitors anomalies in state voter registration lists (1 yr)

StoryCorps Brooklyn, NY $200,000
To support StoryCorps in Chicago (2 yrs)

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Inc. Madison, WI $60,000
To support public education and engagement on nonpartisan redistricting, fair elections, voting rights, and Census (1 yr)

Wisconsin Voices Milwaukee, WI $150,000
For its efforts to strengthen Wisconsin's democracy and increase civic engagement (2 yrs)


The Aspen Institute Inc. Washington, DC $500,000
to support the Prize for Community College Excellence and the Presidential Fellowship $500,000 (1 yr)

Center for American Progress Washington, DC $150,000
To continue the national work on teacher quality, and to work with Joyce advocates in Minnesota, Indiana and Illinois to craft state-specific teacher quality policy agendas (1 yr)

Chicago Community Trust Chicago, IL $400,000
to support the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance and the pooled fund to scale apprenticeship (2 yrs)

Deans for Impact Austin, TX $650,000
to advance national teacher preparation policy reforms and to launch the Illinois Ed Prep Impact Network (2 yrs)

Early Learning Indiana Indianapolis, IN $75,000
To build its capacity to advocate for quality preschool expansion and a stronger early childhood workforce in Indiana (1 yr)

Georgetown University Washington, DC $300,000
To study race-based inequities in post-secondary access and completion and in entering the workforce (2 yrs)

Innovation Ohio Education Fund Columbus, OH $80,000
To create a policy proposal designed to increase Ohio's college attainment through better state investment (18 mos)

Ithaka Harbors Inc. New York, NY $200,000
To identify state policies that would most increase higher educational attainment for low-income students and students of color (2 yrs)

Jobs for the Future Boston, MA $262,500
To support continuation of the Congressional Staff Network (18 mos)

Knowledge Works Cincinnatti, OH $600,000
To support the College in High School Alliance and launch a national early college policy initiative targeting low-income youth and students of color in high school (2 yrs)

Minnesota State College Student Association West Saint Paul, MN $100,000
To support its efforts to improve Minnesota state policies on transfer and equity (2 yrs)

MDRC New York, NY $30,000
To research the early successes and challenges of the Great Lakes College and Career Pathways Partnership and produce recommendations that the partners can use to improve the pathways efforts (8 mos)

National Center for Teacher Residencies Chicago, IL $100,000
To implement a strategic communications effort to help elevate the promise of teacher residencies and help position the non-profit as a leading voice on residency polices (1 yr)

National Skills Coalition Washington, DC $250,000
To support federal advocacy on higher education and apprenticeship, in part through its Business Leaders United network (1 yr)

Ohio Organizing Collaborative Columbus, OH $40,000
To support the Ohio Student Association's efforts to advocate for higher education funding equity through the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (1 yr)

Partnership for College Completion Chicago, IL $200,000
To support increased affordability and equity in Illinois higher education policy (2 yrs)

Policy Innovators in Education Network Inc. Minneapolis, MN $250,000
To support a network of Midwest-based education advocacy organizations working to improve K-12 education policies, including in areas such as teacher quality and college and career readiness (2 yrs)

Policy Matters Ohio Cleveland, OH $200,000
To identify and support equity-oriented higher education policies that increase access and graduation for students of color and low-income students (2 yrs)

Results in Education Foundation Chicago, IL $75,000
To provide strategic communications support to Joyce grantees and to launch a new education blog in Chicago (1 yr)

The Surge Institute Chicago, IL $200,000
To build a pipeline of African American and Latino executive leaders in education reform (2 yrs)

Teach Plus Incorporated Boston, MA $425,000
To improve teacher quality policies in Indiana and Illinois (2 yrs)

Teachers College, Columbia University New York, NY $200,000
To fund the Hechinger Report for in-depth news coverage of higher education issues in Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio (2 yrs)

TNTP Inc New York, NY $25,000
To help determine whether the teacher preparation group could launch one of the first alternative certification programs allowed under new Minnesota licensure regulations (3 mos)

UnidosUS Washington, DC $250,000
To create and advance a postsecondary policy agenda to improve outcomes for Latino students (2 yrs)

Young Invincibles Washington, DC $60,000
To create a higher education coalition, cultivate young adult spokespeople on higher education policy, and help inform new legislators about higher education issues in Illinois (1 yr)

HCM Strategists Washington, DC $750,000
To markedly improve transfer rates for two-year to four-year colleges nationally and in Minnesota (3 yrs)


Alliance for the Great Lakes Chicago, IL $450,000
To support its efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes (2 yrs)

Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy Minneapolis, MN $75,000
To support the Midwest Environmental Justice Network (1 yr)

Clean Fuels Ohio Columbus, OH $100,000
For its electric vehicles program (1 yr)

Clean Wisconsin Inc. Madison, WI $375,000
To support Clean Wisconsin's Great Lakes and clean energy work (2 yrs)

Ecology Center Inc. Ann Arbor, MI $175,000
For advancing clean energy solutions in Michigan (2 yrs)

Elevate Energy Chicago, IL $100,000
To improve current and future policies to reduce lead in drinking water in childcare centers and private homes in Illinois (1 yr)

Faith in Place Chicago, IL $300,000
To work on securing full implementation of Illinois' Future Energy Jobs Act (2 yrs)

Freshwater Future Petoskey, MI $75,000
For its Supporting Communities in Ensuring Safe and Affordable Drinking Water project. Future funding is possible (1 yr)

Great Lakes Commission Ann Arbor, MI $300,000
To support Blue Accounting, efforts to prevent invasive species from moving through the Chicago Area Waterways, and work to improve water infrastructure management (2 yrs)

Great Lakes Environmental Law Center Detroit, MI $60,000
To support the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center to develop and implement a protocol for citizen monitoring of water system compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act in Michigan (2 yrs)

Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development Inc. Minneapolis, MN $455,000
To increase energy efficiency, renewable energy, and transportation decarbonization in the Midwest. (2 yrs)

Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities Inc Traverse City, MI $60,000
To support the Great Lakes Business Network to advocate for decommissioning of the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline (1 yr)

Milwaukee Environmental Consortium Milwaukee, WI $60,000

To support the Milwaukee Environmental Consortium's Milwaukee Water Commons project (1 yr)

Minneapolis Foundation Minneapolis, MN $350,000
For continued support of the RE-AMP Midwest clean energy network, including its clean energy rapid response fund (2 yrs)

National Wildlife Federation Reston, VA $480,000
To support its efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes (2 yrs)

Natural Resources Defense Council Inc. New York, NY $650,000
For advancing clean energy strategies in the Great Lakes region (2 yrs)

Ohio Environmental Council Columbus, OH $550,000
For advancing climate solutions in Ohio and addressing major threats to the integrity of Lake Erie (2 yrs)

We The People of Detroit Detroit, MI $40,000
To support its work on water affordability in Detroit and Michigan, and to build its capacity (1 yr)


Duke University Durham, NC $374,000
For research to evaluate statutory minimum age standards for gun possession by former juvenile offenders (3 yrs)

Fund for the City of New York New York, NY $24,556
To support the Center for Court Innovation's efforts to organize and host a convening of judicial leaders on justice systems reform (6 mos)

Guns Down Atlanta, GA $200,000
To support corporate accountability and narrative change initiatives to reduce gun violence (1 yr)

Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD $407,000
For research on the impact of policies governing concealed gun carrying (3 yrs)

Mikva Challenge Grant Foundation Inc. Chicago, IL $100,000
To support the Chicago Youth Safety Council (1 yr)

New Venture Fund Washington, DC $50,000
To support the Community Justice Reform Coalition's speakers bureau (1 yr)

Northeastern University Boston, MA $540,000
For research on preventing firearm violence (2 yrs)

Northwestern University Chicago, IL $306,745
For its Institute for Policy Research's Northwestern Neighborhood and Network Initiative to evaluate the impact of police-community engagement efforts and of street outreach and violence interruption efforts in Chicago (2 yrs)

PICO National Network Washington, DC $150,000
To support the Live Free campaign to reduce gun violence and create more opportunities for youth in urban neighborhoods in the Great Lakes region (1 yr)

The Police Foundation Washington, DC $30,000
To support the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence (4 mos)

The University of Chicago Chicago, IL $75,000
For its Center for Data Science and Public Policy to convene a research consortium to study and improve the effectiveness of police early intervention systems (3 yrs)

Benchmark Analytics LLC Chicago, IL $495,000
To pilot a comprehensive police administration platform in four Great Lakes region police departments as part of the National Police Early Interventions and Outcomes Project (3 yrs)


Michigan Nonprofit Association Lansing, MI $200,000
To support its Michigan Nonprofits Count Campaign to help mobilize and engage nonprofits across Michigan in support of a fair and accurate Census count in 2020 (2 yrs)