Return on Investment (Spring 2010 Trust Magazine)

Source Organization: The Pew Charitable Trusts

03/19/2010 - Pew’s program investments seek to improve policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life through operating projects, which are managed by Pew staff; donor partnerships, which allow us to work closely with individuals or foundations and achieve shared purposes; and targeted grant making. The results of some recent work are highlighted here; not repeated are accomplishments described in other stories in this issue, including the report on the clean energy economy, the studies of Pew’s Philadelphia Research Initiative and the Nobel Prize won by a Pew Biomedical Scholar. Click on the links to learn more.

The Obama administration places a moratorium on commercial fishing in virtually the entire Arctic Ocean. The landmark
Arctic Fishery Management Plan, which is crafted by the regional fishery management council in Alaska, bans fishing in approximately 150,000 square miles of ocean, an area five times greater than all U.S. national parks combined. The Pew Arctic program plays a significant role in garnering public attention and political support for the plan. In addition, an Inuit organization signs a memorandum of understanding with the territory of Nunavut and the Canadian government to begin work on a national marine conservation area in Lancaster Sound, at the eastern edge of the Northwest Passage. The agreement, strongly supported by Pew’s Oceans North Canada campaign, paves the way for a joint feasibility study that will recommend boundaries and management of the sound, home to enormous schools of Arctic cod, most of the world’s narwhals and 40 percent of the world’s beluga whales.

Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett establishes a Coral Sea conservation zone in territorial waters east of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, comprising some 1 million square kilometers of ocean. Having moved to protect these waters, the Australian government will now consider whether to create one or several new marine reserves in the region, with a decision expected in late 2010. These developments are supported by the Pew Environment Group, Global Ocean Legacy and other partners. In addition, Garrett and two indigenous ranger organizations announce the establishment of two globally significant conservation reserves in the Northern Territory of Australia. Known as the Djelk and Warddeken Indigenous Protected Areas, the reserves span 7,889 square miles, an area twice the size of Yellowstone National Park.

And the Western Australian government establishes a 4,000-square-kilometer marine park at Camden Sound, one of the Kimberley Coast’s largest bays and a key humpback-whale breeding site. Both steps are influenced by the Wild Australia Program, a partnership of the Pew Environment Group and The Nature Conservancy.

The New England Fishery Management Council votes to have 19 fishermen-run, community-based cooperatives fish by using scientifically based annual catch limits for cod, haddock, flounder and other groundfish, beginning in May 2010. It is the first time in 30 years that the council has voted to manage groundfish with a hard catch limit, rather than by the number of days a boat can spend at sea, and the decision is taken after an 18-month effort by the Pew Environment Group to end overfishing, rebuild fish stocks and help New England’s historic fishermen regain profitability.

The Canadian province of Manitoba creates a trust to support the establishment of a World Heritage Site covering more than 10 million acres of pristine boreal forest—a global treasure ranked by scientists as one of the world’s top conservation priorities. Known as Pimachiowin Aki, the proposed site would be eight times larger than the United States’ Grand Canyon National Park. Pew’s boreal campaign has now secured protection of 125 million acres of the world’s largest, most intact old-growth forest, an area stretching from Labrador to Alaska that surpasses the Amazon rainforest in size, ecological integrity and carbon storage. An additional 200 million acres in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are expected to be designated as parks and refuges pending the fulfillment of previously made government commitments. When these areas are protected, the campaign will be nearly two-thirds of the way toward achieving its ultimate goal of preserving at least 500 million acres in perpetuity.

Pew establishes a partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation to support its conservation work, in particular preserving Canada’s boreal forest and pressing for measures to stop the destruction of the world’s oceans. “The oceans and the forests play an important role in climatechange mitigation. It is through strong institutional partnerships that together we can improve this situation,” says Prince Albert II in announcing the alliance during a speech at the National Press Club commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Antarctic Treaty.

As part of a recently launched campaign to stem the rapid decline of the world’s sharks, the Pew Environment Group gathers nine shark-attack victims in Washington, D.C., who share their support for legislation that would strengthen the ban on shark finning in U.S. waters and encourage shark conservation around the world. In interviews, the survivors note that recent reports classify 38 percent of all shark species as “threatened” or “near-threatened” with extinction, and that sharks’ disappearance could disrupt the ocean ecosystem, which represents 70 percent of the planet. The participants praise the Shark Conservation Act of 2009, which previously is passed by the House of Representatives and introduced in the Senate.

In a separate action regarding sharks, Palauan president Johnson Toribiong, addressing the United Nations General Assembly, declares that the waters surrounding his country will become the world’s first national shark sanctuary. While Palau is among the world’s smallest countries, its territorial waters cover 240,000 square miles, an area roughly the size of Texas.

Legislation supported by both Republicans and Democrats who represent a quarter of the Senate and nearly half of the House of Representatives is submitted to codify into law the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which would protect 60 million acres of national forests from road-building, logging and other development. In particular, the Pew Environment Group and its campaign partners generate more than 200,000 messages opposing an effort by the State of Colorado to undercut the policy with a plan that would open up 4.4 million acres of pristine national forests to industrial activity, including coal mining and oil and gas development. This effort is complemented by a statewide “Don’t Sell Colorado Short” tour, also supported by Pew, calling for protections that measure up to the national rule.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization completes a treaty to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing globally. Ninety-one nations participate in drafting the agreement, which is adopted in November and takes effect when 25 countries ratify it. Once in force, governments will be obliged for the first time to inspect fishing vessels and close their harbors to those operating outside the law. In advance of the treaty’s completion, the Pew Environment Group provides United Nations delegates with legal analysis, scientific information and research documenting the need to strengthen existing measures to combat illicit fishing. Pew’s research is now helping to guide regional fisheries management organizations as they begin to implement the provisional treaty.

The European Union Fisheries Council reaches agreement on a regulation that will strengthen penalties to counteract illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. While previous measures were often so lenient that fishermen would simply add fines to their assumed operating costs, the new rules will ban boats after four infractions and impose fines on governments that fail to adequately enforce restrictions. The agreement represents a major victory for the Pew Environment Group, which works closely with EU member states, the European Commission, members of the European Parliament and the media to raise awareness of the damages of overfishing. According to Pew estimates, such fishing was on track to cost EU member states $15 billion in lost catches and $12 billion in lost fishing stock value by 2020.

For the first time, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approves a measure that sets precautionary science-based limits to end overfishing of nine imperiled species of snapper and grouper, including two that are critically endangered and one that is vulnerable to extinction. The new plan, sent to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for final approval, gives these species a strong chance at recovering from decades of overfishing. It also represents a significant victory for the Pew Environment Group’s Campaign to End Overfishing in the Southeast, which has worked closely with the council and embarked on extensive community and media outreach to coalesce public support. Following this success, the campaign will continue its efforts to ensure passage of a long-term red snapper recovery plan, including a soon-to-be-completed report that will outline the economic benefits of rebuilt fisheries.

The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act becomes law and includes a provision incorporating key recommendations from the Pew Center on the States’ No Time to Vote report. In accordance with Pew’s recommendations, the legislation will expedite the transmission of absentee ballots to military personnel and civilians abroad to provide more time for them to vote in U.S. elections and return their ballots in time to be counted.

The Pew Center on the States releases a report demonstrating that some of the same pressures that led to California’s current economic difficulties are also affecting a number of other states, with potentially damaging consequences for the entire country. The report, Beyond California: States in Fiscal Peril, looks at all 50 states, focusing primarily on the top 10 most troubled, which Pew’s analysis shows to be Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin, in addition to California. The center hosts a Pew Perspectives event at Pew’s Washington, D.C., offices to discuss the report. Thanks in large part to the Public Safety Performance Project’s work to craft a package of sentencing and parole reforms that will reduce the prison population, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm’s administration proposes to close eight corrections facilities, a step that would save $118 million in taxpayer funds annually.

Following Arizona and Kansas, California becomes the third state to adopt the funding model offered in the project’s Policy Framework to Strengthen Community Corrections. The state plans to establish an incentive fund to reward counties that reduce the number of adults who are sent to prison because of probation revocations; the counties will receive a portion of the incarceration costs avoided by the state and apply the grants to develop evidence-based community corrections practices such as intensive probation supervision and risk and needs assessments. In addition, the Illinois legislature passes the Crime Reduction Act of 2009, which includes aspects of the Policy Framework.

At the federal level, two bills emerge that would establish funding streams to advance many of the sentencing and corrections reforms that the Public Safety Performance Project has recommended. The first, the Criminal Justice Reinvestment Act of 2009, is introduced in both the Senate and House. Inspired by the success of Pew and its partners in states such as Texas and Kansas, this bipartisan legislation creates a significant grant program to support states in developing and implementing data-driven, fiscally responsible sentencing and corrections strategies.

The second, the Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) Act, is introduced in the House. It authorizes appropriations and creates competitive grants for pilots that replicate Hawaii’s innovative and successful HOPE probation program, which uses swift, certain and appropriate sanctions to respond to those who violate the conditions of their community supervision. Research has shown that this approach significantly cuts new arrests, drug use and the use of prison space to house violators.

At the request of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, staff of the Pew Center on the States brief senior federal officials on how sentencing and corrections reform in the states could apply at the federal level. Holder praises Pew’s work as “potentially transformative.”

Even in these difficult economic times, Pre-K Now advocates are successfully preventing drastic cuts to pre-kindergarten funding. President Obama proposes a budget with measures to improve and increase early education opportunities nationwide. Pre-K Now’s report Votes Count: Legislative Action on Pre-K Fiscal Year 2010 demonstrates that, even when facing budget gaps of up to 35 percent, legislators in 29 states and the District of Columbia vote to increase or protect funding for pre-kindergarten in 2009.

The report also shows that dollars added for existing and new programs create a modest national net gain in funding. In Tennessee, for example, the legislature votes to maintain previous levels of support for the state’s voluntary pre-kindergarten program with general fund dollars, instead of less reliable lottery funds.

The Pew Center on the States and Capitolbeat, the association of statehouse reporters and editors, co-sponsor a series of regional forums designed to inform journalists about current and long-term economic and fiscal challenges facing the states. The first two forums, held in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Pew’s office in Washington, D.C., attract several dozen top reporters and feature expert presentations on topics such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and national and regional economic forecasts.

More than 350 participants from 49 states and the District of Columbia attend a webinar hosted by the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign, which focuses on a state policy innovation that enables medical providers to be reimbursed for preventive dental care. Because most children see doctors and nurses earlier and more often than they see dentists, states have turned to these medical providers to deliver important dental health services such as fluoride application, oral health assessments and parent education.

The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously passes the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, a bipartisan bill that embodies virtually all of the core principles advocated by Pew and its food safety coalition. The bill is the first on comprehensive food safety reform to pass a congressional committee in more than 50 years. In public statements, both Democratic and Republican committee members mention the victims of food-borne illness who have spoken at the launch of the Make Our Food Safe coalition, established by the Pew Health Group’s Food Safety Campaign.

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, the pharmaceuticalindustry disclosure bill that is a key deliverable of the Pew Prescription Project, is included in a major health reform bill passed by the U.S. Senate. The provision requires pharmaceutical and medical-device companies to publicly report their gifts and payments to physicians and other health-care entities. The project’s staff work closely with congressional offices to finetune the legislative language. The 2009 iteration of the PharmFree Scorecard is issued. It is a joint project of the Pew Prescription Project and the American Medical Student Association that assesses medical schools for policies ensuring that medical education, training and patient care are free of commercial bias. The scorecard shows that most U.S. medical schools still lack strong policies that would create a barrier between training and commercial entities. (Only seven of 150 schools evaluated receive grades at the A level).

In its continuing effort to direct public and policy-maker attention to the size and scope of federal subsidies, the Pew Economic Policy Group’s Subsidyscope project disseminates an analysis of Amtrak’s financial performance on 44 routes nationwide. Using a formula that includes depreciation and overhead when calculating loss or profit per passenger on each of its rail lines (an accounting practice used in other capital- intensive industries), Subsidyscope determines that 41 of the 44 routes lost money in 2008. According to the report, the rail line averages a loss of more than $32 per passenger, a figure four times higher than projections using Amtrak’s calculations. Subsidyscope also launches a comprehensive, searchable database of all taxpayer-funded subsidies to the transportation sector. This first-of-its-kind online tool allows users to explore and sort federal assistance according to parameters such as grant recipient, state and government program.

After nearly three years of developing the most comprehensive facts, figures and trends about mobility and opportunity in the United States, the Economic Mobility Project releases Renewing the American Dream: A Road Map to Enhancing Economic Mobility in America. The report makes more than 25 recommendations to improve education and workforce development outcomes (human capital), strengthen the bonds of family and community (social capital) and enhance Americans’ ability to build assets (financial capital).

Old age is neither as difficult as younger people think it will be nor as rewarding as older adults would like, according to the Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographic Trends Project. Its report, based on a survey of nearly 3,000 people, finds that on a series of negative benchmarks—including memory loss and struggles with loneliness and depression—seniors fare better than younger adults expect they will when they grow old. At the same time, older adults report experiencing fewer of the benefits of aging that younger adults expect to enjoy in their senior years, such as engaging in hobbies, spending time with family or doing volunteer work.

The report’s finding that 79 percent of those surveyed believe there is a generation gap—the highest figure since 1969—draws particular media attention.

According to a report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the California HealthCare Foundation, 61 percent of adults look online for health information. This figure represents a dramatic increase from 2000, when only 25 percent of adults did so. The report draws significant interest from health care professionals, including representatives from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who request advance briefings on the findings.

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the populations of former Soviet Bloc nations generally look back approvingly at the fall of Communism, according to a survey released by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. Majorities in most former Soviet republics and Eastern European countries endorse the emergence of multiparty democracies and capitalist economic systems. However, the initial widespread enthusiasm about these developments has diminished significantly over time, and in many nations, significant percentages of those polled now say that most people were better off under Communism. For example, in Russia, a majority agree that it is a great misfortune that the Soviet Union no longer exists.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life presents a comprehensive demographic study on Islam, which finds that there are 1.57 billion Muslims of all ages living in more than 200 countries, representing 23 percent of an estimated world population of 6.8 billion. These findings lay the foundation for a 2010 report that will estimate growth rates among Muslim populations worldwide and forecast population growth for the future. A similar study of global Christianity is scheduled for 2010. Both projects will be funded in part by a $3-million grant from the John Templeton Foundation for the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project, a major new initiative that aims to increase people’s understanding of religion around the world.

Toward that end, the project releases Global Restrictions on Religion, the first quantitative study to measure how governments and private individuals, organizations and social groups infringe on religious beliefs and practices around the world. The analysis, based on an extensive number of sources that cover 198 countries and self-administering territories representing more than 99.5 percent of the world’s population, finds that about one-third of countries have high or very high restrictions on religion. However, because some of the most restrictive nations are very populous, nearly 70 percent of the world’s 6.8 billion people live in areas with high restrictions on religion, the brunt of which often falls on religious minorities.

In another poll, the Pew Forum finds that many Americans mix multiple faiths, engaging in multiple religious practices and mixing elements of diverse traditions. Many also blend Christianity with Eastern or New Age beliefs such as reincarnation, astrology and the presence of spiritual energy in physical objects. And sizeable minorities of all major U.S. religious groups say they have experienced supernatural phenomena, such as being in touch with the dead or with ghosts. The Pew Forum finds that one-third of Americans say they regularly (9 percent) or occasionally (26 percent) attend religious services at more than one place; most of these (24 percent of the public overall) indicate that they sometimes attend religious services of a faith different from their own. Aside from their participation in special events such as weddings and funerals or periods of traveling, 3 in 10 Protestants attend services outside their own denomination, and one-fifth of Catholics say they sometimes attend non-Catholic services.

Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, testifies before Congress’s Joint Economic Committee hearing on “The Future of Newspapers: The Impact on the Economy and Democracy.” Rosenstiel discusses the newspaper industry’s financial struggles and at times challenges popular misconceptions. For example, while many people believe that audience declines are the primary cause of the industry’s woes, Rosenstiel points out that, if both print and online editions are taken into account, many newspaper companies are seeing their audiences grow. Online growth, however, is not generating sufficient revenue to compensate for steep declines in print advertising.

Since the inception of the Cultural Data Project, an online management tool to strengthen arts and culture organizations, Pew raises more than $9.5 million for state-specific efforts and $2.2 million to expand the project’s national reach. Recent donations include a second three-year grant of $1 million from the Irvine Foundation to support the project in California and $1.2 million from the Kresge Foundation to support nationwide expansion.

Night Catches Us, a film written and directed by Tanya Hamilton, 2004 Pew fellow in the arts, is chosen for viewing in the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, a major showcase for independent American cinema. She has worked on the project for more than a decade. An early draft of the screenplay won the top screenwriting award at the Urbanworld Film Festival in 1999. The plot is described as focusing “on the eventful return of a young man to the race-torn Philadelphia neighborhood where he grew up during the Black Power movement.”

The Elmina B. Sewall Foundation gifts $2.6 million for four land trust projects, all in the state of Maine and all within the Northeast Land Trust Consortium. These funds will help to preserve several coastal islands within reasonable reach of the mainland, the 37,000-acre Katahdin Iron Works property and the nearby Moose River parcel in the North Woods, as well as the Piscataquis Preserve, a 1,200-acre tract of conifer and deciduous forest in the Penobscot River Basin that includes a one-of-a kind grove of American chestnut trees.

This article appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of Trust magazine.

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