03/08/2013 - The Pew Charitable Trusts' program investments seek to improve policy, inform the public, and stimulate civic life through operating projects managed by Pew staff; donor partnerships that allow us to work closely with individuals or organizations to achieve shared goals; and targeted grantmaking. The following highlights some recent Pew work. Additional information is available at www.pewtrusts.org.
World Conservation CongressShows Support for Pew Priorities
The International Union for Conservation of Nature World Congress, the world's largest conservation event which met in South Korea, overwhelmingly backed Pew priorities. They included calling for protection of half of northern Quebec for the Canadian Boreal and urging tuna management organizations to establish harvest rules and to improve the traceability of tuna. Members also called for more protection for mako and hammerhead sharks as well as other shark conservation measures. The congress also agreed on the need for an agreement to preserve biodiversity in the high seas and for marine reserves in the Southern Ocean off Antarctica. Pew helped write and gain support for the measures, which will guide the conservation union's agenda for the next four years.
Pitcairn Moves Toward Major Marine Reserve
The Pitcairn Island community voted unanimously, and the Pitcairn Island Council gave its official support, for Pew's proposal for a 308,883 square-mile marine reserve in the islands' waters. A partnership of the Pitcairn Island Council, Pew, and National Geographic presented the proposal to the United Kingdom Foreign Office, which governs the territory. It also hosted an event at the Royal Society in London to promote creation of the reserve, which included screening of the film "Pitcairn: The Real Bounty" and a video link with Pitcairn islanders.
Supreme Court Tells Roadless Rule Challengers: Case Closed
The Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, ending years of litigation and validating one of the most significant public land-preservation measures in a generation. Although Pew was not a party to the case, it led more than a decade-long campaign to engage governors, members of Congress, and the public. The effort resulted in federal protection for nearly 60 million acres of pristine national forests, a source of drinking water for 124 million Americans and 223,000 jobs in rural areas.
More than 100 countries agree to workon stopping illegal and deep-sea fishing
One month after the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, environmental ministers and government officials of more than 100 countries met in Rome for a session of the Committee on Fisheries of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Participants agreed to work on stopping illegal and deep-sea fishing and, for the first time, to consider the role of forage fish as critical to the health of both the ocean and commercially important fish.
Studies Help Consumers' Financial Security
Pew's portfolio of consumer financial security work was strengthened with two original reports from the safe small-dollar loans project and the safe checking in the electronic age project. The first shed light on payday loan borrowers, usage rates across the nation, and state regulations for the industry. The analysis is being discussed in state legislatures around the country and by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as policymakers consider new payday lending laws and regulations. The second report explored the growing marketplace for prepaid cards, why consumers use them to make purchases and pay bills, the gaps in consumer regulation of the cards, and actions the financial protection bureau could take to address them.
Economic mobility and savings
Pew's economic mobility project and the newly formed Senate Economic Mobility Caucus co-hosted a briefing with the Congressional Savings and Ownership Caucus about the power of personal savings as a driver of mobility. The event, at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, featured speakers from Pew, the Heritage Foundation, and the New America Foundation. Working with Pew's government relations unit, economic mobility project staff developed the idea for the Economic Mobility Caucus, sought senators as co-chairs, and now organizes quarterly events that highlight the project's research and feature a broad spectrum of thought leaders and advocates.
Study Helps Kansas Lawmakers See Broader Benefits and Risks of Gambling Legislation
The Kansas Health Institute, supported by Pew's health impact project, released its final health impact assessment, which examined the implications of legislation that would expand gambling in southeast Kansas. The assessment uncovered potential benefits — such as increased quality of life and life expectancy associated with new jobs—as well as risks, including chronic fatigue and injury associated with pathological gambling — that were not part of previous examinations of gaming which focused primarily on the economic impact and pathology of gambling. The assessment offered recommendations to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks.
Strengthening FDA's Workforce
Pew and the Partnership for Public Service analyzed the Food and Drug Administration's staffing and issued a report, The State of the FDA Workforce. It found that the agency has made progress since a 2007 panel last analyzed its workforce, but "continues to have significant workforce and management challenges in the scientific and medical arenas that need to be addressed."
Biomedical Researchers Win More Accolades
Pew Biomedical Scholars are recognized for showing promise in science that advances human health, and many go on to receive additional honors over the course of their career. Scholars Valerie Horseley '10 and Mary Gehring '11 received the Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Awards from the Genetics Society of America. The Institute of Medicine elected three Scholars as new members: David Brenner ‘86, David Julius '90, and Terry R. Magnuson ‘86. And the American Association for the Advancement of Science elected six Scholars as fellows: James Bardwell '98, Ken W.Y Cho '94, Lynn Cooley '91, Thomas F. Schilling '01, Raphael H. Valdivia '04, and Hao Wu '00.
IN THE STATES
Reforming public pensions
In partnership with the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Pew worked with a bipartisan group of Kentucky legislators to find ways to create a sustainable public employee retirement system and close a significant funding gap. In Rhode Island, the team is assisting local officials who are trying to fix the troubled pension plans run by their cities and towns. The project also is evaluating Montana's public pension system at the invitation of legislative leaders there.
Portland VotesTo Fluoridate Water
The Portland, OR city council voted unanimously to fluoridate the public water system. The decision means more than 930,000 people—nearly 1 in 4 state residents—will gain access to fluoridated water, which is the most cost-effective method for preventing tooth decay. Oregon has one of the nation's highest rates of untreated tooth decay and Portland had been the largest U.S. city without a policy to fluoridate drinking water to the optimal level. The Pew children's dental campaign worked closely with the Portland-based nonprofit Upstream Public Health to secure approval of the policy.
Pew Begins Juvenile Corrections Effort
A state commission in Georgia unanimously approved and sent to the governor and legislature reforms to reduce juvenile recidivism and avert an estimated $88 million in expected juvenile corrections costs. Georgia is the first state to receive intensive assistance on juvenile corrections from Pew's public safety performance project, in partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Governor Nathan Deal (R) asked for the support after Pew's success in helping achieve bipartisan adult sentencing and corrections reforms in 2012 that will reduce recidivism and save Georgia taxpayers an estimated $264 million over the next five years.
PEW RESEARCH CENTER
Pew Accurately Projects Election Results
The Pew Research Center's election weekend survey found that President Barack Obama had edged ahead of Mitt Romney in the last days of the campaign, and estimated the national popular vote at 50 percent for Obama and 47 percent for Romney. Obama's actual margin of victory was 50-to-48. It was the fifth consecutive national election in which the research center's final poll predicted the exact margin or very close to it.
The research center also collaborated with "PBS NewsHour" to create an online Political Party Quiz, based on Pew's extensive analysis of American political values. The quiz has been taken more than 600,000 times.
The Lost Decade ofThe Middle Class
A study of middle-class Americans found that the group has shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some of its characteristic faith in the future. The survey by the Social and Demographic Trends project was supplemented by analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Fully 85 percent of self-described middle-class adults said it is more difficult now than it was a decade ago for middle-class people to maintain their standard of living.
World-wide Muslim Survey
The Forum on Religion & Public Life found that the world's 1.6 billion Muslims are united in their belief in God and the prophet Muhammad, and are bound together by such religious practices as fasting during the holy month of Ramadan and almsgiving to assist people in need. But the survey, which conducted 38,000 face-to-face interviews in more than 80 languages, also found that Muslims have widely differing views about many other aspects of their faith, including how important religion is to their lives, who counts as a Muslim, and what practices are acceptable in Islam.
More Americans Say "None"
One-fifth of Americans—including a third of adults under age 30—say they have no religious affiliation, according to a headline-making Forum on Religion & Public Life survey. Often called "nones," most of these Americans say they believe in God and describe themselves as religious or spiritual or both. The finding was the highest ever in Pew Research polling, and the survey also found that for the first time the number of people identifying as Protestants dropped below 50 percent of the population.
Rave Review for "Dancing Around the Bride"
The New York Times called the Philadelphia Museum of Art's "Dancing Around the Bride" a top candidate for favorite museum show of the year. Funded by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the exhibition is the first to explore Marcel Duchamp's American legacy by tracing his interactions and exchanges with four postwar masters: composer John Cage, choreographer Merce Cunningham, and visual artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.