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New & Noteworthy

News and Stories from Stone, its Grantees, and the Issues it invests in.

Early childhood supporters: New state budget steers funds into much-needed services for kids, parents

June 9, 2023
As early childhood funders with a long history of working collaboratively with public sector partners, we applaud Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly for passing a new state budget that includes Smart Start, a significant investment in prenatal to age 5 services — including child care, home visiting, early intervention, and infant/toddler and preschool programs.

Youth Organizers Build Alliances to Win the World We Need

May 10, 2023
Throughout modern history, young people–particularly young people of color, young women, working-class, queer and trans youth–have been at the forefront of movements for justice and equality. From the sit-ins of the Civil Rights movement to the anti-apartheid struggle to the recent uprisings against police brutality, young people time and again have taken actions to spark movements.

Black girls' education is fundamentally inequitable in Pennsylvania, a new study says. Here are eight fixes.

May 4, 2023
Black girls are too often subjected to discriminatory dress and grooming codes in Pennsylvania schools. They often endure racial or sexist slurs and curricula that are not responsive to their life experiences. And though they sometimes struggle socially and emotionally because of these conditions, adequate supports are not always available.

More than a Form: Rethinking Grantee Relationships

April 27, 2023
In this issue, three practitioners share how their grantmaking strategies have shifted, what movement they see in the sector at large, and how those in philanthropy looking to make a change can get started. Philanthropy’s often onerous reporting and evaluation requirements is a longstanding problem for many of our grantees At best, they are distracted by critical work being funded, and at worst, they are locked out of funding opportunities altogether. This has been acutely felt among grassroots organizations rooted in Black and Latino communities. Joining us in this conversation is Sara Slaughter, Executive Director of the W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation, Rachel Herzing, Program Officer at Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, and Nahir Torres, Senior Program Officer at the Hyams Foundation.

New report shines light on Illinois Early Childhood System

March 15, 2023
Early Childhood Educators Set Illinois Kids on the Path to Success, a new report from Council for a Strong America-Illinois focuses on one vital aspect of efforts to improve [the Illinois early childhood] picture. It notes that the most fundamental features of solid early learning programs include “highly-qualified staff who are well-trained both before and during their service and who are adequately supported and compensated.” Yet in Illinois, child care teachers earn an average of only $28,730 per year and preK teachers about $35,840, compared with $65,790 for kindergarten educators. In birth-to-3 programs, the disparities are even more bleak.

Illinois public school enrollment continues to drop, preliminary numbers show

January 23, 2023
A first glimpse at public school enrollment in Illinois shows continued declines in the overall student population, but an uptick in the number of students learning English. Preliminary data released last week by the Illinois State Board of Education shows overall enrollment dropped by about 31,000 students — or 1.7% — between last school year and the current one, according to numbers as of Dec. 14. Chicago Public Schools accounts for at least a quarter of the decline. The district lost 9,000 students and its place as the third largest school district in the country.

Center for the Study of Child Care Employment releases new toolkit.

January 25, 2023
Foundation grantee, the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, recently published the Early Educator Engagement and Empowerment Toolkit which aims to support early educators in their advocacy, power building, and stakeholder engagement. It features the latest facts and policy solutions about the ECE workforce that educators can use to build arguments for change, […]