Since our successful conference on September 28, Funding the Next Generation has been connecting with colleagues all over the state who are interested in dedicated funding - from Merced, to Shasta, to Santa Barbara, to Napa, Solano, Tehama, Sacramento, San Mateo - and more. Many of you are at various stages of planning - from those starting out and thinking about a Children's Budget, to those preparing to place a measure on the ballot.
Some county or city networks are working to develop a consensus around priority funding needs. Others are sponsoring community events to share information with a broader network. Many have started talking with elected officials about revenue measures, and some are considering how to do a poll. Funding possibilities being contemplated range from a library bond, to soda taxes, to parcel taxes, to sales taxes.
Call if you want help strategizing, inspiring your network, considering your policy options, assessing your civic culture or just getting started.
Merced high school student, Fernando Almaraz (left at podium) questions candidates for Merced City Council in the community's first-ever youth-run candidate forum. This creative strategy kicked off the year's Youth Budget advocacy, and resulted in commitments to expand recreation and youth jobs. Merced's Building Healthy Communities, which sponsored the forum, is receiving technical assistance from Funding the Next Generation.
|OUR VISION: AN INSTITUTE ON LOCAL DEDICATED FUNDING FOR CHILDREN, YOUTH & FAMILIES|
We are now planning for the launch of the next phase of Funding the Next Generation: the creation of an Institute. Counties and cities will be invited to apply to be part of two different learning communities - those that are ready to prepare for new local revenue streams, and those interested in building capacity in the local budget process and beginning to explore options. Watch this space for forthcoming details about participation in the new institute.
The Institute is both a technical assistance, peer learning and organizing effort - as well as a research undertaking. We are happy to report that the Public Administration Department of SF State University has agreed to be a partner in this endeavor, and will help us explore such issues as:
- What type of organization(s) can be most effective in leading a local revenue strategy? What variables contribute to the success of a lead agency/organization at various stages of a process?
- What is the difference between what can be accomplished at the county vs. the city-level? What variables contribute to that difference?
- Can service providers be an effective core group of planners and organizers? What are their limitations? And strongest assets?
- What messages work best, particularly in small, conservative and/or rural communities in building support for local dedicated revenue streams?
- What is the time frame for achieving a Children's Budget and a dedicated revenue stream; how do the timelines vary; and what can be done to avoid dead-ends.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED SO FAR?
For over six months, Funding the Next Generation has been promoting the idea of local dedicated funding streams for children. We have had forums, a conference, site visits, interviews, literature reviews, and more. And we have learned a lot. Just a sampling:
Attention Foundations - There is no way to mount a drive for a dedicated revenue stream without staff support. That is essential to keeping momentum going. People cannot coordinate or lead this work in their spare time.
Big Table Required - The strongest indicator of readiness to take on the task is having a network of children's agencies in place with a history of working collaboratively on common goals. A network that has political connections is even better positionned.
Think Money - Almost none of the 40+ communities we connected with had clearly identified fiscal priorities around which there was a consensus. Children's Networks must learn to translate goals, policy and rhetoric into very concrete fiscal priorities.
Check final report on phase one.
WE WANT TO HELP - If you want more information or help considering options for your community, please e-mail or call.
Have a warm holiday season. Looking forward to a productive year. Children's Funds Everywhere!
Founder and Director,
Funding the Next Generation
DO YOU KNOW?
California's two counties with the highest child poverty rates:
Lake - 37.9%
Riveting county-specific data on child poverty in California can be found in the Center for the Next Generation's report entitled - "Prosperity Threatened" - click to connect.
Merced - 36%
"IT'S NEVER OVER" DEPARTMENT
San Francisco has the oldest and largest Children's Fund in the state - a model for much of our work. It is about to go on the
ballot again (it sunsets), and a coalition of CBO's has been meeting for over a year to come up with ways it can be improved. On the table are strategies to improve accountability, transparency, public involvement, range of services, target population and the amount of the Fund.
Important to remember: Public policy is an evolving process.
TRACKING PROGRESS AROUND THE STATE
We want to be able to track progress (and obstacles) in getting dedicated funding streams for children started around the state. Please e-mail updates to email@example.com. Let us know if this is information you wish to share with your colleagues around the state - or if you would like us to keep it confidential. If we want to get better at generating revenue for kids, we MUST learn from each other.
WANT TO GET STARTED WITH A CHILDREN'S BUDGET?
Many of you have expressed a desire to start your journey toward a dedicated funding stream for children with a Children's Budget for your county or city. The very first step is to document what is currently being funded for children and youth in your community- not as easy as it sounds.
We are pleased to report that we have enlisted the help of one of the leading financial experts in the state, Ed Harrington, former Controller for the City and County of San Francisco for 17 years, and former Board member and President of the Government Finance Officers Association of the US and Canada, and Board member of the Financial Accounting Foundation.
We are in the process of identifying counties and cities which want to work with their fiscal people to develop a protocol for creating the budget. We plan to have a meeting with both children's advocates and fiscal staff in interested counties. Let us know if you want to participate.
First 5 Association of CA |
Margaret Brodkin and Associates
- California Child Care Resource and Referral Network
-California School-Age Consortium
- Children Now
- Children's Defense Fund California
- Prevent Child Abuse California
- California Network of Family Strengthening Networks
- California Coverage and Health Initiatives
- The Children's Partnership- Youth Leadership Institute
Pro-Bono Legal Team
Orrick Public Finance Group
Sierra Health Foundation