Reporting on Environmental Disaster in NY Times by Inside Climate News, Fiscally Sponsored by Public Interest Projects

Public Interest Projects is pleased to serve as the fiscal sponsor for a one-of-a-kind digital platform called InsideClimate News. Please click here  for their op-ed in the New York Times on a recent environmental disaster.


Tough Times in Social Justice Philanthropy: Public Interest Projects’ Learning Institute Announces Exciting Speakers and Provocative Panels


You are invited to attend the inauguration of Public Interest Projects’ Learning Institute, as funders and advocates convene to take stock of philanthropy and advocacy in the current political and economic time, and look to the future for effective strategies, inspiration and hope.

 “Tough Times in Social Justice Philanthropy: Strategic Impact Through Collaboration, Capacity and Alliances,” will gather more than a hundred funders and advocates in New York, September 27-28, 2012, for an interactive exploration of innovative models of collaboration; effective capacity building services to advance social justice; and impactful alliance building funding.

Setting the stage for the Institute is the charged political moment of major Supreme Court rulings on immigration and juvenile life without parole, “states rights,” a sluggish economy, assaults on access to educational opportunities, civil liberties and Democratic values, changing tax codes, and election year rhetoric.

These and other topics will be addressed at the two-day Institute.  Institute workshops and speakers have been announced, a special cultural session and performances will be featured, and even N.Y. City “Vendy” award-winning ethnic food truck purveyors will be on hand to serve delicious food.

Highlights of the Institute will include:

•             “Conversation Across Generations and Movements — Strategies, Struggles and Aspirations:” Hear advocates of different ages and across issues share strategies and what inspires them as they emerge from recent Supreme Court battles against juvenile life without parole and immigration, and struggle for LGBT marriage equality and against voter suppression.  Invited speakers include Bernardine Dohrn of Northwestern University; Eliseo Medina of SEIU; Albert Sykes of the Young People’s Project; Kim McGill of the Youth Justice Coalition/FREE L.A. High School; Tania Unzueta of Immigrant Youth Justice League/National Coming Out of the Shadows Day; and others.   Facilitated by Mallika Dutt, Founder, President and CEO of Breakthrough and Board member of Public Interest Projects.

•             “Spotlight on the Southeast:” Every major social justice issue in the U.S. – education, immigration, human rights, environmental justice, voter suppression, LGBT marriage equality – is playing out across state governments, especially in the South.  An interactive training and political overview by Chris Kromm of the Institute for Southern Studies  will provide Institute participants with data on important developments in the region that have national consequences.  Also featured are Leroy Johnson of Southern Echo; Monique Harden of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights; and Sean Kosofsky of Blueprint North Carolina, among other invited speakers.

•             “Alliance-Building Success Stories — Youth Leaders Fighting Harsh School Discipline Policies, Protecting LGBTQ Rights, and Advocating for Immigrant Rights:”  A case study of how youth organizers are finding common cause across issues,  the role of strategic alliance building, and how the  growing alliances can inform grantmaking. Featuring Fernando Martinez of Dignity in Schools Campaign and Leslie Herod of the Gill Foundation, among others.

•             “Sound-Byte” Sessions and ‘Funder Ignite’ Talks:”  Hear leading experts on social media, arts and culture, and “scaling up” through membership services that will share thoughts and ideas for social justice philanthropy and advocacy in fun, interactive settings. A thought-provoking Funder Ignite session on “Reading the Tea Leaves: What Does the Future Hold for Social Justice Philanthropy?” will give donor partners an opportunity to share their 2013 priorities.

•             Inspiring Closing Plenary:  Rounding out the program will be a closing plenary spotlighting intersections between education rights and civil rights issues, and identifying key opportunities that exist for social justice philanthropy, featuring education scholar  Pedro Noguera of New York University.

•             Special Arts and Culture Focus:  Digital artist and printmaker Favianna Rodriquez; artist/author/agitator Gan Golan; and comedian/writer/actor/director Negin Farsad will discuss models for connecting artists to movements for social change.

The Institute will be held at the Penthouse Floor meeting room, 434 West 33rd Street in NY.

More details will follow. Registration is limited.  This is a Donor Institute.  Other participants will be accommodated as space permits. To register, and for more information, please contact Cathy Block at Public Interest Projects,   

Audio: Janice Jackson on Achieving Quality Education in Our Schools at CPER Convening

Janice Jackson, Executive Director of SCOPE


We don’t live in a post racial world and effective teaching should reflect that understanding. That’s what Janice Jackson, Executive Director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) and CPER Scholars Board member, said at the Communities for Public Education Reform (CPER) Convening opening plenary.

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Audio: Heather McGhee of Demos on the Impacts of Misguided Public Education Decisions at CPER’s Convening Closing Plenary


Heather McGhee
Vice President of Policy and Outreach at Demos



Who’s going to place 50 classroom desks on the front lawn of the school board president? Heather McGhee of Demos encouraged education organizers to illustrate the impacts of misguided public education decisions at the Communities for Public Education Reform (CPER) Convening closing plenary.

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Audio: Randi Weingarten, President of American Federation of Teachers, Answers Tough Questions at CPER Convening

Randi Weingarten: President, American Federation of Teachers


Randi Weingarten — President of American Federation of Teachers — does not shy away from tough questions, controversy or community organizers at the Communities for Public Education Reform (CPER) Convening plenary.

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Fundraising Campaign Launched: Support a DREAMer!

Please note: Local organizations are not yet accepting applications. 

August 15, 2012 — Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin accepting requests from young immigrants for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.”  The policy of Deferred Action was announced by President Obama on June 15th and allows qualifying immigrants under the age of 31 who came to the U.S. before age 16 – popularly known as DREAMers — to obtain protection from deportation and work permits for at least two years.  This represents the first step for more than a million DREAMers to pursue higher education, meaningful employment, and a chance to contribute to this country’s future.

Working through on-the-ground advocacy and legal service providers, the Fund for DREAMers will assist eligible young people, particularly low-income individuals, to defray the $465 application fees.  The goal is to maximize the number of successful applicants by ensuring that qualified, low-income young immigrants are not deterred by their inability to pay the application fee.  Funds will be dispersed to vetted local groups via a rigorous allocation process.

As DREAMers all over the country today submit their requests for Deferred Action, Public Interest Projects is launching the Fund for DREAMers, a national fundraising effort to support them.  Recognizing that the application fee of $465 may be prohibitive for some applicants, a committed group of immigrant rights advocates and donors urged Public Interest Projects to create a fund to help offset these fees.  It is estimated that more than one million young people, brought to the U.S. as children by their parents, may be eligible for Deferred Action.

The specific details of how this Fund will operate are still being worked out, and will be contingent upon the total amount raised and available.  However, the Fund will:

  • Be housed at Public Interest Projects, a 501c3 tax-exempt public charity that has extensive experience managing donor collaboratives and fiscal sponsorships. Public Interest Projects will oversee fundraising, establish an online donation site, manage and distribute the funds and provide staffing. Public Interest Projects will receive a modest fee from donations to cover expenses of administering the Fund.
  • Have an advisory committee, comprised of DREAMers, legal services providers, advocates and donors, that will work with Public Interest Projects staff to develop guidelines and provide oversight for the allocation of funds to local groups;
  • Ensure that grants will be made to vetted community-based organizations;
  • Where applicable, allow donors to specify geographic priority for their donations (e.g. specific states, metropolitan areas, or multistate regions), although donors  cannot specify individual recipients;
  • Work closely with other philanthropic efforts taking place throughout the country to ensure non- duplication of similar efforts to assist DREAMers.

The Fund for DREAMers encourages individual donors, families, groups and charitable institutions to support young immigrants to pursue their dreams and contribute to our country’s future by donating to the Fund. Donations will be tax-deductible and accepted through the trusted website Network for Good, or by check (see FAQ for address).

To make a donation to help young immigrants to pursue their dreams, go to


Public Interest Projects is a 501(c)(3) public charity that has been deeply involved in addressing many of the most challenging social issues facing the  U.S.  Founded in 1983, the organization helps foster a movement for social change by managing large-scale collaborative grantmaking funds and providing fiscal sponsorship to innovative new projects. Since 2002, Public Interest Projects has designed and lead 10 multi-million dollar collaborative grantmaking funds, including the Four Freedoms Fund, now in its ninth year of supporting the immigrant rights and integration movement.  It currently works with more than 100 donors in six collaborative funds that have annual budgets ranging from $2 to $11 million. The organizations supports efforts in 37 states and the District of Columbia, and its current funder collaboratives made a total of more than $20 million in grants to 237 organizations in 2011.

 **For media inquiries, please contact:

Robert Bray  Director of Communications                                                      
646-671-1709 (cell)
415-772-1915 (office)

Audio via CPER: Living up to the Dream of Quality Public Education in LAUSD

Living up to the DREAM of Quality Public Education in LAUSD by CPER in California

Education reform is driven by different agendas, values and beliefs.One such belief is that, in America, education can serve as a great equalizer, ensuring a promising future for all youth, regardless of differentials in race or income. Yet gross inequalities exsit in students’ access to quality education, with a young person’s opportunity to learn more often dependent on zip code than on effort, determination or intelligence. Though all students have a right to quality teaching, rigorous curriculum, social and emotional supports, and a healthy school climate that nurtures learning, these essentials are too often found wanting in schools that serve our most vulnerable youth. In this sobering context, California’s dire budget crisis catalyzes a sense of urgency for all who are committed to equitable education reform.


On July 24 in Los Angeles, Communities for Public Education Reform co-hosted a donor briefing with the California Community Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, the Liberty Hill Foundation, and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.    Some 40 funders engaged with CA grantees in an important conversation about the role parents and students can play in district reform; the specific campaigns that LA‐based community groups have advanced to shift policy and practice; and the power of collaborative partnerships for change forged between community and advocacy groups, researchers, and funders brought together through Communities for Public Education Reform (CPER).