Monthly Archives: June 2010
|June 30, 2010||Posted by M. P. under Budget||
Libraries and agricultural programs saw funds reduced. In addition, state funds were cut for autism intervention, behavioral health, child care assistance, domestic violence prevention, legal services, homeless assistance and mental health services. At this point, it is not apparent if ARRA funds will make up for the decrease in funding. Funding for early intervention (education), disability services and long term care was increased.
|June 30, 2010||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Education, Evaluation, Health, Research||
Recent reports on childhood obesity indicate that although interventions are taking place to address the problem, substantial challenges remain. Still, there is some promising news:
- In May 2010, the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity released their recommendations for addressing this serious health issue using public and private actions, initiatives and benchmarks. The recommendations were centered around: education and empowerment of families to make healthy decisions, accessibility and affordability of healthy foods and increased physical activity.
- A recent report from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program Bridging the Gap entitled School Policies and Practices to Improve Health and Prevent Obesity: National Elementary School Survey Results documents school wellness policies and their impact on student health. The study, which looked at the nutritional level of school lunches, vending machine content and availability, physical education and activity and the implementation of mandated wellness programs, found that overall, student had too much access to unhealthy food and drink choices and too little physical activity.
- Wellness programs in schools may hold the key to successfully addressing this health problem according to the results of a three-year study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine. This study, conducted by the The HEALTHY Study Group, found that while the interventions didn’t reduce the overweight and obesity rate overall, it did reduce the risk of diabetes and the rate of obesity in the highest risk group of children.
- The challenge of changing youngsters’ food choices permanently and for the better was illustrated by a research study entitled The Influence of Licensed Characters on Children’s Taste and Snack Preferences published online in Pediatrics, that found how strongly branding and marketing to children influences their snack preference. Overall, the snacks in cartoon character packaging were scored higher on “taste” by the preschoolers in the study. Reportedly, carrots weren’t a crowd-pleaser regardless of the wrapper.
|June 29, 2010||Posted by M. P. under Philanthropy||
Late last year the Foundation Center reported that foundation giving would likely drop by 10% in 2009 with an additional decline in 2010.
A modicum of good news: Pittsburgh nonprofits rank among the country’s strongest during this economic downturn.
For an interesting perspective on how the nonprofit sector got to this point and how to deal with where we are now: Clara Miller’s The Four Horsemen of the Nonprofit Financial Apocalypse at the Nonprofit Quarterly website.
|June 28, 2010||Posted by M. P. under Federal Government, Policy||
The Keystone Research Center produces an annual report on the status of Pennsylvania’s economy and its impact on working Pennsylvanians. The most recent report, The State of Working Pennsylvania 2009 took the pulse of the economy at a time where it appeared we were careening toward the next Great Depression.
According to the publication, federal intervention to stimulate the economy through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-related spending and decreases in taxes to the middle class played a role in slowing the economic free fall both nationally and in Pennsylvania. In addition to reviewing the impact of the federal response to the economic crisis, the report puts a spotlight on the longer-term challenges of sustaining economic growth in the Commonwealth and the issue of the ever-shrinking middle class.