Welcome to Insights, the OMG Center blog. Through thought-provoking commentaries and stories about our work, we hope to spark an ongoing dialogue about how to drive change in the social sector. Our writings will draw from a depth and breadth of experience in the fields of evaluation, capacity building, and strategy development. Join the conversation.

July 29, 2013
Changing Cultures, Realizing Dreams: A “Ground-Up” Approach to Supporting College Enrollment and Success
Wendy Sedlak
When I consider how high schools can promote college as a viable opportunity for African American and Latino youth from under-served communities, I think of Angel Hardy, Aysis Santana, Gelane Pratts and their peers in the “Bloomsburg 10,” a group of recent graduates from the Kensington High School for Creative and Performing Arts, in Philadelphia. These students, some of whom will be the first in their families to enroll in college, will attend Bloomsburg University this fall.

Tags: Diversity, equity, inclusion, Evaluation, Partnerships and networks, Postsecondary completion, Pre K-12 education, Systems change
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July 10, 2013
Clogged Pipelines: Addressing the Data Flow Obstacles in Education-Workforce Programs
Jill Gurvey
A large body of research has illustrated the clear relationship between attaining a college degree and securing meaningful employment. And, a growing number of philanthropies, as well as federal agencies, are making considerable financial investments in demonstrating this link between college completion and workforce development, and are doing so particularly in low-income and traditionally under-served communities.

Tags: Data systems and use for decision making, Evaluation, Philanthropy, Pipeline, Postsecondary completion, Using data
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June 27, 2013
Toward a Tangible Momentum: Improving Health Outcomes for Black Males
Howard Walters
In my previous post, I referenced President Obama’s remarks to encourage passage of the economic stimulus package. He spoke of “banishing fear,” and asserted that “together, we cannot fail…” I invoked the president’s words to stress the urgency of addressing the academic achievement gap for men and boys of color. I am drawing upon those words again to illuminate similar challenges in the area of health.

Tags: Advancing Equity, Community health, Diversity, equity, inclusion, Philanthropy, Social sector trends
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June 11, 2013
Together We Cannot Fail: Addressing the Academic Achievement Gap for Black Males
Howard Walters
Along every major indicator of success, Black males measure below their potential, and the statistics – particularly in the areas of academic achievement, health, and economic mobility – are damning. In my home state of Indiana, for instance, barely more than one in three Black male students graduate from high school. Among Black male high school graduates nationally, fewer than 10% tend to enroll in four-year colleges.

Tags: Advancing Equity, Diversity, equity, inclusion, Philanthropy, Postsecondary completion, Pre K-12 education, Social sector trends
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May 29, 2013
Picking up the Mantle: Why the Social Sector Must “Do the Work” of Addressing Disparities
Edith Arrington
Several of my OMG Center colleagues and I participated recently in the inaugural Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) conference in Chicago. It was a rich and engaging event, and from the beginning, virtually all the presentations and speeches I attended sparked tangible ideas and lessons.

But two speeches really hit home.

Tags: Advancing Equity, Culturally responsive consultancy, Diversity, equity, inclusion, Evaluation, Social sector trends
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May 14, 2013
Diverse Voices, Inclusive Ideas: Mobilizing Change through Culturally Responsive Strategies
Meg Long
I recently participated in a strategy session at a foundation to talk about community-driven efforts to increase postsecondary completion. During the course of the conversation, one attendee posed a question which really struck a chord: “How can we ensure that the postsecondary completion strategies that communities pursue will be different and will result in better outcomes for students?” In short, more of the same was not going to address the college access and completion challenges we face.

Tags: Advancing Equity, Collective impact, Diversity, equity, inclusion, Evaluation, Partnerships and networks, Place-based investment, Postsecondary completion, Social sector trends, Strategy development, Systems change
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May 2, 2013
Welcome to Insights!
Gerri Spilka
As I write the first post for our new blog, Insights, the experiences of Jill Jim and Summer Jackson, two former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Evaluation Fellows, come to mind. Jill and Summer were among the first participants in RWJF’s Evaluation Fellowship program. The purpose of the program was to expand the participation and leadership of historically under-represented groups in the evaluation profession. The OMG Center partnered with Rodney Hopson of Duquesne University’s School of Education to direct the initiative.

Tags: Advancing Equity, Community development, Diversity, equity, inclusion, Evaluation, Philanthropy, Pipeline
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