CF Insights asks a very simple but important question: "What if each community foundation could know what all community foundations collectively know?" This collection features research produced and funded by community foundations, and other resources relevant to the field. Contact us at and visit us at

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Spotlight on Economic Development Grantmaking in Ohio 2011

March 31, 2011

There is a growing interest among large foundations in Ohio in supporting economic development activities in the state. According to Spotlight on Economic Development Grantmaking in Ohio, grant dollars in this category increased from $24.5 million in 2005 to $62 million in 2008, a 152% upswing. As a share of total giving in Ohio, economic development grants doubled, from 7 to 14 percent. In 2008, nearly half of these grant dollars supported employment training and services, and a quarter went for urban development projects.

Life After Prison: Tracking the Experiences of Male Prisoners Returning to Chicago, Cleveland, and Houston

May 15, 2010

Examines the reentry experiences of 652 men in the three cities, including housing stability, family relationships, substance use, employment, and recidivism. Analyzes outcome predictors such as prison programs, job training, and family structure.

Growing Ohio's Green Energy Economy

March 25, 2009

Provides an overview of the state's solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal energy and fuel cell industries and assesses their economic contribution and potential for growth. Recommends policies to encourage further green energy development and job creation.

Cleveland Schools That Are Making a Difference

April 25, 2008

Profiles thirteen Cleveland schools -- a cross section of traditional public, private, parochial, and charter schools, where the majority of students are economically disadvantaged -- that have demonstrated progress in student achievement gains.

Health and Prisoner Reentry: How Physical, Mental, and Substance Abuse Conditions Shape the Process of Reintegration

February 1, 2008

Documents the health challenges released prisoners face and the impact of physical health conditions, mental illness, and substance abuse on the reentry process, including finding housing and employment, reconnecting with family, and avoiding recidivism.

One Year Out: Experiences of Prisoners Returning to Cleveland

April 18, 2007

Presents findings from a longitudinal study of prisoner reentry, documenting the lives of nearly three hundred former prisoners and their ability to find stable housing, reunite with family, secure employment, and avoid substance use and recidivism.

Driven to Spend: Pumping Dollars Out of Our Households and Communities

June 1, 2005

This report examines the impacts of transportation spending on households in the 28 metro areas for which the federal government collects expenditure data and of rising gas prices on both households and regional economies. It finds that households in regions that have invested in public transportation reap financial benefits from having access to affordable mobility options, even as gas prices rise, and that regions with public transit are losing less per household from the increase in gas prices than those without transit options.

Open to the Public: Speaking Out on No Child Left Behind: Summary of Nine Hearings, May-October, 2004

March 31, 2005

When the No Child Left Behind Act was signed into law on January 8, 2002, the President and Congress presented the American people with an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity rests in an historic piece of education legislation designed to close the achievement gap between high- and low-performing students. The challenge lies in the need for parent and community leaders to become knowledgeable about and take advantage of various NCLB provisions for collaboration, engagement, and action.NCLB is indeed a groundbreaking piece of federal legislation. It sets forth national expectations of high academic achievement for all public school children through a mandate that all children will be performing proficiently by 2014. It significantly broadens the federal role in public education and defines more stringent standards of accountability for local public schools and districts.However, as evidenced by numerous reports and articles in the media, implementation of various provisions of the law is raising deep concerns at state and local levels. Clearly missing from this important and growing national debate are the voices of the public, particularly those from disadvantaged and disconnected communities. Parents, students and other members of the public -- largely unorganized and under-represented in national education policy -- are significantly affected by this law, inasmuch as the law is intended to enhance the effectiveness of public schools in every community by holding those schools accountable for educating every child to high standards.What has been the impact of the law on students, families, schools and communities? How can the perspectives and experiences of these individuals -- all directly or indirectly impacted by the law -- inform and improve the law and its implementation? What role does the public play in ensuring public schools that work in the context of NCLB for all children?In spring 2004, Public Education Network (PEN) sought answers to these questions by holding a series of nine public hearings across eight states. Our intention was to listen to public voices and to bring these voices to local, state and federal policymakers; to educators; to the media; and back out to the public at large. We also saw these hearings as a way to further educate the public about NLCB, building on a set of tools that PEN has produced since 2002, and to remind all Americans of the essential role that they must play to ensure a public education system that works for all children.It was important to us to honor the time and attention that the public was giving to this task. We were intentional in structuring the hearings in a respectful and consistent manner. We chose states in which to hold the hearings based on their large percentage of low-income children. All hearings were co-hosted by a local partner organization with deep ties to the community. A set of distinguished hearing officers who would listen attentively and ask probing questions of witnesses also helped to ensure authentic and meaningful testimony. The panels who testified were composed of almost equal numbers of students (high school and early college), parents of school-aged children attending public schools, and community members (including business and civic leaders and community activists) across the nine hearings. We also conducted an online survey regarding NCLB through our online advocacy tool,, to which we received 12,000 responses. These are referenced as well in the report. Since the absence of the public is too often evident in forums on public education, we intentionally did not invite professional educators to formally testify, although some did speak during 'open microphone' time following each of the formal panels.We are pleased to share what we heard. The findings include specific quotes from the public. We think it's important to bring the public's voice as clearly as we could. However, we also endeavored to cite findings and draw conclusions that reflect a general pattern or theme, which we heard across the hearings. We took great pains not to include opinions, experiences or perspectives that were unique to a particular family, community or district. The ecommendations derive from what we heard and PEN's own understanding of and experiences with the law.Our hope is that these representative voices from the public help inform how federal, state and local officials work to improve public education. As importantly, we hope that it serves as testimony to the deep concern and commitment that the public has about public education and about their local public schools.

Investing in Creativity: A Study of the Support Structure for U.S. Artists

July 1, 2003

Documents and analyzes the environment of support for individual artists. Provides a framework for analysis of various dimensions of the support structure, nationally and in specific sites across the U.S. Includes support programs and policy initiatives.