Category Archives: Philanthropy
Visitors to Washington, DC, this month have seen an uptick in excitement as this year’s student volunteers and interns and fellows descend on the city and begin their work. Six of those students make up the inaugural class of Frank Karel Public Interest Communications Fellows, a program led by the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington, which honors and advances the legacy of Frank Karel, who established and nurtured the field of strategic communications in philanthropy during his 30 years as chief communications officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation.
The program will build on Karel’s vision for expanding and diversifying the field of public interest communications. “We couldn’t be more honored and thrilled to be managing this Fellows program,” said Chuck Bean, President of the Nonprofit Roundtable. “We embrace communications as a critical piece of any strategy to advance health and human services, education, the environment and the arts. It’s not enough to simply do the good work that needs to be done; it’s the skill to persuasively communicate that moves ideas into action.”
Projects of the Inaugural Karel Fellows’ class include:
- Outreach about the Maryland Dream Act for CASA de Maryland, which works to improve the quality of life and fight for equal treatment and full access to resources and opportunities for low-income immigrant communities and organizations.
- A video sharing a client’s story for Mary’s Center, which delivers health care, education and social services to residents in need in the Washington metropolitan region.
- A new website, training, advocacy tools and media outreach efforts for the Campaign for Youth Justice, dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing and incarcerating youth under 18 in the adult criminal justice system.
- Contributions to the social media plan for Aeras, which works on development of effective, affordable and sustainable tuberculosis (TB) vaccines.
>>Learn more about Frank Karel.
Public health, institutes and health philanthropy share the burden and opportunity of driving a prevention, health equity and social determinants of health agenda, said Robert Ross, M.D., president and C.E.O. of the California Endowment, a private health foundation working to improve the health status of all Californians.
Ross was a keynote speaker at the tenth annual conference of the National Network of Public Health Institutes, which met this week in New Orleans.
Ross says the Endowment works to transform unhealthy communities for kids into healthy ones. He notes that in addition to the need for innovative ways to prevent chronic disease at the community level, and the science base to support it, we must recognize the immensely important role that politics and power play in scaling systemic change. “The half-century tobacco wars in our nation are a case in point,” Ross points out.
Ross says that there is a "new normal" in the health and health care environment including budget cuts, safety net cuts, ACA implementation and political wars, and the downsizing of government.
“Public health institutes play a role in helping translate practice and research into policy and systemic change at the state and regional level,” he says.
Ross also argues that a need exists to be more attentive for new strategies and ways to advance the prevention and public health approach to improving health and cutting costs.
And, says Ross, public health institutes and health philanthropy must find ways to “Tao into successful community based innovative practices and lift up successes via effective storytelling for impact.”