Community Schools Model

In 2016, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation awarded a grant to support the expansion of a community school model to all 11 public schools in their hometown of Flint, Michigan. In addition to helping students meet academic goals, the model also aims to strengthen the connection between schools, families and local residents.

The new model brings together a variety of resources for children and families, depending on the needs of each school and its surrounding neighborhood. It provides students with strong, research-based educational and enrichment opportunities, along with nutritional support, physical activity, mindfulness exercises and more. Such activities and services will allow the schools to become the best place for community members to access a wide range of services.

Flint has long been known for its leadership in the community school movement. In 1935, C.S. Mott and Flint educator Frank J. Manley launched a “lighted schoolhouse” model, which made use of school buildings during non-school hours to provide educational and recreational programs for students, families and neighborhood residents.

By supporting this initiative, the Mott Foundation is proud to help its home community create a reimagined, 21st century model of community education that meets the needs of today’s families.

Funding Girls’ Organising

Mama Cash has in recent years actively sought to support girls who take matters into their own hands.

In August 2015, Mama Cash, FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund and MEMPROW brought together 30 emissaries from African girls’ rights initiatives. They emphasised the importance of keeping in mind that girls need trust and support to develop their own activism. The reality is that many girls grow up in an unsafe environment. That is why it is critical to ensure that they become as resilient as possible and have a place where they can meet each other and collaborate.

Mama Cash funds groups run with and by girls around the world and is part of the With and For Girls Collective. This funder’s collective is investing $1m each year in awards to grass-roots organisations that are successfully working on girls’ rights.

Challenging Chances – Escape in Pictures

The subject of refugees is still ongoing. It is no longer an abstract phenomenon; now these very real people made out of flesh and blood are living among us in our neighbourhoods. We can now make our own picture from these people who have sought refuge in our country.

The exhibition pictures show us their story right from the start of their escape up until their arrival in Germany. Enthusiastic and sensitive photographers have accompanied them in their search for a better life.

Following the arrival to safety, a long challenging process begins in the host countries. Here in Germany, as in every other host country, we are confronted with a lot of work for the whole society. The integration of refugees through education and work, and maintaining united local communities are some examples of issues faced.

It is necessary to carry on welcoming and accepting immigrants as we have done before. Keeping this issue high on the agenda is important, as well as continuing the prevention of prejudice against refugees.

The Bertelsmann Stiftung together with the photo agency laif from Cologne have made this project possible.

Gulbenkian Challenge – Stop Infeção Hospitalar!

Hospital infections are a major public health issue and are associated with increasing rates of morbidity and mortality in patients and with the extension of their hospital stay. In comparison with the European average, Portugal has the highest prevalence rates of hospital infections and the problem is growing.

In response to this challenge, the Gulbenkian Foundation has launched the ‘Gulbenkian Challenge Stop Infeção Hospitalar!’ (Stop Hospital Infection!) with the aim of reducing the rate of hospital infections by 50% over the next 3 years in 12 hospitals.

The 12 hospitals participating are in a 36-month collaborative learning process, which should lead to progressive levels of improvements in practices. Results will be monitored and regular reporting and assessment will take place.

There have been significant increases in the levels of compliance with the measures proposed, which in turn has led to notable repercussions in lowering the rates of infection.

Digital Lives

Who decides society’s definition of culture and how do we evaluate the various forms of cultural expression? Over the last few decades, video games have consolidated their position as pastime, interest and career among a (large) swathe of the population. More than 500 million people play video games every day.

Simultaneously, few mainstream newspapers report on individual games or on gaming culture in the same manner that they report on other genres such as music, literature, television and film. This affects how we as a society talk and think about games and those who enjoy them.

Organised by the Fritt Ord Foundation, ‘Digital Lives’ invites the public to discuss the topic both through a call for essays and a series of public debates. 180 texts were received for the anthology, including both academic and personal essays. The ten writers selected for the anthology touched on language barriers, addiction, gender equality and the connection between violent video games and the 2011 Utøya massacre. The winning essay was a careful deconstruction of the lack of diversity in games, and dealt powerfully with colonialism and historical narratives.

A Decade of Championing African Agency

In celebration of its first ten years as an independent pan-African foundation, TrustAfrica has published ‘Claiming Agency: Reflecting on TrustAfrica’s First Decade’. The book takes an in-depth look at its work as an African-led foundation that set out to do things differently. ‘Claiming Agency’ asks, does this kind of philanthropy make a difference? If so, how? What are its unique ways of working? The answers are found in five chapters by independent authors that reflect on how TrustAfrica and its partners advanced a range of issues – from women’s rights, smallholder agriculture, and democratic reform in Liberia and Zimbabwe to international criminal justice and illicit financial flows.

For a decade the foundation has pursued a singular mission to strengthen African agency to address some of the continent’s most pressing development challenges. TrustAfrica was founded on the belief that the most enduring solutions to Africa’s problems will come from initiatives led by Africans themselves rather than externally conceived and driven models that do not place Africans at the centre of problem- solving and decision making.

The Resilience Age

Produced by the Rockefeller Foundation, The Resilience Age illustrates the impact of resilience in cities around the world that face challenges including climate change, sea level rise, economic disparity and pollution. By examining the past, present and future of cities from El Paso, Texas to Medellin, Colombia The Resilience Age highlights how these cities developed interventions that established resilience in their communities.

In Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, engineers, elected officials and community members worked together to build green infrastructure in and around New Orleans; in drought-stricken Texas, the state developed innovative water desalinisation plants and implemented water management strategies that reduced daily per capita consumption from 225 gallons to 130; and, in bankrupt, crime-ridden Detroit, innovative projects executed by residents enhanced social cohesion and facilitated a renaissance in many Detroit neighbourhoods that is ongoing today.

While the location and challenges of the featured cities vary, they all have one thing in common: through innovative approaches to resilience, these cities have addressed their challenges and emerged better prepared to absorb the shocks and stresses that the future will certainly bring.

Watch the documentary:

Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência

The IGC is a research institute devoted to biological and biomedical research and to graduate training. Excellence, originality, communication, cooperation and generosity, coupled with an outstanding infrastructure are essential ingredients that make IGC a special place to be.

Established by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in 1961, and still supported by the foundation, the IGC was restructured in 1998 to form the institute as it stands today. Small independent research groups work in an environment designed to encourage interactions and exploit synergies, with minimal hierarchical structure. The scientific programme of the IGC is multidisciplinary, including Cell and Developmental Biology, Evolutionary Biology, Immunology, Host-Pathogen Interactions, Disease Genetics, Plant Biology, Neurosciences, Theoretical and Computational Biology.

The IGC embraces five missions: 1) to promote multidisciplinary science of excellence in basic biological and biomedical research; 2) to identify, educate and incubate new research leaders, providing state-of-the-art facilities and full financial and intellectual autonomy; 3) to provide international graduate teaching and structured training programmes; 4) to improve the transfer of research expertise into developments that are of potential interest beyond basic science; and 5) to promote the values of science in society.

Mistra Urban Futures

Mistra Urban Futures’ is pioneering traineeships for new arrivals. Samar Ramli from Palestine is now starting research on migration and urbanisation in Mistra Urban Futures. She is the first participant in Mistra’s initiative offering trainee places in its various research programmes to newly arrived refugees with an academic background.

When the number of refugees arriving in Sweden peaked just before Christmas 2015, Mistra’s Board wanted to make a contribution to ease the situation. They therefore decided to allocate funds so as to be able to offer traineeships to people with some kind of academic background but who have not yet become established on the Swedish labour market. The work practice is to take place within Mistra’s ongoing research programmes, in established research centres or in close association with such centres.

Read more on the Mistra website

Guess who’s coming to dinner? A cultural integration project


What is the project “Guess who’s coming to dinner?”

The project was created from the bottom up by the Rete Italiana di Cultura Popolare (Italian Network of Folk Culture) and the same migrant families who felt the desire to open up themselves and their homes to meeting and sharing, with no stimulus other than their willingness and desire to “work in a network”: they offer a special family dinner, designed for those who have the “curiosity” to meet “another.”. This simple intimate experience breaks down the walls of suspicion created by a lack of awareness and a fear of different cultures. Something “magically” normal happens at the table: they talk about children, school, work, cinema and music and discover that they are so similar; they become friends and continue to meet afterwards. With a simple dinner you start from Morocco to China, Romania to Argentina, from Afghanistan to Ethiopia, sharing and telling stories of journeys, places and people: this is the idea at the heart of the project.

It is not a project of gastronomy.
“Guess who’s coming to dinner?” is a project for creating relationships.

The project “Guess who’s coming to dinner?” was launched during the 2011 edition of the International Festival of Folk Oral Culture, with a communal dinner involving over 100 people united around one table in Piazza Carlo Alberto in the heart of Turin, the dinner was prepared by the migrant families who participate in the project.

As of 2012, the project has become permanent, with an annual program and diffusion and development in all of the areas that participate and choose to promote it. The cities that propose, “Guess who’s coming to dinner?” aside from Turin are Carmagnola (TO), Alessandria, Prato, Grosseto and Gavorrano, Verona, Vicenza, Roma. Barcelona and other European cities are also joining “Guess who’s coming to dinner?”

How does it work?

It takes the form of a series of dinners in the private homes of migrant families and from this year also asylum seekers. The families open their homes to host a dinner for a group of people who are interested in learning about the culture, traditions and cuisine of their country of origin.

Those who express their interest can make a booking, and the day before the dinner, they discover who will be the host family and their country of origin. Guests cannot choose their preferred country or cuisine; they are guided for a night and meet people that are yet unknown to them. On the night of the dinner, they go to the indicated address. A family opens the door to their home and introduces the guests into their world: it could be that they tell stories of the journey to get here, show wedding photos or pictures of distant families but guests can also find themselves talking about children who may go to school together, their favourite sports teams, work and plans for the future.
Each guest is welcome to contribute, at their discretion, to cover the expenses of the dinner.

There is much more at stake than just a dinner, there is the opportunity to build real cultural policy from the bottom up thanks to the meeting, the proposal, and the mutual recognition. 

The diffusion of the project is thanks to evidence that shows more and more communities, whether in large cities or small towns, feel the need to begin investing in relationship capital.
Today there are citizens and “new citizens”: communities are composed of people born in this country and those who have chosen to live here coming from far away. The food, in the North as in the South of our country, is the centre around which it is easy build a first meeting, a connection: at dinner, we meet and get to know each other with simplicity. This is therefore not a project of gastronomy but a project in which the relationship with food and with friendliness are an opportunity to create human relationships between people and families. An opportunity to share private spaces that for the occasion become communal, social spaces.

The Italian Network of Folk Culture acts as a guarantor to the families who, with a gesture of great trust and private, welcome into their homes the people who want to share in this idea. The network aims to create partnerships and collaborations, to communicate what is happening throughout the country, but above all it facilitates the growth of local antennae that have the capacity to work together.

The matching grant of Fondazione CRT.

The proceeds of the “big” dinners that take place during the annual Festival of Folk Oral Culture (every year in October), are matched by Fondazione CRT. These resources are used to facilitate employment inclusion of children from migrant families, future new citizens. The resources go directly to support the families, without any mediation costs.

So far, € 10,000 has been collected, to which another € 10,000 is added from the matching grant of Fondazione CRT.

The consequences of connections

The event generates ideas, courage and a desire to do, so much so that a group of young people from Egypt, Albania, Cameroon, China and Afghanistan and other nationalities who originally met during the ‘Guess who’s coming to dinner?’ project, have proposed an online radio program to the Italian Network of Folk Culture. This project is currently being constructed.

Website of the Italian Network of Folk Culture: