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Arkansas Community Foundation;
Food waste. Something that's hard to imagine in a state where so many lack access to nutritious and consistent meals. With many hunger-relief programs spreading throughout the state, our communities are making significant steps towards eliminating food insecurity. But what about programs addressing the need to put an end to massive amounts of food that is wasted? According to the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, 40 percent of food produced in the U.S. is never eaten. The average super market wastes 10 percent of its food and an average Ameri-can family spends $2,000 on food they end up throwing out. For a country with more than 46 million of its people suffering from food insecurity, how can food waste simultaneously be an issue? Working to understand how food waste happens is the first step in finding a solution. The three most common opportunities for improvement occur on farms, at consumer-facing businesses and in households.
Unintended pregnancy can have significant, negative consequences for individual women, their families and society as a whole. An extensive body of research links births resulting from unintended or closely spaced pregnancies to adverse maternal and child health outcomes and myriad social and economic challenges. In 2011, the most recent year for which national-level data are available, 45% of all pregnancies in the United States were unintended, including three out of four pregnancies to women younger than 20, and there were 45 unintended pregnancies per every 1,000 women aged 15–44, a rate significantly higher than that in many other developed countries. If current trends continue, more than half of all women in the United States will experience an unintended pregnancy by the time they reach age 45. And economically disadvantaged women are disproportionately affected by unintended pregnancy and its consequences: In 2011, the unintended pregnancy rate among women with a family income lower than the federal poverty level, at 112 per 1,000, was more than five times the rate among women with an income greater than 200% of poverty (20 per 1,000).
Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation (an affiliate of Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates);
At Great Lakes we work to make postsecondary degrees, credentials and certificates accessible to as many students as possible. Specifically, we focus our philanthropy on helping those who traditionally have the most to gain from college, but who often have the least support in getting there: students from low-income homes, students of color and first-generation students.
This Report highlights our belief that overcoming barriers to graduation requires engaging both students and colleges—with success being their shared goal. In it you'll find details on many of the 50 grants we launched in 2016, several key findings and our goals for the coming year.
Walton Family Foundation, Inc.;
Northwest Arkansas residents were recently asked to share their perceptions of satisfaction with life in the region. In the survey of over 1,000 residents in Benton and Washington counties, 95% reported being "very happy" or "fairly happy" with aspects of Northwest Arkansas life directly impacted by foundation investments in downtowns, cultural amenities, and the Razorback Regional Greenway trail system. The survey was commissioned by the Walton Family Foundation evaluation unit and was designed to gauge the extent to which residents are satisfied with life in the region and view Northwest Arkansas as a great place to live. The survey was first conducted in 2012 and then again in 2015 with the support of The Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory at Mississippi State University. The follow-up was conducted to determine if levels of satisfaction with the region's livability have changed over the past three years. Northwest Arkansas cultural amenities supported by foundation investments have seen positive shifts in usage since the 2012 survey. At Crystal Bridges alone, the number of residents who reported visiting the museum is up 21 percentage points. The increase in attendance at Crystal Bridges by Hispanic residents outpaces the overall attendance growth with an increase of 32 percentage points. The Walton Family Foundation's strategic focus on creating a regional sense of place is reflected in survey results with 69% of Northwest Arkansas residents reporting accessing trails in the last 12 months. Additionally, over one-third of residents reported an increase in visits to downtowns over the last year. The results of the quality of life survey will help the Walton Family Foundation and other regional organizations make strategic decisions moving forward. For example, residents expressed concern about the affordability of early childhood education and the need for more transportation options. These areas of concern present opportunities for the foundation as well as other entities that have a goal of improving quality of life in Northwest Arkansas. In addition to the initiatives backed by the foundation, there were other key learnings from the survey. A low crime rate, civic engagement and feelings of acceptance by the community were included as factors that lead to a happy life in Northwest Arkansas, and why people want to stay in the community.
American Journal of Agricultural Economics;
Families in low-income neighborhoods sometimes lack access to supermarkets that provide a broad range of healthy foods. We investigate whether these so called "food deserts" play a role in childhood obesity using a statewide panel data set of Arkansas elementary schoolchildren. We use fixed-effects panel data regression models to estimate the average food desert effect. We next compare children who left (entered) food deserts to children who were always (never) in food deserts and homogenize samples for those whose food desert status changed as a result of a change in residence and those whose status changed only as a consequence of the entry or exit of a supermarket. We present evidence that exposure to food deserts is associated with higher z-scores for body mass index. On average, this is in the neighborhood of 0.04 standard deviations. The strongest evidence and largest association is among urban students and especially those that transition into food deserts from non-deserts. Our food desert estimates are similar in magnitude to findings reported in earlier work on diet and lifestyle interventions targeting similarly aged schoolchildren. That said, we are unable to conclude that the estimated food desert effect is causal because many of the transitions into or out of food deserts result from a change in residence, an event that is endogenous to the child's household. However, there is evidence that food deserts are a risk indicator and that food desert areas may be obesogenic in ways that other low-income neighborhoods are not.
Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED);
The Assets & Opportunity Scorecard is a comprehensive look at Americans' financial security today and their opportunities to create a more prosperous future. It assesses the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 130 outcome and policy measures, which describe how well residents are faring and what states are doing to help them build and protect assets. The Scorecard enables states to benchmark their outcomes and policies against other states in five issue areas: Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care, and Education.
Crossroads Resource Center;
This report lays out strategic recommendations for creating sustainable local food systems, both short and long-term, specific to the Arkansas-Louisiana-Texas region. Recommendations range from creating a registry of farmable lands to prioritize land preservation to expanding composting programs and increasing access to capital, on-farm infrastructure, and land for new farmers.
University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute;
Why is there so much difference in the health of residents in one county compared to other counties in the same state? In this report, the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program explores how wide gaps are throughout Arkansas and what is driving those differences. This information can help Arkansas state leaders as they identify ways for everyone to have a fair chance to lead the healthiest life possible. Specifically, this document can help state leaders understand: 1. What health gaps are and why they matter 2. The size and nature of the health gaps among counties within Arkansas 3. What factors are influencing the health of residents, and 4. What state and local communities can do to address health gaps.
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation;
In September 2013, Arkansas became the first state in the nation to receive approval from the federal government for a Section 1115 demonstration waiver to require most adults who are newly eligible for coverage through the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion to enroll in Marketplace plans. The initiative, often referred to as the "private option," has allowed Arkansas to cover close to 220,000 Medicaid beneficiaries with commercial provider networks and strengthen its Marketplace. An additional 25,000 medically frail adults are covered through the state's fee-for-service system, bringing to 245,000 the number of newly eligible adults covered in Arkansas as of June 30, 2015. As a result of this coverage, Arkansas has been able to drive down its uninsured rate and reduce uncompensated care costs. The future of the private option is the source of extensive discussion within Arkansas, and it continues to be watched closely by policymakers within the state and around the country. Drawing on a dozen interviews with state officials, providers, insurance carriers, and advocates, as well as early data on coverage, reduced uncompensated care costs, and other topics, this issue brief provides an initial look at implementation.
Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most states' individual health insurance markets were dominated by one or two insurance carriers that had little incentive to compete by providing efficient services. Instead, they competed mainly by screening and selecting people based on their risk of incurring high medical costs. One of the ACA's goals is to encourage carriers to participate in the health insurance marketplaces and to shift the focus from competing based on risk selection to processes that increase consumer value, like improving efficiency of services and quality of care. Focusing on six states—Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Montana, and Texas—this brief looks at how carriers are competing in the new marketplaces, namely through cost-sharing and composition of provider networks.
A report, released by the Rockefeller Institute of Government and the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI), reveals significant collaboration between Arkansas's public and private sectors to expand health care coverage through the Health Care Independence Program (commonly known as the "private option") and the federally facilitated marketplace partnership.
The report is the most recent in a series of state and regional studies advanced by a national network examining the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The national network, with 40 states and 74 researchers, is an effort of the Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York, the Washington-based Brookings Institution, and the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.
Women's Foundation of Arkansas;
A review of public health data for the 50 states shows that Arkansas has the third highest teen birth rate. These outcomes impact Arkansas teens in general, and Arkansas women in particular in terms of increasing negative health outcomes, as well as negatively impacting potenitial educational attainment, thus increasing the economic burden on women. This report synthesises findings from recent health data collected by the CDC, the US Dept of HHS and peer reviewed scientific research to demonstrate the health disparity facing Arkansas teens with reagrd to the short terms and long term health, educational and economic consequences of teen pregnancy. Based on the synthesised data, recommendations and action steps to improve outcomes for Arkansas teens and women are provided.