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In 2017, the Barr Foundation launched Engage New England (ENE), a signature initiative that provides a unique opportunity for local education agencies and nonprofits to plan for and develop innovative schools designed to serve students off track to high school graduation. School design partner Springpoint is leading three cohorts of grantees through a three-phase planning year: Understand, Design, and Build. During the Understand phase, grantees conduct research to understand the needs of their student populations. In the Design phase, the grantees design a school model to meet those needs; planning to launch that model begins in the Build phase. The first cohort of grantees received planning year grants for the 2017–18 school year and included a combination of new schools and school redesigns. During the planning year, these grantees assembled teams to lead the design work, collected and analyzed data to learn about their current or potential students and community needs and capacities, articulated design priorities, and began to plan for the launch of the new or refined school model. SRI Education, the research partner for the ENE initiative, captured the learnings from the planning process through interviews, classroom observations, and student focus groups conducted during March and April 2018. The findings in this brief are based on the reflections of the school and design leaders and staff members involved in the design process as well as Springpoint staff members who supported the design process. This brief is designed to benefit all three cohorts of ENE grantees as they plan and build their schools and to highlight key elements of planning for innovative school models.
Sustainable Solutions Lab University of Massachusetts, Boston;
As this report indicates, implementing CRB is necessary but not sufficient to prepare Boston's built environment for the freshwater and coastal flooding anticipated to result from climate change. Additional steps we must take include reforming existing tools, monitoring and evaluating flood adaptation activities, and establishing governance for district-scale coastal flood protection implementation. This report presents an array of options for moving forward. Over the next year or so, the City and relevant stakeholders will need to come together and decide which, if any, of these options provide the best paths forward for a more resilient city and region.
We recommend that the Governor of Massachusetts and the Mayor of Boston establish a joint commission to explore the options and determine a path forward. There is an opportunity for us to learn from the transition to clean energy as we prepare for climate change impacts. We recommend that the legislature take a leadership role in this effort as well, in order to evaluate the different options available to the Commonwealth as we attempt to address this dynamic challenge.
Issue: Managed care organizations (MCOs) are integral to Medicaid payment and delivery reform efforts. In states that expanded Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, MCOs have experienced a surge in enrollment of adults with complex needs.
Goal: To understand MCO experiences in Medicaid expansion states and learn about innovations related to access to care, care delivery, payment, and integration of health and social services to address nonmedical needs.
Methods: Interviews with leaders of 17 MCOs in 10 states that have seen large Medicaid enrollment growth and have undertaken payment and delivery reforms.
Findings and Conclusions: MCO leaders regard their ability to enroll and serve the Medicaid expansion populations as a signal achievement. They have focused on identifying and helping high-risk populations and addressing the social determinants of health. MCOs are testing value-based payment strategies that link payment with performance and are increasingly focused on engaging patients in their care. Leaders report common challenges: setting appropriate payment rates; managing members whose needs differ from traditional Medicaid beneficiaries; ensuring access to specialty care; and effectively implementing payment reform and practice transformation. All point to the need for a stable policy environment and a strong working relationship with state Medicaid agencies.
States can do so much more to address the alarming rates of gun violence in our cities. Read the full report to learn how Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York are transforming communities with sustained investment in evidence-based violence reduction strategies.
Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice;
Massachusetts' original sentencing commission was formed in 1994, and proposed sentencing guidelines in 1996 that were never adopted by the legislature. Massachusetts re-activated its Sentencing Commission in 2014. Its mandate is to "consult with national scholars, gather data on current sentencing practices, and research best practices across a range of sentencing options." Massachusetts has an indeterminate felony sentencing system in which courts impose both a minimum sentence (which determines parole eligibility) and a maximum sentence. The Commission accepts written comments and held a public hearing in October 2016 order to "formulate recommendations for sentencing policies and practices." Massachusetts was the first state in the country to develop a parole supervision system. The state passed a law authorizing parole in 1837. Under the original legislation, parole officers duties' "included assisting released prisoners in finding jobs and providing them with tools, clothing, and transportation at state expense." The current structure and function of the Board was enacted in 1955.
As home to America's first subway, Boston has been a transit-oriented city for more than a century. In fact, much of our regional economic success is due to the connectivity that a transit system provides. It is no coincidence that the area served by the MBTA houses almost 70 percent of the state's population, offers 74 percent of the jobs, and generates 84 percent of Massachusetts's gross domestic product. The MBTA is the backbone of our economy and any successful strategy for continued growth and prosperity for the region must begin with smart investment in this system.
Luckily, the calculus is straightforward as the benefits from our transit system far outweigh the costs we dedicate to support it. A new report from A Better City, made possible through support from both the Barr Foundation and The Boston Foundation, measured the MBTA's performance and economic impact. It found that through travel time and cost savings, vehicular crashes avoided and reduced auto emissions, the MBTA provides an estimated $11.4 billion in value to Greater Boston each year for both transit users and non-users alike. Boston residents experience all of these benefits from the T's annual operating budget of approximately $2 billion.
The report also considered the alternative, examining what would it cost if our transit system did not exist. Our economy would require the capital cost of nearly 2,300 additional lane miles of roads and 400,000 more parking spaces. If we needed to build that today, the cost for this vehicular infrastructure would be over $15 billion. The MBTA is a bargain today and for the future.
Technical Development Corp (TDC);
This document provides an overview of a financial health evaluation TDC conducted in 2017 to capture the financial health trends of a Boston-based cohort of arts organizations who participated in the Barr-Klarman Arts Capacity Building Initiative (2012-2017), a joint grant program of the Barr Foundation and The Klarman Family Foundation. TDC's financial health evaluation was designed to impart a clear financial picture of the cohort at the program's end, as well as complement the qualitative evaluation of the Initiative (2016-2017) led by Diane Espaldon and Sara Peterson.
The financial health evaluation measured the growth and scale of grantees' operations over the course of the Initiative; assessed cumulative financial health; and observed capitalization literacy. TDC evaluators provided each grantee with a capitalization assessment reflecting their organization's balance sheet and income statement trends over the course of the program. Grantees subsequently participated in a follow-up phone interview with TDC to discuss their financial results, and answer questions regarding the impact of the Initiative's capitalization training program on their strategic decision-making and financial goal-setting. With a sample of 30 organizations, TDC evaluated grantee financial performance in the context of each organization's individual goals, not against a cohort-wide benchmark. Cohort-wide trends were elicited from an aggregation of individual performance.
This summary document provides an overview of the Initiative's capitalization program, the capitalization framework TDC employed, and high-level results from the financial health evaluation.
Diane V. Espaldon Strategic Consulting;
The Barr-Klarman Arts Capacity Building Initiative ("BKI") was created and funded by the Barr Foundation ("Barr") and The Klarman Family Foundation ("KFF") and managed by nonprofit research and consulting group TDC. Launched in early 2012 by the Barr Foundation, with The Klarman Family Foundation joining in partnership shortly thereafter, the Initiative sought to support the artistic quality and long-term strength of select arts and cultural institutions in Boston. BKI served 30 organizations across three cohorts –1) large/mid-size, 2) small/mid-size and 3) youth arts mastery organizations. The Initiative focused on four capacity areas:
1.Role of effective capitalization
3.Defining and achieving arts mastery outcomes with youth
4.Growing cultural competency and proficiency.
Over five years, the Initiative invested over $22 million through multi-year grants, knowledge-building activities, and technical assistance. At the time of the Initiative's design, both foundations were in an early phase of building their arts programs and were also new to collaborating with each other, so while the Initiative had broad goals and principles, it also retained an approach of adaptation to changing needs and learning along the way.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation;
This brief prioritizes issues for consideration as accountable care organizations (ACOs) and managed care organizations (MCOs) prepare to integrate and fully manage comprehensive long-term services and supports (LTSS) over the course of Massachusetts' five year 1115 waiver extension. The identified priority areas were informed by lessons learned from managed LTSS programs in other states and interviews with key stakeholders in Massachusetts. This brief concludes with a series of detailed descriptions of the institutional and community LTSS covered under the Medicaid state plan that will eventually be integrated into ACOs and MCOs.
Carsey School of Public Policy at The University of New Hampshire;
Business owners seeking to start or expand a small business have limited options for financing. They can go to a bank for a loan, but they may have trouble qualifying for the loan due to the age of the business, absence of collateral, lack of equity in the business, thin margins, or other factors. While online business lenders may offer faster response times and lower underwriting hurdles, they often do so in exchange for exorbitant rates and reduced ability to customize their financing or add broader value to the business beyond the money. Business owners could try going to venture capitalists for equity, but venture capitalists and angel investors will demand some control over the company and need an exit strategy, generally requiring that the company be sold. The company might also not have a fast enough growth curve to interest a venture capitalist. Raising money through a crowdfunding platform, such as Kickstarter, is another option. But until recently, crowdfunding has been limited to raising donations, not investments, through such strategies.
ABT Associates Inc.;
This series of reports describes the results of a comprehensive mixed-methods study, Access to Outpatient Mental Health Services in Massachusetts. The study sought to quantify the wait times for outpatient mental health office visits in Massachusetts, better understand the experiences of clients seeking an appointment, and identify facilitators and barriers to accessing mental health services. Study findings are based on primary data from multiple sources, including qualitative data from stakeholder interviews and client focus groups and quantitative data from surveys of clinicians and administrators at organizations providing outpatient mental health services.
Applied Economics Clinic;
Community Choice Energy (CCE) allows a municipality to purchase electricity from a competitive supplieron behalf of participating electric customers. CCE would allow Boston to pool customers together, using this greater bargaining power to benefit customers in the City. In addition, through CCE, the City would purchase at least five percent more Class I renewable energy than required under the Commonwealth'sRenewable Energy Portfolio (RPS) law.
Currently, 127 cities and towns Massachusetts have adopted CCE—more than one-third of the 351 municipalities in the Commonwealth. Many municipalities that implement CCE procure five percent more renewable energy than is required by the Massachusetts RPS. Some are going even further, such as Brookline, which is purchasing 25 percent more renewable energy than required, and Greenfield, which is purchasing 100 percent renewables.
This report reviews commonly asked questions that the City should consider as it assesses whether to adopt this policy.