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RI Center for Justice
(home of EduLeaders of Color RI)
Latino Policy Institute
Boston– October 30, 2017 – Santander US CEO Scott Powell today announced Santander’s “Inclusive Communities” plan, Santander Bank’s new $11 billion, agreement with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) to increase lending, community development, and charitable giving. The plan outlines Santander’s commitment to communities across its eight-state northeastern U.S. footprint for 2017 through 2021, during which time Santander will increase its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) activity by 50 percent and triple its investment in charitable grants.
Over the next five years, Santander will provide:
- $4.2 billion in residential mortgage loans for low- to moderate income families
- $1.9 billion in small business lending
- $3 billion in community development lending
“This plan is the foundation of Santander’s approach to supporting the communities where we live and work,” said Powell, CEO of Santander US, the Bank’s U.S. holding company. “We recognize that Santander’s success is directly linked to the prosperity of our communities’ families, businesses and neighborhoods. By increasing lending, investments and financial education opportunities, we hope to boost the long-term economic success of low- and moderate-income individuals and neighborhoods.”
Powell announced “Inclusive Communities” at a meeting this morning in downtown Boston where he was joined by officials from the City of Boston, other public officials, and National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) President and CEO John Taylor.
"This is a good day for people in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and my home state of Massachusetts,” said John Taylor, NCRC President and CEO. I want to applaud Santander for committing 11 billion in investments for underserved neighborhoods over the next five years. Santander’s leadership showed a special dedication to working with community leaders and better understanding the credit needs in the areas they serve. We are very pleased that this commitment, and especially the 10 new bank branches, will help individuals build wealth and neighborhoods build their economies."
“Inclusive Communities” was developed with significant input from and collaboration with more than 100 community-based organizations throughout the Bank’s footprint. Supported and facilitated by the NCRC, an extensive ten-month long process helped identify emerging community needs and strategies aimed at addressing the challenges faced by underserved communities in Santander’s key markets.
Read a in depth summary of Santander's "Inclusive Communities" agreement here
In addition to the Bank’s financial commitments, Santander is establishing a national Community Advisory Board (CAB) comprising representatives of not-for-profit community development organizations and financial inclusion advocates, as well as community development policy organizations, and representatives of local or state economic development or housing agencies. Members of the CAB are:
The Bank is also establishing statewide/regional advisory boards in its footprint to ensure ongoing community input and will be enhancing its current Community Development and CRA teams with the addition of 17 new positions in the coming years.
Local leaders applaud the agreement:
"ANHD applauds Santander for creating this new CRA plan. They listened to over 100 community based organizations to create a plan that is reflective of community needs throughout the bank's footprint, including New York City. We also appreciate the creation of national and regional community advisory boards, which put the structure in place to implement, monitor, and adjust the plan to ensure it has the greatest impact. We look forward to working with the bank to put this plan into action,” Benjamin Dulchin, Executive Director, Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development.
“New Jersey Citizen Action has had a longtime partnership with Santander Bank and its predecessor, Sovereign Bank. The bank's $11 billion commitment in mortgages, small business loans and community development lending will provide loans, access to capital and affordable housing for thousands of New Jerseyeans. I look forward to serving on the bank's National Community Advisory Board and working with Santander to ensuring that these dollars are reinvested in our communities,” Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, Executive Director, New Jersey Citizen Action.
“The effort behind this plan will ensure that those who live and operate businesses in developing neighborhoods can benefit, including immigrants and communities of color,” John Chin, Executive Director, Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation.
“As a leading Center for Independent Living for People with Disabilities in the greater Philadelphia Area, we applaud Santander's commitment to the community and our desire to increase affordable and accessible housing opportunities for the many Seniors and People with Disabilities who we serve throughout the region,” Thomas H. Earle, Esquire, Chief Executive Officer, Liberty Resources, Inc.
"Santander has had a long and impactful presence in the Greater Reading community. We look forward to continue working with Santander Bank and its team members in implementing this comprehensive plan, particularly in downtown Reading, where they have a large workforce and occupy almost 1/4 million sf of office space, in addition to having its name on the Santander Arena & the Santander Performing Arts Center," Edward Swoyer, President, Greater Berks Development Fund.
“This is an exciting and groundbreaking agreement that will improve our communities and transform lives. It demonstrates that banks and the communities they serve can thrive together when they work together. We congratulate Santander, NCRC, and the dozens of community based groups who worked so hard to make this happen,” Joseph Kriesberg, President & CEO, Mass. Association of Community Development Corporations.
“We believe this agreement with Santander Bank will go a long way in helping LMI communities in Waterbury CT. It provides a framework and capital for the hard-working people of the Northend section of town to rebuild a vibrant community,” Pastor Rodney Wade, President, Concerned Black Clergy Council of Waterbury.
“The Community Reinvestment Act is an important tool that empowers people in many ways. For example, the act can be used to conduct community development. As far as I am concerned, it protects LMI communities from senseless crime and violence,” Angela Mciver, Chief Executive Officer, Fair Husing Rights Center in Southeastern Pensylvania.
“This was a unique opportunity to work with fellow community organizations to determine priority needs and where we want Santander to direct their resources to help address those needs. It was also an opportunity for Santander to gain a better understanding of their community responsibility and measures needed to implement in the future. Represented organizations put a great deal of time and care into this process to ensure fairness and optimize outcomes for the communities we serve,” Majeedah Rashid, Chief Operating Officer, Nicetown Community Development Corporation.
"MAHA looks forward to continuing our partnership with Santander in reaching low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers as we both seek to close the large racial wealth gap in Massachusetts", Symone Crawford, board president, Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance.
"Obviously, Home Ownership is the foundation upon which strong, thriving communities are based. We welcome the proactive steps being taken by Santander and we look forward to many years of success. Together, we can be the change that our communities need - one house at a time, one block at a time, one neighborhood at a time..." Stephen T. Gieringer, Executive Director, Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks, Inc.
Partners in the Community Benefits Agreement:
Santander Bank, N.A. is one of the country’s largest retail and commercial banks with more than $79 billion in assets. With its corporate offices in Boston, the Bank’s 9,700 employees, more than 650 branches, 2,100 ATMs and 2.1 million customers are principally located in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Madrid-based Banco Santander, S.A. (NYSE: SAN) - one of the most respected banking groups in the world with more than 125 million customers in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America. It is managed by Santander Holdings USA, Inc., Banco Santander’s intermediate holding company in the U.S. For more information on Santander Bank, please visit www.santanderbank.com.
Santander Holdings USA, Inc. (SHUSA) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Madrid-based Banco Santander, S.A. (NYSE: SAN) (Santander), one of the most respected banking groups in the world with more than 125 million customers in the U.K., Europe, Latin America and the U.S. As the intermediate holding company for Santander’s U.S. businesses, SHUSA includes six financial companies with more than 17,500 employees, 5.2 million customers and assets of over $135 billion. These include Santander Bank, N.A., one of the country’s largest retail and commercial banks by deposits; Santander ConsumerUSA Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SC), an auto finance and consumer lending company; Banco Santander International of Miami; Banco Santander Puerto Rico;Santander Securities LLC of Boston; and Santander Investment Securities Inc. of New York.
“Every Rhode Islander, in every ZIP code, should have the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible, in the healthiest community possible,” said Alexander-Scott. “A key feature of our Health Equity Zone initiative is that it puts the community’s voice front and center, since residents understand the challenges facing their communities the best. Public health leaders across the country are highlighting Health Equity Zones as a national model and a novel approach to funding and delivering public health services by building leadership capacity and effective coordination of communities to sustain long-term system and policy improvements. We are thrilled to expand this opportunity to additional communities here in Rhode Island.”
Full proposals from all applicants are due to the State by March 15, 2019. The initial contract period will begin in approximately July 2019 and continue for one year. Contracts may be renewed for up to four additional 12-month periods, similar to the previous four years, based on vendor performance and the availability of funds.
To view the full Request for Proposals, click here. To learn more about RIDOH’s Health Equity Zone initiative, click here.
Courtesy of GoLocal Prov
A NEA-PRRAC Report (April 2019).
Excerpt: “Housing and land use policies have a significant effect on schools, and since these policies are usually decided at the state and local level, educators and education advocates have the opportunity to play a significant role.”
Read the Report…
Courtesy of PRRAC
By Sean Flynn
MIDDLETOWN – An increasing number of families that have English as a second language, mainly Spanish speakers, may not be taking advantage of educational and social service programs that are available to them.
“We need more providers who speak the language,” said Stephanie Geller, a senior policy analyst with Rhode Island Kids Count, a statewide policy organization that works to improve the health, economic well-being, safety, education and development of children.
She and other Kids Count representatives came to BankNewport in the Aquidneck Corporate Park on Tuesday morning to present Newport data contained in its 2018 Factbook, an annual publication.
More than 70 representatives of social service agencies, community leaders and policymakers gathered for the “Data in Your Backyard” forum that featured improvements and declines in economic well-being, education, health, child welfare and safety for children and families in the city.
During the presentation and discussion among the participants, the increasing numbers of families who have English as a second language kept coming up as a challenge to be dealt with in various fields.
School Superintendent Colleen Burns Jermain said there are now 227 students in the Newport schools who are English learners.
“This is 10.48 percent of the student population and the numbers are rising,” she said.
Most of the English learners are in the elementary grades, according to data presented by Jermain.
Statistics show the number of students who are reading at grade level by the end of third grade in Newport is fairly stable. That number was 37 percent in 2015, 33 percent in 2016 and 36 percent in 2017, according to Kids Count data.
Jermain said those levels are being maintained although there is an increasing number of English language learners, a high poverty rate among children and a lack of affordable housing for some families in need.
Geller agreed that when children are learning English, it is difficult for them to meet reading standards in the language.
Achieving reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical milestone for children, speakers said. A fundamental shift occurs by the end of third grade: Children begin to move from learning to read, to reading to learn.
Students who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than their proficient peers, according to speakers. While interventions implemented before third grade have high rates of success, interventions after third grade are much less effective.
Sixty-four percent of Newport students as of October 2017 were from low-income families, meaning they qualified for free or reduced-price meals at school, Geller said. Only Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence and Woonsocket have higher percentages of low-income children in their public schools, she said.
Housing in Newport is more expensive than the state average and many families here have been hit by high housing costs, speakers said. School Department staff identified 78 children in the schools who were homeless in the 2016-2017 school year, according to figures included in Geller’s presentation.
The average rent in Newport for a two-bedroom apartment in 2017 was $1,753 a month, compared to a $1,385 average in the state, the statistics showed.
Newport City Councilwoman Jeanne-Marie Napolitano pointed out the city has an inventory of 17 percent low- to moderate-income housing stock that is subsidized by the federal government, which is well above the 10 percent affordable housing mandated by state law and above the level in most other communities.
Still, there are long waiting lists for those units, said Rhonda Mitchell, executive director of the Housing Authority of Newport.
“We still do not have enough affordable housing,” she said.
Courtesy of Newport Daily News
October 4, 2018 | Posted By: Tiffany Manuel
As Enterprise celebrates the one-year anniversary of Opportunity360, we are energized by the momentum that the platform has created, and we are reminded of the reasons we initiated this work.
Since our launch in September 2017, we have had well over 100,000 visitors make use of our data, take advantage of the resources on the website and sign-up for our newsletters. We are delighted that so many people have found this resource important to their work and useful to their efforts to improve communities. We are also happy to see the sheer diversity of people logging onto the site and using the resources to further community building – from educators, to philanthropy, to transportation, health, workforce development, investors and so on. And we are starting to see what we originally envisioned for Opportunity360 actually happen – the resources in the platform has shaped, kick-started or transformed conversations about what opportunity is, how it can be measured and how we all benefit when we work to improve pathways to it.
Opportunity360 was created based on the radical proposition that we needed a new more comprehensive way to think about opportunity and a way to move beyond the notion that accessing opportunity is merely a question of one’s hard work, level of perseverance or grit. We know that for many Americans, the roads or pathways to opportunity, remain blocked. And while we know that affordable housing is one pathway to opportunity, we also recognize that there are others – like education, jobs, good schools, transportation and others.
So, we created Opportunity360 with the clear understanding that we wanted to change the narrative. Access to opportunity is not simply about individual choices or even just about housing. Our approach, Opportunity360, recognizes that people’s outcomes are the product of a multi-layered set of factors that operate at the individual, home, neighborhood and systems/policy levels.
In addition, we knew that we need to move away from conventional assumptions that opportunity is an all or nothing proposition. From our vantage point, the relevant question is not does this place have opportunity? That question invites a yes or no response and it misses the reality that even in wealthy, so called “opportunity rich” places, that many people are left out - having little to no access to the opportunity pathways in those places (living wage jobs, decent housing, transit access and more).
Opportunity360 is built on a more nuanced assessment – different places may offer different types of opportunity pathways, but every place offers some. Our task is to measure what opportunities exist in a place and to help communities think constructively about how to leverage those existing pathways and to create or widen those pathways that are not functioning to advance better outcomes for low- and moderate-income residents.
So, the more relevant question taken up by Opportunity360 is: what kinds of opportunity pathways exist in this place and for whom are those pathways providing access to a better life? When asked in this way, it can direct community stakeholders to think about the kinds of pathways that could be created, opened up or reinforced in order to improve the lives of all of the people who live there.
Opportunity360 is dedicated to helping communities begin to unpack these issues. It is inherently built around the idea that change is possible, necessary and worthwhile. It is part of a broader, ambitious effort at Enterprise to change the way that people all over the country are mobilized to open up pathways to the American dream. As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Opportunity360 launch, take a moment to think about how you can use the resources in the platform to push, accelerate or scale systems change efforts to improve opportunity for the millions of Americans whose access today remains blocked.
Courtesy of Enterprise
Posted Apr 20, 2018 at 12:01 AM
Updated Apr 20, 2018 at 12:02 AM
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island’s four-year high school graduation rates improved slightly over last year’s figures but substantial gaps remain between white students and students of color as well as between poor students and their middle-class peers.
The R.I. Department of Education reported that, overall, 84.1 percent of the Class of 2017 graduated, a 1.3-point increase over last year.
While rates increased incrementally for black students, students learning English saw a drop in graduation rates, down by 1.4 points.
Rhode Island also lags behind its closest neighbors. Connecticut posted a graduate rate of 87.9 percent while Massachusetts had a rate of 88.3 percent.
Rhode Island’s deputy education commissioner, Mary Ann Snider, said the increase overall represents “a positive trend upward.”
“The important part for us is that it’s trending in the right direction,” she said, noting that Rhode Island has seen an eight-point rise in rates since 2010. “We want to make sure that when kids walk the stage, they are prepared for whatever they want to do next.”
However, urban districts — Providence, Central Falls, Woonsocket and Pawtucket — are graduating students at much lower rates than their suburban peers — with a 15-point gap. Ninety percent of suburban students graduated last year.
More students graduate in five years in urban districts compared with suburban ones, but Snider said that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
She acknowledges that there is a body of research that says students who are held back are at higher risk for dropping out and not attending college.
But, Snider said, Rhode Island is re-imagining the notion of retention. Today, all high school students are supposed to have individual learning goals, including candid conversations about what they need to graduate.
“The fifth year is proving to be beneficial,” she said. “It helps ensure that kids don’t go to the Community College of Rhode Island needing lots of remediation.”
More high school students, Snider said, are also taking Advanced Placement courses and college-level classes at the same time that career and technical opportunities are expanding.
Several educators, led by the superintendents of Providence and Central Falls, have pushed to include funding for English language learners, many of whom are Latino, to be included in the school funding formula, which is currently based on families living in poverty plus a community’s tax capacity. Poorer cities get a larger share of state school dollars than their more affluent peers.
Snider said the state now sets aside $2.5 million in state funds for English language learners but that money is dependent on the General Assembly for support. She also said that her department is offering more support for this population by awarding seals of bi-literacy, which recognize a student’s fluency in two languages by including it on his or her diploma.
“We’re not going to see improvements overnight,” she said.
But Gabriela Domenzain, director of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University, said there should be a real sense of urgency around these numbers.
“Latino students in Rhode have the worst chances of succeeding in the nation, so it comes as no surprise that the achievement gaps are substantial and troubling,” she said. “In order for Rhode Island to succeed, Latino students must succeed, and a concerted effort to close their achievement gaps is necessary and urgent.”
A surprising finding is the eight-point gap between the sexes — with girls graduating at 88.2 percent while boys graduate at only 80.3 percent.
“We don’t want to see that,” Snider said. “It’s concerning. It’s consistent with the gaps in academic achievement” between the sexes.
Snider said the gap may be because traditional classrooms are designed to accommodate girls more than boys, who perhaps would do better with more hands-on learning.
“On the flip side,” she said, “when we look at career and technical programs, we see females accessing them less than male students.”
Classical, East Greenwich and Scituate high schools have the highest graduation rates at roughly 97 percent.
The lowest rates are in the urban districts, with a couple of notable exceptions: Providence Career and Technical Academy posted a 88.9 percent rate, a tribute to hands-on learning and real-life skills.
Woonsocket High School was among the lowest, with a graduation rate of 67.5 percent.
Central Falls High showed improvement, moving up nine points to 78.3 percent.
“We know that we have more work left to do to get more students across the stage, but each year we are making the climb and keeping a steady pace upward,” said Central Falls Superintendent Victor Capellan. “I congratulate the high school leadership, the teachers, the students and the parents for stepping up and demonstrating that students in Central Falls are resilient and they have what it takes to succeed.”
Several charter public schools also displayed rates above 90 percent, including Paul Cuffee School in Providence, Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts in Providence, Beacon Charter School and the Met School in Providence.
But a couple of charters, Skip Nowell Leadership Academy in Providence, which is for pregnant and parenting teens, and Rhode Island Nurses Academy, also in Providence, had rates of 20 percent and below. Nowell just had its charter license renewed.
Courtesy of Providence Journal
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