Roundup Reel: Week of Oct. 24

October 28, 2011 | By Liza Casabona | Post a Comment

Here’s your weekly roundup of grant-related news and commentary that you may have missed.

The catchword for this week in fiscal year 2012 budgetary news was “minibus” (versus the standard omnibus) as the Senate tried to push a series of smaller budget packages through in an attempt to move the process along. From the Ferguson Group’s blog, a blurb about the Senate debate over the appropriations bills for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Justice, Science and Agriculture. If the current Senate proposal goes through, rural development programs could get a haircut to the tune of 40 percent of funding.

As the Nov. 23 deadline approaches for the bipartisan joint committee (aka the Super Committee) to submit its proposals for cuts to reduce the deficit in FY 2013 and beyond, Democrats and Republicans have laid out their ideas but according to news reports this week they aren’t much closer to consensus. We’ll keep watching how this unfolds in the coming weeks, but in the meantime TFG laid out the highlights of the plans outlined thus far, here.

As federal funding tightens experts encourage grantseekers to look to alternate funding sources, like foundations. And just as you might with any federal opportunity, looking at the past winners can be a useful exercise when evaluating whether or not to apply for a grant. The Knight Foundation has a pretty extensive listing of projects they’ve funded in the past.
In the midst of all the recent talk about partnerships and building innovative relationships there’s also some attention being paid to cooperatives. The United Nations declared 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives “to raise public awareness of the invaluable contributions of cooperative enterprises to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. The Year will also highlight the strengths of the cooperative business model as an alternative means of doing business and furthering socioeconomic development.”

More news from the international stage: a new report on social justice worldwide released this week gave the U.S. less-than-stellar marks. From the Bertelsmann Stiftung (Foundation) report: “The United States (27), with its alarming poverty levels, lands near the bottom of the weighted index, ranking only slightly better than its neighbor Mexico (30) and new…member Chile (29).” The parenthetical numbers are the nation’s individual rank out of 31 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member countries include in the index. For the record, Iceland had the best rating, followed by Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland respectively.

An innovative new education model, offering up online tutorials and practice exercises that kids can access at their own pace, has gotten a lot of attention in recent months. Salman Khan, the founder of the company that created the model, gave a speech at the TED Conference this year about the online education model they offer. His primer on the concept that lead to the creation of Khan Academy was followed up by a quick Q&A with Bill Gates. The You Tube video of Khan’s talk offers a great overview of how the system works.

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