Cashing in at Casey

Print More

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's 1999 annual report is out. Most foundations release their grantmaking decisions on a regular schedule throughout the year. Casey's grantee list - and its steadily growing "foundation-administered" projects (23 in 1999, totaling $4,932,130) - remain under wraps until its annual report is published.

Certainly, 1999 was a superlative year indeed with Casey's endowment climbing - thanks to the rise in its holdings of UPS stock - from $1,579,218,222 to $3,638,721,817, for a one-year gain of over $2 billion.

The foundation's 1,000 grantees ranged from its annual transfer to its child welfare operational arm, Casey Family Services based in Shelton, Conn., of $23.7 million, to a $2,500 general support grant to New York-based Girls, Inc. (See chart of selected grantees.)

The profile of Casey grantmaking is shifting in two ways. First, with its endowment growing from hefty to gargantuan, spending will rise in 2000 to about $170 million. More significantly, Casey will be, as President Doug Nelson puts it in the annual report, "making new connections," mostly in the 22 cities selected for Casey's ambitious Neighborhood Transformation/Family Development Initiative. The aim over the next decade, writes Nelson, is "to apply the lessons learned from our work in a set of highly focused demonstrations aimed at restoring the strong connections between vulnerable families and the circumstances we believe are vital to building stronger families and more supportive neighborhoods."

Two years on the Casey drawing board, each city has now been assigned to a Baltimore- based staffer who will coordinate within Casey and among its stable of national grantees while liaising with the political, community and service provider leadership in their assigned city. Joining a crew of existing Casey staffers in this enterprise is Sammy Moon, who joined the foundation in October after two years as director of the Best Practices Unit of the Georgia Academy for Children/Families. A one-time executive director of the San Diego County Children's Initiative, he'll be the Caseyworker for Louisville.

Joining the Casey staff in October was Bruno Manno as a senior associate in the Policy Reform and Initiative Management Department. But he's not exactly a new arrival, having spent the prior year as a senior fellow working on education issues. Manno spent five years at the decidedly right-of-center, but occasionally pragmatic, Hudson Institute, as a senior fellow in the Indianapolis-based think tank's D.C. office, in its Education Policy Studies Program. There Manno co-authored, with former Bush administration Undersecretary of Education Chester Finn, "Renewing Public Education: Charter Schools in Action," which extols the virtues of charter schools. One chapter discusses their potential benefit to CBOs.

But Manno is best known for his concurrent assignment while at Hudson as executive director of the National Commission on Philanthropy and Civic Renewal, set up by former Tennessee governor and Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander. Said Alexander, when launching the commission: "As the era of big government ends, our commission will create a road map for giving in America." Financing the commission was the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, headed by the brilliant and irascible Michael Joyce. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Joyce once wrote, "Foundations have behaved as little more than a triple-A farm club for the federal major leagues." The commission's "road map" - "Giving Better, Giving Smarter" - was issued in June 1997, as part of what Alexander hoped would be his route to the White House. It knocks big government and big philanthropy - two sentiments that know no ideological boundary.

One leading critic of do-gooder philanthropy and the Casey Foundation in particular has been Bob Woodson, president of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, hatched while Woodson was at the American Enterprise Institute ($176,896 from Casey in 1999), a wealthier rival for conservative attention to the Hudson Institute ($200,000 from Casey in 1999). Woodson prepared a research paper on poverty for Alexander's commission. But recently Woodson, at least on the subject of Casey wrong-headedness, has been uncharacteristically quiescent. Could it be that $370,000 grant to Woodson to implement his much-heralded Violence Free Zones project in D.C., Milwaukee and Los Angeles? Just asking.

Another new Casey staffer who could teach Manno a few things about just how "big" big government looks to poor kids in dilapidated schools is Heather Graham, a former director of Corps programs for New York-based Teach (not Preach) for America.

The D.C.-based Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), joined-at-the-hip to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has announced a number of changes in response to the death of founder Tom Joe last December. The new director is the former CSSP director of its Children's Services Policy shop Frank Farrow. The versatile Farrow is also director of the Technical Assistance and Resource Center at the Casey Foundation, located at the northern end of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Farrow's old CSSP job will be filled by his long-time deputy Judith Meltzer. Farrow, Meltzer and Senior Manager Cheryl Rodgers were all elected to CSSP's governing board, chaired by former Carter-era Under-Secretary of Health and Human Services Hale Champion. Also joining the board is Gary Stangler, director of Missouri's Department of Social Services and widely regarded as the most successful leader of any state social welfare agency in the country.

CSSP is working closely with Casey's Making Connections initiative in 22 cities and with the Edna McConnell Clark's Community Partnerships for the Protection of Children. Now running its Peer Technical Assistance Network is Sharlynn Bobo, who was director of operations for D.C.'s Progressive Life Center, a child and family services agency.

New "ongoing relationships" with consultants include Norm Zimlich, an expert in financing human services, Judy Langford (formerly Carter), for many years the director of the Chicago-based Family Resource Coalition of America, and Susan Kelly, formerly the director of the Division of Community Supportive Services for Michigan's welfare department, now bravely dubbed the Family Independence Agency.

Also in the CSSP inner loop is Jim Gibson, former president of the D.C.-based Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation and later a vice president at New York's Rockefeller Foundation. He's become president emeritus of D.C. Agenda, a local group that tries to help a city cursed by more agendas than taxpayers. He'll design and launch CSSP's new Tom Joe Fellows Program and continue to work with Oakland-based Policy Link. Contact: (202) 371-1565.