Repealing the ACA would hurt millions of Californians
California has made huge strides in recent years to ensure more families and children are healthy and excel in life, particularly by increasing access to health coverage. The state has reduced the number of uninsured children from 2 million in 1999 to just over 100,000 today who are eligible but yet to be enrolled. The number of children in California with health coverage is at 97 percent, an all-time high. This is not the time to turn back the clock. If their parents lose coverage, children are at risk too.
Yet members of Congress are proposing to do just that. Policy makers in Washington intend to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a concrete plan to replace it – an ill-advised scheme that would have unprecedented consequences according to a new report from the Urban Institute.
Closing the Last Miles of California’s Digital Divide
Internet access today is like electricity or running water. It’s very hard to live without it.
High-speed Internet access, referred to generically as “broadband” and including both wired and wireless technologies, is essential 21st-century infrastructure for economic competitiveness and quality of life. Internet access is required to apply for a job, to participate in school (checking a child’s grades or completing homework assignments), find and access health care and more. Virtually everyone has a smart phone these days, but a smart phone is no way to apply for a job or do schoolwork, and so it is no substitute for broadband serving an entire household.
Don’t Cut Coverage for 1 Million Children
The following commentary was published by the Fresno Bee on Friday, April 10, 2015.
With the May deadline for finalizing California’s budget looming, our state leaders need an answer from the U.S. Senate on whether it will deliver on more than a half a billion dollars in annual federal funding promised to California families for their kids’ health insurance coverage.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a critical source of coverage for low- and moderate-income working families that makes sure California’s kids get the care they need to stay healthy and succeed. This proven program has the overwhelming support of 41 Republican and Democratic governors, including California’s, but federal funding for the program is set to expire soon. The House of Representatives has already taken strong bipartisan action, but if the U.S. Senate doesn’t follow suit and renew CHIP now for four more years, California will have to figure out where to cut at least $533 million in 2016 alone — causing devastating impacts on our budget and families.
Common Core and Workforce Development
The following commentary was published in the Silicon Valley Business Journal on Friday, February 6, 2015:
The health of California's 21st century economy depends on a skilled workforce. Yet there are too few qualified applicants to create talent pools for jobs that fuel our economic growth. Silicon Valley businesses like tech, life sciences and clean energy know this all too well. To change this dynamic, Common Core State Standards must be considered central to the workforce development equation.
Businesses across Silicon Valley should consider Common Core to be as critical and important as any of their other workforce development priorities. Local businesses should look to build partnerships with schools to help bolster students' learning experiences and enhance their understanding of how to translate their education into real-world skills.
Further connecting Common Core to Silicon Valley workforce development priorities can translate into meaningful change for students. Schools and businesses can work together to help prepare students for the future by integrating the benefits of Common Core into activities extending beyond the traditional school day.
United Ways across California have already started this work. Health and income factors greatly affect students' abilities to succeed in school, so children need the right support at every stage from cradle to career. That is why we invest in local programs including early childhood education, such as the Bridge to Kindergarten program; early grade reading like the Schools of Hope program; and workforce development and financial management, such as the SparkPoint financial coaching centers and Matchbridge youth employment program for work-based learning. Common Core expands the possibility for business leaders and schools to help expand these programs and create others.
Information Wants to Find People
The following op-ed was published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review on June 9, 2014.
“What business are you really in?”
Economist Theodore Levitt established this question as a central consideration for any enterprise in his classic article “Marketing Myopia.” It sounds like such a simple question, but it can be very difficult to answer, and answering it well can mean the difference between thriving and dying.
As Levitt pointed out in his article, the railroads—once dominant forces in the US economy—fell into decades of decline because “they assumed themselves to be in the railroad business rather than in the transportation business. The reason they defined their industry incorrectly was that they were railroad-oriented instead of transportation-oriented; they were product-oriented instead of customer-oriented.” In other words, focusing on their existing mode of operation gave them myopia about their business and market. They neglected opportunities to develop strongholds in trucking, telecommunications (they owned rights of way for wirelines), and other areas.
"Reform at a Time of Regret … Or, Spend that Brand, Baby"
On April 18, 2012, Dr. Robert Ross from The California Endowment spoke with California United Ways at our annual Capitol Day in Sacramento. In his speech, Dr. Ross discusses the distinct role United Way plays in the social sector and the opportunities we have to improve well-being in health, education and income throughout the state. Dr. Ross graciously provided us permission to share his speech.
Viewpoints: California Must Confront How Money is Allocated to Schools
The following op-ed was published in the Sacramento Bee on Thursday, January 10, 2013.
In California we talk a lot about money for schools. Unfortunately, that's because there just isn't enough of it, and school budgets have taken a real beating in recent years.
Perhaps a signal that the tide is shifting, voters passed Proposition 30 in November to stave off drastic cuts to California schools and the Legislative Analyst's Office cautiously predicts moderate revenue growth in the next few years. While this is good news, those of us committed to improving student achievement and restoring excellence in all California schools will continue to fight for more resources because the need is so great.
Nonprofits Shouldn't Mistake Nonpartisanship with Neutrality in the 2012 Elections
The following op-ed was published in the The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
August 19, 2012.
By Peter Manzo and Jan Masaoka
As partisanship heats up in anticipation of the November election, some nonprofits, think tanks, watchdogs, and good-government folks are seeking refuge in the cooler climes of nonpartisanship.
But in doing so, many charity and foundation leaders are mistaking nonpartisanship with neutrality and sitting on the sidelines while important economic and social issues are under debate.
Viewpoints: Are feds set to pull rug from under charities?
Sacramento Bee (Opinion)
October 28, 2011
By Ruth Blank
For a region still struggling with some of the worst economic conditions on record – a region that, even before the economy tanked, lagged the rest of the nation in philanthropic giving – proposals by the Obama administration and the so-called supercommittee to decrease the deductibility of charitable gifts are a very bad idea. They could severely damage our communities and set a dangerous precedent.
A recently completed multi-county study of philanthropic giving and attitudes in the region, the Greater Sacramento Generosity Project, highlighted the challenges local nonprofits face.
Guest Opinion: Top givers in the county that's tops for giving back
October 22, 2011
By Eunice Valentine
Congratulations. You did it again, Sonoma County! You ranked first statewide in volunteerism for the second year in a row.
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service report, 36.1 percent of local residents volunteer on a regular basis, over 10 percent more than most other California communities. That's 145,000 people who volunteer regularly throughout our county for hundreds of local nonprofit agencies.
Pete Manzo: Many in Bay Area are faring worse
Redding Record Searchlight
May 31, 2011
Pete Manzo, Pasadena
Manzo is president and CEO of United Ways of California.
Many in Bay Area are faring worse.
Your May 20 editorial, "Report opens a window onto two Californias," missed the mark with regard to the well-being report recently released by the American Human Development Project.
County's 'portrait' not a big surprise
Ventura County Star
May 22, 2011
By David M. Smith
When "A Portrait of California" was released last week, the results detailing the nitty-gritty of Ventura County's socio-economic profile were hardly a big surprise.
As background, the state "portrait" uses an internationally-recognized Human Development Index to rank how state, regional and local residents and communities are doing against key national benchmarks, broken out by demographic, geographic and other distinctions.
Report opens a window onto two Californias'
Redding Record Searchlight
May 20, 2011
It's no secret that Californians are starkly divided — socially, economically, philosophically — to the point where, when our political leaders debate, they hardly seem to be talking about the same state.
Well, maybe that's because, in an important sense, we live in different states.
United Way Success!
KSBW-TV8 (NBC, Monterey)
May 16, 2011
Joseph W. Heston, President and General Manager
With the economy slowly slugging forward, it seems we see some gains and some setbacks almost every week. We're still waiting for the expected gasoline price reductions(!). So it was great news this week to hear that the United Way of Monterey County surpassed its 2010-2011 goal and surpassed last year's campaign results, for a total of $3,550,000 in contributions this year.
The United Way of Santa Cruz County had similar success. They surpassed their goal of $1 million and were almost even with last year.
Ventura County Star Op-ed: Health of 1 million children is at risk
Sunday, August 16, 2009
By David M. Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Ventura County
Without health coverage, the 5-year-old with diabetes could go without insulin that could save his life. The 12-year-old suffering from asthma could go without an inhaler, forcing her to suffer during those terrifying moments when she can't breathe. The sick 10-year-old, who has no access to a doctor, could be sent to school with a 103-degree fever. If kids don't get ongoing checkups, chronic diseases and life-threatening conditions could go undiagnosed until it is too late.
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- San Jose Mercury News Editorial: Cuts in safety net for children go far too deep
- Press Democrat: CLOSE TO HOME - Sparing our children
- San Francisco Chronicle: Health care for kids
- Mercury News Editorial: Obama must speak for our children on health care
- Los Angeles Times Editorial: Spend on healthcare, not paperwork