EMCF’s current concentration on disadvantaged youth was preceded by a rich, 30-year legacy of programs that sought to improve the lives of low-income people, and others with limited opportunities.
The Foundation’s main priorities in the 1980s and 1990s were programs in five areas. When EMCF completed its work in these areas of long-standing concern and ended its support, it built on the progress and success of individual programs and helped sustain promising strategies.
PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN
The Program for Children sought to advance child protection reform by emphasizing the development of partnerships among public and private agencies, organizations, and individuals in communities to share responsibility for safeguarding children. Its Community Partnership for Protecting Children initiative, for example, aimed to protect children from abuse and neglect in four U.S. cities by engaging a broad range of stakeholders. This initiative was evaluated by the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall Center for Children (Phase II Evaluation Report). Responsibility for the partnership was eventually transferred to The Center for Community Partnerships in Child Welfare at the Center for the Study of Social Policy in Washington, DC.
PROGRAM FOR JUSTICE
The Program for Justice focused on the U.S. criminal justice system and is best remembered for addressing issues of sentencing, prison reform, and overcrowding. The State-Centered Program assisted state policymakers and criminal justice leaders interested in controlling the growth of prison populations without compromising public safety. Steering committees of policymakers and criminal justice officials in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon and South Carolina developed strategies for improving sentencing and corrections policies. EMCF established the Institute for Criminal Justice at the University of Minnesota Law School to continue the State-Centered Program. The Program for Justice also supported the Vera Institute of Justice’s Center for Sentencing and Corrections.
PROGRAM FOR NEW YORK NEIGHBORHOODS
The Program for New York Neighborhoods sought to improve the quality of life in Central Harlem and the South Bronx. Its Neighborhood Partners Initiative, a seven-year project to improve living conditions in five three-to-ten-block neighborhoods, supported five lead agencies: Harlem Children’s Zone (in which EMCF continues to invest), Abyssinian Development Corporation, Bronx ACORN, Mid-Bronx Council, and Highbridge Community Life Center.
PROGRAM FOR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
The Program for Student Achievement promoted academic standards as a way to improve the performance of middle school students. Program Director M. Hayes Mizell and grantees produced an extensive body of knowledge about school reform, including Shooting for the Sun: The Message of Middle School Reform and Anne Mackinnon’s Standards-Based Middle Grades Reform in Six Urban Districts, 1995-2001.
PROGRAM FOR TROPICAL DISEASE RESEARCH
The Program for Tropical Disease Research made its greatest impact by developing a control strategy to eliminate trachoma, the leading cause of preventable blindness in the developing world. EMCF's Tropical Disease Research Program: A 25-Year Retrospective Review 1974-1999 documents the Foundation’s progress toward eradicating this devastating disease. The International Trachoma Initiative carries on EMCF’s work.