A Key Pairing for NPO Board Success: Diverse Skills and Mission Loyalty

A Key Pairing for NPO Board Success:  Diverse Skills and Mission Loyalty

Board composition is broad challenge felt across the nonprofit sector and overarching literature points to a myriad of “must haves” for successful nonprofit organization (NPO) boards. Among these key elements is diversity and loyalty to the organization’s mission. Constructing a board that is both diverse in skill and loyal to an organization’s mission to ensure highly effective leadership is a challenge that most NPOs face.

Read More

The Pros and Cons of Dockless Electric Scooters

The Pros and Cons of Dockless Electric Scooters

If you have traveled to a big city recently, you may have seen people whizzing around on scooters or even tried one yourself. New dockless electric scooters have appeared in many cities almost overnight and are now causing concern for safety and traffic regulations. Although these scooters may be fun to use, concerns have arisen regarding how many users of the scooters blatantly disregard traffic laws and put themselves at risk, resulting in at least one electric scooter-related death. Many of these large cities across the country are already struggling to regulate the rise of a new type of transportation with ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, and now face the scrutiny of the public when writing regulation for users of dockless electric scooters. Are these scooters more harm than good?

Read More

More than a Privacy Breach: Security Implications of Personal Geospatial Data Leakage

More than a Privacy Breach: Security Implications of Personal Geospatial Data Leakage

Earlier this month the New York Times published another article noting how widely personal geospatial data is shared and how easily identifiable it is. It features the usual spokespeople, consumers who thought they understood their privacy risks only to be shocked by the granularity of information The Times readily discovered about their lives: how long they spent at a doctor’s office, how frequently they spent the night at an ex’s house, and when they flew out of town.

This investigation is one of many sounding the alarm about the privacy breaches created by widespread location tracking and data publication.

Read More

Do We Need the Equal Rights Amendment?

Do We Need the Equal Rights Amendment?

Does the wave of accusations of sexual harassment indicate that we still need the Equal Rights Amendment? 2017 brought about the #MeToo movement that has captivated the media, politics, social media, and Hollywood. With the explosion of this movement, the push for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has reappeared (as seen in recent quotes from social activists and politicians). However, the average citizen has likely never heard of the ERA and has questions about it, including what it entails, where did it come from, and do we need it? Here are some answers to those questions that only begin to skim the surface.

Read More

From Colonial to Contemporary: A Roundtable Discussion

On October 19, The William and Mary Policy Review hosted a Roundtable Discussion about Generational Change with local government leaders—Marvin Collins, the Williamsburg City Manager, Neil Morgan, the York County Administrator, and Jason Purse, the James City County Assistant Administrator.

IMG_0398.JPG

Mr. Collins, Mr. Morgan, and Mr. Purse discussed how Generational Change affects their locality’s demographics, infrastructure, and strategic plans.

  • Demographically, the Historic Triangle’s population is aging rapidly, and its younger constituent base does not get involved in local decisions. Moreover, because much of the local government workforce is reaching retirement age, the local governments are trying to fill that institutional knowledge void and increase its youthful workforce.

  • Infrastructurally, the built environment is reaching the end of its useful life. Given this, police stations, fire station, pipelines, and government facilities need to be redeveloped. Technologically, the government facilities are looking to update their available technology for both constituents and employees to maintain a modern, competitive edge.

  • With Strategic Plans, the Historic Triangle is under pressure to maintain what they call “relevancy of place” while reflecting the next generation in its built environment. However, due to the increased demographic age of the region, older tax-paying generation are unwilling to invest in long term projects from which they will not directly benefit.

Mr. Collins, Mr. Morgan, and Mr. Purse offered a glimpse into the challenges they face on a daily basis leading local governments and allowed the Roundtable attendees to ponder their own responsibilities as future policy makers and lifelong constituents. However, in wrapping up their comments, all three leaders ended on a similar theme: despite its challenges, local public service rewards you by letting you see your direct impact on a community, a project, or an individual.

 

IMG_0393.JPG
IMG_0402.JPG

Yes, it’s about Race.

Yes, it’s about Race.

“U.S. owes black people reparations for a history of ‘racial terrorism,’ says U.N. panel” The Washington Post proclaimed a couple weeks ago. Though the headline sensationalized the Human Rights Council’s findings and largely dismissed the report as another piece of empty rhetoric, it may also have underestimated the value of rhetoric and how broad the definition of reparations is.

Read More

Mass Incarceration and Poverty in America

Mass Incarceration and Poverty in America

Despite being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, the United States has an unusually high poverty rate; among OECD countries, only Israel and Mexico have higher percentages of their population living in poverty than the United States’ 17.9% in 2012. Even the official U.S. Census measurement of 15.1% in 2010 means that roughly 45 million Americans live below the poverty line. Further, there are significant racial disparities in the poverty rate, with 27.4% of African Americans and 26.6% of Latinos falling below the poverty line in 2010, compared with just 9.9% of non-Hispanic Whites. While many causes have been postulated for the U.S.’s abnormally high poverty rate, one particularly interesting potential cause is America’s extremely high incarceration rate. Not only does the United States have the largest prison population by far in both absolute and relative terms, but the racial disparities in incarceration rate mirror the racial disparities in the poverty rate. As of 2012, the United States imprisoned had 707 prisoners per 100,000 population, well ahead of the second highest country, Russia, which had an incarceration rate of 450 per 100,000. From 1970 to the present, the U.S. prison population increased from 300,000 to 2.2 million, accounting for a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Further, a further 5 million Americans were on probation or parole in 2008, meaning that approximately 1 out of 31 Americans are under the control of the criminal justice system at any given time.

Read More

Value Added, Reality Lost: Trouble with Education Analysis

Value Added, Reality Lost: Trouble with Education Analysis

When children fail to achieve educational milestones, it is often a strong predictor of failure later in life.  This can impact not only individuals and their families, but communities as a whole in the form of decreased tax revenue, higher crime rates and declining property values.  Most everyone can agree that higher levels of educational attainment by the community as a whole lead to a stronger and more stable society. It is no surprise that policy makers seek to increase educational achievement.

Read More

More Unequal Than Others: High Income Inequality in Cities and Metropolitan Areas Corrodes Public Services Nationwide

More Unequal Than Others: High Income Inequality in Cities and Metropolitan Areas Corrodes Public Services Nationwide

In a perversion of George Orwell’s famous quote from Animal Farm, it appears that while all Americans are unequal, some Americans are more unequal than others. New research from the Brookings Institutions demonstrates that, based on household income, large metropolitan areas and big cities tend to be more unequal than the rest of the country. The 2014 95/20 ratio, a ratio of the average earnings at the 95th percentile against the 20th percentile, was 9.3 for the country as a whole. For the largest 100 metro areas, that ratio was 9.7. For big cities, it was 11.8. Moreover, while only 18 of the top 100 metro areas exceeded that nation’s inequality ratio, 59 of the largest 97 cities did so.

Read More