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What's Got MDC Buzzing?

What's Got MDC Buzzing?

Here's what's got MDC buzzing for the week of October 15:

  • Two of MDC’s Partners for Postsecondary Success (PPS) sites got some hometown highlighting this week: The Brownsville PPS team will report on their progress toward improving education and employment, as well as introduce the new All In Brownsville campaign, a call to action for the entire community to join in the work. And in Amarillo, the local community college, Amarillo College, received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to support student success initiatives on the campus. The funds will build on the city’s No Limits No Excuses plan and their PPS work.
  • Our Durham neighbor, the Center for Community Self-Help, was featured in the fall 2012 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. The article highlights the new Micro Branch; with both check-cashing and credit union offerings (and much lower fees than payday lenders), unbanked customers can get the services they’re looking for and learn about other financial products and services. Author Corey Binns also describes how Self-Help and the organization’s policy arm, the Center for Responsible Lending, evaluate their existing programs and engage their customers (or potential customers) to understand what people need—and then use all of that research to develop tailored products and services. We’re happy to be partners in our new downtown Durham headquarters—and neighbors—with Self-Help and share a commitment to increasing economic security for low-income families!
  • In other asset-related news, the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) has launched a new matched savings initiative, the 1:1 Fund. The 1:1 Fund is an online community that promotes educational opportunity for low-income students, connecting low-income students with individual donors who match student savings dollar for dollar in qualified child savings accounts (CSAs). They’re getting off the ground with pilots in San Francisco and Mississippi, but there’s great potential here to change how low-income students plan and pay for college.
  • There’s been a lot in the news this week about office supplies, but Rinku Sen moves beyond Tumblrs with some thoughtful commentary about the difference between “diversity” and “equity” and what it means for the workplace and for our nation as a whole.
  • The Atlantic’s Robert Wright summarizes new research that will be published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience that further debunks claims of “innate racism” based on studies that show enhanced activity in the amygdale—the portion of our brains that’s associated with emotion and, relevant to these studies, the detection of threat—when whites were shown black faces. Eva Telzer of UCLA and three other researchers have performed these amygdale studieswhich had previously been done on adultson children. They found that the racial sensitivity of the amygdale doesn't appear until around age 14 and that its less strong for children with more racially diverse peer groups. The report’s authors write that “these findings suggest that neural biases to race are not innate and that race is a social construction, learned over time.”
  • Today’s topic in The New York Times “Room for Debate” series: does income inequality repress economic growth? Nobel laureates, lawyers, political scientists, and public policy experts weigh in.