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FSG Staff Share Highlights from 2018

We are grateful and humbled to work alongside clients and partners around the globe on a wide range of pressing social impact issues. Below FSG staff share some of their most memorable moments from the past year.

We’re inspired by the positive impact you’re making, and we welcome your ideas on how we can work together to create a more equitable and sustainable future in 2019.

Supporting the launch of the Equity Alliance of Staten Island

 Ebele Anidi, Consultant

This year, I had the pleasure of working alongside fellow FSG colleagues, as well as partners at PolicyLink and the Society of Organizational Learning to support the launch of the Equity Alliance of Staten Island (EASI), a community-driven initiative focused on improving access to equitable supports for all youth in Staten Island, NY. This work is being supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York.

In July, I spent a few days traveling around Staten Island, conducting interviews with local youth and those who support them. We spoke with parents who shared their concerns for their children, middle school students who named supports that they would need to feel more affirmed at school, and members of Staten Island Justice Court who advocated for more alternative pathways to ensure all youth have access to a promising future. We also had the chance to sit down for an extended conversation with two students in the local chapter of the My Brother's Keeper program, a national initiative launched by President Obama to address persistent achievement gaps among boys and young men of color. I feel so fortunate to have been present for these insightful interviews. Ultimately, these summer conversations were essential inputs that informed EASI’s current strategic direction and priority focus areas. 

Developing research on how to advance frontline women in retail

Fay Hanleybrown, Managing Director

Many employers are committed to gender equity but don’t know the most effective ways to support and advance women in their workplace. Supported by Walmart, my FSG colleagues and I wrote and will soon publish a research report that highlights 12 actionable, evidence-based practices that employers can use to advance women from frontline positions to the manager level in the retail sector. 

To develop this ground-breaking research, we partnered with Professor Frank Dobbin from Harvard University and Professor Alexandra Khalev from Tel Aviv University to analyze a proprietary database of employer practices that includes over 11,000 retail stores over a 30 year period. We also conducted extensive research, talking with dozens of employers to better understand the business imperative of gender equity, and meeting with frontline women themselves to better understand the barriers that they face in the workplace and the best ways for companies to shift practices. We are excited to release this new research in early 2019 and to help companies move from commitment to action on gender equity.

Building the impact investing field with Omidyar Network

Nikhil Bumb, Associate Director

FSG partnered with Omidyar Network to release the "Beyond Trade-offs" series bringing together 10 leading impact investors:  Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, Big Society Capital, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Blue Haven Initiative, Elevary Equity, Ford Foundation, Goldman Sachs, Lok Capital, Prudential, and The Rise Fund—to share examples and their nuanced approaches to balancing risk, return, and impact in their impact investing portfolios. We believe this series, currently live on the Economist’s website, will help impact investing continue to gain momentum among new and existing investors alike.

 

Supporting early education in India through activity-based learning

Sana Kazi, Program Manager

In India, there is a high demand for affordable private preschools. Unfortunately, despite the motivations of parents and their investments, students’ learning outcomes remain poor. Over the past few years, our team has worked to replace rote memorization techniques with activity-based learning in the 300,000 affordable private schools in India. To date, FSG’s Program to Improve Private Early Education (PIPE) has impacted the lives of more than 50,000 children; with more than 400 affordable private schools using activity based learning solutions. So far, the results are impressive: our schools have performed 50% higher on quality and sustainability of education than other schools, as evaluated by an external assessment of PIPE and control schools.

We are grateful for the support of domestic and international foundations, and partner organizations for their support in this important work to change educational and life outcomes for children in India.

Convening diverse leaders to support shared value in practice

Stacy Neal, Director of Programs, Shared Value Initiative

 

At the 2018 Shared Value Leadership Summit, we convened our most diverse set of leaders committed to the concept to date—from CEOs like Humana's Bruce Broussard and TIAA's Roger Ferguson to senior practitioners like Facebook's Jen Dulski, Walmart's Kathleen McLaughlin, and IBM's Deborah DiSanzo.

Some of the most memorable moments came on the second day of the Summit, where we heard from both Deval Patrick—who leads Bain Capital's Double Impact practice and is the former Governor of Massachusetts—and Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former U.S. Secretary of State, each of whom had fascinating discussions with Fortune's Alan Murray. It was a highlight to hear these leaders share cross-sector perspectives on the conditions and policies that can support shared value, alongside tangible business strategies and results that illustrate the strength of the concept.
 

Best wishes for a happy holiday season.

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