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Annie E. Casey Foundation: Helping Children Becomes Advocacy for the Welfare State
By David Hogberg
June 29, 2012

Stopping Juvenile Detention
By Joseph Lawler
February 2010


701 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD

Phone :(410) 547-6600
Email :webmail@aecf.org
URL :http://www.aecf.org

Annie E. Casey Foundation's Visual Map

  • Assets: $2,667,088,187 (2011)
  • Grants Received: $5,223,691 (2011)
  • Grants Awarded: $95,149,184 (2011)


The Annie E. Casey Foundation was established in 1948 by Jim Casey, one of the founders of United Parcel Service, along with his two brothers and his sister, in honor of their mother. What started as a foundation devoted to supporting child welfare and long-term foster care, has refocused, over the decades, into an organization emphasizing multiculturalism and race-based programs for minorities.

The Casey Foundation favors the presence of a large, centralized government exercising control over the health care services, employment, and personal incomes of American citizens. To influence policymakers, program administrators, the news media, and other audiences in supporting innovations it regards as progressive, the Foundation led a consortium of philanthropies that provided funds to the Urban Institute for a comprehensive, nonpartisan research project called Assessing the New Federalism. Its findings confirmed the Casey Foundation's belief that adequate incomes and child care arrangements are best ensured by increased government spending and an expansion of federal welfare bureaucracy.

Because it believes that the federal government does too little to alleviate poverty in America, the Foundation has identified the "challenge of helping rebuild distressed communities" as its top grant-making priority for the immediate future. To address the problem of poverty (and its associated ills), the Casey Foundation in 1995 launched a "Jobs Initiative Program" to provide funding and support "for community-based initiatives [in such fields as construction, healthcare, manufacturing, and teleservices] in five cities in order to help young, low-income workers find meaningful jobs."

The Foundation also oversees initiatives to increase the pay and lighten the workload of social service employees; to "improve the access of disadvantaged young adults to family-supporting employment"; to provide mental health services and discussion-group forums "for children and families in disadvantaged neighborhoods"; to fund "a wide range of organizations that work directly with disadvantaged children, youth, and families, primarily in Baltimore City"; "to improve housing and social and physical infrastructure"; and to "increase public and private investment in [low-income] neighborhoods."

Another area toward which the Casey Foundation directs its philanthropy is criminal justice. Frowning upon incarceration as a means of motivating youthful offenders to reform their lives, the Foundation established its Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) in 1992 "to reduce the number of children inappropriately incarcerated; to minimize the number of youth who fail to appear in court or commit delinquent acts; to redirect public funds toward successful alternatives; and to improve conditions of confinement." The Casey Foundation website features articles lauding protesters who try to prevent the construction or expansion of juvenile detention centers.

The Foundation's opposition to the incarceration of teenagers is based on the premise that every stage of the juvenile-justice system, from arrest through sentencing, is rife with racial injustice. "Nationwide," the Foundation laments, "minority youth represent two-thirds of detained youth, but only about one-third of the total youth population. . . . It is impossible to talk about juvenile detention reform without talking about the disproportionate confinement of youth of color." In the Foundation's analysis, this imbalance is largely a function of racism and discrimination.

In 2006 the Casey Foundation issued a report titled: “Race Matters: Unequal Opportunity Within Criminal Justice.” This study concluded that the U.S. justice system is rife with “embedded racial inequities” that “work against women and men of color”; “racial stereotyping and discrimination”; “disproportionality at every step of the criminal justice process”; “statutory biases”; “poverty’s interaction with race in criminal defense”; “disproportionate imprisonment”; “differential post-release consequences”; “disparate impact on families and children”; and “disparate impact on neighborhoods.”

The Casey Foundation produces a policy magazine called AdvoCasey, which highlights "issues and policies that affect the lives of children and families in the United States." In addition, the Casey Foundation website provides links to a number of publications on such topics as: child welfare; neighborhood development; economic development; welfare reform; jobs; education; foster care; government reform and public policy; teen pregnancy; juvenile justice; and leadership development.

Among the many hundreds of Casey Foundation grantees are the following: the American Bar Association Fund for Justice and Education; the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation; the Arab American Institute Foundation; the Aspen Institute; the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN); the Brennan Center for Justice; the Brookings Institution; the Center for Community Change; the Childrens Defense Fund; the Council on FoundationsDemos: A Network for Ideas and Action; the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights; the Independent Media Center; the Institute for Womens Policy Research; the Ms. Foundation for Women; the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy; the National Council of La Raza; the National Immigration Law Center; National Public Radio (NPR); the Neighborhood Funders Group; the New America Foundation; Planned Parenthood; Public Broadcasting Service (PBS); the Public Justice Center; the Rockefeller Family Fund; the Tides Foundation and the Tides Center; and the Urban Institute.

To view a list of additional noteworthy grantees of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, click here.

(Information on grantees and monetary amounts courtesy of The Foundation Center, GuideStar, ActivistCash, the Capital Research Center and Undue Influence)



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