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Browse Success Factors

Attacking Root Causes

Solving problems by addressing the underlying factors. By digging deep and attacking the root causes of a problem, changemakers are able to treat the disease rather than just the symptoms. These solutions offer help to those in need, employ a comprehensive approach to problem-solving, and address the determinants that keep individuals and communities from succeeding.

Attacking root causes

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A Philly jobs program lost six to a year of violence. Can it still help young people thrive?

The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia Media Network)

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PowerCorpsPHL and Mural Arts' Guild have notched impressive results in job placements of young people with criminal records. The programs' employment training, paid apprenticeships, and art therapy classes have all been disrupted by 2020's pandemic, social unrest, and street violence. Private gra...

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An oft-tried plan to curb violent crime in Baltimore resurfaces. City leaders say better leadership will bring better results.

The Baltimore Sun

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In the 1990s and again in 2014, when Baltimore used a strategy called focused deterrence to reduce street violence, it showed initial promise but then failed. Those failures can be tied to how the program was managed, and to changes in leadership, not to the approach itself. The strategy offers h...

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Seattle Public Utilities' waste-pumping program has cut sewage spills from homeless people's RVs in half

The Seattle Times

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To help those experiencing homelessness, Seattle Public Utilities workers travel around the city knocking on RV doors and asking occupants if they need their sewage tank pumped. Some RVs are broken down and occupants can’t get to a public dump site to dispose of their waste, so wastewater spills ...

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Indian Women Turn to Ancient Grains to Feed Their Families and Their Futures

Yes! Magazine

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In the face of climate change, the nonprofit SABALA is working with nearly 2,000 women farmers in India to participate in millet farming, which can also strengthen community food security and empower women. Using traditional farming techniques, farmers can cultivate 15 to 20 of the climate-resist...

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‘Life-altering for everyone': Kindering bridges the virtual gap to help kids with special needs

The Seattle Times

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When the coronavirus pandemic caused businesses and organizations to stop in-person offerings, a non-profit in Washington that specializes in services for children with special needs quickly shifted operations to an online format. Although this new online business model isn't financially feasible...

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How the Criminal Justice System Fails People With Mental Illness

The Intercept

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Crisis-intervention and de-escalation trainings for police were meant to reform the criminal justice system's handling of people suffering from mental illness. But a lack of rigorous standards in the training and use of these approaches means that they routinely fail as a means of diverting peopl...

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An ancient people with a modern climate plan

The Washington Post

Multi-Media / 1500-3000 Words

The Swinomish tribe in Washington state is combining traditional knowledge and science to combat the effects of climate change and improve the health of its land, water, and people. In recent years, their salmon harvest has diminished due to warming waters, but they’ve instituted salmon recovery ...

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This App Pays Young People Without Housing to Build Life Skills

Next City

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Youth experiencing unstable housing in New Haven, Connecticut can build life skills in exchange for gift cards through an app built by a nonprofit. DreamKit incentivizes positive change for disadvantaged young people who have competing priorities. The nonprofit is building a pipeline which will a...

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Indianapolis has poured millions into grant funding to fight crime. Has it worked?

IndyStar (The Indianapolis Star)

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By one measure, a record number of homicides in 2020, Indianapolis' decision to pump $13 million into two crime-prevention grant programs looks like a failure. But program advocates and researchers say that may not be the most accurate measure. Data show that multiple community-based projects are...

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Can an Algorithm Prevent Suicide?

The New York Times

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Veterans Affairs' Reach Vet program uses an algorithm weighing 61 factors to flag veterans deemed at highest risk of suicide. While its results have not been shown to affect the suicide rate, it has more than doubled high-risk veterans' uses of V.A. services and been associated with a lower overa...

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Our issue area taxonomy was adapted from the PCS Taxonomy with definitions by the Foundation Center, which is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 4.0 International License.

Photos are licensed under Attribution Non Commercial 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license / Desaturated from original, and are credited to the following photographers:

Fondriest Environmental, David De Wit / Community Eye Health, Linda Steil / Herald Post, John Amis / UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences – OCCS, Andy B, Peter Garnhum, Thomas Hawk, 7ty9, Isriya Paireepairit, David Berger, UnLtd The Foundation For Social Entrepreneurs, Michael Dunne, Burak Kebapci, and Forrest Berkshire / U.S. Army Cadet Command public affairs

Photos are licensed under Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license, and are credited to the following photographers:

Ra'ed Qutena, 段 文慶, Fabio Campo, City Clock Magazine, Justin Norman, scarlatti2004, Gary Simmons, Kathryn McCallum, and Nearsoft Inc

Photos are licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication Creative Commons license / Desaturated from original, and are credited to the following photographers:

Burak Kebapci and SCY.

Photos are licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) and are credited to the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Conference attendee listening to speaker, Jenifer Daniels / Colorstock getcolorstock.com.

Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian via Getty Images

Photo Credit: Sonia Narang