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Posts Tagged ‘benefit’

Some initiatives that are costly up front have benefits that far outweigh those costs but don’t show up for years. Even then, people may disagree about what caused the outcomes.

One such initiative sends nurses to new mothers who are young, poor and often friendless to help ensure that their babies get a leg up in life.

At the Washington Post

“A high school senior learns that she’s pregnant — and she’s terrified. But a registered nurse comes to visit her in her home for about an hour each week during pregnancy, and every other week after birth, until the baby turns 2. The nurse advises her what to eat and not to smoke; looks around the house to advise her of any safety concerns; encourages her to read and talk to her baby; and counsels her on nutrition for herself and her baby.

“This kind of support, with trained nurses coaching low-income, first-time mothers, is among the most effective interventions ever studied. Researchers have accumulated decades of evidence from randomized controlled trials — the gold standard in social science research — following participants for up to 15 years. They have consistently found that nurse coaches reduce pregnancy complications, pre-term births, infant deaths, child abuse and injury, violent crimes and substance abuse. What’s more, nurse coaches improve language development, and over the long term, cognitive and educational outcomes.

“Nurse coaching is a vital tool that addresses both the liberal concern about income inequality and the conservative concern about inequality of opportunity. …

“Still, nurse coaching reaches only 2 to 3 percent of eligible families. Which raises the question: if it’s so successful — and people on both sides of the aisle support it — why can’t it be scaled to reach every eligible family?”

There are two stumbling blocks according to the reporters: First, funding must be cobbled together from numerous unpredictable sources; second, the costs are up front, whereas the benefits to government and society appear over time.

“If nurse coaching were fully scaled to reach every eligible family, the costs to state and federal governments would outweigh the savings for the first five years. But then the savings would start to outweigh the costs. Over 10 years, the net savings would be $2.4 billion for state governments and $816 million for the federal government.”

So the question becomes: do we have the patience? More here.

A similar initiative that Suzanne started supporting when she lived in San Francisco focuses on homeless mothers. Read about the great results of the Homeless Prenatal Program here.

Photo: iStock
When nurses coach low-income moms, their babies benefit.

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I’ve told the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” many times to my oldest grandchild and was delighted that he responded with a wide grin when I later used — in a completely different context — the phrase “It was just ri-ight.” Everybody in the world seems to know those words from the Grimms’ fairy tale.

So when the audience heard the phrase Sunday in a locally flavored skit to benefit the island medical center, the line got a laugh. One of many.

In this case, the familiar plot points (porridge too hot, door not locked, trespassing girl) had been repurposed into the trial of Gold E. Locks, whom the Three Deer accused of bad manners for the usual (entering uninvited, eating the porridge all up, breaking the chair, sleeping in the bed).

Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons played the judge and Christopher Walken’s wife, Georgianne, was the jury foreman. (“You’re not the foreman!” declared an indignant deer on the jury. “You’re just a Walk-in.”) But many of the biggest laughs were garnered by those who are famous only locally.

The story really had to be about deer because one of the biggest challenges the medical center has today is diagnosing and treating disease borne by deer ticks. (Three deer introduced to the island in the 1950s multiplied into a major problem. Lots of jokes about the people responsible.)

As unpolished as the entertainment was, the packed house was hugely supportive. In fact, the audience joined the fray. When the honorable counsel for the Locks family charged that the deer home with the open door and fragrant porridge was an “attractive nuisance,” a man in the back shouted, “Do you charge by the minute or the hour?” The answer: “I charge the same rate I charge in Manhattan.”

OK. Maybe you had to be there. The main story I took away was how many people wanted to donate to the medical center and how indulgent and open that made them. And yes, I laughed at all the jokes.

More here.

Photo:  John Freidah/The Providence Journal files /

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A high-minded concert may be a drop in the bucket when it comes to fighting global poverty, but as you know, I’m a believer in the power of “One and one and 50 make a million.”

In May, James C.McKinley Jr. wrote for the NY Times, “When the Global Poverty Project staged a benefit concert with Neil Young, the Black Keys and Foo Fighters in Central Park last fall, skeptics wondered if that nonprofit’s attempt to generate pressure on world leaders to help the poor would fade as soon as the amplifiers and guitars were put away.

“But this week the charity proved it had won converts, at least within the music industry. More than 70 artists, among them Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Bruno Mars, have pledged to give the project two tickets from each of their concerts over the next year, creating a pool of more than 20,000 tickets.

“The tickets will be used as prizes to encourage people to become involved in causes like fighting poverty in the third world, eradicating polio, building schools and ending famine. To win the tickets, fans are asked to earn points by taking action through a related Web site, globalcitizen.org. They can sign petitions, pledge to volunteer their time as aid workers, write elected leaders or donate money to aid organizations.

“‘It provides us with an opportunity to get really powerful activism worldwide,’ said Hugh Evans, the chief executive of the Global Poverty Project.” More.

Do check out a related post from 2011 on a countertenor who runs Artists for a Cause, a collaboration that provides talent for fundraising events — here.

Photo: Julie Glassberg for The New York Times
Neil Young with Crazy Horse performing in Central Park in September 2012 in a benefit concert for the Global Poverty Project.

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We heard an amazing concert by countertenor Terry Barber last night. His range goes from baritone to soprano, and his repertoire from the 1600s to contemporary. Formerly with the Grammy-winning group Chanticleer, Barber records and tours widely. You can hear excerpts from both his sacred and secular music on YouTube. Search on his name as I am having trouble embedding a sample here. (Weak Internet connection.)

Barber also founded, in honor of his mother, Artists for a Cause, which enlists performers for the fundraising activities of worthy nonprofits. Last night’s concert was for the benefit of the Mary D Fund, which provides for the emergency needs of struggling families in Rhode Island’s smallest town. It was held in the church where Suzanne and Erik were married not that long ago, and their pianist, Carrie Todd, accompanied Barber — along with organist Brink Bush and violinist Lisa Gray.

My husband and I are huge fans of Broadway music but loved everything that Barber performed (including the 2004 “Every time I look at you,” Schubert’s “Wohin,” Bernstein’s “A Simple Song,” Mozart’s “Laudate Dominum,” and  Cohen’s “Hallejujah.” “Anthem,” from the great Tim Rice musical “Chess,” blew us away. A piece that I recognized from what I used to call my “cancer dance class” was “You Raise Me Up” — tremendously moving.

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