Thriving Together Newsletter

June 2024

Stories From Our Communities

The relationship between young people and technology: It's complicated

In its efforts to support the mental health and well-being of young people, especially those in the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, Hopelab believes in the power of technology. While there’s no question that social media and video games can harm young people, they can also be forces of good. Hopelab’s first project more than 20 years ago was to create a video game to help young cancer patients accept their treatment.

Recently, Hopelab joined Common Sense Media to survey more than 1,200 young people ages 14-22, discovering that while social media poses risks, it also offers youth opportunities for connection, support and identity affirmation. Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation supports Hopelab’s mission to understand how adolescents develop, learn, form relationships and explore their environments to help them achieve their full potential as adults. 

Explore the intersection of tech and youth well-being

Helping local governments deal with the impacts of climate change

Climate change is one of the most serious and challenging issues facing the world today. Combating its dangerous effects requires everyone, including governments, nonprofits, advocacy groups and individual citizens, to play a role.

Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN) is focused on helping city and county governments confront this challenge by providing support to implement sustainable practices and equip communities to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. That starts with bringing together sustainability professionals working in governments across the 10-state Southeast region to share information about their challenges—whether dealing with heatwaves and flooding or trying to ramp-up a public transportation system—and how they’ve tried to solve them.

SSDN also helps local governments access federal funding for their projects and shape energy-related state policies. With a three-year grant of $600,000 from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, SSDN plans to expand its network's support of 120 local governments.

A strong democracy depends on effective, responsible leaders

What’s the best way to ensure the nation has strong, effective lawmakers? Educate them, measure their progress and hold them accountable.

The Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL) creates scorecards for federal lawmakers that quantify their ability to break through the gridlock in Congress and move policies through the legislative process. This allows the public to grade their representatives using actual data so they can make the right decision when they go to the ballot box. CEL also provides guidance to new members of Congress that help them learn how to be effective legislators and achieve their goals—for themselves and their constituencies.

A $1.5 million grant from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation will help CEL continue this important work and expand it to include state lawmakers, beginning with Georgia and Montana. “The results of the scorecards will benefit the public, who deserve to know how well their elected officials collaborate and legislate,” said Wendy Feliz, managing director of Democracy at the Blank Foundation.

Learn about lawmakers and accountability

Immersive art promotes healing at children's hospitals

Children’s hospitals can be sad, scary places for the patients and families who visit. But visual art can transform these hospitals' halls, treatment rooms and public areas into engaging, uplifting spaces that inspire joy and hope. That’s the idea behind RxART, a nonprofit organization that commissions contemporary artists to create public installations designed to comfort and heal—at no cost to the hospitals. Since its inception in 2000, RxART has completed 61 projects in 39 hospitals across the United States—reaching more than 3.4 million patients.

With a grant from the Molly Blank Fund of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, RxART recently supported an installation at Phoenix Children’s Hospital by Shara Hughes, known for her vibrant landscapes and imaginative style. “Following the completion of the project, a young member of the advisory board conveyed her excitement about the transformation,” said Hannah Kolb, development and outreach associate at RxART. “She had never anticipated the hallway could become such an uplifting visual journey that made traversing the pathway more bearable.”

Approximately 70,000 patients will experience Hughes' RxART installation at Phoenix Children's Hospital each year. From emergency department and helipad arrivals to inpatient and ambulatory transfers, this is the first entry point for nearly all patients as they are admitted or routed to their care areas.

Discover the healing power of art

AMBFF In The News

  • Arthur M. Blank Center for Stuttering Education and Research Announces 10th Annual Camp Dream. Speak. Live for 2024, WDLZ Earl98.3

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