Archives For July 2013

The Hillary Effect

Guest Blogger: Shweta S. Patwardhan (


As speculation builds around Hillary Clinton’s possible 2016 presidential bid, here’s something more certain about the mark she’s leaving on the future.

A recent study featured in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that exposure to images of powerful women like Hillary or Angela Merkel helped women gain confidence and perform better in the workplace. When speaking to a group of six strangers, the women in the study spoke longer and more effectively if they were shown pictures of powerful female figures in the background instead of images of Bill Clinton or no one at all. “Subtle exposures to highly successful female leaders inspired the women’s behavior and self-evaluations in stressful leadership tasks.”

If simply seeing an image of a far-away politician can inspire confidence in so short a time frame, we ought to wonder what interacting with supportive mentors over an extended period can do to help low-income kids who are academically disengaged.

There are so many nonprofits from coast to coast producing “The Hillary Effect” on a daily basis.  Four that deserve particular mention for the significant work they’re doing to help at-risk kids embark on a path toward success are:

These nonprofits are proof that philanthropy can be a vehicle for significant change in young people’s lives – perhaps even greater change than a President Hillary Clinton would implement!

Dropping the rate of school dropouts

Communities in Schools - 2


How is it possible in the U.S. a student drops out of high school every 26 seconds?

Thanks to Communities in Schools, major efforts are being undertaken across 27 states and Washington DC to mitigate the dropout crisis. The organization offers at-risk students support to help them stay focused academically, graduate, and go on to do post-secondary training.

Watch this video to see why this work is so important.  An article in this summer’s Stanford Social Innovation Review documents this work is making a significant impact in reducing dropouts.

Consider making a contribution to this high-achieving nonprofit!

Communities in Schools - 1


Summer reading


Tis the season for reading – at the beach, by the pool, in the backyard. It’s also the time of year when kids’ reading skills atrophy. Schools are closed and for many kids there are lots of fun things they’d rather be doing than reading.

That’s why this is an especially good time to celebrate the work of Ready Readers, a St. Louis nonprofit that encourages and inspires preschool children from low-income communities to become readers. Its goal is simple: to encourage these kids to see how much they can enjoy and prosper from honing this valuable life skill.

Working with very young kids is a way to prevent the reading problems many poor children develop. Trained volunteers read books aloud to the same classroom of children for 30 minutes each week, and then provide stimulating related activities. Six times during the school year and once during the summer, the volunteers also distribute new books for each child to take home and keep.

A questionnaire distributed to teachers involved in Ready Readers revealed that 90 percent believed the program greatly contributes to their students’ enjoyment of books.  Ninety-eight percent believe it enhances kids’ literacy skills — like print awareness and letter knowledge — which are essential for independent reading…something many of these kids will want to be doing at this same time next year!

Giving opportunities: