Joan Alker asks: Why Does Florida Still Have one of the Highest Uninsured Rates for Kids?

Unity for kids 17 This from a recent study by Joan Alker who is the Executive Director at the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University on behalf of Florida Philanthropic Network:  “Florida’s child uninsured rate was 11.1% compared to a national average of 7.1% in 2013.”

“Florida has the highest uninsured rate for children in the Southeast and the 5th highest in the nation… Florida is one of 25 states that has not elected to use CHIP funding to cover lawfully residing immigrant children.”

What can be done?

Our state legislators could take action on SB 294 and HB 829

Below is an update on the bill and its implications from HUF partner, United Way of Broward County.

KidCare Five-Year Waiting Period For Legal Immigrant ChildrenUnity for kids 16
Immigrant children lawfully residing in Florida are required by state law to wait five years before they are eligible for KidCare. During those five years, many forego needed health care that could not only improve their quality of life, but help them succeed in school. The cost to the state for providing health care coverage to the projected 22,602 eligible children would be $4.8 million, while the federal government would pick up the rest of the tab ($41.5 million).

SB 294 and HB 829 would eliminate the waiting period, so sick children can see a doctor when needed. The Senate bill has already passed unanimously out of the Health Policy Committee and the Health and Human Service Appropriation Committee. Unfortunately, the House bill has not yet been heard.

Call or reach out to your representative today if this is an important issue to you.
Don’t know who she/he is?
Find your Senator here.
Find your House of Representative here.

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“We should be so thankful that they’re here”

“We should be so thankful that they’re here,” demographer William Frey says of immigrants boosting the USA’s diversity.  Mr Frey is a Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program and the recent author of the book called: Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics are Remaking America

And the “they” Mr. Frey is referring to are immigrants. So many immigrants and so much diversity that according to a USA Today article on the subject it is highly likely that the next person you will meet will be of a different race or ethnicity.

USA today.Diversity Map

How all of us in the United States respond to these changes will define us as a nation for the foreseeable future.

What do YOU think we should be doing at the national level – or right here at home- to help us embrace these changes and become a stronger country as a result? (Yes, as a more diverse country.)

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Janet Murguía Interview: Family, NCLR and Politics

HUF 30th Anniversary 167.cropped

Ms. Janet Murguia accepting HUF’s Amigos Individual Award in 2012. L-R: Nydia Menendez, HUF Board Member, Janet Murguia, NCLR President & CEO and Dr. McCoy, Cleveland Clinic.

Get to  know Janet Murguía, President & CEO of NCLR. Learn about her amazing and accomplished family, her thoughts about immigration reform and her vision for the future.

(Note: Hispanic Unity is one of 300 community-based organizations in the U.S. that are Affiliate Members of NCLR.)

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If it feels so good – makes us happy – why don’t we do it more?

Can you buy happiness?

Two professors Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton have published a book called Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending and this is one of their big conclusions: 

“….money can buy happiness — when you don’t spend it on yourself. The key is social spending that benefits not just you, but other people.”

 The above is a quote from a story on the TED Radio Hour on

This appears to be a lesson that people whom we would classify as being “low or moderate income” know about. Not only did they spend considerably more on others during the Great Recession they far outpaced individuals whom we consider “well off.”

“Lower- and middle-class Americans give bigger share of
income to charity than the richest in recession’s wake” 

This was the headline from the Chronical of Philanthropy’s report called: How America Gives, 2014.

Highlights from the report:

  • 3%  of American’s total income is donated to charity
  • $3,176 is Median Charitable Contribution

Giving to Charity between 2006-2012 – by income levels:

How much earn                        Change in Giving

  •  $25K or less                        16.6%  increase in giving
  • $25k-50k                            8.7%  increase in giving
  • $50k-75k                            7.7%  increase in giving
  • $75-100k                            3.6%  increase in giving
  • $100k-$200k                 (3.3%) decrease in giving
  • $200k or more               (4.6%) decrease in giving

During the Great Recession, the people who had the least, significantly increased their gifts to charities by 16.6%!

Why? Is it because they are struggling too and have a better understanding of why individuals and charities need their support?

Are they more involved in their places of worship and have a stronger moral rudder?

Closer to home, Broward County has one of the lowest giving levels in Florida. [This was born out by the Six Pillars Study as well as, the 2014 Chronical of Philanthropy’s report noted above.]

In Broward, the giving ratio is 2.72%. Below are the giving levels from the surrounding counties:

Collier County 3.97%;  

Hendry County 3.86%;  

Miami-Dade County 2.96%  

Palm Beach County 3.61%

One of our board members, Chuck Tatelbaum, sent me this article from the NY Times: If Giving Feels So Good, Why Don’t We Do It?  The article’s author grew up with a strong giving ethos. He explores why it is that we don’t give more often -and give more – when it makes us so happy when we do.

All this information is timely. It is, after all, the giving season. It’s also a great time to reflect on our lives. And, as I get older (yikes), I find myself reflecting more and more on how I can make this world, this community, this town, a better place. And how I can become a better person.

And now, we both know the answer, as well as, the secret to happiness!DSC_0303

So, this holiday season give to someone – or an organization – that touches your heart. You will be happier. And,  so will they!

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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Tax Credits Lift Families out of Poverty

Just in one year, Broward County’s working families received up to $514,000 in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC).

In 2013, these credits lifted more than 9.4 million people – including 5 million children – out of poverty.

Every year, a group of funders and community nonprofit organizations work hard to ensure that all these dollars go back into the pockets of our taxpaying working families.(Thank you to long-term community investors: Children’s Services Council of Broward County and United Way of Broward County).

This year, we have the opportunity to permanently expand EITC and the Child Tax Credit. Contact your congressional representatives today and ask them to make the EITC and Child Credit improvements permanent.

EITC.Child credit

Posted in Economic Development, Education | Tagged , , | 2 Comments