Increasing A Community’s Knowledge of Local Nonprofits: A New Model From Brevard County

In this new age of technology and tools, where can people go to learn about their community’s nonprofit sector to help make informed decisions about community needs and charitable giving?

A new model from Brevard County offers one answer. Through a partnership with the Urban Institute’s National Center on Charitable Statistics (NCCS), the Community Foundation for Brevard, an FPN member, has created Connect Brevard, a web-based tool built on a platform developed by NCCS. Launched in September 2011, Connect Brevard provides a comprehensive picture of Brevard County’s residents, social services and most pressing needs all in one place. The site offers all the publicly available information on every tax-exempt organization in Brevard County from IRS tax filings and census bureau data, which can be supplemented with information from local organizations. NCCS’s Community Platform software is being marketed and developed in more than 10 states and counties nationwide, but with the help of the foundation’s advisory teams of local leaders, Brevard County was the first in the nation to launch the site.

In a recent FPN webinar, Sandi Scannelli, President/CEO of the Community Foundation for Brevard and Tom Pollak, NCCS Program Director at the Urban Institute, gave an overview of Connect Brevard and the Community Platform software. According to Scannelli, in the short time that Connect Brevard has been in operation, the county has learned a great deal about itself. For example, the Brevard County discovered that its volunteers give many more hours per volunteer than the national average (No. 8 in the country), and that arts groups in the county were particularly hard hit by the economic downturn. Continue reading

Major Changes May Be in Store for Florida Medicaid in 2012

In 2012, Floridians could see significant changes in the state’s Medicaid program that could impact vulnerable populations of concern to many grantmakers in Florida. These changes are part of an effort, begun in 2006, to move Florida Medicaid toward greater use of managed care with the stated goal of controlling costs.

For the past six years, experts at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute, supported by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, have followed Florida Medicaid changes with a particular eye toward how these shifts are affecting, and will affect, the 3.1 million Floridians who rely on Medicaid for their health coverage.

In two recently-released educational briefs, also supported by the Winter Park Health Foundation, Georgetown researchers outline what changes may be on the horizon for 2012 and highlight particular concerns about a plan to impose broad-based fees on Medicaid beneficiaries.

Here is a quick look at the two briefs. Continue reading