The following is a conversation between Lisa Hamilton, President and CEO of The Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Denver Frederick, Host of The Business of Giving on AM 970 The Answer WNYM in New York City.

Lisa Hamilton

Denver: The Annie E. Casey Foundation has focused on improving the well-being of American children for over 70 years. It’s also one of the most influential watchdogs for child welfare in the nation. And here to tell us what they do and how American kids are faring today, it’s a pleasure to have Lisa Hamilton, the President and CEO of The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Good evening, Lisa, and welcome to The Business of Giving! 

Lisa:  Thanks so much, Denver. I’m happy to be here.

Denver: Begin by telling us some of the history of the foundation, and who was Annie Casey?

Lisa: I’d be delighted to. Jim Casey was the founder of UPS, the global logistics company. Jim’s mother was Annie E. Casey. Jim grew up in the Pacific Northwest in Seattle primarily, and he faced as a young person many of the challenges that young people face today. He grew up in a low-income household. His father died when he was really young. He grew up the son of an Irish immigrant. He had to drop out of school when he was around 11 to help care for his mom and siblings; he had three siblings. And so, despite those challenges in his young life, Jim was quite a brilliant and entrepreneurial young man and started UPS when he was 19 years old as a bicycle messenger company. 

He always believed that the success he had in life was due to his mother. And so, when he became wealthy beyond his own personal needs, he started several foundations, but one of those is The Annie E. Casey Foundation, which he named in honor of his mother. I’d also love to say that you know Jim was quite a philanthropist. He started not just The Annie E. Casey Foundation, but also Casey Family Programs, which is a foundation based in Seattle that focuses on child welfare, the Marguerite Casey Foundation named in honor of his sister, and also the UPS Foundation, the corporate foundation. So, I think he’s one of America’s great philanthropists.

Denver: That is quite a legacy.

Lisa: It is.

Denver: And surely the UPS Foundation and UPS has a wonderful moral compass as an organization.

Lisa: Absolutely.

Denver: Well, for the past 30 years, the foundation has issued the KIDS COUNT Data Book, which explores how American childhood experience has changed since 1990. What does the databook reveal?

Lisa: Well, the Data Book is a really important way for the Casey Foundation to provide a scorecard to the country about how children are doing nationally, and how they’re doing in every state, because there are state policies that affect how our kids are doing, so we think it’s really important to look at that data by state as well. And what we do is look at four important areas of a child’s life: the economic well-being, their education, their health, and their family and community circumstances. 

So, we look at 16 different data points that help us understand how kids are doing in this country. And as you said, we’ve been looking at these similar factors for the last 30 years, and there is good news, but also troubling news.

Denver: Always the case.

Lisa: Always the case. So, in the good news, what we have seen over the last 30 years is that we’re making important progress in a number of areas. For example, 95% of kids today now have access to health care. 

Denver: That’s great.

Lisa: Hugely important, so the kids can be healthy enough to learn and thrive. We have seen some of the lowest rates of teen childbearing that we’ve seen since we’ve been keeping this data, and we’re also seeing increased rates of high school graduation. So, all of those are incredibly important data going in the right direction.

On the troubling side is the fact that far too many kids in this country are still growing up low-income. As many of your listeners know, growing up in poverty is one of the biggest risk factors that a young person could have. And so even today, we have nearly half of the kids are growing up in low-income families, but 18% of them are growing up in families that are below the federal poverty line, so a really important area that we think needs to be addressed. 

The second thing I’d say the data tells us is that we’ve got a lot of work to do around educational outcomes for kids. More than half of kids, 65% of 4th graders aren’t reading on grade level, and we know that if they aren’t reading proficiently at that age, the odds increase greatly that they are going to drop out of high school. So, that’s a really important measure that we know the country still needs to pay attention to. 

Then, the last thing I’ll say is that by every measure, children of color in this country are facing bigger barriers to success, and so we continually raise the alarm that as the demographics of our country change, we need to pay attention to how kids of color are doing. And so, the KIDS COUNT Data also tells us that across all of these 16 measures we’re looking at, we need to pay attention to making sure that children of color are as successful as they can be.

There are 74 million children in the country, and so they’re 25% of our population, but I like to say they are 100% of our future. So, if we aren’t paying attention in making sure that all those kids are on the path to success, we are really putting so much of this country’s future at risk.

Denver: Well, looking at the changing face of America, how many children today are children of color?

Lisa: Well today, we have actually hit a tipping point that Casey had been letting the country know was coming for quite a while. Today, 50% of the children in this country are children of color. If you combine that with the data I just talked about, the prospects for us having healthy families and healthy communities and even a strong country are diminished if we don’t make sure that we are leveraging the potential of all our kids. There are 74 million children in the country, and so they’re 25% of our population, but I like to say they are 100% of our future. So, if we aren’t paying attention in making sure that all those kids are on the path to success, we are really putting so much of this country’s future at risk.

Denver: Lisa, speaking about children growing up in poverty, what’s the impact of having a single parent?

Lisa: Well, we think about single-parent households as really making that family more at-risk of being economically unstable. As we all know, the costs of food and of housing and of clothing are going up and up and up, and so if you don’t have the benefit of two incomes in a household, it just makes it ever more likely that that child is going to grow up without the economic stability that they need. And often, people think about the access to clothing or the access to food, but there are really significant implications for their access to health care,  for even housing stability when kids move around a lot because their parents don’t have the money to make sure that they have stable housing. That has huge implications for their education because they’re often changing schools all the time. 

So, when you look at the data that I shared around 4th grade reading or 3rd grade reading, it’s not just that schools aren’t teaching our kids well; it’s that these kids are in fragile families that are moving all the time, or don’t have access to health care, or don’t have access to good food. Those are all the ingredients that get a kid to school ready to learn. So, it really does take paying attention to all of these factors to make sure that kids are successful.

Denver: That’s a great point. You have to look at this holistically. Sometimes, we blame the schools, but there’s a lot more to the equation than just what’s going on in the classroom. 

Lisa: Absolutely. If children aren’t healthy, think of the incidence of asthma; if kids are missing school because of health problems, or they don’t have eyeglasses and so they can’t see the materials; if they’re changing schools all the time because they don’t have housing stability; if they show up hungry because they don’t have access to breakfast or lunch — all those things can have a huge impact on educational outcomes. And so, I think it’s really important for us to understand it’s not just about what schools can do, but what whole communities need to do in order to make sure the kids…

Denver: You know, a corollary to KIDS COUNT is something you spearheaded when you first came to Casey and that is the Race for Results. How does that differ?

Lisa: Well, we had been doing the KIDS COUNT Data Book for about 23-24 years, and as I said, in every one of these data books, we disaggregate the data by race and could see that children of color were not faring as well as their white peers. We decided we needed to look at that a little differently. We needed to dig into that and what the causes were a little more deeply. 

So, what we did was identify 12 indicators; some of them similar to those that we use in KIDS COUNT that are key milestones for kids from birth through adulthood, things that we all want for our kids: that they’re born at a healthy birth weight, which means they’ve got a lower incidence of health issues, or they’re reading on grade level at 3rd grade or graduated from high school. And we combined all this data by race and by state in order to see how different demographics were doing, and the data was just startling to us.

So, the Race for Results scores, when you put all of that data together, was a possible 1,000 was the best that any kid could do. That would mean that all the kids in that racial category were meeting every one of those milestones, and that’s what we would hope for all children. 

Unfortunately, what we saw was that for Asian and Pacific Islander children, their scores were in the 700s, certainly not meeting all the milestones for them. But for American Indian and African American children, their scores were in the 300s and 400s. And so, it was a different way for us to help the country look at how kids were doing by race, and to help sound the alarm of something that is sort of embedded in the title of that report. It’s called Race for Results, and what it means is that we are in a race to get better results for our kids so that they can all be successful. One of the most important ways we can do that is by paying attention to the impact of race on the results that we see for kids.

I’m really proud that Casey took the step to not just share that data, but to also help inform a collective understanding of how we got to that data, that it’s not just the consequence of individual decision-making, but that there are generations of discriminatory policies in how we’ve done housing, how we funded education, in how we’ve given people access to jobs, in how we have enabled people to save for the future. All of those policy decisions, many of them discriminatory for hundreds of years, are really conspiring to hold children back even today and to hold families back. 

And so part of what we wanted to do with Race for Results was to not just share the data, which is what we’ve been doing for kids with KIDS COUNT for a long time, but to also tell the story of the variety of barriers that not just African Americans, but American Indian, Pacific Asian, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanic children have faced in their pursuit of success.

Denver: And so much of that is quite insidious and really unconscious to a certain degree. 

My daughter went to business school, and as we were looking at business schools, one of the places she looked at was Booth, which is in Chicago. And one of the important factors of getting into business school is to show up and to tour the campus and to talk to some of the students and professors;  it really shows you have an interest in going there. But then you start to say, How many kids could not afford that trip? And although it seems innocuous, it really isn’t. It’s discriminatory in a way that I think a lot of people would not be aware of.

Lisa: Right. Or even imagine education funding. So much of the education funding for K-12 schools in this country is through property taxes. Well, if you consider the fact that more children of color live in low-income neighborhoods, which the property isn’t valued as highly, and they don’t have the same sorts of property tax rates. You can easily see how though a facially neutral policy that says “We’re going to fund schools through property taxes,” once you consider housing segregation and the impact of living in high-poverty neighborhoods, you’ve got low-income kids with much less access to resources, and that falls more on children of color. 

So, those are the kinds of things that we have to pay attention to– that policies that may appear to be racially neutral certainly weren’t always that way by design, and they certainly can have a disparate impact on the outcomes.

Denver: Well, Casey does a lot of work in all these different areas. So, let me take one – and the one I probably know you guys best for – and that would be your Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, and what you’ve done about reducing youth incarceration. Talk a little bit about that.

Lisa: Let me start generally by saying the Casey Foundation focuses on three key areas. The first being focusing on keeping children and families together, and that’s our work around child welfare and juvenile justice, two systems that often remove children from their families. We focus on the economic opportunity: How do we help more children grow up in economically stable families? And then in neighborhood development: How do we help create safe, healthy places for kids to grow up?

And so, the work that we do in juvenile justice is directly tied to that belief that children should grow up in families. Even children who might have made a mistake or done something wrong still need the love and support and nurturing of their families. And unfortunately, this country applies the same punitive approach to mistakes in children that we apply at the adult level, and so we absolutely over-incarcerate children for things that they absolutely should not be removed from their homes or their communities for.

So, 25 years ago, as the country was grappling with the notion of super predators, this notion that there were these young people in our communities that needed to be removed in order to make them more safe, Casey began this incredible journey to help our country think about a more rational and research-based way to deal with young people who may have made mistakes or who have gotten in trouble. 

Out of that grew the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative. What that work is focused on is really the beginning part of the juvenile justice system. If today a young person gets in trouble– they maybe stole a candy bar at a corner store– what are the odds that that child is going home tonight while their case is adjudicated, or that they will sit in some type of locked facility as they await the progress of their case? We realized very early that that first decision of whether that young person goes home can have a huge impact on their lives for decades to come. 

So, our initiative was really about how to help juvenile justice systems and judges and communities make a better decision at that very first entry point, and overwhelmingly, those young people are not at any risk of hurting anyone in their community, and they’re actually going to be better if they are at home with their families. So, what this initiative does is really helps adults make better decisions on behalf of young people in order to keep them home.

We are so pleased that over the last 25 years, we have seen dramatic decreases in detention for young people, more than 50% from what we saw just 25 years ago. So, you know that work has expanded from: what’s that first decision point that adults have to make a decision about, to the work we’re even doing today around probation and how we can make probation a more helpful intervention for young people than just a compliance intervention.  How can they help them get on track in school and get access to jobs and mentors? Even to the deeper end of the system, if a young person is adjudicated and determined to have done something wrong, do they have to sit in locked institutions that prevent them from getting the education and rehabilitation they need?

Lisa Hamilton and Denver Frederick inside the studio

Denver: I find that to be fascinating the way you tackle that…because a lot of people who want to change the system, try to change the system. What you did is you looked at a particular niche, and that would have been the time from when you’re arrested to the time you have your first hearing.

Speak a little bit about that and how you try to identify those lever points to really change an entire system. I guess, if one domino falls, others will begin… Talk a little bit about that.

Lisa: It does. I think that is one of the most special parts of the way that Casey does its work. And first, I’ll say it’s that we choose to work with public systems because we know that public systems have such a big impact on the lives of vulnerable, young people. Many foundations choose to only work with nonprofit organizations. Casey is one of the few that really believes that strengthening the decision-making and practices of a public system can have huge implications. 

And so, the first thing I’ll say that’s special to your point is that we are partnering with public systems and not just with nonprofit organizations, but one of the important ways we do that is by finding the key decision points. If you want to change a system, you can’t boil the ocean. You’ve got to find a place to start.

Denver: That’s what we all try to do.

Lisa: That’s what we all try to do, but we try to be very thoughtful and strategic, and figure out: What’s the most important decision point we can tackle at this moment?  And how can we change not just the tools that public systems or stakeholders use to make those decisions, but often it’s about the mindset: How do you change how people think about the decision they need to make at this moment?

Denver: Can’t change behavior until you change the mindset.

Lisa: Unless you change the mindset. And so that’s been a big part of the work is to just change that mindset about you, the value of family in these young people’s lives, and the importance of keeping them out of places that aren’t safe for them, that aren’t giving them the supports they need, and that in many instances the research tells us to put them on a path to further delinquent behavior. So, we really do try to use our work to build evidence about what works.

We do it on data absolutely. That’s one of the things that is common about UPS and about The Annie E. Casey Foundation is that Jim Casey believed deeply in data. There was a quote that he had, “In God We Trust. In everything else, we measure.”

Denver: And you use evidence before you do your work as well. You base so much of it on those practices.

Lisa: We do and on data. Absolutely. That’s one of the things that is common about UPS and about The Annie E. Casey Foundation is that Jim Casey believed deeply in data. There was a quote that he had “In God We Trust. In everything else, we measure.” There has always been a really deep commitment to data and evidence at the foundation to inform our work and that’s what KIDS COUNT grows out of… and even initiatives like the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative.

Denver: Is there a thread that runs through all the different things that you do?

Lisa: I would say the common belief that we have to help young people have a brighter future, you know, that guiding force.

Denver: That’s your mantra.

Lisa: That’s our mantra. But I would say that, increasingly, our work has been more organized around young people. There are organizations that focus more on younger children or adult interventions. Casey’s work…when you think about juvenile justice, those young people who are most likely be in group homes and child welfare, which is a big issue for us, helping young people get access to jobs, graduate from high school and get their first job… or even neighborhood issues. I would say that young people are probably a common thread that you would find in Casey’s work, which is an age population that’s a little different than many of our peers. 

Denver: Yes, a little bit different and changing all the time.

We, in the media, focus so much on the income disparity between racial groups and others, but really the wealth divide is staggering. You’ve talked a little bit about that; fill us in.

Lisa: Absolutely. Well, I talked about the importance of economic stability for young people growing up, and when you look at that data disaggregated by race, it is abundantly clear that families of color have not just less income, but also fewer assets in order to stabilize their families. When you think about what helps a family be stable, it’s not just income every day, but it’s also having some safety net of resources to help you weather the storm. If you have a car that breaks down, if a child gets sick, you need some resources to help you weather that. And that’s what we often refer to as wealth. Wealth isn’t just about millionaires. Wealth is also about…

Denver: …coming up with that $400.

Lisa: The average American. And you may have even seen the studies that most Americans don’t have $400 to weather a storm. But we see that families of color are even more vulnerable and have those resources. So, when we think about how to make families more economically stable, we aren’t just thinking about workforce development and how to help people get better jobs, we’re also thinking about how to create opportunities for them to save and build that nest egg that helps them weather the storm. So, that’s where work around the racial wealth gap comes in. It’s: What can we do to help more families of color, who are disproportionately those families that can’t weather those kinds of financial storms, what can we do to help them build up some assets?  And one of the ways that Casey has recently been thinking about that is around entrepreneurship.

Denver: I know that really, a lot of people don’t think about that, but it really holds a tremendous amount of promise. Talk about some of the initiatives in that area, and particularly in the South.

Lisa: Absolutely. One thing I will say is that you know the majority of children of color, 55% of them, live in the South. So, if you’re going to try to address racial inequality, you need to go to the places where those children are, and they are actually predominantly in the South and the Southwest, and so geography is really important as a part of this. But as you note, there’s been lots of research on what kinds of strategies address the racial wealth gap, and entrepreneurship has been shown to be one of the most effective strategies in that regard.

Denver: Who knew?

Lisa: Who knew? Well, if you think about what a business does, it is an opportunity to grow an income-producing asset over time. It’s a way to accumulate resources over time, and so it is in some ways intuitive that entrepreneurship, building a business would enable families to have more stability. I’ll say that I know that from my own experience. I am the daughter of three generations of entrepreneurs, and you know everything from the family farm that helped put my grandparents through college to my father has his own law firm, and so that helped put me through college, and I grew up in the South. So, I am a prime example of the benefits of entrepreneurship. 

But what we also know is that very often entrepreneurs of color don’t have access to the resources and information that they need in order to really build their businesses. As any entrepreneur knows, you need capital in order to help grow your business, and if you don’t have access to money to help invest in your business, you’re going to be constrained in how that business can grow. But you also need technical information about what markets are best to go into, or what kind of equipment might you need to invest in, and how can you manage your human resources in the most effective ways. And so our work is really about how to provide really those two key things — How do we help provide more access to capital for entrepreneurs? And how do we provide access to the kind of technical assistance that they are going to need?

We are doing that work in two places in particular– in Baltimore and Atlanta, two places we call our hometowns because Baltimore is where the foundation is based; Atlanta is where UPS is headquartered. In both of those places, we have work going on to strengthen community development finance institutions.  So these are, you know, a particular kind of lending organization that really caters to low-income individuals or those without access to mainstream banking services. So we’re trying to strengthen these specialty banks if you will, because they are an important source of both capital and technical assistance for entrepreneurs of color, and are seeing really some important ways that that’s starting to build some momentum with the entrepreneurs in those communities.

Denver: Let’s speak a little bit about Baltimore. The foundation, I believe, started in Seattle, moved to Greenwich, and then in 1994, you came to Baltimore. What would you say the Casey’s Foundation’s relationship is with Baltimore? And did it change any after the Freddie Gray affair?

Lisa: Well, I think Baltimore is just an incredible city. It is a place with wonderful people and incredible assets. It sits right in the middle of the East Coast on the water you know, with great proximity to great business centers like D.C. and New York, amazing educational institutions there, and a vibrant arts community. The oldest arts college in the country is in Baltimore. 

So, I do want to say I think it’s a beautiful place and regret that Baltimore doesn’t always get the recognition for being such a wonderful place that it is. And so we’re really fortunate that the foundation’s first president made the decision to move us to Baltimore, and I think we have really thrived in that city and have really worked hard to be good citizens in that community. Our office is right in the middle of a beautiful historic neighborhood called Mount Vernon, and we’ve got leaders, including me, who serve on nearly every sort of civic leadership table in the city because we really believe in the promise of the city. 

Denver: You really care.

Lisa: We really care about that city, and I’ll say after the Freddie Gray incident, the foundation had been engaged in work across those three areas I talked about. We’ve been doing work around, workforce development and helping workforce programs; they’ve got hundreds of people jobs. We had been doing education work to help make sure kids had access to quality education. We’ve been deeply invested in a project in East Baltimore to revive it and bring it back to a healthy, strong community for families. But post-Freddie Gray, we really thought more about how we could help the young people in Baltimore. Freddie Gray as a person, his life experience reflected so many of the challenges young people in Baltimore face.

Denver: He’s emblematic of them.

Lisa: It really was. You know, a young person who grew up low income, who faced all kinds of barriers in his life, and so I would say post-Freddie Gray, we’ve continued to do many of the same things we did before but have really strengthened our focus on how we can help young people in Baltimore be successful, everything from investing more in summer learning opportunities for them, investing a lot more in youth leadership.  How do we elevate the voice and the vision of young people in Baltimore, who have so many ideas about ways that the city can be stronger? So, I think we’re excited about this new phase of our work and still think Baltimore is a beautiful city with lots to grow…

Denver: Young people know the answers to their challenges… certainly better than you and I. 

Lisa: They do, and that’s one thing philanthropy needs to do more of. Not just listening to young people, but also listening to those we seek to serve.

Denver: The closer you are to the problem, the closer you are to the solution.

Lisa: Absolutely. That’s one thing Bryan Stevenson always talks about being proximate to the problem, and I would say that over time, we’re doing more and more to support the leadership of not just young people, but those folks in the community who have great ideas about how their challenges can be addressed.

…and I think he heard my belief that there was more the foundation could do and how could we focus on doing the most that we could for young people, and I think he heard the deep commitment to children and families… that it was an issue; the work we do is just an issue that I’m very passionate about. So, I think that’s what he meant that I cared about data. I was never satisfied with what is, and I believe deeply in the mission.

Denver: When your predecessor, Patrick McCarthy, first had lunch with you, Lisa, he said that you sounded like a Casey person. Now, I want to know: What does a Casey person sound like? Although, I should probably know at this point of the interview.

Lisa: Well, I think what he was saying is that you know I spent a good portion of my career at UPS, and UPS and Casey had that common founder in Jim Casey, and I believe that he instilled so many of the same values in the foundation that he brought to the company. And so I think his hearing that I cared a lot about data, that measurement and metrics mattered to me. I know that I was a Casey trustee before I became a Casey employee. So, he heard me speak as a trustee; I cared lots about measurement and metrics in our work. 

Jim Casey used to have this phrase called constructive dissatisfaction which meant that there’s always a new horizon in your work; there’s always more to do; you can never become complacent, and I think he heard my belief that there was more the foundation could do and how could we focus on doing the most that we could for young people, and I think he heard the deep commitment to children and families, that it was an issue; the work we do is just an issue that I’m very passionate about. So, I think that’s what he meant that I cared about data.  I was never satisfied with what is, and I believe deeply in the mission.

Denver: And I can also hear in your voice, there is a sense of urgency.

Lisa: Absolutely.

Denver: Race for Results!

Lisa: We really need to pay attention to how our children are doing in this country because I don’t think that any ambitions we have as a country can be realized unless we’re paying attention to our children.  And every day I see us making policy decisions and investment decisions that go counter to what’s best for kids. And so I feel like it’s urgent for us to get public leaders, and nonprofit leaders and legislators, all to prioritize the interests of children. I think we will be a much better place if we put our children first.

Denver: How would you describe your leadership style?

Lisa: I would say I am probably a coach.

Denver: That’s a great leadership style.

Lisa: I am so lucky that the nearly 200 people who work at The Annie E. Casey Foundation are just brilliant innovators and about the most dedicated group of people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. So when you have a fantastic team, the most important thing you can do is just be a great coach to them and help call the plays, and help us train and prepare so that when we have to get on the field, we are the best that we can be.

Denver: Let me close with this Lisa. You’ve been the CEO of the organization only since the beginning of the year, but how would you like to build upon what the organization has already been able to achieve? What is your vision for the future of the foundation?

Lisa: My vision is really about integration and collaboration. I’ve mentioned that the foundation for many years has been focused on strengthening families, building economic opportunity and strengthening neighborhoods. We have often pursued those results as if they are separate and apart from one another.  But as I talked about the KIDS COUNT work, they are deeply intertwined, and I have an aspiration that our organization can be successful, not just in these independent areas, but that we can bring them together and think about the ways that place contributes to economic opportunity… or recognize that many of the young people who are involved in systems come from the same neighborhoods, and they are low-income.  So I think we’ve really got to do more to leverage the intersections in our work, and so I’m looking…

Denver: How do you break down those silos?

Lisa: Well, I think it’s about creating a common result. And as I said, a lot of the work that we do focuses on young people. And so I’m excited for a future at Casey where we are thinking about how we can bring all of our strategies together to help young people be successful.

Denver: Yeah, that’s great to hear you say that because I’ve spoken to a number of other CEOs of foundations who say we’re demanding this integrated, holistic approach from the community to solve problems, but we’re siloed ourselves…

Lisa: Absolutely.

You don’t win at a Rubik’s Cube just getting all the yellows lined up. You can only win in the Rubik’s Cube if you align all the different sides, and they relate to one another. You can’t solve one side without solving for the other; so I think of our work like a Rubik’s Cube, but I want us to think about how we can solve multiple problems at one time rather than just trying to solve for one color. 

Denver: So we better practice what we’re preaching and start at home.

Lisa: Well, I think often we imagine it’ll be easier to tackle an issue if we just take it on one separate piece at a time, but if you don’t appreciate the intersections of those things you’re actually not going to get the right solutions. I imagine it’s sort of like a Rubik’s Cube. You don’t win at a Rubik’s Cube just getting all the yellows lined up. You can only win in the Rubik’s Cube if you align all the different sides, and they relate to one another. You can’t solve one side without solving for the other; so I think of our work like a Rubik’s Cube, but I want us to think about how we can solve multiple problems at one time rather than just trying to solve for one color. 

Denver: That is a great metaphor.

Lisa: Well, thank you. 

Denver: Also, I think when you’re trying to solve one problem at a time, you have those unintended consequences in those other areas because you’re only focused on your area. 

Well, Lisa Hamilton, the President and CEO of The Annie E. Casey Foundation. I want to thank you so much for being here this evening. What information on your website you think would be of particular interest to some of the listeners out there?

Lisa: Our website is, Annie E. Casey Foundation’s initials, and there is a wealth of information – from information about our investment projects to a vast amount of research. You can also access the KIDS COUNT Data Center through that which has millions of data points about children in this country that we’d invite your listeners to take a look at.

Denver: Well, thank you, Lisa. It was a real pleasure to have you on the show.

Lisa: Thank you! I appreciate being here.

Denver: I’ll be back with more of The Business of Giving right after this.

Lisa Hamilton and Denver Frederick

The Business of Giving can be heard every Sunday evening between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Eastern on AM 970 The Answer in New York and on iHeartRadio. You can follow us @bizofgive on Twitter, @bizofgive on Instagram and at

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