Advocacy Book Recommendation :: How Children Succeed by Paul Tough

At first I was intrigued by a writer who has contributed articles on education, child development and poverty and then went on to write a book – How Children Succeed.  I believe there are many steps that can be taken to help our children align themselves to success, but Paul Tough argues that character, perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control are the qualities that matter most in the measurement of achieving success. I personally believe these character skills can be nurtured early on and throughout a child’s life.

By page 20 of Paul Tough’s book I realized that the JLM’s Backpack Buddies program’s first benefit is providing nutrition over the weekend. Then I realized by providing this food, we are alleviating a poverty associated stress which is a hindrance of success. This continued aid may lead to hope and optimism with our backpack buddies.

I encourage you to read How to Succeed to see what ideas, notions and possible JLM projects can be envisioned for the future of our community. In addition, here is an article from The Economist on the book.

Post contributed by Renee Evanstad.

The Economic Impact Of Closing The Achievement Gap

The Junior League of Minneapolis’ (JLM) strives to focus its community volunteer and advocacy efforts on the achievement gap in Minneapolis. However, it is often difficult to envision the potential impact of our local community projects if they were applied throughout the United States. A recent study by the Center of American Progress attempts to quantify the economic impacts of closing the achievement gap to the US economy.

Some highlights from the study include:

  • If the United States were able to close the educational achievement gaps between native-born white children and black and Hispanic children, the U.S. economy would be 5.8 percent—or nearly $2.3 trillion—larger in 2050
  • The cumulative increase in GDP from 2014 to 2050 would amount to $20.4 trillion, or an average of $551 billion per year
  • From 2014 to 2050, federal revenues would increase by $4.1 trillion, or an average of $110 billion per year. State and local government revenues would increase by another $3.3 trillion, or $88 billion annually
  • Closing racial and ethnic educational achievement gaps would lift Social Security tax contributions by $877 billion by 2050. Similarly, Medicare tax revenues for the Hospital Insurance Fund would increase by $265 billion from 2014 to 2050

This data further illustrates how critical closing the achievement gap is to society and our economy. The Junior League of Minneapolis’ programs are developed to address various aspects of the achievement gap locally and play an important role in our nation’s future.

The full study can be found here: