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Look Ahead

Who to Watch in Higher Education, Evidence-Based Policy, and Contraceptive Choice and Access in 2023

Our stellar grantees are working at the heart of their fields to maximize opportunity and minimize injustice.

Working to form evidence-based solutions to drive bipartisan policy change is no small feat, and our network of grantees shows us time and again they are in it for the long haul. 

Whether they are protecting students from fraudulent institutions, designing poverty reduction programs backed by research, or advocating for incremental change to help people access birth control, our grantees are committed to the goal of maximizing opportunity and minimizing injustice. Here are a few grantees from our Programs portfolios who are working at the state and federal levels to correct and prevent systemic policy failures that result in economic inequality and government inefficiency. 

Higher Education: The National Student Legal Defense Network (Student Defense)

Student Defense

Over the past six years Student Defense has been involved in several David-and-Goliath cases in defense of students with regards to education quality, debt, and consumer protection. They’ve targeted a coding boot camp that misrepresented its job placement. They’ve helped thousands of students who ended up with worthless degrees from predatory schools. And this year, they continue their case against Walden University, accusing the school of targeting Black women and violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA). The case should be moving forward now that the judge has denied the motion to dismiss. Read more about it here.

Evidence-Based Policy: The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J‑PAL


J‑PAL is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. In particular, the J‑PAL State and Local Innovation Initiative supports U.S. state and local leaders in using randomized evaluations to generate new and widely applicable lessons about which programs work, which work best, and why. Under this initiative, state and local governments partner with researchers from J‑PAL’s network to design high-quality randomized evaluations and receive funding and research support to implement them. J‑PAL North America incorporates equity into its technical assistance, research capacity, and funding, while also producing resources for the broader research community. 

Contraceptive Choice and Access: Illinois Contraceptive Access Now (ICAN)


ICAN is a state-wide organization dedicated to improving the quality and coverage of contraceptive care at community health centers. It believes that people should have the ability to decide if and when they would like to have a family. ICAN is capitalizing on a strong year of advocacy. In 2022, it helped pass legislation to expand Medicaid for family planning via a state plan amendment (SPA), and it helped work to pass pharmacist-prescribed birth control. In 2023, the organization will partner with state agencies to implement the new legislation on the ground.