President Obama Commutes the Sentences of Another 61 Individuals

From the White House yesterday:

Today, the President announced 61 new grants of commutation to individuals serving years in prison under outdated and unduly harsh sentencing laws. More than one-third of them were serving life sentences. To date, the President has now commuted the sentences of 248 individuals – more than the previous six Presidents combined. And, in total, he has commuted 92 life sentences.

This is the result of the President’s Clemency Initiative that has focused on commuting the sentences of individuals who meet the following criteria:

* They are currently serving a federal sentence in prison and, by operation of law, likely would have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of the same offense(s) today;

* They are non-violent, low-level offenders without significant ties to large scale criminal organizations, gangs or cartels;

* They have served at least 10 years of their prison sentence;

* They do not have a significant criminal history;

* They have demonstrated good conduct in prison; and

* They have no history of violence prior to or during their current term of imprisonment.

Presidents have the power to either pardon or commute the sentences of individuals convicted of federal crimes.

In modern times, presidential clemency usually takes one of two forms: pardons, which constitute a full forgiveness for a crime and restore civil rights like voting and gun ownership, and commutations, which shorten prison sentences and usually have conditions attached.

Some have critiqued President Obama for not issuing more pardons. Although he has granted a total of 70 so far, that is far fewer than most modern presidents. In that sense, this President has flipped the precedent set by previous administrations on these two powers. I would suggest that there are two reasons for that.

First of all, Obama was not impressed with the traditional use of presidential pardons.

The president complained that the pardon attorney’s office favored petitions from wealthy and connected people, who had good lawyers and knew how to game the system. The typical felon recommended for clemency by the pardon attorney was a hunter who wanted a pardon so that he could apply for a hunting license.

Secondly, as Neil Eggleston wrote in the White House article cited above, President Obama initiated this Clemency Initiative as a way to push for more permanent criminal justice reforms.

Despite the progress we have made, it is important to remember that clemency is nearly always a tool of last resort that can help specific individuals, but does nothing to make our criminal justice system on the whole more fair and just. Clemency of individual cases alone cannot fix decades of overly punitive sentencing policies. So while we continue to work to resolve as many clemency applications as possible – and make no mistake, we are working hard at this – only broader criminal justice reform can truly bring justice to the many thousands of people behind bars serving unduly harsh and outdated sentences.

To date, this administration has used both commutations and the retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act to address specific injustices that exist in the criminal justice system. In order to take the next step, Congress needs to act.

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Southern Education Foundation: Charters and Vouchers Increase Segregation, Decrease Opportunity for Neediest

The Southern Education Foundation has released a new report that explodes the myth that charters and vouchers increase opportunity for students of color and low-income students. Far from it. Privatization via charters and vouchers has intensified racial segregation and is reversing the Brown Decision of 1954. The disreputable concept of “separate but equal” is returning under the guise of “school choice.”

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Autumn Blanchard
ablanchard@southerneducation.org
404.991.6766

 

PRIVATE SCHOOL SEGREGATION: OLD NEWS, NEW PITCH
State-funded “separate but unequal” education billed as opportunity for underrepresented

 

MARCH 29, 2016 – The Southern Education Foundation (SEF), an advocate for equity in education, releases Race & Ethnicity in a New Era of Public Funding of Private Schools: Private School Enrollment in the South and the Nation. This report explores the phenomenon of publicly funded private school segregation occurring more than 60 years after the Brown v. Board of Education verdict declared segregated public schools unconstitutional. It closely examines racial demographics in contemporary private schools and finds that they remain segregated, with white students significantly overrepresented as compared to public school populations.

 

Currently, 19 states have programs that provide public funding to support children’s attendance in private schools. Last year alone, approximately $1 billion was diverted to private schools from state treasuries across the country, spreading thinner already limited resources. Though such state initiatives exist in each region of the nation, they are especially concentrated in the South.

 

“The prevailing message is that these voucher and neo-voucher tax credit scholarship programs offer better or more opportunities to students of color and low-income students…the data does not reflect that story,” said Dr. Kent McGuire, president of SEF. In reality, it perpetuates a trend of financially supporting private schools that as a whole remain overwhelming white – no less than 75 percent of all white students in private schools attend schools where 90 percent or more of the student body is white. As segregation persists in private schools, the demographics of public schools shift toward an increasingly diverse student body – fertile ground for the reemergence of a “separate but unequal” education system.

 

Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics from 1998 and 2012, this brief and the accompanying Southern state profiles review several indicators of racial demographics and segregation in public and private schools including: overrepresentation of white students, disproportionate white enrollment rates, virtual segregation (90% or more white student population), and virtual exclusion of students of color. All of which suggest that segregation persists in private schools across the country and especially in the South.

 

The six Deep South states, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina, which resisted the constitutional mandate for school desegregation the longest are the worst offenders in the nation by far – demonstrating that state support of private schooling does not appear to have led to greater access for students of color. These six states had a considerably higher rate of overrepresentation among white students in private schools than any other section or region in 2012. Five of the six states were at the top of the state rankings in 2012 and the sixth, Alabama, was ranked tenth.

 

 

Despite laws against segregation and in contrast to public schools, private schools with and without public funding continue to select which students they will admit. As long as the private school adopts a non-discriminatory policy and publicly declares that they do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin they are eligible to receive public funds in states with programs that allow for the shifting of funds to private institutions. However, enrollment patterns show that this measure primarily gives only lip service to a commitment to diversity. Despite these trends, black students can still often be found on promotional materials produced by private schools and scholarship organizations. This leaves the false impression that primarily students of color are served by such voucher initiatives and supports the oft-championed messaging that greater access to private institutions is available for students of color, which is often not the case.

 

The study’s findings and analysis are reminiscent of the overall patterns and conditions of attendance in private schools in the South that the authors of The Schools That Fear Built found in 1976 in the aftermath of massive resistance to desegregation: “These are schools for whites. The common thread that runs through them all, Christian, secular, or otherwise, is that they provide white ground to which blacks are admitted only on the school’s terms if at all.” This study suggests that today’s “common thread” also encompasses the exclusion of Hispanic and Native American students, as well as African American students.

 

“Because we must preserve the fundamental democratic principle that each child in this nation should have an opportunity for a good education, schools funded by tax dollars – be they private or public – should not be allowed to pick and choose only the students they wish to admit and educate. We know from this report the consequences: most unregulated private schools, left on their own in the South and the nation, have failed to admit any significant number of students of color,” said Steve Suitts, adjunct lecturer of Emory University who developed and wrote the report while serving at the Southern Education Foundation in his last year as a senior fellow. The prospect for better academic opportunity for students sounds attractive but in reality it manifests into an age-old practice that perpetuates a racial divide between children before they ever even learn their ABCs. Currently, these initiatives show no sign of slowing and in many cases are on the upswing. Now more than ever, our scarce public resources should be used to invest in public schools that operate under an obligation to serve any and all students.

 

 

About Southern Education Foundation
The Southern Education Foundation (SEF), founded in 1867, is an Atlanta-based research institution and policy advocate whose mission is to advance equity and excellence in education for all students in the South, particularly low-income students and students of color. SEF uses collaboration, advocacy, and research to improve outcomes from early childhood to adulthood. Our core belief is that education is the vehicle by which all students get fair chances to develop their talents and contribute to the common good. SEF has published a host of impactful reports including “A New Majority” & “Performance Funding at MSIs” as featured in The Washington Post and Inside Higher Ed, respectively. For more information, visit http://ift.tt/174ZKXB.

For the full report visit http://ift.tt/1SoYKyq

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Quick Takes

* I started the day by talking about the mess Republicans have created for themselves in North Carolina. Things only got worse for them as the day progressed.

80 CEOs of some of America’s most prominent businesses sent a joint letter to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, demanding repeal of the state’s new law overturning discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. Corporate leaders from Apple, Levi Strauss, Airbnb, Twitter, Yahoo, Orbitz and others say the law “sanctions discrimination.”

The letter (copied on the next page) says the new law will make it harder for the businesses to recruit and retain talented employees. “It will also diminish the state’s draw as a destination for tourism, new businesses, and economic activity,” the letter reads.

* We can add one more to the list of “outrageous things Donald Trump said.”

NEW Trump to @msnbc: “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions but he has yet to determine what that should be.

— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) March 30, 2016

That led to my favorite tweet of the day.

We’re going to need new units of measurement for this gender gap. https://t.co/PPmhROnN6O

— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) March 30, 2016

Interestingly enough, the Trump campaign issued a retraction almost immediately.

If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed — like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.

But as Amanda Marcotte explains, that’s not much of an improvement.

So instead of believing that women who get abortions are violent criminals, he has shifted to the apparently more acceptable belief that they are drooling idiots who cannot be trusted with something as simple as a medical decision regarding their own body. Why this is better continues to be a mystery.

* Just in case you think that the House Freedom Caucus hasn’t done enough damage to Congress, they’re busy cooking up a new one.

The House Freedom Caucus has already changed the direction of Congress this year, derailing — at least temporarily — a House GOP budget that conservatives argue spends too much. Now they have a new target in sight: the lame-duck session.

When the House returns from a two-week recess on April 12, a small group of members are gearing up to stop GOP leadership in both chambers, if they have their way, from holding a legislative session after the November election…

Conservative members say they are trying to stop Congress from doing anything after the November election because Congress does some of its most slapdash lawmaking once the public has voted. The group of lawmakers, anchored by the House Freedom Caucus, doesn’t want to take any chances that the Senate confirms a Supreme Court nominee or that Congress rams through the expansive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal or a big budget agreement that raises spending.

* Today the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division announced that they had reached a settlement agreement with the city of Newark and their police department.

The Justice Department announced today it has reached a comprehensive settlement with the city of Newark, New Jersey, that will bring wide-ranging reforms and changes to the Newark Police Department (NPD). The agreement, which is subject to court approval, resolves the department’s findings that NPD has engaged in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional stops, searches, arrests, use of excessive force and theft by officers in violation of the First, Fourth and 14th Amendments. The proposed consent decree also resolves the department’s findings that NPD’s law enforcement practices had a disparate impact on minorities in Newark…

“This agreement holds the potential to make Newark a national model for constitutional, effective and accountable community policing in the 21st century,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice looks forward to working closely with the city as we implement this agreement and begin to change policies, improve systems and rebuild trust between Newark police officers and the residents they serve.”

* Finally, given the level of nonsense we’re hearing from politicians and candidates these days (see: Donald Trump above), I thought this quote from President Obama might come in handy every now and then.

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Media Should Learn to Avoid Republican Leaks About the Clinton Email Story

You might remember that last summer, the New York Times had to retract major parts of a story about the so-called “Clinton email scandal” because leaks that were provided to them (most likely from Republican lawmakers) turned out to be completely false.

I guess the Washington Post didn’t get the memo on how to be careful about what you print from unreliable sources. That’s because on Sunday they published a lengthy piece by Robert O’Harrow on the roots of this “scandal.” By all accounts, it didn’t cover much new ground. But there was one line that became the focus of a lot of headlines.

One hundred forty-seven FBI agents have been deployed to run down leads, according to a lawmaker briefed by FBI Director James B. Comey.

To get a sense of how big that part of the story became, google “Clinton email 147 FBI agents” and you’ll find the myriad of stories it produced.

And yet, much like the NYT learned, it turns out that the leaker was not reliable and the Washington Post had to print this correction.

An earlier version of this article reported that 147 FBI agents had been detailed to the investigation, according to a lawmaker briefed by FBI Director James B. Comey. Two U.S. law enforcement officials have since told The Washington Post that figure is too high. The FBI will not provide an exact figure, but the officials say the number of FBI personnel involved is fewer than 50.

In case you are tempted to assume that “fewer than 50” means 49, a source told Ari Melber that “there are currently about 12 FBI agents working full-time on the case.”

I don’t think that a tin-foil hat is required in order to figure out what’s going on here. Republicans are leaking lies to the press about this story – knowing full well that the old adage is sure to hold: “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

One has to wonder how long it will take for the media to figure out they’re getting played.

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Political Consulting: Lots of Money, Very Few Results

One of the things I’ve been following in this presidential election is the fact that all of the big money spent on purchasing television ads is having almost no affect. The few journalists I’ve found who are reporting on the story have asked why campaigns continue to throw so much money down that particular rabbit hole.

Lee Drutman provides an answer to that question in his review of the book Building a Business of Politics: The Rise of Political Consulting and the Transformation of American Democracy by Adam Sheingate in the current edition of the Washington Monthly.

The business model was straightforward. Consultants produced broadcast ads, taking a markup of about 18 percent on production. Then they placed the ads, taking another 15 percent commission. They produced and sent direct mail, and conducted ongoing polling, helping candidates to better sell themselves. They helped with fund-raising. It was a business, and, as Sheingate writes, “the more polls, pieces of mail, or television advertisements a consultant provided, the more money he or she made from the campaign.”

Here’s the result:

Consultants package their candidates for television: simple themes, big on the personal biography while hitting your opponents’ character hard. Such a campaign waged primarily in high-production, short-duration television spots can never be a genuine war of ideas, or a space for experimentation and innovation.

The title of this article says it all: The “Con” in Political Consulting. Recently questions have been raised about whether the “con” goes beyond the consultants and also involves the candidates themselves (think: Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich). This is a topic that deserves much more attention and so I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read this one.

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Does Trump Want an Exit Ramp?

When it comes to a classic narcissist like Donald Trump, it’s hard to say when (or if) he’ll begin to find the process of running for president so humiliating that he’s tempted to just drop out. He clearly doesn’t care that “respectable” people are routinely calling him a racist and comparing him to some of the most notorious fascist dictators of the 20th-Century. He doesn’t seem to care that the intelligentsia and the media elite are condemning his character and his intelligence. But he’s also obsessed with his image and he’s financially dependent on his brand. His campaign has already cost him business relationships and partnerships, yet that hasn’t tamed or dissuaded him so far.

But, let’s remember what happened to H. Ross Perot, who you might recall dropped out of the race in July 1992 only to reenter it in early October:

Like Trump, Perot was allergic to spending money: he believed that paid advertising was unnecessary as long as he could get on TV as often as he wished. For a time, it worked: He got away with many slip-ups, gaffes and misdeeds because they reinforced his outsider persona. Perot was adept at using the public’s disdain of the news media to deflect criticism. Repeatedly deemed a nut-bag by the press, Perot adopted an appropriate campaign song: the Patsy Cline tune, “Crazy.”

But Perot came to despise the scrutiny brought on by all the free media he sought, and he never truly embraced retail politics to the degree needed to win. Just as Trump has drawn criticism for phoning in his cable-news appearances from his bedroom, Perot preferred to campaign from his Dallas office rather than make personal appearances. And ultimately, his skin proved too thin for the race: When he withdrew in mid-July, he gave various official explanations for the decision. But the one his advisers gave to the New York Times was telling: “[C]ampaign insiders described Mr. Perot as a man obsessed with his image who began to lose interest in the contest when faced with a barrage of critical news reports.” Even when Perot dove back into the race in the fall, he was a busted candidate: in the final five weeks, he left Dallas only for debates and a handful of rallies. After his 1992 loss, Perot’s image never really recovered, and after one more flailing presidential run in 1996, he disappeared from the public eye almost entirely.

Trump’s already getting a little squirrelly. He’s under pressure after his campaign manager was indicted yesterday for battering a Breitbart reporter, and now he’s reneging on his pledge to support the eventual nominee because he feels the RNC has treated him shabbily and he can sense that the party elite are plotting to deny him the nomination at the convention. There’s increasing talk that he could cost the Republicans control of the House of Representatives as well as the Senate.

Due to sore loser laws in many states that will prevent Trump from running as an independent after failing to secure the Republican nomination, he cannot run a successful third party candidacy. But he could get on the ballot in some red states, split the vote, and hand Electoral College delegates to Clinton or Sanders. I can see him doing that out of spite.

If he does secure the nomination, I could even see him losing interest like Perot did briefly if he thinks he’s just getting abused, his image is being irreparably harmed, and that he’ll go down in history as a major loser.

He’s very unpredictable. He seems to be getting enough validation at the moment to make all the hits he’s taking seem worthwhile, but this doesn’t seem to make much sense from a business or branding perspective, and he surely knows that history is written by the same intellectuals who increasingly despise him with the heat of a thousand suns.

And reading what the former Communications Director of the Make America Great Again Super PAC, Stephanie Cegielski, had to say yesterday, it seems like Trump may be like the dog who actually caught the car.

Almost a year ago, recruited for my public relations and public policy expertise, I sat in Trump Tower being told that the goal was to get The Donald to poll in double digits and come in second in delegate count. That was it.

The Trump camp would have been satisfied to see him polling at 12% and taking second place to a candidate who might hold 50%. His candidacy was a protest candidacy…

…I don’t think even Trump thought he would get this far. And I don’t even know that he wanted to, which is perhaps the scariest prospect of all.

He certainly was never prepared or equipped to go all the way to the White House, but his ego has now taken over the driver’s seat, and nothing else matters…

…What was once Trump’s desire to rank second place to send a message to America and to increase his power as a businessman has nightmarishly morphed into a charade that is poised to do irreparable damage to this country if we do not stop this campaign in its tracks.

I’ll say it again: Trump never intended to be the candidate. But his pride is too out of control to stop him now.

You can give Trump the biggest gift possible if you are a Trump supporter: stop supporting him.

He doesn’t want the White House. He just wants to be able to say that he could have run the White House. He’s achieved that already and then some. If there is any question, take it from someone who was recruited to help the candidate succeed, and initially very much wanted him to do so.

I don’t know if Ms. Cegielski is correct about what Trump originally intended or if it even matters anymore what he set out to do in the beginning. But, maybe she’s right and he’s looking for an offramp. Maybe winning the nomination and then losing to Clinton or Sanders would be his worst nightmare.

Who can say what goes on in his mind?

All I know is that this won’t end well for him and he’s got to know that.

So, does he pull the plug before Cleveland? Does he flake out after Cleveland?

Or is he in it all the way to the end?

And, if so, what terrifies him more?

The humiliation of losing?

Or the responsibility of winning?

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80+ Cities Are Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, One Cup of Coffee at a Time

[This post is part of the Successes of Philanthropy series, a sponsored project of the Washington Monthly. Learn more here.]

In more than 80 communities across the country, founders of early-stage startup companies gather each Wednesday morning to meet each other, swap notes and share ideas. At each of these events, sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s 1 Million Cups initiative, one or two of these entrepreneurs present their companies to peers, mentors, educators and advisors. Each six-minute presentation is followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer session with the audience.

In places like Fargo, North Dakota, organizers credit these weekly events as their “town hall” for the community’s entrepreneurs. “It fuels our community’s weekly rhythm,” says Fargo, North Dakota, 1 Million Cups organizer Greg Tehven.

In Fargo, one company that got a boost from 1 Million Cups was Botlink, which develops software for flying drones. After its four founders launched the company with very limited resources, Botlink caught the attention of several local angel investors at a November 2014 presentation with Fargo’s 1 Million Cups. The investors infused $500,000 into the fledgling company, which was then able to hire seven developers and increase its customer base. Five months later, the expanding firm raised an additional $5 million. Botlink now has 17 employees, has dramatically increased its capabilities and has been featured in both Fortune and The New York Times. Its founders credit 1 Million Cups for jumpstarting their success.

Research makes it clear that startup companies drive job and economic growth in America. In fact, young companies provide virtually all of the net new job growth in the United States. Recognizing this, policymakers and local leaders across the country have long sought ways to accelerate entrepreneurship. Yet, government-driven strategies that rely on public seed funding or on traditional incubators have often proved ineffective.

1 Million Cups, however, relies on a different strategy, based on long-running research by the Kauffman Foundation on how to foster entrepreneurial success nationwide. Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Kauffman has extensively researched entrepreneurial companies’ impact on the U.S. economy’s long-term health. The Foundation supports research that informs policymakers, sponsors education programs for entrepreneurs and provides grants and partnerships targeting metro areas seeking to strengthen their entrepreneurial communities. 1 Million Cups was born from Kauffman’s work indicating that startup companies do best when founders can engage in local entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Kauffman launched 1 Million Cups in 2012, inspired by an article authored by Technori founder Seth Kravitz. A startup community “doesn’t come from cramming 50 startups into a space together or bringing in a major keynote or having a billion dollars in investment,” Kravitz wrote. “A true community is built upon a million cups of coffee …. A million meaningful interactions between people in which all sides walk away feeling they were heard, learned something, and built a meaningful bridge.”

Each 1 Million Cups event helps to foster those interactions and build those bridges.

Before making their presentations, the entrepreneurs who speak at each 1 Million Cups event incorporate lessons from the Kauffman Founders School “Powerful Presentations” series, featuring a seasoned presentation coach. Afterward, the presenter engages in a 20-minute question and answer session with the audience. Finally, each founder receives feedback via an audience survey and from its city’s local organizers.

The presentation process gives entrepreneurs a chance to discover challenges and opportunities in their business models and to hone their speaking skills. The feedback the presenters receive gives them perspectives they wouldn’t otherwise find in a single setting, and they take away new connections and insights for improving their businesses.

1 Million Cups’ impact cannot be measured by traditional methods, but its remarkable growth – driven almost entirely by word of mouth – demonstrates its relevance and impact in cities nationwide.

By the end of 2012, after eight months of operation, 1 Million Cups had already kicked off in a second city. By the end of 2013, the initiative had spread to 23 cities, and then to 66 cities in 2014. Each week, some 3,000 people in 37 states and one U.S. territory attend 1 Million Cups events. In 2015 alone, more than 2,250 founders shared their companies’ stories. It’s taken only three short years for 1 Million Cups to reach the more than 80 communities we have today, from Anchorage to Atlanta.

The program’s website also continues to receive three to six applications from cities weekly, reflecting entrepreneurs’ hunger to leverage the environment 1 Million Cups creates as they tackle the complex task of starting a company. Many civic leaders now view having a 1 Million Cups program in their area as a key component of building an entrepreneur-friendly city.

“The thing I find most compelling about 1 Million Cups is the simplicity of the model in this ‘ever-on, ever-connected’ era,” says Greg Hilton, the organizer of 1 Million Cups in Columbia, South Carolina. “It truly is like a welcome mat for your startup community. You don’t need to know a soul to get plugged in, get connected and access talent and resources. You just show up.”

In his book, Startup Communities, serial entrepreneur-turned-venture-capitalist Brad Feld says the most effective entrepreneurial programs are run by local entrepreneurs, who best understand the needs of startup founders in their own communities. The success of 1 Million Cups validates Feld’s theory. Rather than franchising or hiring staff to run 1 Million Cups events, the initiative is community-centric.

Local volunteer organizers, now 400 strong, run their events following the program’s original framework. 1 Million Cups costs communities nothing. Organizers find a venue willing to provide meeting space and a sponsor who covers the cost of coffee. The Kauffman Foundation provides local organizers support through emails, phone calls, site visits and summits.

The best examples of 1 Million Cups’ impact are the experiences of the entrepreneurs who participate.

Casey D. Sibley, whose startup designs and markets original fabric accessories, credits 1 Million Cups events in her city of Reno, Nevada, with helping her focus on the business side of her operation.

“1 Million Cups definitely helped me to start taking my business more seriously. While preparing for my presentation, I actually looked at my revenue for the first time,” she says. “Now, I am making big plans for my business and tracking everything, from business finances, to the types of customers buying from me.”

Dana Bruce, founder of In a Pickle, a mobile app for finding last-minute childcare, calls 1 Million Cups an “empowering platform” for her venture. “The feedback I received not only helped point me in my next direction of development but also opened doors to potential partners,” she says.

As 1 Million Cups evolves, it serves as a laboratory of sorts that teaches lessons about the value of local entrepreneurial ecosystems. “When we presented in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, it felt as though everyone in the community had our back and wanted to help us succeed,” says Matthew Rooda, founder of SwineTech, a startup that has developed a low-cost way to improve pork production yields.

But the biggest lesson from 1 Million Cups might be this – that doing more of what works is the secret to growing entrepreneurship in America.

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