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December 19, 2014 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Friday roundup – Dec. 15 through Dec. 19, 2014


THIS WEEK AT WRAG
Happy holidays! The Daily WRAG will go on a brief hiatus starting Monday, December 23, 2014 and returning Monday, January 5, 2015. Take a look at WRAG’s 2014 Year-in-Review!

THIS WEEK IN HOMELESSNESS
Yesterday, the D.C. Court of Appeals upheld the right to private shelter for homeless families. The unanticipated spike in homelessness last winter led many families to be housed in rec centers with little or no privacy despite a law that families must be in private rooms. (WCP, 12/18)

The decision comes as the city faces yet another shelter crunch this winter. The District has already sheltered around 60 families in motels for lack of space in proper shelters this winter, and anticipates a 16 percent increase in the number of homeless families requiring shelter over last winter.

THIS WEEK IN THE ARTS
– There was good news and bad news. The good news: The entity aiming to create an arts exhibition hall and venue in the former trolley space under Dupont Circle signed a lease for the space. (WCP, 12/16) The bad news: Arlington County’s Artisphere arts center may close by mid 2015. (WBJ, 12/17)

THIS WEEK IN AGING/PHILANTHROPY
Opinion: Foundations Can Help Transform How We Care for Aging Americans (Chronicle, 12/17)

THIS WEEK IN EDUCATION 
– A study found that state education funding declines were three times greater in the poorest school divisions than in the wealthiest school divisions in Virginia. (WaPo, 12/12)


Could you beat Salvador Dali in the most intense staring contest experience imaginable?

- Ciara

December 18, 2014 / Ciara Myers, Editor

The heavy burden of unaffordable childcare costs

YOUTH
Just how burdensome are childcare costs across the country? According to a new study from Child Care Aware of America, center-based infant childcare costs vary widely from state-to-state for both married and single parents (CityLab, 12/16):

The average cost of daycare for an infant would cost a median-income, single mom in D.C. 83 percent of her salary, while in South Dakota it would cost her less than 25 percent of her annual salary, the study found.

[…]

So what exactly is behind the difference in costliness? There are lots of variables: Wages and cost of living are of course part of the equation. […] But the reasons behind the discrepancies offer little consolation to low-income families who have a difficult time scraping together funds for childcare, or who wind up leaving their children in less-than-optimal arrangements in order to go to work.

DISTRICT
– DC Vote, DC Working Families, National Institute for Civil Discourse, and the Urban Institute have teamed up to embark on a civic engagement effort known as Talking Transition DC. The effort seeks to gather thousands of Washingtonians’ opinions through an online survey on the future of the city as a new mayoral administration prepares to take office.

- Ahead of his January 2nd exit from office, Mayor Vincent Gray delivered his farewell speech, proclaiming the District as “stronger today than in any moment in our history.” You can read Gray’s farewell address in its entirety here. (WAMU, 12/17)

COMMUNITYWashington Area Women’s Foundation has announced grants totaling $630,000 to 20 nonprofits whose programs focus on improving the economic security of low-income women and girls in the region. The grants will impact the lives of more than 3,500 women and girls, helping women to increase their collective incomes and assets by nearly $3 million in 2015. (WAWF, 12/18)

HEALTH | Booz Allen Hamilton teamed up with Ipsos Public Affairs to launch a first-of-its kind longitudinal study comparing consumer and provider perspectives on health care in the U.S. The full study can be found here. (Booz Allen, 12/17)

ARTS | After four years in operation, officials are contemplating a recommendation to close Arlington County’s Artisphere arts center. The struggling center could possibly see its doors closed by mid 2015. (WBJ, 12/17)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | Affordable housing developer pitches market-rate in Alexandria (WBJ, 12/17)


The next time you find yourself in a silent war for the armrest on a flight, wave the white flag by folding this thing up. Problem solved.

- Ciara

 

December 17, 2014 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Who pays the lowest taxes in the region?

REGION
The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute has information on a new report from DC’s Chief Financial Officer regarding how much residents in the region pay in taxes. According to the report, D.C. residents pay much less than residents in every nearby county, but that may not be the best thing. (DCFPI, 12/17)

The taxes paid by DC residents generally are lower than in both Maryland and Virginia, often by thousands of dollars. And this is true for a wide spectrum of residents, according to a new report from DC’s Chief Financial Officer. Whether you are a moderate-income renter or a middle-income homeowner, taxes in the District are now lower than in every nearby county.

[…]

Having the lowest household taxes in the region may seem like a great thing. But it’s important to keep in mind that lower taxes also means less revenue that could be going to schools, health care or public safety. And a great deal of research confirms that people generally do not choose where to live based on taxes. Instead, location decisions tend to focus on factors such as jobs, schools, proximity to family, and climate.

- Maryland’s rural economy depends on its urban and suburban areas (GGW, 12/16)

HIV/AIDS | Following yesterday’s release of DC Appleseed’s ninth annual report card on HIV/AIDS in the Nation’s Capital, Channing Wickham, executive director of the Washington AIDS Partnership, which has supported the report since 2004, had this to say:

The Washington AIDS Partnership is proud of how far the District of Columbia has come in it’s efforts to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Yesterday, DC Appleseed Center released its 9th Report Card highlighting the District’s progress and areas where improvement is still needed, as a part of a Washington AIDS Partnership-initiated project.  Areas of concern are HIV/AIDS education in the District’s schools, especially charter schools, and stable housing for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS.  In 2015, the Washington AIDS Partnership and DC Appleseed Center will take the Report Card to the next level by working together with the D.C. government and the community to develop a plan to end HIV/AIDS in the nation’s capitol. We hope to work closely with the Bowser administration and our community partners in developing this plan.

COMMUNITY
– The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia‘s (CFNOVA)  Business Women’s Giving Circle has awarded $40,000 to three organizations supporting STEM education and entrepreneurship programming for girls through their inaugural grant cycle. Find out more about the winning organizations here. The Future Fund at CFNOVA has also announced $40,000 in grants to two mental health services organizations. You can find out more about those awards here. (CFNOVA,12/15 and 12/17)

- Save the Date! The 2015 Collective Impact Forum Funders Convening will take place May 4-6, 2015 in New Orleans, LA. The year’s themes will include equity, leadership, effectiveness, and community engagement and inclusion. To find out more and to register, click here.

Related: Last year, Jeff Edmonson of the Strive Partnership spoke to philanthropic and nonprofit leaders at a Brightest Minds event and shared his insights on the power of collective impact and some of the challenges that follow. (Daily, 4/23)

HOMELESSNESS | D.C. Begins Housing Families in Overflow Hotel as Exits Slow (DCist, 12/16)


Residents in the region Googled some strange things this year

- Ciara 

December 16, 2014 / Rebekah Seder

Report card shows progress – and room for improvement – in fight against HIV in D.C.

HIV/AIDS | D.C. Appleseed today released its ninth annual report card grading the District government on a number of issues related to the effort to end HIV in the city. The report card notes progress on some areas (including leadership, grants management, HIV surveillance, and monitoring and evaluation) and indicates where more work is necessary, particularly around education and housing. (D.C. Appleseed, 12/16)

The annual report card has been supported by the Washington AIDS Partnership since 2004. Look for more coverage of the report in the Daily tomorrow.

ARTS
– The entity aiming to create an arts exhibition hall and venue in the former trolley space under Dupont Circle has signed a lease for the space. (CP, 12/16)

- Why the Demise of the Field Trip is Bad News (Atlantic, 12/9)

DISTRICT |Bowser Appoints New Senior Officials For Education, Human Services (WAMU, 12/15)

EDUCATION
– Loudoun County officials are considering paying for playgrounds at elementary schools, rather than relying on private donations to build them. (WaPo, 12/15)

- As Lottery Opens, Bowser Remains Mum On Tweaks To New School Boundaries (WAMU, 12/15)

BUDGETS | Maryland budget shortfall grows to $1.2 billion (WTOP, 12/16)

REGION | DC2024 Olympic bid to present its case to USOC board of directors (WaPo, 12/16) The decision about which U.S. city (or in our case, region) will move forward could be made today.


And the 2014 word of the year is….

- Rebekah

December 15, 2014 / Ciara Myers, Editor

EDUCATION
The District is looking for more flexibility in the ways students are able to earn high school credit and graduate. Officials hope that less stringent policies, including moving away from “seat time” in a classroom, will improve graduation rates in 2015. (WaPo, 12/14)

The proposed regulations by the Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE) would remove the standard “Carnegie unit” — 120 hours of instruction, representing an hour a day, five days a week, for 24 weeks — upon which high school credit is based.

Instead, starting next school year, students would have multiple ways to earn credit, including passing a state-approved test or participating in a “course equivalent,” such as an internship, community-service project, portfolio or performance that can be tied to the academic standards. Another proposal would create a “state diploma” that would go to students who pass the GED any time after January 2014.

- A new study of school divisions in Virginia reveals that state education funding declines were three times greater in the poorest school divisions than in the wealthiest school divisions. (WaPo, 12/12)

EQUALITY
– A new analysis from the Pew Research Center shows how wide wealth inequities have become between white and minority households as a result of the recession. (CityLab, 12/12)

- How The Gender Pay Gap Has Changed (And How It Hasn’t) (NPR, 12/15)

DISTRICT
– A number of longtime residents of the H Street corridor gathered at a recent community meeting to voice concerns that racial profiling has risen in the area since redevelopment has taken place and newcomers have moved in. (HillNow, 12/12)

- For E.L. Haynes Seniors, Gentrification Is Part Of The Curriculum (DCist, 12/12)


And now, the ugly holiday sweaters we love to wear so much.

- Ciara

December 12, 2014 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Friday roundup – Dec. 8 through Dec. 12, 2014

THIS WEEK IN THE WRAG COMMUNITY
Congratulations to Nicky Goren, president and CEO at the Meyer Foundation, for being named one of Washington Business Journal’s Most Admired CEOs in the CEO of the Year Awards!

Nicky Goren is one of those quiet leaders, the kind who doesn’t burst upon the scene but who gradually, and powerfully, makes her presence felt as she effects change. She did that during her tenure at the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, where she led the philanthropic group’s growth and efforts since 2010. But 2014 saw the beginning of a new chapter as she rose to the top of hundreds of other applicants and assumed the role of president and CEO of the Meyer Foundation, one of the region’s largest and most philanthropic foundations. Goren succeeds longtime regional leader Julie Rogers, who retired after 28 years at the helm. Goren’s new challenge is a vital one to our region, given Meyer’s importance to both the nonprofit sector and the community as a whole.

Kim Horn, of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid Atlantic States, Inc. is also a recipient of the big honor!

The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, Raise DC’s Youth Employment Change Network, and the DC Workforce Investment Council are undertaking a survey of local funders to begin to map investments in youth workforce development programming. The completed map will then illustrate the fullest possible scope of the local youth workforce development system, mapping providers, funding levels, types of services offered, and the overall number of youth served through these programs. Funders of youth services in the District can find more information and access the survey.

- WRAG’s Tamara Copeland, Celeste James of Kaiser Permanente, and Leanne Posko of Capital One appeared on NBC4’s Viewpoint and discussed the impact of philanthropy in our region, funders’ priorities and practices, and some of the other findings detailed in the 2014 edition of Our Region, Our Giving. You can view the full Viewpoint episode here.

THIS WEEK IN THE ARTS
– The holidays lend themselves to great displays of public art across the region. A number of eye-catching exhibits are currently up, including one by the Floating Lab Collective at Washington Harbour, that uses a number of tiny houses to make up a 10-foot tall tree and serves as a “sculptural reflection of the housing crisis.” (WaPo, 12/11)

THIS WEEK IN EDUCATION
– Montgomery County Schools and the county council prepared to spar over school budget spending. The debates over spending are expecting to continue at least until next spring. (WAMU, 12/9)

THIS WEEK IN THE REGION
Arlingtonians grapple with costs, revenue in annual budget hearing (WaPo, 12/10)

THIS WEEK IN CSR 
– A Fast Company op-ed writer helps us understand why corporate social responsibility should be more than just a fad – and can be if CSR is baked into management practices through “positive business” principles. (FC, 12/8)

- 4 ways to boost employee volunteerism (WBJ, 12/11)


Each new year seems to bring about new buzzwords that permeate the foundation and nonprofit world and spread like wildfire. Here’s a list of buzzwords you may be hearing a lot in 2015.

- Ciara

December 11, 2014 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Navigating rent control laws in the District

AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Washington City Paper examines how a number of landlords in the District have been able to find their way around rent control laws and the effects it can have on residents. (WCP, 12/11)

[…] in the District, where affordable housing is vanishing in each successive neighborhood deemed up-and-coming, rent control is one of the few reliable ways to protect residents from prohibitive housing costs. Housing is generally considered affordable if it costs no more than 30 percent of a household’s income. According to a study this year from the Urban Institute, more than half of D.C.’s renter households put more than 30 percent of their income toward rent, and 28 percent pay more than half their income. Meanwhile, the 2007 inclusionary zoning law, which requires residential developers to include low- and moderate-income units in new buildings, produced just 30 such units through 2013. Rent control is the city’s strongest tool for preserving affordable housing without spending a cent. And for many renters who rely on it, it’s under assault.

COMMUNITY | Congratulations! Yesterday, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) presented its 2014 Regional Partnership Award to the Summit Fund of Washington. The award is given annually to an individual or organization that has done the most to support and advance COG’s work program. Recent winners of the honor include the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region and WRAG.

PHILANTHROPY | The annual industry forecast, Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2015, is now available.The guide offers an overview of philanthropy’s current landscape, points to major trends, and directs your attention to horizons where you can expect some important breakthroughs in the coming year. Get it here. (GrantCraft, 12/9)

YOUTH/DISTRICT | A new report, “Improving Youth Programs and Outcomes in Washington, DC,” argues that the poor educational and employment outcomes among many D.C. youth programs demand a serious and sustained response by the city, funders, educators, nonprofits and employers. You can check out the full report along with recommendations for improvement by Brookings Fellow Martha Ross and education and workforce strategist Mala Thakur here. (Brookings, 12/10)

ARTS | Last month, the Local Music Task Force, a newly established coalition of diverse individuals in the creative community, gathered during a Future of Music Policy Summit and outlined six key areas where public sector engagement with the music communities can help push increased economic growth in the District. (DCist, 12/10)

EDUCATION
– After a recent report drew attention to the disproportionate ethnic and racial ratio of teachers to students in Montgomery County schools, officials have announced a new initiative aimed at increasing teacher diversity. (WaPo, 12/10)

- Education advocates help draft new D.C. mayor’s to-do list (WaPo, 12/10)

HEALTH | Maryland rushes to reenroll residents in subsidized health insurance plans (WaPo, 12/10)


Informal poll – How many people own, or have owned, this coffee table? I’ll admit it…I do!

- Ciara 

December 10, 2014 / Ciara Myers, Editor

A six-month update on Helping Families Home

HOMELESSNESS 
Earlier this year, 25 organizations (including eight grantees of the Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation) gathered to release Helping Families Home: A Roadmap for the District – a community plan outlining their recommendations on what D.C. should immediately do to get to a high-quality homeless services system. Now, the DC Fiscal Policy Institute has a six-month update on the District’s progress, including a full report and report card summary. (DCFPI, 12/9)

There has been progress in some important areas: a new homelessness prevention program is set to be launched this winter, there are new investments in affordable housing for families, and the District is securing additional shelter capacity for this winter. The District has released a plan for a new system of smaller shelters to replace the DC General Family Shelter, but it is not clear if this plan will yield enough shelter capacity to meet the need.

Yet there has been a tremendous lack of progress in several key areas. Many of the problems with DC’s Rapid Re-housing program – the main tool for getting families out of shelter – have not been addressed. Little progress has been made to meet the unique needs of youth-headed households, which make up nearly half of all families seeking shelter. The DC General Family Shelter has received only some of the improved case management and services it needs. Also, the District is planning to fill the gap in the homeless services budget by using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding, and it is not clear whether this will lead to cuts in other vital programs. Finally, DC has made little progress towards the goal of providing access to shelter year-round.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING/DISTRICT
– A plan by a developer to put a luxury hotel, condos, and retail in Mount Vernon Triangle, along with an affordable housing component in Anacostia, has left many residents east-of-the-river underwhelmed. In an area with an abundance of low-income housing, residents question why the location of the projects cannot be reversed. (WCP, 12/10)

- A new report from the Washington DC Economic Partnership – with support from Capital One Bank, Pepco, and Washington Gas - says that District developers will add 12,000 new residential units in next three years. (DCist, 12/9)

ARTS | On their blog, Americans for the Arts considers how starting the conversation about diversity in the arts isn’t always easy, but it must be done. This is part of a series of updates on their ongoing Greater DC Diversity Pilot Initiative (supported in part by the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation). (Artsblog, 12/9)

EDUCATIONA Battle Expected Over School Spending in Montgomery County (WAMU, 12/9)

TRANSIT | With transit costs taking up nearly a quarter of low-income commuters’ income, why are bike-share, car-share, and ride-share services that promise to save people money mostly used by those who earn more than the median wage? (GGW, 12/9)


Here’s just one way to keep thieves from stealing packages off your doorstep.

- Ciara

December 9, 2014 / Rebekah Seder

ICYMI: Local philanthropy featured on NBC4’s “Viewpoint”

COMMUNITY | In case you missed it, late last month the Greater Washington region’s philanthropic community was highlighted on an edition of NBC4’s Viewpoint. WRAG’s Tamara Copeland, Celeste James of Kaiser Permanente, and Leanne Posko of Capital One discussed the impact of philanthropy in our region, funders’ priorities and practices, and some of the other findings detailed in the 2014 edition of Our Region, Our Giving. You can view the full Viewpoint episode here.

DISTRICT | Bowser to appoint Alexandria’s Rashad Young to D.C. city administrator post (WBJ, 12/9)

PHILANTHROPY
– There is a “renewed sense of urgency and optimism about place-based initiatives,” thanks in part to the increase in poverty over the last decade, and new research and insights into how best to increase opportunities for people living in impoverished areas. (SSIR, 12/4)

- Collective impact initiatives aimed at addressing entrenched social problems are underway in cities throughout the country, but whether or not the data-driven approach is showing results is yet to be determined. (Chronicle, 12/8, subscription required)

CSR | A Fast Company op-ed writer explains why corporate social responsibility should be more than just a fad – and can be if CSR is baked into management practices through “positive business” principles. (FC, 12/8)

Related: The Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility, WRAG’s partnership with Johns Hopkins University that allows CSR professionals to earn a professional certificate in less than one year, is still accepting applications for the 2015 class. More info here.

EQUITY | The Nonprofit Quarterly suggests that the “nonprofit sector has a Ferguson problem,” reflected in the racial disparities in staff and board leadership. (NPQ, 12/5)

EDUCATION | Holder, Duncan outline educational rights for juvenile offenders (WaPo, 12/8)

TRANSIT | It’s looking increasingly unlikely that the streetcar along H Street NE in D.C. will start carrying passengers in 2014. (WAMU, 12/8)


Would you be willing to take a one-way trip to Mars? Me neither.

- Rebekah

December 8, 2014 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Arlington County looks to address overcrowding in schools

EDUCATION
As Arlington County projects a hefty increase in middle school students by 2019, officials debate over the right way to address overcrowding in the ever-expanding school system. (WaPo, 12/7)

Arlington County will have 1,300 more middle school students by 2019 than it has today and — if nothing is done — not enough classrooms to put them in, according to county school officials.

Like many Northern Virginia school systems, Arlington’s student population is growing rapidly. This year, enrollment increased an unprecedented 5.2 percent, exceeding the district’s projections by 300 students. Two of the high-performing system’s middle schools are over capacity.

HOMELESSNESS
– Having a criminal record, even a misdemeanor charge, can prohibit individuals from being eligible for a number of much-needed services. For some, not having a chance at affordable housing can mean living on the streets due to a minor offense. (WAMU, 12/6)

Opinion: Is the District’s Homeless System Ready for Winter? (HillRag, 12/6)

COMMUNITYThe Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, Raise DC’s Youth Employment Change Network, and the DC Workforce Investment Council are undertaking a survey of local funders to begin to map investments in youth workforce development programming. The completed map will then illustrate the fullest possible scope of the local youth workforce development system, mapping providers, funding levels, types of services offered, and the overall number of youth served through these programs. Funders of youth services in the District can find more information and access the survey.

WORKFORCE | 2014: The Year When the Job Market Finally Turned the Corner (NPR, 12/5)


Traveling during the holiday season and on an empty stomach? It turns out that the region’s airports have some of the healthiest dining options available.

- Ciara

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