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November 24, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

College enrollment rates fall for low-income students

The Daily WRAG will return on Monday, November 30. Happy Thanksgiving.

A new analysis of Census Bureau data finds that low-income high school graduates were less likely to enroll in higher education in 2013 than they were in 2008. The report’s authors call the trend particularly troubling due to the fact that more than half of K-12 public school students come from low-income families. (WaPo, 11/24)

According to an annual Census Bureau survey, overall college enrollment rates dropped three percentage points between 2008 and 2013, from 69 percent to 66 percent.

But college enrollment among the poorest high school graduates — defined as those from the bottom 20 percent of family incomes — dropped 10 percentage points during the same time period, the largest sustained drop in four decades, according to the analysis. In 2013, just 46 percent of low-income high school graduates enrolled in two-year and four-year institutions, according to the data.

– The Missing Black Students at Elite American Universities (Atlantic, 11/23)

COMMUNITY/MARYLAND | Maryland will partner with IBM on their Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-Tech) education model that blends high school, college, and work experience to provide students with an experience that will prepare them for high-tech jobs. Two of the four schools slated for Maryland will open in Baltimore. (WaPo, 11/23)

– The National Center for Family Philanthropy has released the results of a survey conducted with the Urban Institute on trends among family foundations. The report uses survey results of a representative sample of 2,500 family foundations. (NCFP, 11/23)

Giving to Food Causes is Increasingly Popular – and More Complicated (Chronicle, 11/18) – Subscription required

– When an American street is renamed in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is it a sign of progress or a mockery of the Civil Rights Movement? Some activists are working to change the common perception of these thoroughfares. (City Lab, 11/23)

– In this interview, 2015 Nobel Prize Winner for economics Angus Deaton shares some of his ideas on income inequality and discusses findings from his recently-published study on mortality rates for non-Hispanic, middle-aged white Americans. (WSJ, 11/23)

DISTRICT/HOUSING | A new mixed-use development combining affordable housing units, health care, and job training is coming to D.C.’s ward 7 and is the first of its kind in the city. (WaPo, 11/24)

CHILDREN/WORKFORCE | The group of moms who struggle especially hard with daycare (WaPo, 11/24)

When it comes to fresh produce, it doesn’t have to be pretty to taste good.

– Ciara 


November 23, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Big announcements from WRAG’s 2015 Annual Meeting

Last week, WRAG held our 2015 Annual Meeting, Philanthropy All In, at the National Press Club. We made several big announcements during the event.


  • WRAG Board of Directors
    The following leaders were elected for a two-year term on the WRAG Board of Directors:

David Bowers, Enterprise Community Partners
Rose Ann Cleveland, The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
Nicky Goren, The Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

The following Board  Members were re-elected for a second two-year term on the WRAG Board of Directors:

Lindsey Buss, World Bank Group
Desiree Griffin-Moore, The Community Foundation for Prince George’s County
Yanique Redwood, The Consumer Health Foundation

  • Get on the Map
    Members can now explore this new resource for accurate, timely, and quality data on philanthropy in the region.

HEALTH | For the first time, the Northern Virginia Health Foundation (NVHF) has awarded $125,000 to five organizations in the region that are working to address social determinants of health. Traditionally, NVHF has centered its grantmaking on organizations providing health care and other health services to low-income and uninsured residents. (NVHF, 11/19)

COMMUNITY | The Lever Fund has announced the hiring of their first executive director, Gregory M. Cork, along with their inaugural board of directors.

– According to a Washington Post poll of D.C. residents, there is a strong racial divide in the attitudes Washingtonians have about redevelopment in the city and who benefits from it. The number of African American residents who were polled about whether or not they see redevelopment as negative for “people like them” has grown a great deal over the last several years. (WaPo, 11/20)

– The Urban Institute takes a moment to ponder what a more equitable D.C. might look like. (Urban Institute, 11/19)

EDUCATION/WORKFORCE | A report from the Washington Area Boards of Education finds disparities in the salaries of teachers in the region from district to district. The report highlights the challenges facing some districts in hiring and retaining talent. (WaPo, 11/22)

Have you read any of these picks for the best books of 2015?



November 18, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

New report on the power of the grantmaking/grantseeking relationship

The Daily WRAG will return on Monday, November 23 as we prepare for our 2015 Annual Meeting!

The Center for Nonprofit Advancement has released a new study, Return on Investment, diving into the challenges facing social profit organizations trying to enhance services while also sustaining resources. The report looks into social profit professional development, capacity building, and grantmaker engagement/relationships to better meet the needs of the sector. (Center for Nonprofit Advancement, 11/18)

WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland said this of the report’s findings:

“According to Return on Investment, a new release from the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, the social profit/nonprofit community needs and wants more unrestricted dollars, more professional development support, and a relationship of equals with their funders. Research by the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers shows that funders recognize the ‘lack of funding’ as the number one need of social profits, and note ‘capacity building grants’ as the third highest category of their grantmaking after ‘project/program specific’ and ‘general operating grants.’ And for the last two years, the funding community has ranked ‘collective impact’ as the number one trend that they see in philanthropy; so the notion of arriving at a shared vision between the philanthropic and social profit sectors – planning among equals – may be more on the horizon than is immediately apparent. To my colleagues in the social profit/nonprofit sector, I would say, ‘I don’t think we’re missing the mark, I think we’re at the early stages of an exciting culture shift. Onward.’”

You can click here to access the full report.

– The philanthropic and social profit communities have experienced a great loss as Rick Cohen, well-known national Nonprofit Quarterly correspondent, thought-leader, and social justice advocate, has passed away (Chronicle, 11/17):

“His loss will be inestimable to many of you, as it is to us,” Nonprofit Quarterly editors wrote in announcing the death. “Rick will be remembered for his integrity, his powerful and nimble intellect, his unyielding courage in pursuit of truth, his commitment to social justice, and his humor.”

–  The board of directors of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers has announced longtime philanthropy executive and current president and CEO of Florida Philanthropic Network David Biemesderfer as the organization’s next president and CEO. His new role will begin in mid-January 2016. Click here to find out more about the appointment.

– For the seventh-consecutive year, Booz Allen Hamilton has received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT equality in the workplace. (Booz Allen Hamilton, 11/18)

TRANSIT/MARYLAND | Md. receives four proposals to build light-rail Purple Line (WaPo, 11/17)

EDUCATION/PHILANTHROPY | Bloomberg Business takes a look at how more public universities are pushing for ambitious fundraising goals as some of their private peers have been the recipients of mega gifts in recent years. (Bloomberg Business, 11/12)

RACIAL EQUITY/SOCIAL JUSTICE | Police Are More Aggressive Overall in Encounters With African Americans (City Lab, 11/17)

When it comes to public speaking, it’s all about using your hands.

– Ciara

November 17, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

How misdemeanors can lead to homelessness

Washington City Paper provides a firsthand account of the ways in which misdemeanors can often come back to haunt those convicted, particularly when it comes to obtaining necessities like housing. (WCP, 11/13)

[…] even minor brushes with the law leave ripple effects lasting far beyond when a fine was paid or sentence served, making it hard to get a job, housing, and other necessities. Public and assisted housing providers are allowed to screen applicants for their criminal histories, but […] it’s over-enforced and frequently far beyond the legal guidelines laid out in the Fair Housing Act.

– In D.C., members of a homeless tent community face being pushed out after their 14-day notification period has ended. Some cite encampments as a preferred option to potential safety threats while staying in shelters. Officials and health specialists are working to provide them with supportive services and permanent housing. (WTOP, 11/16)

ECONOMY/REGION | In their biannual survey of small business owners in the Greater Washington Region, Bank of America found that the small business market is hiring faster than any other it surveyed, and that 81 percent expect to grow their businesses over the next five years – a positive outlook for the local economy. (WBJ, 11/17)

COMMUNITY | The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region has announced that they will honor The Horning Family Fund with the 2016 Civic Spirit Award at their Annual Celebration of Philanthropy on March 14, 2016. Since 1990, the fund has helped to build communities where families thrive and children are nurtured to achieve their greatest potential. For more information about the event, contact Jenny Towns.

FOOD/VIRGINIA | In Loudoun County’s “transition area” (the area between suburban subdivisions and rural land) a 4,000-acre development is making the idea of farm-to-table a high priority for the community. (WaPo, 11/16)

– According to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal, men’s weekly median earnings  have increased twice as much as women’s weekly median earnings in the first three-quarters of 2015. Researchers hope that trends from this year don’t point to an ever-widening gap. (Atlantic, 11/17)

For Women, Income Inequality Continues into Retirement (NPR, 11/17)

IMMIGRATION | The Brookings Institution recently explored whether or not the lives of Hispanic immigrants and their families are economically better off once settling in the U.S. The data reveal mixed results about the upward mobility of immigrants and their children. (Atlantic, 11/16)

Can you name these North American cities based solely on their night sky views?


November 16, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

D.C.’s baby boom means new challenges

As the population of young children in the District surges, challenges in the availability of affordable, quality child care arise.  (WaPo, 11/14)

Infants and toddlers are the fastest-growing age group in the city, with 26,500 children younger than 3 in 2013, up 26 percent from 2010.


The cost of child care is a major concern for low-income families who must rely on government subsidies that many providers said do not cover the costs of quality programs. About a quarter of infants and toddlers in the District come from families with incomes below the federal poverty line.

– In her latest blog post, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland recounts how a tense exchange she observed on her neighborhood listerv showcased the difficulty surrounding discussions of race, and shares the opportunities that can arise out of these misunderstandings with a major announcement for the WRAG community for 2016. (Daily, 11/16)

– A recent debate over proposed bike lanes among longtime, largely African American residents in the District, and more recent primarily white transplants to the city, reveals some tensions around gentrification in the area. (WaPo, 11/12)

Your School Shapes How You Think About Inequality (NPR, 11/14)

– Yanique Redwood, president and CEO of the Consumer Health Foundation, discusses the ways in which the Greater Washington region can work to reshape the current economy in 2016 in order to create a more equitable workforce system. (CHF, 11/10)

FOOD | A site near the D.C./Maryland border will soon be the region’s largest urban farm. Organizers hope the farm will present a viable solution to the food desert problem that has persisted in areas of ward 7. (WAMU, 11/13)

HOMELESSNESS/HOUSING | The Washington Post looks at how permanent supportive housing has worked for a small group of women in the District. (WaPo, 11/15)

COMMUNITYMany Hands is accepting Letters of Inquiry from organizations interested in applying for a grant byNovember 30. Qualified 501(c)(3) organizations will be referred to one of four focus area committees – Education, Health, Housing and Job Readiness – for further consideration for grants, with the largest totaling $100,000. Click here and here for more information about the process, or visit

Does family makeup determine family giving? A new study says, “yes.”

– Ciara

November 16, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Can we speak our truths in a conversation about race?

by Tamara Lucas Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

It all started on my neighborhood listserv: A neighbor was seeking information about why police cars were at the corner. The dialogue wasn’t too emotional, at least initially, but the floodgates quickly opened.

“There was a gang of five kids at the corner.” – white neighbor

“I feel that the use of the term ‘gang’ is inflammatory.” – black neighbor

“When a group of white kids gather, it’s a ‘group,’ but when it’s a group of black kids, it’s more often referred to as a ‘gang.’”   – black neighbor

“’Gang’ suggests violence, and violent terms are more often associated with African-Americans.” – black neighbor

Next, a dictionary definition of the word “gang” was provided by a white neighbor and unconscious bias was suggested by a black neighbor. This was followed by an emotion-laden exchange between two white neighbors about how they must not be able to understand discrimination because they are white. The exchange ended, explosively, when a white, Harvard educated, Gen X’er, wrote:

“… they don’t know what it’s like to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth and go to the best schools and sit on a throne with actual diamonds in it and have 8 million dollars in the bank like me! (oh wait that is me in a dream) never mind.”

That’s when I knew that WRAG was on the right path with our new “Putting Racism on the Table”  series to be announced formally later this week at our Annual Meeting.

The above exchange occurred among one city block of neighbors – most of whom have lived beside each other for over ten years – who socialize in each other’s homes, go out together to neighborhood restaurants, and have always seemed friendly and respectful. Was this a safe space to discuss race? Yes, I would have thought so. But very quickly, what I would have characterized as black neighbors’ attempts to educate and be honest about feelings, spiraled into a perception by white neighbors of being called racist. The conversation became accusatory and destructive. That’s why many of us don’t have it. Black people often talk about racial matters to each other, but rarely does this conversation occur honestly and fully in a racially-mixed group.

WRAG and its Racial Equity Planning Committee wanted to take action in the wake of all of the recent racially-charged incidents. However, the group determined that it wasn’t ready to act, but rather, it needed to learn.

And so, the series was developed. One topic a month: structural racism, white privilege, unconscious bias, a case study on mass incarceration, racism’s effect across the racial mosaic of America, and lastly, what philanthropy is doing about all of this. Learning

Just like the neighborhood conversation initially felt like it was in a safe space, so too, does this planned conversation. These are philanthropic leaders who routinely gather, plan, and fund together. Nonetheless, the conversation may be a difficult one. Unlike the neighborhood conversation, however,  several factors will be different. This conversation is planned. Participants will enter it knowingly. We will look deeply at several aspects of racism and, most importantly, the conversation will be managed by a skilled facilitator to help us understand and process each other’s feelings and experiences. Learning

When we take the time to understand another’s experience, that’s when our knowledge is increased, our perspective is broadened, and our humanity is enriched. Learning

November 13, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Friday roundup – November 9 through November 13, 2015

– Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and head faculty member for the Institute for CSR, shared how his organization supports the Veterans Empowerment Movement. (American Express, 11/9)

– Schools in the region, particularly in Prince George’s County, are getting their hands dirty by taking the classroom experience outdoors in learning gardens. (WTOP, 11/10)

– Though research has often suggested that most low-income individuals find it difficult to maintain healthy nutritional habits because of food deserts, recent studies say poor eating habits have less to do with proximity and much more to do with income. (Atlantic, 11/9)

– The Nonprofit Finance Fund released two reports – one for grantmakers and another for arts organizations – summarizing lessons learned about capitalization in the arts sector. (NFF, 10/2015)

– Nonprofit theaters are attracting more donors, but audiences keep shrinking, report says (LA Times, 11/5)

 Harvard Medical School joins an emerging trend among institutions encouraging their students to take part in arts and humanities courses in order to improve their skills in empathy and observation. (Boston Globe, 11/2)

Click the image below to access WRAG’S Community Calendar. To have your event included, please send basic information including event title, date/time, location, a brief description of the event, and a link for further details to:

Calendar won’t display? Click here.

Rejoice, cat owners! As it turns out, your cat is unlikely sitting at home plotting your demise – research be darned.

– Ciara

November 12, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

An “equitable development plan” for the 11th Street Bridge Project

You can read the newly-released plans for D.C.’s upcoming 11th Street Bridge Park that aim to bring greater economic development and equity to the project’s surrounding neighborhoods. (WCP, 11/11)

An “equitable development plan” released today by a collective of local organizations and government officials outlines eight strategies for job creation, small business growth, and housing opportunities focused on residents in the immediate area of the bridge. The (relatively) short-term strategies include hiring residents who live in Wards 6, 7, and 8 to help construct the park as well as preserving existing affordable housing near the bridge since home values will almost certainly rise as the park nears completion. On the longer-term side, the plan recommends creating a kiosk-based food service model that permits D.C. entrepreneurs to sell their goods in the park and improving walkability between the bridge and both sides of the river to move people to surrounding commercial corridors.

COMMUNITY | The Center for Nonprofit Advancement has announced its 22nd annual call for applications for the AIM (Advancement in Management) Award from social profit organizations in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. The AIM Award is presented by Pepco, with additional support form Capital One, and Rotary Club of Washington, D.C.  The deadline to submit applications is January 22, 2016. Click here to learn more.

– As D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson marks her fifth year in the role, she and other education advocates reflect on the progress that has been made. (WaPo, 11/11)

 Want to Make a School Better? Get Kids to Show Up (NPR, 11/12)

HEALTHCARE | D.C. has the fourth highest rate of individuals enrolled in health insurance, according to a recent analysis comparing the highest and lowest rates across the country. Among D.C.’s uninsured, however, ethnic and racial disparities persist. (DCist, 11/11)

HOUSING | A recent report on the price of housing finds that, while rental costs for all renters are increasing, rent for high-income tenants in luxury developments is rising at a slower pace than for those who earn low incomes. (Atlantic, 11/11)

PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: How Offering an Innovation Prize Energized Our Grantmaking (Chronicle, 11/12)

POVERTY/CRIMINAL JUSTICE | The civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice is taking a closer look at the challenges low-income defendants in criminal cases face, especially when they are represented by court-appointed lawyers who do not always have their best interests in mind. (NPR, 11/12)

Is D.C. really the snobbiest East Coast city? Some people think so!

– Ciara 

November 11, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Virginia meets veteran homelessness goal

Governor Terry McAuliffe is set to announce that Virginia is the first state to meet the federal definition of putting an end to military veteran homelessness. According to a point-in-time count from 2014, Virginia had 620 homeless veterans. (WaPo, 11/11)

The federal homelessness designation means Virginia has no homeless veterans with the exception of those who have been offered housing, but don’t want it. The state must find a home for a veteran within 90 days and have more homes available than the number of veterans who have been identified as having no place to live.

– The District is said to be well on its way to ending veteran homelessness in the city by the end of 2015. According to officials, D.C. has met 80 percent of its goal thus far. (WAMU, 11/11)

White House Announces In-State Tuition For U.S. Veterans, Families (HuffPo, 11/11)

– The Commonwealth Institute has released a new report exploring how budget cuts have left Virginia schools with fewer staff positions that have not kept up with the pace of enrollment, much to the detriment of students’ growing needs. (The Commonwealth Institute, 11/10)

How Parental Incarceration Affects a Child’s Education (Atlantic, 11/11)

PHILANTHROPY/SOCIAL PROFITS | The 2015-16 Catalogue For Philanthropy, featuring 76 social profit organizations in the Greater Washington region, is now available.

ARTS & HUMANITIES/HEALTH | Harvard Medical School has recently become a part of an emerging trend among institutions that have encouraged students to take part in arts and humanities courses in order to improve their skills in empathy and observation. (Boston Globe, 11/2)

Enjoy some 19th century comedy stylings.

– Ciara

November 10, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

How the region and the U.S. fare on premature birth rates

In their most recent report grading the rates of premature births in states/localities in the U.S., March of Dimes gave the District a “C.” Meanwhile, Virginia and Maryland received a “B” and “C,” respectively. The U.S. overall received a “C”. (DCist, 11/9)

Premature birth is the leading cause of infant death and the number one killer of babies in the United States, according to the nonprofit March of Dimes. In a report released last week, the organization graded D.C.’s premature birth rate a “C” in comparison to the 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Grades for states were assigned by comparing the 2014 preterm birth rate in a state or locality to the March of Dimes’ goal of 8.1 percent by 2020. D.C.’s rate was 9.6 percent, placing it among 18 states with a mid-level score and matching the United States’ average.

America’s Pregnancy-Care Paradox: Paying Ever More For the Same Bad Results (Atlantic, 11/10)

– As part of #NewEconomy Week, administrative and communications assistant at Consumer Health Foundation Kendra Allen candidly shares her experience as a millennial person of color, along with some advice for the key elements that should be a part of a revamped, equitable system. (CHF, 11/10)

Why Poor Boys Who Move to Rich Neighborhoods Still Face Risks (CityLab, 11/9)

CSR/VETERANS | As Veteran’s Day approaches, Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and head faculty member for the Institute for CSR, shares how his organization shows its support for the Veterans Empowerment Movement. (American Express, 11/9)

DISTRICT | DC Fiscal Policy Institute reflects on the significance of the City First Foundation’s recent conference on “Equitable Economic Development East of the River,” and shares why follow-through in this part of the city is so necessary. (DCFPI, 11/10)

FOOD/EDUCATION | A  growing number of schools in the region are taking the classroom experience outdoors with learning gardens, particularly in Prince George’s County. (WTOP, 11/10)

VIRGINIA | Move over, “Corner.” It’s all about “Tyson’s” right now. (WTOP 11/9)

Apparently, I only know one thing about the sport of basketball. See if you can beat me at this quiz!

– Ciara



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