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August 3, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

46 percent of area renters live in cost-burdened households

A new report by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies finds that 46 percent of renters in the metropolitan Washington area are cost burdened (spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing). Additionally, 22.4 percent of renters in the area are considered severely cost burdened (spend more than half of their income on housing). (WCP, 7/31)

If that sounds bad, a look at the report’s breakdown of renter-households by income shows that housing costs in the D.C. metropolitan area are, frankly, regressive: 81.2 percent of households that make less than $15,000 a year are cost burdened, while only 9.2 percent of households that make more than $75,000 a year are cost burdened. (An average 70.1 percent of households making between $15,000 and $75,000 a year are cost burdened.)

Among homeowners in the area, the numbers are less severe:  A quarter of homeowners have housing cost burdens, and 10 percent have severe housing cost burdens. The median income for this group is $112,000, or roughly double that of renters in the region. Housing costs are regressive for them, too: 93.3 percent of owner households making under $15,000 a year spend more than 30 percent of their income on homes, whereas 11 percent do so among $75,000-and-up-ers.

Bottom line: Living in the D.C. region is increasingly hard to afford. As the report states, “cost-burdened households are forced to cut back on food, healthcare, and other critical expenses.”

WRAG/SOCIAL PROFITS | WRAG president Tamara Copeland revisits the need for a different, more accurate name for what is so commonly referred to as the “nonprofit sector.” Check out why she’s committed to making sure we all update our language to reflect what should be called the “social profit sector.” (Daily, 8/3)

– Faith Mitchell of Grantmakers in Health discusses why it is so important for funders to support long-term, upstream strategies to address lingering inequalities.(HistPhil, 7/27)

– A new study takes a look at the world’s 10 largest private foundations. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Li Ka Shing Foundation top the list. (Chronicle, 7/31)

– In one of the largest corporate donations ever made to the arts center, The Boeing Company has announced a gift of $20 million to support the Kennedy Center’s upcoming expansion project. (WaPo, 7/29)

Mellon Foundation Releases the First Comprehensive Survey on Diversity in American Art Museums (Mellon Foundation, 7/29)

JOBS | Exponent Philanthropy is hiring a new Director of Corporate Partnerships. Click here to learn about this exciting opportunity.

Did you somehow miss Friday night’s blue moon? Don’t fret. Here are some stunning photos from the occurrence. 

– Ciara

August 3, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

“Social” profit: so much more than semantics

By Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Last month, at the annual conference of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers (WRAG’s membership organization), I was asked to respond to the opening plenary speaker. David Grant, the former head of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in New Jersey, had been invited to speak on his book, The Social Profit Handbook: The Essential Guide to Setting Goals, Assessing Outcomes, and Achieving Success for Mission-Driven Organizations. For anyone struggling with qualitative assessment in a quantitative assessment-focused world, this book is a must-read. Actually, this is so well written that I recommend adding it to your summer beach reading list, but that’s not what I want to talk about today.

Today, I want to talk about the term, “social profit.” The title of David’s book took me back to a blog post that I wrote back in 2008. “Nonprofit? Nonsense” focused on my belief that, as a sector, it is ridiculous to define ourselves by what we are not. By not celebrating all that our sector brings to society, we become a part of our own marginalization. In the post, I feel that I presented a solid argument for another name, while I also chided our sector for using such a negative term.

For a few months after the post was published, WRAG proudly referred to our sector as the social profit sector, but then we slowly stopped. Our commitment to the language was not strong enough. We stopped using the term in our Daily posts and I also failed to discipline myself to continually use it. The term “nonprofit” is powerfully ingrained in all of us. It flows easily off our tongues, but we can change that. We have unlearned other terms. Cars are no longer “used.” They are “pre-owned.” Kentucky Fried Chicken has marketed us away from focusing on the fact that the chicken is fried, by using the name KFC. And you would never refer to me as “colored.”

So thank you, David Grant, not only for your message about defining success, but also for the reminder that we are, indeed, the social profit sector. We provide value within a large, and much needed, societal frame. To my social profit colleagues, please call me out if I drop back into old language. I’m starting over now.

July 31, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Friday roundup – July 27 through July 31, 2015

– The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a redevelopment plan for the Seven Corners area. (WaPo, 7/29)

– The Montgomery County Council approved tax credits for low-income renters as the area looks to become more urban, but few people are expected to actually qualify. (WAMU, 7/29)

– Interview: Director of Arlington Economic Development Victor L. Hoskins talked about the future of the county and how it should rise to face the challenges that could prohibit future economic growth. (WaPo, 7/29)

– In a new report, the World Health Organization looked at the wide disparities in access to adequate health care for transgender individuals, often due to discrimination. (NPR, 7/26)

– The White House released an updated national strategy to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS. (White House, 7/30)

– This week, Medicare turned 50 years old. Check out how many people in our region are impacted by the program. (WBJ, 7/29)

– George Washington University joined a growing list of institutions that have recently decided to drop testing requirements for some freshman admissions in an effort to reduce barriers for disadvantaged students to attend. Some are worried whether the change will be enough to recruit low-income students. (WaPo, 7/27)


Northern Virginia LEG: Streamline Your Grantmaking
Thursday, August 6  10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Take a look a these cool (but kind of terrifying) giant gummy bears

– Ciara


July 30, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

The push for more flexible DCPS graduation requirements reemerges

Picking up on a previously stalled attempt to bring about more flexible graduation requirements for DCPS students, the D.C. State Board of Education plans to launch a task force to develop recommendations for awarding credit. (WaPo, 7/30)

The proposal would move the District away from a system based solely on the age-old “Carnegie unit,” which grants credit according to seat time in favor of a system that rewards how much a student knows or can do.


Proponents say students often need more or less time to demonstrate their understanding of a subject. And seat time requirements make it difficult for students who drop out or fall behind to catch up and pursue a diploma, an increasingly important consideration as the District works to improve its graduation rate and bring back young people who have dropped out.

HIV/AIDS | Today, the White House unveils an updated national strategy to progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS. (White House, 7/30)

– Interview: Director of Arlington Economic Development Victor L. Hoskins discusses the future of the county and how it can rise to face the challenges that could prohibit economic growth there. (WaPo, 7/29)

– A new study examines the debt burdens for Americans across generations. According to data, 80 percent of Americans have some form of debt and many are carrying it well into their later years. (NPR, 7/29)

CHILDREN/DISTRICT| Coalition Forms To Bring Universal Child Care to D.C. (DCist, 7/29)

– The Montgomery County Council approved tax credits for low-income renters as the area looks to become more urban with upcoming development. Few people are expected to qualify. (WAMU, 7/29)

Latino Incomes Are Rising, So Why Are Their Homeownership Rates Dropping? (City Lab, 7/29)

ARTS | The Shakespeare Theatre Company will extend its annual Free For All Program to each mainstage show this season, in an effort to make the arts more accessible to the community. (WaPo, 7/30)

PHILANTHROPY | Are you looking for ways to make your nonprofit reporting requirements more thoughtful and meaningful for all involved? Here are some tips to further develop guidelines. (CEP, 7/28)

COMMUNITY | The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Business Women’s Giving Circle has launched its second annual grant cycle to support nonprofit organizations and schools that provide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Entrepreneurship and/or Leadership programs to girls in K-12 public schools, colleges and universities. Interested applicants can learn more here.

What do you do when your toddler is obsessed with a personal injury lawyer’s commercials on television? You throw him a personal injury lawyer-themed birthday party, of course!

– Ciara 

July 29, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

A growing wealth gap between younger and older Americans

There’s an emerging, but not often discussed, wealth gap explored in a newly-released study – the growing wealth gap between young Americans (individuals under 40) and older Americans. The longitudinal study on the incomes of 40,000 families takes a look at how each generation has accumulated wealth. (WaPo, 7/29)

Basically, young people have always been poor. But looking beyond that basic trend, you can see that today’s young people are poorer than young people of the past.

The period of time in which someone is born can also have a dramatic effect on their wealth compared with other generations. The winners of this historical jackpot appear to be those who were born between 1930 and 1945 and came of age after World War II, who are sometimes called The Silent Generation.


In just 25 years, the wealth gap between young and old people has yawned wider. In 1989, old families had 7.6 times as much median wealth as young families. By 2013, it had grown to 14.7 times.

According to the economists’ calculations, someone born in 1970 has a quarter less income and 40 percent less wealth than an identical person born in 1940.

– In this blog post, the D.C. Office of Revenue Analysis dives into District taxpayer data in order to analyze an individual’s likelihood of income mobility. (District Measured, 7/28)

Opinion: In D.C.’s ward 8, spikes in violence and a continuing struggle to get widespread neighborhood buy-in for programs aimed at improving circumstances for residents have left some officials perplexed. (WaPo. 7/28)

Meant To Keep Youths Out of Detention, Probation Often Leads Them There (NPR, 7/29)

HEALTHCARE/REGION | Medicare turns 50 this week. To mark the occasion, take a look at how many people are impacted by the program in our region. (WBJ, 7/29)

TRANSIT | Silver Line is a mixed blessing for Metro riders (WaPo, 7/28)

REGION | The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved a redevelopment plan for the Seven Corners area after a lengthy debate (WaPo, 7/29):

The plan would create three villages and add several thousand homes to the area, along with restaurants, shops and a street grid that could draw local traffic away from the confusing Seven Corners intersection.

This Friday, you may find yourself doing those things you usually only claim to do once in a blue moon.

– Ciara

July 28, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Plans for redevelopment in Seven Corners cause concerns

As the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors prepares to vote on a redevelopment plan for the Seven Corners area, some groups have grown concerned over various aspects of the proposed plans and what they may mean for the near future (WaPo, 7/28):

Urban planning groups say the kind of walkable, transit-friendly communities envisioned for Seven Corners are needed in aging suburbs that have become homes to mostly vacant office buildings and discount stores with little commercial traffic.

“The future of Fairfax lies in these aging commercial corridors,” said Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the Coalition for Smart Growth. “It certainly can be a win-win and enhance Fairfax’s competitiveness.”

Michelle Krocker, who heads the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance, said there aren’t enough guarantees in the plan to keep lower-income families from being pushed out, which could have long-term repercussions for the Washington region.

“If there’s no place for them to live affordably, we potentially lose them as employees in the area or they move far out into the hinterlands,” Krocker said. “And, then they’d have to commute in, and that’s problematic for everybody.”

AGING/ARTS | Fairfax County has implemented some fun new ways to make the county more age-friendly and keep older residents engaged. (WAMU, 7/24)

What would it take to attract more millennials to Loudoun County? At the recent Loudoun County Business Chamber’s State of Loudoun’s Workforce event, attention was turned to three main areas where the county could improve to bring in more millennials: affordable housing, the right jobs, and more walkable areas. (Loudoun Times, 7/25)

Related: Following WRAG’s first-ever Loudoun Philanthropy Conference in May, WRAG recently hosted a community meeting on the next steps to develop and maintain a strong social sector in a county whose needs are often overlooked. Check out the #fundloudoun hashtag on Twitter for highlights from the meeting.

Opinion: A writer explains how America can be especially hard on working moms, even when they make up a large portion of the country’s workforce. (Salon, 7/25)

MENTAL HEALTH | As many as 2 million Americans suffer from schizophrenia, making a steady job extremely difficult to find and keep, despite a strong desire to work. For many, the right mix of treatment and a regular routine can put them on the path to employment. (Atlantic, 7/28)

EDUCATION | George Washington University is joining a list of institutions that have recently dropped testing requirements for some freshman admissions in an effort to reduce barriers for disadvantaged students to attend. Critics, however, worry whether the change is enough to recruit low-income students. (WaPo, 7/27)

FOOD | The second edition of a cookbook featuring nutritious recipes for food stamp recipients was recently published with several brand new recipes. The cookbook is geared toward helping the nearly 47 million people in the SNAP program eat well on $4 a day, and offers a more refreshing take on cookbooks aimed at food stamp recipients. (NPR, 7/27)

Are you an “expert” or an “over claimer?”


July 27, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

How much new housing is needed in the region? Lots.

During a recent televised appearance, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke on the need for new, affordable housing in the District if the city ever plans to return to peak population levels (800,000 people) reached in the 1950s. Her statements fell in line with a new report from the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis on the growing housing needs of the Greater Washington region, supported by Enterprise Community Partners and the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group. (GGW, 7/23)

The region can certainly accommodate these new people. As Bowser noted, DC once had that many people, though this was in an era when people lived in much smaller spaces and had larger families. The bigger obstacle is the widespread opposition to nearly any growth anywhere.

If that continues, displacement will increase and new jobs and housing will get pushed to the edges of the region. The report suggests, however, that it’s not just poor workers who will lose out: it’s seniors. Baby boomers will retire in great numbers and without jobs, and then make up many of the lower-income households.

DC and the other jurisdictions in the region will need to proactively plan for where this new housing can go, and get community buy-in ahead of time, to make it possible to build the housing the region needs.

– Here’s the Outrageous Dollar Amount You’ll Need to Spend on a Home in DC to Guarantee Your Child Attends a Good School (Washingtonian, 7/20)

PHILANTHROPY/CHILDREN | Last week, WRAG staff attended an informative and thought-provoking annual conference put on by the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. During the closing plenary session, Teresa Younger, president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women, discussed the unique role philanthropy can play in shaping public policy and building diverse movements for equality – particularly speaking from her experience in building a movement for women’s empowerment. Younger referenced a recently-released study by the Human Rights Project for Girls, Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality, and the Ms. Foundation for Women titled, The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: The Girls’ Story, that brings attention to the systemic criminalization young female survivors of abuse are often subjected to. (Common Dreams, 7/9)

Related: In a timely blog post highlighting an area where philanthropy has not stepped in on a broad level, WRAG president Tamara Copeland brought attention to the need for funders to work toward improving circumstances for children by starting with abuse prevention. (Daily, 7/14)

LGBT/HIV/AIDS | A new report from the World Health Organization takes a look at the wide disparities in access to adequate health care for transgender individuals, largely caused by discrimination. Widespread transphobia is cited as a barrier to obtaining proper care and prevention for HIV. (NPR, 7/26)

Related: Children’s National Health Center recently opened a new clinic aimed specifically at providing specialized care and services to LGBTQ youth between the ages of 12 to 22. Youth programming at the center is supported by the Washington AIDS Partnership. (DCist, 7/2)

ENVIRONMENT | The Uphill Battle to Get Solar Into D.C.’s Low-Income Households (City Lab, 7/24)

JOBS | Prince Charitable Trusts seeks its next Managing Director of its Washington, DC Office/Co-Director of its Rhode Island Program. Check out the full position description here.

NONPROFITS | The Washington Architectural Foundation offers pro bono design services to local nonprofit organizations as part of the Community Design Services (CDS) Program. To find out more about CDS, click here.

Can you take your brand new refrigerator home on the Metro? Yes, you can.

– Ciara

July 20, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Prince George’s County hopes for hospital plan approval

WRAG staff will be away for the remainder of the week at the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers’ annual meeting. We’ll see you again next week.

In Prince George’s County, a new medical campus approved by the county for development at Largo Town Center is projected to not only boost the nearby economy, but also tackle health disparities for residents in the area, if the project can gain state approval. (WaPo, 7/18)

[…] building the medical facility is the first step in remedying pressing health-care disparities for its residents, who have long complained about having to travel outside the county for care because of the limited options.

The new facility, which would be operated by the University of Maryland Medical System, would help tackle statistics that show Prince George’s residents have higher rates of chronic diseases — including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, asthma and cancer — than people in neighboring counties. Studies also suggest that the county’s mortality rate is higher than that of Montgomery and Howard counties.

Loudoun expands mental health crisis intervention program (WaPo, 7/17)

DISTRICT/AFFORDABLE HOUSING | Opinion: Amid a growing population of more affluent residents and a decline in housing affordability, one writer takes a look at two different directions the District could be headed in the near future. (WaPo, 7/17)

PHILANTHROPY | Interview: Jean Case, Case Foundation CEO, offers her thoughts on the ways in which millennials are influencing the workforce and supporting causes, based on research from the foundation’s recent series of reports on the matter. (Philantopic, 7/17)

NONPROFITS | RAISE DC is still accepting applications for their Data Spotlight Awards through Friday, July 24 at 5:00 PM. The awards highlight schools and nonprofits that use data in innovative and impactful ways to address challenges youth face from cradle to career.

Happy Moon Day! Relive the moment here.


July 17, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

A decline in the region’s “millennial boom”

While D.C. experienced a “millennial boom,” in which 1,300 young adults were relocating to the city each month, in recent years those figures have started to wane, causing a number of industries to brace themselves for the impact. So far, however, the decline has not been all bad (WaPo, 7/17):

Census data released last month indicates that the District’s incredible growth in young adults, ages 25 to 34, has stalled. After adding 10,430 people in that age bracket between 2010 and 2011, D.C. added a net of just 2,662 of them from 2013 to 2014.

Surrounding counties, including Arlington, Montgomery and Fairfax, have become even less attractive. Each lost more millennials than they added from 2013 to 2014.


There are differing views on why the boom in young arrivals has waned. One is the cuts to federal jobs and spending. D.C. lost 11,800 public sector jobs in the past four years, according to the District’s chief financial officer. In just a three-year period from 2010-2012, Virginia experienced $9.8 billion in defense cuts.


[…] the newest data show that despite the slowdown in millennial arrivals, older workers — those between 35 and 44 — are finding more opportunities in the bread-and-butter industries that have made up the area’s economy historically. That age group has grown at least 3 percent each of the past four years in D.C., a much more steady trajectory than millennial growth.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING |  In D.C.’s Chinatown, Chinese American residents watch as new residential developments take shape, demographics change, and remaining in the area becomes more difficult. (WaPo. 7/16)

DISTRICT/HEALTH | Washington City Paper explores the need to expand access to naloxone, a drug that reverses the symptoms of opioid overdoses, in the District. Advocates and health providers say that reducing the barriers to obtaining the drug would save lives. (WCP, 7/17)

HOMELESSNESS/VETERANS | Advocates Say That Ending Homelessness Among Veterans Is Achievable (WAMU, 7/15)

CHILDREN/EDUCATION | A newly-released study examining the social-emotional behavior of nearly 800 kindergartners since 1991 found that students who got along well with peers, were willing to share, and were considered cooperative, were more likely to go on to earn a college degree, hold a full-time job by 25, and avoid substance abuse problems. (WaPo, 7/16)

TRANSIT | Construction of the Purple Line project could begin in mid-May. (WBJ, 7/17)

So….Buffalo, NY still has a snow pile in the middle of July…

– Ciara

July 15, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Connecting troubled students to college early on may improve outcomes

The Daily WRAG will not be published tomorrow as WRAG staff will be away at an all-day retreat. 

A new study from the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy suggests that enrolling less-affluent, first-generation students in early-college programs (where they simultaneously take classes in high-school and college) can significantly improve student outcomes. (Atlantic, 7/14)

Giving students an idea of what college is like by letting them enroll in college classes seems logical enough. It’s a test-run without the tuition bills and student loans. The center points to figures that suggest 86 percent of early-college graduates who go on to college stay for year two, compared with just 72 percent of college students nationally. These students are also less likely to need remedial classes.


Often, programs are supported through grants or private donations, solutions that aren’t easily scalable. But as tuition costs and student-loan debt soar, advocates of early-college programs say they offer a viable path to college completion for the students who need it most.

– Students’ Reading and Math Skills Are Still All Over the Map (NPR, 7/9)

REGION/TRANSIT | In Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, supporters of the Purple Line see the heavily-anticipated project as more than a boost to transit options. Many also hope it will be a connector to economic opportunities and a path to social equity. (WaPo, 7/14)

PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: Lessons From Charles Darwin on Promoting Philanthropy (Chronicle, 7/6) – Subscription required.

WORKFORCE | Using Census data from 2010, a researcher developed an interactive dot map to represent how employment is spread out in U.S. cities within several specific categories. (City Lab, 7/14)

Don’t cry over spilled milk…or coffee, or wine, or honey, etc.…make some art!

– Ciara


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