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January 28, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

D.C. wage disparity reaches 35-year high

ECONOMY/EQUITY
The District’s wage disparity gap is at a 35-year high, according to a new report from the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute. The newly-released study finds that, despite economic recovery in the city, low-wage workers still struggle to see progress, while only those with advanced degrees are the beneficiaries of post-recession gains. (WaPo, 1/27)

Hourly incomes for low-wage workers have fallen to an average of $12.62 over the past seven years, and in the event that those workers lose their jobs, they are more than twice as likely to spend more than six months looking for replacement work, according to a study by the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute. At the same time, rental costs have skyrocketed and the hourly incomes of high-wage workers in the city have risen to an average of $45.30.

“What appears to be a strong economic recovery in the District is really just a recovery for a small number of residents,” reads the report, an advance copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. “Only those residents with the most advanced education are making economic progress.”

You can access the full report here.

– A new report from the Economic Policy Institute explores the widening income gap throughout the U.S. The report shows the stark differences in economic growth for the top one percent compared to the rest of the nation. Check out where the region stands. (WBJ, 1/27)

The Kojo Nnamdi Show dives deeper into The Washington Post‘s recent series on underwater mortgages and the disappearing wealth of black households in Prince George’s County. (Kojo Nnamdi Show, 1/27)

Here’s How Much Less Women Make in Each State (HuffPo, 1/27)

PHILANTHROPY 
– Several years ago, a number of WRAG members engaged in Project Streamline with the goal of making their application and reporting processes less burdensome for their grantees. On their blog, the Project Streamline folks consider how streamlining can allow funders to be inclusive in their grantmaking and to better support diverse organizations. (PS, 1/26)

– Christine Reeves at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy asks the thought-provoking question: “What If Foundations Applied to Nonprofits?” (NCRP, 1/23)

COMMUNITY | United Way of the National Capital Area has announced Timothy Johnson as Vice President of Community Impact, and Chris Preston as Vice President of Resource Development. You can read more about the new vice presidents here. (UWNCA, 1/28)

IMPACT INVESTING | Opinion: Still on the fence about impact investing? In this op-ed, the author explains how to get involved and why it may be your best idea yet for changing the world. (NYT, 1/27)

POVERTY | Opinion: Reducing Our Obscene Level of Childhood Poverty (NYT, 1/28)

NONPROFITS | Ted Leonsis will take over for Don Graham, CEO and chairman of the board of Graham Holdings Company, as board chair of the DC College Access Program. (WaPo, 1/27)


Is your first name a good predictor of what profession you’ll hold? Probably not, but it’s still fun to take a look at this data wheel and see if it’s accurate! 

- Ciara

January 27, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

New reports on absenteeism in D.C.’s Head Start programs

EDUCATION
The Urban Institute has released two companion reports on the absenteeism in Head Start programs in D.C. Public Schools. According to the reports, more than 25 percent of the students enrolled last school year were chronically absent, having missed at least 10 percent of the year. (WaPo, 1/26)

Overall, less than half – 44 percent – of the school system’s Head Start students had what one report called “satisfactory attendance,” which is missing 5 percent or less of the school year.

Research shows that early attendance problems often persist, putting children at greater risk of performing poorly on math or reading tests in elementary school, repeating a grade or dropping out of school.

The newly released reports are Absenteeism in DC Public Schools Early Education Program and Insights into Absenteeism in DCPS Early Childhood Program.

PHILANTHROPY | As we move full speed ahead into the new year, thought leaders including WRAG’s own Tamara Copeland, Rosie Allen-Herring of United Way of the National Capital Area, and Vikki Spruill of the Council on Foundations offer their insights on what they think lies ahead this year for philanthropy in the Washington region. (WaPo, 1/25)

ARTS/EQUITY | While THEARC in D.C.’s Ward 8 celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, advocates and admirers of the arts focus on how to get more cultural offerings east of the river. (Elevation DC, 1/27)

“We need a gallery, we need space—period,” says Kimberly Gaines, a creative consultant who lives in Deanwood. She says that it’s a struggle to find good spaces to display art. That the arts organizations that do exist in Ward 7 often need help navigating the grantmaking process. And that some talented artists are being overlooked.

[…]

A vibrant art community east of the river would bring residents closer, she says. “This side of town, we’re commuters. We commute downtown. It’s difficult not having art-related entertainment on this side of town. Now, fortunately, you can go over to Southeast, but even still, you’re leaving your community. I just want to see a show in my neighborhood.”

Related for Funders: Next week, WRAG’s Arts & Humanities Working Group will meet to discuss issues related to diversity and racial equity in the region’s cultural sector. More information is available here. Please note that this meeting is for grantmakers only.

HOMELESSNESS | Homeless Population at Motels Continues to Climb, at a Cost of Millions (WCP, 1/26)

HEALTH | Brian Castrucci of the de Beaumont Foundation delves into the growing primary care physician shortage facing insured Americans, and how primary care and public health can work together to remedy the problem. (HuffPo, 1/26)

REGION | As part of their You Are Here project, MIT Researchers have put together some new graphics showing the average median household income for each stop on the Metro system’s lines. The graphs also include overall income averages for each line, with the Orange line having the highest at $97,236. (WaPo, 1/26)

ECONOMY | Inequality Is Not Just About Wall Street: It’s In All 50 States (WSJ, 1/27)


Check out how a photo of a young man helped raise over $400,000 in just one day. 

- Ciara

January 26, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

A difficult recovery of wealth for once thriving black families in Prince George’s County

ECONOMY/EQUITY
The Washington Post presents a multi-part series (part 1 and part 2) on the rise and fall of Prince George’s County’s black middle class. The community’s residents, once a majority of affluent black families, experienced a great deal of loss as a result of the housing crisis fueled by subprime loans – losses that have proven to be extraordinarily difficult to recover from. (WaPo, 1/24 and 1/25)

African Americans for decades flocked to Prince George’s County to be part of a phenomenon that has been rare in American history: a community that grew more upscale as it became more black.

[…]

But today, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county stands out for a different reason — its residents have lost far more wealth than families in neighboring, majority-white suburbs. And while every one of these surrounding counties is enjoying a strong rebound in housing prices and their economies, Prince George’s is lagging far behind, and local economists say a full recovery appears unlikely anytime soon.

REGION | Lately, our region has been challenged with urgent calls to action from leaders concerned about the area economy. In this letter to the editor printed in The Washington Business Journal, WRAG president, Tamara Copeland, writes about why she applauds this call, and pledged philanthropy’s support of their effort. (WRAG, 1/26)

WRAG | Community service is often handed out by judges in a court of law as punishment, but shouldn’t it be viewed as a high calling? WRAG board member Wilton Corkern, trustee of the Corina Higginson Trust, recently wrote a letter to the editor printed in The Washington Post, where he shares his thoughts on the heels of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell’s sentencing. (WaPo, 1/8)

FOOD
– Today, the Washington Regional Food Funders (WRFF) publish their policy brief, An Equitable Regional Food System For Greater Washington: The Imperative and Opportunity for Change. In this high-level overview of the range of work underway to transform our region’s food system, WRFF urges our region’s political leaders to become more deeply engaged in ensuring that everyone in our region has equitable access to good food.

– On Wednesday, January 28th, WRAG members Celeste A. James (Kaiser Permanente) and Yanique Redwood (Consumer Health Foundation) will be leading panels at the New Partners for Smart Growth preconference workshop entitled, Healthy Food Systems: Opportunities to Grow Resilient, Equitable Communities 2.0. Information on registration for this workshop at the Baltimore Hilton Hotel can be found here.

ARTS
– Amid news of the upcoming Dupont underground arts space, The Kojo Nnamdi Show explores what it takes to create more development for the arts in the region. (WAMU, 1/22)

– Though there are hubs for art in a number of areas across the District, one area lacking space for artists is Ward 7. There, some artists are looking to change that. (East City Art, 1/22)

DISTRICT | 3 Ways DC Could Be a Very Different Place by 2030 (DCInno, 1/23)

EDUCATION/VIRGINIA 
– Facing a steadily rising population boom, Arlington officials grapple with how to accommodate an unprecedented rise in the student population – and quickly. (WaPo, 1/23)

Full day kindergarten, specialty busing, all on chopping block at Prince William schools (Potomac Local, 1/23)

POVERTY | Study: Poor Boys Are More Likely to Fight, Lie, and Steal if They Live in Mixed-Income Housing (New Republic, 1/22)


Forget player stats and averages…let’s breakdown Super Bowl Sunday by the numbers that really matter – like how many chicken wings will people eat?

- Ciara

January 23, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Friday roundup – Jan. 19 through Jan. 23, 2015

THIS WEEK IN LGBT NEWS
Mayor Muriel Bowser has appointed activists Sheila Alexander-Reid and Terrance Laney as the head and deputy director of the newly renamed Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Affairs. (DCist, 1/22)

Along with these two appointments, Bowser also announced a slight, yet nonetheless significant change to the Office Alexander-Reid and Laney will be leading. The office, which was previously known as the Office of GLBT Affairs is now the Office of LGBT Affairs to “better align with the community’s embrace of the term LGBT,” Bowser said.

Though gay marriage is legal in D.C., there’s still quite a bit of issues facing the LGBTQ community, and Alexander-Reid outlined what some of those priorities would be. “We have a lot to celebrate,” she said, “but we still have a lot of work to do.” Affordable housing, AIDS awareness, access to equal healthcare, and a focus on the transgender community are all priorities Alexander-Reid said her office would focus on.

THIS WEEK IN THE REGION
– With a new year upon us, many researchers took a look further into the future with some helpful graphs and  maps showing how the workforce may look in the next five years, and how the region may change over the next 15 years. (WaPo, 1/18 and Urban Institute 1/22)

THIS WEEK IN EDUCATION
– $20 million in investments were announced to support programming and to open a new college prep school in the District for black and Latino male students. The plan is known as the “Empowering Males of Color” initiative. (WaPo, 1/21)

– Researchers found that sending text messages to high school students nudging them to complete their required college forms made them more likely to enroll in college. The research team also found that sending helpful text messages to low-income freshman students made them more likely to return and complete their sophomore year. (NYT, 1/17)

THIS WEEK IN TRANSIT/EQUITY
– Arlington County seeks to connect more residents with access to bikeshare programs by allowing cash memberships to the unbanked. Bikeshare programs typically require a credit card for subscriptions. (GGW, 1/21)

THIS WEEK IN PHILANTHROPY
– In an op-ed, Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, shared his thoughts on the supposedly “broken nonprofit model,” and why he thinks nonprofits deserve a little more credit. (Chronicle, 1/20)

– The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has released their seventh annual letter. Here are the three biggest takeaways from this year’s message. (Chronicle, 1/23)


London’s urban skyline will continue to make people a little hungry.

- Ciara

January 22, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

$20 million to support male black and Latino students in the District announced

EDUCATION
D.C. Public Schools Chancellor, Kaya Henderson, has announced plans to invest $20 million into support programs for black and Latino male students under the “Empowering Males of Color” initiative. Plans also include opening a new college prep school for boys east of the Anacostia by 2017. (WaPo, 1/21)

Henderson said her decision to invest heavily in the specific needs of boys of color has everything to do with “mathematics.” Black and Latino boys make up 43 percent of the students enrolled in D.C. public schools. By almost any measure – reading and math scores, attendance and graduation rates – their performance is lagging.

“Far too many students are not benefiting from the progress we are making,” Henderson said at a news conference at the remodeled Ballou High School in Ward 8. “It’s a very real, very urgent problem.”

[…]

In the District, 48 percent of black male students and 57 percent of Hispanic male students graduate in four years, compared with 66 percent of their classmates. Only about a third of black male students are proficient in reading and math, according to the DC CAS scores, compared with almost 60 percent of students who are not black or Latino males.

– Another integral part of the new “Empowering Males of Color” initiative is the recruitment of 500 mentors for 500 male students. Those interested in becoming mentors can complete this form.

Essay Instead of a Test? Va. Lawmakers Reconsider Graduation Requirements (WAMU, 1/22)

COMMUNITY
– George Jones, chief executive officer of Bread for the Cityan advocate for the fight against poverty in D.C., was honored as Georgetown’s 2015 John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award recipient at the Kennedy Center on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! You can watch the video here. Thanks to the Naomi & Nehemiah Cohen Foundation for sharing.

PHILANTHROPYOpen Society Foundation‘s Campaign for Black Male Achievement has spun off into its own organization after being based at the foundation since 2008. The change signals the continued interest in greater investment in toward young men of color. (Chronicle, 1/21)

Open Society Foundations provided the spinoff with an initial five-year grant of $10-million. Mr. Dove says five other organizations, including the Robert Wood Johnson, John S. and James L. Knight, and Skillman foundations, the California Endowment, and Casey Family Programs have also provided support.

REGION
– How will the region (and the rest of the United States) change over the next 15 years? The Urban Institute has released an interactive map of the future based on current trends. (Urban Institute, 1/22)

– According to a new report by a marketing firm, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are all among the top 10 places in the country with the highest percentage of households worth more than $1 million. Maryland leads the pack for the second year in a row with 7.67 percent. (Washingtonian, 1/21)

VETERANS | A new bakery in Georgetown offers more than just coffee and croissants. The business recruits veterans who are re-entering the workforce into a six month work-study program in which they learn all about running a business and take classes at Georgetown University. (DCist, 21)

DISTRICT | A former Google executive and his team have been releasing a series of maps for a number of cities, including the District, that highlight data on a number of interesting topics. The maps include data for D.C.’s food deserts and environmental information. (WaPo, 1/21)

TRANSIT | Awaiting a decision, activists rally for the Purple Line (GGW, 1/21)


One way to predict a person’s risk for heart disease? Their tweets!

- Ciara

January 21, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

The State of the Union and the social sector

ICYMI/NONPROFITS
In case you missed it, President Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address last night. As usual, the president touched on a number of topics, many of which could offer a template for the work of the social sector, as Nonprofit Quarterly points out (WaPo, 1/20 and NPQ, 1/20):

[…] the president, any president, isn’t the only author of social change in our nation. As shown through the president’s comments on race relations after Ferguson, normalization of diplomatic relations with and ending the embargo against Cuba, and protecting the civil rights of the LGBT population, change comes from the mobilization of the American public in social movements, pressuring the executive and legislative branches to do what is really important for the American public. That’s especially true, more than ever, with a divided Congress whose members are more prone to posture and fight rather than understand and act.

The onus is therefore on the nonprofit sector to pick up on the social movement building that these times – and the president’s SOTU proposals – require and to mobilize their constituencies around the messages of helping working people, raising tax rates on the super wealthy, creating more job opportunities, and making community colleges free. And in addition, as a result of the speech, nonprofits and the communities they represent have a new agenda for creating a narrative on the issues that the SOTU underplayed or missed entirely: dealing directly with poverty, expanding humanitarian aid, and cleaning up election finance. It’s time for a new nonprofit sector State of the Union strategy.

WORKFORCE/REGION | What economists think the D.C.-area work force could look like in five years (WaPo, 1/18)

FOOD
| No food until you finish your recess? A new study suggests that one way to get students to eat more servings of fruits and vegetables at lunchtime is to have them go to recess first. In fact, students who ate lunch after recess were shown to consume 54 percent more fruits and vegetables than those eating lunch before recess. (NPR, 1/20)

IMPACT INVESTING | The World Economic Forum recently highlighted five high-level tips for family offices seeking to engage in the world of impact investing. (SSIR, 1/19)

EDUCATION
-  Could something as simple as a few text messages be a perfect solution to helping low-income students reach college and achieve their goals? Research shows it can certainly help. (NYT, 1/18)

High test scores at many charter schools may actually be “false positives” (GGW, 1/20)

TRANSIT
- In an effort to make bikeshare memberships more accessible to low-income riders without a bank account, Arlington is set to begin offering $7 monthly cash membership fees to encourage equity in the use of the program. (GGW, 1/21)

– Metro Weighs Fare Hikes and Service Cuts (WCP, 1/20)

CORRECTION
| In yesterday’s lead story, The Washington Post incorrectly described the “ban the box” bill as circulating through the D.C. Council. Many thanks to Ben Murphy at the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region for pointing out that the bill passed last year – and with the support of many CFNCR grantees, including D.C. Employment Justice Center, D.C. Appleseed and DCFPI.


Take a look at how improvisational skills can be a very useful tool in any workplace.

– Ciara

January 20, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

The struggle for returning citizens

WORKFORCE
For those who have previously been incarcerated, the journey from prison to life as a returning citizen can be a long and difficult path to navigate. With many men who have exited the prison system reporting that they have very little to no education or job skills, and having experienced a great deal of trauma, it appears that much greater support is needed. (WaPo, 1/16)

The plight of someone coming back to society from incarceration is still largely misunderstood, and the population is inadequately served, comparatively. It is estimated that 60,000 people in D.C. have criminal records, with more than 8,000 returning each year from various prison populations. Recently a “ban the box” bill has been circulating through the City Council, an attempt to prevent employers from discriminating against job candidates based on their criminal records.

[…]

According to the D.C. Department of Corrections, from fiscal years 2008 to 2014, the number of inmates dropped 41 percent, from 3,100 to 1,841. During the same time, the city began releasing inmates at a faster clip than previously. That means there are more people out looking to rebuild lives. And the largest percentage of those people are black men, aged 21 to 30.

FOOD | Demand For Food Aid Rises Sharply in Washington, D.C. (WAMU, 1/16)

HEALTH | A new study from Johns Hopkins University points to being poor, African American, or Puerto Rican as the most important factors in determining a child’s risk for asthma. Previously, studies have determined that living in a major city was the most important risk factor, but this study showed some slightly different results (WTOP, 1/20):

Lead study author Dr. Corinne Keet, a pediatric allergy and asthma specialist at Johns Hopkins, says where there is poverty – whether it’s the inner city or in suburban areas — children are at risk for asthma.

[…]

“Twenty or 30 years ago, the areas that had the most concentrated poverty were really in the inner cities. Although there still are a lot of very poor inner-city areas in the U.S. right now, the highest rate of concentrated poverty is in the suburban areas.”

PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: Are there way too many nonprofits to produce real impact these days? An author has advice on what funders should do in response. (Inside Philanthropy, 1/14)

ARTS & HUMANITIES | Humanities Endowment Seeks to Fund Research on Public Issues (NYT, 1/15)


It’s the third full week in January when research shows that New Year’s resolutions begin to die off. Here are some tips for staying on track!

- Ciara

January 16, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

The region looks toward the future

There’s a lot of news to share, so here is your regular Daily WRAG edition instead of the Friday roundup. Enjoy the long weekend!

REGION/ECONOMY
This week we saw a number of issues that collectively impacted the region – a losing bid in the 2024 Olympics, questions surrounding the efficacy and safety of the Metro system, a new infrastructure report from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), and a dim outlook for the regional economy. In the aftermath of these recent news stories, The Washington Business Journal poses the question: How can the area further unify and encourage regionalism in order to press forward? – Subscription required (WBJ, 1/16)

If business leaders could come together to make a viable bid for the Olympics in fewer than 18 months, how do we harness that momentum to solve some of these regional problems?

[…]

It is unknown what specifically sunk the Washington 2024 bid, but infrastructure – transportation, water, energy – is an Achilles’ heel for the region. According to COG’s State of the Region: Infrastructure Report, released Jan. 14, infrastructure needs for the next 15 years top $58 billion.

These massive efforts will not be accomplished by government alone, [Chuck] Bean said. The private sector must play a role.

– On the heels of yesterday’s forecast for the Greater Washington economy by Stephen Fuller, the economist along with president of the 2030 Group, Bob Buchanan, issued a call to action for the region’s key players in the form of a regional economic summit – Subscription required (WBJ, 1/15):

Fuller and Buchanan are calling for a regional summit of business and government leaders to focus on broad efforts to help reinvigorate the economy. Such a meeting – a date and other details haven’t been set – would come in the wake of Washington being passed over to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, which supporters touted as a huge planning and economic development opportunity.

[…]

Buchanan said the area needs “a new generation of leaders who believe in regionalism.” He said it’s “discouraging” and “almost embarrassing” that the region hasn’t done a better job of working together and making long-term investments in infrastructure.

D.C., Maryland, Virginia advancing many high-impact transportation projects in 2015 (WaPo, 1/14)

EDUCATION
– According to a new report, during the 2012-2013 school year, 51 percent of students in pre-K through 12th grade were eligible for free and reduced-priced lunch under federal guidelines. This is the first time in 50 years that a majority of U.S. public school students are living in poverty. (WaPo, 1/16)

‘Books from Birth’ plan aims to bridge word gap among District children (WaPo, 1/16)

PHILANTHROPY | Why Diversity Matters in Philanthropy (Noozhawk, 1/15)

DISTRICT | Young Parents still more likely to leave D.C., tax data shows (WaPo, 1/16)

VETERANS | Opinion: Does the passing of the recent Hire More Heroes Act actually help veterans? Or is it a misguided good-faith effort? (WaPo, 1/15)

POVERTY | Sometimes the best way to find out about a situation is to go straight to the source. In a recent discussion on the website Reddit, a number of users chimed in on how they get by as poor Americans. The discussion revealed a number of areas where low-income people struggle and must choose between basic needs. (WaPo, 1/14)


For the well traveled among us – Can you identify which cities these transit signs belong to? I probably need to get out more!

-Ciara

January 15, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

An update on Greater Washington’s economy

REGION/ECONOMY
In remarks delivered today, George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis economist, Stephen Fuller, warned that the Greater Washington region’s economy could be at risk if a lack of cooperation and government-related business diversification continues. The region’s addition of low-paying jobs is driving median household incomes downward (WBJ, 1/15):

The region is adding more low-paying jobs than high-paying jobs – an alarm Fuller has sounded several times recently. Here’s the math, taken from his presentation: From August 2008 through February 2010 the region lost 177,700 jobs worth $28.4 billion to the regional economy. From August 2008 through November the region gained 242,400 jobs worth $27.4 billion. That leaves a gap of more than $983 million.

The region is adding more leisure and hospitality jobs than professional and business services positions. The result? Average wages have declined the last three years in a row. Median household income has dropped by nearly $2,300 since 2009 in 2013 dollars.

– Much like nearby jurisdictions before them, local legislators in Fairfax County are advocating for a higher minimum wage to combat income inequality. With such varying unemployment rates throughout the state, officials contemplate whether it makes more sense to allow localities to opt in to a higher minimum wage through public referendum. (Fairfax Times, 1/12)

– Should Cities Have a Different Minimum Wage Than Their State? (Atlantic, 1/15)

DISTRICT | The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy has released their 2015 report, Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax System in All 50 States, including findings for D.C. The report shows that progress has been made toward making the D.C. system one in which taxes for low-income residents are close to being the lowest in the nation (only behind Delaware) and includes recommendations for ensuring the District gets there. (DCFPI, 1/14)

MARYLAND | Officials in Prince George’s County say that thanks to stronger coordination and partnerships, crime has dropped considerably in the area over the past four years. Homicides have dropped by 40 percent, while violent crime has fallen by 36 percent. (WaPo, 1/13)

BUDGETTransportation, Education Could Be Big Sticking Points for Hogan’s Budget (WAMU, 1/15)

PHILANTHROPY
– The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has begun seeking nominations for this year’s 2015 Impact Awards. Four foundations will be honored in four categories: Large Private Foundation, Small/Mid-size Foundation, Corporate Foundation and Grantmaking Public Charity. Last year, the Hill-Snowdon Foundation was honored as a Mid-sized Private Foundation.

– Opinion: As Donors, We Need to End Our Stinginess and Dysfunctional Behavior – Subscription required (Chronicle, 1/14)

HEALTH | Though medical care remains a severe cost burden for many American families, a recent survey has found that there has been a significant decline in the number of people who experience financial distress over medical bills and who are avoiding visits to the doctor due to financial concerns. (NYT, 1/15)


What do you think of this morning’s Academy Award Nominations? Bleh!

-Ciara

January 14, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

New report on the region’s systems released today

REGION
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has released their new State of the Region: Infrastructure Report, which closely examines the region’s systems and provides recommendations for how to decrease vulnerabilities over the next 15 years. The report specifically looks at opportunities for greater development, operations and management within the areas of energy, public buildings, public safety communications, transportation and water. The report comes at a particularly important time when the region’s transit system has been shown to be in need of some significant improvements. (WaPo, 1/13 and WBJ, 1/13)

“We want transportation to run smoothly, electricity and natural gas to turn on when we flip the switch, water to flow when we turn on the tap, clear communications in an emergency, and first-class public buildings,” said Phil Mendelson, board chairman of the Council of Governments as well as the D.C. Council chairman, in the preface to the draft report. “However, maintenance and replacement costs in critical sectors have been deferred as leaders have been faced with competing priorities, and the need for investing in new systems to support growth and maintaining a state of good repair totals in the billions.”

The report advocates the creation of a regional “infrastructure exchange” group that would study and prioritize projects and ways of funding them. It also calls for a sustained public education campaign to raise awareness of the region’s infrastructure needs and a series of workshops bringing together experts to “brainstorm out-of-the-box funding mechanisms” to pay for them.

– The U.S. Census Bureau has released a series of maps that look at the age of the population of residents in the region. Overall, the region is getting older, as Millennials (those between the ages of 18-34) are clustering in more urban areas. (GGW,1/13)

MARYLANDMaryland General Assembly to open with one of largest freshmen classes in decades (WaPo, 1/13)

COMMUNITY | Congratulations to Rosie Allen-Herring (United Way of the National Capital Area), Terri Copeland (PNC Bank), and Debbi Jarvis (Pepco Holdings, Inc.) for being honorees of the Washington Business Journal’s class of 2015 Minority Business Leader Awards! (WBJ, 1/14)

POVERTY | More and more churches are assisting their members with securing manageable loans as a welcome alternative to the high-interest payday loans that often keep those in need buried in debt. (WaPo, 1/9)

HEALTH | Studies have shown that while high rates of smoking persist among low-income Americans, high-income families have been smoking significantly less than they once did. Low-income individuals are also found to have a much harder time trying to kick the habit. (WaPo, 1/14)

ARTS
Kennedy Center, Washington Performing Arts to collaborate on new orchestral festival in 2017 (WaPo. 1/13)

– Previously, we learned that a group of arts organizations had signed a lease to occupy the abandoned streetcar tunnels under Dupont Circle. Now, you can get a glimpse of what that space looks like. (GGW, 1/13)

NONPROFITS | Applications to the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington are now open. Nonprofits can apply to become a part of the network by submitting an application by midnight on Friday, February 27th.

EQUALITY | New Report: America may be ready for a female president, but female CEOs? Not so much (WaPo, 1/14)

CORRECTION | In yesterday’s post, A Letter to Foundation Trustees and Execs Considering Closing a Foundation, The Summit Fund of Washington was incorrectly listed as The Summit Foundation.


What would you do if she sat next to you on the bus?

- Ciara

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