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July 15, 2013 / Christian Clansky

Would applying strategies for developing nations make our region more equitable?

A few years ago, WRAG partnered with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments to look at disparities in life expectancy across our region. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has taken a similar approach – and they suggest that the way we think about these disparities needs to be altered in a dramatic way (Atlantic, 7/15):

We need to think about the differences between adjacent neighborhoods the way we currently think about the differences between America and Haiti. To [RWJF’s David] Fleming, this may mean importing strategies into U.S. cities that have worked in developing countries (like leveraging community health workers, and not just highly trained doctors). And once you start to see cities the way Fleming does, that also leads to a radical change in some of our most basic assumptions about public health.

Related: Inequality a Predictor of Poor Economic Success in Cities (Atlantic, 5/12)

WORKFORCE | In a guest post for the Daily, the Curtis & Edith Munson Foundation’s Angel Braestrup writes about how unpaid internships – which are so common in our region – “create a ripple of inequality in the labor pool.” She discusses how philanthropy can work to change thinking around internships to ensure that they are more equitable and accessible to lower-income young adults. (Daily, 7/15)

PHILANTHROPY | A new survey from the Chronicle of Philanthropy finds that the nation’s biggest companies expect to increase giving, albeit modestly, in 2013. The survey also found that WRAG member Wells Fargo gave away the most cash in 2012 with $315.8 million, displacing Walmart for the first time in seven years. (Chronicle, 7/15)

COMMUNITY | Over the weekend, baby expert Jennifer Jue (of Washington AIDS Partnership fame) was interviewed by WJLA about the imminent birth of the British royal offspring. Check out her commentary at the :45 and 1:31 marks. During the interview, Jenn’s awesome son, Marcus, can be seen pondering a devious question: What if the baby is a boy and we can trick them into naming him George Washington? Very funny, Marcus!

LOCAL | Following the passage of the “living wage” bill, the District’s deputy mayor for planning and economic development, Victor Hoskins, says that the legislation will reach much further than intended and will likely scare off other retailers (WaPo, 7/15):

“What they’re doing is, they’re killing the golden goose,” Hoskins said of city lawmakers, citing figures of 3,000 permanent jobs, 1,000 construction jobs and untold tax revenue lost over the next 18 months should the bill pass and Wal-Mart follow through on its ultimatum. Although lawmakers may think they are targeting Wal-Mart, he added, other retailers are “concerned it may one day turn on them.”

ENVIRONMENT | How will climate change affect our region in the coming years? In extreme ways, according to the Metropolitan Council of Governments’ new climate adaptation report. Among the changes, the report says we can expect higher temperatures. (WaPo, 7/15)

EDUCATION | Here’s the latest on D.C. Councilmember David Catania’s proposed education reforms, following a series of public hearings. (WaPo, 7/15)

I know people have mixed feelings about Catania’s proposals, but its easy to appreciate his challenge to the opposition. In a hearing, he said, “We’ve put forward a serious proposal that I believe will help stabilize DCPS schools…If you are not in support of what I propose, then what is your alternative?” What are your thoughts?

YOUTH | Va. program sets goals to improve early-childhood education (WaPo, 7/15)


It’s usually hard to read the news and not come to depressing conclusions about the human race. But here’s a story that should restore some faith. Two year-old Hazel is in cancer treatment at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. To have a bit of fun, her mother taped the words “send pizza” and the hospital room number on the window. Then this happened!

And a bonus, since you’ll probably want to sit in front of your desk rather than going to melt outside during lunch – some really neat photos that have popped up on social media over the last week. The elephants aren’t too cheery, but keep scrolling down for a happier ending.

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