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June 24, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

New report shines light on high rates of student trauma

The Children’s Law Center has released a new report detailing the high rates of trauma that many D.C. students carry with them from home to the classroom. The report also discusses the ways in which the public school system can effectively address the issue and bring about lasting reform. (WaPo, 6/24)

“Education reforms in the District will not fully succeed if schools do not address the trauma that students bring with them to class,” the report said.


Advocates argue that trauma is a pressing issue in the District, where 1 in 4 children live in poverty, with household incomes of less than $24,000 a year. In wards 7 and 8, the poverty rate is close to 50 percent.

Children from poor families are more often exposed to chronic stress and traumatic experiences. Last school year, about 4,000 D.C. public school students were homeless, the report said. At the end of 2014, more than 1,000 D.C. children were growing up in foster care. And with one out of every 50 adults incarcerated, many children have a parent in prison.

According to the report, children can be affected by a single event or by ongoing trauma. It harms executive functioning and their ability to regulate emotions and shapes the way their brains develop. Children who have been traumatized often feel unsafe and can’t concentrate. They may be withdrawn or have a strong emotional reaction to something seemingly harmless.

Click here to access the full report.

Opinion: Is Special Education Racist? (NYT, 6/24)

– Despite the closure of Rosslyn’s Artisphere arts center, the region’s creative community remains optimistic with a little imaginative thinking and support from sources like the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. (Washingtonian, 6/23)  

NoMa Parks Foundation Chooses Second Underpass Design (DCist, 6/23)

– This week, the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed a bill that will require all employers to give employees paid sick leave and paid time off. Though the bill will not go into effect until late next year, here are five things to know about the new law. (Bethesda Magazine, 6/23)

Minimum Wage For Tipped Workers Set At $4 In Montgomery County (WAMU, 6/24)

RACIAL EQUITY/DISTRICT | Digital legislative data company Quorum has released an interactive map displaying the concentration of race within the District’s neighborhoods. (DCInno, 6/23)

REGION | Cities and counties come to grips with the high cost of recycling programs (WaPo, 6/23)

NONPROFITS | RAISE DC announces their Data Spotlight Awards, highlighting the schools and nonprofits that use data in innovative and impactful ways to address challenges youth face from cradle to career.  Organizations can apply here by July 24 to win a $10,000 award for their data endeavors.

PHILANTHROPY | Grantmakers for Effective Organizations presents their newest publication, Learning Together, that examines open learning and evaluation practices among grantees, other funders, community members, government agencies and more, along with some informative case studies. (GEO, 6/17)

Multitasking at its finest…this baseball fan caught a foul ball while feeding his baby.  

– Ciara

June 23, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

New reports on the critical need for affordable housing in the Greater Washington Region

In response to alarming data surrounding housing affordability in the region, the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group (GWHLG) presents a new report by Nonprofit Quarterly columnist Rick Cohen. The report – supported by Enterprise Community Partners, Citi Foundation, and WRAG – highlights the need for collaboration to invest in solving the region’s affordable housing crisis. Click here to access the full report, Call the Question: Will the Greater Washington Region Collaborate and Invest to Solve its Affordable Housing Shortage? 

Since June 2014, the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group – a collection of more than a dozen public and private sector leaders concerned about housing affordability – has been meeting to examine: 1) the nature of the affordable housing shortage in the greater Washington area; 2) the relationship of housing affordability to economic growth; and 3) strategies to increase affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households in the region.

In July 2014, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region released new research, Housing Security in the Washington Region, prepared by the Urban Institute and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments based on 2011 data, the most recent available. A key finding of the study concludes that, currently, 250,000 households (including 147,000 renter households) making less than 80 percent of the area median income are paying more than half of their gross income on housing costs.

The full extent of the affordable housing shortage required an analysis of future economic growth and accompanying populations. Research from the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis (CRA) shows that future growth industries for our region will be in the retail, hospitality, healthcare, and construction sectors – jobs which pay lower wages. Thousands of critical jobs in today’s workforce also fall in the lowerto moderate-income range, including teachers, health care professionals, entry level office workers, and local government employees. In 2015, CRA developed affordable housing need projections based on their latest regional economic outlook projections showing a need for the region to provide 149,000 new low-income housing units between 2011 and 2023 to accommodate projected job growth in the region.


– Another newly-released report (mentioned above) by Jeannette Chapman of the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis – commissioned by Enterprise Community Partners, and supported by GWHLG – focuses on regional solutions for Greater Washington’s affordable housing needs by the year 2023. The report titled, The Greater Washington Region’s Future Housing Needs: 2023, can be found here.

– The Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND) has released a public service announcement campaign to raise awareness about the great need for affordable housing using statistics about the average take-home pay for the professionals who are often very important in our daily lives. Have you seen this PSA around yet?

What’s ‘new’ in affordable housing? Not a lot — yet (Elevation DC, 6/19)

EDUCATION/DISTRICT | After a recent independent evaluation on the state of D.C. schools by the National Research Council, education leaders agree that although the system has come a long way, it still needs a lot of work to get to where it needs to be. (WaPo, 6/22)

POVERTY | A quarter of Americans are one emergency away from financial ruin (WaPo, 6/23)

How’s this for a real Metro map? What do you think?

– Ciara

June 22, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Affordable housing crisis in every county in America

A new report from the Urban Institute finds that the amount of extremely low-income households has grown nationwide since 2000, while federal housing-assistance programs have not kept up with the need. In fact, according to the study, there is no county within the United States that currently has enough affordable housing for families in extreme poverty. (City Lab, 6/18)

New research from the Urban Institute shows that the supply of housing for extremely low-income families, which was already in short supply, is only declining. In 2013, just 28 of every 100 extremely low-income families could afford their rental homes. [That] figure is down from 37 of 100 in 2000 – a 25 percent decline over a little more than a decade.

Using data from the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, researchers built an interactive map to illustrate the nationwide reach of the problem. In no county in the U.S. does the supply of affordable housing meet the demand among extremely low-income households. (Families who made no more than 30 percent of an area’s median household income were considered “extremely low income.”)

You can find the interactive map from the Urban Institute here.

– Tomorrow morning, at the 2015 Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND) Annual Meeting, The Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group (GWHLG) will host a plenary session entitled Regional Strategies to Increase Affordable Housing Development and Preservation in the Greater Washington Area. GWHLG is comprised of nonprofit, public, philanthropic, and business leaders, and is convened by WRAG. You can follow the conversation tomorrow on Twitter using the hashtag #HANDAM2015. The event will also coincide with the release of a new report on how to collaborate and invest to solve the region’s affordable housing shortage by Rick Cohen, sponsored by Enterprise, Citi Foundation, and WRAG.

FINANCE/FOUNDATIONS | WRAG’s Director of Corporate Strategy, Katy Moore, discusses the two surprising things all foundation staff should know when it comes to excise tax rules – the topic of last week’s Foundation Finance Affinity Group meeting. (Daily, 6/22)

– Congratulations to WRAG members Capital One (#1) and MedImmune (#20) for being named top places to work in the DC region by The Washington Post!  (WaPo, 6/19)

– On July 23 at 8:00 am, the United Way of the National Capital Area (UWNCA) will hold their 2015 Annual Community Meeting and Nonprofit Expo at Catholic University of America. Anyone interested in learning about UWNCA, the nonprofit sector, or opportunities to learn and share with community networks should register here.

PHILANTHROPY | New Blog Examines Today’s Philanthropy by Comparing It With The Past (Chronicle, 6/19)

– D.C. has four new public art pieces to check out around the city. (WCP, 6/19)

Working Smarter – not Harder – when Advocating for the Arts (Artsblog, 6/18)

REGION | Higher Unemployment in Virginia (WBJ, 6/19)

The time a cat won an award for being a “Hero Dog.”

– Ciara

June 22, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Two things you really (really!) need to know about foundation excise tax rules (even if you’re not a finance officer)

by Katy Moore
Director of Corporate Strategy
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Have you ever finished checking out at the grocery store only to realize that you accidentally swiped your foundation credit card? This might be a bigger deal than you think, even if you immediately pay the foundation back.

Private foundations are held accountable to a strict set of rules and regulations, and can incur costly penalties for breaking these rules. In last week’s Foundation Finance Affinity Group meeting, Andrew Schulz, General Counsel for Arabella Advisors, reviewed a number of useful tips for navigating private foundation excise tax rules. There were two specific topics that surprised many attendees:

Credit cards:  Did you know that if a foundation trustee, staff member, or other disqualified person accidentally uses his or her foundation credit card to pay for a personal expense it’s considered self-dealing? The IRS considers this a loan/extension of credit to a disqualified person and is, therefore, subject to excise tax penalties. Even if that person quickly remedies the situation by paying back the amount, technically it must still be reported as self-dealing and a 10 percent penalty applies. If the situation is not corrected, the penalties go up to 200 percent. Yikes. (NOTE: These penalties are the responsibility of the individual involved NOT the foundation. Also, since figuring out what disclosure is required and what penalty is owed can be complex, be sure to consult with your tax advisor if this has happened to you.)

Event sponsorships: These can be very tricky for private foundations, especially when the sponsorship includes tickets, a meal, or other tangible benefits. For example, let’s say your foundation sponsors a gala table for $10,000 and receives 10 tickets in return. In addition to attending the event, each person gets a meal valued at $100. Foundation staff and trustees who have a reason to be present at the gala for foundation purposes may attend. However, those staff and/or trustees may NOT bring their spouses, family members, or other disqualified persons as guests.  IRS rules clearly state that disqualified persons may not receive goods or services from the foundation or as a result of the foundation’s investments or activities. In this scenario, the disqualified person (i.e. the spouse or other guest) would receive a $100 meal benefit and would, therefore, be subject to excise tax penalties.

These are just two examples of complicated IRS excise tax rules that have everyday implications. For more information about how to avoid costly excise tax penalties, contact your tax advisor.

This event was the second in a three-part series for WRAG’s newest affinity group: foundation finance officers. The last installment in the series is scheduled for October 8 and will focus on Calculating the 5% Distribution. For more information about the group or to register for the next event, please contact Katy Moore.

June 19, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Friday roundup – June 15 through June 19, 2015

– CECP, in association with The Conference Board, released an infographic highlighting results of their annual Giving in Numbers Survey, which looks at trends in the field of corporate societal engagement.

– The 2015 Giving USA: Annual Report on Philanthropy found that charitable giving is estimated to have risen to a record $358.4 billion last year. The Chronicle of Philanthropy broke down some of the report’s key findings (Chronicle, 6/16)

– Most children can’t wait until school lets out for the summer, but for many homeless students not being at school can mean hunger and instability. (WAMU, 6/12)

– A report shows that youth ages 16 to 24 who live in majority-black neighborhoods are 10 times more likely to be disconnected than those living in majority-white neighborhoods of the same city. “Disconnected youth” refers to those who are neither employed nor in school. (City Lab, 6/11)

– We’re already familiar with gender and racial wage disparities that have persisted in America’s workforce. Now, a recent study reveals evidence of yet another wage gap – the gay wage gap. (Atlantic, 6/17)

– A new report by DC Jobs for Justice looked at the true impact of on-call and split-shift scheduling for hourly workers in the District.  (WCP, 6/11)

See how zoo keepers all over are reenacting a scene from Jurassic World. Don’t worry, no spoilers.

– Ciara 



June 18, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Bringing mental health services to high-poverty schools

Some schools in the District are working to bring mental health services to low-income students whose behavioral needs can often go unmet in the midst of performance expectations in the classroom. (GGW, 6/18)

Education reformers have tended to focus on what goes on inside classrooms, saying that poverty is no excuse for low expectations. Others have countered that teachers can’t be held responsible for solving social ills that inevitably spill over into schools. Some schools, including the KIPP DC charter network, are trying to find a middle ground.

Poor families tend to experience more than their share of violence, mental illness, addiction, housing insecurity, and other challenges. That leads to a high degree of stress, which in turn can cause a host of behavioral and cognitive problems in children. While not all students in high-poverty schools have suffered trauma, the outbursts of a few can disrupt learning for all.


While many schools have social workers and even psychologists on staff, they’re often occupied with testing and compliance with special education requirements. They may have neither the time nor the training to deal with traumatized kids. Teachers usually don’t have that kind of training either.

D.C. Sets Employment Goal for Older Summer Jobs Program Participants (WCP, 6/17)

– Exponent Philanthropy‘s senior program director Ruth Masterson discusses how foundation trustees and staff can go about leading the charge for change from the inside out. (PhilanthroFiles, 6/16)

Celebrating ADA: It’s Time to Add a Disability Lens to Our Philanthropy (D5 Coalition, 6/18)

– The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Capital One have announced that their joint Hiring 500,000 Heroes campaign reached its goal of helping half a million veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment at more than 2,000 businesses. (U.S. Chamber Foundation, 6/16)

– Congratulations to Booz Allen Hamilton for being a recipient of the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles award from the National Business Group on Health. (Booz Allen, 6/17)

AGING | The Urban Institute offers some recommendations for innovative community and housing adaptations for the expanding number of aging Baby Boomers in America. (Urban Wire, 6/15)

Everything you could possibly ever want to know about coffee is here

– Ciara

June 17, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Using technology to hone in on hunger

Some organizations, like Capital Area Food Bank, are utilizing emerging technology to map hunger and use data to hone in on those who need the most food assistance in the region. Through their research, they discovered that many of the families experiencing poverty and in need of the most help live in Washington-area suburbs, not urban areas as was typically the trend in years past. (WaPo, 6/16)

This trend has manifested across the country, and the District has been no exception. At the turn of the millennium, more than 214,000 people lived below the poverty level in the District’s suburbs. But that figure has since surged nearly 40 percent, according to data provided by the Brookings Institution. More than 346,000 residents live in suburban poverty. In that same time frame, the number of urban residents living in poverty also rose — but at a much slower clip. In 2000, more than 135,000 impoverished residents lived in Arlington, Alexandria and the District. Since then, that figure has risen by only 10 percent, to nearly 150,000.


The suburbanization of poverty has complicated the effort in fighting it. For one, this shift has stranded some of the region’s poorest residents far from resources­ that can help them. Earlier incarnations of poverty clustered in urban environments, spawning robust social networks that serviced those communities. But this nascent suburbanization of poverty frays that network. The suburban poor aren’t just spread out — they’re difficult to find, inhabiting the shadows of even the wealthiest communities across Montgomery County.

Opinion: Despite the growing number of American students living in poverty, a remarkable number of children are not able to access or benefit from the summer meals program. Bill Shore of Share Our Strength writes about the great need for innovation in the social sector to mirror that of other industries like the tech world, for example. (Chronicle, 6/17)

LGBT/WORKFORCE | Unequal Pay: The Gay Wage Gap (Atlantic, 6/17)

PHILANTHROPY | In celebration of the 14th annual National Capital Philanthropy Day and their 50th anniversary, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Washington, DC Metro Chapter (AFP-DC) invites associations and nonprofits based in the District to nominate individuals/organizations for awards including: Outstanding Philanthropist, Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer, Outstanding Corporate Partner, Outstanding Foundation Partner, Outstanding Diversity Leader, and Outstanding Fundraising Professional. Nominations will be accepted until Friday, June 19.

ARTS/HOMELESSNESS | Street Art Highlights The Plight of Growing Numbers Of Homeless D.C. Residents (WAMU, 6/16)

HEALTHCARE | For most, enrolling in a health insurance plan can be an overwhelming task (especially when you need to know the difference between an EPO, HMO, PPO, etc.). Research shows that many computer-savvy millennials are not immune to a lack of health insurance literacy and, like some other demographics, find online enrollment to be a very difficult process. (NPR, 6/16)

What happens to a Kickstarter dream deferred (i.e. a project that raised $0)? Sometimes they end up on this website.



June 16, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Annual report on American philanthropy estimates record giving

According to the newly released 2015 Giving USA: Annual Report on Philanthropy, charitable giving is estimated to have risen to a record $358.4 billion last year. The Chronicle of Philanthropy breaks down some of the report’s key findings (Chronicle, 6/16):

The figures show that donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations last year topped the record giving figure achieved in 2007, just before the recession started to affect donation figures. The recovery was the shortest on record after such a devastating and deep recession and was also far faster than experts had predicted. Some had said it would take a decade or more until giving bounced back.

“Giving USA” says now that the 2009-to-2014 recovery is the fastest on record in the past 40 years. The report, researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, is considered the most comprehensive source of data on patterns on Americans’ charitable giving.


As the economy grew, philanthropy grew even faster. Giving reached 2.1 percent of GDP of last year — up from 2.0 percent in 2013 and the highest it’s been since 2003. That growth may seem insignificant, but each 0.1 percentage point results in an increase of $17 billion.

– Foundation Center president Brad Smith discusses the difficulty foundations often face in embracing the term “inequality.” (Philantopic, 6/16)

ENVIRONMENT/EDUCATION | A new study finds that exposure to green spaces can bolster cognitive outcomes in children. Researchers found students with more vegetation surrounding their schools showed more progress in working memory and attention over the span of a year. (Atlantic, 6/16)

YOUTH | Teenagers Are Losing Confidence in the American Dream (Atlantic, 6/15)

HEALTH/GENDER EQUITY | Insurance Still Doesn’t Cover Childbirth For Some Young Women (NPR, 6/16)

If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all…especially in Arlington County,VA; Fairfax County,VA; and Rockville, MD.

– Ciara

June 15, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Service-sector scheduling practices have negative impact on workers’ well-being

A new report from DC Jobs for Justice examines the true impact of on-call and split-shift scheduling for hourly workers in the District. The scheduling practices are widely used in the service sector and cause more than just minor inconveniences for employees. (WCP, 6/11)

The report found that 40 percent of workers’ schedules will change after they’re posted. About half of the more than 400 people surveyed said they receive only two days’ notice of schedule changes; 30 percent of respondents said they receive less than 24 hours’ notice.

“Just-in-time” scheduling results in unstable incomes, an inability to schedule childcare and second-job shifts reliably, pursue higher education, or acquire a second job, the report says. These practices most negatively impact black and Latino workers, who together comprise about 80 percent of the service sector workforce in D.C.

EQUITY | How our cars, our neighborhoods, and our schools are pulling us apart (WaPo, 6/9)

Opinion: In an effort to continue on the path of necessary education reform, DCPS administrators have created “units of study” aimed at shrinking the persistent achievement gap in the schools. Education advocates remain optimistic about whether or not the new approach will yield significant results. (WaPo, 6/12)

Virtual full-time high school may soon be a reality in Virginia (Loudoun Times, 6/15)

– CECP, in association with The Conference Board, has released an infographic of the results of their annual Giving in Numbers Survey, which looks at trends in the field of corporate societal engagement.

– In D.C., the Milken Family Foundation has announced plans to turn a historic bank into a new museum celebrating teachers that will be known as the Museum of the American Educator. (WBJ, 6/12)

– In a number of American cities, including D.C., those ages 16-24 living in majority-black neighborhoods are ten times more likely to be disconnected than those living in majority-white neighborhoods of the same city. Disconnected youth are individuals who are neither employed nor in school. (City Lab, 6/11)

– The Long, Hot Summer Ahead for D.C.’s Homeless Children (WAMU, 6/12)

Today, the Magna Carta turns 800 years old. See how much you know about Medieval law in this quiz.

– Ciara


June 12, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Friday roundup – June 8 through June 12, 2015

– This week, WRAG president Tamara Copeland critiqued a recent NY Times op-ed on the lack of oversight of philanthropy. (Daily, 6/8)

– Studies show that many of the fears that residents of more affluent communities sometimes have over building affordable housing in close proximity to their homes never become reality. (Atlantic, 6/2)

– Data from the D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer explored why people move in and out of the District. Not surprisingly, housing issues were a major factor in choosing to move out. (WSJ, 6/9)

– A much-needed affordable housing facility specifically geared toward LGBT seniors will soon break ground in the District. (Elevation, 6/8)

– A new film explores the stories of undocumented youth in D.C., sharing the challenges they have faced as immigrants. (WCP, 6/10)


Developing Your Point of View on Philanthropy – Presented by Exponent Philanthropy and Wells Fargo Private Bank in partnership with WRAG (Open to foundation donors, trustees, and staff; individual donors; donor advised fund holders; members of giving circles)
Tuesday, June 16   9:30 am – 12:00 pm (At Wells Fargo – 1300 I Street NW, 11th Floor)

Foundation Finance Affinity Group: Navigating Private Foundation Excise Tax Rules (WRAG member/prospective member CFOs and finance staff)
Thursday, June 18   10:00 am – 12:00 pm (At WRAG)

Can you match these presidential candidates to the number one song that topped the charts when they announced?

– Ciara


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