THIS WEEK IN HOMELESSNESS
The District announced a plan to eventually close the controversial D.C. General homeless shelter by winter season 2015-2016. Under the new plan, developed with best practices in mind, families will be housed in smaller buildings throughout the city in order to embed services within a variety of communities. In the meantime, the approximately 600 children residing at D.C. General now have a new playground to use. (WAMU, 10/14)
THIS WEEK AT WRAG
WRAG president Tamara Copeland explained what it takes to launch a new initiative, using the Community Wealth Building Initiative as a prime example of what can happen when the right elements come together. (Daily, 10/14)
THIS WEEK IN THE DISTRICT
After seven long months, a winning design for the 11th Street Bridge Project was selected. Are you ready to get into some urban agriculture at “Anacostia Crossing?” We may need to wait until some time in 2018, but it will still certainly be really cool. (DCist, 10/16)
THIS WEEK IN EDUCATION
Some significant disparities were found in a study of per-pupil spending at school districts across the region. Higher amounts spent did not always correlate with district performance, but perhaps most shocking was the big gap between the highest and lowest spending school systems in the region. (WaPo, 10/15)
Just what do the poor, middle class and rich do for a living? Here is an interactive graph displaying the 10 most popular jobs within each income bracket.
An architectural team has been chosen, after a national seven-month competition, to design the 11th Street Bridge that will be D.C.’s first elevated park hovering the Anacostia River. The project seeks to promote greater access to healthy food, physical activity and nature for residents in the area. The bridge park is a collaboration between the nonprofit Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC and the D.C. government, and is supported by private donations. Though the project will take time to further develop, you can view additional photos of how it will look here. (WBJ, 10/16 and DCist, 10/16)
So what can we expect in the new 11th Street Bridge Park? Well, the design, which has a distinct “X” shape and will be built on concrete piers used to support an old freeway bridge, is divided up into sections, each with their own specific attractions. There will be rain gardens, and amphitheater, a picnic garden, a hammock grove, a plaza, a cafe, urban agriculture, interactive art (including a tribute to Frederick Douglass), waterfalls, lawn space, a boat launch port, an environmental education center, and a modern playground for children.
- Once hailed as a potential spark for economic revitalization for Anacostia and Congress Heights, the U.S.Coast Guard Headquarters in Ward 8 has not had much impact so far on the surrounding community. (WCP, 10/15)
HOMELESSNESS/YOUTH | Yesterday, officials cut the ribbon on the new playground at D.C. General Homeless Shelter, run by the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project and funded, in part, through donations by Pepco. The new supervised playground will be for the 600 children who currently reside at the shelter until it is ultimately closed down. (WAMU, 10/15)
AFFORDABLE HOUSING | Why is D.C. so Expensive? Because of Congress (CityLab,10/15)
HEALTH | The days of searching your medical symptoms on the web and diagnosing yourself with every condition may soon be over. Google plans to roll out a new project that will allow people to connect with doctors via video chat to ask questions and learn more about basic health information. (InTheCapital, 10/15)
FOOD | Would You Take the ‘Walk to Get Your Groceries’ Challenge? (CityLab, 10/15)
TRANSIT | Newly released data on Silver Line ridership shows that fifteen percent of commuters who take the train to Tyson’s Corner or Wiehle Avenue are coming from east of the Anacostia River or Prince George’s County. Economic necessities that remain unavailable in the eastern-most areas of the region are a common reason for most to embark on the often complicated and lengthy commute each day. (GGW, 10/15)
EDUCATION | Enrollment in Prince George’s Rises Again (WaPo, 10/15)
NONPROFITS | The Aspen Institute’s Nonprofit Data Project announces that the Bureau of Labor Statistics will soon release research on nonprofit employment and wages. The employment findings will be released in conjunction with a webinar on the new data on Friday, October 17th at 2:00 PM. To find out more, click here.
In honor of the upcoming election, can you name each of the District’s mayors?
A new report by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute reveals the significant disparities in per-pupil spending in the region that show some disconnects between student spending versus school rank. The report is accompanied by an interactive map of district spending. (WaPo, 10/15)
Charter schools in the District spent $18,150 per student during the 2011-2012 school year, while Prince George’s County Public Schools spent $10,408 on each child it served, a significant difference between the highest and lowest spenders in the Washington region, according to a study released Wednesday by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
A student who moves just a few streets away, from a home in the District into Prince George’s County, could see a 42 percent decrease in the amount of funding the school district provides.
- In an effort to get more District students to college, thousands of DCPS high schoolers are taking a free, mandatory SAT test today. (WAMU, 10/15)
HEALTH | The Robert Wood Johnson’s Commission to Build a Healthier America urges that funding priorities shift to emphasize three areas found essential to improving the nation’s health: Increasing access to early childhood development programs; revitalizing low-income neighborhoods; and broadening the mission of health care providers beyond medical treatment. The Commission has determined that these areas have the greatest potential for improving the health of the population, especially for low-income families, and offer the greatest opportunities for collaboration. You can read the recommendations and supporting evidence here.
Related: On Tuesday, October 28th at 9:00 AM, co-chair of the Commission, Alice Rivlin, PhD, will join us to speak on creating healthier communities through cross-sector collaborations and explore how funders can work together by connecting program areas along with those in the public, business, and nonprofit sectors to make our region’s communities stronger and healthier. Rivlin is also a senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and Director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform. The event, “How to Make a Healthier Community,” is for WRAG members and is co-convened by our Healthy Communities Working Group and the Northern Virginia Health Foundation. For more information on registering for this special event, click here.
POVERTY | When discussing poverty in America, one group that is often left out of the conversation are those within the LGBT community. Anti-LGBT policies and discrimination can hinder ones ability to find work or earn livable wages as LGBT individuals struggle disproportionately with poverty. (TalkPoverty, 10/9)
Related: On Wednesday, October 29th at 12:00 PM, WRAG will host a brown bag discussion for members on local and national funding for LGBTQ issues. The discussion will feature Ben Francisco Maulbeck, president of Funders for LGBTQ Issues, as he shares an overview and analysis of the landscape of LGBTQ funding nationally and in our region. Find out more here.
– Yesterday, a new plan was announced to shelter families at D.C. General within smaller facilities around the city. You can get more details about the full plan here. (DC.gov, 10/14)
- What can providing homeless families with private shelter mean for children in the long run? (DCFPI, 10/15)
WORKFORCE | McAuliffe announces budget cuts, layoffs to address revenue shortfall (WaPo, 10/15)
NONPROFITS | What can you do when a fiscal cliff is threatening to stall operations at your organization? Lynsey Wood Jeffries, CEO of Higher Achievement, talks about the six strategies she employed during the organization’s major turnaround in 2012. (SSIR, 9/10)
FOOD | Whole Foods to roll out rankings for produce (WaPo,10/15)
I say “potato,” you say “pehtato”…that is, if you’re from Florida. Check out how other people around the world say it, too.
Amid a great deal of controversy and a number of complaints about the building, the city is taking the first steps toward closing D.C. General Homeless shelter by housing families in smaller facilities across D.C. The new plan for shelter is expected to be less isolating to families, as they would be spread around the city instead of being placed in one large shelter. (WAMU, 10/14)
As part of the plan, the city is seeking to lease buildings across D.C. that would be used to house as few as 15 and as many as 50 families in apartments, single-occupancy rooms and efficiencies. The buildings would be used as emergency shelters during the winter months.
- Among other things, one major area the next D.C. mayor will need to act on is homelessness. And fast. Check out how the candidates plan to approach the 16 percent increase in homeless families expected this winter. (WaPo, 10/13)
– For some Virginia students, school may not, in fact, be out for summer as Governor Terry McAuliffe will award more than $1.6 million in grants to support year-round instructional programs at 29 Virginia schools in 13 school districts. The effort is to combat the “summer slide” that can often set students back academically when there is no reinforcement during the time away from school. (WAMU, 10/13)
- A school in D.C. is rethinking the way most schools view time, with a greater emphasis on giving ninth graders the tools they need to make it through to graduation right from the start. (HuffPo, 10/10) Thank you to Mieka Wick at the CityBridge Foundation for sharing.
- Opinion: When a child becomes sick, many parents are faced with the tough decision of whether or not they will have to send them off to school or keep them at home. Being sick or caring for a sick child, after all, could lead to a loss in wages – or worse yet – a job. Should we change the way we enforce sick leave policies at school and work? (WaPo, 10/14)
- ‘Men Make a Difference’ in Prince George’s County Schools (WaPo, 10/13)
COMMUNITY WEALTH BUILDING | What exactly does it take to launch a new initiative? WRAG president, Tamara Copeland, gives us some insight by discussing the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland and how local funders are getting involved. (Daily, 10/14)
NONPROFITS | Nonprofit lending circles that help low-income individuals and immigrants with no credit history gain access to the things they may not otherwise have access to are gaining momentum. (NYT, 10/10)
AFFORDABLE HOUSING | A Bureau of Labor Statistics report already pointed out that the D.C. metropolitan area is the most expensive place to live in the country, but here are some visuals that help drive the point home, (WaPo, 10/13)
HEALTH | How family planning programs save taxpayers billions of dollars each year (WaPo, 10/14)
TRANSIT | How the Silver Line may already be remaking Tyson’s (ElevationDC, 10/14)
A recipe for cuteness? Treating a group of second graders to a fancy seven-course meal. Thanks to Kristina Kloberdanz at IBM for sharing
By Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
It was 2011 when I first learned of the Evergreen Cooperatives from three local grantmakers – Linda Howard of the Summit Fund, Kristin Pauly of Prince Charitable Trusts, and Margaret O’Bryon then of the Consumer Health Foundation. The Evergreen Cooperatives are worker-owned businesses located in underserved areas of Cleveland that supply nearby anchor institutions with services and goods they need. This philanthropy-led initiative in Cleveland, designed to actually move people out of poverty and into the middle class, was causing a buzz. By inviting the Evergreen Cooperatives’ leader to speak with local leaders, these three foundation executives started a powerful conversation.
A spark/an idea. The spark was undoubtedly the dynamic presentation (View part 1 and 2) by Ted Howard of the Democracy Collaborative, the organization that had been hired by the Cleveland Community Foundation to lead this work in Cleveland. He shared the model, the goals, and the potential for the Greater Washington region with funders, nonprofit leaders, and government officials. There were many questions and some reservations about the model’s potential here, but overall, attendees left wondering, “What if this really could work?” However, that spark alone was not enough to launch the initiative.
Resources and research. A group of about a dozen funders combined their resources for a $250,000 pool to hire Ted Howard and the Democracy Collaborative (based at the University of Maryland) to research the viability of the Evergreen model here in our region. This work included interviewing almost 200 local leaders. Afterwards, there was no question that an adaption of the principles and ideals of the Evergreen Cooperative’s worker-owner model was possible here. But, the due diligence alone was not enough to get it off the ground either.
Deeper research. Now a leader was needed to decide what kind of business had the greatest opportunity for success and to develop a capital plan to underwrite the start up costs of that business. John Hamilton, President of City First Enterprises, was that leader. He understood the business world and he understood the needs of the community. John and his team determined that the biggest opportunity laid in anchoring this work to a municipality. Next, they determined that stormwater/cleanwater management was the area of work with the greatest immediate potential here in our region. Combining those two factors with a desire by Prince George’s County to identify new approaches to combat wealth inequality in the County made Prince George’s County the optimal municipality to begin this work.
Collaboration. So, what does it take to launch an initiative? A strong cross-sector collaboration to meet a community need is a must have. The philanthropic community was the catalyst, the academic community provided the research, and government had a need to address: compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act standards. All of these factors have converged in a way to make the initiative possible.
The last ingredient. Even with all the partnership stars aligning, there is still work to be done. All parties are eager to launch the initiative and implement the tenets of community wealth building in Prince George’s County, but are awaiting finalization of the necessary agreements. We are excited about the potential impact of the Community Wealth Building Initiative and look forward to providing you with an update of our progress soon.
Note: Late last month, WRAG hosted the second tour of the Evergreen model for local funders potentially interested in becoming a part of this work. To learn more, contact Tamara Copeland at WRAG or Jason Washington at City First Enterprises.
THIS WEEK AT WRAG
Exponent Philanthropy discussed seven unique and innovative funding initiatives ahead of the D.C. Innovation Fair – including the Washington AIDS Partnership and the Washington Regional Food Funders – with a word from WRAG’s Director of Corporate Strategy, Katy Moore (Exponent Philanthropy, 10/10):
The Greater Washington, DC, region is one of the wealthiest areas of the country. Yet the local foundation community is not as large as in other major metropolitan regions. And, to complicate matters, we do not have any “mega” foundations to “lead the way.” As such, the local philanthropic community has had to work very collaboratively over the years to affect change in our region. This unique philanthropic ecosystem has resulted in a vibrant, innovative, and well-connected funding community that has sparked some really exciting philanthropic solutions.
THIS WEEK IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING
The Urban Institute released their latest study on the dramatic shifts in affordable housing in the District over the last decade with some surprising data. (WCP, 10/7) Mayor Gray also announced that the city is expected to exceed its goal of 10,000 affordable housing units by 2020. (DC.gov, 10/8)
THIS WEEK IN THE WRAG COMMUNITY
Mayor Gray accepted the “My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge,” and the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation was asked to lead the effort to develop the city’s boys and men of color strategy to support improved outcomes for youth in the District of Columbia.
THIS WEEK IN EDUCATION
The D.C. Council unanimously voted for special education reform that will now allow students with special needs to be evaluated earlier and will increase parent engagement efforts in DCPS. (WAMU, 10/8)
THIS WEEK IN CSR
We learned how the technology sector can effectively use its tools in the world of corporate social responsibility. (SSIR, 10/3)
You can also see what the WRAG community has been up to this week in tweets by clicking here!
WRAG EVENTS NEXT WEEK
Funding Greater Washington’s Regional Food System (WRAG members, nonmembers)
Friday, October 17th 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM
There are at least 89 ways to sign off on an email. I think I prefer “Stay Gold.”
At a Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety public oversight hearing, several community members testified before D.C. councilmembers on the need for change in the policies and procedures of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. Much of the hearing centered around the need to address racial disparities that exist in the implementation of the law. (DCist, 10/9)
For years, statistics have revealed a great racial disparity in arrest rates in D.C. In 2011, 91 percent of all drug-related arrests were of black people, despite roughly equal reported usage rates among races. And the statistics don’t stop there. Recent studies conducted by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee further cement a disturbing truth: black communities in D.C. are being disproportionately targeted by the Metropolitan Police Department.
While the city has taken measures to help alleviate these statistics—decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana and, most recently, introducing a pilot program that requires some D.C. cops to wear body cameras—many residents agree that a lot more needs to be done.
– Former president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation, Sterling Speirn, has been named to lead the Stupski Foundation in the spend down of their $260 million endowment. Formerly an operating foundation, Stupski ended operations in late 2012 and will now focus on becoming a grant-making organization that helps to improve the options for poor and minority children and on other issues including “end-of-life” controversies. (SBT,10/7)
Related: Sterling Speirn will also be a speaker at WRAG’s upcoming 2014 Annual Meeting on Thursday, November 20th. To find out more and register for the event, click here.
- On Wednesday, October 15th, the Herb Block Foundation will be honored for their commitment to defending basic freedoms, combating discrimination and improving conditions for vulnerable populations at D.C. Vote’s 2014 Champions of Democracy Gala. You can find out more about the event here.
- As part of their “Unlocking Opportunities” series on the role public schools can play in providing important services to students, the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute discusses how schools can achieve better educational outcomes by first providing help to students in poverty. (DCFPI,10/9)
- In Montgomery County, some school leaders are requesting a two-year delay to the policy that would require high school seniors in Maryland to pass new standardized tests in order to be eligible for graduation. (WaPo, 10/8)
- As Montgomery County schools have recently placed an emphasis on closing the achievement gap between white and nonwhite students, data shows that the SAT scores of minority students helped to improve scores for the county overall within the class of 2014. (WaPo, 10/7)
TRANSIT | In a ranking of how many jobs a resident can access by transit during the morning rush of 7 AM to 9 AM among the 46 biggest metros in the U.S., the Washington region came in at number four. (CityLab, 10/8)
POVERTY | Three Reasons You Should Be Concerned About the Racial Wealth Gap (CFED, 10/9)
PHILANTHROPY | The Clinton Global Initiative, which recently announced support for D.C.’s efforts to reduce infant mortality, has had 80 percent of their commitments completed or ongoing in the period between 2005 and 2013. But, here’s why it’s more important to focus on the five percent of commitments that have been unsuccessful in order to gain valuable insight into trends in philanthropy. (Forbes, 9/23)
Make sure you get yours, they just might sell out after this.
An FBI investigation into widespread Medicaid fraud in the District led to a number of arrests and the proper redistribution of taxpayer dollars at the beginning of the year, but many patients in need of home care also saw their services greatly reduced as a result of the raid and the city suspending payments to 13 home health-care agencies . Officials disagree on what has caused a decline in services rendered. (WCP, 10/8)
In the more than seven months since the raid, the Legal Counsel has received 43 cases regarding complaints about home health services through Medicaid. In the same time period last year, there were just seven cases. And the pace of complaints doesn’t appear to be slowing down significantly, with seven new ones in the past month and a half.
- How can philanthropy work to address health disparities? Discover the root causes of disparities and fund preventative health. (Arabella Advisors, 10/6)
AFFORDABLE HOUSING | Mayor Gray Announces District Has Invested $1.3 Billion in Affordable Housing; On Track to Exceed Goal of 10,000 Units (DC.gov, 10/8)
– New teachers in Prince George’s County will now be a part of a program that will pair them with experienced teachers in order to receive support and peer evaluation. The school system hopes that the program will help to improve teacher retention rates. (WaPo, 10/8)
- A new online college financial aid comparison tool is now available to weigh the net cost of higher education. (InTheCapital, 10/6)
- Changes to DCPS Special Education Services Pass Unanimously (WAMU, 10/8)
– Day laborers, who often wait for hours in the parking lots of hardware stores competing with others for an opportunity to earn wages, can typically feel alone and unprotected by the law when something goes wrong on the job. Some organizations are working to change that, but could the District be doing more to protect these workers? (WaPo, 10/7)
EQUALITY | The Reflective Democracy Campaign has released data on the gender and race of America’s elected officials making a strong case for the need for stronger representation in office. (WhoLeadsUs, 10/8)
DISTRICT | Goodbye Parking Lots, Hello D.C.’s Fastest Growing Neighborhood (NextCity, 10/7)
See you at the farmers’ market!
The Urban Institute released its latest study on housing in the District revealing some interesting trends about the affordability and stock of options for residents. Accompanying the report are a number of informative, interactive graphs that show how drastic the changes in housing have been over the last decade. (WCP, 10/7 and WaPo, 10/7))
In 2005, 17 percent of all rental units went for under $500 in 2012 dollars, while 14.9 percent charged over $1,500. In 2012, those sub-$500 units made up just 11.3 percent of the total stock, while the $1,500-plus ones were up to 35.9 percent of the total. Monthly rents under $1,000 went from the distinct majority to the distinct minority. This is after adjusting for inflation—it’s the real cost of renting in D.C.
Despite the conventional wisdom that the city has a shortage of larger units as developers cater to young professionals requiring no more than one bedroom, the number of affordable three-bedrooms actually increased across all income levels, as did the number of affordable two-bedrooms for all but the poorest residents.
- Elevation DC has a special report on the history and ongoing evolution of the Congress Heights neighborhood in ward 8. Though slow, development has brought about some very visible change in the area prompting many to wonder what possible gentrification could mean for current residents. David Bowers, vice president and market leader of nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners, offers his thoughts as well. (Elevation DC, 10/7)
- Despite a Crush of Class A Units, Rents Rise in the District (Urban Turf, 10/6)
COMMUNITY | Last week, Mayor Gray accepted the “My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge,” an effort to encourage communities to implement a coherent cradle-to-college and career strategy aimed at improving life outcomes for all young people issued by President Obama. The DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation has been asked to lead the effort to develop the city’s boys and men of color strategy to support improved outcomes for youth in the District of Columbia. Ed Davies, Executive Director of the Trust said:
“The Trust commends Mayor Gray and the city for answering the call for the President’s challenge. We look forward to continuing to lead the work of engaging the public and private sectors of Washington, DC to create comprehensive strategies that result in successful outcomes for boys and young men of color in the areas outlined in the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force Report that are germane to DC.”
EDUCATION | The “blended learning model” – an approach to education that blends teacher-led instruction with the use of technology – is helping students in the District greatly improve math and reading scores while lowering the rate of suspensions. Currently, eight D.C. Public Schools are using the model. (WAMU, 10/6)
ARTS | Infographic: Nine Effective Practices for Building Audiences for the Arts (NPQ, 10/6)
CSR | The technology sector, with all its innovation and such, has a unique opportunity to contribute to society through corporate social responsibility. Here’s how some in the industry are meeting the challenge. (SSIR, 10/3)
YOUTH | Political strife and violence have led an unprecedented number of Central American youth to the United States and the Washington region, in particular. Many have a hard time truly understanding the gang violence that rages on in the home countries of many of the displaced youth. A former gang member shares his story. (WAMU, 10/6)
WORKFORCE | Washington’s new wealthy: Women and private sector entrepreneurs (WBJ, 10/6)
Anyone up for yet another list of the best and worst states to live?
Post-recession giving in America has undergone a lot of changes over the years. The Chronicle of Philanthropy offers a look at the changing landscape of giving with an interactive map and data from the largest metro areas. (Chronicle, 10/5)
As the recession lifted, poor and middle class Americans dug deeper into their wallets to give to charity, even though they were earning less. At the same time, according to a new Chronicle analysis of tax data, wealthy Americans earned more, but the portion of the income they gave to charity declined.
The Chronicle study found that Americans give, on average, about 3 percent of their income to charity, a figure that has not budged significantly for decades. However, that figure belies big differences in giving patterns between the rich and the poor.
- Opinion: A Better Way to Encourage Charity (NYT, 10/5)
HOMELESSNESS | Over the weekend, more than 60 families were moved from a hotel to the D.C. General Homeless shelter amid a number of concerns over a lapse in communication and coordination ahead of the relocations. (DCist, 10/3)
POVERTY | Opinion: Regular, on-time payments for necessities like cell phone bills, rent and utilities are not often reported to credit bureaus until there is a delinquency or late payment. As such, the “credit invisibles” – those who have no credit standing – are shown to be unreliable in the eyes of lenders. While their economic behavior flies under the radar for credit rating agencies, businesses and nonprofits are taking a stand to help people gain a financial footing. (NYT, 10/2)
Related: Many strategies help families build resilience and financial independence. Financial literacy, affordable banking and credit, stable housing and home ownership, tax preparation assistance, and benefit selection and utilization are all part of the asset building toolbox. While 2015 Affordable Care Act enrollment and tax season are almost here, there are opportunities all year round to help low-income families create and sustain wealth. Members can join us on Monday, October 20th at 12:30 PM at WRAG as we host a brown bag discussion on asset building and to share your own work and learn what others are doing.
COMMUNITY | Capital One has announced their new dFUND, a $500,000 grant program that will invest in innovative programs that help individuals, families and organizations succeed in a digital economy. The dFUND is a catalyst to propel non-profits working in Capital One markets to further the ideation and development of this change for individuals and organizations in their communities. The application is available here.
– Though it is reported that as many as 10 percent of American children suffer from an impairing mental illness, there aren’t nearly enough school-based mental health services available to students. Some schools have begun offering a new service, known as tele-mental health, that could greatly improve access to much needed psychiatric services. (CityLab, 10/2)
- The Washington Post shares the stories of women on what it’s like to be a teen mother. (WaPo, 10/3)
Sometimes you need to just stop and look at the fall foliage.