As enrollment surges in one of the country’s biggest school systems, a task force has been looking into ways to cut $100 million from the Fairfax County schools budget. (WaPo, 8/4)
The 36-member citizen task force was charged with finding $100 million in savings. On Monday night, the district released an early draft of potential cuts, but they are far from official, and it is early in the budget process. Some of the task force’s ideas are sure to be controversial, such as saving nearly $11 million by eliminating high school sports and more than $12 million by axing activities such as yearbook and student newspapers, curtailing music and drama programs, and reducing middle school after-school activities.
Fairfax County schools are facing some of the same tough choices as districts across Northern Virginia. This year, Prince William County schools, dealing with a potential cut in revenue, weighed cuts to all school services not required by law – including full-day kindergarten, bus service and athletics. Ultimately, most of the budget was funded.
WORKFORCE/EQUITY | A remarkable look at the gap between black and white unemployment (WaPo, 8/4)
PHILANTHROPY/INEQUALITY | Opinion: Professor of history and director of the urban studies program at Simon Fraser University, Karen Ferguson, raises questions about philanthropy’s relationship with African Americans throughout the nation’s history, and ponders the implications of the ways philanthropy has worked to respond to racial inequality. (HistPhil, 8/3)
– To Reduce Inequality Among Neighborhoods, Make Inclusion the Central Goal (Rockefeller Foundation, 8/5)
ENVIRONMENT | City Lab takes a look at the details from President Obama’s finalized Clean Power Plan and how it may affect low-income communities. (City Lab, 8/4)
The region has gained a new national historic landmark.
The Urban Institute has released a report examining the unequal distribution of retail and food establishments in the District. This inequitable distribution of businesses, as well as income disparities across the city, have a number of implications for residents. (WaPo, 8/4)
It’s long been known that D.C. residents have huge income disparities – the top 10 percent of earners make more than six times the amount as the bottom 10 percent – and the Urban Institute explores what it means when there is also such disparity when it comes to retail. Ward 6, for instance, has about four times as many restaurant and food establishments as Ward 8.
This uneven geographical distribution leads to things like food deserts, but it also makes retail jobs less accessible to people who live in poorer neighborhoods, which in turn can create a cycle of more poverty.
“Many economists even argue that spatial mismatch – that is, the mismatch between where good jobs are located and where low-income workers live – is a root cause of inequality in the labor market,” the report reads. “In many cities, there are fewer jobs per worker in or near neighborhoods that are heavily minority than in or near neighborhoods that are predominantly white.”
– The Commonwealth Institute has released a new report with policy recommendations for building a brighter future for Virginia’s residents. The report serves as a roadmap for a broad range of issues including access to education, access to health care, tax reform, and workforce training. (The Commonwealth Institute, 8/4)
– On the heels of the Silver Line’s one year anniversary, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority President and CEO Gerald L. Gordon, talks about the economic benefits that came along with the first phase of development and goals for the line’s future development. (Fairfax Times, 7/31)
AFFORDABLE HOUSING | D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser recently appointed a new “strike force” to develop a housing preservation strategy. The city has also announced plans to make $100 million available for the construction of an estimated 1,000 new units of affordable housing. (WAMU, 7/30)
FOOD | Check out this list of 50 food heroes under 50. Heroes include those who are actively working to help District residents eat healthier, grow their own food, and maintain the environment with their choices. The list was compiled by Lindsay Smith who recently consulted for the Washington Regional Food Funders. (Elevation DC, 8/4)
MARYLAND | Drug crime is No. 1 reason offenders in Maryland are sentenced to prison (WaPo, 7/29)
COMMUNITY | The TEGNA Foundation, a corporate foundation sponsored by TEGNA Inc., is accepting applications for their first round of DC-Metro Community Action Grants, due by August 29. Their Community Action Grant priorities include education and neighborhood improvement, economic development, youth development, community problem-solving, assistance to disadvantaged people, environmental conservation and cultural enrichment. Information and application materials can be found here.
In light of the Clean Power Plan unveiled this week by President Obama, take a crack at this quiz all about power sources.
A new report by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies finds that 46 percent of renters in the metropolitan Washington area are cost burdened (spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing). Additionally, 22.4 percent of renters in the area are considered severely cost burdened (spend more than half of their income on housing). (WCP, 7/31)
If that sounds bad, a look at the report’s breakdown of renter-households by income shows that housing costs in the D.C. metropolitan area are, frankly, regressive: 81.2 percent of households that make less than $15,000 a year are cost burdened, while only 9.2 percent of households that make more than $75,000 a year are cost burdened. (An average 70.1 percent of households making between $15,000 and $75,000 a year are cost burdened.)
Among homeowners in the area, the numbers are less severe: A quarter of homeowners have housing cost burdens, and 10 percent have severe housing cost burdens. The median income for this group is $112,000, or roughly double that of renters in the region. Housing costs are regressive for them, too: 93.3 percent of owner households making under $15,000 a year spend more than 30 percent of their income on homes, whereas 11 percent do so among $75,000-and-up-ers.
Bottom line: Living in the D.C. region is increasingly hard to afford. As the report states, “cost-burdened households are forced to cut back on food, healthcare, and other critical expenses.”
WRAG/SOCIAL PROFITS | WRAG president Tamara Copeland revisits the need for a different, more accurate name for what is so commonly referred to as the “nonprofit sector.” Check out why she’s committed to making sure we all update our language to reflect what should be called the “social profit sector.” (Daily, 8/3)
– Faith Mitchell of Grantmakers in Health discusses why it is so important for funders to support long-term, upstream strategies to address lingering inequalities.(HistPhil, 7/27)
– A new study takes a look at the world’s 10 largest private foundations. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Li Ka Shing Foundation top the list. (Chronicle, 7/31)
– In one of the largest corporate donations ever made to the arts center, The Boeing Company has announced a gift of $20 million to support the Kennedy Center’s upcoming expansion project. (WaPo, 7/29)
– Mellon Foundation Releases the First Comprehensive Survey on Diversity in American Art Museums (Mellon Foundation, 7/29)
JOBS | Exponent Philanthropy is hiring a new Director of Corporate Partnerships. Click here to learn about this exciting opportunity.
Did you somehow miss Friday night’s blue moon? Don’t fret. Here are some stunning photos from the occurrence.
THIS WEEK IN THE REGION
– The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a redevelopment plan for the Seven Corners area. (WaPo, 7/29)
– The Montgomery County Council approved tax credits for low-income renters as the area looks to become more urban, but few people are expected to actually qualify. (WAMU, 7/29)
– Interview: Director of Arlington Economic Development Victor L. Hoskins talked about the future of the county and how it should rise to face the challenges that could prohibit future economic growth. (WaPo, 7/29)
THIS WEEK IN HIV/AIDS
– In a new report, the World Health Organization looked at the wide disparities in access to adequate health care for transgender individuals, often due to discrimination. (NPR, 7/26)
– The White House released an updated national strategy to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS. (White House, 7/30)
THIS WEEK IN HEALTHCARE
– This week, Medicare turned 50 years old. Check out how many people in our region are impacted by the program. (WBJ, 7/29)
THIS WEEK IN EDUCATION
– George Washington University joined a growing list of institutions that have recently decided to drop testing requirements for some freshman admissions in an effort to reduce barriers for disadvantaged students to attend. Some are worried whether the change will be enough to recruit low-income students. (WaPo, 7/27)
WRAG EVENTS NEXT WEEK
Northern Virginia LEG: Streamline Your Grantmaking
Thursday, August 6 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Take a look a these cool (but kind of terrifying) giant gummy bears.
Picking up on a previously stalled attempt to bring about more flexible graduation requirements for DCPS students, the D.C. State Board of Education plans to launch a task force to develop recommendations for awarding credit. (WaPo, 7/30)
The proposal would move the District away from a system based solely on the age-old “Carnegie unit,” which grants credit according to seat time in favor of a system that rewards how much a student knows or can do.
Proponents say students often need more or less time to demonstrate their understanding of a subject. And seat time requirements make it difficult for students who drop out or fall behind to catch up and pursue a diploma, an increasingly important consideration as the District works to improve its graduation rate and bring back young people who have dropped out.
HIV/AIDS | Today, the White House unveils an updated national strategy to progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS. (White House, 7/30)
– Interview: Director of Arlington Economic Development Victor L. Hoskins discusses the future of the county and how it can rise to face the challenges that could prohibit economic growth there. (WaPo, 7/29)
– A new study examines the debt burdens for Americans across generations. According to data, 80 percent of Americans have some form of debt and many are carrying it well into their later years. (NPR, 7/29)
CHILDREN/DISTRICT| Coalition Forms To Bring Universal Child Care to D.C. (DCist, 7/29)
– The Montgomery County Council approved tax credits for low-income renters as the area looks to become more urban with upcoming development. Few people are expected to qualify. (WAMU, 7/29)
– Latino Incomes Are Rising, So Why Are Their Homeownership Rates Dropping? (City Lab, 7/29)
ARTS | The Shakespeare Theatre Company will extend its annual Free For All Program to each mainstage show this season, in an effort to make the arts more accessible to the community. (WaPo, 7/30)
PHILANTHROPY | Are you looking for ways to make your nonprofit reporting requirements more thoughtful and meaningful for all involved? Here are some tips to further develop guidelines. (CEP, 7/28)
COMMUNITY | The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Business Women’s Giving Circle has launched its second annual grant cycle to support nonprofit organizations and schools that provide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Entrepreneurship and/or Leadership programs to girls in K-12 public schools, colleges and universities. Interested applicants can learn more here.
What do you do when your toddler is obsessed with a personal injury lawyer’s commercials on television? You throw him a personal injury lawyer-themed birthday party, of course!
As the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors prepares to vote on a redevelopment plan for the Seven Corners area, some groups have grown concerned over various aspects of the proposed plans and what they may mean for the near future (WaPo, 7/28):
Urban planning groups say the kind of walkable, transit-friendly communities envisioned for Seven Corners are needed in aging suburbs that have become homes to mostly vacant office buildings and discount stores with little commercial traffic.
“The future of Fairfax lies in these aging commercial corridors,” said Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the Coalition for Smart Growth. “It certainly can be a win-win and enhance Fairfax’s competitiveness.”
Michelle Krocker, who heads the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance, said there aren’t enough guarantees in the plan to keep lower-income families from being pushed out, which could have long-term repercussions for the Washington region.
“If there’s no place for them to live affordably, we potentially lose them as employees in the area or they move far out into the hinterlands,” Krocker said. “And, then they’d have to commute in, and that’s problematic for everybody.”
AGING/ARTS | Fairfax County has implemented some fun new ways to make the county more age-friendly and keep older residents engaged. (WAMU, 7/24)
– What would it take to attract more millennials to Loudoun County? At the recent Loudoun County Business Chamber’s State of Loudoun’s Workforce event, attention was turned to three main areas where the county could improve to bring in more millennials: affordable housing, the right jobs, and more walkable areas. (Loudoun Times, 7/25)
Related: Following WRAG’s first-ever Loudoun Philanthropy Conference in May, WRAG recently hosted a community meeting on the next steps to develop and maintain a strong social sector in a county whose needs are often overlooked. Check out the #fundloudoun hashtag on Twitter for highlights from the meeting.
– Opinion: A writer explains how America can be especially hard on working moms, even when they make up a large portion of the country’s workforce. (Salon, 7/25)
MENTAL HEALTH | As many as 2 million Americans suffer from schizophrenia, making a steady job extremely difficult to find and keep, despite a strong desire to work. For many, the right mix of treatment and a regular routine can put them on the path to employment. (Atlantic, 7/28)
EDUCATION | George Washington University is joining a list of institutions that have recently dropped testing requirements for some freshman admissions in an effort to reduce barriers for disadvantaged students to attend. Critics, however, worry whether the change is enough to recruit low-income students. (WaPo, 7/27)
FOOD | The second edition of a cookbook featuring nutritious recipes for food stamp recipients was recently published with several brand new recipes. The cookbook is geared toward helping the nearly 47 million people in the SNAP program eat well on $4 a day, and offers a more refreshing take on cookbooks aimed at food stamp recipients. (NPR, 7/27)
Are you an “expert” or an “over claimer?”