Meetings, meetings, and more meetings. Much like other areas in the city, many involved residents of the Anacostia neighborhood have their pick of the litter when it comes to what neighborhood meeting to attend on any given night. But in an area that has been slow to change, some wonder how helpful attending neighborhood meetings really is. (GGW, 9/16)
While the cliche of Washington being a “transient city” holds true in certain sections of town, Anacostia and areas east of the river have a core of activists that have outlasted changes in local leadership.
“The community has had the same issues for decades,” says Angela Copeland, a resident of old Anacostia for more than two decades. “But, we get a fresh crew of bureaucrats every election cycle and start again from scratch. ‘What does Anacostia want/need?’ You can go crazy after a number of years having this same darn conversation.”
- Tonight, former D.C. mayor, Marion Barry, will debut a documentary he produced titled, “Ward 8 – The Past. The Present. The Future,” which puts the spotlight on the city’s poorest area. The event will take place in southeast D.C. at THEARC (Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus). You can register here. (NBC Washington, 9/17)
- We already know that District residents move to the city from all over the country, but where are they going when they leave? According to a recent report, not very far. The highest out-migration from D.C. is into Maryland. (WBJ, 9/16)
HIV | The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will launch a new national HIV awareness campaign at southeast Washington’s United Medical Center today. The campaign, called “HIV Treatment Works,” aims to show people how the disease can be managed. (WTOP, 9/17)
- After a four-year vacancy with no one in the position, the new D.C. education ombudsman is kicking off the school year fielding a number of complaints from families. Around half of the complaints coming in are from families in wards 7 and 8 regarding concerns about behavioral issues, discipline, special education, and more. (WaPo, 9/16)
- In a four-part series, WAMU explores issues facing those in poverty and captures their stories. As the series continues, you can check out “Yesterday’s Dropouts,” focusing on the millions who don’t finish high school in the U.S., or “Military Children,” which asks what we can learn from the education of children whose parents serve in the military. (WAMU, 9/16)
NONPROFITS | In this interview, Rick Moyers, vice president for programs and communications at the Meyer Foundation, speaks on investing in nonprofit leadership. (Social Velocity, 9/2014)
Today is Constitution Day! Celebrate by doing a much better job on this quiz than I did!
With changes to boundaries and new charter schools popping up, many D.C. students may find themselves at a different school in a short period of time. Recently a panel of D.C. principals gathered to discuss some of the unique challenges students in the city often face when there may be too many school choices. (WaPo, 9/15)
“People look at these like two separate systems, but we have so many students that are shared,” said Scott Cartland, principal at Wheatley Education Campus in Ward 5. “Unfortunately, we have a lot of students who will be in four or five different schools in a five- or six-year period.” He said that if students are struggling in one school and then just move on to another school, their challenges go unaddressed.
- In the Washington region, around 15 percent of the adult population lack basic literacy skills. The Washington Area Women’s Foundation writes about the importance of building literacy and numeracy skills in adults – both strongly linked to economic security. (WAWF, 9/15)
POVERTY/WORKFORCE | Low-Income workers and those who have not completed high school, are shown to be far more likely to get less than seven hours of sleep each night, increasing the risk for irreversible damage to the body and brain. (City Lab, 9/15)
ENVIRONMENT | On Tuesday, September 23rd, The Chesapeake Bay Funders Network (CBFN) will host a discussion about threats to community drinking water supplies with funders and other experts familiar with this summer’s incident in Toledo, Ohio. WRAG members are invited to participate in this discussion from 9 AM to 3 PM at the New Venture Fund, 1201 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 300 in Washington, DC. Please contact Megan Milliken, Interim Coordinator of CBFN at firstname.lastname@example.org by this Thursday, September 18th to RSVP or request more information. The morning session will be devoted to the topic,”Making the Public Health Connection: Lessons from Other Regions.” Presenters include Dr. Don Scavia, Director of the University of Michigan Graham Sustainability Institute, Scott Miller, President of Resource Media, and Molly Flanagan, Great Lakes Program Director at the Joyce Foundation.
– Elevation DC, in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners, will hold a panel discussion on the ever-changing District, the affordable housing crisis, some potential solutions, and how newcomers and long-time residents are finding ways to live in harmony. The discussion, titled “Gentrification, Revitalization or Renaissance?” will take place Tuesday, October 21st at 6:00 PM at Shiloh Baptist Church, 1500 9th St NW. Register here.
- Every year, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia (CFNV) holds its Sweet Home Virginia Gala to support its work to grow philanthropy to help meet the most critical needs of the community. On Friday, October 10th, business leaders, philanthropists, and community organizers will gather to participate in the gala, supporting the Community Foundation’s work in Northern Virginia. Richard Duvall, a partner at Holland & Knight LLP in the Government Contracts and Litigations practices, and the Holland & Knight firm, will be recognized by the CFNV for their philanthropic leadership in the Northern Virginia area with the 2014 Community Leadership Award. Find out more here.
DISTRICT | No matter which 11th Street Bridge Park design is chosen, DC wins (Elevation DC, 9/11)
Do you call yourself a Washingtonian? Apparently, you can’t if you’ve never tried one of these ten dishes. I’ve got some homework to do!
According to a number of interviews with federal employees, the federal push to hire veterans in civil service jobs is bringing out feelings of resentment from both veteran and non-veteran employees. (WaPo, 9/14)
Those who did not serve in the military bristle at times at the preferential hiring of veterans and accuse them of a blind deference to authority. The veterans chafe at what they say is a condescending view of their skills and experience and accuse many non-veterans of lacking a work ethic and sense of mission.
Related: Last year, HR expert on military transitions into civilian employment, Emily King, spoke with funders about the various challenges that veterans often face in the workplace and how philanthropy can support them. (Daily, 9/13)
- While a large number of Montgomery County middle schoolers failed Algebra 1 testing last school year, only about 1 in 7 students participated in summer reteaching lessons, leaving the school district to find ways to address the learning gap. (WaPo, 9/13)
- In an effort to further fuse together technology and instruction, some schools in the region are piloting BYOD (bring your own device) programs, where students are encouraged to use their mobile phones in the classroom. (WaPo, 9/14)
- The Anacostia Arts Gallery and Boutique will close at the end of October, bringing attention to slow development and fears of displacement in the neighborhood. (DCist, 9/12)
NONPROFITS | United Way of the National Capital Area has named a new Chief Financial Officer, Kevin Smith, former Vice President of Finance at Pew Charitable Trusts. (UWNCA, 9/15)
REGION | In a list of the Top 100 Best Places to Live, eight Washington-Baltimore area cities made the ranks with Arlington coming in at number three. (WBJ, 9/15)
Perhaps the next email you send could help change your life for the better.
Advocates for women, civil rights leaders and lawmakers joined forces to file briefs in the Supreme Court in support of a former UPS driver who lost a lawsuit against the company after requesting light duty on the job while she was pregnant. Many pregnant women have been forced out of work and onto public assistance programs due to possible misinterpretation by lower courts and employers of laws designed to prevent discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace. (WaPo, 9/11)
The American Civil Liberties Union and the nonprofit A Better Balance, which advocates for better policies to support working families, argued in a brief that pregnant workers are the only category of worker routinely denied accommodations, like light duty work, stools, water bottles and bathroom breaks, in order to be able to continue working. The Women’s Chamber of Commerce argued in its brief that providing accommodations to pregnant workers is important to the national economy.
And members of Congress argued that lower courts have misinterpreted a 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act that was designed expressly to protect pregnant workers from discrimination on the job.
- With back-to-school season going strong, organizers are using the opportunity to inform D.C. parents that they no longer have to miss out on a day of pay if their child must stay home sick. The legislation is among one of the stronger paid sick leave policies in the U.S., though many don’t know it exists. (WCP, 9/11)
CSR | Congratulations to WRAG members IBM, PNC, Capital One, and Citi for being named finalists for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s 2014 Corporate Citizenship Awards!
- Tenants of an apartment building in Columbia Heights are fighting against a hefty 31.5 percent rent increase as infestations and serious repairs have gone ignored in their units. The building is home to all low-income residents who have united together in protest to refuse paying the rent hike. (WAMU, 9/12)
- City Proposes Affordable Housing for Hebrew Home (WCP, 9/11)
COMMUNITY WEALTH BUILDING | The Democracy Collaborative has released their report, “Policies for Community Wealth Building: Leveraging State and Local Resources,” highlighting the emerging best practices in state and local policy-making that support community wealth building. On September 25th, WRAG has coordinated a site visit for funders to the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, OH where community wealth building has been underway since 2008.
COMMUNITY | The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Future Fund (a giving circle of nearly 150 young professionals) has chosen mental health as their 2014-2015 grant focus. Organizations providing mental health services to individuals or families in Northern Virginia who might not otherwise have access to care are encouraged to apply. Funds are intended to benefit individuals aged 13 and up, and may include families. Non-profit organizations can apply for grants of up to $20,000. The total grant pool is $40,000. The deadline for submitting an application is Monday, September 22nd, 2014.
Do you recognize any of these mobile devices from the past? Did you own any of them?
A new study on Montgomery County’s purchasing practices reveals great disparities on spending on goods and services at minority, female, and disabled-owned firms. The study also found that many minority and female-led firms in the county find business practices there to be exclusionary and informal, to their detriment. (WaPo, 9/9)
The study, conducted for Montgomery by the public policy consulting firm Griffin & Strong, found that between 2007 and 2012 the county spent $368 million on minority and women-owned firms–representing 14 percent of total spending during that period. Payments to disabled-owned companies totaled $11.5 million or 0.45 percent of county spending.
“There remains a significant disparity between the utilization and availability of MFDs (minority, female and disabled-owned firms) in Montgomery County,” Griffin & Strong said.The disparities are “statistically significant enough to suggest the possible presence of discrimination.”
AFFORDABLE HOUSING | An independent review of the District’s New Communities Initiative program designed almost ten years ago to keep residents in four low-income areas (Park Morton public housing in Park View, Temple Courts north of Union Station, Lincoln Heights in Deanwood and Barry Farm in Anacostia) from being displaced in the event of neighborhood revitalization, has shown that the initiative is under-funded and strategies to implement the plan have been ‘overly optimisitc.’ (WaPo, 9/9)
Nine years later, all four neighborhood plans have fallen off track. Building restrictions hindered the reconstruction of Temple Courts, and the city struggled to find major developers who could invest near Lincoln Heights. There was not enough public land to redevelop Park Morton, and in February the city let the current developer go.
Out of 1,500 affordable units that have been promised through New Communities, the city has constructed 490.
ARTS | Local funders are invited to an informational meeting presented by Sustain Arts, a national effort in data transparency and arts and cultural sustainability. Led by the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard, in collaboration with the Foundation Center and Fractured Atlas, Sustain Arts encourages data-driven decision making for arts and cultural stakeholders through an online platform visualizing regional audience participation, programming, and funding trends. The program is already in development in regions around the country. The meeting will be hosted at The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation on September 29, 10:30am – 12:00pm. To register or learn more, please contact Michael Bigley at the Cafritz Foundation. The meeting is for funders only.
FOOD | The Arcadia Mobile Market is bringing fresh, local produce to areas classified as food deserts with two food trucks servicing 18 neighborhoods in the Washington region. (WTOP, 9/9)
Related: It is because of these food deserts that the Washington Regional Food Funders made identifying communities where there are not enough outlets of healthy, affordable, nutritious food and opportunities for action and investment, a priority.
PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: Vikki Spruill, President and CEO of the Council on Foundations, writes about the importance of making the passing of the America Gives More Act a top priority. (Chronicle, 8/29)
Tired of all the hoopla surrounding the release of the latest iPhone? Here you go.
With a growing portion of the D.C. population classifying as older adults, a new report focuses on how the city can do more to address the transportation needs of aging residents and help them to age in place. The report by the Coalition for Smarter Growth, with support from The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Prince Charitable Trusts, and the Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation, looks at the areas of pedestrian safety, public transit and alternative transit options for seniors. (GGW, 9/9)
Baby boomers in DC, who are an estimated 17 percent of the District of Columbia’s population, represent a growing older cohort. Both their presence and well being are important to sustaining vibrant and inclusive neighborhoods. The potential contributions to our neighborhoods by older residents are undermined without forward-thinking planning to address the growing and unique needs of our oldest residents.
HOUSING | When taking into account housing expenditures – including rent/mortgage, furnishings/equipment, housekeeping supplies, and household operation costs and utilities – the Washington area’s housing costs are the highest in America, according to a recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Though residents in the region don’t pay the most in the nation for rent or mortgage, the other costs help to put Washington on top of the list. (WCP, 9/8)
[...] in aggregate, Washingtonian (and nearby suburbanite) households spent an average of $17,603 on housing costs in 2012, beating out (or losing to, really) every other metropolitan area that the BLS looked at. D.C.-area expenses were nearly twice those in Cleveland, which sits at the bottom of the list.
NONPROFITS | President Tamara Copeland shares why she’ll be lacing up her walking shoes next spring to walk 60 miles in three days. (Daily, 9/9)
EDUCATION | Nearly four out of five families who voluntarily participated in truancy-prevention programs saw an increase in their child’s school attendance, a new study has found. A large majority of the families that participated did not need to be referred to the program the following school year. (WTOP, 9/9)
DISTRICT | In the first open debate on a state measure since 1993, a Senate committee will hold a hearing on a bill that would grant D.C. statehood. (WAMU, 9/8)
**REMINDER | WRAG’s Brightest Minds event featuring Rachel Goslins on the transformative power of the arts, previously scheduled for tomorrow, has been canceled. For more information, contact Rebekah Seder, email@example.com.**
In case you missed the third and final supermoon of 2014 like I did, it was gorgeous according to these photos.
A nationwide trend in which poverty has become more suburbanized than ever before, is hitting Montgomery County especially hard. Though the county can be described as affluent, there are areas where income disparities continue to grow. (WaPo, 9/6)
Pockets of need have long existed amid great wealth in Montgomery, where the $97,000 median household income is 12th-largest in the nation. But the pockets are getting wider and deeper, part of a suburbanization of poverty that demographers say is happening nationwide.
Poverty was actually declining in Montgomery at the turn of the century — dipping to 5.1 percent — until two recessions swept away those gains. The countywide poverty rate is now 6.5 percent.
– Students in D.C. face the unique challenge of preparing for high school in the same way that most students must prepare for college – applications, essays, and an intense selection process. For this reason, a number of middle schools are increasing efforts to help students make the transition after eighth grade. (WaPo, 9/5)
- As more and more schools in the region see an increase in undocumented children from Central America, many are struggling to find the capacity to address both educational and psychological needs of the new students. (WaPo, 9/7)
- Introducing The Healthy Communities Working Group (HCWG) – formerly known as the Health Working Group. Director of Safety Net Partnerships at Kaiser Permanente and HCWG Chair, Mindy Rubin, and president of the Healthcare Initiative Foundation and HCWG Vice Chair, Crystal Townsend, share the group’s exciting vision for the future and the reason for the name change in this post. (Daily, 9/8)
- Through Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Plant a Row program, vendors are able to donate fresh produce leftover from the day’s farmers market to local food pantries. Volunteers help to get thousands of pounds of produce to pantries and shelters each week to the benefit of patrons and farmers alike. (WaPo, 9/7)
AGING │ D.C. Cops Say They Were Ousted Because of Their Age (WAMU, 9/5)
- As early as October a number of uniformed police officers in the District may start wearing body cameras in a pilot program to test their effectiveness. While police in Laurel have been wearing cameras for some time, the idea has gained in popularity due to national debates surrounding alleged racial profiling and the threat of violence between officers and offenders. (WaPo, 9/7)
- Commentry: Report on Relisha Rudd Misses the Big Picture (WAMU, 9/8)
In case you haven’t heard, Prince George will be a big brother!