If the recession is over, why are so many families homeless?

HOMELESSNESS | City Paper‘s must read cover story this week goes deep into the sudden spike in the number of D.C. families seeking shelter this winter — a situation that the city was clearly not prepared to handle. While city officials have argued that there isn’t really a higher rate of homelessness this winter, advocates say that there should have been no surprise that there would be more families seeking shelter from the city. (City Paper, 3/13The reason?

As housing has become increasingly unaffordable, the city has struggled to move people out of shelter and into long-term housing. The neediest shelter residents require permanent supportive housing, but the city directs about four-fifths of shelter families to a five-year-old program called rapid rehousing, which subsidizes a family’s rent in a market-rate apartment for a limited period of time until the family’s able to pay the full rent itself.

The dearth of affordable housing is making that harder. It’s not for lack of money: The city ended the last fiscal year with a $321 million surplus. But DHS won’t move families into apartments through rapid rehousing that they won’t eventually be able to afford on their own, since the subsidies are temporary. And every month, there are fewer apartments poor residents can afford without help.

COMMUNITY WEALTH BUILDING | Many of you have heard of the Community Wealth Building Initiative over the last couple of years. The work of developing viable businesses that would be anchored in the community and owned and operated by low-income residents is moving forward. In today’s Daily we look at one business model that holds great potential to be both profitable and attract a broad cross-section of philanthropic investment: stormwater management. (Daily, 3/13)

Related: If you need a refresher on the initiative, check out these frequently asked questions.

INEQUALITY | The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute has a new report out today showing that the District is the 4th most unequal city in the country. The average income of the top five percent of residents is now over $500,000 a year (higher than in any other big city, in fact) – and the average income of the bottom 20 percent is $9,000. (DCFPI, 3/13) 

DCFPI’s recommendations for alleviating this disparity: more affordable housing (see above!), more job and skills training, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, and better access to subsidized health insurance.

EDUCATION
- Eight groups apply to open new D.C. charter schools (WaPo, 3/11)

- Funding Puts Takeover Of Alexandria’s Jefferson-Houston School In Doubt (WAMU, 3/13)

TRANSIT
- Metro Official Says System Upgrades Are Making A Difference (WAMU, 3/12)

- One of said upgrades. (GGW, 3/12) This is even more creative than when WMATA uses escalators as stairs.

COMMUNITY | The Consumer Health Foundation‘s annual meeting, “Health and Racial Equity in Turbulent Times: Implicit Bias Examined,” is next Thursday, March 20, and space is still available. More information here.


Don’t you hate it when this happens?

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Monday. Have a great weekend.

- Rebekah

Will the new SAT improve access to college?

EDUCATION
- In effort to break the correlation between SAT scores and family income, the College Board is once again revising the exam. It will also begin offering free test prep courses online through a partnership with Khan Academy. (WaPo, 3/6)

Whether the College Board can break the link between test scores and economic class is the subject of much debate.

“There’s no reason to think that fiddling with the test is in any way going to increase its fairness,” said Joseph A. Soares, a Wake Forest University sociologist. He said high school grades are a far better measure of college potential. Tests, he argued, needlessly screen out disadvantaged students.

Argelia Rodriguez, president and chief executive of the D.C. College Access Program, which provides college counseling in public high schools, said the College Board was taking a “step in the right direction” by promoting a test that might be less intimidating. But she said financial aid and other issues are far more important to low-income families. “There’s a lot more to access than just test-taking,” she said.

- Loudoun moves to open N. Virginia’s first charter school (WaPo, 3/6)

HEALTH/AGING | A new study suggests that the number of deaths due to Alzheimer’s has been significantly underestimated and ranks it as the third leading cause of death (WaPo, 3/6):

More than 5 million people in the United States are estimated to have Alzheimer’s. With the aging of the baby-boom generation, this number is expected to nearly triple by 2050 if there are no significant medical breakthroughs, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

The disease cost the nation $210 billion last year; that rate is expected to rise to $1.2 trillion by 2050.

COMMUNITY | On the foundation’s blog, Yanique Redwood of the Consumer Health Foundation (and a WRAG board member) writes about an encounter on an airplane that highlighted the short cuts that the “unconscious brain” sometimes takes that lead people toward biased ideas. (CHF, 3/4)

Related: Back in December, Dr. Gail Christopher from the Kellogg Foundation spoke to WRAG members about the societal impacts of unconscious bias. (Daily, 12/20)

WRAG | Sara Gallagher, a graduate student at UMD, writes about what she learned serving as a Philanthropy Fellow at the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region and Calvert Foundation. (Daily, 3/6)

Related: The Philanthropy Fellows Program is a service to WRAG members that connects them with talented fellows studying philanthropy and nonprofit management at UMD. We’re accepting fellowship position descriptions from WRAG members now. More information is available here.

TRANSIT | The cost of building the Purple Line has nearly doubled to $2.37 billion since the initial estimate. (WaPo, 3/6)

HOUSING | DC’s mayoral candidates voice ideas for affordable housing (GGW, 3/5)

WORKFORCE | After Lively Debate, Maryland House Approves Minimum Wage Hike To $10.10 (WAMU, 3/6)

PHILANTHROPY | The Social Innovation Fund has announced a fourth funding competition, this time prioritizing applications targeting opportunity youth, vulnerable populations, and collective impact approaches. More information is available here.

NONPROFITS | IRS hit from all political stripes on nonprofit rules (Politico, 3/3)

DISTRICT | On March 21, there will be a mayoral candidate forum on sustainability, clean water, and environmental health. More information is available here.


Who knew people in D.C. were so happy…and so into dancing in public!

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Monday. Have a great weekend!

-Rebekah

Mapping opportunity

“[T]oday, our American Dream is at risk. Too often it’s your zip code that predetermines your destiny.” That’s the driving idea behind the Opportunity Index, a massive collection of data that maps and compares indicators that determine economic mobility. The project comes from Measure of America, a project of the Social Science Research Council, and advocacy group Opportunity Nation.

Indicators are broken down by county and cover a wide range of philanthropic/nonprofit issue areas – workforce, wages, poverty, affordable housing, education, safety, food access, and access to care, among others. These indicators are then aggregated and compared to a national average.

Our region fares above the national average in most categories, but there are significant differences between local jurisdictions. Fairfax City, for example, has an “opportunity score” of 71.5/100 while Prince George’s County sits at just 49.6.

COMMUNITY | The Horizon Foundation has launched a new campaign that wants us to “burp better” – which is to say, drink healthier beverages. Check out the campaign, including a video that will air on some cable networks, on the Howard County Unsweetened page.

EDUCATION
- Chu’ Qul HaD vItu’, ahem, sorry. There I go writing in Klingon again. A new study finds that the language gap between lower and higher income children is formed as early as 18 months. The study is positioned to strengthen policy debates in favor of pre-K education. (NYT, 10/21)

- Continuing its series about local millennials, the Post writes about how the District’s schools are a major point of concern for young parents. (WaPo, 10/22)

Related editorial: An improving record for D.C. Public Schools (WaPo, 10/22)

TRANSIT | The Opportunity Index isn’t the only neat data tool today. The Council of Governments just opened a new data hub focused on the many transportation projects that are planned around the region.

PHILANTHROPY | The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has named La June Montgomery Tabron as its new president. (Chronicle, 10/22)

HOUSING | A few years ago, a study from George Mason University found that Fairfax County needs to create 50,000 affordable housing units by 2030. Attempts to address this problem through policy changes are causing tension among the county’s elected officials. (WaPo, 10/21)

INNOVATION | CNN put together a list of 10 thinkers whose ideas are shaping the world. It’s not necessarily related to the social sector, but it is definitely neat stuff! (CNN, 10/22)

HEALTH | Health insurance exchange launched despite signs of serious problems (WaPo, 10/22)


Exciting news in the world of movies. Tim Burton is in talks to direct a sequel to Beetlejuice with Michael Keaton back as the ghost with the most! To celebrate, he’s the best scene from the original.

And for those of you who inexplicably don’t like Tim Burton, check out this simple way of lighting up entire valleys.

What housing discrimination feels like

COMMUNITY | In a post on their Game Changer blog, Consumer Health Foundation president Yanique Redwood discusses the pervasiveness of race-based housing discrimination, and reflects on her own recent experience trying to find a new home and the impact that perceived discrimination had on her (CHF, 9/3):

As my husband was getting off the phone, the owner asked, “What are your names?”

As my husband shared his name and began to share mine, I waved frantically at him mouthing, “Don’t tell him my name!” But, it was too late… I had the sinking feeling that my name with its “q” sound was a dead giveaway of my race. Again, I knew what the Urban Institute study confirmed: minority testers whose race was more easily identifiable – by name, by voice over the phone, or in person – experienced more discrimination than minorities who were more likely to be mistaken as white.

We scheduled an appointment to see the unit… But, the day before the appointment, we got an email stating that the property had been rented. My shoulders slumped, and I let out a long, sad sigh. I was not certain that discrimination was at play, but I was acutely aware of the active levels of stress I had been experiencing around the need to find a place to live—yet anticipating and possibly experiencing difficulty simply because of the color of my skin.

TRANSIT | An environmental impact study concludes that the proposed Purple Line would displace 116 homes and businesses, mostly around Silver Spring, Takoma Park, and Riverdale. (WaPo, 9/6)

HEALTH | The Northern Virginia Health Foundation has published commentary from Sarah Holland, executive director of the Virginia Oral Health Coalition, about the critical need to integrate oral heath into overall health care, and the opportunity that the launch of the state’s health benefit exchange presents to get individuals and families enrolled in dental insurance. (NVHF, 9/5)

AGING/ARTS/HEALTH | Grantmakers in the Arts Grantmakers in Health has released a short report on their work to date on bringing together the fields of arts, aging, and health to promote creative strategies to improve the health of older adults. The report highlights a few promising initiatives and recommendations for grantmakers who want to work at the intersection of these issues. (GIA, GIH, September 2013)

AGING/WORKFORCE | The Atlantic profiles the organization Encore.org, which connects retired people with paid internships at nonprofits. The organization’s model addresses two issues: older adults who can’t actually afford to retire and are experiencing challenges finding new jobs, and nonprofits with limited staff and financial capacity. (Atlantic, 9/5)

ENVIRONMENT | Yesterday the Kojo Nnamdi Show focused on the Anacostia River and current efforts to re-imagine the river as a D.C. destination. (WAMU, 9/5)


As loath as I am to link to a Buzzfeed list, this one of art installations is actually worth the click.

-Rebekah

Money, money, money

BUDGETS
Lots more coverage today of Mayor Gray’s proposed 2014 budget:

Vincent Gray’s budget calls for new $1.38 billion in spending projects (Examiner, 3/29)

- Vincent Gray proposes $442 million for school construction (Examiner, 3/29)

- Gray, in budget, proposes $100M overhaul of MLK Library (WaPo, 3/28)

- Among all this increased spending, however, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities budget is back down to its 2012 level, after a sizable one-year bump in 2013. (City Paper, 3/28)

HEALTH | On the Consumer Health Foundation blog, Yanique Redwood considers the connection between health and money (Game Changer, 3/26):

I am always talking about money! Whether it be wages earned through work or strategies like worker-owner cooperatives that not only facilitate income generation but also wealth
building, I find myself gravitating to issues related to the almighty dollar. “Why is the leader of a health foundation always talking about money?” you ask. To which I reply, “Because access to it and all the benefits it corrals is fundamental to one’s ability to live a healthy and dignified life.”

TRANSIT
- Purple Line a Tough Sell To Many Affected Maryland Residents (WAMU, 3/28) As the segment points out, however, people might not have much to worry about after all if lawmakers don’t approve additional transportation funding.

- Arlington streetcar forum gets raucous (WaPo, 3/28)

CHILDREN/YOUTH | A program at a Prince George’s County library uses the board game Monopoly to teach young people financial literacy. (WaPo, 3/29)

PHILANTHROPY | The Open Society Foundations and the Foundation Center have launched BMAfunders.org, an online portal intended to “facilitate engagement, catalyze collaboration, and promote strategic decision-making in the field of black male achievement.” Our colleague organization in New York has more information on their blog. (Smart Assets, 3/28)


This is a sport?

-Rebekah

New study looks at the ‘vicious cycle’ threatening nonprofit stability [News, 1.15.13]

NONPROFITS | A landmark new report, UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising, analyzes the results of the first-ever national survey of thousands of development and executive directors on fundraising. The report comes from CompassPoint and the Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Fund and identifies a “vicious cycle” that is threatening the long-term stability of nonprofits. Key findings include:

REVOLVING DOOR – Organizations are struggling with high turnover and long vacancies in the development director position.

HELP WANTED – Organizations aren’t finding enough qualified candidates for development director jobs. Executives also report performance problems and a lack of basic fundraising skills among key development staff.

IT’S ABOUT MORE THAN ONE PERSON – Beyond creating a development director position and hiring someone who is qualified for the job, organizations and their leaders need to build the capacity, the systems, and the culture to support fundraising success. The findings indicate that many nonprofits aren’t doing this.

The report was advised by a research committee that included The Meyer Foundation’s Rick Moyers (a WRAG board member) and was supported by partner organizations that included The Meyer Foundation and the Nonprofit Roundtable.

Thoughts from Tamara: UnderDeveloped should be a wake-up call to our community. It’s an opportunity for funders to take a frank look at what’s asked of grantees. Are we really maximizing impact with our grant dollars, or are we offsetting the value of a grant with the amount of staff time required to secure it? Are there ways in which we can streamline our requirements to ease the burden on the nonprofits that we’re really trying to help succeed? Maybe it’s time to revisit a conversation WRAG had a few years ago.

COMMUNITY | The Consumer Health Foundation has launched a great new blog – Game Changer. In the inaugural post, CHF’s Dr. Yanique Redwood shares her vision for the blog:

We are excited to be kicking off 2013 in dialogue with you here in the D.C. metropolitan area and around the country. This blog will be dedicated to ideas, public policies, and the work of our non-profit partners that are game changing. And, in 2013 we will zero in on testing some assumptions that we all make about each other and our society that keep us from moving just beyond the darkness that we now find ourselves in as a nation to the dawn of a thousand possibilities.

PHILANTHROPY | New Study Reveals Reach, Economic Impact of Foundation Grantmaking (COF, 1/14)

EDUCATION | According to an analysis from the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, the District’s plan to close 20 schools in the next academic year won’t actually save much money. The savings on staffing would be almost completely offset by costs associated with shutting down the schools. (WaPo, 1/15)

TRANSIT | If you thought that Metro couldn’t possibly sustain their schedule of massive track work and station closures for years and years, then I’ve got a bridge to sell you. (Examiner, 1/15) Ever wondered where that bridge phrase came from?

LOCAL/ARTS | The Post’s Petula Dvorak has a good column today that asks why our region doesn’t better appreciate the wealth of free art and culture we have here. Are we jaded? Spoiled? (WaPo, 1/15) Or perhaps we’re too darn busy.


Did anyone see the front page of the Post today? What in the holy heck is going on in that picture? What kind of skill, exactly, is being demonstrated? “If a terrorist attacks you, disarm him by flipping him onto his noggin.”

Speaking of crazy pictures, here are 25 of places that look like they should only exist in George Lucas’ head – but they are real!

Consumer Health Foundation names Dr. Yanique Redwood next President and CEO [News, 10.5.12]

Yesterday, the Consumer Health Foundation announced the organization’s next President and CEO, Dr. Yanique Redwood. Dr. Redwood currently serves as the senior associate for health and mental health at the Annie E. Casey Foundation and will begin at CHF on November 1.

Christopher King, the Foundation’s Board Chair, praised her as “a visionary who brings an extraordinary breadth of skills – a broad public health background, a deep commitment to social determinants of health and health care, and experience in philanthropy. She brings passion, outstanding communication skills and innovative thinking that will advance the CHF mission.”

Added King, “She was the ideal candidate, because, beyond her obvious credentials, she is clearly willing to take risks to move a community-defined, owned and led agenda. The profound understanding that change must necessarily be based in the community is very much a part of Yanique’s DNA, and we are totally in synch with her vision for how the Foundation can help drive a healthier Washington region.”

Outgoing president and CEO (and WRAG Board member), Margaret O’Bryon, says she is “so excited that Yanique will be leading the foundation into the next phase of its work. Her skills and experience are perfect for the position; more importantly she is passionate about issues around equity, justice, and social change.”

WRAG President Tamara Copeland commented, “I look forward to working with Dr. Redwood when she joins the local philanthropic community. The Consumer Health Foundation, under the leadership of Margaret O’Bryon, has been a leader in this community through its important work on equity and health justice in the Greater Washington region, and I am excited to hear of Dr. Redwood’s experience with, and commitment to, this work. I am sure my enthusiasm is shared by other members of the region’s health funding community.”

Welcome, Dr. Redwood!

COMMUNITY | The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has announced the 15 recipients of its 2012 Graduate Arts Award. The award supports exceptional students in the arts for three years of graduate school. (JCKF, 10/4)

HOUSING
Lisa Sturtevant and Agnes Artemel, of the Center for Regional Analysis at GMU, look at the factors that have caused the cost of housing in the region to increase at a much faster rate than the growth in incomes. (Greater Greater Washington, 10/4)

- The Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development has released a new report looking at the impact of D.C.’s Housing Production Trust Fund on affordable housing in the city. (CNHED, October 2012)

EDUCATION | Fairfax County school system will apply for Race to the Top grant (WaPo, 10/4)

HEALTH | The D.C. Health Benefit Exchange board is requiring all small businesses and individuals to purchase health insurance through the exchange. (Examiner, 10/5)

REGION | Tysons Corner is unofficially dropping ‘corner’ from its name (WaPo, 10/4). Because the ‘corner’ was the problem all along.

TRANSIT | Despite a number of injuries and fatalities, a quarter of metro stations don’t have the bumpy tiles along the edges of the tracks meant to let blind people know the edge is close – and won’t be getting them for quite some time. (Examiner, 10/5)

CORRECTION | The child poverty report mentioned in yesterday’s Daily was produced by DC Action for Children, which is the District grantee for KIDS COUNT.


Here’s a really cool video – “A Day in the Life of Washington, 1936” produced by FDR’s Works Progress Administration. 

Have a great holiday weekend. The Daily will be back on Tuesday.
- Rebekah

Generating impact and returns: How area funders are using impact investments

By Rebekah Seder, Program Manager

Funders who want to make an impact on entrenched social issues are increasingly moving beyond traditional grantmaking to use return-seeking investments to achieve change. Last week, WRAG and Arabella Advisors co-hosted a discussion with local funders engaging in impact investing – investing that generates social and financial returns – to maximize the impact of their work.

The Consumer Health Foundation (CHF) has taken a number of steps to use the investment process as a tool for supporting its mission of achieving health justice in the region. Rachel Wick explained how CHF engages in mission-consistent investing using local and minority managed funds; banking with a community development financial institution (CDFI); and making program-related investments (PRIs) – which generate a below-market rate of return while advancing specific program-related goals – to support the D.C. Primary Care Association’s Medical Homes D.C. initiative.

The Walton Family Foundation (WFF) has embraced program-related investments in support of its work strengthening charter schools throughout the country. Anne Stoehr discussed how WFF complements its grantmaking strategy with PRIs administered through intermediaries like CDFIs. One of the successes that WFF has seen through its investing is a leverage rate of 10 to 1 as its investments attract other capital to the charter school sector. Likewise, Robin Hacke, who leads the Catalyst Fund at Living Cities, explained how the fund provides flexible capital to innovative projects that advance Living Cities’ mission of revitalizing American cities. The fund provides below-market rate loans to “unlock more money” for organizations and provides investors with a low risk way to have a big impact.

Impact investing represents a paradigm shift for both philanthropy and finance. Changing the thinking in the foundation boardroom about how to creatively use endowments – and also among fund managers whose focus is traditionally on maximizing the rate of return on investments – is an undeniable challenge. However, impact investing allows funders to maximize their impact by providing flexible capital through PRIs and by supporting a broad spectrum of intersecting issues through mission-consistent investing. As Ms. Hacke put it, philanthropy has no choice but to push the field toward embracing impact investing – and at the same time push the financial community to better understand its social impact – because there is nowhere near enough grant money in the world to solve the deeply entrenched social problems that philanthropy seeks to improve.

WRAG will be continuing the conversation about impact investing at our final Brightest Minds program of the year. On October 4, Dr. Susan Raymond, a noted economist from Changing Our World, will discuss impact investing and other innovations in the social sector. More information and registration.

Margaret O’Bryon receives Terrance Keenan Award…Region in danger of another recession…What can DC do to stop rise in family homelessness? [News, 3.15.12]

HEALTH | At last week’s Grantmakers in Health annual conference, the Consumer Health Foundation’s Margaret O’Bryon received the 2012 Terrance Keenan Award. The award was established in 1993 to honor leaders in health philanthropy “whose work is distinguished by leadership, innovation, and achievement.” In her remarks, Margaret reflected on how her personal passions and professional experience with the Consumer Health Foundation have given her an optimistic perspective on health philanthropy:

[W]hile, we don’t have all of the money needed to finance the change we all seek…we are stewards of enough money and other resources to substantially spark the conversation around change and to show – much like Terry Keenan did – how change can be done in keeping with our aspirations for a just society. What an amazing privilege.

Read her full remarks here. Congratulations on a well deserved honor, Margaret!

Related: For the conference, Margaret co-authored an article with CHF’s Rachel Wick – who currently serves as the chair of WRAG’s Health Working Group – titled Charting a Path Toward Health Equity. (GIH, page 15)

REGION | George Mason University economist Stephen Fuller warns that our region’s economy is in danger of a “mini-recession” if the federal government sticks with its plan to cut spending. (Examiner, 3/15)

HOMELESSNESS | What Can DC Do to Stop the Dramatic Rise in Family Homelessness? (DCFPI, 3/15) “Family homelessness has increased by 46 percent since 2008.”

HIV/AIDS | The changing AIDS epidemic – and what to do next (New Yorker, 3/14) “Today in the United States, estimates are that there are as many as a million people living [with] H.I.V. Further studies suggest that roughly a quarter of them do not know they have H.I.V.”

SOCIAL MEDIA | Podcast: Building Better Nonprofit Blogs from Allison Fine. (Chronicle, 3/15)

LOCAL | Apparently the land near the Washington Monument has been sinking at a quicker rate than expected – likely because of last year’s earthquake. One geological surveyor, whose picture is only in the print edition and can be seen here, has a name that I can trust. (WaPo, 3/15) Born on a mountain top


If you come across a soothsayer who warns you to “beware the Ides of March,” I’d go hide in a closet until tomorrow. Or at least watch out for colleagues with sharp objects.

Rebekah has the Daily tomorrow, meaning that I’ll see you on the other side of St. Patrick’s Day. As such, I leave you with the story of Charlie Mopps and best wishes for a fun weekend!

New one-stop resource for regional health info launched by Consumer Health Foundation [News, 3.5.12]

HEALTH | In 2004-2005, the Consumer Health Foundation held a number of town hall events across the region to gather information from residents about ways of improving health and access to care. One participant suggested the creation of a consumer-focused resource that would centralize information to help people “empower themselves with information about their health care options.”

Following extensive research and planning, the Consumer Health Foundation has launched the Ngozi Project – named after the Prince George’s County resident who suggested the idea. The multi-lingual website is a one-stop hub of critical health information for residents of the Greater Washington region.

- D.C. pays almost $700k for dead patients’ health care (Examiner, 3/5) There has to be a good joke to be made here, but my Monday morning cobwebs seem to be blocking inspiration.

YOUTH | WRAG’s Children, Youth, and Families Working Group recently held a session to explore school-based mental health services in the region. Rebekah wrote a recap of the event. (WG Daily, 3/5)

HOMELESSNESS | With fiscal difficulties leading to reductions in social service spending, officials in Montgomery County are struggling to deal with a surge in chronic homelessness (WaPo, 3/5):

From 2005 to 2011, the period for which regional data is available, total homelessness numbers dropped in Prince George’s and Fairfax but increased in Montgomery. Over that same period, the population of chronically homeless in Montgomery has more than doubled, to 344 in 2011.

PHILANTHROPY | In the Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Meyer Foundation’s Rick Moyers says that the collapse of Chicago’s Hull House “provides a sobering lesson for nonprofit boards and chief executives.” (Chronicle, 2/27)

EDUCATION | Ed Lazere, executive director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, analyzes the findings and recommendations of the District’s Public Education Finance Reform Commission, which he chaired. One of the recommendations focuses specifically on low-income students (WaPo, 3/4):

The school funding formula does not take poverty into account, despite widespread acknowledgment that low-income children face extra academic needs. The commission recommended adding a supplement to the formula for students who are both low-income and behind academically.

WORKFORCE | Opinion: One of Greater Greater Washington’s editors testified before the DC Council about the performance of the Department of Employment Services. His testimony makes an interesting recommendation – privatizing the city’s one-stop career centers. (GGW, 3/2)

ENVIRONMENT | Both the Prince George’s County Council and the county House delegation have passed legislation for a bag tax. The final vote goes to the county’s Senate delegation where it is expected to pass – though the per-bag tax rate has yet to be determined. (Examiner, 3/5) It seems like at least sixteen other legislative bodies should consider this before it is finalized.


And here I thought we were supposed to get some snow today. This winter has been a real bummer for snow lovers like me.

On a more somber note, hats off to the great artist Ralph McQuarrie who passed away this weekend. If you don’t know his name, you should. He designed some pretty iconic things – like this.

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