An effort to reduce pregnancies among Hispanic teens in Montgomery County

YOUTH | While the overall teen pregnancy rate has been declining, there remains a significant disparity between Hispanics and other groups, an issue that one local nonprofit has been working to address in Montgomery County (WaPo, 3/29):

Even as the Latino birthrate has fallen in Montgomery over the past two decades, it remains more than 2.5 times higher than the rate for the county’s black girls in that age group and more than three times the rate for white girls.

[...]

Since 1996, the earliest year in which Montgomery officials have published data, the great disparity between birthrates for Latino and white teenagers has hardly changed. Meanwhile, the gap between black teenagers and Latino teenagers has increased. This has perplexed local officials at a time when teen pregnancy rates in the nation are plummeting and the gaps between all races and ethnic groups continue to shrink.

For advocates, the disparity has come to symbolize the socioeconomic gulf between Latinos, largely a population of new immigrants, and more established populations in one of the country’s most affluent counties.

COMMUNITY | Today the Citi Foundation announced the launch of Pathways to Progress, a three-year, $50 million initiative in 10 cities, including D.C., to provide career training to 100,000 low-income youth. (Citi, 3/31). More information on the initiative is available here.

VETERANS | The Post commissioned a wide-ranging survey of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a must-read for those interested in issues affecting veterans and their families. The quick take-away from the intro: “More than half of the 2.6 million Americans dispatched to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan struggle with physical or mental health problems stemming from their service, feel disconnected from civilian life and believe the government is failing to meet the needs of this generation’s veterans.” (WaPo, 3/29)

Related: WRAG members have been convening regularly over the past year to look at ways philanthropy can better support veterans and their families in our region. Last year, they learned about challenges some veterans encounter when transitioning to the civilian workforce, and today (literally, right this minute) they are examining the potential of scaling up a successful program in Montgomery County for the entire region.

HOUSING
- Housing advocates see great potential for affordable housing options in Ward 8, particularly as developers begin to re-hab the area’s “abandominiums” – condos and apartments that have been left empty. (WAMU, 3/28)

- How your housing affects your health (WaPo, 3/26)

EDUCATION/WORKFORCE | In his latest column, Robert McCartney argues that recent changes to the GED exam, put in place to meet higher demands of employers, are making the exam far more difficult to pass during a time when unemployment for those without high school diplomas is so high. (WaPo, 3/29)

REGION | The population of the Greater Washington region continued to grow last year, due primarily to the availability of jobs. (WaPo, 3/28) As Stephen Fuller explains in the article, “very few people flock to D.C. to enjoy the weather.”

HEALTHCARE | Maryland gears up for health exchange redo (WaPo, 3/30)

ARTS/PHILANTHROPY | S&R Foundation provides Washington Ballet with live music, affects city’s music scene (WaPo, 3/28)

CSR | Breaking Down The Benefits Of In-Kind Giving — And The Regulations Around It (Forbes, 3/30)

Related: On Thursday and Friday last week, WRAG and Johns Hopkins University hosted the second session of the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility. Check out the speaker-line up and photos from the session. From the pictures, it looks like a fun and jammed-packed two days. We’ll begin taking applications for the 2015 class early this summer. More information here.


You know how in some circles the first thing people ask you is “what do you do?” That drives me crazy. Here’s a cool video that gives an overview of all of the obnoxious ways people form quick judgments about new acquaintances all over the country.

- Rebekah

Nicky Goren named next Meyer Foundation president and CEO

Major news for the region’s philanthropic and nonprofit community this morning. The Meyer Foundation announced that Nicky Goren, current president of the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, has been appointed Meyer’s next president and CEO, effective July 1.

In a statement, Nicky said:

My time at Washington Area Women’s Foundation has helped me understand the significant challenges facing economically vulnerable families in our region and the organizations and systems that support them,” says Goren. “It has also convinced me of the vital role philanthropy can play in bringing together partners and collaborators across all sectors to create social change. I am honored to have been asked to lead an institution I have long admired, and am committed to maintaining Meyer’s leadership role in the community.

We at WRAG are thrilled by the appointment. Upon hearing the announcement, WRAG’s president Tamara Copeland said:

I was thrilled to learn that Nicky has been named to lead the Meyer Foundation. I have always been impressed by her commitment to the region and by her work on behalf of the economically disadvantaged. I look forward to continuing to work with Nicky as a member of the WRAG community.

Congratulations to Nicky and to the Meyer Foundation!

VETERANS
- Unemployment among veterans has trended higher than the rate among civilians. Among the reasons for this are widely-held stereotypes about post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as the difficulty of translating military duties into marketable civilian skills (Marketplace, 3/20):

Companies love to hang yellow ribbons and run ads about supporting America’s veterans. But veterans say they aren’t always as quick to hire them because civilian managers don’t understand how to evaluate military experience.

“The hardest part for me when I first got out of the military was figuring out what to write on a resume,” says Marine veteran Michael Wersan, who served in Iraq as an infantry assaultman. “Nobody cares that I did 700 patrols in seven months. That doesn’t compute for a civilian.”

Related: Last year, WRAG members met with Emily King, an HR expert who focuses on military transitions. She talked about some of the challenges veterans face at new civilian jobs, and how philanthropy can best support returning veterans. (Daily, Sept. 2013)

- There seems to be a consensus that improving mental health services for veterans should be a major priority in Virginia, but there’s no agreement on how best to do that. (WAMU, 3/20)

- City Paper profiles several veterans attending college in D.C., whose military experiences set them apart from typical college freshmen. (CP, 3/20)

- Related for WRAG members: A group of funders have been meeting regularly at WRAG to look at issues facing veterans and military families in our region. The next meeting is coming up on March 31. More information is available here.

ARTS
- A study commissioned by the Maryland State Arts Council found that arts districts throughout the state drove significant economic benefits to their communities, by creating about 5,100 jobs. (WTOP, 3/20)

- A Fairfax County high school has received a grant from the Grammy Foundation to support a music program for students with emotional disabilities. (WaPo, 3/20)

Related event for funders: The next Arts & Humanities Working Group meeting for arts funders is on April 24.  The meeting will focus on the challenges and opportunities facing local arts nonprofits. More information available here.

PHILANTHROPY | David Rubinstein’s $7.5 million gift to support repairs to the Washington Monument may be part of a trend among major philanthropists to step in when government funding isn’t available. (Marketplace, 3/19)

Related: During last year’s government shutdown, Tamara wrote about why philanthropy cannot replace government. (Daily, Oct. 2013)

EDUCATION
- Review finds serious test-taking violations in four D.C. schools (WaPo, 3/20)

- Parents, students praise D.C. TAG in effort to shore up congressional support (WaPo, 3/20)

- Here are the things that testing data can’t tell you about student achievement. (GGE, 3/19)


How long can you stare at an anomalous motion illusion before you fall out of your chair?

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Tuesday, which, rumor has it, could be a snow(y) day. On that note, happy Spring!

-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

President Obama to announce initiative for young men of color

EQUITY | Today President Obama will officially announce the launch of “My Brother’s Keeper,” the cross-sector initiative he first hinted at in his State of the Union address. The effort will address the societal barriers faced by African American and Hispanic boys and young men. A number of major foundations have collectively pledged $200 million to support the goal of the initiative (WaPo, 2/27):

Those organizations, which include prominent groups like the Ford Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will seek to coordinate their investments to create and bolster programs that keep youths in school and out of the criminal justice system, while improving their access to higher education. The White House said it expects money for those programs to grow “exponentially” as major businesses start to pitch in.

Obama will also sign a presidential memorandum creating a government-wide task force to evaluate the effectiveness of various approaches, so that federal and local governments, community groups and businesses will have best practices to follow in the future.

FOOD 
- The FDA is proposing changes to nutrition labels that would make the relative healthiness of food items more obvious to consumers (WaPo, 2/27):

Among the most prominent changes for consumers may be the updates to serving sizes.

Consumers have long been confused about why a can of sweetened tea contains 2.5 servings, a single muffin is two servings or a serving of breakfast cereal is three-fourths of a cup.

Advocates of this change say that people will no longer have to do a lot of math to understand how many calories they are consuming. Of the 157 food types that are currently covered, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing to change the serving size for 17 percent of them. For instance, the serving size for ice cream, now half a cup, would become one cup.

Unfortunately, no label redesign can make ice cream less delicious.

- City Paper profiles DC Central Kitchen’s Healthy Corners program, which provides fresh fruit and vegetables to 34 corner stores in D.C., mainly in low-income neighborhoods with little access to healthy groceries. (CP, 2/26)

NONPROFITS | The Council on Foundations has released the formal comments they submitted to the IRS regarding the proposed rules for 501(c)(4) organizations. According to the Council, the rules would have a “chilling effect on civic engagement efforts of 501(c)(3)s.” (COF, 2/27)

EDUCATION
- Maryland audit of Prince George’s school system identifies weak financial controls (WaPo, 2/27)

- There’s a test that may give us a clearer picture of student growth, but DCPS is reluctant to consider it (GGE, 2/26)

HEALTHCARE | D.C. Mayor to Address Health Care for Transgender Residents (NBC4, 2/27)

ECONOMY | According to GMU’s Stephen Fuller, if Maryland were to raise the minimum wage, which it is considering, it would end up increasing the cost of living in the state, and ultimately hurt its economy. (WTOP, 2/27)

TRANSIT | Area Leaders Pledge $75 Million For Metro Upgrades, Including Eight-Car Trains (WAMU, 2/27)

LOCAL | A number of local nonprofit organizations are hosting a series of 3 “unforums” with the major candidates for mayor to discuss inequality and its impact on the city. More information is available here.


I’m not usually one for cute kid and/or animal videos, but here’s one that’s worth sharing.

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

- Rebekah

A renewed focus on the arts and humanities

By Rebekah Seder, Program Manager

At WRAG, we keep finding ourselves discussing how the problems and the assets of the Greater Washington region are often overshadowed by the fact that we’re the home of the federal government.

It’s a blessing and a curse. As the nation’s capital, D.C. and the surrounding area are often seen as synonymous with the Capitol, and our unique character is invisible. When it comes to arts and culture, we are fortunate to be the home of world-class cultural institutions like the Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Art, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, but smaller arts organizations that do amazing work are often left scrambling for funding. As we wrote in last year’s edition of “Our Region, Our Giving,” our local industry – the federal government – doesn’t generate the kind of major wealth that leads to homegrown philanthropic giants like those in other major cities. And while institutions like the Smithsonian attract (deservedly) massive levels of philanthropic support from both inside and outside our region, there’s considerably less philanthropic investment in locally focused organizations.

Late last month, arts and humanities funders convened to re-launch the Arts & Humanities Working Group (perhaps best remembered to date as the group that initiated the process of bringing the Cultural Data Project to D.C. back in 2011). This group of funders is committed to raising the profile of the arts and humanities in our region and making sure that the broad range of arts nonprofits that serve local audiences aren’t forgotten by other funders.

The working group is diverse, representing private foundations and public arts funding agencies, community, family, and corporate foundations. The group’s express goal is to strengthen the local arts and humanities sector in our region and to increase public and private philanthropic investment in the sector. The Arts & Humanities Working Group aims to help other funders understand that the arts, in addition to their inherent artistic value, are important tools for improving the quality of life in our region by promoting economic growth and community development, and serving as vehicles for education, youth development, and social justice.

The arts are part of what makes the Greater Washington region a great place to live – and, by celebrating, nurturing, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of our creative sector, the region will just keep getting better.


Funders interested in the Arts and Humanities Working Group should contact Rebekah Seder at seder@washingtongrantmakers.org.

2014 was supposed to be the year that homelessness ended in the District

AFFORDABLE HOUSING
- Opinion: In her latest column, Petula Devorak writes that affordable housing has to be the answer to rising homelessness. She also points out that back in 2004, then-Mayor Williams issued a 10-year plan that was supposed to end homelessness in the District. (WaPo, 2/11)

- Elevation DC looks at how residents in affordable apartment buildings have successfully organized to form co-ops to prevent their apartments from being sold out from under them. (Elevation DC, 2/11)

- The Park Morton housing development in northwest DC, part of the New Communities initiative, is so delayed that the city is firing the developers. (WaPo, 2/11)

Event: We’re really excited for tomorrow’s event focusing on how foundations can use impact investing to support affordable housing – even if housing isn’t part of their portfolio. There’s still space available for funders. More information here.

VETERANS/HOMELESSNESS | As D.C. Struggles To House Homeless, Veterans Program Is Bright Spot (WAMU, 2/11)

RACE/BIAS | A fascinating study found that the perception of a person’s race changes based on their life circumstances, suggesting that the perception of race is driven by racial stereotypes. (NPR, 2/11)

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)

HEALTHCARE
- White House delays health insurance mandate for medium-sized employers until 2016 (WaPo, 2/11)

- With deadlines approaching, D.C. health exchange reports jump in sign-ups (WBJ, 2/10)

- Maryland state officials are considering switching systems to run their health insurance exchange. Theirs is one of the state-run exchanges with the worst performance since the October 1 launch. (WaPo, 2/11)

EDUCATION | Students at Prince George’s school learn in single-gender classrooms (WaPo, 2/11)

PHILANTHROPY | Some large nonprofit institutions are concerned about the popularity of crowdfunding among young donors, as people increasingly donate directly to individuals in need or to new projects, thereby avoiding what some perceive to be the excessive bureaucracy of large organizations. (NY Times, 2/7)

“A very simplistic project can be great, but if it becomes the sole means people give, we’re going to end up addressing a much narrower set of social problems,” said Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator, which monitors nonprofits. “Take homelessness. It’s not a simple story. We can’t only focus on one aspect like job training or affordable housing.”
[...]
The question will be if…most donors are willing to give to both traditional charities and crowdfunding. “We need traditional charities such as museums and universities because they are essential to our society,” she said, “but we also need to support people outside the mainstream.”

FUNDERS | The Foundation Center is collecting data on philanthropic relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy. If your foundation supported relief efforts, please take a few minutes to fill out this survey and return it to the Foundation Center via drw@foundationcenter.org by 2/28.

TRANSIT | Despite The Streetcar, D.C. Plans To Replace H Street Bridge (WAMU, 2/11) Sigh.


The biggest news story on every single local news outlet that I checked this morning was that 50 years ago today some band with a dumb name played a concert in D.C. They had funny haircuts, but I guess some of their songs were kind of catchy.

-Rebekah

Family homelessness in D.C. doubles, marking it the biggest increase in the nation

Homelessness in the District has become the hot button campaign topic for the mayoral race. It’s annoying to see it politicized. But it is good that such a critical issue is being brought into the spotlight.

The Post has crunched the numbers to quantify the recent surge in homelessness. Over the last year, family homelessness has increased an incredible 100 percent. An accompanying article looks at Mayor Gray’s policies (WaPo, 2/10):

New York, Los Angeles and many cities in between have struggled with double-digit growth in homelessness in the wake of a deep recession, stagnating wages and escalating housing costs. But no other major U.S. city is on pace this year for its overall numbers of homeless families in emergency shelters to double.

Some applaud Gray’s efforts to streamline a variety of social services for the poor and to prod families from generational poverty toward self-sufficiency. But many of the same people say that he has failed to put together a realistic plan to do so and that the District’s rise in homelessness is the tip of the iceberg of a broader decline in economic security.

Related: On Friday, Gray held an interview with the Post to discuss the spike in homelessness and his policies. (WaPo, 2/10)

PHILANTHROPY
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy has released its annual Philanthropy 50 list, ranking America’s largest donors. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife top the list, and the combined giving of the top 50 donors is $7.7 billion – up 4 percent from last year. (Chronicle, 2/10)

Related
The Chronicle has a lot of articles about this list. One of them focuses on the Zuckerburg’s gift to the Silicon Valley Community foundation, which is headed by WRAG’s 2013 annual meeting keynote speaker, Emmett Carson. (Chronicle, 2/10)

- Also, check out the rationale behind the list. One name obviously missing from the list is Gates. Bill and Melinda Gates did give a lot of money last year – about $181 million – but it went toward paying off a pledge they had made in 2004. (Chronicle, 2/10)

- The New Yorker has a thought-provoking reaction to the Philanthropy 50 list. Their general question is whether large scale giving from the world’s wealthiest works to justify the equity gap. More specifically, does this giving do enough to relieve poverty? (NY, 2/10)

WORKFORCE | As the debate grows about the merits of raising the minimum wage, quite a bit of new research is emerging from places like the Employment Policies Institute. According to the New York Times, that organization is effectively a front for an interest group – and these sorts of fake organizations are influencing policies (NYT, 2/10):

The campaign illustrates how groups — conservative and liberal — are again working in opaque ways to shape hot-button political debates, like the one surrounding minimum wage, through organizations with benign-sounding names that can mask the intentions of their deep-pocketed patrons.

Ugh, soon somebody will discover the fact that my Institute for Galactic Education (IGE) is just a front to get Star Wars education added to the Common Core standards.

TRANSIT
- Metro might finally be able to take over the Silver Line from contractors. Maybe. (WaPo, 2/10) I wonder whether the Silver Line or H St. streetcar will be running first. We should know by 2030.

- And Metro chief Richard Sarles directly responded to some riders’ questions about the system. For example, why do train operators close the doors on passengers trying to enter? Because riders should have gotten out of the way when they heard the chimes, he says. No mention of how that’s fair to deaf people though. (WaPo, 2/10)


I have two hilarious things for you on this tenth day of February. First – and you might have already seen it – the Russian Police Choir singing Daft Punk’s Get Lucky at the Olympics. It’s truly absurd and I half-expected Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd to shuffle in. Watch the whole thing, because it gets better and better.

And here’s a classic example of eating your words on live television. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

Why are huge numbers of MoCo students failing math tests?

EDUCATION | In Montgomery County, students are failing math finals at an alarming rate of more than 50 percent. While the reason for this huge problem is obviously the cancellation of Mathnet in 1992, school officials are looking for other factors and have compiled a report that features insights from teachers (WaPo, 2/6):

Asked to cite three causes of exam failure, 27 percent of the teachers who responded said students choose not to put in an adequate amount of preparation; 18 percent said students don’t know how to prepare for a cumulative test; and 11 percent said class grades do not reflect mastery of content, which causes students to overestimate their level of preparation.

I think there are three other key factors to consider: math stinks and nobody uses it in real life.

HOMELESSNESS | At a debate last night, D.C. mayoral candidates took on the city’s massive spike in homelessness. The event featured plenty of “blasting,” “blaming,” and finger shaking, but the Post’s recap doesn’t indicate that the anyone discussed actual solutions. (WaPo, 2/6)

GIVING
- Blackbaud reports that charitable donations grew by nearly 5% in 2013, with more significant increases in online giving. (Chronicle, 2/5)

- Charities should pay attention to the increase in online giving, because another survey finds that most of them aren’t doing a very good job with online fundraising. (Chronicle, 2/5)

TRANSIT
- Public transportation in the United States is seeing a huge increase in off-peak usage. There could be a number of reasons, including shifting habits among Millennials, car-free living, continued economic strain. Whatever the case, transit systems are going to need to respond to the demand. (Atlantic, 2/6)

In our region, you only have to wait 24 minutes between trains during off-peak hours.

- More info on how Metro’s proposed fare hikes will affect disabled riders. (WaPo, 2/6)

EVENT | Next Tuesday, the Washington AIDS Partnership’s AmeriCorps team will be hosting a fundraiser at Nellie’s on U Street. What kind of fundraiser, you ask? Drag Bingo and Beer!

LOCAL | Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, its bobsled time! As the Olympics get underway, it’s the perfect time to remember the story of the Jamaican bobsled team, captured hilariously in Disney’s excellent Cool Runnings. As it turns out, the Mayor of Warrenton, Va., played a big part in that success story. (WTOP, 2/6)


Any Jeopardy! fans out there? Have you been watching Arthur Chu? He’s a current contestant, having won four times, and his strategies are creating a lot of controversy. You can read all about him here.

Rebekah has the Daily tomorrow, but before then, get into the Olympic spirit with John William’s iconic theme! See you on Monday.

Farm bill sent to Obama with cuts to SNAP included

After clearing the House last week, the farm bill easily passed through the Senate yesterday and is now in the hands of President Obama. The president is expected to sign the bill, which includes $8.6 billion in food stamp cuts over the next decade. That’s a lot, but it will only affect about 4 percent of current recipients.

The cuts are related to a connection between food stamp eligibility and utility assistance (WaPo, 2/5):

Food-stamp eligibility is based on a household’s disposable income. If it’s low enough, you qualify. But to calculate disposable income, the state takes your total income and subtracts some allowable deductions for essentials. Since things like rent and utilities are considered household necessities, they’re subtracted.

Here’s the problem the farm bill seeks to fix: recently, some states began providing nominal amounts of LIHEAP assistance — as little as $1 a year — meaning some households got credit “for utility costs they don’t actually pay,” according to CBPP President Robert Greenstein. As a result, they got more SNAP benefits than they would have otherwise.

Related
- 5 things the farm bill will mean for you (CNN, 2/5)

- Neil Young, a major farm advocate, has a catchy song called Homegrown. I might have actually put it in the Daily before, but it’s still a good song!

HEALTHCARE/WORKFORCE | The Affordable Care Act can’t catch a break. A new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that the law will have a significant, negative effect on the nation’s labor force (WaPo, 2/5):

More than 2 million Americans who would otherwise rely on a job for health insurance will quit working, reduce their hours or stop looking for employment because of new health benefits available under the Affordable Care Act, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday.

HOMELESSNESS | At Deal Middle School in D.C., face to face with homelessness (WaPo, 2/5)

EDUCATION | DCPS is creating a ‘Parent Cabinet,’ where children can store their mothers and fathers when they aren’t needed. Actually, the cabinet will be an advisory group to help DCPS understand parents’ perspectives. (WAMU, 2/5)

LOCAL | Harriet Tregoning of the District’s Office of Planning has been a good partner of the philanthropic community for many years. (Proof!) At the end of the month, she’ll begin working for the Obama administration with a position at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The District’s loss is the nation’s gain! (WBJ, 2/5)

WEATHER | I’m a climate change denier. As a snow lover, I refuse to believe the “scientific evidence” that we’re less and less likely to get snow every year. The numbers must be wrong. Science schmience! (WaPo, 2/5)


Are you ready for the Olympics? Russia isn’t. The media have arrived in Sochi and they are documenting their experiences. At the moment, things seem to be a bit like a nightmarish Terry Gilliam movie. When the water is literally dangerous to touch – not just ingest – you know things are in bad shape.

On the home front, here’s a really funny parody of the excessive and meaningless patriotism frequently found in car commercials.

District’s homelessness problem is ‘worse than it sounds’

HOMELESSNESS | The Post has a follow up to yesterday’s City Paper article about the roundtable hearing on homelessness in the District. At the hearing, David Berns, director of the D.C. Department of Human Services, said of the current level of homelessness (WaPo, 2/4):

“It sounds bad, and it’s worse than it sounds,” Berns said.

Berns intimated that, without additional funding, he may in the spring need to close shelters for homeless singles that typically stay open all year, and he told city leaders that he wouldn’t want to have to resort to “equally horrid” measures such as no longer paying for hotel rooms. But, he said, the homeless family crisis has quickly become a long-term fiscal crisis.

EDUCATION/COMMUNITY | Donald Graham, former owner of The Washington Post and a trustee of the Philip L. Graham Fund, announced the launch of a new fund called TheDream.Us. The $25 million fund will pay the full college tuition for 1,000 students who came to the United States illegally as children. As Graham explains, his motivations are rooted in a strong sense of social justice and fairness (WaPo, 2/4):

It seemed terribly unfair that literally everyone else in the [high school] class could get access to federal loans and, if low-income, could get Pell grants, and the dreamers couldn’t get a cent.

EVENT | The Consumer Health Foundation has opened registration for their annual meeting, titled Health and Racial Equity in Turbulent Times: Implicit Bias Examined. The event will be held an March 20th and will feature john a. powell (Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society), Carlee Beth Hawkins (Project Implicit), and Brian Smedley (Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies). [More info.]

WORKFORCE/GENDER | As The Atlantic points out, the male/female wage gap tends to be over-exaggerated. But the gap between working mothers and women without children is quite significant. This disparity is chalked up to a perception that working mothers can’t be as productive because they are distracted by their children. So, is that true? (Atlantic, 2/4)

PHILANTHROPY
- Nonprofits and Those Who Fund Them Should Talk Openly About Finances (Chronicle, 1/3)

- Opinion - Impact Investing: It’s Time by Harvard University’s David Wood (IFRI, 1/9)

Related: On Feb. 12, WRAG is co-hosting an event with The Aspen Institute on how impact investing can support affordable housing efforts. [More info.]

- New Website Offers Inside Look at Grant Makers, Including Anonymous Reviews (Chronicle, 2/4)

HEALTH
- In a completely pointless but fun exercise, The Atlantic uses life expectancy in each state to comparable countries. The District is omitted, but Maryland and Virginia are most similar to Brunei. (Atlantic, 2/4) I guess Martin O’Malley and Terry McAuliffe should swap their governor titles for sultan.

- And if we want our country to be more like Cyprus than Syria (easy choice), we better cut back on sugar. A major new study finds that consuming too much sugar  can triple the likelihood of premature death from heart problems. (WTOP, 2/4)

LOCAL | The Smithsonian? The Lincoln Memorial? The National Zoo? Forget ‘em! Well, actually don’t, but do check out the District’s newest awesome attraction, St. Elizabeths ice slide! It’s perhaps the greatest idea that the District has seen in a long time, except for my idea of having a zipline from the Washington Monument to the Capitol. (GGW, 2/4)


It is a true shame to have lost Philip Seymour Hoffman, especially to an avoidable death. He was a rare actor who could take any material, no matter its quality, and elevate an entire movie. Two of my favorite characters were Sandy Lyle from the otherwise mediocre comedy Along Came Polly and CIA agent Gust Avrakotos from Charlie Wilson’s War.

Here are two great clips. Fair warning: The first contains a mildly colorful phrase and the second contains a ton of profanity. Maybe save the latter for home, or even watch the whole movie. His performance is excellent.

- Christian

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 47 other followers