MD gets $123m for health exchange…Growing need for workforce housing across the region…COG wants your ideas for region’s activity centers [News, 8.24.12]

HEALTH | Maryland has been awarded $123 million in federal funds to set up its health insurance exchange, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The exchange is expected to be online by October 2013, and so far Maryland is ahead of most other states in setting up the exchange. (Examiner, 8/23)

HOUSING | In the next 20 years, Fairfax and Montgomery counties are projected to need a huge supply of workforce housing, which in those counties is defined as housing that is affordable to families earning less than approximately $130,000 a year.  (WBJ, 8/24)

COMMUNITY | The Washington Area Women’s Foundation‘s Nicky Goren recently appeared on Comcast Newsmakers to discuss the foundation’s work supporting the region’s women and girls and promote their upcoming 2012 Leadership Luncheon. (WAWF, 8/21)

DISTRICT | The D.C. Department of Human Services has announced a plan to delay scheduled cuts to long-term TANF recipients to review each family’s case individually. (WaPo, 8/21)

REGION | The Council of Governments is looking for public input on how best to use activity centers to guide policy, planning, and investment throughout the Greater Washington region. (Region Forward, 8/22)

HIV/AIDS | The New York Times profiles Mary Fisher, an HIV advocate who delivered a historic speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention. (NY Times, 8/22)

PHILANTHROPY | The Need – and Appetite for – Enhanced Foundation Transparency (Foundation Center, 8/20)

There are probably better ways to spend $175, but I will definitely do this if I’m ever at the top of the CN Tower in Toronto again.


Region Forward: Is the Plan Making a Difference?

By Tamara Copeland, President

Is the Region Forward plan making a difference?

Well, the goals outlined in the plan are set to be achieved by 2050, so we can’t quite answer that question yet. But, kudos to the Council of Governments for its release of a Region Forward Baseline Progress Report. Without the baseline, we’ll never know how well we’re doing. And, the release of the baseline gives us another reminder of the existence of the plan and of its value to the region – a bit of oomph, if you will.

When the WRAG Board of Directors endorsed the report, many expressed support for the comprehensiveness of the plan, but questioned COG’s ability to measure progress (or the lack thereof) toward the identified goals. Last week, COG demonstrated its commitment to reviewing and utilizing existing data to establish a baseline. In so doing, COG has already allayed some of the fears of the funding community while also signaling to all sectors in the region that it will take all of us working toward the goals to see measurable progress in some key areas.

Based on their findings, COG labeled several goals as major challenges, including:

  • The region needs to capture a greater percentage of commercial and residential construction in regional activity centers – currently at 31% toward the 75% goal.
  • The region has a strong base of subsidized housing, but more research is needed to determine the health of market rate housing. COG is developing a tool to better assess this goal, but currently 18% of all subsidized housing is in regional activity centers as compared to the 80% goal.
  • For those funders committed to the environment, only 8% of watersheds are in good or excellent condition. The goal is 50% of all sentinel watersheds.

Other goals such as those relating to attainment of the Healthy People Goals set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were noted as areas in which baseline information still needs to be collected. And still others, such as the goal of 45% of the region’s population over age 25 having a Bachelor’s Degree, need to be examined for pockets of inequity. Regionally, we have already exceeded that goal, but when careful attention is paid to parts of the region, the story that emerges is quite different.

WRAG continues to believe that the Region Forward framework affords funders tangible goals around which to align their giving. It provides the community, writ large, with a shared vision for the future. Funders have a role to play, and so does government, through the local health departments for example, and business, through local residential and commercial real estate developers.

If as a region – the DMV – we own the Region Forward framework as our plan and not just COG’s plan, we can see real progress over the coming years.

Why is WRAG Talking About Regionalism?

By Tamara Copeland
President, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Let’s think of my block as a region. I’ve lived in my house – Copeland City – for more than twenty years. For all of that time, until last month, my house has sat ten houses into the block next to a vacant lot – Vacant Lot City. As Copeland City mayor, so to speak, I had done all kinds of things to improve my city. But no matter what, my property value didn’t rise significantly until a developer came in and put a house on Vacant Lot City. With that improvement, all of the adjacent jurisdictions benefited. All boats rose. The improvement of the lowest element of our city-block region improved the entire region.

Regionalism seems like it should be common sense. What happens in one part of the region has a real and measurable impact on the rest of the region. Especially in our region – which is so interconnected that in some places you literally cross a street to move from one jurisdiction to the next – it seems incredibly short-sighted to be so insular as to only focus on one’s own jurisdiction.

I was chagrined to hear a high level D.C. city official imply that the District would be interested in collaboration with other jurisdictions toward a Region Forward goal – but only after the city had achieved its own exclusive successes. I was further dismayed when Steven Pearlstein reported in the Washington Post that a Fairfax County official noted that the county would be remiss if it didn’t pursue the relocation of the FBI headquarters to Springfield. Prince George’s County – a county in very real need of economic enhancement – was also in contention. I would assume that the Fairfax County official knew that.

For WRAG, working under a regional frame doesn’t mean that we will forget the unique needs of any one jurisdiction. What we hope to do is to put those specific needs within a regional context and demonstrate where there might be value in learning from the experience of others.

Last month, for example, the Fairfax County School Board asked the Montgomery County School Board for advice on how to start its search for a successor to Superintendent Jack Dale, recognizing that Montgomery County recently went through this process. It was a small step perhaps, but certainly a powerful example. WRAG is encouraging similar collective thinking by introducing the region’s education leaders to the funding community. In May, the Public Education Working Group is hosting Dr. Patrick Murphy, Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools. Dr. Murphy has a vision for improving the quality of education in the region. I hope you’ll join us to hear from him – his vision has applicability far beyond Arlington.

The power of a regional lens will occur to each of us at different points. Maybe it will be the need for shared criteria across jurisdictions in assessing the needs of the elderly. Maybe it will be coordination of core training of firefighters in one jurisdiction and EMT providers in another so that each jurisdiction doesn’t have to duplicate what others are doing. Maybe it will be the shared communication system that COG is promoting so that the traffic fiasco of snowmaggedon doesn’t happen again.

In This Could Be the Start of Something Big: How Social Movements for Regional Equity are Reshaping Metropolitan American, the authors note, “In many places, groups are discovering that the regional scale is valuable for understanding the roots of social problems, for developing valuable solutions to social problems, and for building significant social power.”

As philanthropy works to fight those deep social problems that threaten our region, the value of a regional lens continues to be a filter worthy of your consideration.

Prince George’s and Montgomery counties release budgets…Why affordable housing supply can’t meet demand [News, 3.16.12]

- Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker has released his FY 2013 budget, which he says aims to make the county ” a nationally recognized jurisdiction that has a thriving economy, great schools, safe neighborhoods, access to high-quality health care, effective human services for those in need, and provides a clean and sustainable environment.” (WaPo, 3/15)

- Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has also released his budget, which includes increases in spending on libraries and public safety. (WaPo, 3/15)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | City Paper looks at some of the reasons why, despite high demand, there is such a low supply of affordable housing in the region. (City Paper,, 3/15)

D.C. Area Has Fifth Largest Homeless Population (DCentric, 3/15) Out of every 10,000 people in the region, 24 are homeless.

- N Street Village has a new apartment building near Logan Circle, which will serve 31 women. (WBJ, 3/15)

ARTS | Here’s a look at the renovations that are almost done on the Howard Theater. (City Paper, 3/15)

REGION | Small tech firms, Silver Line (not Uncle Sam) will fuel future growth in Metro Washington (Region Forward, 3/15)

FOLLOW-UP | For those of you who made it to WRAG’s Brightest Minds event with Dr. Jim Johnson yesterday, his slides are available on our website. We hope you enjoyed the event!

After this week’s beautiful 80 degree weather it’s especially hard to imagine what spending a week and a half on the back of a dog sled in the middle of Alaska must be like


D.C. sees big population jump [News, 12.22.11]

DEMOGRAPHICS | Since last spring, the District has added 16,000 residents, bringing the city’s population to 618,000 and making it the fastest growing area in the country. Not surprisingly, three out of four D.C. newbies are between the ages of 18 and 34. (WaPo, 12/21)

- The D.C. Public Charter School Board may soon close two charter schools due to low academic achievement. (Examiner, 12/22)

- New elementary, high schools planned for Prince George’s (Examiner, 12/22) County Executive Rushern Baker draws the connection between school renovations and his efforts to promote economic growth in the county.

Related: Baker talked with WRAG members about how improved public education in Prince George’s County is key to economic growth back in June. (WG Daily, 7/7)

- The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute takes a look at how the District could tap the federal food stamp program for funds for job training programs. (DCFPI, 12/21)

- Yesterday Mayor Gray signed into law a bill that enables the District Department of Employment Services to better enforce the First Source law, which requires projects funded by the city to hire District residents for 51 percent of any new jobs that are created. (DCist, 12/21)

HIV/AIDS | Region Forward explains why HIV/AIDS is a critical issue for the entire region. (Region Forward, 12/21)

COMMUNITY | On the Washington Area Women’s Foundation blog, Nicky Goren writes about how her grandmother inspired her philanthropy. (Women’s Foundation, 12/20)

GIVING | A new study shows that donor-advised funds in the U.S. have grew by 12 percent between 2009 and 2010, holding $30 billion in assets as of last year, while the rate of funds dispersed grew by 1.3 percent. (Chronicle of Philanthropy, 12/20)

Someday you might find yourself  with no iPod, CD player, or internet access, and a serious need to listen to Hall & Oates. This is extremely unlikely. But if it does – just call 719-26-OATES.

The Daily is off tomorrow and Monday. Have a great weekend, everyone.


New study from Bank of America finds that women are primary philanthropic decision makers in wealthy households [News, 12.13.11]

GIVING | A new study released yesterday by Bank of America on high net worth individuals finds that women are the primary decision makers when it comes to philanthropy. Highlights from the report include (MarketWatch, 12/12):

- Women spend more time than men on due diligence before making decisions about giving to a charitable organization.

- Women expect a deeper level of communication with the organizations they support and place greater importance than men on the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization and hearing about the impact of their gift.

- Women want to be actively involved with an organization and its mission, with volunteering being among the most important motivations for women to give.

- Women are more likely than men to stop giving to an organization they had previously supported whereas men tend to support the same causes year after year.

Related: Why Wealthy Women Give: to Influence the Young (Chronicle, 12/13)

WORKFORCE | In September, District Mayor Vincent Gray announced a program that would match 10,000 unemployed D.C. residents with private-sector jobs. A thousand residents have been matched so far, and private businesses have lined up to participate. But now the city is having trouble finding more unemployed candidates for the program, so it is planning to try new tactics to identify them – including using Twitter, Facebook, and text messaging. (WaPo, 12/13)

So despite the fact that parts of the city are experiencing “depression level” unemployment, the government can’t find them? Well, here’s a map of where the unemployed people are -just roll your mouse over each ward!

HOUSING | Low-Income Housing Advocates Upset Over Cuts (WAMU, 12/12) “[T]he District cut $18 million from its Housing Production Trust Fund, which many low-income families depend on for their housing.”

REGION UNITED | Richard Hall, Maryland’s Secretary of Planning, writes about how the state’s PlanMaryland effort – a comprehensive sustainable growth and development plan – aligns well with the Region Forward plan. (RF Blog, 12/12)

- Washington Gas to clean Anacostia riverbank under new agreement (WaPo, 12/13)

- D.C. mayor planning environmental initiative (WaPo, 12/13) “[A]n environmental initiative [Vincent Gray] thinks will one day make the city a national model for clean energy, urban farming, green space and car-free transportation options.”

EDUCATION | DCPS is cracking down on enrollment fraud, and some cases are being taken by federal prosecutors. (WaPo, 12/13) I hate situations where kids get stuck paying for their parents’ mistakes, but parents also shouldn’t have to feel like their local public school options aren’t good enough for their kids.

Scientists claim that they are getting closer to being able to directly inject knowledge (in layman’s terms) into a human brain. What would our world look like if that comes to pass? Exciting and scary to think about!

Give to the Max Day – Virtual Lemonade!

NOTE: The following post was originally published on the Region Forward blog.

Give to the Max Day – Virtual Lemonade!

November 8th, 2011

Tamara Lucas Copeland, President of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG)

The continuing instability of the markets looks like a yo-yo – up and down, up and down. Tightening budgets are leading to significant reductions in government funding. And the expected wind-down of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s local giving is reshaping the corporate grantmaking landscape in our region.

With all those economic “lemons,” now comes a creative effort to make virtual lemonade in metropolitan Washington.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 9, thousands of area nonprofits will unite to raise millions of dollars as part of the first annual Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington (, a massive one-day regional online fundraiser to support local programs. Nonprofits that serve the Greater Washington region will ask donors to display their generosity in a region-wide competition to raise as much money and as many supporters as possible.

For 24 hours, starting at midnight tonight, nonprofits will drive their supporters online to donate, with the goal of getting at least 10,000 people to support their favorite regional charity and raising more than $3 million in donations and grants in a single day!

Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington was created by online fundraiser Razoo, and organized and supported by The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region and United Way of the National Capital Area. The other six members of the “Eight Neighbors” group—an alliance of local leading nonprofit and civic organizations have also come together to support this event: Center for Nonprofit Advancement, Greater Washington Board of Trade, Leadership Greater Washington, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington, and the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers.

These and other nonprofits will use their social media outlets to attract donors and build a new donor base of tech-savvy millennials.

Now, there are a few things that you can do to make this event a phenomenal success in our region. Encourage your friends to give. Encourage your family to give. And, most importantly, you can lead by example and make a personal gift to the nonprofit of your choice.

I plan to give to my favorite charity on November 9via Will you?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 47 other followers