The challenge of rapid rehousing in the second most expensive rental market in the country

HOMELESSNESS | The District is changing policies and offering incentives to entice landlords to participate in the rapid rehousing program, part of a concerted effort on the part of the Gray administration to get homeless families out of hotels and the shelter at D.C. General. The big question is whether people will be able to pay their rent after their subsidies from the city run out. Some homeless advocates are concerned (CP, 4/16):

According to a recent study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a D.C. resident making minimum wage needs to work 137 hours per week—or nearly 20 hours a day, seven days a week—to afford fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment. [Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless attorney Will] Merrifield argues that rapid rehousing might make sense for employed individuals, but that “to try to plug everyone into this program is insane.”

“Where I don’t see it working is for families that are going to be a single mom working one or two minimum-wage jobs that are going to be put in an apartment that’s $1,400, $1,500, $1,600 a month, and then falling off a cliff when the six months is up and the rapid rehousing runs out,” Merrifield says. “There’s no way that that can be successful in my opinion.”

Which leads us to…

HOUSING | In the ranking for most expensive rental market, D.C. is second only to Hawaii. (WTOP, 4/17) Where, presumably, a rental unit comes with a beach view.

YOUTH | A new resource map from the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates, produced in partnership with the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, traces the various funding streams going toward services for disconnected youth in D.C. DCAYA has an overview of the findings about gaps and opportunities to better target investments toward disconnected youth on their blog. The full resource map can be found here. (DCAYA, 4/16)

ARTS | The National Endowment for the Arts announced their latest round of grants yesterday, $2.5 million of which is going to 30 D.C. organizations. Here’s the list. (CP, 4/16)

HEALTHCARE |  DC extends deadline to enroll in health plans (WTOP, 4/17)

EDUCATION | The College Board has released sample questions from the new SAT exam, which will be better aligned with the Common Core standards. (WaPo, 4/16) I got butterflies and my palms started to sweat a little when I saw the math question on the front page of the Post yesterday.

NONPROFITS | Analysis: Looking At The Gender Wage Gap At Non-Profits In D.C. (WAMU, 4/16)

DISTRICT | After Six Years, D.C. To Get Six More Months To Debate Zoning Code Rewrite (WAMU, 4/16)

REGION | D.C. And Maryland Decriminalize Marijuana, But Differently (WAMU, 4/15)


Peeps! (…and a whole lot of ad videos. Thanks, Washington Post)

The (Almost) Daily will be back on Monday. Along with, I hope, spring.

- Rebekah

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

Montgomery County schools working to reduce racial disparities in suspensions

YOUTH
- While the rate of suspensions in Montgomery County schools is declining, African American and Hispanic students are still being suspended at higher rates than their white peers, an issue that officials are trying to address (Gazette, 3/26):

Superintendent Joshua P. Starr said that as the school system addresses the issue of suspensions, it must support students and counter the effects of other institutions.

“It requires perhaps more than just an equity lens,” he said. “In some ways, it actually requires an anti-racist lens.”

Starr said reducing suspensions does not mean excusing behavior; turning away from suspensions might mean more work for school staff.

- To prevent teen pregnancy, provide opportunities for young people (Elevation DC, 3/25)

HEALTH | Data lovers: today is the equivalent of your gift-receiving-holiday of choice – the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has released their 2014 County Health Rankings. The rankings provide county level data on a number of public health indicators, as well as data on social and economic determinants of health, like housing, transportation, access to exercise opportunities, and more. (RWJF, 3/26)

You can spend a lot of time looking at the stats on our region. Here’s are some interesting nuggets:

District of Columbia: Only 8% of the population is uninsured, placing the city in the top 90th percentile of jurisdictions nationwide.
Prince George’s County:  57% of workers commute in their car alone for over 30 minutes.
Montgomery County: Ranks first in overall health outcomes in the state of Maryland.
Arlington County: 14% of the population face “severe housing problems.”

COMMUNITY WEALTH BUILDING | The New York Times has a great write up on worker co-ops around the country – such as the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland –  which are widely viewed as an effective business model for ensuring economic equality. (NY Times, 3/25)

Related: This model is currently being examined by the Community Wealth Building Initiative, which is laying the groundwork to launch employee-owned businesses anchored in low-income communities in our region. One of the potential businesses would be focused on green stormwater management, which we recently wrote about. For more information about the initiative, check out these Frequently Asked Questions.

HOUSING/AGING | In an effort to prevent seniors from being priced out of their homes, Mayor Gray signed a bill exempting low- and middle-income residents over the age of 70 from paying property taxes, if they have owned their home for at least 20 years. (DCist, 3/25)

HEALTHCARE
- The Obama administration is extending the deadline to enroll in a health care plan through the federal insurance marketplace for individuals who start the enrollment process before March 31. (WaPo, 3/26)

- Which is good news, since apparently: Most People Don’t Know The Health Insurance Deadline Looms (NPR, 3/26)

FOOD | Montgomery council, advocates push for healthy school foods (Gazette, 3/26)

BUDGET | New Ward 8 hospital will be floated in upcoming Vincent Gray budget proposal (WaPo, 3/24)

EVENT | Funders are invited to a special briefing on Venture Philanthropy Partners‘ Social Innovation Fund youthCONNECT initiative on May 12. More information is available here.


One important set of indicators that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation failed to include in their health rankings: relative preparedness for the zombie apocalypse. Be aware that things do not bode well for our region.

- Rebekah

DC charter board develops new standards for alternative schools

EDUCATION
- The D.C. Public Charter Schools Board has adopted a new policy to help the board evaluate the performance of alternative schools, or those that primarily serve students at high risk of academic failure (WaPo, 2/24)

Evaluating such schools has bedeviled charter school authorities across the country because of the tension between acknowledging the difficulty in serving students with such profound challenges and making excuses for schools’ poor performance.

“You have to have a way to distinguish between schools that are doing a good job and turning kids’ lives around and those that are just collecting public monies,” said Nelson Smith, a charter expert who headed a national working group tasked with studying how alternative charter schools can and should be judged.

- A previously unreleased audit of D.C.’s Tuition Assistance Grant program, which helps D.C. students pay for college tuition at schools outside the District, suggests that the Office of the State Superintendent of Education can’t account for millions in spending. (WaPo, 2/23)

- As High Schoolers Wait For College Notices, D.C. Fights To Get Students To Apply (WAMU, 2/24)

HOUSING | WRAG and the Aspen Institute recently co-hosted an event focused on impact investing and affordable housing. The national housing experts on the panel offered a number of good lessons learned for foundations considering entering the impact investing space. (Daily, 2/24)

Related: A video of this event can be viewed here.

HOMELESSNESS | Over in the other Washington, a group is taking an interesting approach toward ending chronic homelessness – building a community of tiny houses. (NY Times, 1/19)

VETERANS | Report: Military efforts to prevent mental illness ineffective (USA Today, 2/20)

YOUTH | After Fairfax County student deaths, a renewed focus on mental health (WaPo, 2/24)

AGING | To help meet the goal of making the District an “age-friendly” city by 2017, D.C. is conducting an in-depth survey of practically every block of the city to determine what issues need to be addressed to meet this goal. (DCist, 2/21)

HEALTHCARE | Maryland has achieved its health insurance enrollment goal, thanks to a research error (WaPo, 2/24)

TRANSIT | More delays for the Silver Line. (WTOP, 2/21)

COMMUNITY
- The D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation is conducting a survey of the city’s youth workers to learn more about their training and professional support needs. More information and the survey are available here.

- The Community Foundation for Prince George’s County is hosting two tours to local high schools to examine successful practices to prepare students to be college and career ready. More information is available here.


It’s been over a week and it still feels like the entire internet is obsessed with House of Cards. The blog Ghosts of DC looks at the history of some of the places included in the opening segment – like this liquor store on North Capitol Street.

- Rebekah

Middle schools are DCPS’ next big challenge

EDUCATION
- The “looming challenge” for the D.C. public school system, according to the Post, is the high rate of attrition among students entering middle schools. A significant number of families pull their children out of the traditional school system to avoid sending their kids to DCPS middle schools, which are perceived to be substandard (WaPo, 2/18):

After the 2011-12 school year, 11 percent of the system’s fourth-graders did not continue on to fifth grade in a traditional D.C. public school, according to city data. From fifth grade to sixth grade — the city’s usual transition point from elementary to middle school — the system’s enrollment that same year plummeted by 24 percent.

Often, those leaving D.C. schools are those with the most educated and engaged parents, who worry that the city’s middle schools won’t prepare their children for the rigors of high school and beyond. They cite poor academic results, concerns about safety, discipline and culture, and a lack of course variety and extracurricular activities that students need to stay engaged and to prepare for high school.

- Greater Greater Education asks: More and more DC students are taking AP classes, but what are they getting from the experience? (GGE, 2/14)

- In a New York Times op-ed, two foundation leaders, including Kenneth Zimmerman of the Open Society Foundations, highlight positive changes in school discipline policies that have reduced the number of suspensions in California and Maryland schools (NY Times, 2/16):

Ultimately, full-scale change requires giving teachers the tools and resources to effectively manage their classrooms. It also means ensuring that students are not victims of the kind of stereotyping or racial bias that results in unfair punishments. As a nation, we need to embrace the reforms, both large and small, that keep students in school learning rather than out of school misbehaving.

DAILY | Today we’re announcing some changes to the Daily WRAG.

WORKFORCE
- The New York Times has a cool tool to measure how many more hours you would need to work (or debt you would need to take on) to get by on minimum wage in your state. (NY Times, 2/8)

- Intellectually disabled struggling to find work (WaPo, 2/17)

HEALTH CARE | Va. Senate panel proposes alternative to Medicaid expansion (WaPo, 2/17)

ENVIRONMENT | There’s a 443-foot long machine digging a 13-mile long tunnel beneath D.C. that will one day help deal with the wastewater that today runs into the Anacostia, Potomac, and Rock Creek. (WaPo, 2/15)


Here are some cool photos from the first 12 winter Olympics. The outfits were definitely different. The ski jump was just as terrifying.

And, hat tip to Philanthropy Fellow Sara Gallagher, who passed along this video – what a conference call would be like in real life.

- Rebekah

Promoting STEM to minority students in Montgomery County

EDUCATION
- In an op-ed, two Montgomery County-based business leaders explain why, in a region that has become a hub for STEM companies, it is critical to boost interest in science, technology, engineering, and math among the county’s rapidly growing population of minority youth (WaPo, 1/6):

Unfortunately, the scientific and technology potential for [minority] students is being left largely untapped. Only 11 percent of Maryland’s African American eighth graders and 18 percent of Hispanic eighth graders are deemed proficient in science, according to the National Assessment for Educational Progress.

This must change — for the benefit of these students and, more broadly, for the future of science and technology companies within the region. We need a minority-based youth movement to push Montgomery County and our region forward in STEM education. Our collective challenge is to attract more students to STEM-related subjects through engaging, accessible and innovative platforms that appeal to the youth on their terms. Doing so fosters goodwill with our students, benefits our communities and advances the critical products and technologies that can make a meaningful difference to the health and welfare of the broader population.

- Improving middle schools will be a priority for schools chancellor Kaya Henderson in 2014-15, but first DCPS will seek community input on how best to do so. (WaPo, 1/6)

YOUTH | Students are pushing for officials at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria to implement a restorative justice program in response to the disproportionately high rates of suspensions among African American and Latino students. (WaPo, 1/5)

CSR | The American Express Foundation’s Tim McClimon explains five trends to watch in the field of corporate social responsibility in 2014. (CSR Now, 1/6)

Related: Tim McClimon is the lead faculty member for the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility, which kicks off January 23. There are still a few seats remaining. CSR professionals: click here to find out more about this new professional development offering from WRAG and Johns Hopkins University.

ECONOMY | Local leaders offer the Post their predictions for the D.C. region’s economy in 2014. The overall gist, per the Greater Washington Board of Trade’s Jim Dinegar: “It won’t be good, but it will be better.” (WaPo, 1/5)

WORKFORCE | Maryland legislators are seeking to raise the state’s minimum wage this year, which would impact 466,000 workers. (WAMU, 1/6)

POVERTY | 50 Years Later, War on Poverty Is a Mixed Bag (NY Times, 1/4)

HIV/AIDS | A Resisted Pill to Prevent H.I.V. (NY Times, 12/30)


This guy’s Facebook friendship with an Applebee’s franchise is pretty hilarious.

Christian will be back writing the Daily tomorrow. In the meantime, stay warm out there!

- Rebekah

Nicky Goren of the Women’s Foundation puts the minimum wage in perspective

WORKFORCE | In a Huffington Post op-ed, the Washington Area Women’s Foundation‘s Nicky Goren applauds the D.C. Council’s decision to raise the minimum wage as a step in the right direction – but reminds us that the hourly wage required to ensure economic security in D.C. is over twice what the proposed minimum wage would be (HuffPo, 12/4):

We live in a region that consistently makes “best” lists — 50 Best Cities, Best Cities to Find a Job. The truth is, those lists only apply to some of our community’s residents. For others, this has become an increasingly difficult place to live with resources that are always just out of reach.

Related: Since the federal poverty line hasn’t changed much over the years, the minimum wage increase doesn’t even come close to lifting a family of four out of poverty. This chart puts it in pretty scary perspective. (Atlantic, 12/4)

GIVING | A local Salvation Army office had $10,000 stolen after Thanksgiving. In response, they’ve received over $35,000 in pledges, including $10,000 from the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation. (WaPo, 12/5)

HIV/AIDS | The New York Times looks at some of the reasons why the HIV/AIDS epidemic has become concentrated among young black and Hispanic gay men. (NY Times, 12/4)

EQUITY | A new Pew report finds that economic mobility in urban metropolitan areas is linked to economic integration. Not surprisingly, relative to many other regions, the Washington area ranks high in economic segregation and low in economic mobility. The study also makes policy recommendations for addressing the issue (Atlantic, 12/4):

Public policies aimed at addressing economic segregation and mobility fall into two categories – housing assistance and education and skill upgrading. Both must be a part of any successful fix to this pernicious problem.

On the housing front, the study notes the need for more affordable housing. But the authors also point to the need for more innovative mixed-income development, inclusionary zoning, and metro-wide transportation and economic development.

YOUTH | Teen pregnancy rates have declined significantly throughout the United States, including in D.C. – although they are dropping much faster in some parts of the city than others. (WaPo, 12/4)

PHILANTHROPY | Philanthropy expert Lucy Bernholz’s annual Blueprint report is out, detailing her forecast for the social economy in 2014. (Grantcraft, 12/5)

NONPROFITS
- Loudoun to allow nonprofits to apply for tax exemptions (WaPo, 12/5)

- Nonprofit Government Contractors Still Face Late Payments, Says New Study (Chronicle, 12/5)

REGION
- No Shock Here: Lots Of Jobs In Maryland And Virginia Tied To Government (WAMU, 12/4)

- Federal Transit Benefit Could Be Cut In Half, Worrying Advocates And Metro (WAMU, 12/5)


I have two seasonally appropriate videos for you today. The first, a flash mob performance at a Smithsonian museum by the Air Force Band. Second, a spot-on Lego re-creation of the mall chase scene in Blues Brothers (you know, because it’s shopping season). Enjoy!

- Rebekah

Solving the problem of disconnected youth

At least 7 percent of the District’s youth aren’t in school or working. These “disconnected” youth face the very real prospect of life-long disadvantage. How do we reconnect them and prevent others from disconnecting? A new report from the D.C. Alliance of Youth Advocates (DCAYA) drills into data and suggests a number of solutions:

1. Drastically improve the quality and accessibility of “front door” information and services available to young people
2. Expand the capacity of high quality, “non-traditional” educational and training sector programs
3. Improve data sharing between systems that young people disconnect from and programs currently serving disconnected youth
4. Support efforts that focus on long-term engagement and success
5. Establish formal mechanisms to solicit the opinions of youth
6. Create a comprehensive system of disconnected youth service provision

The report was supported by The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, the United Way of the National Capital Area, and Raise DC.

Related: DCAYA also created a series of blog posts and videos on the topic.

PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: Last week, the MacArthur Foundation’s Robert Gallucci authored a provocative piece about philanthropy’s role in fixing the government. In today’s Chronicle of Philanthropy, Gary Bass and Patricia Bauman of the Bauman Foundation continue that push. One of their perspectives is that philanthropy must help shift public perception about the role of government (Chronicle, 10/24):

No matter how much the nation does to make structural changes, unless we deal with the broader underlying feelings about the role of government, we will continue to have manufactured crises like this last budget breakdown. Certainly in the aftermath of this recent government shutdown, it is easier to identify the government’s importance. However, we all know memories fade.

This is where philanthropy can play a pivotal role through our grant making, our power to gather people from disparate parts of every community, and our collective voice.

WRAG’s president, Tamara Copeland, notes that the drive for philanthropy to engage in democracy improvement is critical:

Last week, I pointed out that philanthropy cannot replace government. Philanthropy can, however, play a major role in fixing government. It is this type of thinking that WRAG wanted to encourage when we made the decision to focus this year’s annual meeting on “philanthropy unsettled.” Funding efforts to enable an engaged democracy may not be a traditional issue that philanthropy has typically supported. But perhaps it is a space in which philanthropy’s dollars would be well spent.

Related plug: Since we’re on the subject, we hope you’ll join us for Philanthropy Unsettled next month! You can find more info here.

HEALTH | One of the main components of the Affordable Care Act is that Americans will be required to either purchase healthcare or pay a penalty. But the timing outlined in the law is really confusing, so the Obama Administration announced an extension. Now, healthcare must be purchased by March 31st, 2014. (WaPo, 10/24)

Between legal confusion and infrastructure problems, it seems like the government might have a tough time identifying and penalizing individuals who don’t want to buy insurance.

FOOD | Today is the 3rd annual Food Day, a nationwide event aimed at celebrating and promoting healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. The number of educational (and recreational) events held in the Greater Washington region has grown since the event’s inception. On Tuesday, the Post’s Going Out Guide offered their picks for the week. In tomorrow’s Daily, we’ll report on how a group of our funders marked the event earlier in the week.

LOCAL | On Income Growth, D.C. Comes in at…No. 17 (CP, 10/24)


Man, I’m tired today. This is what I felt like when the alarm went off this morning. I said “felt,” not “looked!” Sheesh.

Anyway, now I’m awake and my noggin is operating near full capacity, so I’m able to think about zero gravity. It seems like an easy enough concept to understand. But here’s a neat video that might give you an unexpected perspective. An astronaut uses a single strand of her hair to move around the International Space Station! That’s all it takes!

Ding dong, the shutdown is dead!

SHUTDOWN/SHUTUP | Federal workers returned to work today, the debt ceiling has been raised, and economic calamity has been avoided. Until January, when government funding runs out again. Or possibly February, when the debt limit would be enforced again.  (WaPo, 10/17)

Related:
- Here’s a rundown of the revenue our region lost due to the shutdown. (WAMU, 10/16)

- While the shutdown seems to have been a pointless mess, the District at least gained something from it – temporary spending authority that “outstrips the whole federal government.” This would protect the city in the event of another shutdown. (WaPo, 10/17)

- Conspiracy theorists were also given a treat when a House stenographer started yelling about Freemasons during the vote to end the shutdown. (ABC, 10/17)

- Domestic violence shelters saw a major increase of victims during the shutdown. (WAMU, 10/17)

- Finally, and most importantly, this is the moment where we should talk about preparing for the next shutdown. Congress is still divided and we can’t vote anyone out until next year, so how can our region’s social sector better prepare for the inevitable next crisis? What creative solutions can we find to help our nonprofits survive for more than a few short weeks without emergency funding? Share you thoughts in the comments section, please!

EDUCATION
- The District’s IMPACT evaluation system has been the source of much debate. In recent years, it has led to many low-performing educators being fired. According to a new study, IMPACT makes an impact. Good one, right! (WaPo, 10/17):

The study found that imminent consequences inspired two groups of teachers to improve significantly more than others: low-scoring teachers who faced the prospect of being fired and high-scoring teachers within striking distance of a substantial merit raise.

- Low-income students make up at least half of the student population in 17 states. A decade earlier, that was true in only four states. Maryland and Virginia are the only “Southern states” where this statistic doesn’t hold true. (WaPo, 10/17) Perhaps because, regardless of the Mason-Dixon line, we aren’t in the South. No debate!

YOUTH | D.C. Must Plan a Way to Serve Minor Children on Freezing Nights by Patty Mullahy Fugere of the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless (HuffPo, 10/17)

REGION | Is our region better than Chicago or Los Angeles? Of course. But a new article from The Atlantic’s Richard Florida suggests that because of our “wealth, education and growing technology sector” (ahem, Oxford comma), the Greater Washington region might be on track to surpass those two cities and become America’s second city, behind New York. (WaPo, 10/17)


The end of the shutdown isn’t the only good news today. Wes Anderson has released the trailer for his new film The Grand Budapest Hotel. As expected, it looks hilariously quirky and features an unbelievable cast. Anything that stars both Jeff Goldblum and Bill Murray is worth checking out.

Also, here’s a wicked loud, gospel-infused, foot stomping, rock and roll anthem from J. Roddy Walston and the Business – Heavy Bells.

Rebekah will usher you into the post-shutdown weekend tomorrow. See you all on Monday!

Bi-County Parkway won’t improve Dulles’ cargo capacity, but it might help the tech sector.

As the Bi-County Parkway debate continues, a new report from George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis pokes holes in one of the economic arguments being used to support the parkway. Proponents of the parkway say that it will help Dulles airport become a major cargo hub. The report suggests otherwise (WAMU, 10/7):

One reason why VDOT says the Bi-County Parkway is necessary is to improve access to Dulles from the west, for travelers and cargo haulers. [GMU's] study estimates the highway would affect only 8 percent of the potential market demand for air cargo operations at the airport. The problem is not the road. It’s the air cargo, already dominated by other airports.

On the other hand, George Mason University’s president, Angel Cabrera, says that the parkway would be good for both the university and Northern Virginia’s tech sector. The Post’s Tom Jackson recaps Cabrera’s op-ed and writes about a few other major voices who have waded into the debate. (WaPo, 10/7)

CSR | At the end of September, WRAG launched the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility. Through the Institute, we’re excited to offer a professional certificate in partnership with Johns Hopkins University. Our lead faculty member, the American Express Foundation’s Tim McClimon writes about the new program on his CSR Now! blog today.

HEALTH | Prince George’s County’s proposed new hospital will have 231 beds – but its price tag is a hefty $655 million. (WBJ, 10/7)

YOUTH/EDUCATION | Opinion: Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, praises the District’s efforts around early childhood education. (HuffPo, 10/7)

SHUTDOWN | With a default on the horizon and no real solution to the shutdown in sight, it seems appropriately ominous that our region has a tornado watch all day.

One bit of good news for federal workers though. The House unanimously passed a bill to give workers back pay for their furloughed days.  (WaPo, 10/5) I know what you’re thinking. Why not bring them back to work if they are getting paid anyway?

Here’s my best analogy. Congress is like a Segway: a brilliant piece of machinery built by genius inventors. And our current representatives and senators are like this guy trying to use a Segway.

NONPROFITS | Shut Down, Not Shut Off: What Can Nonprofits Learn From the Government Impasse? (HuffPo, 10/7)

HOUSING | Friday’s lead story was about how affordable dwelling unit (ADU), uh, dwellers are subjected to unchecked condo fees. The Coalition for Smarter Growth’s Cheryl Cort wrote us to say that a fix is actually in the works.


I’m glad to see that none of you have been mauled by the urban mountain lion. Since it seems (relatively) safe to go outside now, I highly recommend seeing Gravity in 3D. It answers the age old question: what does it feel like to be floating through space with no communication, life-sustaining resources, or ride home?

Also, new research shows that being mentally exhausted leads to bad workouts at the gym. This definitely explains why I can only make it 0.3 miles on the treadmill before collapsing into a heap!  

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