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September 20, 2018 / Kendra Allen, Editor

31 percent of US households struggle to pay their energy bills

ENVIRONMENT | A newly released report by the Energy Information Administration found that in 2015, almost one in five households had to reduce food, medicine and other necessities to pay their energy bill in the US. Most of the households impacted were communities of color. (NPR, 9/19)

“We only conduct the Residential Energy Consumption Survey every 4-5 years,” survey manager Chip Berry told NPR by email. “This is the first time in the history of the study (goes back to late ’70s) that we have [measured] energy insecurity across all households, so there’s not much in the way of historical comparison.”

The study found that about half of households experiencing trouble reported income of less than $20,000. More than 40 percent had at least one child.

PUERTO RICO | On the anniversary of Hurricane Maria, which claimed the lives of thousands of Puerto Ricans, residents are still feeling its impact. (NBC News, 9/20)

WORKFORCE‘Chocolate City’ is now ‘Money City’: The high price D.C. is paying to overturn the public’s will (WaPo, 9/19)

LEGAL AID | According to the DC Bar Pro Bono Initiative Report, DC lawyers performed more pro bono work in 2017 than they did in any previous year. (WTOP, 9/17)

HEALTH CARE | Here’s the latest on Providence hospital’s upcoming closure in D.C. (WBJ, 9/19)

LGBTQIA RIGHTS | How resistance against the growing diversity of suburban areas is displayed in the recent case involving the Masterpiece Cakeshop which refused to make a cake for a gay couple. (Citylab, 9/19)

Here’s some inspiration to keep doing the small things you do to make the world a better place.

– Kendra

September 19, 2018 / WRAG

Tax Cuts. Again.

By Amy Owen
President, Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties
Member, WRAG Board of Directors

Last week’s Washington Post headline caught my eye, as it must for every other U.S. tax payer: “New estimate: GOP’s second tax cuts would add $3.8 trillion to deficit.”

Like most nonprofit leaders, my head is still spinning from the expedited, and some would say haphazardly, passed, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ratified in December 2017. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated a $1.5 trillion deficit over the next decade as a result. This new legislation seeks to make many of those changes, currently with sunset expirations, both permanent and expanded. It will add to our U.S. deficit. It will also further affect charitable giving.

Serving my community in Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties, we face some of the most lackluster charitable giving rates in the U.S. Blinded by the fresh paint on the homes and businesses in one of the fastest growing and highest-income counties in America, our residents don’t see the need that is, in fact, here.

But, this is larger than what we face in my community. This is an issue that bullies a cornerstone social compact: American philanthropy.

Take, for instance, the estate tax: one of the most pro-social engines to establish legacy gifts in the U.S. And yet, this new plan offers new, even deeper cuts to the estate tax paid by about 5,000 of the wealthiest families in America.

Researchers at Philanthropy Outlook have scoured existing data to anticipate the future of philanthropy under these new policies. In years prior, 30% of U.S. households itemized taxes. With the new standard deduction rules beginning in 2018 tucked into the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, 5% to 12.5% are expected to itemize. It will be the larger income earners in our nation who itemize. If you’ve studied data offered by the Chronicle on Philanthropy’s How America Gives, you know it’s the low to mid-income earners who donate the highest percentage of their income to charity. Local charity is likely to suffer the most.

Plus, have you heard that IRS guidelines are proposing that, above and beyond the new $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions, tax credits issued by your jurisdiction may now be excluded? In other words, in Virginia, tax credits received as you donate through the Neighborhood Assistance Program (benefitting donors to nonprofits serving low-income citizens), Land Conservation Tax Credits, and the Education Improvement Scholarship Tax Credit Program, and others, will no longer qualify for federal tax deductions—even if you itemize.

While not the first reason all donors give, tax payers are most certainly responsive and incentivized by our tax system’s “nod” to charitable giving. Sixty-seven percent include it on the list of “why I give” in a donor survey by the American Institute of CPAs.

This new legislation breaks a social contract between government and citizen that supports the return of wealth and income to need, education, equity, and innovation through charitable giving.

And with this kind of deficit on the horizon, philanthropy will be more essential than ever. The House is expected to vote later this month.

September 18, 2018 / Kendra Allen, Editor

DC Council may overturn tipped wage vote

WORKFORCE | Yesterday, the DC Council held a hearing on the repeal of the tipped wage ballot initiative, which a majority of voters supported a few months ago. Over 250 people signed up to offer testimony, and the Council heard from proponents and opponents of the repeal. Check out Washington City Paper’s live coverage of the hearing here. (WCP, 9/17)

Katharine Lanfield is a social worker who says she has seen how our inequitable economic system makes life difficult for low-income workers and calls the move to repeal 77 an attack on the democratic process as well as low-wage workers. She asks, “Is there any other industry in which the customers, rather than the employers, are responsible for paying a worker’s wages?” “Tipped workers are not earning a fair wage from their employers and it’s fully in our power to right their wrong,” she adds.

Anita Bonds, the only councilmember in the room, asked Lanfield for more information.

“When I hear restaurant owners and managers talk about how a change like this is unsustainable, all I can think is how unsustainable it is to live on poverty-level wages,” she says.

HOMELESSNESS | Funders Together to End Homelessness has issued a statement regarding Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’s announcement that he will begin funding homelessness initiatives. (Funders Together, 9/14)

RACIAL EQUITY | Dr. Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism and one of WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table speakers, discusses how white people are raised to be racially illiterate and how they can combat this. (NBC News, 9/16)

Related: Watch Dr. DiAngelo describe the way race shapes the lives of white people during the third session of this year’s Putting Racism on the Table: Expanding the Table for Racial Equity series.

PHILANTHROPY | Brandon Iracks-Edelin discusses his experience as a Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow at United Philanthropy Forum. (NoGoodFellows, 9/14)

IMMIGRATIONMontgomery County Funds Three Groups Providing Legal Help To Immigrants Facing Deportation (WAMU, 9/17)

POVERTY | DC Policy Center explores the trends in concentrated poverty in the Greater Washington region from 1970 to 2015 in a new blog post. (DC Policy Center, 9/13)

TRANSITBusiness leaders warn that the Washington region’s inadequate bus system is stifling growth (WaPo, 9/18)

Can you guess where these fruits and vegetables grow?

– Kendra

September 17, 2018 / WRAG

Bold Leadership: How Companies are Stepping Up and Speaking Out on Hot Button Issues

By Katy Moore, Managing Director of Corporate Strategy at Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

In today’s super-charged socio-political environment, it’s no longer enough for a company to demonstrate its commitment to community through traditional corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices like philanthropy, volunteerism, and environmental efforts. Corporations are being pushed internally by employees and externally by consumers to stand up and speak out on some of society’s most controversial topics. One just has to look at some of the most recent examples of corporate activism by companies like Nike, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, and American, United, Frontier Airlines to realize that we’ve entered a new era of CSR.

Historically, companies only took a stand if an issue directly related to their industry or interfered with their profit-making abilities. Now, companies are regularly speaking up on controversial issues such as gun control, immigration, and racism, as well as important internal issues such as diversity, sexual harassment, and the gender pay gap. But, how does a company decide whether or not to take a stand? Who determines what that stance will be?

To answer these questions, Larry Di Rita, from Global Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Bank of America, and his team regularly ask the questions, “where should we take a stand given our role in the economy and the community?” And, “what are the issues that our employees and customers care about?” These internal conversations have led to a number of public stances on important issues, such as the bank’s recent decision to stop lending to companies that manufacture certain military-style firearms for civilian use. In situations like this one, the bank has to ask itself a series of questions, such as “how can we help make sure front-line bankers who handle these accounts engage in the right dialogue with their clients?”

Ultimately, Di Rita, explained that when the bank is deliberating on taking a stance, it needs to question two things. First, is the decision sustainable? That is, will the company be able to continue meaningful engagement with stakeholders in the pursuit of “responsible growth?”  And, second, is the decision consistent with the company’s values and purpose?

Another company taking a bold stance on a hot-button issue is PwC. Idalia Hill, director of external communications at PwC, is one of the leaders of CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, the largest-ever collective of CEOs dedicated to advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Responding to society’s complex divisions and tensions around race, diversity, and inclusion, CEO Action is the brainchild of Tim Ryan, U.S. Chairman and senior partner of PwC. Mr. Ryan originally called on what he expected to be 40-50 CEOs to sign the pledge. The coalition is now up to more than 500 companies and organizations as signatories – a prime illustration of the momentum of today’s corporate activism.

Jimmie Walton Paschall, executive vice president of Enterprise Diversity and Inclusion & Strategic Philanthropy at Wells Fargo, knows a thing or two about handling challenging situations and politically charged communications. Since 2016, when Timothy Sloan took over as Wells Fargo’s CEO following the bank’s missteps earlier that year, the bank has intentionally fostered a culture of transparency and ethical behavior that it hopes will inspire employees and resonate with customers.

So, recently, when Wells Fargo publicly stated its opposition to the Trump administration’s policies on DACA, the bank made sure to be clear with their employees and partners why the bank’s leadership felt that it was important for Wells Fargo to have an opinion. Specifically, hundreds of Wells Fargo team members are DACA recipients and the bank recognizes that many of its customers and community partners are also beneficiaries of the program.

Ms. Paschall also referenced a recent advertising campaign that was part of an intentional effort by the bank to reflect its vastly diverse customer base. In 2015, Wells Fargo ran a television ad that featured two women learning sign language on, what we learn later in the ad, is a journey towards the couple adopting a hearing impaired baby. According to CNN Money, this commercial made Wells Fargo the first American bank to showcase an LGBT relationship in a national ad campaign. In addition to highlighting diversity, the ad was supposed to impress the importance of financially planning for your family’s future and whatever life may bring your way. But a number of religious groups expressed outrage that the ad featured a same-sex couple.

When faced with the decision to pull the ad or continue it, Wells Fargo’s leadership decided that continuing to run the ad, despite conservative religious protests and the possible loss of banking relationships, aligned with the company’s culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Feedback and input from the bank’s employee resource groups helped the bank truly understand how its employees – at every level and in every geographic area of the country – felt about these issues and supported the bank’s decision to keep the ad.

As companies across the U.S. are deciding when and how to take a stand, or not, many are also encouraging and empowering their employees, customers, social media followers, and even their competitors to join in their activist efforts. This type of bold, corporate activism has the power to make a real difference in society. It also has the power to transform traditional quid-pro-quo relationships – such as seller/consumer and employer/employee – into life-long brand loyalties. When companies genuinely stand up for a cause they care about and authentically engage stakeholders, they make a difference and might even convert socially minded consumers into customers along the way.

How is your company stepping up and speaking out? I’d love to hear from you!

September 14, 2018 / Kendra Allen, Editor

New report shows how the police target Black Metro riders

TRANSIT/RACISM | A new report by the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs found that Metro Police have targeted metro stops heavily used by youth of color in hopes of arresting them for fare evasion. The data shows that the police have used the fare evasion charge to unfairly target Black people, especially Black men. (WLCCRU, 9/13)

Despite WMATA’s stated policy of cracking down on all fare evasion, WMATA’s own data suggests that the statute is not being enforced fairly. Rather, it shows that Metro Police are enforcing the statute almost exclusively against Black people, particularly in African-American neighborhoods or in parts of the City in which African Americans come in contact with Whites.

CENSUS“We Can’t Count on Washington”: A California Funder Preps for the 2020 Census (Inside Philanthropy, 9/12)

ENVIRONMENT | How Alexandria is pushing flood mitigation measures and other methods to adjust to climate change. (GGWash, 9/13)

ARTS & HUMANITIES | A new art exhibit in Maryland explores how we “conceptualize, scrutinize and give value to the human form“. (DCist, 9/13)

BUSINESSGreater Washington has waited for months. Here’s what Jeff Bezos finally had to say about HQ2. (WBJ, 9/13)

INCOME | Household incomes increased across the region last year but there was still a wide gap in racial group earnings, especially in the District. (WaPo, 9/13)

Social Sector Job Openings 

Institutional Fundraising Coordinator | Shakespeare Theatre Company– New!
Grants Manager | Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Development Manager | Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
Vice-President for Development and Communications | Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED)
Development Manager | Leadership Greater Washington
Senior Managing Director, Finance & Operations | Flamboyan Foundation
Institutional Giving Associate | Brady Campaign & Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Director, Institutional Giving | Brady Campaign & Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Events Manager | Public Welfare Foundation
Major Gifts Officer | L’Arche Greater Washington D.C.
Manager of Program & Evaluation Services | BoardSource
Programs Officer | DC Bar Foundation
Executive Vice President, Development and Communications | Northern Virginia Family Service
Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations | Northern Virginia Family Service
Adult Education Specialist | BoardSource
Senior Director, Evaluation and Learning | Flamboyan Foundation
Major Gifts Officer | Food & Friends

Hiring? Post your job on WRAG’s job board and get it included in the Daily! Free for members; $60/60 days for non-members. Details here.

Community Calendar

To add an event to WRAG’s community calendar, email Rebekah Seder. Click here to view the community calendar.

The Weather Channel released a cool but frightening simulation about what could happen in a hurricane.

– Kendra