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November 16, 2018 / Kendra Allen, Editor

DC will implement a law that allows the city to buy buildings to keep them affordable

– Yesterday, DC’s Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the city will implement a ten-year-old law to allow the city to buy residential buildings that are put up for sale to make sure they remain affordable. (WAMU, 11/15)

Under the rules written by the Bowser administration, D.C. will be able to invoke DOPA on any residential building of more than five units as long as at least a quarter of the existing units are deemed affordable. “Affordable” is defined as rent that doesn’t exceed 30 percent of the income of a tenant making half the area median income, which is $110,000 a year for a family of four. (For a single person making $38,000 a year, “affordable” rent would be about $1,000 a month). It also includes rental units where the tenant is receiving city assistance.

– Governor Northam Issues Executive Order to Address Virginia’s Unmet Housing Needs (WINA, 11/15)

HEALTH | This local musician is working to change the sounds patients hear in hospitals. (DCist, 11/15)

– A special committee in the Virginia House of Delegates has made the recommendation to fund more school resource officers and mental health professionals to increase school safety. (Richmond Times, 11/14)

– Many Latino students lag academically in prosperous Maryland County (WaPo, 11/15)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE | Virginia is looking to reduce the money it spends on providing health care to its prison population. (Richmond Times, 11/13)

Social Sector Job Openings 

Executive Director | The Volgenau Foundation– New!
Senior Grant Writer | LCV Education Fund– New!
Director of Development | Girls on the Run of NOVA
Gifts and Grants Administrator | Community Foundation for Northern Virginia
Development Associate | Alliance for Justice
Fellow, Civic Engagement | The Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment
Manager of Communications & Events | The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia
Director of “Count the Region” | The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia
President | Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
Global Children’s Rights Program Officer | Wellspring Philanthropic Fund
Receptionist/Administrative Assistant | Exponent Philanthropy
OST Community Impact Program Manager | United Way of the National Capital Area
Development Coordinator | National Building Museum
Grants Program Manager | Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County
Director of Program Fund Development | National Society of Black Engineers
Special Grants Coordinator/Program Analyst I | Legal Services Corporation
Marketing/Membership Demand Generation Specialist/Digital Marketer | BoardSource
Office Assistant & Member Relations | BoardSource
Executive Assistant | Virginia Hospital Medical Brigade
Vice President of Programs | Gill Foundation
Senior Program Associate | Exponent Philanthropy
Program Coordinator | Exponent Philanthropy
Director, Corporate Partnerships | Exponent Philanthropy
Program Associate for Strategy, Equity, and Research | Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

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. 

How much time is actually in a day?

– Kendra

November 15, 2018 / Kendra Allen, Editor

Mental health care is necessary for restaurant workers

WORKFORCE | Restaurants workers often face high stress environments and low pay, and although this can have a negative impact on their mental health, many don’t have access to mental health resources. Workers in DC discuss their experiences and how they try to mitigate stressful situations within their own restaurants. (WCP, 11/15)

A confluence of factors leaves many hospitality industry workers uninsured, from thin profit margins to the fact that many restaurants chiefly hire part-time workers. Without work-sponsored insurance, low-wage earners can get stuck in limbo, unable to afford individual coverage but just above the income line of eligibility for Medicaid. It’s part of the reason you see GoFundMe pages fundraising for restaurant employees to afford care or time off to recover.

DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority Director Mila Kofman confirms that the local restaurant industry has some of the lowest offer rates. She says she’s never met a restaurant operator who didn’t want to offer coverage, but they question if they can afford it year after year.

– Virginia’s Attorney General Mark R. Herring will propose legislation aimed at combating hate crimes and “reining in white-supremacist violence” today. (WaPo, 11/15)

– D.C. Council Pushes Forward Bill to End Statute of Limitations for Prosecuting Sexual Abuse (WCP, 11/14)

ARTS & HUMANITIES | How the Washington Project for the Arts has supported artists who are the main caregivers for their children. (WAMU, 11/15)

TRANSPORTATION | Alexandria City Council has voted to allow shared dockless scooters, joining other cities in the region. (WaPo, 11/14)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM | Should Your Birthday Determine Whether You Are Sentenced to Die in Prison? (Truthout, 11/13)

Happy National Philanthropy Day! Check out the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History’s philanthropy page to learn more about the history of the sector in the US.

– Kendra

November 14, 2018 / WRAG

Coming to a New Home

We’re excited to introduce the first writer from our new WRAG Journalism Fellows program!

The writer is an author of Voces Sin Fronteras: Our Stories, Our Truth, a graphic memoir collection by teen immigrants of the Latin American Youth Center. Books were produced in partnership with Shout Mouse Press, a local nonprofit writing and publishing program. Proceeds from book sales support a scholarship fund for immigrant youth in Greater Washington. Learn more here:

By Looking Owl
WRAG Journalism Fellow

My name is Looking Owl. That is my whole name, and I am 16 years old.

I am from El Salvador, from a rural community with huge hills and steep mountains and deep rushing rivers. I lived there with my mom. She is adorable and eloquent. My grandmother and cousins lived there, too. The moments that I spent there, in my hometown with my family, I will always remember and cherish.

But it was also hard to grow up in my hometown. Young people like me did not have access to higher education. The only opportunity we had was to work in the fields, just as our parents did, and our grandparents. I wanted more. I was studying, doing well, and had dreams of going to university to become a doctor. But some days those dreams seemed impossible.

My town was infested with bad people who tried to force us to get into drugs and crime. We felt threatened. Every time I heard about young people being beaten, or assassinated, I felt the fear that I could be next.

One day, everything changed. My father decided to go to the U.S., and he wanted me to go with him. He told me that in the U.S. I could study and accomplish my goals. He said it would be good for me, to escape the challenging situations of our country.

I had never thought about leaving. But the circumstances gave me no other choice.

After that, suitcase in hand, we left behind our dusty rural town. We were on our journey, chasing the so-called American Dream.

From time to time along the way we called home to chat with my mom. She always sounded like she was crying, and that was understandable. Miles and miles separated us, and I am her only son. When I said goodbye, though, she did not cry. She knew how excited I was about opening this new door. She told me, “I will be crying of happiness when you, my son, accomplish your goals. I will be so proud.”

That was over 2 years ago. I have not seen her since. But every day I tell her good morning in my mind. The only thing I know is that I have to do my best to be a good man, to make my mother proud.

I am in school here in Washington, DC right now, on the path to my goals. I am really happy with the people I have met, and I am learning English. I would rather embarrass myself every time I speak than to face again the danger I left behind. My graduation year is in 2020. I will be full of joy on my graduation day, because I will know that all I have been through has been of benefit.

You may wonder: What is it like to be an immigrant here, now? From my experience, it is not easy. You feel the financial pressure, even when you have family who work three jobs. It is not easy when you are a student who does not speak English. You are running against a clock to enter university while also just trying to survive. You are always wondering, What’s next for me, tomorrow? It is not easy.

It is painful, too, when you feel discrimination by people. Sometime I wonder if perhaps those people did not receive love themselves, and so they have grown a rock in their hearts. In their minds, a cloud reigns. Our pain seems to be the product of not understanding.

I ask myself: How can we remove the impediments to understand each other? Can we talk about the reasons we had to migrate, and seek solutions so that people everywhere can be safe? Can we help the children of the world, like me, have opportunities to improve our quality of life? None of us want to be separated from our families. Our world is wounded. Can we talk about that?

November 13, 2018 / Kendra Allen, Editor

How race determines eviction rates in Virginia

– Recently, a report found that Richmond, VA had the second highest eviction rates in the US, and that Black and brown communities are disproportionately impacted by this. Now several organizations in Virginia are trying to understand why areas that are majority white and high in poverty have a small eviction rate compared to communities with a majority of people of color. (WaPo, 11/10)

Marty Wegbreit, director of litigation for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society in Richmond, has witnessed the interplay of race and eviction at work. He spent 24 years in Southwest Virginia, where there is as much poverty, in the mountain hollows and coal fields, as anywhere in the state. The only difference, however, is that it’s white poverty. Buchanan County, for instance, which is 96 percent white and has a poverty rate of 25 percent, has an eviction rate of less than 1 percent, according to Eviction Lab.

“A lot of people don’t want to talk about the racial issue, but we’re going to,” Wegbreit said. “White people simply have a deeper bench, more access to wealth than black and brown people. . . . And there’s a subconscious belief that, ‘We can let the white folks slide; they’ll be good for it. And the black folks, not, because they won’t be good for it.’ ”

How opportunity zones are driving progress in one Ward 7 project (WBJ, 11/12 – Subscription needed)

PHILANTHROPY | In a new blog, Tamara Lucas Copeland, president of Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, discusses what she would like to see WRAG members and the organization focus on in the future. (Daily, 11/13)

CSR | Congratulations to these WRAG members for their inclusion in Washington Business Journal‘s 2017 list of Largest Corporate Philanthropists by Giving:

Wells Fargo & Co.

JPMorgan Chase Bank

Bank of America

Northrop Grumman Corp.

Capital One Financial Corp.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

The World Bank Group

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

Pepco Holdings

PNC Bank

SunTrust Banks Inc.

Deloitte LLP and subsidiaries

Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.

Washington Gas

ENVIRONMENT | Opinion: Paper Coffee Cups Will be the Death of Us (Outline, 11/12)

WORKFORCE | Georgetown University’s graduate student assistants have voted to unionize. (DCist, 11/12)

BUSINESS | Residents tried for weeks to save this D.C. institution. It’s closing anyway. (WaPo, 11/12)

EDUCATION | Here are five ways to make classrooms more inclusive for LGBTQIA students. (NPR, 10/26)

MEDIA | A journalism program partnered students from Morgan State University, a historically Black college in Maryland, and West Virginia University, a predominantly white institution, to teach them how to report while navigating the intersections of race and other identities. (YES! Magazine, 11/7)

Can you rezone this community to make everyone happy?

– Kendra

November 13, 2018 / WRAG

What might be the future of WRAG?

By Tamara Lucas Copeland
President, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

It was a bittersweet moment last week when I attended my last WRAG Annual Meeting.  It has been twelve years since I joined the WRAG team.  One of my most valuable lessons during this time has been the importance of using my voice and recognizing the incredible platform that WRAG offers.

So, for one more time, I used my voice and that platform to urge the WRAG membership to focus on four areas:

  • Seeing the 5% IRS nonprofit payout requirement as a minimum, not a maximum. I asked whether foundations make conscious decisions about the 5% floor, or whether, like many of us, they were simply acting on automatic. Then I asked that they think more about their other 95% of assets and consider impact investing, thereby increasing their ability to be change agents.
  • Child welfare – One of my earliest professional positions was as a foster care caseworker. That position opened my eyes to so much that is needed to change in the child welfare system. Many years later, I fear that change is still needed. When these children are taken from dangerous situations and placed in foster care, there is then a societal belief, I think, that the situation is now righted and no intervention is needed. Just being in a non-violent environment does not necessarily mean that the child is being nurtured. We need to place child welfare back on our priority list.
  • I urged the WRAG membership to see affordable housing as more than rental units. Certainly they are needed. I want us to think about the need for affordable for-sale housing to people across multiple income brackets. I asked the WRAG community to see this as a Big Hairy Audacious Goal and one that they have the ability to tackle.
  • Race and racism – I urged our members to keep racism on the table. Issues often become labeled the “flavor of the month,” something to be focused on for a minute and then quickly forgotten for the next important issue. As I shared at our Annual Meeting, 335 years have passed between 1619, when Africans were brought to Jamestown in chains, to 1954, the year of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. Then roughly another 65 years of silence. We have to peel back the onion of racism, understand the roots of structural racism and bias, and work toward racial justice. This is the work of our lifetimes.

My hope for the WRAG community is that they fully embrace their ability to be change agents, that they stop to look at what they’ve always done and consider if they always have to do it that way, and that they continue to be bold and fearless.

If you would like to read Tamara’s full speech, click here.