With a year’s worth of maintenance slated to take place throughout the Metrorail system, the impact is expected to be felt by most in the region. Those earning less than $30,000 annually, however, may be hit the hardest with fewer options for teleworking or affordable commutes to work. (City Lab, 5/19)
Among the 11 percent of Metrorail customers who earn less than $30,000 per year, many work low-wage, hourly shifts that don’t offer the option to telework. These riders can’t necessarily afford the convenience of a cab, an Uber, or even a smartphone to hail one. These riders still need to be able to get to their jobs, and for 29 hours in March, it was a lot harder for some.
– Natalie Wexler – education blogger/editor of Greater Greater Education and DC Eduphile, and trustee of the Omega Foundation – discusses the challenges in achieving reading success for low-income students. On June 2, Dr. Willingham, psychology professor at the University of Virginia, will dive further into the role of background knowledge in reading comprehension and the persistent achievement gap among affluent and low-income students. (Daily, 5/23)
– Does Mindfulness Actually Work in Schools? (Atlantic, 5/20)
– The Citi Foundation announced the 40 social profit organizations selected as inaugural recipients of their Community Progress Makers Fund – a $20 million grant initiative supporting community organizations leading urban transformation efforts that create economic opportunities for low-income households and communities. D.C. is one of six U.S. cities with organizations that were selected, such as: Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing; Capital Area Asset Builders; Enterprise Community Partners Mid-Atlantic; Latino Economic Development Center; and LIFT
– The Center for Nonprofit Advancement has announced Higher Achievement as the winner of their 2016 AIM (Advancement in Management) Award, along with A-SPAN and National Children’s Alliance receiving honorable mentions. Pepco, Capital One Bank, and the Rotary Club of Washington, DC were sponsors of the award. Award recipients will also host an informative best practices session on May 24 at 10:00 am.
IMMIGRATION/POVERTY | Many of the young, recent Central American immigrants to the Washington region find that post-traumatic stress and poverty, along with attending high school, can result in a difficult cycle. (WAMU, 5/19)
– With a growing number of students showing signs of mental health problems at school, educators are struggling to meet their needs. WAMU and nprED have presented a series on the challenges and possible solutions to approaching mental health issues in children. (WAMU, 5/23)
– Due to a several challenges, the federal Summer Food Service Program – aimed at providing meals to children from low-income families during school break – only ends up reaching around 15 percent of those eligible. In places like Silver Spring, MD, for example, some children may have a hard time qualifying for such benefits when low-income housing is often in close proximity to affluent neighborhoods. (City Lab, 5/20)
– Should Pediatricians Ask Parents If They’re Poor? (NPR, 5/18)
DISTRICT | The Washington Post explores the surge in homicides in D.C.’s ward 7. (WaPo, 5/21)
We all need to get adequate sleep, and trees are (possibly) no different.
by Natalie Wexler
Trustee, The Omega Foundation
Why is it harder to raise reading scores than math scores for students from low-income families? And why do kids who seem to read well in elementary school then struggle with grade-level text in middle and high school?
For decades, most elementary schools have taught reading as a skill: children have practiced reading comprehension strategies like “finding the main idea” or “making inferences” on simple stories. The theory has been that it doesn’t matter what students are reading, as long as they’re reading something. And in many elementary schools, especially those serving low-income students, the curriculum has been narrowed to “the basics:” reading and math.
But reading comprehension is highly dependent on background knowledge – as Daniel Willingham, Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, will explain at the second event in WRAG’s Public Education Speaker Series on June 2. If students don’t learn about history, science, and the arts in elementary school, they’ll be at a tremendous disadvantage in high school, when they encounter texts that assume a lot of knowledge and vocabulary they don’t have. That’s particularly true for low-income students, who are far less likely to acquire academic knowledge at home.
Willingham – an accessible and engaging speaker as well as the author of several popular books – was recently cited in a speech by Secretary of Education John B. King. “We know from decades of research from folks like Daniel Willingham at the University of Virginia that knowledge matters for reading success,” King said. “It is not about reading vs. science and social studies.”
Willingham’s talk will shed light on why the achievement gap between wealthy and low-income students hasn’t narrowed in decades (in fact, some say it’s wider than ever), why it widens during school years, and what it will take to begin to close it.
WRAG’s 2016 Public Education Speaker Series is generously supported by The Omega Foundation, with additional support from the Tiger Woods Foundation. The series touches on a variety of critical topics facing students today. Education funders should click here to learn more about the series and to register. Please, note that these programs are open to grantmakers only.
By Silvia Salazar
Consumer Health Foundation
Putting Racism on the Table is a six-part learning series for WRAG member philanthropic CEOs and their trustees to explore key elements of racism together. Below, Consumer Health Foundation board member Silvia Salazar shares the meaningful impact the series has had on her own life thus far. To reflect her bilingual and bicultural identity, this blog post is also available in Spanish.
“Why is it that we are not as healthy as white people? Why?” Mamá repeatedly murmured in Spanish as she drifted in and out of consciousness. She was in the ICU recovering from lung surgery. I did not know what to say. Why would race come up at that moment? I responded that it was not true (in fact, Latinas are healthier until we arrive in the U.S.¹). What would cause her to think that Latinas are lesser and white people are better? Where does such programming come from?
Mamá’s question has continually surfaced throughout WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table learning series. During the Structural Racism session with Professor john a. powell, I finally found the words and concepts to explain my and my Mama’s lived experiences. For example, I fully understood how the complexities of race manifest in societal structures such as voting, housing, education, employment, and entertainment, and disproportionately favor whites while marginalizing communities of color. We then internalize those racialized structures into our own conscious and subconscious. Moreover, the different ways of relating and being that manifest in our identity, self, and spirit are also impacted. Structural racialization also affects one’s sense of belonging. During her critical moment of need in the ICU, my Mamá thought that she was sick because she fundamentally believed that white people are healthier than Latinas. She had interpreted and internalized the structural racialization that is the foundation of our society. As I reflected on Professor powell’s session, I realized that Mamá had marginalized herself.
At this past Friday’s session on The Racial Mosaic of America, Dr. Manuel Pastor provided quantitative data on the growth of communities of color and how the future of our country will depend on our ability to allow everyone a seat at the table. As a Salvadoran immigrant who grew up undocumented, I saw my experience and my Mama’s sacrifices recognized in Dr. Pastor’s demographic maps—they confirmed the growth of immigrant communities in the D.C. area and how Latino families continue to thrive.
The learning series has given me language that I didn’t have before. The discussions with fellow philanthropists on how we can organize to address racial inequities are important in crafting a collective vision. Our success will depend on our recognition that organizations are at different places along the readiness continuum. Some foundations are about to start the conversation and are interested in finding tools and support. As a new board member of the Consumer Health Foundation, I am learning about our long history of addressing racial equity by participating in learning journeys and funding social justice organizations. By supporting each other regardless of where we are in the process, we can create meaningful impact for communities of color in the D.C. region.
“¿Porqué es que no somos tan saludables como los blancos norteamericanos? ¿Porqué?” Mi mamá murmuraba repetidamente en español mientras entraba y salía de estado consciencia. Ella estuvo en cuidados intensivos mientras se recuperaba de cirugía en los pulmones. No sabía que decir. ¿Porqué saldría el tema de raza en ese momento? Le respondí que no era cierto (de hecho, las Latinas son más saludables hasta que llegamos a los EEUU). ¿Que ocasionó que mi mamá pensara que Latinas son menos y que la gente blanca norteamericana es mejor? ¿De dónde viene tal programación mental?
La pregunta de mi mamá constantemente surgió durante la serie de WRAG, Poniendo Racismo sobre la Mesa. Durante la sesión sobre Racismo Estructural con el Profesor john a. powell, pude finalmente encontrar las palabras y conceptos para explicar nuestras experiencias vividas. Por ejemplo, entendí completamente como las complejidades de raza se manifiestan en estructuras sociales tales como votando, vivienda, educación, empleo, y entretenimiento, favorecen los blancos desproporcionadamente mientras marginan las comunidades de color. Luego interiorizamos esas estructuras raciales en nuestro consciente y subconsciente. También son afectadas las diferentes maneras de relacionarse y ser que se manifiestan en nuestra identidad, persona y espíritu. Las estructuras raciales también afectan nuestro sentido de pertenencia. Dentro de la unidad de cuidados intensivos, en su momento crítico de necesidad, mi mamá pensaba que estaba enferma porque fundamentalmente creía que la gente blanca norteamericana es más saludable que las Latinas. Ella había interpretado e interiorizado la estructura racial cual es el fundamento de nuestra sociedad. Al reflexionar sobre la sesión del Profesor powell, me di cuenta que mi mama se había marginado a ella misma.
En la sesión del pasado viernes sobre El Mosaico Racial de América, el Dr. Manuel Pastor brindó información cuantitativa sobre el desarrollo de comunidades de color y como el futuro de nuestro país dependerá en nuestra habilidad en permitirle a todos tener un asiento en la mesa. Como inmigrante salvadoreña que creció indocumentada, observe que mi experiencia y los sacrificios de mi mama fueron reconocidos en los mapas demográficos del Dr. Pastor – confirmaban el desarrollo de las comunidades de inmigrantes en el área de D.C. y como las familias Latinas continúan prosperando.
Las series de aprendizaje me han dado terminología que no tenía anteriormente. Las discusiones con mis colegas filántropos sobre cómo podemos organizarnos para tratar temas de inequidades raciales son importantes para crear una visión colectiva. Nuestro éxito depende en nuestro reconocimiento que organizaciones se encuentran en diferentes lugares en el continuum de preparación. Algunas fundaciones están a punto de empezar la conversación y están interesados en encontrar las herramientas y el apoyo. Como nuevo miembro de la mesa directiva de Consumer Health Foundation, estoy aprendiendo sobre nuestra larga historia en tratar equidad racial por medio de participación en viajes de aprendizaje y financiando organizaciones de justicia social. Apoyando los unos a los otros sin importar donde nos encontramos en el proceso, podemos crear impacto significativo en comunidades de color en la región de D.C.
¹At WRAG’s 2015 Annual Meeting, David R. Williams also touched on the health declines that many immigrants experience over time after coming to the U.S. (at the 1:17 mark).
A supermajority of the D.C. Council announced plans to overhaul Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposed shelter plan, citing “a waste of tax dollars” as a primary reason. The Council shared details of their own proposal (WaPo, 5/16):
Instead, the city would build five shelters on public land and empower Bowser (D) to purchase property or use eminent domain to take control of two others. The city would save about $165 million compared with the mayor’s plan, [Council Chairman Phil] Mendelson said.
Mendelson said the council’s plan would locate more families closer to Metro and other transit options, and streamline zoning approvals so the city’s dilapidated shelter at D.C. General might be able to close in two years. Most important, taxpayers would realize significant savings, he said.
PHILANTHROPY | Exponent Philanthropy shares this open letter to foundations stressing the importance of nonprofit infrastructure organizations. (PhilanthroFiles, 5/17)
POVERTY | Consumer Health Foundation‘s Kendra Allen discusses updates to D.C.’s looming TANF cliff with D.C. Department of Human Services Director Laura Zeilinger. (CHF, 5/16)
TRANSIT/REGION | A higher tax for Metro? Regionwide campaign to back dedicated funding expected in the fall (WBJ, 5/16)
YOUTH/CRIMINAL JUSTICE | Children’s Law Center recently sat down with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss the District’s changing landscape for young people and his thoughts on how the D.C. justice system has improved for them over the years. (Children’s Law Center, 5/16)
Are you a picky eater? It’s not your fault. You can blame science for that.
As part of the Roadmap effort, the 2030 Group has announced the hiring of global brand consultant Interbrand to develop a marketing campaign for the region that is expected to launch in early 2017 with the help of a rebranding working group (WBJ, 5/12):
The marketing campaign is part of a larger effort by the 2030 Group to identify weaknesses in the region’s economy and come up with ways to boost growth in a time of federal austerity. The organization has spearheaded working groups to explore affordable housing and how area colleges and universities can work more closely with the business community. A working group exploring a regional transportation authority has been suspended as Metro embarks on its yearlong effort to fix major problems, [2030 Group’s Bob] Buchanan said, although he still hopes to restart that conversation in the future.
Related: Last year, the 2030 Group’s Bob Buchanan and the Center for Regional Analysis’s Stephen Fuller undertook an extensive research project called, The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy, to recommend ways the region can reposition itself to remain competitive in the global economy. WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland also shared how philanthropy in the region might respond and collaborate with other sectors to meet challenges facing our communities. (Daily, 1/15)
– In light of the coming dissolution of the DC Trust, WRAG has submitted a letter on behalf of the region’s philanthropic community to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, calling on the Council to maintain funding for out-of-school and summer programming for D.C.’s children and youth in the FY17 budget. Funders and advocates for children and youth will be watching closely as the DC Council votes on the proposed budget this month.
– BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) recently named Consumer Health Foundation president and WRAG board member Yanique Redwood as one of 36 leaders in their 2016 BALLE Local Economy Fellowship. In this blog post, she discusses why she looks forward to working with other members of her cohort and continuing along a path toward community transformation. (Be a Localist, 5/12)
– The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has announced plans to create a $500,000 endowment for its Innovation Fund, following a $250,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor. They’ve also announced the launch of a new online-fundraising platform, Granted. (WBJ, 5/13)
– Prince Charitable Trusts presents a short film in their series about farming and food, titled The Culture of Collards, which recently premiered at the DC Environmental Film Festival. The film traces the cultural heritage of collard greens from Portugal, to Africa, to the American south during the slave trade, up to their current state as a popular staple in many kitchens today. The 9-minute film features culinary historian Michael Twitty; owner of Three Part Harmony Farm in Northeast D.C. Gail Taylor; and City Blossoms co-founders Rebecca Lemos and Lola Bloom.
Related: In 2014, Michael Twitty kicked off WRAG’s Brightest Minds series with a discussion about building a more inclusive food movement. Check out this post that followed his talk, then take a look at the exciting lineup for WRAG’s Brightest Minds programs for the rest of the year. Brightest Minds programs are open to the public.
– The Ongoing Need for Healthy Food in Corner Stores (City Lab, 5/12)
– As the acknowledgment of the importance of quality pre-k education in a student’s future success picks up steam across the country, some states continue to struggle with making these programs accessible to millions of children. Locally, D.C. made progress by serving more 3- and 4-year-olds than ever during the 2014-2015 school year. (WaPo, 5/12)
Which of the seven deadly sins do some of the most popular social networks represent? Pinterest is spot-on!
THIS WEEK IN RACISM
– In a letter to the editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland called on organizations to talk about racism, and reflected on how the topic of diversity is sometimes used to deflect deeper conversations about race and racism in society. (Chronicle, 5/12).
THIS WEEK IN YOUTH/DISTRICT
– DCAYA Senior Policy Analyst Joseph Gavrilovich discussed a possible path forward for afterschool and summer youth programming in D.C. in advance of the shuttering of the DC Trust. (DCFPI, 5/9)
THIS WEEK IN THE ARTS
– The D.C. Office of Planning recently announced a public art initiative called Crossingthe Street: Building DC’s Inclusive Future through Creative Placemaking, that will place 15 pop-up art projects throughout each of the District’s eight wards. (DCist, 5/5)
Associate Director | Arabella Advisors
Visit WRAG’s Job Board for more of the latest job openings in the region’s social sector.
WRAG’S COMMUNITY CALENDAR
Click the image below to access WRAG’S Community Calendar. To have your event included, please send basic information including event title, date/time, location, a brief description of the event, and a link for further details to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calendar won’t display? Click here.
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments recently shared the results of the Annual Point-in-Time Count of Persons Experiencing Homelessness. Overall in the region, the homeless population rose by five percent from 2015 to 2016, though not spread evenly across the area. The report urges more aggressive action to bring affordable housing to families in Greater Washington. (WAMU, 5/11)
According to the Annual Point-in-Time Count of Persons Experiencing Homelessness […] there were 12,215 people who were homeless across the nine local jurisdictions that participate in the yearly census, which took place on Jan. 28.
That’s up from the 11,623 homeless people in the region at the same time last year.
In D.C., the number of homeless people increased by 14 percent, while it went up by 12 percent in Frederick County. Things went in the opposite direction for the rest of the region, though. In Arlington County, Loudoun County and the City of Alexandria, the number of homeless people decreased by 27, 20 and 16 percent, respectively.
The full report can be accessed here.
– The number of homeless families in D.C. has risen by more than 30 percent in comparison with a year ago. Further, the District’s homeless children and their parents outnumbered homeless single adults for the first time since the annual census began in 2001. (WaPo, 5/11)
– In a letter to the editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, WRAG president Tamara Copeland calls on organizations to talk about racism, and reflects on how the topic of diversity is sometimes used to deflect deeper conversations about race and racism in society. (Chronicle, 5/12).
– In his most recent blog post adapted from a panel presentation at last week’s GEO conference, Rick Moyers, vice president for programs and communications at the Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, summarizes Meyer’s experience with the 28 organizations they’ve supported in implementing the Benevon Model for increasing individual giving. His take away? “I wish we’d known at the outset that the goal was to change organizational culture.” (Meyer, 5/11)
Related: Rick is the first speaker in WRAG’s Nonprofit Summer Learning Series. Catch him on June 23 addressing The Dos & Don’ts of Working with Grantmakers!
ECONOMY/REGION | Region’s innovation economy needs boost or risks being ‘laggards’ (WBJ, 5/12)
MARYLAND | Study: Gaithersburg Is The Most Diverse City In America (DCist, 5/11)
HEALTH | A new study finds a 44 percent increase in hospitalizations for ischemic (the most common type) strokes among people ages 25 to 44, despite a 20 percent overall drop among all Americans. (WaPo, 5/11)
Conference calls, you’re the worst! Well…maybe not the worst, but honestly, does anyone actually enjoy them?