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February 23, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

Abolishing the national endowments for the arts and for the humanities on the table

ARTS & HUMANITIES | Opinion: The National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency that has promoted and funded the arts since 1965, could soon be abolished. The new administration has announced cutting NEA along with the National Endowment for the Humanities and other socially focused entities to save costs for other spending. (NYT, 2/22)

All too often, art is seen as a “soft” subject, the first thing to be cut, whether by local school boards or the federal government, when money is tight. But looked at purely in dollars, it is a false saving. The N.E.A.’s budget is comparatively minuscule — $148 million last year, or 0.004 percent of annual federal discretionary expenditures — while the arts sector it supports employs millions of Americans and generates billions each year in revenue and tax dollars.

…Arts and cultural programming challenges, provokes and entertains; it enhances our lives. Eliminating the N.E.A. would in essence eliminate investment by the American government in the curiosity and intelligence of its citizens.

– Eviction Companies Pay the Homeless Illegally Low Wages to Put People on the Street (WCP, 2/23)

– A local architect proposes turning outdated metro cars destined for scrapping into small homes for the homeless population. (WaPo, 2/22)

– An NBC News investigation found that black students with disabilities are arrested, suspended or expelled more often than other students. They created a tool that allows you to search the stats in your own school district. (NBC4, 2/20)

– Teachers At A D.C. Charter School Want To Try Something New: Unionizing (WAMU, 2/22)

– Virginia is considering three immigration bills, including one forbidding localities from being ‘sanctuary cities.’ The governor is planning to veto them all. (WaPo, 2/22)

– Study: 15 percent of Maryland residents were born outside US (WTOP, 2/22)

PHILANTHROPY | Eric Kessler, founder of Arabella Advisors, advises donors not to fund grantees or run their programs as if the world is the same as it was last year. (Philanthropy New York, 2/21)

Related: Register for WRAG’s Foundations and Advocacy: It’s Time to Get in the Ring, a training with Alliance for Justice that will explore how private and public foundations can support grantees’ advocacy efforts and engage in advocacy themselves. Funders register now!

PUBLIC SAFETYDepartment veteran Peter Newsham to be named new D.C. police chief (WaPo, 2/23)

These cats tell you what they will tolerate in an owner.

– Kendra

February 22, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

Transgender students may lose federal protections

TRANSGENDER RIGHTS | For a while, students were legally allowed to use the restrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identified with. Yesterday the new administration announced it would roll back protections for transgender students. While this is alarming for all transgender individuals, it is especially harmful to those experiencing gender dysphoria. For this group, the basic right to express one’s gender is paramount to one’s survival. (WaPo, 2/21)

The Obama administration’s guidance was based on the position that requiring students to use a restroom that clashes with their gender identity is a violation of Title IX, the federal law that bars sex discrimination. Transgender students and their parents cheered Obama’s move to expand the protections, but it drew legal challenges from those who believe it was a federal intrusion into local affairs and a violation of social norms.

The issue of which bathrooms transgender people should be permitted to use has evolved in recent years into a central debate about rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Transgender advocates say that allowing people with gender dysphoria to use their preferred restroom is essential for their health and psychological well-being. Opponents say the accommodations violate student privacy and traditional values.

– Rachel Tappis, Director of Community Impact at the Advisory Board Company, reflects on her time in WRAG’s Institute for CSR, and the invaluable knowledge she gained from the program. (Daily, 2/22)

How Can Businesses Build Effective Partnerships with NGOs? (The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 1/25)

Related: This is just one of the many topics we’ll cover in the first session of the 2017 Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility. Class kicks off March 16. Applications are due by February 28. Register here

– The Johnson Amendment, which prohibits charitable 501(c)(3) organizations from participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office, may be repealed. The Council on Foundations has determined that private foundations can engage in communications with legislators in support of or in opposition to any repeal or modification of the terms of the Johnson Amendment. Learn more (Council on Foundations, 2/7)

Related: Funders are invited to join us on Monday, March 13th for Foundations and Advocacy: It’s Time to Get in the Ring, a training with Alliance for Justice that will explore how private and public foundations can support grantees’ advocacy efforts and engage in advocacy themselves. Register now

– Crystal Townsend, Healthcare Initiative Foundation president and member of WRAG’s Board of Directors, is featured in this month’s Grantmakers In Health Grantmakers in Focus section. (GIH, 2/17)

HIV/AIDS | The Affordable Care Act allows a significant number of people with HIV to access health coverage. (Huffington Post, 2/15)

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT | The District’s Skyland Town Center project just signed a lease with CVS and plans to move forward with development this year. (WBJ, 2/21)

INCOME INEQUALITYThe Only Thing, Historically, That’s Curbed Inequality: Catastrophe (Atlantic, 2/22)

In case you were wondering: The 15 best places to break up in D.C., mapped

– Kendra

February 22, 2017 / WRAG

Institute for CSR Alumni Reflections: Rachel Tappis

By: Rachel Tappis
Director, Community Impact
The Advisory Board Company

Why did you choose to participate in the Institute for CSR and what year did you graduate?
I chose to participate in the Institute for CSR as a member of the class of 2015 because I felt it provided unparalleled knowledge and insight into a growing, rapidly changing, and increasingly important field. The opportunity to build relationships with other CSR professionals and exchange ideas and experiences was also an invaluable benefit – I keep in touch with these folks regularly and they are a continual source of guidance and inspiration!

What was your favorite part of the program?
I had several favorite parts – certainly, the instructors were a highlight, representing leading-edge organizations with fascinating perspectives and experiences that they shared generously. Group work that allowed us to share best practices and compare approaches was one of the most applicable parts of the program for me.

Have you used the knowledge and/or connections you gained at the Institute to improve your work?
Absolutely! The connections have been an invaluable source of inspiration and support, and the knowledge and tools provided by the Institute are designed to be very practical and tangible.

What would you tell prospective participants about the program?
This is 100% worth the investment – close to two years later, I refer to my course materials on a weekly basis (even using them to help onboard new team hires), I talk with my friends and colleagues from the cohort regularly, and I have found WRAG to be an incredibly supportive thought partner as an alum of the program.

Any tips for 2017 registrants on how to get the most out of their participation?
Engage! Do the reading, go to the networking receptions (they are really fun!), bring questions to every session, and come ready to learn and grow.

To learn what other Institute alumni are saying, click here.

The Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility offers CSR practitioners the opportunity to earn a Professional Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from Johns Hopkins in just six months. This non-credit professional certificate program is an initiative of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers and is offered in partnership with Advanced Academic Programs at Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center. Registration for 2017 is now open! Download an application and learn more about the 2017 faculty and curriculum here.

February 21, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

District’s death with dignity bill is officially law

HEALTH | DC Council passed the Death with Dignity Act, legislation allowing physicians to prescribe medical aid in dying, last November. A few weeks ago, members of the House and Senate, mainly the House committee that oversees the District, pledged to overturn it. In the end, the bill passed because Congress ran out of time to defeat the bill. (DCist, 2/17)

While a disapproval resolution for Death with Dignity passed the House Oversight Committee on Monday, it never made it to a vote on the House floor (where Norton doesn’t have a vote) or to mark-up in a Senate committee. Thirty legislative days passed on Friday, though Norton acknowledged that “House and Senate parliamentarians are the arbiters” of when the deadline lapses. Even so, [Congressman] Chaffetz has admitted defeat for now.

– Governor Terry McAuliffe urges Virginia legislators to include funding for mental health screenings in jails and to hire investigators to examine suspicious jail deaths in the budget. (WTOP, 2/20)

RACIAL EQUITY | After a year of learning about racism and racial equity, local funders are ready to move toward action, with the launch of the Racial Equity Working Group at WRAG. We report back on the discussion and the three major areas that the working group will focus on moving forward. (Daily, 2/21)

– Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit schools from suspending pre-K to second grade students. (WTOP, 2/20)

– DC’s first all male high school gives a progress report on its first year. (WaPo, 2/19)

IMMIGRATIONImmigrants are a huge part of DC’s workforce (GGW, 2/17)

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT | Ward 7 Economic Development Advisory Council formed to figure out how to bring more development to DC’s ward 7 community. (WBJ, 2/17)

ARTS / GENDER | Female Musicians and Artists of Color Are in the Spotlight at Represented DC (WCP, 2/17)

Some quacky sculptures for your Tuesday afternoon.


February 21, 2017 / WRAG

Philanthropy moves toward action on racial equity

By Rebekah Seder
Senior Program Manager
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

In November 2015, the local philanthropic community began the process of putting racism on the table. Over the past year, a sizable cohort of WRAG’s membership participated in a six-month learning series on the dimensions of racism, as well as trainings on applying a racial equity lens to grantmaking and communicating effectively about race and racism. While learning is always ongoing, funders are ready to move toward action to advance racial equity.

Last week marked the launch of the Racial Equity Working Group at WRAG, a group of funders that are dedicating time and energy toward continuing to better understand how structural racism manifests in our region – and to collectively take strategic actions toward dismantling it.

Co-chaired by Yanique Redwood (Consumer Health Foundation) and Rick Moyers (The Meyer Foundation), the working group – which already includes 23 organizations with diverse interests and priorities – has identified three major areas of focus:

Envisioning a Racially Equitable Region: When you disaggregate the data on social outcomes in our region, be it educational achievement, household wealth, or health status, racial disparities are stark. These funders have done the deep learning to understand how structural racism has led to these disparities. The next step is to realize a shared vision for what a racially equitable region would look like. What are the implications of equity for schools, neighborhoods, jobs, economic development, and so much more?

Community Engagement: Participants in the working group understand that this vision of racial equity can’t just be philanthropy’s vision. It has to be rooted in the needs and the desires of the community. The working group will consider how best to engage with communities across the region to both listen to and raise up their voices so that they authentically inform this work.

Systems & Policy Work: Though a growing number of funders are applying a racial equity lens to their grantmaking, grants alone won’t undo inequitable systems that have been centuries in the making. The Racial Equity Working Group will prioritize developing an understanding of the systems that impact people’s lives, and the policy shifts that are needed in order to make real change in our region.

WRAG is encouraged by the energy and commitment that our membership has shown to advancing racial equity in the Greater Washington region, and is excited to support the working group as they get to work.

For more information about WRAG’s Racial Equity Working Group, please contact Tamara Copeland, copeland(at)

February 17, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

Transportation options for DC residents with disabilities are limited

– Last year, the District passed legislation requiring cab companies to have wheelchair accessible vehicles. Due to a lack of fares, little training and a host of other issues, these new vehicles are sitting in lots and residents with disabilities still struggle to get around. (WAMU, 2/17)

These developments are frustrating transportation equity advocates. Just a few years ago, only 20 WAVs roamed Washington’s streets, leading to legislation by the D.C. Council to increase their numbers. But a new taxicab without a driver is the same as no taxi at all, said Heidi Case, a disability rights activist and motorized wheelchair user.

“Twice in the last week, I had to get a work appointment but they could not find a wheelchair cab at 4:30 in the afternoon,” said Case, who blamed the scaling back of a popular District program for the shortage.

– District residents east of the Anacostia River have a longer commute than the rest of the city. (GGW, 2/16)

– Montgomery County residents oppose a new mixed-use development they believe will be built on top of an early 20th century Black cemetery. (WaPo, 2/16)

– D.C. Judge Rejects Constitutional Challenge to Major Affordable Housing Tool (WCP, 2/17)

FOOD/ HEALTH | The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has announced the winners of the Healthy10 Awards, which is part of an initiative to create a business-led culture of health in America. Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States and DC Central Kitchen’s “Healthy Corners” initiative won an award. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 2/16)

HEALTH | Maryland lawmakers consider legalizing ‘Aid-in-Dying’ medication (NBC4, 2/16)

PHILANTHROPY | A new study of how foundations access and use knowledge for effective philanthropy found that foundation leaders are more likely to go to their peers when gathering information. (The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, 2/13)

Social Sector Job Openings 

Part-time Accountant | Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers– New!
Donor Services Associate, District of Columbia | The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region
Program Officer | Communities for Just Schools Fund
Program Assistant | Communities for Just Schools Fund
Senior Accountant | Arabella Advisors
Nonprofit Financial Planning & Analysis Manager | Arabella Advisors
Managing Director for Equity and Health | Richmond Memorial Health Foundation (RMHF)
Nonprofit Project Accountant | Arabella Advisors
Human Resources Manager | Arabella Advisors
Executive Assistant to the President (P/T) | ABFE – A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities
Associate Director, Policy & Communications | Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers 
Administrative Associate
| Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers 
Manager, Operations & Programming
| Walker’s Legacy Foundation
Senior Associate, Engagement – Mid-Atlantic and Retail and Direct Bank markets
| Capital One
Executive Director
| Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia

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 the image below to access the calendar.

The Daily will be back on Tuesday!

No cats were harmed in the making of this. They just really enjoy bouncing……

– Kendra

February 16, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

DC paid family leave bill may become law

WORKFORCE | Although Mayor Muriel Bowser’s deadline to veto the paid family leave bill that DC Council passed in December is today, she has not signed the bill. Instead, she has sent a letter to the Council expressing her concerns about the burden on businesses. Without her veto, the bill will become a law and DC will have paid leave starting in 2020. (WAMU, 2/15)

Bowser faced three choices when she received the bill earlier this month: Sign it, return it to the Council unsigned, or veto it, which would have required nine votes on the Council to override her. By not signing the bill, she played a balancing act, expressing her concerns with the measure while not forcing legislators to revisit the issue. In December, the Council approved the bill on a 9-4 vote.

But in her letter she did offer the Council an olive branch of sorts, saying her administration would “look to our partners on the Council to provide ways to overcome the very significant deficiencies” with the bill. She also warned that the Council would have to “fund and refine the legislation before any significant outlays of resources can be made.”

– Nicky Goren, Meyer Foundation‘s President and CEO, shares her family history of immigration and reflects on the silver linings she’s seen as more people get involved in the fight for social justice. (Meyer Foundation Blog, 2/14)

– Yanique Redwood, Consumer Health Foundation‘s President and CEO, explains why CHF is closing its doors to stand in solidarity with immigrants on ‘A Day Without Immigrants’. (CHF Blog, 2/16)

– DC has added pathway coordinators to its high schools to help students at risk of dropping out succeed in school. (Atlantic, 2/14)

– A new legislative analysis found that universal pre-kindergarten would cost Montgomery County up to $128 million annually. (Bethesda Beat, 2/15)

– Alexandria is considering methods to stop its sewage from flowing into local waterways, including the Potomac River (GGW, 2/9)

– Environmentalists Oppose Dominion Power’s Plan To Bury Coal Ash Near Potomac River (WAMU, 2/14)

INFRASTRUCTURE | Report tallies up in 1,200 deficient bridges across Md., Va., DC (WTOP, 2/15)

Bao Bao is leaving us!

– Kendra