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October 16, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

DC residents in wards 7 and 8 walked for food justice on Saturday

FOOD JUSTICE | This past Saturday, DC residents from wards 7 and 8 joined together to participate in a ‘grocery walk’ to bring attention to the lack of grocery stores and healthy food options in their wards. The walk ended with a rally that featured speeches from residents and council members from both wards. (WAMU, 10/16)

The lack of grocery stores makes the weekly task of restocking the refrigerator a challenge for long-time Ward 8 resident Delois McNeal, 70.

“I have to walk across the street to catch the W3 bus,” said McNeal. “It’s a shuttle bus that runs once every half an hour. If you miss that, you have to wait another half an hour to go to the grocery store.”

Like nearly half of all Ward 8 residents, McNeal doesn’t own a car.

NONPROFITS | Nonprofits provide essential services to communities with scarce resources, and as a result, measuring a nonprofit’s impact on its clients and how supportive the philanthropic and government sector is to its mission becomes a secondary concern. Urban Institute and the World Bank Group have partnered to create Measure4Change, a program that seeks to advance measurement and evaluation capacity of nonprofits in the greater Washington area. Learn more here. (Urban Institute, 11/16)

WORKFORCE | DCFPI has released a report that analyzed the potential impact on eligible workers if the developers and businesses connected with the Wharf (the newest development in southwest DC) had worked with unions. (DCFPI, 10/12)

– This Maryland entrepreneur is using her shipping connections to fill eight planes with supplies for Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico. (WAMU, 10/13)

– Big Donors Favor Tex. Over Puerto Rico in Hurricane Relief, Chronicle Data Shows (Chronicle, 10/12)

– Panelists at a Virginia forum on the state of children’s health reflected on how recent legislative changes have negatively impacted children. (InsideNOVA, 10/16)

– The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report Friday that showed almost 40% of adults and 20% of adolescents in the US are obese. (NBC News, 10/13)

RACISMWhite Supremacist Group Hangs Banner Over American Immigration Lawyer’s Association Downtown Office (WCP, 10/14)

In case you’ve ever wondered what Muppets would look like with human eyes.

– Kendra

October 13, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

New report finds DC economy is leaving longtime black residents behind

– Georgetown University has released a report exploring the state of employment, population and housing for black DC residents. One of the most startling findings is that the average white household has a net worth of $284,000 and the average black household’s assets are $3,500. (WaPo, 10/12)

The Georgetown report traces the inequities in the District today to discriminatory practices that once kept black residents out of the economy. It also provides recommendations for the city to help strive for greater equality.

“One of the contributions of this report is how much it puts in one place both the history of the city and redlining and school segregation, and connecting it to how those impacts play out today,” said Ed Lazere, executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, whose work is extensively cited in the study. “That half of all black households in D.C. have assets of $3,500 or less — that’s virtually nothing, and it’s probably a reflection that housing discrimination years ago kept them from owning homes.”

COMMUNITY | Congratulations to Tracye Funn, manager of corporate contributions and supplier diversity at Washington Gas (and WRAG board member), for being honored in the Community Foundation for Prince George’s County‘s 2017 Civic Leadership Awards!

– The administration has announced it will stop reimbursing insurance companies for the discounts that they are required to offer low-income customers, which some expect will hurt middle-class families. (NPR, 10/13)

– Puerto Rico’s population’s health is at risk. Here’s why. (WaPo, 10/13)

TRANSIT | A recent study examining commute times between metro and Uber found that it may be quicker to travel with Uber inside the District. (WaPo, 10/11)

Social Sector Job Openings 

Controller | Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation – New!
Program Officer, Young Women’s Initiative | Washington Area Women’s Foundation – New!
Program Director | Grantmakers In Health – New!
Prevention Coordinator | Montgomery County Collaboration Council
Sr. Manager, Corporate Relations | Exelon
Program Coordinator | Exponent Philanthropy
Content Manager | Exponent Philanthropy
Director of Development | The Literacy Lab
Communications Manager | United Philanthropy Forum
Program Associate, Portfolio Support, Public and Patient Engagement | Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
Program Associate, Public and Patient Engagement | Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
Engagement Officer | Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
Program Officer, Public Engagement | Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

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.

This is kind of like “Price is Right”. Can you guess the price? (Tip: There is actually a purse that costs $49,805 that seemingly only serves as a purse and not an alternative form of transportation or shelter.)

– Kendra

October 12, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

While an opioid crisis rages across the US, black men in the District feel the brunt of its wrath

HEALTH | The District endured a heroin addiction epidemic in the 1960s and 70s. A doctor reporting on the epidemic found that 13.5% of the city’s males born in 1953 were addicted and low-income black men were predominantly affected. These men are now in their 50s and account for majority of the city’s opioid-related deaths. (WCP, 10/12)

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid originally used to treat pain, is the substance cut into heroin in recent years that has killed so many across the nation.

“These gentlemen who have been using for many years are teetering on this line of safety,” says Dr. Tanya A. Royster, Director of D.C.’s Department of Behavioral Health. “They know how much to use. They know when to use. They know where to get it.

“Now that these new things are introduced into the opioid supply, like fentanyl and some of the other synthetics, they are much more lethal and much more deadly. So what they have been doing for the last 20 or 30 years is not necessarily safe. That’s our message to them: What you’ve been doing isn’t working anymore because the supply has changed.”

PHILANTHROPY FELLOWS | Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers is excited to welcome the 2017-2018 Philanthropy Fellows! Read about them here. (Daily, 10/12)

POVERTY | john a. powell of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley and Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, discusses why America’s perception of poor people is preventing us from ending poverty. (Citylab, 10/11)

GIVING | Nonprofits Battle to Get Charitable Deduction Extended to All Taxpayers (Chronicle, 10/11 – Subscription needed)

PHILANTHROPY | Tyler Nickerson, co-chair of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy Washington, D.C. Chapter, advises white people in philanthropy on how they can become more bold on social justice issues. (Medium, 10/6)

I will not create a pun for this link because it would be terrible, so here’s a series of puns to brighten your day.

– Kendra

October 12, 2017 / WRAG

Introducing the 2017-2018 Philanthropy Fellows

(Top Row: Naresh Poonia, Monique Riley, Nicole Fillion; Bottom Row: Colleen Shipley, Aurin Lewis, Stephanie Areizaga, Mah Afroze)

The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers is excited to welcome the 2017-2018 Philanthropy Fellows! Seven grad students from the University of Maryland are working at five WRAG member organizations this year:

  • Aurin Lewis (MBA/MPP ‘18) is working at the Greater Washington Community Foundation to support their Safety Net Initiative and Philanthropic Services grantmaking programs.
  • Colleen Shipley (MPP ’18) is working on development and donor engagement at the Greater Washington Community Foundation.
  • Mah Afroze (pursuing a PhD in Public Policy) is supporting monitoring and evaluation activities in Kaiser Permanente’s community benefits department.
  • Monique Riley (MPP ’19) is supporting donor development and engagement at the Community Foundation in Prince George’s County.
  • Naresh Poonia (MBA ’18) is at the Greater Washington Community Foundation working on development and philanthropic engagement.
  • Nicole Fillion (MPH ’18) is supporting the Sharing Montgomery and Children’s Opportunity Fund initiatives at the Community Foundation in Montgomery County
  • Stephanie Areizaga (MPP ’18) is supporting evaluation and communications activities at the Montgomery County Collaboration Council for Children, Youth & Families.

These students are gaining valuable professional experience in philanthropy, making new connections in the community, and bringing fresh ideas and energy to their host organizations. To learn more about each fellow, click here. Check out our website to learn more about WRAG’s Philanthropy Fellows program.

October 11, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

Implementation of the District’s paid family leave act may be delayed

– While the DC Council is debating how to pay for the paid family leave act, one District official worries that the council has not put enough funds aside to begin to implement the program, which includes building its infrastructure and hiring employees. (WAMU, 10/10)

The District’s paid family leave law isn’t expected to take effect until mid-2020. But a slate of proposed changes the D.C. Council is considering and the realities of building a city-run program from scratch means delays and higher costs may come to pass.

That was the message City Administrator Rashad Young conveyed to legislators during a day-long hearing on Tuesday on the paid-leave bill that was passed by the Council late last year and became law earlier this year.

– Women of Color Have High Ambition, But Little Help In The Corporate World (WSJ, 10/10)

CENSUS | On Thursday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will ask Congress for more funding for the 2020 Census. (WaPo, 10/10)

NONPROFITS | The Center for Nonprofit Advancement has named its 2017 Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman Excellence in Chief Executive Leadership (EXCEL) Award winners. Congrats to the honorees!

HOUSINGThe federal government spends more than twice as much subsidizing homeowners as it does helping people avoid homelessness (WaPo, 10/11)

HEALTH | A recent Virginia Commonwealth University report exploring the health of 39 states found that a person’s socioeconomic status overwhelmingly impacts their health. (Citylab, 10/9)

ARTS & HUMANITIES | How philanthropy can invest in making arts funding truly inclusive for disabilty arts and disabled artists. (PND Blog, 10/9)

Can you recognize the different languages from these short clips?

– Kendra

October 10, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

DC launches a new program to help formerly homeless residents find housing

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | Across the US, individuals with housing vouchers have found that landlords are hesitant to offer them a lease due to perceptions about them. Last week, District officials launched the Landlord Partnership Fund in an attempt to remove this barrier for voucher recipients. (DCist, 10/6)

“We have people who are in the housing search process with a subsidy in hand and that stage of their process is getting longer and not shorter. We need that to change,” said Department of Human Services Director Laura Zeilinger before announcing a series of changes on Friday designed to make landlords more likely to rent to people who are exiting homelessness.

The centerpiece of the plan is a Landlord Partnership Fund, essentially a privately funded pool that landlords could draw from in the event of property damage or other potential costs—an incentive for property owners to rent to people with housing vouchers. In tandem, DHS has tweaked and added a series of programs to give landlords more confidence and assurances about a population often considered to be risky tenants.

RACIAL JUSTICE | Tamara Lucas Copeland, WRAG’s president, reminds us that to achieve racial justice, we have to focus on disrupting the false narrative of a racial hierarchy while also investing in the immediate needs of vulnerable communities. (Daily, 10/10)

– With the help of the District’s new “Equity Through Excellence” program, schools with a large amount of students who have poor PARCC scores will receive more funding to improve their grades. (WAMU, 10/6)

– Transgender students prevail with school policy in Maryland (WaPo, 10/8)

TRANSIT | Two DC agencies have partnered to launch a program that allows city government employees to hail city cabs instead of using government owned cars to conduct government business. (WAMU, 10/9)

WORKFORCE | Montgomery County, MD may be closer to passing a $15 minimum wage bill after a council committee recently voted to extend the timeline for its implementation. (Bethesda Beat, 10/9)

PHILANTHROPY | Nine nonprofit leaders, who are members of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations’ Nonprofit Advisory Council, have written a letter to philanthropy detailing how grantmakers can better support their grantees. (GEO, 10/4)

Minnie Mouse briefly stopped traffic this morning.

– Kendra

October 10, 2017 / WRAG

Statues, History and Social Justice

By Tamara Lucas Copeland
President, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Last Friday, I passed by Columbus Circle in front of Union Station as journalists prepared to film their Columbus Day news segments. I was reminded of the role that statues play in setting the stage for conversations.

That has definitely been the case with statues of Confederate soldiers. Some suggest these statues represent pride for those whose ancestors were a part of the Old South. Others note that that their ancestors were also a part of that same Old South, but pride is not their emotion when viewing these statues. Anger and sorrow are. So, what should happen?

Here’s what one group of young men thought when they visited Monument Avenue, home to a number of statues to Confederate soldiers in Richmond, VA,

“Today me and my peers decided to visit the monuments to see what all the fuss was about and we came up with this.Is it more convenient to take down some statues than to improve the real problem of society? … From living in low income areas we have our own ideas about society. Everybody pointing blame at monument avenue and statues that reside there, but those statues never did anything to me or people that i care about. The only thing that ever harmed people in low income areas is the violence that reside there …In low income areas 5 kids each [the five who visited the monuments today] from a different area [different apartments] collectively knows twenty-two dead [over the past year], where the protest about that, where are the reporters, where are all the organizations that claim to be to alive to better the lives of blacks. … Instead of using money to knock down statues that most people in low income areas never even seen how about using that moving to improve schools,fix up the community that we see everyday, or why not protest in our neighborhoods where we see violence and hate the most. We all was taught about pride and loyalty, but why nobody ever taught us not to die over the neighborhood that our mother renting…Everybody wants to help but nobody is really helping are they?”

– Excerpted from a Facebook post written by Daquan (age 17), on behalf of the following RCC Youth: Cahlee (16), DaMonte (16), Tawante (17), William (16).

As someone who grew up in Richmond with these statues, I get it. They are a bit like landmark wallpaper. But, isn’t that what normalizing is all about? We may think we don’t notice, but subconsciously, we do. And, now, a variety of events have caused those statues to rise in our consciousness. They are no longer benign wallpaper. We have been forced to think about what they mean, what they represent.

Seventeen-year old Daquan faces challenges much bigger than taking down a statue of a Confederate soldier, particularly a statue that is not a part of his day-to-day environment. He wants resources invested in making his community better. I understand his perspective, but it doesn’t have to be either or.

The reporters came to stand in front of Columbus Circle because the statue created the right backdrop for their story. What backdrop do these larger-than-life statues on stately Monument Avenue create for those driving by every day? Even subliminally, vital messages about power, justice, and history are conveyed by those statues. As individuals committed to improving the lives of people in our region, we have to think both about the direct day-to-day needs of Daquan and his neighbors, but also about the long-term implications of subliminal messages that perpetuate the false narrative of racial hierarchy. Advancing racial justice requires us to work on both fronts.