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March 26, 2012 / Christian Clansky

Female condom project saves $8 million in health costs in first year…Profile of DC Vote’s Ilir Zherka…Arlington County faces increasing poverty rate [News, 3.26.12]

HIV/AIDS | Data from a new study show that a public-private partnership in the District that provides free female condoms in parts of the city with high HIV rates has already saved more than $8 million in future medical costs. The study estimates that every dollar spent saves $20 in future costs. (WaPo, 3/25)

In the year since the program’s launch, more than 200,000 condoms were distributed through grants made by the Washington AIDS Partnership. Channing Wickham, the Partnership’s executive director, is encouraged by the results:

This program is a perfect example of a win-win outcome: we’re saving lives as well as saving money. The program directly prevents HIV infections, and it also provides an incredible return-on-investment for the project’s funders – and for the healthcare system – by saving future costs. We’re proud to be a part of this public-private partnership.

Related: Read more about the Female Condom Initiative.

ADVOCACY | The April issue of the Washingtonian profiles DC Vote’s executive director, Ilir Zherka, and the organization’s history, challenges, and future strategies as it fights to achieve full representation in Congress for the District.

The Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation’s Daniel Solomon is a co-founder of the organization and a vocal champion of the cause. He says that choosing Zherka as executive director was a key component of a long-term plan:

As a philanthropist, I saw – we all saw – the importance of building a structure that could keep pushing the issue forward, even and especially in lean times.

Note: Washingtonian content does not become available online until a few weeks after the magazine hits stands. You can pick up a hard copy now, and we’ll link to the article when it is available online.

COMMUNITY | Donald Graham, chairman of the board and CEO of The Washington Post Company and trustee of the Philip L. Graham Fund, was on the Kojo Nnamdi Show last week. He talked about his relationship with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. (WAMU, 3/22)

POVERTY/HOUSING | Despite Arlington County’s high average income and low unemployment rate, the recession has caused a “dramatic spike in the number of people living below the poverty line.” The increase is putting a strain on the county’s housing assistance program. (WAMU, 3/25)

BUDGETS | Mayor Gray released his proposed 2013 budget on Friday. The DC Fiscal Policy Institute analyzes the budget and identifies cuts that “disproportionately impact programs that help keep families stable,” including health care coverage for low income residents, affordable housing, homeless services, and assistance for families. (DCFPI, 3/26)

ARTS | Gray’s budget appears to increase funding to the D.C. Commission for the Arts and Humanities, but the City Paper points out that the boost is “not what it seems.” (City Paper, 3/23)

NONPROFITS | More Than 40% of Nonprofits Plan to Add Workers This Year (Chronicle, 3/23)

NOMINATIONS | The Washington Business Journal is seeking nominations to honor partnerships of local businesses with nonprofits that assist families and children for the MassMutual Citizenship Award. Deadline is March 30. More info.

The fault line that brought us last summer’s highly dramatic EARTHQUAKE! rumbled again last night with a 3.1 tremor. That reminded me of the French village of Bugarach, which is currently seeing a massive pilgrimage of New Agers who believe that the town’s volcanic mountain will save them from the end of the world.

The story of the mountain is actually pretty interesting – and mysterious. It has strange magnetic properties and has allegedly been the site of secret experiments conducted, at various points, by the Nazis, Israel’s Mossad, and the French government. Here’s a New York Times article about it.

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