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November 12, 2013 / Christian Clansky

The 11.12.13 edition

TYPHOON | With scores dead and a great many more displaced, the residents of the Philippines are in desperate need of assistance. The Chronicle of Philanthropy runs through a number of ways to help. (Chronicle, 11/11)

Related: Relief is slow to reach victims of Philippine typhoon; looters steal medical supplies (WaPo, 11/12)

Related event: The Council on Foundations and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy are hosting a webinar on relief efforts tomorrow. [More info.]

FOOD | There’s a cruel dichotomy woven into the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. While the program is ostensibly designed to provide nutrition assistance, the amount of money provided forces many recipients to buy severely unhealthy (but cheaper) foods.

The Post takes a look at the diets of South Texans on food stamps. The geography isn’t particularly important because the problems are systemic. Here’s an alarming example of one mother and her kids (WaPo, 11/9):

[T]he cheap foods she could afford on the standard government allotment of about $1.50 per meal also tended to be among the least nutritious — heavy in preservatives, fats, salt and refined sugar. Now Clarissa, her 13-year-old daughter, had a darkening ring around her neck that suggested early-onset diabetes from too much sugar. Now Antonio, 9, was sharing dosages of his mother’s cholesterol medication. Now Blanca herself was too sick to work, receiving disability payments at age 40 and testing her blood-sugar level twice each day to guard against the stroke doctors warned was forthcoming as a result of her diet.

Related: The Atlantic looks at misconceptions about the food choices of SNAP recipients. The article contains this gem of a line: “Ah yes, I remember that just as soon as my income dipped near poverty level in grad school, I suddenly became unable to discern the difference between a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto and a carrot.” (Atlantic, 11/12)

PHILANTHROPY | Between 2009 and 2011, funders made $1.86 billion in media-related grants. The Foundation Center just released a new report that digs into the various forms of media funding and considers how philanthropy is influencing a changing landscape. (FC, 11/12)

INNOVATION | The District is looking at the possibility of using social impact bonds to address some of the city’s challenges. Here’s the general idea (HuffPo, 11/12):

The mechanism…solicits private investments into programs that tackle costly social problems for the city, like prison recidivism and chronic homelessness. Investors then receive a return on their investment if the program succeeds in reducing the social issue and saving the city money.

Related: Here’s more info on the concept – Social Impact Bonds: A New Model to Reduce Blight (HuffPo, 11/6)

EDUCATION | D.C. School Leaders Say Curriculum And Choice Have Led To Test Score Gains (WAMU, 11/12)


Completely ignoring the warnings of mythology and folklore, photographer Francois Brunelle aimed to produce a series of portraits of doppelgangers – two people who look nearly the same, but are unrelated. Against whatever absurd odds, he succeeded. The results are both fascinating and unsettling.

On the flip side, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart are totally mismatched in the trailer for Ride Along. Yes, it looks really dumb. But it also looks really funny. By the way, the limits of the “approved for all audiences” trailer tag seem to be expanding…

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