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January 22, 2014 / Christian Clansky

What you should expect from WRAG in 2014

By Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Yesterday, as I sat at home looking at the beautiful snowfall, I had to think about a problem caused by the weather. This Thursday is the opening session for our new Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility. Many of the registrants are here in region, but others are flying in. Should we postpone? As I thought through this situation, I was reminded of how far we’ve come on this effort and how much exciting work is planned for 2014.

In just two years, the Institute has grown from an idea to a full academic program. It has benefited from the strategic thinking of philanthropic leaders in and outside of our region. And, it gained momentum as each new speaker was named and strength with each new registrant.

If all goes well with the weather tomorrow, the Institute’s inaugural cohort will come into the classroom at Johns Hopkins University and begin working toward their certificates in corporate social responsibility. What is our hope? That the Institute will make them even more effective stewards of their corporations’ investments in their communities. And that ultimately, their philanthropy, be it in volunteer hours or in dollars, will improve their communities.

That’s WRAG’s mission: to increase the effectiveness of philanthropy. That’s what we do, and the Institute is just one example of how we plan to do that in 2014.

This year, we will elevate the issue of our region’s food system. We want you to know what “local” means when you hear that something is “locally grown.” We want to let you know how local food gets from farms to tables, and how philanthropy can better ensure healthy food equity in our region. We are going to encourage grantmakers to come together more under the WRAG umbrella on the issues that you care about because we know that your resources are maximized when you share your knowledge and experiences and when you align your giving.

And, this year, we will launch our new website. It will be home base for philanthropy and for those who care about philanthropy in our region. It will be more vibrant, more interactive, and more current.

I’m excited about this new year and about the body of work that will unfold. Keep reading The Daily WRAG and following us on Twitter at @WRAGtweets and at @WRAGPrez. Meet with your colleagues and work on what you feel passionate about. Learn from thought leaders at our Brightest Minds series and at the annual meeting. And do what you have always done. Make a difference. It’s that simple.

I believe strongly in Margaret Mead’s words: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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