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March 10, 2014 / Rebekah Seder, Editor

Judge orders D.C. to relocate homeless families

HOMELESSNESS | A judge ordered D.C. officials to move families out of recreation centers and into private rooms, arguing that the experience of staying at the rec centers with little to no privacy was potentially traumatizing for children (WaPo, 3/7)

A class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 50 families placed in the two makeshift shelters since late January said children, parents and sometimes grandparents had been unable to shower for days and got only cots in big, noisy rooms, illuminated all night. Flimsy partitions exposed unrelated families to one another.

“The court finds that they, particularly the children, incur increased risk of communicable disease, are denied adequate privacy and physical security, are likely to experience emotional trauma and stress, hence are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a restraining order,” [Judge Robert S.] Tignor wrote.

Reminder for WRAG members: Tomorrow we’re hosting a brown bag discussion at noon for WRAG members on homelessness in the region. It’s not too late to register.

EDUCATION 
– The Peterson Family Foundation has pledged $1 million to Teach for America to expand their program in Prince George’s County public schools. As the article notes, this announcement follows a pledge from Venture Philanthropy Partners to invest up to $1.95 million in a program that works with young people in the county at risk of dropping out of high school. (WaPo, 3/10)

New superintendent outlines plans for Alexandria schools (WaPo, 3/7)

NONPROFITS | Between 2001 and 2011, the nonprofit sector grew much faster than the business sector, according to data from the Urban Institute. (NY Times, 3/8)

Why have nonprofits multiplied faster than for-profit businesses? One reason is that as the population ages, greater demand for health care services drives growth in hospitals and health care organizations, many of which are nonprofits. Another factor is that charities focused on the needs of poorer Americans have experienced higher demand after the Great Recession. In addition, family foundations have grown in popularity, providing a convenient repository for untaxed wealth that often remains under the control of the donor.

WRAG | Last week Michael Smith, director of the Social Innovation Fund, met with CEOs of WRAG member organizations to update them on the Fund. Here’s a re-cap from Tamara. (Daily, 3/10)

FOOD
– D.C. leads the country in the number of students receiving free breakfast at school. (WaPo, 3/6)

– The recently passed farm bill increased support for organic farmers, fruit and vegetable growers, and programs to support the growth of organic farming, reflecting the growing interest in healthy eating and farm-to-table initiatives across the country. (NY Times, 3/8)

Related: These topics are of growing interest among local philanthropy as well. Last week WRAG released What Funders Need to Know: The Food System to share funders’ learnings about our region’s food system and ways to improve it.

MENTAL HEALTH | Mental-health advocates fear fundamental problems in Virginia have been left to fester (WaPo, 3/9)

HIV/AIDS | Women focus of Virginia AIDs campaign (WTOP, 3/10)

DISTRICT
Jeffrey Thompson, alleged ‘shadow campaign’ funder, is charged in federal court (WaPo, 3/10)

– D.C. is one of only a handful of major cities that still have partisan, winner-take-all primaries. The result is that the mayoral election could be determined by a very small number of residents. (AP, 3/9)


In honor of International Women’s Day, which was Saturday, here’s a lovely portrait series of mothers and daughters from all over the world.

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Wednesday.

– Rebekah

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