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June 1, 2015 / Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Increased giving among largest foundations in 2015

According to a new Chronicle of Philanthropy survey, the nation’s largest foundations have significantly increased giving since last year, though they have yet to reach 2007 figures. The forecast is a good showing of overall financial health among foundations, but shows it will take some time to reach pre-recession levels. (Chronicle, 6/1) – Subscription required

“Foundations were severely hit by the financial crisis,” says Lester Salamon, director of the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

In the years following the downturn, uncertainty about the markets “lingered for quite a while” among foundation chiefs, Mr. Salamon says.

But after three straight years of double-digit market gains, he says, many foundations had no choice but to increase their generosity last year, lest they be penalized for failing to pay out a minimum of 5 percent of their assets (certain expenses other than grants can be used to meet the payout rates), as required by law.

– Opinion: Is the world of philanthropy shrouded in too much secrecy? One writer points to some broad goals to bring oversight to the philanthropic sector in the wake of allegations of questionable practices among widely-known foundations.  (NYT, 5/30)

COMMUNITY | The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region (CFNCR) recently celebrated the inaugural graduation of their Youth Workforce Leaders Academy. The Academy, launched through the Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative at CFNCR, provided professional development to fifteen youth workforce leaders in the region. To read more about the program and how to provide support, click here. (CFNCR, 5/29)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | In their continuing Matters@Hand thought-leadership series sponsored by Enterprise Community Partners, HAND examines what is being done in the region to bring about more affordable housing and some of the approaches the area could borrow from other areas. (Helping Hands Blog, 6/1)

WRAG vice president, Affordable Housing Action Team, and Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group member, Gretchen Greiner-Lott, adds:

In this piece, Dr. Lisa Sturtevant explores other region’s efforts to make housing more affordable. Some of the successful examples she highlights may seem “small” but can, she thinks, have great impact over time due to the fact that they help to “build broader support for regional action.”  That is exactly what WRAG is trying to do through the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group (GWHLG), which is mentioned in the piece. The GWHLG is a collection of more than a dozen public and private sector leaders concerned about and looking at strategies to increase affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households in the region.

– A Washington Post analysis reports that the number of individuals fatally shot by police nationwide so far this year is steadily approaching 400. The study also includes findings such as the gender, race, and socioeconomic class of the victims, as well as details surrounding the circumstances of the incidents. (WaPo, 5/30)

The Missing Statistics of Criminal Justice (Atlantic, 5/31)

EDUCATION | D.C. mayor’s first budget thin on new investments for middle schools (WaPo, 5/31)

Some words are just hard to remember how to spell. Have a look at which words are most commonly being Googled for a spell check in each state.

– Ciara

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