Skip to content
May 17, 2016 / Ciara Myers, Editor

D.C. Council eyes overhaul of shelter plan

A supermajority of the D.C. Council announced plans to overhaul Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposed shelter plan, citing “a waste of tax dollars” as a primary reason. The Council shared details of their own proposal (WaPo, 5/16):

Instead, the city would build five shelters on public land and empower Bowser (D) to purchase property or use eminent domain to take control of two others. The city would save about $165 million compared with the mayor’s plan, [Council Chairman Phil] Mendelson said.


Mendelson said the council’s plan would locate more families closer to Metro and other transit options, and streamline zoning approvals so the city’s dilapidated shelter at D.C. General might be able to close in two years. Most important, taxpayers would realize significant savings, he said.

D.C. is Reaching Hundreds of Families Before They Become Homeless (WCP, 5/16)

PHILANTHROPY | Exponent Philanthropy shares this open letter to foundations stressing the importance of nonprofit infrastructure organizations. (PhilanthroFiles, 5/17)

POVERTYConsumer Health Foundation‘s Kendra Allen discusses updates to D.C.’s looming TANF cliff with D.C. Department of Human Services Director Laura Zeilinger. (CHF, 5/16)

TRANSIT/REGIONA higher tax for Metro? Regionwide campaign to back dedicated funding expected in the fall (WBJ, 5/16)

YOUTH/CRIMINAL JUSTICE | Children’s Law Center recently sat down with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss the District’s changing landscape for young people and his thoughts on how the D.C. justice system has improved for them over the years. (Children’s Law Center, 5/16)

Are you a picky eater? It’s not your fault. You can blame science for that.

– Ciara

May 16, 2016 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Rebranding the region

As part of the Roadmap effort, the 2030 Group has announced the hiring of global brand consultant Interbrand to develop a marketing campaign for the region that is expected to launch in early 2017 with the help of a rebranding working group (WBJ, 5/12):

The marketing campaign is part of a larger effort by the 2030 Group to identify weaknesses in the region’s economy and come up with ways to boost growth in a time of federal austerity. The organization has spearheaded working groups to explore affordable housing and how area colleges and universities can work more closely with the business community. A working group exploring a regional transportation authority has been suspended as Metro embarks on its yearlong effort to fix major problems, [2030 Group’s Bob] Buchanan said, although he still hopes to restart that conversation in the future.

Related: Last year, the 2030 Group’s Bob Buchanan and the Center for Regional Analysis’s Stephen Fuller undertook an extensive research project called, The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy, to recommend ways the region can reposition itself to remain competitive in the global economy. WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland also shared how philanthropy in the region might respond and collaborate with other sectors to meet challenges facing our communities. (Daily, 1/15)

– In light of the coming dissolution of the DC Trust, WRAG has submitted a letter on behalf of the region’s philanthropic community to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, calling on the Council to maintain funding for out-of-school and summer programming for D.C.’s  children and youth in the FY17 budget. Funders and advocates for children and youth will be watching closely as the DC Council votes on the proposed budget this month.

– BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) recently named Consumer Health Foundation president and WRAG board member Yanique Redwood as one of 36 leaders in their 2016 BALLE Local Economy Fellowship. In this blog post, she discusses why she looks forward to working with other members of her cohort and continuing along a path toward community transformation. (Be a Localist, 5/12)

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has announced plans to create a $500,000 endowment for its Innovation Fund, following a $250,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor. They’ve also announced the launch of a new online-fundraising platform, Granted. (WBJ, 5/13)

– Prince Charitable Trusts presents a short film in their series about farming and food, titled The Culture of Collards, which recently  premiered at the DC Environmental Film Festival. The film traces the cultural heritage of collard greens from Portugal, to Africa, to the American south during the slave trade, up to their current state as a popular staple in many kitchens today. The 9-minute film features culinary historian Michael Twitty; owner of Three Part Harmony Farm in Northeast D.C. Gail Taylor; and City Blossoms co-founders Rebecca Lemos and Lola Bloom.

Related: In 2014, Michael Twitty kicked off WRAG’s Brightest Minds series with a discussion about building a more inclusive food movement. Check out this post that followed his talk, then take a look at the exciting lineup for WRAG’s Brightest Minds programs for the rest of the year. Brightest Minds programs are open to the public.

– The Ongoing Need for Healthy Food in Corner Stores (City Lab, 5/12)

– As the acknowledgment of the importance of quality pre-k education in a student’s future success picks up steam across the country, some states continue to struggle with making these programs accessible to millions of children. Locally, D.C. made progress by serving more 3- and 4-year-olds than ever during the 2014-2015 school year. (WaPo, 5/12)

– The troubling shortage of Latino and black teachers — and what to do about it (WaPo, 5/15)

Which of the seven deadly sins do some of the most popular social networks represent? Pinterest is spot-on!

– Ciara

May 13, 2016 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Friday roundup – May 9 through May 13, 2016

– In a letter to the editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland called on organizations to talk about racism, and reflected on how the topic of diversity is sometimes used to deflect deeper conversations about race and racism in society. (Chronicle, 5/12).

 DCAYA Senior Policy Analyst Joseph Gavrilovich discussed a possible path forward for afterschool and summer youth programming in D.C. in advance of the shuttering of the DC Trust. (DCFPI, 5/9)

– The D.C. Office of Planning recently announced a public art initiative called Crossingthe StreetBuilding DC’s Inclusive Future through Creative Placemaking, that will place 15 pop-up art projects throughout each of the District’s eight wards. (DCist, 5/5)

– A first look inside the Smithsonian’s African American museum: Stunning views, grand scale (WaPo, 5/10)

Associate Director | Arabella Advisors

Director, Corporate Philanthropy | Council on Foundations
Summer Internship | Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
Associate | Innovation Network, Inc.
Research Assistant | Innovation Network, Inc.
D.C. PrEP for Women Project Coordinator | Washington AIDS Partnership
Communications and Development Associate | Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing

Visit WRAG’s Job Board for more of the latest job openings in the region’s social sector.

Click the image below to access WRAG’S Community Calendar. To have your event included, please send basic information including event title, date/time, location, a brief description of the event, and a link for further details to:

Calendar won’t display? Click here.

How colors can make us better readers.

– Ciara

May 12, 2016 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Homelessness rises unevenly across the region

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments recently shared the results of the Annual Point-in-Time Count of Persons Experiencing Homelessness. Overall in the region, the homeless population rose by five percent from 2015 to 2016, though not spread evenly across the area. The report urges more aggressive action to bring affordable housing to families in Greater Washington. (WAMU, 5/11)

According to the Annual Point-in-Time Count of Persons Experiencing Homelessness […] there were 12,215 people who were homeless across the nine local jurisdictions that participate in the yearly census, which took place on Jan. 28.

That’s up from the 11,623 homeless people in the region at the same time last year.


In D.C., the number of homeless people increased by 14 percent, while it went up by 12 percent in Frederick County. Things went in the opposite direction for the rest of the region, though. In Arlington County, Loudoun County and the City of Alexandria, the number of homeless people decreased by 27, 20 and 16 percent, respectively.

The full report can be accessed here.

– The number of homeless families in D.C. has risen by more than 30 percent in comparison with a year ago. Further, the District’s homeless children and their parents outnumbered homeless single adults for the first time since the annual census began in 2001. (WaPo, 5/11)

–  In a letter to the editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, WRAG president Tamara Copeland calls on organizations to talk about racism, and reflects on how the topic of diversity is sometimes used to deflect deeper conversations about race and racism in society. (Chronicle, 5/12).

– In his most recent blog post adapted from a panel presentation at last week’s GEO conference, Rick Moyers, vice president for programs and communications at the Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, summarizes Meyer’s experience with the 28 organizations they’ve supported in implementing the Benevon Model for increasing individual giving. His take away? “I wish we’d known at the outset that the goal was to change organizational culture.” (Meyer, 5/11)

Related: Rick is the first speaker in WRAG’s Nonprofit Summer Learning Series. Catch him on June 23 addressing The Dos & Don’ts of Working with Grantmakers!

ECONOMY/REGION | Region’s innovation economy needs boost or risks being ‘laggards’ (WBJ, 5/12)

MARYLAND | Study: Gaithersburg Is The Most Diverse City In America (DCist, 5/11)

HEALTH | A new study finds a 44 percent increase in hospitalizations for ischemic (the most common type) strokes among people ages 25 to 44, despite a 20 percent overall drop among all Americans. (WaPo, 5/11)

Conference calls, you’re the worst! Well…maybe not the worst, but honestly, does anyone actually enjoy them?

– Ciara

May 12, 2016 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Nonprofits Need to Talk About Race, Not Just Diversity

At this year’s annual conference of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), a plenary session on race led to several impassioned exchanges, according to a May 5 article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy (“Discussions About Race Heat Up at Grant-Maker Conference”) that caught my attention and that of many of my colleagues. Something similar happened at a recent meeting on arts education convened by the National Endowment for the Arts.

These exchanges demonstrate the risks involved in trying to do the right thing by talking publicly and honestly about race. The conversations that ensue can quickly deteriorate into angry back-and-forth exchanges of grievance and incomprehension.

So what do we do? One thing we shouldn’t do is shy away from the topic, as has been our tendency. One participant at the GEO conference noted that when race comes up, there is an inclination to change the subject to deflect hard feelings.

The deflection du jour seems to be diversity in the workplace. I’m often surprised by the number of people who suggest that addressing diversity and inclusion is a means of confronting racism. In today’s world, few are likely to argue against the value of different perspectives from people with different life experiences who look different from each other. I’m with you there. But will a diverse work force fully mitigate implicit bias, correcting the perceptions that people hold based on a plethora of media images that cause us — all of us, of whatever race — to instantly think certain people are good and others are bad? Will it correct the intergenerational impact of housing segregation?

I am not minimizing the importance of diversity. I’m simply suggesting that if we don’t also dig deeper into the issues of race and racism and their impact on our day-to-day lives, we will have only touched the surface of the social and racial inequities that continue to plague this country. We will have added shellac to a wood floor that hasn’t been sanded smooth. The floor may shine from a distance, but close up we’ll see the roughness, and we will keep getting splinters when we walk across it.

We can’t do that anymore. Deflection isn’t working. Our communities are splintered by misunderstandings and actions that are grounded in race and racism — often unconscious, often hidden by institutional behavior that has had decades to become embedded.

We have to learn how to have constructive conversations about race, conversations that seriously explore the experience of pervasive, entrenched racism that is lived by people of color. These conversations don’t come easily or naturally. But they are essential.

At the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, we’re trying to cultivate those conversations in the philanthropic community in the Washington, D.C., area, and so far it’s working. These three ingredients seem to be key:

Start with a community that has established relationships. We are convening member CEOs and trustees to learn and talk openly about race and racism. It’s important to note that these gatherings are among leaders in only one field — philanthropy. Participants have a shared language and perspective. Our philanthropic community is relatively small, and we’ve been actively convening the leadership as a group for the last three years. Relationships have developed. We trust each other.

Explore the topic with depth and breadth, building the conversation over time. We planned a series of six monthly, topically discrete, three-hour sessions and asked that attendees try to attend most of them. We didn’t want them to hear about structural racism without understanding how white privilege undergirds it or to learn about implicit bias without seeing how these three phenomena interconnect in a specific case study (in our case, of mass incarceration). So far 72 percent of attendees are repeat participants. They have committed to this learning journey.

Choose speakers your audience will truly hear. Intentionally, we chose speakers who were grounded in data. Grant makers are committed to outcomes. Hard data resonates with our audience. We didn’t shy away from difficult topics, but we also chose speakers with an engaging style. Some messages may have been a bit uncomfortable, but they were never delivered in an abrasive or confrontational manner. As our first presenter, University of California Professor john a. powell (the lowercase spelling is his preference) noted, “Discussions about race are a bit like exercise. We want you to feel the burn, but we don’t want you to get hurt.”

So, to GEO and the National Endowment for the Arts, I say thank you. While your recent attempts may not have gone fully as you would have hoped, you were bold. You put racism on the table. Don’t stop. We all have a role to play in understanding and addressing race and racism in America. I’m glad that you’re working to be a part of the solution. I hope other organizations join us.

Ms. Copeland wrote about race, philanthropy, and her association’s speaker series in a January 21 opinion column for The Chronicle.

May 11, 2016 / Ciara Myers, Editor

A look at income segregation and children

While many education advocates have long argued for breaking up highly segregated neighborhoods in order to create more integrated schools to the benefit of lower-income and minority students, a new study suggests that perhaps the key lies in doing the reverse (WaPo, 5/10):

If we found ways to integrate schools […] that might take some of the exclusivity out of certain neighborhoods. School quality is capitalized into housing prices, making those neighborhoods unaffordable to many families. Imagine, for instance, if all the public schools in the District or the Washington region were integrated and of comparable quality. Families might pay more to live in Northwest to be near Rock Creek Park. But you’d see fewer home-bidding wars there just to access scarce school quality. More to the point, homes families already paid handsomely to buy might lose some of their value.

– Despite figures that show that non-white students comprise the majority of the student body at U.S. public schools since 2014, children of color – particularly boys – are still falling behind their white counterparts. A Harvard University economist shares highlights from a new study on the matter. (NPR, 5/11)

WORKFORCE/ECONOMY | For many high school graduates that have not pursued higher education, economic recovery has come much more slowly than for those who have graduated college. With an estimated 3.2 million disadvantaged youths between 16 and 24 who are not in school and are not working, companies like JPMorgan Chase have made it a priority to offer career-focused education in high schools and community colleges. (NYT, 5/10)

– Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has signed a bill that is expected to provide “the most comprehensive insurance coverage for contraception in the country.” (WaPo, 5/10)

– According to the most recent federal data, the life-expectancy gap among white Americans and African Americans – once seven years – is now at its lowest point in history at 3.4 years. The shrinking gap is reportedly due in part to lower rates of homicide and violence. (NYT, 5/8)

PHILANTHROPY/ENVIRONMENT | Corporate Branding of National Parks: The Disturbing Link between Philanthropy and Privatization (NPQ, 5/11)

Related: Are you familiar with the National Parks found here in the Greater Washington region?

FOOD | A Rallying Cry for Ugly Vegetables (Atlantic, 5/9)

ARTS/DISTRICTA first look inside the Smithsonian’s African American museum: Stunning views, grand scale (WaPo, 5/10)

Oh, moms…you worry too much. Sometimes, it’s funny, though

– Ciara

May 10, 2016 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Recovery and revitalization misses some areas of the region

In their series on housing in America last week, The Washington Post shared how residents in the Greater Washington region were affected by the area’s housing bubble, subsequent dive into the Great Recession, and population shift toward inner-Washington neighborhoods after the recession. (WaPo, 5/6)

Few places in the region burned hotter during the real estate boom than Loudoun County. As closer-in suburbs grew more built-out and expensive, Loudoun became the next frontier for home builders, a place to parcel farms into subdivisions featuring enormous single-family homes.


When the downturn came, the new homes were derided as McMansions — temples to American excess. Homeowners found that not only could they not pay the mortgage but they also couldn’t afford to heat or cool their manses.

OpinionA financing model for affordable and supportive housing in D.C. (WaPo, 5/6)

SOCIAL PROFITS | WRAG has unveiled a new Nonprofit Summer Learning Series, in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton, designed to “pull the curtain back on philanthropy,” and shed light on how grantmakers think, approach their work, and what they look for in nonprofit partners. Participants can join in-person or via live webcast. Click here to learn more and to register!

– The NewSchools Venture Fund has announced the launch of a new independent nonprofit spin-off organization beginning on July 1 called Education Forward DC.

– The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has released a report examining the fairness of the District’s Empowering Boys and Men of Color initiative. According to the ACLU and some D.C. officials, the city should work to “provide equivalent opportunities for our girls.” (WCP, 5/9)

WORKFORCE/INEQUALITYThe Racial Divide in the Creative Economy (City Lab, 5/9)

At this point, whether you’re a Broadway fan or not, you’ve at least heard of ‘Hamilton.’ Now, you don’t have to trek to New York City to see it.

– Ciara

May 9, 2016 / Ciara Myers, Editor

The everlasting effects of housing discrimination

Historically, racial covenants were put in place to prevent people of color from buying homes in certain neighborhoods, and D.C. was no exception. Restrictions like these from the past still work against many Americans today. (GGW, 5/5)

While this legal tactic is long gone, its effects remain. […] young black people are far less likely than their white and Hispanic peers to get help from their parents to afford the down payment on a home. Each generation invests in real estate and gains wealth in doing so, which it then uses to help the next generation – except if, a few generations ago, residents and the government stopped your ancestors from getting some wealth in the first place.

– How videos of police shooting unarmed black men changes those who watch them (WaPo, 5/8)

YOUTH/DISTRICT | DCAYA Senior Policy Analyst Joseph Gavrilovich examines a possible path forward for afterschool and summer youth programming in D.C. in advance of the shuttering of the DC Trust. (DCFPI, 5/9)

ARTS | The D.C. Office of Planning recently announced a public art initiative called Crossing the StreetBuilding DC’s Inclusive Future through Creative Placemaking, that will place 15 pop-up art projects throughout each of the District’s eight wards. (DCist, 5/5)

AudioHow Residents Feel About The Urbanization Of Maryland Suburbs (WAMU, 5/9)

– At a recent economic development summit in Loudoun County, officials shared the ways in which they envision creating a more diverse economy with “endless possibilities.” (Loudoun Times, 5/5)

MENTAL HEALTHLoudoun libraries host programs on mental health awareness (Loudoun Times, 5/7)

ENVIRONMENT/POVERTY | In light of New York City’s recent adoption of a five-cent bag fee, here’s a look at how D.C.’s own fee for shopping bags has worked for low-income residents and the environment. (City Lab, 5/5)

CSR | Audio: Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and head faculty member for the Institute for CSR, along with Charles Schwab Foundation President Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, discuss how their companies choose the causes they support. (Chronicle, 5/6)

COMMUNITY | A new project by the Walker’s Legacy Foundation (WLF), with funding support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, aims to address the challenges that low-income, single-parent, and working-mother led households often face in pursuing entrepreneurship through the development of a financial literacy app, cohort structures, mentorship, and programming. WLF is a project of WRAG’s fiscal sponsorship service.

Related: WRAG offers fiscal sponsorship as a valuable, cost-effective service to organizations and projects that could use back-office support, are looking for human resources, financial, or administrative help, or need 501(c)(3) status. Learn more here.

Are you working on learning a second (or third, or fourth) language? A lot of people are. Here are the languages everyone else is trying to learn.

– Ciara

May 6, 2016 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Friday roundup – May 2 through May 6, 2016

– WRAG announced the launch of our new and improved job board! This service is available to the region’s philanthropic and nonprofit community. Job postings are free for WRAG members and $60 for non-members. As a benefit for using WRAG’s job board, each posting will be included in a weekly roundup (below) of job opportunities right here in the Daily WRAG. For any questions about using the job board, contact Rebekah Seder,

– We released the third video in the Putting Racism on the Table series! The video features Julie Nelson, director of the Government Alliance on Race & Equity at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, speaking on implicit bias. After you’ve had a chance to view the video, we encourage you to share your thoughts on the series or on the specific topic via Twitter using the hashtag #PuttingRacismOnTheTable, or by commenting on WRAG’s Facebook page. We also suggest checking out the viewing guide and discussion guide to be used with the video. Both can be found on our website.

– Congratulations to WRAG members BB&T, Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte, JPMorgan Chase, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Wells Fargo for being nominees for the 2016 Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce. See what they were nominated for here. (NVCC, 4/29)

– The Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties hosted their Give Choose Day, a 24-hour fundraising campaign for 60 area social profit organizations, with 1,402 donations that raised $180,204.33!

– Washington City Paper offered a glimpse into some of  D.C.’s low-rent units, where many tenants live in constant fear of losing their homes and have few options but to deal with unresponsive landlords who neglect properties. (WCP, 4/29)

– Report: Low-Income Residents Moving Out of Silver Spring at Highest Rate in the Country (Bethesda, 4/29)

– Local Initiatives Support Corporation made a $50 million commitment toward ensuring that residents living in the area surrounding the highly-anticipated 11th Street Bridge Park would not be displaced once it opens. (WaPo, 5/3)

Associate | Innovation Network, Inc.

Research Assistant | Innovation Network, Inc.

– D.C. PrEP for Women Project Coordinator | Washington AIDS Partnership

– Communications and Development Associate | Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing

Visit WRAG’s Job Board for the latest job openings in the region’s social sector.

Click the image below to access WRAG’S Community Calendar. To have your event included, please send basic information including event title, date/time, location, a brief description of the event, and a link for further details to:

Calendar won’t display? Click here.

Netflix knows how to get you to watch everything.

– Ciara

May 5, 2016 / Ciara Myers, Editor

New partnership brings support for small businesses in wards 7 and 8

As part of a new partnership between American University’s Center for Innovation in the Capital and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity, an initiative called Project 500 will offer support to hundreds of small businesses focused in D.C.’s wards 7 and 8. (DCist, 5/4)

Project 500 […] will provide resources to 500 “disadvantaged small businesses,” helping them to “grow in revenue and size over the next three years,” according to a release. Targeted businesses in wards 7 and 8 will include home-based companies and start-up ventures. Help will come in the form of “hands-on training, capacity building, mentoring, and networking support.”

From data gathered between 2006-2010, the Urban Institute found that a vast majority of D.C.’s economically challenged neighborhoods are located in wards 7 and 8. And not much has changed, despite Mayor Bowser cutting the ribbons of a Thai restaurant in ward 7 and a juice bar in ward 8 last year.

– D.C. is often said to be gaining 1,000 new residents per month without much explanation behind the figures. Greater Greater Washington breaks down the data that is actually driving those numbers. (GGW, 5/4)

– A growing number of funders are stepping up to get involved in the food waste movement, including Agua Fund and New Venture Fund. Inside Philanthropy ponders whether or not the movement will catch on further in the world of philanthropy. (Inside Philanthropy, 5/3)

– How philanthropy can address barriers to social mobility (Urban, 5/5)

GUN VIOLENCE | The Joyce Foundation, Urban Institute, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies have released a new research report on gun violence in America, along with a roadmap to building safer communities. You can review the report’s top findings here.

– Judith Sandalow of The Children’s Law Center marks this year’s Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day by highlighting the progress that the District has made in addressing the needs of its youngest residents. (HuffPo, 5/5)

–  Autism Research’s Overlooked Racial Bias (Atlantic, 5/5)

TRANSIT/REGIONMetro To Announce Major Months-Long Rehab Effort Affecting Most Riders (WAMU, 5/5)

WORKFORCE | Have you ever thought about taking on a midlife internship opportunity? Maybe not, but a growing number of companies and social profit organizations are creating opportunities for adults who have taken career breaks to re-enter the workforce through “returnships.” (NYT, 5/5)

Thirty-three years ago, David Copperfield taught us all a big lesson about liberty.

– Ciara


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 66 other followers