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March 13, 2018 / Kendra Allen, Editor

This is how the social sector can defend new attacks to the Johnson Amendment

ADVOCACY | Today and tomorrow, WRAG members are participating in Foundations on the Hill to talk with their Congressional representatives about the issues that impact the philanthropic and nonprofit sector. In this interview, Tim Delaney, president of the National Council of Nonprofits, advises nonprofits and philanthropic organizations on Congress’ renewed efforts to repeal the Johnson Amendment. (NPQ, 3/9)

…there is great urgency for nonprofits and foundations to engage immediately. Here’s why: The well-funded forces trying to politicize the 501c3 community against our will learned last year—thanks to engaged advocacy by charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations—that they cannot jam their desires through the process as a free-standing bill. So now they are trying to avoid a straight up-down vote by attaching their anti-Johnson Amendment language to the upcoming spending bill. That bill must pass by March 23rd to keep the federal government from running out of money and shutting down for a third time this year.

RACIAL EQUITY | Hanh Le, co-chair of WRAG’s Racial Equity Working Group and executive director of the Weissberg Foundation, and Jayne Park, executive director of IMPACT Silver Spring, report on the community conversation the Racial Equity Working Group and IMPACT Silver Spring held  in October 2017 to envision a racially equitable Montgomery County. (Daily, 3/13)

WORKFORCEDC launches effort to train workers for high-paying infrastructure jobs (WTOP, 3/12)

HEALTH CARE| Many states that were once against Medicaid expansion are now considering it because of reforms such as work requirements, but these new restrictions may lead to less coverage. (Atlantic, 3/13)

ARTS & HUMANITIES | The National Endowment for the Arts and the Bureau of Economic Analysis have partnered to create a report on the cultural sector’s impact on the US economy. You can use this tool to explore your state’s data.

PUBLIC SAFETY | Column: The nation is focused on students and gun violence. But kids in urban schools want to know, where’s everybody been? (WaPo, 3/12)

NONPROFITS | The Lab @ DC is hosting its second Formapalooza, a public event to make DC government forms more user-friendly. You can nominate forms and learn more here.

Do you live in a bubble?

– Kendra

March 13, 2018 / Rebekah Seder, Editor

Envisioning a Racially Equitable Montgomery County

By Hanh Le, Executive Director, Weissberg Foundation & Co-Chair, WRAG’s Racial Equity Working Group, and Jayne Park, Executive Director, IMPACT Silver Spring

Community Convo - Racial History of Montgomery Co 500

What would a racially equitable Montgomery County look like? On October 18, 2017 the Racial Equity Working Group of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) partnered with IMPACT Silver Spring to explore this question. We brought together about 40 community members and local funders diverse in race, ethnicity, age, affiliations, and vocations to connect with one another, learn about the historical roots of today’s racial inequities, generate ideas for what is needed to advance racial equity, and envision how those advances might look in the county.

Many of us left the convening feeling connected, full, and hopeful, while also knowing the true test of success would be whether concrete actions would emerge and move the work forward. This written piece reflects on what happened at the community conversation and its significance, the state of current racial equity efforts, and what still needs to be done to advance the work.What would a racially equitable Montgomery County look like? On October 18, 2017 the Racial Equity Working Group of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) partnered with IMPACT Silver Spring to explore this question. We brought together about 40 community members and local funders diverse in race, ethnicity, age, affiliations, and vocations to connect with one another, learn about the historical roots of today’s racial inequities, generate ideas for what is needed to advance racial equity, and envision how those advances might look in the county.

Click here to read the full report on our community conversation in Montgomery County.

March 12, 2018 / Kendra Allen, Editor

States are investing in gun violence research

PUBLIC SAFETY | In 1996, Congress approved the Dickey Amendment, which prohibits the CDC from using funding to “advocate or promote gun control.” Since then, there has been little to none gun violence research by the agency. States and the philanthropic sector are now stepping up to do this research. (WaPo, 3/12)

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last year found that from 2004 to 2015, research related to gun violence was “substantially underfunded and understudied” compared with other leading causes of death, based on the mortality rates of each.

The influence of pro-gun groups has also dissuaded many private foundations from funding such research, according to David Hemenway, who studies gun violence and injury prevention at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University.

ARTS & HUMANITIES | The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis has released a study that shows DC’s arts and culture industries lead the nation in contributions to the local GDP. (DC Theater Scene, 3/9)

– As the administration continues to make changes to the Affordable Care Act, some states are taking their own steps to prevent the changes from hurting citizens. (Citylab, 3/9)

– Some believe the administration’s proposed changes to immigration policy will hurt the home health care workforce, which employs a large population of immigrants. (NPR, 3/5)

HOUSINGA Provision Hidden in the Banking Bill Could Hurt Black Homeowners (Atlantic, 3/9)

SEXUAL HARASSMENT | Cheryl Kagan, a Maryland senator, has become the first woman in the State House to publicly accuse a man of sexual harassment since the #MeToo movement began. (WaPo, 3/11)

– The Virginia General Assembly has voted to give Metro $154 million a year, if DC and Maryland agree to do the same. (WaPo, 3/10)

Washington’s Unloved Subway Opens a Swag Shop. Riders Aren’t Rushing the Doors. (NYT, 3/9)

Here’s something to make you smile on this Monday:

hokey pokey

Thanks to Pat Mathews, president and CEO of Northern Virginia Health Foundation, for the great idea to start doing a Monday smile (and the first entry)!

Do you want to be involved? Send us a picture of something that has made you smile and we may include it in the “Daily WRAG’s Monday Smile”!

Email us your content at

– Kendra

March 8, 2018 / Kendra Allen, Editor

DC’s Black population accounts for most of the city’s opioid epidemic deaths

HEALTH | Fentanyl and carfentanyl are two opioids – and they are responsible for most of the overdose deaths of Blacks in DC. These deaths have increased by 245% from 2014 to 2017 among Black men between the ages of 40 and 69. One doctor is trying to treat this ‘invisible’ population by raising awareness and partnering with local hospitals. (NPR, 3/8)

This epidemic started in white suburban and rural areas where people are overdosing mostly with prescription medicine like Percocet and OxyContin. Dr. Chapman says that African-American patients have historically been less likely to be prescribed pain narcotics.

“The theory is that African-Americans tolerate pain better. That’s a myth,” Dr. Chapman says. But it probably saved blacks from falling victim to the initial opioid crisis, he says.

– Yanique Redwood, chair of WRAG’s Board of Directors and president and CEO of Consumer Health Foundation, discusses her organization’s work to operationalize racial equity and the journeys of other grantmakers. (CHF Blog, 3/7)

–  What Funders Are Saying About Racial Equity and Homelessness (Funders Together to End Homelessness, 3/7)

POVERTY | Here’s the case for anti-poverty programs and the destruction of the myth that these programs discourage people from seeking employment. (Atlantic, 3/7)

– The Justice Department will no longer enforce a rule that required asylum seekers get a full hearing before an immigration judge. Advocates say this will endanger asylum seekers who will not have an adequate opportunity to prove they are in danger. (WaPo, 3/7)

– Virginia Senate Passes Bill To Ban Sanctuary Cities, But Northam Promises To Veto It (WAMU, 3/7)

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY | Kelly Lynch, brand & content specialist at Realized Worth, lists the reasons why women are drawn to the corporate social responsibility field in honor of International Women’s Day 2018. (Realized Worth, 3/8)

Related: If you want to hear more from Realized Worth, they’re one of our featured speakers and companies at the Fundamentals of CSR on April 26-27!

WORKFORCE | In June, the District will vote on whether tipped workers should be paid minimum wage. (WaPo, 3/7)

TAX REFORM | Grantmakers Income Security Taskforce is hosting its annual Budget and Tax Briefing: Navigating the Challenges Ahead Together on March 22 and 23. Find more information here.

PUBLIC SAFETY | Maryland Governor Larry Hogan says he opposes the administration’s proposal to arm teachers and offers his own proposals to increase school safety. (WaPo, 2/28)

Check out New York Times’ new Overlooked section, which features obituaries of women who left their mark on our society.

– Kendra

March 7, 2018 / Kendra Allen, Editor

These DC women helped establish sexual harassment protections in the workforce

SEXUAL HARASSMENT | As the #MeToo movement has reached from Hollywood to politics to the media and the nonprofit sector, conversations about consent and the history of sexual harassment laws has increased. Washingtonian has published an article about one of three DC area women whose court case helped establish sexual-harassment protections for women in the workforce. (Washingtonian, 3/4)

Robert Adler, thin with dark curly hair, scoured the library for sexual-harassment lawsuits with his team, hoping to assemble a playbook of winning arguments to use in Sandra Bundy’s case. They found little to be encouraged about. “Most of the case law was going to go against us,” says Arthur Chotin, the attorney who argued the case at trial.

At that time, judges took it for granted that men would pursue women at work just as they did at the local bar—and “there was nothing the law could do about it nor should do about it,” says Gillian Thomas, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. In her book about landmark discrimination cases, Because of Sex, Thomas cites a New Jersey judge who ruled against an early harassment claim by saying the law wasn’t meant to “provide a federal remedy for what amounts to a physical attack motivated by sexual desire . . . which happened to occur in a corporate corridor rather than a back alley.”

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY | Katy Moore, WRAG’s managing director of corporate strategy, discusses how diversity initiatives alone will not erase the racial inequities we see in the business community and highlights Deloitte‘s efforts to make white men full diversity partners. (Daily, 3/7)

RACIAL EQUITY | Nicky Goren, vice chair of WRAG’s Board of Directors and president and CEO of Meyer Foundation, discusses the foundation’s journey to adopt a racial equity lens and how the Greater Washington region’s philanthropic sector has responded to the administration’s new policies. (PND Blog, 3/6)

NONPROFITS | What It Takes: How a Charity Confronted Its Lack of Diversity and Found New Strength (Chronicle, 3/7 – Subscription needed)

EDUCATION | DC will enforce its attendance policy for graduating seniors this year. This decision is complicating the lives of students who have already missed more days than allowed. (WaPo, 3/6)

HEALTHPatients Like Hospital Care At Home, But Some Insurers Are Skeptical (NPR, 3/7)

The Atlantic has created visuals to W.E.B. Du Bois’ writings on how it feels to be a problem in America.

– Kendra

March 7, 2018 / WRAG

Diversity is not the answer

By Katy Moore
Managing Director of Corporate Strategy
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers 

Have you ever heard something so profound that it challenged your entire understanding of a topic? That happened to me recently with regard to diversity – a topic quite familiar to me after 10+ years working on corporate social responsibility (CSR).

In a spirited discussion about racial equity, Avis Ransom of Baltimore Racial Justice Action said, “Plantations were diverse. Diversity is not the answer.”


I carried that statement with me for weeks…regularly returning to it, mulling it over, trying to figure out what it truly meant for my work in the CSR space.

In the 1960s, in response to racial tensions, American companies began establishing race-based employee resource groups (ERGs) as a forum of support and professional growth for discrete, racial communities. Overtime, ERGs expanded to focus on other sub-groups: women, LGBTQ, and veterans, just to name a few. In more recent years, the conversation has evolved and expanded and is generally referred to as diversity, equity and inclusion – DEI.  Inestimable numbers of companies have hosted countless DEI trainings, launched innumerable DEI initiatives, and commissioned a plethora of DEI research. And, yet, on average women still earn 20 percent less than their male counterparts[1], black men earn a third less than white men over their lifetimes[2], there are only four black CEOs in the Fortune 500[3], and on and on.

So, as Avis said, and as I have come to understand, diversity is not the answer, or at least, it’s not the entire answer. My frame is being challenged. ERGs and DEI initiatives are important, but they are not enough to address the deep inequities that exist in our society. And those inequities are often mirrored to varying degrees in our business community.

As I have a tendency to do, I started digging deeper. What was the fuller story?  I was pleased to learn there are a number of companies that are beginning to go beyond traditional DEI efforts, but one stands out for taking a position that, on its face, is counter to popular thinking.

Deloitte is making a bold attempt to reframe its DEI efforts by actively including… men. That may seem ridiculous at first, but let’s look more carefully. Men, white men to be specific, hold the majority of leadership roles in the corporate sector; they set the workplace culture, frame the corporate infrastructure, and define the measures of success. This also means that white men are in the strongest position to drive organizational change. But, based on the statistics I shared earlier, it doesn’t seem that they are currently wielding their power and influence to actively make change in the equity sphere.  And, that’s exactly the reason that by intentionally including men in its DEI efforts, Deloitte could succeed where others have not in truly achieving a more equitable workplace.

Of course, there are a few *small* challenges to address such as the blatant power dynamics, privilege, unconscious bias, etc. before white men can serve as full diversity partners. But, I would argue that this is a learning curve that, while steep and ever-evolving, is definitely not unreachable.

For years, DEI work in the corporate space has predominately been the realm of women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and other marginalized communities. Calling on white men as active participants and partners is a bold and powerful strategy.  I look forward to tracking this initiative and others as the business community works to make real change in the equity arena.

If you’re interested in going deeper on this topic, check out the recently launched CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion which has more than more than 350 company CEOs who have signed the pledge. And, White Men as Full Diversity Partners is a robust, national organization that offers a host of tools, trainings, and experiential learning.