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June 5, 2019 / Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Editor

Can education planning in the District benefit from new data technology?

– DC’s deputy mayor of education Paul Kihn hopes that a new digital tool will help alleviate the patchwork of solutions that are developed when numerous individuals and departments are reviewing data to make critical planning decisions about education in the District. (WAMU, 6/4)

The tool, called EdScape, uses data visualization to show enrollment trends, the location of specialized schools, transportation access, new housing developments, school quality and how full buildings are … which should all be factors in getting decision-makers on the same page so they can rely on numbers when debating where and when to open charter schools or when to fix up existing public schools … “We’re trying to elevate the use of facts to inform our conversations about the kind of planning decisions that we are making,” Kihn says.

–  What Is Seclusion And Restraint? Explaining The Controversial School Discipline Practice. (WAMU, 6/3)

CULTURE | DC Council bill would make go-go music the ‘official music of the District’ (WaPo, 6/4)

TRANSIT | Amtrak is upgrading a 31-mile stretch of track between DC and Baltimore as it gets ready for the next generation of high speed Acela Express trains, scheduled to start in 2021. (WTOP, 6/4)

GUN VIOLENCE | After Virginia Beach shooting, governor calls for special session on gun control (WaPo, 6/4)

VIRGINIA | The Arlington County neighborhood known as “Nauck,” named after a white developer with no ties to the community who was in the Confederate army, will be renamed to its former name of  “Green Valley” as it was originally founded by African Americans before the Civil War. (WaPo, 6/3)

COMMUNITY | The Boeing Company has made a $10 million donation to Arlington County to support the continuing expansion of Long Bridge Park in their backyard. (WBJ, 6/5)

WOMEN/RACE | What took so long for women to win the right to vote? Racism is one reason. (WaPo, 6/2)

HEALTH/EQUITY | Maryland’s female inmates were supposed to receive free tampons, but they are still paying. (WaPo, 6/5)

EVENT | On June 18 Giving USA will release its annual report on philanthropy at DC VERGE. Speakers at the event include WRAG’s president & CEO, Dr. Madye Henson, Bruce McNamer, president & CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, and other local leaders. Event details can be found here.

– During Ramadan, growing Muslim philanthropy enters the spotlight (Religion News Service, 6/1)

A Decapitated Triceratops?! 

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Friday!

– Buffy

June 4, 2019 / Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Editor

Voting rights could be restored for incarcerated prisoners in the District

VOTING RIGHTS | Lawmakers in the District are seeking to make the nation’s capital the first jurisdiction to restore voting rights to incarcerated prisoners, with plans to introduce legislation Tuesday to repeal language in a 1955 law that disenfranchises DC residents upon felony convictions. (WaPo, 6/3)

The District has some of lowest restrictions on felons voting, where their voting rights are automatically restored when they are released from prison, and election officials visit the DC jail to help non-felons cast absentee ballots … “Unfortunately in the District and across the country, incarcerated people make up a sizable population of residents,” said Council member Robert C. White Jr., who is introducing the legislation … “They don’t lose their citizenship when they are incarcerated, so they shouldn’t lose their right to vote.” White’s bill thrusts the District to the vanguard of the felon enfranchisement movement, and believes that the discussion around criminal voting restrictions should focus on the racist motivations of the laws and how they disproportionately disenfranchise African Americans.

CENSUS 2020Deceased GOP Strategist’s Hard Drives Reveal New Details on the Census Citizenship Question (NYT, 5/30)

Related: Vanita Gupta, president & CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued this statement in response to the New York Times’ revelation. Gupta is the keynote speaker at Thursday’s Interventions that Work: Census 2020 & Hard-to-Count Communities forum, co-convened by WRAG and 14 partner organizations to elevate strategies for a complete and accurate 2020 Census.

COMMUNITY | Last year WRAG launched the Journalism Fellows Project to share our platform with youth of color in this region who are often written about, but are rarely asked their perspectives on the issues facing their communities and families. In today’s edition, we hear from Thomas Kent, 2019 graduate of Richard Wright Public Charter School in DC, about the impact of violence in his neighborhood. (Daily, 6/4)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | A new audit reveals that DC Mayor Bowser has awarded at least five housing projects to developers with low-ranked proposals. The move cost the city 353 affordable housing units, and raises questions about the process. (WaPo, 5/30)

WORKFORCE/EQUITY | Emergency legislation at the DC Council would prevent employment discrimination against city workers in the medical marijuana program. (dcist, 5/31)

NONPROFITS | New Pilot Program is Bringing Books to a Barbershop on Lee Highway (ARLnow, 5/28)

ENVIRONMENT | According to a just-published list put out each year by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Tidal Basin is among the 11 most endangered historic places in 2019. (WAMU, 5/30)

CHILDREN & FAMILIES | What Makes A City Child-Friendly? (WAMU, 5/31)

PHILANTHROPY | The Kids Are Alright: Millennials Reluctant to Give, But Donate Generously When They Do (Inside Philanthropy, 5/30)

It’s 3 am – do you know what your iPhone is doing? Yikes!

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Wednesday and Friday!

– Buffy

June 4, 2019 / WRAG

Journalism Fellows Project: Overcoming Violence in My City

Last year WRAG launched the Journalism Fellows Project to share our platform with youth of color in this region who are often written about, but are rarely asked their perspectives on the issues facing their communities and families. We asked the youth to write about challenges they are experiencing, and if they have any solutions to offer. In today’s edition, we hear from Thomas Kent, 2019 graduate of Richard Wright Public Charter School in DC, about the impact of violence in his neighborhood.

-Kendra Allen, Program Associate, Consumer Health Foundation

In DC, I was taught to keep my mouth shut and my eyes closed so I wouldn’t be exposed to things that were beyond my control. My grandma taught me that. I was 12 years old when I learned why. I was exposed to violence pretty early in life when one of my closest friends was shot and killed. It had a chilling effect on me. It was almost like I had experienced it myself, and felt it should’ve been me. I went through a lot around that time, and at one point, I felt like I lost the ability to feel. I was numb because we were so close.

Today people are dying all over the city, mostly over dumb neighborhood beefs that won’t mean anything some years from now. We lose so many youth in DC to gun violence when they shouldn’t even be in the hands of minors. I can almost count on each hand the number of friends I have lost to this type of violence from situations that could have been resolved by talking it out.

A lot of these young people could have been persuaded to never pick up a gun. Older people from the neighborhood enable them by giving them weapons. If the young people had their parents in their lives, then they most likely wouldn’t have gone to the streets for that type of love. All it would take is a simple “how is your day?” to change a child’s path. There are multiple children that deal with this trauma and are angry because they weren’t loved like other children were. They deal with that anger by fighting the law and hurting other people the same way they were hurt.

It’s not easy being in the middle of it all while trying to continue to involve myself with my community and balance playing sports. I’ll be one of three people in my family to attend college and for me, that is a big deal. My parents always wanted what was best for me. This is why I look up to them, appreciate and love them, and look forward to becoming a parent someday in the future, after college.

The main reason I’m choosing to go to college and to play ball is because I need to get away from DC for my family. My family doesn’t want me to get tied up in the life that some of my peers are in. I owe it to them to get my degree and better myself to come back and make a change, either improving the lives of youth on the streets, or in classrooms. When I say make a change I mean bring positivity back to the community, stop the hate, and help people get jobs to provide for their families.

About the Author:
Thomas Kent is a graduate of Richard Wright PCS and will be attending Frostburg University in the fall as a freshman. He will study graphic design and still occasionally do photography. He is an athlete and will be trying out to become a Frostburg Bobcat.

Previous Articles from the Journalism Fellows Project:
Gentrification Anxiety” by Jacqueline Lassey
Coming to a New Home” by Looking Owl

May 30, 2019 / Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Editor

Child care costs are on the rise, while many providers are struggling to make ends meet

CHILD CARE | As child care costs continue to rise, many providers are still among the lowest-paid workers in the country, while area parents are paying among the highest costs for child care in the nation. (WAMU, 5/29)

In DC, the median hourly wage for childcare workers was $14.33 in 2017. In Maryland, it was $11.29. And in Virginia, it was $9.82 … This may come as a surprise to area parents, who are paying among the highest costs for child care in the nation — sometimes thousands of dollars a month. [According to] Lea Austin, co-director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley, those costs may not be high enough to provide what’s needed. Austin says that after paying for the essentials of running a child care center — things like rent, utilities and supplies — there’s little money left for the actual people who are doing the work, many of whom are women, often women of color.

CENSUS | In today’s Daily WRAG, the co-chairs of WRAG’s Census 2020 Working Group, Levina Kim (United Way of the National Capital Area), Ria Pugeda (Consumer Health Foundation), and Terri Wright (Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation), explain the urgency around the 2020 Census and call on their philanthropic colleagues to invest to support outreach, education, and assistance for those communities most at risk of being undercounted in the census. (Daily, 5/30)

HOUSING | How much money do workers have after paying housing costs? For blue-collar and service workers in major cities – like Washington, DC – the affordable housing crisis hits harder. (CityLab, 5/21)

– Arlington Public Schools has reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice to improve services for English-learning students over the next three years, after the Justice Department found multiple compliance issues with the English Learner programs and practices.  (WAMU, 5/21)

– Governor Hogan has vetoed a bill that would have allowed more undocumented immigrants to pay in-state college tuition. (Bethesda Magazine, 5/24)

IMMIGRATION | As part of the county’s newly approved $5.8 billion operating budget, the Montgomery County Council has allocated $14.5 million for 335 individual grants to community nonprofits, the largest share of which is going toward immigration assistance programs. (Bethesda Magazine, 5/29)

CULTURE | DC’s independent, black-owned bookstores are thriving. But will high taxes do them in? (GGWash, 5/29)

ENVIRONMENT | The Tidal Basin Is One Of America’s ‘Most Endangered Places’ (WAMU, 5/30)

TRANSITDo more roads mean less traffic? That’s the question Maryland and Virginia are being asked as the Capital Beltway widening proposal is discussed. (WAMU, 5/29)

ECONOMY | National parks tourism brought over $1.5B in benefits to DC area (WTOP, 5/28)

PHILANTHROPY | The Butterfly Effect: Tracking the Growth of Women’s Funds (Philanthropy Women, 5/14)

Social Sector Job Openings 

Senior Program Manager | Rising Tide Foundation – New!
Development Manager | Mikva Challenge DC – New!
Foundation Director | Venable LLP – New!
Development Associate | Sitar Arts Center
Grants Manager | Arabella Advisors
Institutional Development Officer | Martha’s Table
Development Manager, Washington, DC | Reading Partners
Director of Individual Giving | Horizons Greater Washington
Grants Compliance Manager | Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter
Director of Corporate and Foundation Advancement | Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
Engagement Officer | Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
Grants and Communications Associate | Neighborhood Health
Senior Manager of Member Engagement and Partnerships | United Philanthropy Forum
Director of Development​ | ​Washington Tennis & Education Foundation
Director of Operations​ | ​Washington Tennis & Education Foundation

Hiring? Post your job on WRAG’s job board and get it included in the Daily! Free for members; $60/60 days for non-members. Details here.

Community Calendar

To add an event to WRAG’s community calendar, email Rebekah Seder. Click here to view the community calendar.

Sparkling wine from a DC food truck? Yes, please.

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back next week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!

– Buffy

May 30, 2019 / WRAG

Funders: Join us to ensure a fair, accurate, and complete Census 2020 in the Greater Washington region

By Levina Kim, United Way of the National Capital Area, Ria Pugeda, Consumer Health Foundation, and Terri Wright, Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

In Spring 2018, the three of us agreed to join together to co-chair the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers’ then-new Census 2020 Working Group. Our goal was, and continues to be, to convene, educate, and mobilize our fellow funders to leverage our collective resources in support of a fair and accurate Census 2020.

The reasons why Census 2020 is an urgent philanthropic priority have been said before, but bear repeating: the Census is the cornerstone of our democracy. Census data determine where government allocates our tax dollars for new schools, hospitals, roads, sewers, and other critical infrastructure. Census data determine federal resources for maternal and child health, Head Start, supplemental food programs, subsidized housing, and other human services (more than $24 billion to DC, Maryland, and Virginia combined!) Companies use census data when considering where to pursue business opportunities. Census data is also used to determine the number of congressional seats that will prevail for the next 10 years.

Most importantly, a complete and accurate Census 2020 is critical for advancing racial equity in our region. The census count has historically missed disproportionate numbers of people of color, immigrants, young children, low-income, and rural households. It is estimated that more than 55,000 individuals were “undercounted” in this region in 2010. When communities of color are undercounted in the census they are impacted in multiple ways. It could lead to under-representation in government and thus a lack of focus on and investment in their priorities and concerns. Federal funding for social service programs could be drastically reduced. Businesses that are urgently needed – like grocery stores – may fail to open in under-resourced neighborhoods because the data does not reflect the potential for sufficient demand.

The current political environment, a reduction of federal resources for outreach workers (“enumerators” in census-speak), and the sweeping move to an online census have exacerbated the likelihood of our region’s most marginalized communities being grossly under-counted. It is essential for the nonprofit, philanthropic, business, and government sectors to step up and optimize our inherent potential to reach and support communities that are at the most risk of being undercounted in the 2020 Census.

Our call to action: The viability of an equitable future depends on a complete and accurate Census 2020. Philanthropy can and must invest in our nonprofit partners, which have the relationships and connections with different communities, to support the outreach, education, and assistance that under-counted communities – especially communities of color – would need. We call on our philanthropic colleagues to join us in investing directly or with other foundations and donors through a pooled fund housed at the Greater Washington Community Foundation dedicated to Census 2020. We know that through our collective effort we can achieve a complete and accurate count and make a substantial impact on what happens to our region over the next 10 years.

Funders: To learn more about the pooled funding opportunity, please contact Terri Wright, Vice President of Program & Community at the Meyer Foundation, or Ria Pugeda, Senior Program Officer, Consumer Health Foundation.

WRAG members are encouraged to join the Census 2020 Working Group to support a fair and accurate census. The next meeting is June 17. Contact Rebekah Seder to learn more.

May 29, 2019 / Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Editor

Will Lonnie Bunch and the Smithsonian change the conversation and culture surrounding white supremacy?

CULTURE | The significance of Lonnie Bunch’s appointment as the 14th secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, goes far beyond the fact that he is the first African American to hold the job. He is in a unique position to grapple with the institution’s history, which is bound up in complicated ways with the history of white supremacy. (WaPo, 5/28)

Bunch can talk comfortably, in public, about white supremacy which could change not only the Smithsonian, but also the culture of the country it represents. Bunch takes over at a moment of extreme peril in human history, and will lead perhaps the only institution in American life that has both the intellectual capacity and the public credibility to confront the three greatest dangers we now face: climate change, the cultural and technological corruption of democratic processes, and white supremacy and neo-nationalism, three things that will be increasingly interconnected … the fact that Bunch can utter the words “white supremacy” is occasion for hope … if you can anatomize it and explain it to Americans, you can probably solve a host of other problems, too. Bunch has long since demonstrated he can do exactly that.

PHILANTHROPY/NONPROFITS | Yesterday, The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation announced an innovative partnership with Catchafire to bring capacity building support to more than 100 nonprofits in the D.C. metropolitan area. Through this partnership, select Cafritz grantees will have access to virtual, skills-based volunteers, to help them strengthen their infrastructure, build their capacity, and allow staff to focus on achieving their organization’s programmatic goals. Read the press release here.

WORKFORCE | The DC Central Kitchen’s latest culinary arts program for 18-24 year-olds aims to help connect them to job opportunities in DC’s booming restaurant industry. The program is run out the THEARC in Ward 8. (WaPo, 5/27)

– On Tuesday the DC Council added millions to subsidize the District’s only public hospital and to repair deteriorated public housing stock, with the passage of a $15.5 billion budget for the next fiscal year, but made cuts in other areas, including a workforce housing fund and free fares on Circulator buses. (WaPo, 5/28)

After a heated fight about race and schools, DC Council decides: Banneker will move to Shaw (WaPo, 5/28)

Need For Urgent Public Housing Repairs Prompts DC Council To Tap Controversial Source Of Money (WAMU, 5/28)

HOUSING | Getting a home near Amazon’s HQ2 in Crystal City is already a lot harder than it was before the announcement that they were coming to town. (WBJ, 5/27)

PUBLIC SAFETY | ‘This Will Not Be the New Normal’: DC Police Prepare For Possible Spike In Violence (WAMU, 5/28)

TRANSIT | As Metro shutdown arrives, dread pervades the Yellow and Blue lines (WaPo, 5/27)

NONPROFITS/RACIAL EQUITY | The Building Movement Project has just released Nonprofit Executives and the Racial Leadership Gap: A Race to Lead Brief which explores the gaps between executive leaders of color and white leaders and compares nonprofit executives to respondents in staff positions.

How to get to the beach this summer without a car.

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Thursday!

– Buffy

May 28, 2019 / Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Editor

Middle-income seniors may be unable to afford housing and care in the future

–  According to a recent study published in the journal Health Affairs, the number of middle-income seniors is projected to soar in the next 10 years, and many of them will be unable to afford housing and care. In metropolitan areas such as DC, where the cost of living is higher than the national average, the problem is especially acute. (WaPo, 5/28)

Seniors who have too much income to qualify for government-subsidized housing and don’t make enough to live in a luxury development will be left behind … and for those without homes to sell or borrow against, the outlook is bleak: In 2029, 81 percent of middle-income seniors without equity in housing will have an annual income that is below the projected annual $62,000 for assisted living rent and estimated out of pocket medical spending, the study found … “Even if we assume that seniors devote 100 percent of their annual income to seniors housing — setting aside any personal expenses — only 19 percent of middle-income seniors will have financial resources that exceed today’s costs of assisted living,” the study said.

Opinion: The 2020 DC Council budget may cut the Affordable Housing Preservation Tool, which provides an opportunity for residents to stay in their homes with affordable rents. Eliminating funding for the AHPF in 2020 means, at minimum, a $60 million cut in funds to preserve affordable housing. (GGWash, 5/24)

EDUCATION | Five new charter schools are planned for the District for the 2020-2021 academic year but there are concerns that city resources will be affected and their opening may result in more empty seats at existing middle and high schools that are struggling to attract students. (WaPo, 5/26)

ENVIRONMENT | Can the DC area clean up its waste problem? (WTOP, 5/27)

POVERTY/HUNGER | It’s World Hunger Day. Here’s why so many people still suffer from malnutrition. (WaPo, 5/28)

DISTRICT | Long-standing tax breaks for tech companies in the District could be cut and the revenue used instead to fund social services. (WAMU, 5/27)

LGBTQIA | Transgender Military Members Say Ban Is ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell 2.0’ (WAMU, 5/28)

GUN VIOLENCE | Giving Up Guns: High-Risk Veterans Are Ready To Talk About It (WAMU, 5/24)

PHILANTHROPY | One Foundation CEO’s Plan to Respond to Today’s Outrages. What’s Yours? (Chronicle, 5/22)

Hunting for mushrooms with the Mycological Association of Washington.

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Wednesday and Thursday!

– Buffy