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March 21, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

What happens to poor people if there is no affordable legal aid?

LEGAL AID | Low-income individuals are often unable to afford lawyers during civil proceedings. The Legal Services Corporation, created in 1971, provided this service to these communities and now the new administration would like to eliminate it. (CityLab, 3/20)

The services those organizations provide can be life-changing. Legal-aid lawyers in multiple states told me their offices help low-income Americans fight foreclosures and avoid evictions, protect domestic-violence survivors by filing restraining orders and navigating the family-court system, work with veterans and families to obtain public benefits, represent victims of consumer scams, and provide a variety of other services. Their assistance can range from educational programs to direct legal representation in state, federal, and tribal courts.

– A new report, by the Center for Effective Philanthropy, explores the practices and operations of limited life foundations. (CEP, 3/21)

– Foundations Take a Stand — or Not — on the GOP Health Plan (Chronicle, 3/20 – Subscription needed)

AGING | The aging population and the nonprofits that serve them are at risk due to possible changes to the health care bill. How can philanthropy support them? (NPQ, 3/20)

WORKFORCE | Report: D.C.’s minimum wage hike could have some unintended effects (WBJ, 3/17 – Subscription needed)

HOUSING | Montgomery County, MD mall owners would like to create multi-family housing on land connected to their mall. (Bethesda Beat, 3/17)

PUBLIC SAFETY | District leaders sent a list of recommendations on the Metropolitan Police Department’s use of force policy and they’ve responded to them. (WJLA, 3/20)

Washington City Paper will keep the Peeps diorama contest alive! 

– Kendra

March 20, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

Maryland advocates want to re-open recovery school for teens

– As the opioid epidemic sweeps the nation and Maryland’s governor has declared a state of emergency due to the crisis, advocates are looking at reopening a school for teenagers dealing with addiction. Drug-related emergency room visits are up for teenagers in Montgomery County, MD, which is prompting this effort. (WaPo, 3/19)

Former students recall the importance of the school’s recovery-minded community, apart from their old friends and bad habits. At Phoenix, other teenagers were trying to stay clean; they often remained at Phoenix a year or two, then returned to their high schools or graduated.

Henry Bockman, 48, who attended in the mid-1980s and is now a business owner in the county, says he recalls team-building during outdoor trips — rock climbing, caving, rafting — Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, support from other teenagers and teachers who took the time to really know students.

– Study: Half or more of community college students struggle to afford food, housing (Hechinger Report, 3/15)

ADVOCACY | Last week, WRAG’s Board of Directors voted to sign on as a supporter of the New Social Compact, a statement of values, practices, and actions produced by professor john a. powell of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley. Tamara Lucas Copeland, WRAG’s president, discusses why WRAG signed on to the compact, and how we use our voice on issues that matter. (Daily, 3/20)

HEALTH | A new state analysis found that under the proposed healthcare bill, Virginia’s Medicaid program could lose $1.8 billion over a six-year span. (WTOP, 3/17)

REGION/ECONOMY | The administration’s new budget would severely impact social spending in the DC region. (WaPo, 3/18)

WRAG/EVENTS | On March 30th, the 2030 Group, a regional group of Washington Metropolitan area business leaders who are focused on strengthening the region’s economy, will hold “The Roadmap for Washington Region’s Economic Future: Where Are We Now?” event. Register here.

HOUSING | Opinion: The D.C. region needs a housing corporation to help make home prices affordable (WaPo, 3/17)

ENVIRONMENT | Why racial equity and diversity have to matter in the environmental sector and how to address it. (Center for Effective Philanthropy, 3/16)

An office MacGyver with the steaks

– Kendra

March 20, 2017 / WRAG

Using WRAG’s Voice on Issues That Matter

By Tamara Lucas Copeland
President, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

On March 14, 2017, the WRAG Board of Directors voted to sign on as a supporter of the New Social Compact, a statement of values, practices, and actions being promulgated by professor john a. powell of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley and the first speaker in WRAG’s “Putting Racism on the Table” lecture series. The preface to the document states,

There are certain times in which we are called upon to rethink, reclaim, and boldly articulate what we stand for, and to act, and we believe we are in one of those times today.

By signing on to this document, WRAG as an organization is stating our commitment to the following core values:

  • A belief in the dignity and humanity of all people.
  • A recognition that all people are connected to each other and to our living planet.
  • A belief in the rights of all people to fairly and freely participate in the democratic governing structures that impact their lives.
  • A belief in the responsibility of government, markets, and a civil society that work to serve the wellbeing of people, including the right to health care, education, food and shelter.
  • A belief that it is untenable to enact policies that suppress opportunity.
  • A belief in the rights of free expression under the protection of the government.

The public expression of an organizational commitment to such values is not something that WRAG often does.

Under the leadership of Yanique Redwood, head of the Consumer Health Foundation and vice chair of the WRAG Board, WRAG’s Program and Policy Committee has been considering how WRAG might have more of a voice. WRAG’s strategic plan lifts up our role as a voice for philanthropy as part of our lasting value. The Committee, comprised of representatives of the convening groups under WRAG as well as members at large, believes that as an association of funders, WRAG is uniquely positioned to influence public discourse, public policy and to alert public officials to policy alternatives. With the guidance of this committee, WRAG will seek to:

  • Advocate for policies that benefit the social profit sector;
  • Utilize the expertise of the working groups, in particular, to promote issue-based polices that foster equity in the region; and,
  • Educate WRAG members about their own ability to engage in and fund policy advocacy.

WRAG shares the belief of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” We believe that in the past we have not used our voice as powerfully as we could have. Look to WRAG to use our platform to speak out on many more issues that matter.

March 17, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

New administration’s budget proposal cuts social programs

POVERTY | The new administration’s proposed budget was released yesterday. It included dramatic cuts to social programs and increased funding to the military. Many of the programs cut were designed to help low-income communities and communities of color, but administration officials believe the programs are wasteful and ineffective. (NPR, 3/17)

The president wants to eliminate legal services for the poor, as well as money to help low-income families pay their heating bills. The budget also would get rid of the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which cities use to fix up distressed neighborhoods. The budget also targets Community Services Block Grant funding, which supports local anti-poverty programs, such as Meals on Wheels for homebound seniors.

EVENTSMetropolitan Washington Council on GovernmentsCareFirstKaiser Permanente and others are co-hosting a Regional Opioid Summit on May 9th. The Summit will bring public health professionals, health and behavioral care providers, law enforcement officials, and others together to discuss the opioid epidemic in our region. Read why they believe cross-jurisdictional collaboration is key to addressing the region’s opioid epidemic. (MWCOG, 3/15)

– DC, Maryland and Virginia are beneficiaries of more than 5,000 active National Institute of Health grants totaling $4.7 billion. These grants may be at stake in the new budget plan that calls to cut almost 20% of NIH’s funding. (WBJ, 3/17)

– The Fight to Close the Racial Health Gap Just Got Harder (Citylab, 3/16)

HOUSING | The first ever audit of DC’s Housing Production Trust Fund was released yesterday. (WCP, 3/16)

PUBLIC SAFETY | The Prince George’s County police department is working with the University of Maryland to educate its police officers on implicit bias. (WAMU, 3/15)

ENVIRONMENTEnvironmentalists Gear Up To Fight Proposed Budget Cuts (WAMU, 3/16)

Social Sector Job Openings 

Executive Director – DC Metro | Higher Achievement
Executive Director | International Association for Volunteer Effort
Executive Director | Catalogue for Philanthropy
Part-time Accountant | Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
Donor Services Associate, District of Columbia | The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region
Associate Director, Policy & Communications | Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers 
Administrative Associate
| Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers 
Manager, Operations & Programming
| Walker’s Legacy Foundation
Senior Associate, Engagement – Mid-Atlantic and Retail and Direct Bank markets
| Capital One
Executive Director
| Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia

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 the image below to access the calendar.

I wouldn’t mind having these metal trees in my home.

– Kendra

March 16, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

Creating change through arts, culture, and equity

ARTS & HUMANITIES | A new report by PolicyLink, Creating Change through Arts, Culture, and Equitable Development: A Policy and Practice Primer, explores how the power of arts and culture can be leveraged to advance equity. The report describes the role of arts and culture across many sectors, including transportation, housing, economic development, health, and food. (PolicyLink, 3/14)

Arts and culture are essential for building community, supporting development, nurturing health and well-being, and contributing to economic opportunity. Collectively, arts and culture enable understanding of the past and envisioning of a shared, more equitable future. In disinvested communities, arts and culture act as tools for community development, shaping infrastructure, transportation, access to healthy food, and other core amenities. In communities of color and low-income communities, arts and culture contribute to strengthening cultural identity, healing trauma, and fostering shared vision for community.

EVENT: Join us on March 29th at Busboys & Poets for our next Brightest Minds program. Roberta Uno, director of ArtChangeUS: Arts in a Changing America, will discuss the need for putting the arts and artists at the forefront of social change. Register now. This event is open to the public.

– Trump wants to cut the NEA and NEH. This is the worst-case scenario for arts groups (WaPo, 3/16)

– A new report examines the importance of the Torpedo Factory Art Center on the City of Alexandria’s economy. The report found that it is the most cited major attraction of visitors to Old Town and visitors attracted to Old Town by the Torpedo Factory spend on average $92.88 during their visit including purchases at the Art Center.

– The new administration’s budget proposal could have a powerful impact on the District’s economy due to funding cuts for government agencies. (WaPo, 3/14)

– Nonprofit hospitals were required to focus more on community needs and the social determinants of health under the Affordable Care Act. This focus could change with the new healthcare act. (WaPo, 3/14)

– A Nonprofit Is Planning D.C.’s First LGBTQ Senior Living Facility (WCP, 3/16)

FOOD | Residents are unhappy with inadequate and unequal services at Ward 7 grocery stores. (East of the River News, 3/14)

Discover the new world of internet

– Kendra

March 15, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

Possible federal funding cuts to public housing will impact DC

HOUSING | The DC Housing Authority relies on federal funds to make significant renovations to its buildings, including replacing roofs and other repairs. In a recently released preliminary budget for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, these funds may be in jeopardy. (WCP, 3/14)

Affordable housing advocates worry that the possible rollbacks could have far-reaching impacts on District residents. Not only would the $10 million cut in HUD capital funds restrict DCHA’s ability to commission repairs, they explain, but it would also curb the housing authority’s means of paying off old debt—much of it from capital repairs made a decade ago. Because these funds cover a big share of such debt payments, advocates say DCHA would have to redirect money from other areas to avoid defaulting on its debt.

The agency hasn’t gotten there yet, though it’s quick to point out how dire the status quo already is. “We’ve seen and heard reports speculating about the impending HUD budget reduction,” a DCHA spokesman says in a statement. “Clearly any continued cuts to the public housing program would be extraordinarily challenging as evidenced by our current funding situation and the impact of sequestration.”

NONPROFITS/EVENT | Bethany Rubin Henderson, executive director of DC Scores, shares her experience at WRAG’s Fundamentals of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Two-Day Workshop and advises this year’s attendees on how to get the most out of the experience. (Daily, 3/15)

Related: Learn how to strengthen relationships with existing corporate funders and attract the attention of future corporate partners at WRAG’s Fundamentals of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Two-Day Workshop. Register here

HEALTH | Here’s how a successful community-led campaign in Maryland reduced the sales of soda and fruit drinks without creating a soda tax. (NPR, 3/13)

ARTS & HUMANITIES | A number of Virginia arts organizations that receive funds from the National Endowment for the Arts worry about possible cuts to the program. (WAMU, 3/14)

– The University of Maryland has created more resources to help its undocumented students, including assigning staff to help coordinate the services students might need and forming a working group to focus on undocumented students. (WaPo, 3/15)

– Georgetown University, University of Maryland offer tuition breaks for federal workers (WBJ, 3/15)

ENVIRONMENT | DC may be the first US city to create a green bank, which will be an independent agency that offers funds for energy improvements for individuals and companies. The administration hopes it will boost the use of clean energy technology in DC. (WBJ, 3/14)

A creepier, but still accurate Alexa…

– Kendra

March 15, 2017 / WRAG

Reflections on Fundamentals of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Two-Day Workshop

By Bethany Rubin Henderson
Executive Director
DC Scores

Why did you choose to participate in the Fundamentals of CSR workshop?
I chose to participate to gain a deeper understanding of how companies approach philanthropic activities and engage in the community. I believe that nonprofits and corporations can help each other achieve their goals via win-win partnerships, not only via one-way donations, and was eager to hear perspectives and tips for initiating such efforts from DC-based companies invested in CSR.

What was your favorite part of the workshop?
My favorite part was hearing from company executives. The panels on “Intro to CSR,” “Why CSR: the Case for Community Investment,” “Understanding all of a Corporations Community Investment Resources,” and “How Companies Develop their Community Investment Strategies” were chock full of practical insights and actionable tips. The invaluable insights ranged from how to approach specific companies to frameworks for understanding how and why corporations in general approach developing a CSR strategy.

How have you used the knowledge and/or connections you gained at the workshop to improve your work?
Our team used the specific frameworks and tips shared at the workshop to inform how we designed and are building out a corporate partnership strategy. I also have had several follow-on conversations about the potential for developing new partnerships with corporate representatives I met during the workshop.

What would you tell prospective participants about the workshop?
All of us have limited time and resources to spend on professional development. This workshop is worth the investment if you are considering starting or expanding a corporate partnership strategy. This workshop was very well-organized, kept on time, and I walked away with practical, actionable tips.

Do you have any tips for 2017 registrants on how to get the most out of their participation?
One – Take good notes. There is SO much practical information shared that you are going to want to be able to refer back to once you’ve had time to digest a bit. Share your notes immediately with relevant members of your team, and calendar a reminder to refer back to them a month (or 3) later.

Two – Talk to other participants you don’t already know – in the lunch line, at the group activity tables, and during breaks. What began as bonding with the person next to me in the buffet line turned into a series of conversations over both workshop days and beyond about how our organizations might collaborate.

About Fundamentals of CSR
Join the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers on April 27-28 for this informative, two-day workshop designed and taught by more than 20 corporate philanthropy and community involvement professionals from some of the region’s largest and most respected companies.

This workshop is designed specifically for individuals who want to better understand the field of corporate responsibility, corporate philanthropy, volunteerism, and community involvement for the purposes of developing new and deeper corporate relationships and more effective corporate fundraising strategies.

Click here for registration information. The early bird discount expires March 31!