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August 12, 2016 / Rebekah Seder, Editor

It would take over two centuries to close the racial wealth gap in America

– A new study released this week looks at the racial wealth gap (as opposed to the income gap) in the United States and finds that, without policy changes, it would take 228 years for black families to acquire the same amount of wealth as white families in this country (Next City, 8/10):

The report…examined the accumulation of wealth over the past 30 years and how wealth-building policies have given white Americans a leg up. Over the past three decades, the average wealth of white families has grown by 84 percent, three times as fast as the rate for African-American families and 1.2 the growth rate for Latino families, according to the research from the Corporation for Enterprise Development and the Institute for Policy Studies. […]

Homeownership strongly correlates with wealth, and decades of discriminatory housing policies and market practices, such as redlining and disparate local implementation of Federal Housing Administration loans and G.I. Bill benefits, have prohibited many people of color from purchasing a home. While 71 percent of white families are homeowners, only 41 percent of black families and 45 percent of Hispanic families are homeowners.

You can read the full report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development and the Institute for Policy Studies here.

Baltimore shows how historic segregation shapes biased policing today (WaPo, 8/10)

– The fast growing Montgomery County Public Schools system expects to see over 2,500 new students this coming school year, continuing 8 years of growth. (WaPo, 8/11)

Gates Foundation to ‘stay the course’ as it seeks to help shape state education policies (WaPo, 8/11)

ARTS EDUCATION | Grading Creativity: Can a standardized exam save arts education? (Atlantic, 8/10)

JUSTICE | The Elusiveness of an Official ID After Prison (Atlantic, 8/11)

HOUSING | Over on the HAND blog, Lisa Sturtevant explains the strategies available for jurisdictions to preserve existing affordable housing, a critical need in our region. (HAND, 8/5)

PHILANTHROPY | Community Foundations Pursue Impact Investments to Build Local Economies (Chronicle, 8/10)

Grants Coordinator | City of Takoma Park – NEW!
Development Associate | Washington Area Women’s Foundation – NEW!
Program Assistant | The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
Philanthropic Services Associate | Community Foundation for the National Capital Region

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 – September 2016
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

Ever wonder what an afternoon in the life of a squirrel is like? Wonder no longer.

The (Almost) Daily will be back on Tuesday!

– Rebekah

August 10, 2016 / Rebekah Seder, Editor

Facing eviction in a gentrifying neighborhood

– At a massive apartment complex that is up for redevelopment in a changing DC neighborhood, low-income tenants are facing eviction proceedings over such infractions as owing $25 in outstanding rent and walking dogs without leashes. In perhaps the most egregious case, the property owner moved to evict a woman whose teenage son used a gun to commit suicide in her apartment (WaPo, 8/9):

District housing lawyers…see eviction lawsuits over small lease violations as one in an arsenal of quiet but aggressive pressure tactics landlords use to clear buildings before redevelopment; another is allowing units to deteriorate so people want to move out on their own.

Lawsuits alleging extremely small debts in particular illuminate what they call a little-known but reoccurring phenomenon in gentrifying Washington. […]

Eviction lawsuits at Brookland Manor rarely led to actual evictions…But in a digital age when court information is easy to access and cheap to acquire, lawsuits over small money can cause big problems, even when tenants aren’t forcibly removed. This is especially true in quickly developing areas such as the District, where the competition for affordable housing has already pushed 1,500 families into homelessness.

Related: The experiences related in this article reflect how many systems and institutions in American society perpetuate racial inequities, which john powell explained in his talk on structural racism earlier this year as part of WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table series.

DC’s affordable housing fund isn’t doing enough for low-income residents, an audit says (GGW, 8/9)

HOMELESSNESS | Amanda Andere of Funders Together to End Homelessness calls for more public-private partnerships to advance solutions to homelessness across the country. (HuffPo, 8/9)

JUSTICE/RACE | The Justice Department has released a scathing report on racial discrimination and the use of excessive force within the Baltimore police department. (WaPo, 8/9)

FOOD | A local film executive produced by Prince Charitable Trusts and the Center for Environmental Filmmaking called “The Culture of Collards” is up for an award for best food video from Saveur Blog. Click here to watch the film and, if you like it, vote for it to win.

Related: The film stars someone who should be familiar to the WRAG community: Michael Twitty, who spoke as part of WRAG’s 2014 Brightest Minds series about culinary justice and building a more inclusive food movement. (Daily, April 2014)

PHILANTHROPY | Giving Circles’ Unique Role in Philanthropy to Marginalized Communities (NPQ, 8/9)

REGION | A study finds what we probably all already knew – this region is not the place to live if you’re looking for the most bang for your 100 bucks. (DCist, 8/9)

Apparently, the Olympics used to be much nerdier.

– Rebekah

August 8, 2016 / Rebekah Seder, Editor

Some DCPS students back to school today in extended school year experiment

– It’s back to school today for students at 11 DC public schools that are part of a program that extends the school year by 20 days (WAMU, 8/8):

The hope is that by giving low-income students in struggling schools more time in the classroom, they’ll be able to make — and retain — academic gains more quickly. […]

Of the 11 schools extending their school year, nine are in wards 7 and 8, the city’s poorest. Under the new calendar, students will have shorter breaks interspersed throughout the year — but no break, not even summer, will be more than two weeks long. School will end on July 13 next year, and start right back up two weeks later.”

D.C. mayor announces search committee to help select new schools chancellor (WaPo, 8/5) Among the committee members are WRAG members Nicky Goren (President & CEO of the Meyer Foundation and WRAG board member) and Ed Fisher (Director of Community Affairs at CareFirst).

WORKFORCE | A bill has been introduced in the Montgomery County Council that would allow workers to use sick leave to care for a new baby. (Bethesda Beat, 8/4)

ARTS/COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT | This past weekend, artists painted murals along a boarded up shopping mall slated for redevelopment along Rhode Island Ave in DC. Though the mall will be torn down later this year, the artists saw this as an opportunity to celebrate the heritage of a community undergoing rapid changes. (WaPo, 8/8)

Black Lives Matter Groups Push Grant Makers to Step Outside Their Comfort Zones (Chronicle, 8/4)

– The Foundation Center has launched a collection of literature and research on grantmaking intermediaries. (FC, 7/13) The Intermediaries Knowledge Center can be found here.

TRANSIT | In case you missed it, federal funding for the Purple Line has been held up indefinitely by a court decision last week. (WaPo, 8/4)

In honor of International Cat Day, a celebration of the superior pet.

– Rebekah

P.S. The (Almost) Daily will be back on Wednesday.

August 5, 2016 / Rebekah Seder, Editor

D.C. Jail and the challenge of criminal justice reform in the District

– Prisoner rights advocates have long called for an overhaul of the D.C. Jail due to its terrible living conditions. Replacing the facility has proven a big challenge for the District, thanks in part to city’s complicated relationship with the federal government. (CP, 8/5)

A jaw-dropping June report from the Massachusetts-based Prison Policy Initiative identifies the District as the world’s top jailer, exceeding per-capita rates for all U.S. states and foreign countries. “The capital of the ‘free world’ has a higher incarceration rate than any U.S. state and any nation on the planet,” the report reads.

While the District has approved funding for a new jail, it has yet to produce any concrete plan. The inaction has forced local criminal justice experts to examine the broader context. In a network containing few inmate reentry programs, sparse mental health resources, and outdated drug sentencing rules, the D.C. Jail’s demise seems to represent a more complex tangle within the country’s most unique—and most complex—criminal justice system.

Body Camera Program For D.C. Police Gets Mixed Marks From Civil Rights Groups (WAMU, 8/3)

RACIAL EQUITY | According to an Urban Institute analysis of the absurdly popularly game, Pokemon Go’s Pokestops [Ed. note: whatever those are] are disproportionately concentrated in majority white neighborhoods. (CP, 8/2)

HEALTH | The recent community health needs assessment produced by a consortium of area hospitals and nonprofits identified mental and behavioral health services as being a critical need in D.C. Place-based care and care coordination were also identified as major needs. (WAMU, 8/2)

CHILDREN & FAMILIES | A new report ranks D.C. among the top states nationally for policies that support families with newborns, thanks to its policies on paid sick leave and expanded unpaid family leave. Maryland and Virginia, meanwhile, ranked far lower. (WAMU, 8/3)

HOUSING | Can anyone afford to build affordable housing without public money? (GGW, 8/5)

EDUCATION | Proper Attire Required: Fairfax County Puts High Schoolers In Paid IT Internships (WAMU, 8/4)

ARTS | Remembering Zelda Fichandler, Matriarch Of American Regional Theater (WAMU, 8/4)

Program Assistant | The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
Administrative Assistant | Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
Philanthropic Services Associate | Community Foundation for the National Capital Region

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.

Looking to promote your nonprofit organization’s upcoming event? Email Rebekah Seder to include it in WRAG’s Community Calendar.

Do these photos make you want to adopt a goat or what?!

– Rebekah

August 2, 2016 / Rebekah Seder, Editor

How gentrification affects neighborhood segregation

RACE/HOUSING | Many recent studies have sought to explain the complicated relationship between gentrification, segregation, and displacement in U.S. cities. One researcher has found that, in some cases, white residents moving into predominantly black areas merely shifts the boundaries between predominantly white and black neighborhoods, rather than creating more diverse neighborhoods. (CityLab, 8/1)

Such findings about the nature of racial “boundary movements” could lead to some stark conclusions, especially in the context of the limited body of academic research into the processes behind neighborhood change.

“One of the arguments is that gentrification can’t be that bad if it serves to desegregate urban areas. And we have a lot of evidence that segregation is bad,” says [researcher Jonathan] Tannen… “But if gentrification continues to happen by boundary movements, then that means the block level is never going to desegregate.”

NONPROFITS | At last month’s Nonprofit Summer Learning Series event, grantmakers shared their perspectives on how grantees can foster relationships with their funders after receiving the check. (Daily, 8/2)

Related: Nonprofit staff/executives: Don’t miss the last event in this series on August 19! The topic is having tough conversations with funders. More info here.

CSR/COMMUNITY | Congratulations to Tim McClimon, head of the American Express Foundation and lead faculty member of the Institute for CSR, for being named to the Nonprofit Times’ 2016 Power & Influence Top 50 list!

HEALTH | In his latest column, the de Beaumont Foundation‘s Brian Castrucci points out the shortcomings of focusing only on health care, rather than health. (HuffPo, 8/1)

WORKFORCE/SOCIAL SECTOR | Here’s a great breakdown of the important new overtime law going in to effect in December, how nonprofits can be prepared, and how funders can support them. (NWB, 8/1)

PHILANTHROPY | Foundations Ask Public for Messages of Hope in Major Newspaper Buy (Chronicle, 7/31) Check out #ReasonsForHope on Twitter.

LOCAL | Major flooding destroyed much of downtown Ellicott City, MD, this weekend. Here’s a round up of ways you can help. (WBJ, 8/1)

Tired of heat and humidity? Then plug in your headphones and enjoy this quasi-virtual reality visit to Rocky Mountain National Park. It helps, a little.

WRAG’s staff is participating in a professional development opportunity over the next two days, so the (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Friday.

– Rebekah

August 2, 2016 / Rebekah Seder, Editor

Grantmakers share how nonprofits can deepen relationships beyond dollars

By Hudson Kaplan-Allen
WRAG’s 2016 Summer Intern

The second in WRAG’s Nonprofit Summer Learning Series, “Navigating the Grants Process: From Initial Contact to Long-Term Partnership,” focused on how nonprofit organizations can build and maintain strong and positive relationships with their funders after receiving a grant. The session was led by the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s (CFNV) president, Eileen Ellsworth, and featured a panel of experienced grantmaking professionals from across the Greater Washington region.

Ellsworth started the discussion by asking one of CFNV’s grantees to speak about her organization’s experience throughout the grant process. Jessica Fuchs from Serving Together shared her nonprofit’s relationship over the years with CFNV and made the point that, while the funding has been extremely helpful, “it’s really about the connections the [Community Foundation] has helped make.” She emphasized that the support and partnership CFNV has provided has helped validate and promote Serving Together’s work to other funders, individual donors, and the general public, and has helped expand the organization’s reach as a nonprofit organization.

The panelists — Timothy McCue of the Potomac Health Foundation, Danielle Reyes of the Crimsonbridge Foundation, and Naomi Smouha of Capital One — shared insights into the grantmaking process and gave examples of strong nonprofit relationships they have formed in their time as grantmakers. All of the panelists agreed that they find it important both to compare notes and best practices with their grantmaker peers and network within the nonprofit world to find the best partners.

Smouha compared the process to dating, pointing out that it’s smart to go on a few dates and get an idea of who she is working with before she “brings you home to mom.” Every quarter, Capital One hosts one-hour information sessions to allow potential grantees to get an idea of the partnerships they are looking for. They want to make sure they are being completely transparent every step of the way.

Reyes pointed out the importance of nonprofit organizations using Twitter to form connections with funders. At Crimonsonbridge, one of the ways they look to see who wants to partner with them is by checking their Twitter feed and followers. She uses the social media platform to research whose work best fits the foundation’s mission. “We don’t just follow back anyone,” she said.

All of the funders drove home the importance of developing and maintaining an honest and open relationship. “Don’t wait to tell your funder that something is going awry with one of your projects,” said McCue. “Be forthcoming with them.” On top of that, nonprofits are often tempted to follow the money. Instead, McCue said, organizations should be sure to stick with their missions. All three panelists said they use interim or progress reports to check-in with their grantees and make sure they are on track with their projects. If a nonprofit hits a roadblock and decides to change their approach after receiving a grant, they should be open with their funder about the changes. If you go through a staff turnover at your organization, give your funder a heads up that you are going through a transition, said Reyes. “Nonprofits should look at their funders beyond just a dollar relationship,” she said. Explore the partnership by asking questions and being open to suggestions. The next in the Nonprofit Summer Series, “Having Tough Conversations with Your Funder,” on August 19, will address the ways that some of these more difficult conversations between grantmakers and grantees can be resolved and can be used to deepen the relationship.

August 1, 2016 / Rebekah Seder, Editor

Disparities in hospital access across DC

HEALTH | The stark differences in health outcomes and life expectancy based on income, race, and geography across the District are reflected in varying levels of access to hospital care, with hospitals that primarily serve low-income residents facing business challenges. (Atlantic, 7/29)

Under the conditions of the Affordable Care Act, nonprofit hospitals that are tax-exempt and organized for charity are required to conduct a community-needs assessment at least once every three years… This year’s findings weren’t unlike those in the previous assessment. Residents of D.C.’s low-income communities are in need of four major things, the report suggests: mental-health resources, better coordination between various health services and care providers, more convenient and culturally attuned care, and greater health literacy.

Meanwhile, many facilities whose mission is to serve these communities find it hard to remain profitable enough to stay open and keep up with the latest technologies and treatments. Just as the demographic and economic landscape of D.C. has shifted over time, so too has the city’s healthcare industry. “When you’re in an urban area there’s a lot of competition,” Michael Masch, the CFO of Howard University—which owns and operates Howard Hospital—told me.

The full community health needs assessment conducted by a coalition of health care providers can be found here.

Related Events:  For funders interested in the social, economic, and other factors that contribute to wellness, consider participating in WRAG’s Healthy Communities Working Group’s annual retreat on August 29. And for all those interested in better understanding the root causes of health disparities in our region, register to attend the final Brightest Minds event of 2016 on October 21, featuring VCU’s Dr. Steven Woolf. Details here.

YOUTH/COMMUNITY | In light of Latino communities increasingly moving to the suburbs, the Inter-American Development Bank has shifted its philanthropic focus to include Maryland and Virginia, and has consolidated its giving to fewer, larger grants for organizations that serve Latino and Caribbean communities. (WAMU, 7/29)

– At their annual conference last month, the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers announced a plan to expand their membership umbrella to include all philanthropy-serving organizations. WRAG’s Tamara Copeland explains why that’s a really big deal for the country’s philanthropic sector. (Daily, 8/1)

– CharityWorks, a longstanding fund at the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, has announced that it is winding down. (WBJ, 8/1)

JUSTICE | Are The Hot Temperatures In D.C.’s Jail Violating Inmates’ Rights? (WAMU, 7/29)

JOBS/IMMIGRATION | Md. mistake could cost some immigrants their commercial driver’s licenses (WaPo, 7/31)

NONPROFITS/RACIAL EQUITY | Opinion: How Nonprofit Workers and Leaders Can Make a Difference as Racial Tensions Flare (Chronicle, 8/1)

One serious gravity fan became the first, and hopefully last, person to free fall 25,000 feet into a giant net this weekend.

– Rebekah


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