WORKFORCE | Although Mayor Muriel Bowser’s deadline to veto the paid family leave bill that DC Council passed in December is today, she has not signed the bill. Instead, she has sent a letter to the Council expressing her concerns about the burden on businesses. Without her veto, the bill will become a law and DC will have paid leave starting in 2020. (WAMU, 2/15)
Bowser faced three choices when she received the bill earlier this month: Sign it, return it to the Council unsigned, or veto it, which would have required nine votes on the Council to override her. By not signing the bill, she played a balancing act, expressing her concerns with the measure while not forcing legislators to revisit the issue. In December, the Council approved the bill on a 9-4 vote.
But in her letter she did offer the Council an olive branch of sorts, saying her administration would “look to our partners on the Council to provide ways to overcome the very significant deficiencies” with the bill. She also warned that the Council would have to “fund and refine the legislation before any significant outlays of resources can be made.”
– Nicky Goren, Meyer Foundation‘s President and CEO, shares her family history of immigration and reflects on the silver linings she’s seen as more people get involved in the fight for social justice. (Meyer Foundation Blog, 2/14)
– Yanique Redwood, Consumer Health Foundation‘s President and CEO, explains why CHF is closing its doors to stand in solidarity with immigrants on ‘A Day Without Immigrants’. (CHF Blog, 2/16)
– DC has added pathway coordinators to its high schools to help students at risk of dropping out succeed in school. (Atlantic, 2/14)
– A new legislative analysis found that universal pre-kindergarten would cost Montgomery County up to $128 million annually. (Bethesda Beat, 2/15)
– Alexandria is considering methods to stop its sewage from flowing into local waterways, including the Potomac River (GGW, 2/9)
INFRASTRUCTURE | Report tallies up in 1,200 deficient bridges across Md., Va., DC (WTOP, 2/15)
Bao Bao is leaving us!
EQUITY | CityHealth, a deBeaumont Foundation initiative that provides city leaders with policy solutions intended to help improve the lives of communities across the nation, has released its first assessment of 40 U.S. cities based on nine policies it believes impacts the health of cities. DC made the list and was awarded gold medals in several areas, including universal pre-kindergarten, healthy food procurement and complete streets. (CityHealth, 2/15)
With nine policies across 40 cities, CityHealth had a total of 360 possible policy medals to award. Cities earned a total of 181, with each city receiving at least one policy medal.
With 179 policy medals left unearned, a range of opportunities remain for cities to improve the well-being of their communities.
Within three years, CityHealth will update its assessment—and add new policies—to track cities’ progress, as well as publish special issue briefs in relevant topics.
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
– Laura Schmiegel, Senior Manager of Community Partnerships at Booz Allen Hamilton, reflects on her time in WRAG’s Institute for CSR, and the benefits of participating in the program regardless of your experience level. (Daily, 2/15)
Related: Registration for the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility is open. Reserve your seat before it’s full!
– A 2017 Outlook on Corporate Responsibility (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 1/19)
AGING | Today’s Research on Aging: How Neighborhoods Affect the Health and Well-Being of Older Americans (Population Reference Bureau, 2/15)
HOMELESSNESS | DC demolished a homeless encampment yesterday. The city cites rodent infestation and trash pile up as reasons for the action. (WaPo, 2/14)
IMPACT INVESTING | Impact Assets has released its 2016 Impact showcase which provides an overview of fund managers that deliver social and environmental impact as well as financial returns. WRAG has partnered with Enterprise Community Loan Fund, which was included in the list, for the Our Region, Your Investment initiative, an impact note focused on affordable housing in the region. (Impact Assets, 2/15)
IMMIGRATION | DC area restaurant owners are closing their doors in solidarity with their workers for ‘Day Without Immigrants’ on Thursday (WBJ, 2/15)
BUDGET | The DC Council is considering a bill that would allow the District to spend its budget surplus. (DCFPI, 2/13)
Making music from paper….
By: Laura Schmiegel
Senior Manager, Community Partnerships
Booz Allen Hamilton
Why did you choose to participate in the Institute for CSR and what year did you graduate?
I had 10 years of experience in nonprofits. I wanted to educate myself about some of the unique aspects of corporate relations from the private sector point-of-view.
What was your favorite part of the program?
The real-life examples of corporate strategy, combined with insight from the people who created them was an invaluable piece of the program.
How have you used the knowledge and/or connections you gained at the Institute to improve your work?
I have been asked to help shape a new corporate giving strategy for my firm, so almost everything in this course was instructive in some way.
What would you tell prospective participants about the program?
It is a great jumping off point to learn the basics of corporate responsibility. If you have previous experience in corporate relations, it is a great way to build on your skills to incorporate the latest in best practices from a larger CSR perspective.
Any tips for 2017 registrants on how to get the most out of their participation?
Take advantage of your classmates’ experiences. Everyone in the room has insight and perspective that enhances the class.
To learn what other Institute alumni are saying, click here.
The Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility offers CSR practitioners the opportunity to earn a Professional Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from Johns Hopkins in just six months. This non-credit professional certificate program is an initiative of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers and is offered in partnership with Advanced Academic Programs at Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center. Registration for 2017 is now open! Download an application and learn more about the 2017 faculty and curriculum here.
– Arlington County is committed to creating affordable housing. The County adopted an Affordable Housing Master Plan last year that includes a few goals, such as increasing the supply of affordable housing to 17.7% by 2040, ensuring housing for its aging population and people with disabilities and keeping housing close to public transit. Read about the County’s progress here. (GGW, 2/13)
Over the past year, Arlington approved 219 units guaranteed to stay affordable for the next 30 to 60 years. In most cases, the rent for these committed affordable units (CAFs) are affordable for families making less than 60% of the area median income. These new units bring the total number of CAFs in Arlington to 7,463.
The biggest source of these new affordable apartments is Gilliam Place, which will bring 173 affordable units to the intersection of Columbia Pike and South Lincoln Street. The project will also make good on Arlington’s commitment to building affordable housing near transit — Metro’s route 16 buses run up and down the road frequently– and amenities like employers and stores—the ground floor will provide almost 9,000 square feet for stores and community space.
– Leadership Greater Washington and WRAG hosted the sixth session of its Thought Leadership Series on housing affordability this week. This session explored the potential impact of the new administration on housing in the region. (Leadership Greater Washington, 2/13)
RACISM | Tamara Lucas Copeland, WRAG’s president, reflects on the bias she experienced as a juror and wonders if it’s possible for a poor, black person to get a fair trial in DC. (Daily, 2/14)
IMMIGRATION | Members of Maryland’s Latino, Black and Asian American Pacific Islander caucuses have come together to urge the state to pass a law that would limit its cooperation with deportation authorities. (WaPo, 2/14)
YOUTH | The Alexandria Boxing Club is a nonprofit that teaches youth how to fight in the ring and outside of it. (The Chronicle, 2/7 – Subscription needed)
HEALTH | Baker: ACA repeal threatens new Prince George’s hospital (WBJ, 2/13)
– Rage-Donation: an easier way to support the causes you care about if you have disposable income and limited time. (GQ, 1/31)
– Opinion: Losing the Johnson Amendment Would Destroy the Unique Political Role of Nonprofits (NPQ, 2/6)
Today is Valentine’s Day! Here’s a look at dating in the 1940s….
By Tamara Lucas Copeland
President, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
For two weeks, I served on a jury in the District of Columbia. I don’t know if our Putting Racism on the Table work over the last year made me more sensitive, but what I do know is that I responded to this case very differently than the three other times that I have served on a DC jury. Today I am more concerned than ever about the bias that I witnessed in DC Superior Court.
First, I noticed that the defendant, a 32-year-old black man, was definitely not being judged by a jury of his peers. There were three black people on the jury. There were four men. The rest of the demographics on age, education, and income are, I admit, assumptions. I would guess that not more than 3 or 4 jurors were in their thirties. From his job, I would guess that he did not have a college degree. Although not all jurors revealed their professions, some did, including a medical provider, a lawyer, a communications director for a government agency, a retired teacher, and a scientist. I would also guess that the average income of the juror pool was significantly above that of the defendant based on where people said that they lived in the city. This was a jury of the defendant’s peers only in that we were all DC residents.
Next, the charges. We weren’t allowed to bring information out after the trial; so, I hope I am remembering correctly. He was charged with possession of a firearm in the District of Columbia, possession of a firearm in the District of Columbia without a license, and possession of ammunition. I am not an apologist for crime, but these particular charges certainly appear to be excessive and redundant, intended simply, and profoundly, to ensure more jail time.
Lastly, and most importantly, I witnessed incredible bias in both the courtroom and in the jury room.
I found it very difficult to discern when the prosecuting attorney was seeking to impugn a witness or to express racial bias. For example, consider this exchange with a witness for the defense and ask yourself if poverty, not addiction, would have been assumed had the witness been white:
Prosecutor to a defense witness: Were you outside begging for money?
Defense witness: No, I was asking for change.
Prosecutor: To buy drugs and alcohol?
Defense witness: No, to buy food.
I also witnessed a lack of cultural understanding to have a deleterious impact on the jury’s deliberations. An exchange between a clerk and the defendant was characterized by the white members of the jury as threatening and inflammatory. Another black juror and I characterized this verbal exchange as playing the dozens (google it). And, I witnessed outright bias in the jury room when a juror called a witness who had testified that she did not know the defendant a liar because “everyone in that neighborhood [the neighborhood of the crime and home to the defendant] knows everybody else.”
All of these factors lead me to wonder if a poor, black person can get a fair trial in the District of Columbia.
As we continue our work of putting racism on the table, I am now even more acutely aware of a need for reform and education in the criminal justice system. For centuries the lack of attention to race and racism has landed us in today’s untenable situation, in which African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times that of whites. Shining a light on the ways that racism and bias infiltrate the courtroom and jury room is a start. We must change these institutions of society that disadvantage and advantage based on race.
– ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities and the Hill-Snowdon Foundation have partnered to release The Case for Funding Black-Led Social Change, a call to action to increase support to Black-led social change organizations. The case found that less than 2 percent of funding by the nation’s largest foundations is specifically targeted to the black community. (ABFE, 2/9)
It is important for philanthropy to invest in strengthening the infrastructure for Black-led social change to reverse its pattern of underinvestment, so that the Black community can thrive and the broader progressive community can achieve its most ambitious goals.
We define Black-led social change organizations as those with predominantly Black boards, executive leadership, staff leadership and constituents. The primary purpose of these groups is to build political, economic and social power in order to secure freedom and equity for the Black community.
– Yanique Redwood, Consumer Health Foundation‘s President and CEO (and vice chair of WRAG’s board), advises foundations and nonprofits that are considering racial equity work on what has helped CHF and invites other experienced persons to share their knowledge. (CHF Blog, 2/9)
Related: For those looking for other resources to figure out where to start, check out WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table materials here.
WORKFORCE | As the time draws closer for DC’s mayor Muriel Bowser to sign the recently passed paid family leave bill, the DC Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders urge her to veto the bill. (WBJ, 2/10)
HEALTH | The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will begin its first session today to potentially stop DC’s “Death with Dignity” bill from becoming law. (WAMU, 2/13)
FOOD | Opinion: Cheap Eats, Cheap Labor: The Hidden Human Costs Of Those Lists (NPR, 2/12)
CHILDREN & FAMILIES
– A five part series explores the struggle for affordable and convenient childcare in our region (WTOP, 2/13)
– A Virginia bill requiring fingerprint background checks for all licensed childcare providers has opponents citing government overreach. (Richmond Times, 2/12)
TRANSGENDER RIGHTS | Justice Department signals it may pull support for trans student protections (MetroWeekly, 2/11)
EVENT | Public Welfare Foundation is hosting a panel, “Forging a Path Forward in a Post-Election Nation: A Conversation with Leading Progressive Activists,” on Monday, February 27 from 12-2pm. Register here
DC’s black Broadway…..
YOUTH/CRIMINAL JUSTICE | Yesterday, the DC Council began hearing testimony on their plan to revise the District’s Youth Rehabilitation Act, a policy that allows courts to show leniency when sentencing persons under the age of 22. A Washington Post series found that judges may have used the act to give violent offenders shorter prison sentences. (WaPo, 2/9)
[Councilmember Charles] Allen began the hearing saying that he intended to find “what’s working, what’s not working and to chart a course” for improvement.
Five hours into the hearing — filled with emotional testimony from convicts who said they had benefited from having their records sealed — Allen made clear that he has no intention of repealing the Youth Act.
He said he would like to restore the rehabilitation services promised but not delivered under the law and to curb judges who exploit its provisions to hand out overly lenient sentences.
REGION | The Washington Business Journal has released its honorees for its 10th Annual Minority Business Leader Awards. We’re proud to announce that WRAG’s own president Tamara Lucas Copeland has been selected as an awardee! Read more about the award here. (WBJ, 2/10)
AFFORDABLE HOUSING/HOMELESSNESS | A local radio show held a conversation with Ward 8 residents on the District’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis. Listen here (WAMU, 2/9)
– Undocumented immigrants in the DC metropolitan region worry about their future and make plans under threat of possible deportation (WaPo, 2/8)
– How Immigrants Changed the Geography of Innovation (Citylab, 2/9)
HEALTH | What repeal? D.C.’s health exchange plows forward with plans for 2018 (WBJ, 2/9)
MENTAL HEALTH | Opinion: One fact that is ignored when we discuss gun violence and mental illness (NPQ, 2/9)
Social Sector Job Openings
Donor Services Associate, District of Columbia | The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region– New!
PATH Resource Center Manager | Center for Nonprofit Excellence
Program Officer | Communities for Just Schools Fund
Program Assistant | Communities for Just Schools Fund
Grants Program Director | DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
Senior Accountant | Arabella Advisors
Nonprofit Financial Planning & Analysis Manager | Arabella Advisors
Managing Director for Equity and Health | Richmond Memorial Health Foundation (RMHF)
Nonprofit Project Accountant | Arabella Advisors
Human Resources Manager | Arabella Advisors
Executive Assistant to the President (P/T) | ABFE – A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities
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
So cell phones used to require car batteries?