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December 7, 2018 / Kendra Allen, Editor

How a refundable EITC credit will help Virginia families

POVERTY | The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis discusses why making the EITC credit refundable will make it stronger and benefit all families, including working families with low and moderate incomes, and especially families of color. (TCI Blog, 11/28)

The positive impacts of the EITC are well documented. State EITCs have been shown to reduce poverty in communities of color. Research finds that the average state EITC benefit for non-white- or Hispanic-headed households was $120 greater than for non-Hispanic white households, and state EITCs reduce poverty for a larger share (relative to their share of the population) of the non-white and Hispanic population.

State EITCs also are associated with educational benefits for children of color. Studies show that young children in low-income households who get the state or federal EITC tend to see increased educational achievement and attainment.

RACIAL EQUITY | A new Chronicle of Philanthropy article discusses how nonprofit organizations can ensure that their equity and diversity efforts are successful. (Chronicle, 12/5 – Subscription needed)

Related: The article cites the research initiative Georgetown University undertook to understand how philanthropic and nonprofit institutions are intentionally promoting racial equity and justice in the Greater Washington region. The researchers studied WRAG’s efforts and produced the following reports:

Role of Philanthropy in Advancing Racial Equity: Impact Assessment of Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers’ Putting Racism on the Table Learning Series 

Role of Philanthropy in Advancing Racial Equity: Case Study of the Horning Family Fund

Advancing Racial Equity Within Nonprofit Organizations

HEALTHCARE | For nonbinary patients, seeking health care can be a painful task (NBC, 12/9)

ARTS & HUMANITIES | The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will display the museum’s first gallery focused on the US Latinx experience. (WaPo, 12/6)

TRANSIT | Are women paying more for transit by taking an Uber or Lyft because they feel unsafe on Metro? (WaPo, 12/6)

TECHNOLOGY | Native Americans On Tribal Land Are ‘The Least Connected’ To High-Speed Internet (NPR, 12/6)

Social Sector Job Openings 

Administrative Associate | United Philanthropy Forum– New!
Director of Administration | Public Welfare Foundation
Process Systems Expert | Client of SHG Advisors
Programs Manager | DC127
Development Manager | DC127
Director of Development (East Coast) | Rocketship Public Schools
Director of Development | ECHO
Executive Director | The Volgenau Foundation
Gifts and Grants Administrator | Community Foundation for Northern Virginia
Manager of Communications & Events | The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia
Director of “Count the Region” | The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia
President | Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
Receptionist/Administrative Assistant | Exponent Philanthropy
OST Community Impact Program Manager | United Way of the National Capital Area
Development Coordinator | National Building Museum
Grants Program Manager | Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County
Special Grants Coordinator/Program Analyst I | Legal Services Corporation
Marketing/Membership Demand Generation Specialist/Digital Marketer | BoardSource
Office Assistant & Member Relations | BoardSource
Program Associate for Strategy, Equity, and Research | Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer 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.

The Daily will be back on Wednesday!

Can you identify these lies about your waste?

– Kendra

December 6, 2018 / Kendra Allen, Editor

Bill to protect tenants in evictions faces criticism from landlords

HOUSING | Maryland Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins will introduce a bill to restrict evictions to certain types of tenant violations, including breach of a lease and disorderly conduct. The bill will also guarantee at least a 60-day notice of eviction. Landlords in the state say the bill will make it harder to evict tenants. (Bethesda Beat, 12/5)

State legislation that would require Montgomery County landlords to provide “just cause,” for issuing evictions has drawn ire from apartment managers and apartment associations, who fear the bill would incumber the process of evicting “problem tenants.”

During the hearing [for the bill], both proponents and opponents testified on the bill, with a dozen people voicing opposition. Ron Wineholt, the vice president of government affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington, said that in his observation, “99 percent of tenants” pay their rent on time and abide by the terms of the lease. With the 60-day required notice, he worries that Wilkins’ bill could prolong an already lengthy process of evicting “problem tenants,” interfering with the quiet enjoyment of the property by other tenants.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE | A warden from a Maryland Correctional Institution for Women is changing the food offered to make it healthier. (WaPo, 12/5)

IMMIGRATION | Proposed public charge rule could erode health insurance coverage gains among citizen children with non-citizen parents (Urban Institute, 12/4)

– How funders can think more about how they wield their power with grantees. (CEP, 11/29)

– Opinion: Facebook’s Bare-Knuckle Tactics Are Just One Sign of a Media Culture That Philanthropy Can Help Fix (Chronicle, 12/5)

– Opinion: Why there should be more outrage about student debt in the fight against poverty. (Truthout, 12/4)

Eliminating Book Deserts: How A D.C. Community Bookstore Is Breaking Down Barriers To Reading (WAMU, 12/6)

REMINDER | Daily WRAG readers, we want your opinion! In order to improve your reading experience, we ask that you complete this short survey by Wednesday, December 19 to let us know what you like and what could be better on the blog.

Some puns for your Thursday!

– Kendra

December 5, 2018 / Kendra Allen, Editor

How important healthcare access is to personal financial health

– A new paper analyzing the link between personal financial security and access to health insurance found that the Affordable Care Act has helped boost the financial health of low-income citizens. (Citylab, 12/4)

Health insurance helps people avoid huge out-of-pocket medical costs. And preventative care helps people avoid lost wages from missing work, a big part of the benefit for low-income households. But health insurance also helps prevent the cascade of financial damage that unpaid medical bills can inflict, by preserving credit scores.

School-Based Counselors Help Kids Cope With Fallout From Drug Addiction (NPR, 12/5)

RACIAL EQUITY | Tamara Lucas Copeland, WRAG’s president, shares with a new audience, Washington Monthly readers, the origins of the Putting Racism on the Table Series and its impact on philanthropy. Read it here. (Daily, 12/5)

MARYLAND | Nancy Navarro, who was recently elected for a second term as president of Montgomery County Council, outlines her priorities for the county. (WaPo, 12/4)

– The Heising-Simons Foundation, the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, and Foundation Center are launching an effort to map the last ten years of philanthropic giving in the field of Early Childhood Care and Education. (PND Blog, 12/4)

Report: 60 percent of graduates sampled in Md. school system excessively absent (WaPo, 12/4)

PUBLIC SAFETY | How the DC Department of Behavioral Health’s outreach team is working to address the K2 epidemic the city is experiencing. (WAMU, 12/4)

BUDGET | In Battle Over The Funds From Online Sales Taxes, Cutting Commercial Property Taxes Wins Out Over Homeless Services (DCist, 12/4)

OPINION | Daily readers, we want your opinion! In order to improve your reading experience, we would like for you to fill out this short survey by Wednesday, December 19 to let us know what you’ve liked, didn’t like, and what could be better on the blog.

How many days old are you?

– Kendra

December 5, 2018 / WRAG

Putting Racism on the Table

Tamara Copeland’s article is the latest in Successes of Philanthropy, a sponsored project of the Washington Monthly magazine.  To learn more about the series, please contact Alice J. Gallin-Dwyer at

By Tamara Lucas Copeland
WRAG President

It started soon after the death of Freddie Gray.

Not the civil unrest that ensued in neighborhoods in Baltimore, Maryland, but the elevated racial consciousness that emerged within the philanthropic community in Washington, DC.

Philanthropic leaders here wondered if they should support neighboring Baltimore or work to lessen the likelihood of such an event occurring in their own community. It was 2015. Cell phone videos of other police-involved incidents across the country were the backdrop. Everyone knew that it wasn’t just Freddie Gray, but also Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, and other African American victims. As foundation leaders began to dissect the situation in Baltimore within the context of these other deaths, topics of race, racism, and bias emerged side-by-side with issues of poor housing, poor schools, and poor health care.

What was new to the conversation, surprisingly, was the overlay of race. This was a significantly different conversation for the members of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers(WRAG), and a bit of a treacherous one. Those who attended the first meeting to discuss a response and possible next steps were comfortable talking about affordable housing, teacher preparation, and gang violence. They had discussed these topics and many others innumerable times, but race itself had been taboo. Now, these philanthropists—black and white, mostly women—were acknowledging that race and racism may have been a major factor in the death of Freddie Gray and the unrest that followed in his city.

The conversation stopped when one participant acknowledged a true lack of knowledge, not just about how racism and bias may have played a part in these events, but about racism and bias—period. The group members didn’t know much about what they were trying to discuss. They had a sense of it, but at no time in their professional lives or academic training had they sought to learn deeply or been taught about race and racism. A quote from John Gardner, the founder of Common Cause and the Independent Sector, was mentioned casually by one participant. It resonated and became the framing for everything that followed:

“The first step in leadership is not action, it’s understanding.”

Seeking Understanding Together

From that comment was born a year-long initiative boldly labeled “Putting Racism on the Table.” Organized and hosted by WRAG, it started as a series of six learning opportunities for philanthropic CEOs and trustees, once a month, for six months. The first three sessions focused on topics: structural racism, white privilege, and implicit bias. The next meeting explored a case study to show how those factors presented in one system (mass incarceration), followed by a review of the racial mosaic of America. The series ended with a session on the role of philanthropy in addressing racism and racial inequity. Each three-hour session began with a lecture by a nationally-known expert on the topic, followed by a conversation, all facilitated by the same person chosen for her adeptness at leading deep conversations on race.

After the learning series, there were five more training sessions: on grantmaking with a racial equity lens, on communicating about race; and a concluding session asking what this philanthropic community would do because of what they had learned over an exceptionally focused year. Participants called the initiative “transformational,” “thought-provoking,” and “eye-opening.”

Exactly what had been revealed? What in the thinking of these philanthropists, individuals committed to addressing the needs of their community, had been transformed? And, how had their approach to grantmaking been altered by their learning experience?

I offer two examples. Together, we learned that mass incarceration is the result of structural racism, white privilege and implicit bias in the criminal justice system. We started with a historical perspective, considering the consequences of slavery, followed by a host of racialized laws and practices that criminalized everyday behaviors and prevented African Americans from obtaining the skills and opportunities to rise, continuing their subservience to the prevailing white, economic system. Combine that historical reality with an understanding that some crimes have been penalized differently (possession of cocaine vs. crack is a classic example), and that prisons have developed into economic engines for small, rural communities, and you may begin to see mass incarceration differently. With this insight, what explains the disproportionate number of African Americans in the U.S. criminal justice system? Are they inherently more criminal or are they victims of a system that has criminalized them?
Or, consider the education system.

We explored how starting as early as preschool, black children, particularly boys, are disciplined for “acting out.” At the same time, black girls are disciplined for being “disrespectful” and perceived as “less innocent” than their white counterparts. Even at this young age, black children are suspended disproportionately from school. Is bias at play? Are teachers perceiving, perhaps unconsciously, normal behavior on the part of black children as being negative, even violent? Studies suggest that this is the case. Unless you have been made aware of this possibility, your focus as a funder remains on “fixing” these boys and girls when the true need is to “fix” the biases and prejudices held by teachers and school administrators.

Making Equity a Grantmaking Priority

Without the formal, structured learning series offered by “Putting Racism on the Table,” the local philanthropic community would not have looked deeply into the historical, psychological, and policy realities that contribute to the social ills they are trying to address. Many participants acknowledged that without this deep dive into structural racism and implicit bias, they would have continued to focus on symptoms without understanding causality. Learning together as a philanthropic community gave the experience a credibility and offered participants a critical support network.

Over the past two years, funders have continued to develop a deeper appreciation for the pervasiveness and impact of racial bias. In WRAG’s annual check-in with members, one year after the series, roughly a third reported that they were applying a racial equity lens to their grantmaking, and thirty percent were seeking additional learning and training opportunities for their staff and leadership around racial equity. Two years after the program, the progress continues: More than half of the funders are talking with their grantees about racial equity. Many more are seeking additional learning opportunities or changing their grantmaking priorities and practices—including, for example, setting aside dedicated funding to support this portfolio—based on a greater understanding of how they can work for racial equity. The importance of the collective learning experience remains, as a third of the WRAG membership are participating in learning and action via WRAG’s Racial Equity Working Group.

This progress now extends beyond the local philanthropy community. Leadership Greater Washington (LGW), a well-respected association of high-level, cross-sector leaders in the region, reached out to WRAG to broaden their understanding of this issue. Together, in 2018, WRAG and LGW hosted another six-month learning initiative. This time called “Expanding the Table for Racial Equity,” it culminated in September in a trip to Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama, locales at the core of the civil rights movement. This experience strengthened participants’ understanding of the history of racial struggles and their connection to current racial reality in our country.

Today, in the Greater Washington region, there is a growing group of philanthropists that have been joined by elected officials, nonprofit, and business leaders in recognizing the depth, breadth, and impact of racism. They acknowledge the legacy of slavery, of Jim Crow policies, of the unfulfilled promise of the 1954 Supreme Court decision that separate was indeed not equal. They know that as a society, we have not legislated or mandated our way to equity, nor taken the time to understand how we got here. Until that occurs the path to equity remains unclear. But, they have taken important first steps. By putting racism on the table, they have acknowledged a wound and a reality. Now, they are working toward necessary policy change and racial healing.

December 3, 2018 / Kendra Allen, Editor

Here’s the real impact of negative perceptions of Black residents

– A new study from the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution found that the value of assets with a high concentration of Black people such as houses, schools and others are linked to perceptions of Black people. The research shows that homes in neighborhoods where the population is at least 50% Black are valued at half the price as homes in neighborhoods with no Black residents. (Next City, 11/29)

According to the authors’ analysis, differences in home and neighborhood quality do not fully explain the lower value of homes in black neighborhoods. Homes in majority-black neighborhoods are worth $48,000 less than homes of similar quality in neighborhoods with similar amenities but few or no black residents, the authors found.

In total, the authors tabulated that majority-black neighborhoods contain 3.2 million owner-occupied homes worth an estimated $609 billion — but those homes would collectively be worth $156 billion more if not for the lower value that comes with the perceptions associated with being in a majority-black neighborhood.

– Jacqueline Lassey, WRAG Journalism Fellow and a student at DC’s Richard Wright Public Charter School, writes about her changing DC neighborhood and its impact on her family. (Daily, 12/3)

HOMELESSNESS | Amanda Misiko Andere, CEO of Funders Together to End Homelessness, discusses why racial equity must be included in the movement to end homelessness. (CHF Blog, 11/29)

– The District of Columbia Hospital Association has announced that Providence Hospital will keep its emergency room open until April 2019. (WAMU, 11/30)

Medicare To Cut Payments To Nursing Homes Whose Patients End Up Back In The Hospital (NPR, 12/1)

EDUCATION | The Arlington Public School system will redraw school boundaries this upcoming school year and the next year after more schools are built to ease overcrowding. (WAMU, 12/3)

TRANSIT | Metro was willing to work with Jason Kessler to provide special treatment for ‘Unite the Right’ rallygoers, emails show (WaPo, 11/29)

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


This image was suggested by Daily WRAG reader Pat Mathews!

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

December 3, 2018 / WRAG

Gentrification Anxiety

We’re excited to introduce the second writer from our new WRAG Journalism Fellows program!

Jacqueline Lassey is an African-American student at Richard Wright Public Charter School in Washington, DC. She is an aspiring writer and athlete. As a member of the Library of Congress Teen Book Club, she recently had the opportunity to be published in the Library of Congress Magazine, page 16.

By Jacqueline Lassey

jackieA couple of years ago, my aunt was arrested for standing at a corner no more than fifty feet away from our house. She is well known and respected by longtime residents in our neighborhood and there were no previous legal actions or disputes against her. My aunt was there simply minding her business, not disrupting anyone. My new neighbors called the police because my aunt was “causing them anxiety.” I was too naive to understand what was really going on, I thought that it wasn’t anything serious. However I soon understood that my aunt was being antagonized for no reason. I know now that my aunt was being targeted because of her race.

I have lived in the Trinidad neighborhood of Washington DC for seventeen years. I have watched my neighborhood grow and develop. For the past two years I have seen my neighbors’ houses torn down and rebuilt from the ground up, and I have lost many of my closest friends because their parents sold their homes. They were dealing with rough patches in their finances and were swindled into selling for what they thought was the highest possible and best price for their houses; only to discover that with a little fixing, they could have made double what they sold their houses for.

When I think of gentrification, I think of it as the process of reconstructing urban neighborhoods so that more “prosperous” tenants can occupy the neighborhood. Since Caucasian people have moved into my neighborhood, I have seen the racial divide it has caused. They aren’t used to our environment and that causes many problems that affect us. My aunt was in her 50s at the time she was arrested but she was in no way dangerous to anyone. I came to understand this when my brother began to talk to my family about it. My brother is very open minded and he is not afraid to speak about what he sees. He talked to my family about injustice and how society is taking a turn for the worse. He talked about the changes our community was experiencing. Most importantly, he talked about how society’s stereotypes lead to racial bias. I’ve seen the racial division that gentrification brings.

Since then, I have noticed that many houses on my block are being redeveloped. The most notable occurrence of this was almost exactly one year ago. One of my friends, Fred, told me he was moving to Maryland. His house was redeveloped and is now worth $914,000.00 according to the Redfin listing. I have never heard of a house in my African-American neighborhood costing that much. This house could not be purchased by long-time residents living in my community. No one in my neighborhood has access to the jobs, or financial resources to purchase this house. Weeks later, the house had a buyer and I had a new neighbor. This new neighbor was white and male–and he doesn’t speak to us.

Realtors have been pursuing homeowners in my community and other urban communities all over the Washington, DC area. My mother receives weekly offers from real estate speculators (investors) to sell her house. Many of these solicitations offer immediate cash that can tempt the average homeowner to sell. As a result of these practices, many DC residents sell their homes for a much lower market value.

Gentrification causes a shortage of affordable housing in the District. As a result of these circumstances and tactics, I fear for my future as a DC resident. I am very concerned that one day I will not have the resources to live in the community that has raised me, or that my children will never experience the childhood that I experienced; a childhood that I love and cherish. This problem can be solved by an increased conversation in communities and the local government creating more affordable housing and better economic opportunities for all.