Creating more inclusive communities

ECONOMY/EQUITY
A new study released by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program recommends ways in which metro regions can alter their economic development thinking toward building more inclusive environments that do not exclude poorer residents. (City Lab, 2/29)

While 95 percent of the largest metros in the U.S. have seen aggregate job growth since 2009, according to the report, over 40 percent of all metros have lost jobs in their advanced industries. More troubling, the growth of low-wage occupations has surpassed the growth of middle-skill and higher-wage jobs in the U.S. This has coincided with a troubling increase in concentrated poverty in both cities and suburbs.

– DC Fiscal Policy Institute has released a report on the inequity and poverty that have deepened in the District in the years since the Great Recession. (DCFPI, 2/26)

EDUCATION
– WRAG launched the 2016 Public Education Speaker Series last week with Dr. Matthew Biel, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Georgetown University Medical Center, where he spoke on the impact of toxic stress on children’s development. You can read more about his compelling comments here. (Daily 2/29)

– The Washington Area Women’s Foundation (WAWF) recently announced their leadership in a new regional effort to strengthen the early care and education professional workforce, known as the Washington Region Early Care & Education Workforce Network. Read WAWF president and CEO Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat’s statement on the new effort.

The Consequences of Poor Science Education in Kindergarten (Atlantic, 2/27)

ARTS
– In their newly published annual trend report, the Center for the Future of Museums finds that one major barrier for people in engaging in the cultural sector comes down to a simple lack of leisure time. (WaPo, 2/26)

When People of Color Are Discouraged From Going Into the Arts (Atlantic, 2/28)

HEALTH | A series of recent polls administered in key states take a look at Americans’ views and concerns two years into the Affordable Care Act. (NPR, 2/29)


Neil DeGrasse Tyson breaks down Leap Day once and for all. 

– Ciara

Supreme Court votes to uphold health insurance subsidies

HEALTH
The Supreme Court has voted to uphold nationwide subsidies as part of the Affordable Care Act, protecting health insurance coverage for millions of Americans. The Court had been ruling over a lawsuit against the Act that questioned the legality of nationwide subsidies (WaPo, 6/25):

The court was interpreting a passage in the law that said the tax credits are authorized for those who buy health insurance on marketplaces that are “established by the state.”

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote.

[…]

There are about 10.2 million people who had signed up and paid their premiums as of March, and 6.4 million were receiving subsidies in the 34 states that had not set up their own health insurance marketplaces.

Those consumers stood to lose their subsidies, worth about $1.7 billion a month.

Customers in the 16 states, including Maryland, and the District of Columbia that set up their own insurance exchanges were not at risk.

In Virginia, where subsidies were at risk, Governor Terry McAuliffe and other leaders in the state reacted to the news here. (Richmond Times, 6/25)

– The Kresge Foundation has released a new report, Reconnecting Health and Housing: Philanthropy’s New Opportunity, suggesting that philanthropy rethink approaches to low-income housing to re-establish the link between housing and community health for low-income, urban populations. (Kresge Foundation, 6/18)

EQUITY/DISTRICT | Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer reveals that income disparity in the District is bigger than in any state in the country. (WaPo, 6/24)

HOUSING | How Housing Policy is Failing America’s Poor (City Lab, 6/24)

TRANSPORTATION | Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is expected to announce a decision on the Purple Line light-rail later today.

ENVIRONMENT | By now, we all know how important it is to recycle. So why is it so hard to do it the right way? (City Lab, 6/24)


Here’s a double-dose of adorable for the day.

– Ciara

Varied quality for D.C. preschool programs

EDUCATION/DISTRICT 
A new report released by the Office of the State Superintendent for Education finds a great deal of variation in the quality of preschool programs across the District. Looking at data from the 2013-2014 school year, preschool programs in the city did well overall in terms of promoting emotional and social development, but not so well at providing instructional support. (WaPo, 5/18)

On a scale of 1 to 7, [researchers] have found that “threshold” scores of five or more in emotional support and classroom organization, and scores of three or more in instructional support, are associated with better outcomes for children.

Average scores across D.C. surpassed the threshold for emotional support (which includes positive climate, teacher’s sensitivity and regard for students’ perspectives) and classroom organization (which includes behavior management and productivity.)

But scores fell below the threshold for instructional support, with an average score of 2.5. That category includes concept development, quality of feedback and language modeling.

DCPS’ Biggest Challenge, in One Chart (WCP, 5/18)

HEALTH 
– Arabella Advisors outlines some of the approaches that health funders can take to fulfill unmet needs  in the ever-changing world of healthcare. (Arabella Advisors, 5/18)

Rise in Suicide by Black Children Surprises Researchers (NYT, 5/18)

– Keep powering up that Fitbit! Among 50 of the largest American metropolitan areas, the Washington region ranks number one in a list of the fittest places for the second year in a row. (WTOP, 5/19)

WRAG/PHILANTHROPY | Last week, leaders of nonprofits, philanthropies, and more, came together for WRAG’s first Loudoun County Philanthropy Conference. Check out this recap and some of the key issues that were raised during the event. (Loudoun Times, 5/15)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | Montgomery County planners recently released a draft of their Bethesda Downtown Plan, which makes recommendations for the area over the next 20 years. Among other things, plans include new park space and the preservation of affordable housing through the density-transfer process. (Bethesda Magazine, 5/15)

ENVIRONMENT | How Has Fairfax County’s Rapid Growth Affected the Environment (WAMU, 5/15)

TRANSPORTATION/POVERTY | A number of recent studies have emerged on the ways in which inadequate transportation can fuel growing inequality in American cities and their surrounding areas, making access to employment, decent schools, and healthy food difficult. Though new modes of public transit pop up every day, low-income residents who live in less than posh neighborhoods still find it hard to get around. (Atlantic, 5/16)


My name is Ciara, but if I was born this year, it would be Nayeli. Find out what your name would be if you were born in another year, based on name trends from the Social Security Administration.

-Ciara

D.C. metro area leads U.S. in payroll to population rate

WORKFORCE
A new Gallup report ranks D.C. as number one for its payroll to population rate (P2P) among the 50 largest U.S. metros in 2014. Research implies that high rates of full-time employment and higher incomes create a higher sense of well-being. (DC Inno, 3/24)

Despite lagging behind in ninth place among metro areas ranked by unemployment rate, D.C. edged out No. 2 Salt Lake City and No. 3 Denver in 2014 with a payroll to population rate of 54.1 percent, according to a Gallup report. The polling organization tracks the metric each month, basing it off of full-time employment (30-plus hours per week) for adults aged 18 and older.

The P2P rate tends to be higher in urban areas with low unemployment, and the 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S. proved that to be the case in 2014 with an average P2P rate of 46.0 percent, a full 2 percent higher than the P2P rate for all of the U.S.

[…]

Beyond that success locally, there are lingering concerns that labor force participation is still struggling. But again, D.C. is still doing far better that other metro areas, such as Tampa Bay and Miami, where the unemployment rates have still bobbed above 10 percent.

– Could nonprofits be doing more to lessen income inequality? Here are seven solutions for doing just that. (NPQ, 3/21)

EVENTS | WRAG has announced our first Brightest Minds event of 2015: Dr. Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution. According to Dr. Sawhill, author of Generation Unbound: Drifting into Sex and Parenthood without Marriage, the growing trend of unwed and unplanned motherhood calls for a “new ethic of responsible parenthood.” Join us as Dr. Sawhill explores these societal trends and their impact on child poverty and wellness, and explains how the social sector can effectively support efforts for change. This event, on April 30, is open to both WRAG members and nonmembers. More details here.

ARTS
– At a recent event hosted by Elevation DC and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, panelists discussed the importance of expanding access to the arts to everyone in the community, and shared what they’re doing to ensure it happens. (Elevation DC, 3/24)

– In Montgomery County’s Sandy Spring Museum, a new exhibit showing off handmade books by immigrant youths – many of whom are among the unaccompanied minors from Central America who now reside in the region – is on display. The exhibit runs through May 31. (Gazette, 3/18)

Related: On Tuesday, March 31 at 9:00 AM, WRAG members and invited guests can attend a funder briefing on Immigration Relief and the Impact on the D.C. Region. The special event, sponsored by a number of WRAG members, will be moderated by Rose Ann Cleveland of The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, and  includes remarks by Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council; a panel with Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA; DJ Yoon, executive director of the National Korean American Services & Education Consortium; and Maya, immigrant leader and potential beneficiary.

HEALTH
– Last year, under the Affordable Care Act, a number of states opted to expand their Medicaid coverage. According to newly released data, states that did expand the program saw a 23 percent increase in Type II diabetes cases, and states that did not expand Medicaid saw very little difference. This data shows how the expansion led to care for many who were previously undiagnosed. (NPR, 3/23)

D.C. Health Link customers saw some of the smallest premium increases in region (WBJ, 3/23)

REGION | 4 Projects That Are Going to Change Washington (Washingtonian, 3/24)

CSR | The application period ends this Friday, March 27, for the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards. The awards honor individuals, businesses, and nonprofits who have gone above and beyond in business leadership, employee engagement, and corporate social responsibility. Find out more here.


Some museums hold more than just historic relics and works of art. Some also hold pretty cool secrets

– Ciara

Six proposed principles for education in D.C.

EDUCATION
D.C. education advocates released a set of principles for the public education system this week, intended to inform the new mayor and city council on ways to improve access to quality neighborhood schools and better charter and public school coordination. A number of groups have signed in support of the principles. (DCFPI & GGW, 10/2)

Some principles touch on areas of broad agreement, such as “Focus resources on students and communities with the greatest need.” Others, however, may encounter opposition from some in the charter school community.

The first principle calls for ensuring that “all families have access to high-quality DCPS schools in their neighborhoods,” arguing that the demand for matter-of-right neighborhood schools became clear during the recent debate over school boundaries.

DISTRICT
– As the start of October signals a new fiscal year, D.C. residents who rely on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program have lined up for hours in order to restore utility services in their homes. The program had used up its $15 million budget in June.  (WJLA, 10/1)

– Is the City to Blame for Anacostia’s Vacant Properties? (WCP, 10/1)

WORKFORCE
– Yesterday marked the beginning of the minimum wage increase in Montgomery and Prince George’s County and worker advocates gathered to urge officials to push for even higher wages. (WBJ, 10/2)

– The wage gap: A primer (WaPo, 10/2)

HEALTH
– As if sitting in traffic wasn’t bad enough for a person’s heart, according to research from the Journal of the American Heart Association, living next to major roadways puts individuals at a greater risk to develop high blood pressure. (CityLab, 10/1)

– One year after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s health exchange, experts weigh in on how it went. (NPR, 10/1)

CSR | Thanks to Institute for CSR class member, Samatha Yakal-Kremski, for sharing this New York Times article about IBM‘s efforts to transition retirees into rewarding post-career jobs and volunteer opportunities. (NYT, 9/26)

PHILANTHROPY | According to new data from more than 1,000 U.S. grantmakers in a study conducted by the Council on Foundations, around 20 percent of grantmakers pay trustee fees. (Chronicle, 10/1)


Have you seen a giant, six-acre portrait on the National Mall?

– Ciara

Students want high school to be more like school, less like prison


EDUCATION
-The front page story of the Post today profiles students participating in the Critical Exposure program and how they are using photography to protest the oppressive security at their high schools. The students are advocating for “restorative justice” programs to counter the “school-to-prison pipeline” that the tough discipline policies at some D.C. schools have created. While some school administrators say security is necessary for student safety, especially after the Newtown shooting (WaPo, 4/5):

H.D. Woodson High School senior Mike Ruff and other classmates have armed themselves with cameras to make the opposite point. They say that their learning environment has been scarred by relentless security. They say their high schools, among an estimated 10,000 nationwide with police on campus, feel like prisons.

– A new report shows that 56 percent of low-income children in Fairfax County are unable to get into pre-k programs. In other jurisdictions in the region, most, if not all, low-income children are able to access pre-k classes. (NBC4, 4/4)

– In an op-ed, Bill Gates calls for a fairer way to evaluate teachers. (WaPo, 4/3)

– We’ve linked to stories about the new documentary about Washington Metropolitan High School, 180 Days: Inside an American High School, but now you can view the whole documentary on the PBS website. I haven’t watched it yet, but it sounds compelling.

WORKFORCE | On the Washington Area Women’s Foundation blog, Shae Harris wonders if “leaning in” — that is, Sheryl Sandberg’s idea that women are holding themselves back by not asserting themselves in the workplace — is really an option for all women (WAWF, 4/2):

While I applaud Sheryl Sandberg for tackling this complex issue and bringing it (once again) to the forefront of national discourse, I think for most women this issue is bigger than simply asking more questions at the weekly staff meeting. Currently in Washington D.C., one in five women live in poverty…  For these economically disadvantaged women, leaning in can be tough to do when there are so many other mitigating factors surrounding their survival. Issues like the cost of childcare, unemployment/underemployment, lack of educational attainment, transportation, and securing affordable housing continue to stifle women within this region.

HOUSING | Thanks to the sequester, 42 families in Fairfax County who were on track to get federally funded housing vouchers won’t be getting them after all. (NBC4, 4/4)

HEALTH CARE | The Affordable Care Act, Three Years Later: Where Do Nonprofits Stand? (NPQ, 4/4)

NONPROFITS | Number of Charities and Foundations Rose Slightly in 2012 (Chronicle, 4/4)


This is like a more sophisticated version of the goats yelling like humans video.

-Rebekah

MD gets $123m for health exchange…Growing need for workforce housing across the region…COG wants your ideas for region’s activity centers [News, 8.24.12]

HEALTH | Maryland has been awarded $123 million in federal funds to set up its health insurance exchange, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The exchange is expected to be online by October 2013, and so far Maryland is ahead of most other states in setting up the exchange. (Examiner, 8/23)

HOUSING | In the next 20 years, Fairfax and Montgomery counties are projected to need a huge supply of workforce housing, which in those counties is defined as housing that is affordable to families earning less than approximately $130,000 a year.  (WBJ, 8/24)

COMMUNITY | The Washington Area Women’s Foundation‘s Nicky Goren recently appeared on Comcast Newsmakers to discuss the foundation’s work supporting the region’s women and girls and promote their upcoming 2012 Leadership Luncheon. (WAWF, 8/21)

DISTRICT | The D.C. Department of Human Services has announced a plan to delay scheduled cuts to long-term TANF recipients to review each family’s case individually. (WaPo, 8/21)

REGION | The Council of Governments is looking for public input on how best to use activity centers to guide policy, planning, and investment throughout the Greater Washington region. (Region Forward, 8/22)

HIV/AIDS | The New York Times profiles Mary Fisher, an HIV advocate who delivered a historic speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention. (NY Times, 8/22)

PHILANTHROPY | The Need – and Appetite for – Enhanced Foundation Transparency (Foundation Center, 8/20)


There are probably better ways to spend $175, but I will definitely do this if I’m ever at the top of the CN Tower in Toronto again.

-Rebekah