There is no post racial America. Does philanthropy know?

PHILANTHROPY
As we celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this week, it’s easy to think of the country as a dramatically different place than it was in the 1960s. In an op-ed in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Tamara Lucas Copeland challenges the notion of a postracial America and explains why WRAG is working to foster a better understanding among funders about the dynamics of racism. (Chronicle, 1/21)

[P]hilanthropy’s commitment to aiding the poor continues today, through efforts to improve access to quality education, health care, and housing. Many donors and foundations consider work on such programs vital to attacking the root causes of inequity in America. They believe that if we keep focusing on financing ideas we know work, soon we will reduce the problems for both blacks and whites and eliminate all disparities.

But a growing number of grant makers in Washington have decided it’s important to challenge this notion, to recognize that the distinct, negative treatment of a group of people based solely on race is a major contributor to poverty and inequality in America. We believe that racism is rarely acknowledged or discussed by members of the public or within philanthropy. And we believe that until that silence ends, our region, and our country, won’t be able to take the steps needed to end racial inequities.

To learn more about Putting Racism on the Table, WRAG’s learning series for philanthropic CEOs and trustees, click here.

– The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP)  is taking nominations for foundations for their 2016 NCRP Impact Awards. You can nominate up to 10 foundations that demonstrate exemplary grantmaking, leadership in funding social change strategies, and commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity.

HEALTH/FOOD | Grantmakers in Health shares policy options and recommendations that recently came out of a meeting of experts, funders, and health practitioners on the ways to support healthier eating policies – particularly around sugar-sweetened beverages that are disproportionately consumed by low-income individuals and ethnic minorities. (GIH, 1/19)

EDUCATION | According to new data, Maryland saw a record high of close to 880,000 students this school year – a 5,000 student increase from the previous school year. Most of the surge has taken place in Montgomery, Howard, Baltimore, Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties. (WaPo, 1/ 20)

ARTS | With government-commissioned street art being a relatively new thing in the District, Washingtonian offers a glimpse at five D.C. street artists whose work has popped up throughout the area. (Washingtonian, 1/19) Some readers might recognize the work of Kelly Towles, the artist who created the centerpieces for WRAG’s 2011 annual meeting.

TRANSIT/INEQUALITY | Yet More Evidence That Bike-Share Isn’t Reaching the Poor (City Lab, 1/19)


Have you experienced a void in your life ever since the popular television series ‘Friends’ went off the air? Someone developed a computer program that can write new episodes…for better or for worse.

– Ciara

Middle-class parents ponder what will keep their kids in District schools

EDUCATION
In the race for D.C. mayor, middle-class parents who have remained in the city, despite a tendency for their demographic to flee to suburban areas, weigh in on how involved candidates should be in education in order to keep their children in District schools. (WaPo, 10/26)

While academic performance is improving, according to the results of a national math and reading test, the city’s public schools still have a long way to go. The District lags behind other major cities, and D.C. public schools have the nation’s largest achievement gap between white and black students and white and Hispanic students.

A central question for the District, and in the matchup for the city’s top job this year, is whether the wave of middle-class families will stay and have a lasting effect on the schools. The candidates have been working to appeal to these highly motivated voters, aiming to give them a vision for the future, particularly for the city’s middle and high schools.

CSR | When it comes to going above and beyond in corporate citizenship, IBM is among one of the leading examples. Read more about how the company has set and followed through on clear goals for increased social impact. (TCC Group, 10/20) IBM’s Diane Melley is a faculty member for the Institute of CSR. 

FOOD
– The Chicago-based Food Tank and the James Beard Foundation have just released the 2014 “Good Food Org Guide” for nonprofits across the country working to build a better food system. (FoodTank, 10/26) We’re excited to see some notable organizations from Greater Washington that are doing just that – kudos! That said, we think their list is too short. 

8 Impossible Choices People Who Can’t Afford Food Make Every Day (HuffPo, 10/23)

COMMUNITY
– On Friday, November 21st at 9 AM, MedImmune and the Corporate Volunteer Council of Montgomery County invite Montgomery County businesses to learn about the resources and reasons for supporting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education through employee volunteering. Local STEM organizations and school contacts will be on hand to provide program information and showcase volunteer opportunities. Register here.

Moved to tears – again- at the Washington Area Women’s Foundation Leadership Luncheon (WBJ, 10/24)

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Sweet Home Virginia Gala held earlier this month raised record funds to support the Community Foundation’s work, impact, and capacity to grow philanthropy to meet the most critical needs of the Northern Virginia region.

TRANSIT
– Though bike share companies have risen in popularity over the last few years, their rapid growth has been slow to reach low-income riders, revealing what could be a “bike-share equity problem.” (CityLab, 10/24)

– Purple Line: How to grow without leaving folks behind (WTOP, 10/25)


Would you take a walk through any of these spooky D.C. area pathways?

-Ciara