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.

DC Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson to step down

Editor’s Note: For the rest of the summer, the Daily WRAG will be the (Almost) Daily WRAG, on an abbreviated schedule of three days a week. The next post will be on Tuesday, July 5. Have a great holiday weekend!


EDUCATION | Yesterday, Kaya Henderson announced that she will be stepping down as DC Public Schools Chancellor this fall (WaPo, 6/29):

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), who said she did not ask Henderson to resign, immediately tapped John Davis, the school system’s chief of schools, to serve as interim chancellor beginning Oct. 1. A national search for a permanent chancellor will begin later this year, but a replacement likely won’t start until the 2016-2017 school year concludes.

[…]

Bowser said that the city’s school-reform efforts will not slow under the next chancellor.

HEALTH
– Two new studies have found a correlation between increases in the minimum wage and increases in birth weight, a finding that has significant implications for equity. Another recent study found that, if New York City had a $15 minimum wage, between 2008 and 2012 “it could have ‘averted 2,800 to 5,500 premature deaths,’ mostly in low-income communities of color.” (City Lab, 6/28)

Mental Health, Violence, and Access to Services Are Top Priorities For D.C.’s 2020 Health Goals (WCP, 6/29)

WEST VIRGINIA | Our colleague organization, Philanthropy West Virginia, is hosting a webinar with local, state, and national philanthropy, corporate, and foundation leaders about ways to respond to the massive flooding in the state. The webinar is on Tuesday, July 5 from 11 AM to noon. Register by emailing info@philanthropywv.org to register.

RACISM/RACIAL EQUITY
– The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that it will require over 28,000 employees across the country to participate in mandatory implicit bias training. (LA Times, 6/27)

– Kathleen Enright, head of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, writes about GEO’s decision to “embrace discomfort” and join efforts across the philanthropic sector to advance racial equity. (Huffington Post, 6/29)

HOUSING | How a House Can Shape a Child’s Future (Atlantic, 6/29)

SOCIAL INNOVATION | A report from the S&R Foundation and Capital One finds that D.C. is the top city in the country for fostering social enterprises. (WBJ, 6/29) Click here for the full report.

POVERTY | WAMU continues its series on an innovative Fort Worth nonprofit committed to moving people out of poverty. Today’s topic: collaboration. (WAMU, 6/30)


Jobs
Associate | Innovation Network, Inc. | Deadline: 07/01/2016
Research Assistant | Innovation Network, Inc. | Deadline: 07/01/2016
Administrative Assistant (part time) | Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers | Deadline: 7/18/2016
Philanthropic Services Associate | The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region
Grants Manager | The Norman & Ruth Rales Foundation
Senior Communication Consultant | Kaiser Permanente
Part Time Bookkeeper/Accountant | ACT for Alexandria
Associate Director | Arabella Advisors
Associate Director (Conservation Focus) | Arabella Advisors
Director, Corporate Philanthropy | Council on Foundations

Visit WRAG’s job board to for the latest openings in the region’s social sector.


WRAG’s Community Calendar

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: seder@washingtongrantmakers.org.


Now you too can learn how to swim like a…mermaid?

– Rebekah

D.C. Council approves $15 minimum wage

DISTRICT/WORKFORCE
Yesterday, the D.C. Council voted unanimously to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour (and the tipped minimum wage to $5 an hour) by July 2020. Additionally, an amendment to conduct a study on the minimum-income system’s feasibility was also passed. (WCP, 6/7)

D.C. Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey S. DeWitt estimates that raising the minimum wage would directly benefit approximately 127,000 workers, [D.C. Mayor Muriel] Bowser said, adding that it would put “more money in the hands of our working families.”

COMMUNITY | Catherine Foca, vice president for programs and operations at the Capital One Foundation, has been named president. Carolyn Berkowitz, who announced her departure from the role in April, will remain as an adviser until October. (WBJ, 6/7) Carolyn has also served as a faculty member for the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility.

PHILANTHROPY | Barbara Harman, founder and president of the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington and executive director of the Harman Family Foundation, talks giving (and considers a new name for the publication) in this fun interview. (WaPo, 6/2)

IMPLICIT BIAS/ECONOMY | A new study looks into the spending habits of black and white Americans at various income levels, and finds a number of differences – some of which, according to the study’s authors, could be attributed to discrimination or implicit bias. (Atlantic, 6/7)

YOUTH/WORKFORCE | The Brookings Institution looks at some of the challenges and opportunities ahead for the economic security and employment prospects of young people. (Brookings, 6/7)

HEALTHScientists Seek Genetic Clues To Asthma’s Toll On Black Children (NPR, 6/7)

MENTAL HEALTH 
– At some universities, master’s and Ph.D. students are providing much-needed counseling services to new immigrants to America who are often uninsured and have experienced high levels of trauma. (NPR, 6/7)

– How to Fix a Broken Mental-Health System (Atlantic, 6/8)


If you’re anything like me, you love a good road trip. Here’s how you can visit 48 state capitals in just over a week.

– Ciara

Do More 24 in full swing!

COMMUNITY/REGION 
Today marks the United Way of the National Capital Area‘s annual Do More 24 event – a 24-hour online giving campaign that kicked off at midnight and will end at 11:59 pm. Local, regional, and national social profit organizations with a presence in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area are participating in the focused day of giving to create maximum impact as a community. The award winners will be announced tomorrow. Click here to remain up-to-date on the total raised – and to give!

CSR
– The Chronicle of Philanthropy presents a special report and interactive database on giving from America’s biggest companies. Bank of America, Citi, Capital OneJPMorgan Chase, PNC, and Wells Fargo are among the companies highlighted for their corporate giving and social good efforts. (Chronicle, 6/1) Subscription required

– Socially Responsible Companies Are Big Draw for Workers, Study Says (Chronicle, 6/1) Subscription required

PHILANTHROPY
Exponent Philanthropy has launched a new blog series in honor of their 20th anniversary that will focus on reflections of founders, early board members, and others with extensive careers in the field of philanthropy. In this blog post, Exponent Philanthropy founding member, former board chair, and executive director of The Americana Foundation Marty Fluharty discusses why it is so imperative for foundations to break down silos. (PhilanthroFiles, 6/2)

– Demanding That Nonprofits Not Pay For Overhead Is Preventing Them From Doing Good (Co.Exist, 6/1)

DISTRICT
– The D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development has announced the launch of a new initiative, the “June Housing Bloom,” aimed at increasing the number of affordable housing units in the city (WCP, 6/1):

The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is […] putting out solicitations for the development of 25 District-owned properties in Wards 4, 5, 7, and 8 to get the month-long initiative started. The offerings are part of a five-pronged strategy to reduce neighborhood blight, according to DHCD: producing affordable housing, preserving affordable housing, boosting homeownership, ending homelessness, and making use of currently vacant properties. DHCD will hold an informational meeting about the sites at its HQ on June 22, with a proposal deadline of Sept. 1.

– In Search of TANF Reform (CHF, 5/27)

VIRGINIA | VideoWhy Virginia’s Restoration of Voting Rights Matters (Atlantic, 5/31)

MENTAL HEALTH/IMPLICIT BIAS | For many people of color struggling with their mental health and seeking the aid of psychotherapy, roadblocks to access can often prevent them from getting much-needed help. A new study suggests that implicit bias on the part of psychologists’ offices may be the main barrier to some people receiving proper mental healthcare. (Atlantic, 6/1)


Do you have any strange reading habits? You are not alone in the Greater Washington region.

– Ciara

Few transit options for the region’s lower-income riders

TRANSIT
With a year’s worth of maintenance slated to take place throughout the Metrorail system, the impact is expected to be felt by most in the region. Those earning less than $30,000 annually, however, may be hit the hardest with fewer options for teleworking or affordable commutes to work. (City Lab, 5/19)

Among the 11 percent of Metrorail customers who earn less than $30,000 per year, many work low-wage, hourly shifts that don’t offer the option to telework. These riders can’t necessarily afford the convenience of a cab, an Uber, or even a smartphone to hail one. These riders still need to be able to get to their jobs, and for 29 hours in March, it was a lot harder for some.

EDUCATION
– Natalie Wexler – education blogger/editor of Greater Greater Education and DC Eduphile, and trustee of the Omega Foundation  discusses the challenges in achieving reading success for low-income students. On June 2, Dr. Willingham, psychology professor at the University of Virginia, will dive further into the role of background knowledge in reading comprehension and the persistent achievement gap among affluent and low-income students. (Daily, 5/23)

– Does Mindfulness Actually Work in Schools? (Atlantic, 5/20)

COMMUNITY
 The Citi Foundation announced the 40 social profit organizations selected as inaugural recipients of their Community Progress Makers Fund – a $20 million grant initiative supporting community organizations leading urban transformation efforts that create economic opportunities for low-income households and communities. D.C. is one of six U.S. cities with organizations that were selected, such as: Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing; Capital Area Asset Builders; Enterprise Community Partners Mid-Atlantic; Latino Economic Development Center; and LIFT

– The Center for Nonprofit Advancement has announced Higher Achievement as the winner of their 2016 AIM (Advancement in Management) Award, along with A-SPAN and National Children’s Alliance receiving honorable mentions. Pepco, Capital One Bank, and the Rotary Club of Washington, DC were sponsors of the award. Award recipients will also host an informative best practices session on May 24 at 10:00 am.

IMMIGRATION/POVERTY | Many of the young, recent Central American immigrants to the Washington region find that post-traumatic stress and poverty, along with attending high school, can result in a difficult cycle. (WAMU, 5/19)

HEALTH/CHILDREN
– With a growing number of students showing signs of mental health problems at school, educators are struggling to meet their needs. WAMU and nprED have presented a series on the challenges and possible solutions to approaching mental health issues in children. (WAMU, 5/23)

Due to a several challenges, the federal Summer Food Service Program – aimed at providing meals to children from low-income families during school break – only ends up reaching around 15 percent of those eligible. In places like Silver Spring, MD, for example, some children may have a hard time qualifying for such benefits when low-income housing is often in close proximity to affluent neighborhoods. (City Lab, 5/20)

–  Should Pediatricians Ask Parents If They’re Poor? (NPR, 5/18)

DISTRICT | The Washington Post explores the surge in homicides in D.C.’s ward 7. (WaPo, 5/21)


We all need to get adequate sleep, and trees are (possibly) no different.

– Ciara

The capacity of women’s philanthropy explored in new issue brief

PHILANTHROPY/WOMEN
The Washington Area Women’s Foundation has released their latest issue brief: The Unprecedented Power and Potential of Women’s Philanthropy in the Washington Region. The brief, supported by Capital One, looks into the significance of  investing in women and girls, along with the power, potential, and influence women philanthropists can have in the region. (WAWF, December 2015)

By our estimates, if women in our region with a net worth of $5 million or more contributed one tenth of one percent of their growing wealth to programs tailored to the unique needs of women and girls, they could collectively invest at least $45 million—enough to have a significant impact on helping the nearly half million women and girls living below or near poverty in our region attain economic security.

If women benefiting from this investment increased their earnings by at least five percent after completing a workforce development program (the average amount based on The Women’s Foundation’s program evaluation) the direct impact in our community could be over $317 million in a single year. An approximate return on investment of 560 percent.

POVERTY | A group of social profit organizations have joined forces through funding from Citi Foundation‘s Partners in Progress initiative in order to provide credit-building loans to low-income D.C. residents and help them stabilize their finances for greater economic opportunities. (WaPo, 12/17)

TRANSIT/EQUITY | A new Census report examines the demographics of those who live nearest to rail stations versus those who don’t in the Greater Washington region. According to the report, workers who live in rail-accessible neighborhoods are more likely to be more educated, white, and younger than those living in less rail-accessible areas. (WaPo, 12/17)

EDUCATION
– Members have been announced for a new 26-member task force that will work to develop policy recommendations for D.C.’s Mayor Bowser in an effort to improve coordination between charter and public schools. (WaPo, 12/16)

– In case you missed it, Washington City Paper recently explored education philanthropy in the District as DC Public Schools enter their second decade of education reform efforts. (WCP, 12/11)

Learning Soft Skills in Childhood Can Prevent Harder Problems Later (WAMU, 12/17)

YOUTH/WORKFORCE | The Depressing Downward Spiral of U.S. Teen Employment (City Lab, 12/16)

JOB | The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation is hiring for the role of Program Assistant. Click here to learn more about the position.


Who is responsible for picking out the fabric for seats on public transit; and, more importantly, what led to these particular choices?

– Ciara

Join us for WRAG’s 2015 Annual Meeting: Philanthropy All In | Thursday, November 19

WRAG
It’s that time of year again! WRAG’S 2015 Annual Meeting will take place on Thursday, November 19 at the National Press Club.

WRAG members will hear from Jennifer Bradley, author of The Metropolitan Revolution, as well as a panel of regional leaders about how philanthropy, government, and business can work together to position our region for prosperity.

At the luncheon (open to the community), keynote speaker Harvard’s David Williams will discuss the ways that racism and discrimination continue to impact individuals and communities. Click here to register for Philanthropy All In.

EDUCATION
– Capital One, Junior Achievement of Greater Washington, and Prince George’s Public Schools have teamed up to open a JA Finance Park on the campus of G. James Gholson Middle School and Cora L. Rice Elementary School in Landover, Maryland. This 13,500-square-foot experiential financial literacy supercenter is the second in the region and the first in Maryland. It will serve 9,000 Prince George’s County Public School students each year. Another center will open in Montgomery County in 2017. (WaPo, 10/27)

– This year, Virginia schools saw significant improvements with eight in 10 schools meeting state benchmarks for standardized tests. (WaPo, 10/27)

– In Maryland, state-level results on national reading and math tests saw one of the most significant declines in the country in 2015. On the bright side, officials note that the state remains above the national average in some areas, and has also become more inclusive in its testing of students.  (WaPo, 10/28)

One in 10 D.C. students score ‘college ready’ on new high school math test (WaPo, 10/27)

DISTRICT | On the heels of the recent announcement of the Wizards’ practice facility coming to D.C.’s ward 8, residents express their concerns over what it could mean in the long run. (WCP, 10/27)

HEALTHCARE | When hospital patients don’t have the ability to make decisions regarding their own care and have no family to step in and help, hospitals are often overwhelmed with the loss of resources and money.  Some hospitals in D.C. facing similar issues have banned together to create a task force to take a further look at the problem. (WBJ, 10/27)

FOOD/POVERTY | Study: Food stamps do much more to fight poverty than we thought (Vox, 10/27)


When art gets mistaken for trash who’s to blame?

– Ciara