Rebranding the region

REGION
As part of the Roadmap effort, the 2030 Group has announced the hiring of global brand consultant Interbrand to develop a marketing campaign for the region that is expected to launch in early 2017 with the help of a rebranding working group (WBJ, 5/12):

The marketing campaign is part of a larger effort by the 2030 Group to identify weaknesses in the region’s economy and come up with ways to boost growth in a time of federal austerity. The organization has spearheaded working groups to explore affordable housing and how area colleges and universities can work more closely with the business community. A working group exploring a regional transportation authority has been suspended as Metro embarks on its yearlong effort to fix major problems, [2030 Group’s Bob] Buchanan said, although he still hopes to restart that conversation in the future.

Related: Last year, the 2030 Group’s Bob Buchanan and the Center for Regional Analysis’s Stephen Fuller undertook an extensive research project called, The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy, to recommend ways the region can reposition itself to remain competitive in the global economy. WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland also shared how philanthropy in the region might respond and collaborate with other sectors to meet challenges facing our communities. (Daily, 1/15)

COMMUNITY
– In light of the coming dissolution of the DC Trust, WRAG has submitted a letter on behalf of the region’s philanthropic community to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, calling on the Council to maintain funding for out-of-school and summer programming for D.C.’s  children and youth in the FY17 budget. Funders and advocates for children and youth will be watching closely as the DC Council votes on the proposed budget this month.

– BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) recently named Consumer Health Foundation president and WRAG board member Yanique Redwood as one of 36 leaders in their 2016 BALLE Local Economy Fellowship. In this blog post, she discusses why she looks forward to working with other members of her cohort and continuing along a path toward community transformation. (Be a Localist, 5/12)

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has announced plans to create a $500,000 endowment for its Innovation Fund, following a $250,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor. They’ve also announced the launch of a new online-fundraising platform, Granted. (WBJ, 5/13)

FOOD 
– Prince Charitable Trusts presents a short film in their series about farming and food, titled The Culture of Collards, which recently  premiered at the DC Environmental Film Festival. The film traces the cultural heritage of collard greens from Portugal, to Africa, to the American south during the slave trade, up to their current state as a popular staple in many kitchens today. The 9-minute film features culinary historian Michael Twitty; owner of Three Part Harmony Farm in Northeast D.C. Gail Taylor; and City Blossoms co-founders Rebecca Lemos and Lola Bloom.

Related: In 2014, Michael Twitty kicked off WRAG’s Brightest Minds series with a discussion about building a more inclusive food movement. Check out this post that followed his talk, then take a look at the exciting lineup for WRAG’s Brightest Minds programs for the rest of the year. Brightest Minds programs are open to the public.

– The Ongoing Need for Healthy Food in Corner Stores (City Lab, 5/12)

EDUCATION
– As the acknowledgment of the importance of quality pre-k education in a student’s future success picks up steam across the country, some states continue to struggle with making these programs accessible to millions of children. Locally, D.C. made progress by serving more 3- and 4-year-olds than ever during the 2014-2015 school year. (WaPo, 5/12)

– The troubling shortage of Latino and black teachers — and what to do about it (WaPo, 5/15)


Which of the seven deadly sins do some of the most popular social networks represent? Pinterest is spot-on!

– Ciara

Taking a look at The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy

REGION/ECONOMY
Last year, president of the 2030 Group Bob Buchanan and senior adviser and director of special projects at George Mason’s Center for Regional Analysis Stephen Fuller led the charge to develop a roadmap for the region’s future economy. The extensive research project has now been released.  The report, The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy, provides recommendations for ways in which the region can reposition itself in order to maximize potential and remain competitive in the global economy. (WBJ, 1/14)

Fuller, senior adviser and director of special projects at George Mason’s Center for Regional Analysis, said Greater Washington must continue to diversify away from the federal government and into highly-specialized, high-value industries. In 2010 almost 40 percent of regional economy came from the federal government. In 2020 it will be just 27 percent.

The Roadmap effort is designed to galvanize local business and elected leaders to find ways to diversify the economy in light of federal cuts and recent economic data showing that Greater Washington’s economic growth is lagging that of other major U.S. cities.

– You may also recall that last year upon learning of Buchanan and Fuller’s call to action, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland expressed interest in philanthropy also becoming a part of those efforts. Upon today’s release of The Roadmap, Tamara expands on the ways in which philanthropy in the region might respond and collaborate with other sectors in order to meet the challenges facing our communities. (Daily 1/15)

HOMELESSNESS | Arlington County has joined Montgomery County in celebrating the accomplishment of effectively ending military veteran homelessness within the area. Next, officials say they will focus on housing all those considered chronically homeless by the end of the year. (WaPo, 1/14)

WORKFORCE
– The D.C. Office of Revenue Analysis takes a look at data on annual household incomes for various peer groups in the region. According to their analysis, D.C. residents who are married with children bring in a median household income that is $25,000 higher than those who are married without children, though high childcare costs even things out. Households headed by an unmarried person with children have the lowest median income at $36,000. (DCist, 1/13)

Time For a Guaranteed Basic Income? (NPR, 1/14)

TRANSIT
Report card gives D.C. infrastructure a C-minus (WTOP, 1/14)

– For many communities, bike lanes can symbolize so much more than just a safer designated area for cyclists to ride. Residents in many cities see them as a reminder of cultural division and biased infrastructure. (WaPo, 1/14)

EDUCATION/POVERTY | 5 Ways Elite-College Admissions Squeeze Out Poor Kids (NPR, 1/15)


Check out the mobile app these D.C. high schoolers created that may someday save lives.

– Ciara

How will philanthropy respond to the Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy?

By Tamara Copeland
President
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

 

It was just last January that WRAG said “count us in” to Bob Buchanan and Stephen Fuller as the 2030 Group joined with the Center for Regional Analysis to develop a roadmap for the region’s future economy. Today, that roadmap was released.

It identifies seven industrial clusters in which Fuller and his team believe our region has a competitive advantage:

  • Advocacy
  • Information and communications technology
  • Science and security technology
  • Biological and health technology
  • Business and financial services
  • Media and information
  • Business and leisure travel

It is on these industries that he recommends we focus our economic development efforts. But before we do that, the regional leaders who Buchanan and Fuller convened over the last year cautioned that we must address three regional deficits: 1) transportation and housing affordability; 2) the lack of a shared regional brand; and 3) insufficient collaboration between the academic and business communities to foster an entrepreneurial culture.

Philanthropy is already making progress on housing affordability. Just last week, WRAG announced a major philanthropy-led initiative, Our Region, Your Investment, to address the housing affordability challenges in our region. And following the presentation by Jennifer Bradley, co-author of The Metropolitan Revolution, at WRAG’s 2015 annual meeting, philanthropists in the region are ready to learn more about what their colleagues did in Northeast Ohio when that region suffered a devastating loss of manufacturing jobs.

Locally, philanthropic leaders have been primed for this conversation for some time. They recognize that they must continue their efforts on workforce development, but it seems that philanthropic leaders are now ready to go deeper into economic development than ever before. Why? Because they know that the stakes are very high when you consider what contributes to the vitality of our region.

Perhaps Stephen Fuller’s presentation at WRAG’s 2012 annual meeting was a turning point. He cautioned his audience of philanthropists that declining federal procurement spending in our region needed to be acknowledged and addressed. Then in 2013, that admonition became very clear as local social profit organizations[i] and their clients struggled with the impact of sequestration and the 16-day shutdown of the federal government. People whose incomes were tied to the federal government were without wages, and as more people live paycheck-to-paycheck, the impact of that revenue loss was immediate. Social profit organizations were doubly affected. The demand for their services was increasing at the same time that they were laying off their own staff because they, too, were reliant on the federal government through federal grants. This was no longer theoretical. This was real.

Now, we have a plan and the work of philanthropists in Northeast Ohio may be a model. To Fuller and Buchanan, I say maybe the third deficit should note “insufficient collaboration between the academic, philanthropic, and business communities to foster an entrepreneurial culture.” The philanthropic community is ready to roll up its sleeves and be an engaged partner in broadly shifting the economic reality of our region. So, once again I say, “Count us in.”


[i] Just a reminder that I try to use the term “social profit organization” instead of “nonprofit” to celebrate the fact that these organizations provide value to society, turning this into a positive term.

New reports on the critical need for affordable housing in the Greater Washington Region

AFFORDABLE HOUSING/REGION
In response to alarming data surrounding housing affordability in the region, the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group (GWHLG) presents a new report by Nonprofit Quarterly columnist Rick Cohen. The report – supported by Enterprise Community Partners, Citi Foundation, and WRAG – highlights the need for collaboration to invest in solving the region’s affordable housing crisis. Click here to access the full report, Call the Question: Will the Greater Washington Region Collaborate and Invest to Solve its Affordable Housing Shortage? 

Since June 2014, the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group – a collection of more than a dozen public and private sector leaders concerned about housing affordability – has been meeting to examine: 1) the nature of the affordable housing shortage in the greater Washington area; 2) the relationship of housing affordability to economic growth; and 3) strategies to increase affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households in the region.

In July 2014, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region released new research, Housing Security in the Washington Region, prepared by the Urban Institute and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments based on 2011 data, the most recent available. A key finding of the study concludes that, currently, 250,000 households (including 147,000 renter households) making less than 80 percent of the area median income are paying more than half of their gross income on housing costs.

The full extent of the affordable housing shortage required an analysis of future economic growth and accompanying populations. Research from the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis (CRA) shows that future growth industries for our region will be in the retail, hospitality, healthcare, and construction sectors – jobs which pay lower wages. Thousands of critical jobs in today’s workforce also fall in the lowerto moderate-income range, including teachers, health care professionals, entry level office workers, and local government employees. In 2015, CRA developed affordable housing need projections based on their latest regional economic outlook projections showing a need for the region to provide 149,000 new low-income housing units between 2011 and 2023 to accommodate projected job growth in the region.

 

– Another newly-released report (mentioned above) by Jeannette Chapman of the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis – commissioned by Enterprise Community Partners, and supported by GWHLG – focuses on regional solutions for Greater Washington’s affordable housing needs by the year 2023. The report titled, The Greater Washington Region’s Future Housing Needs: 2023, can be found here.

– The Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND) has released a public service announcement campaign to raise awareness about the great need for affordable housing using statistics about the average take-home pay for the professionals who are often very important in our daily lives. Have you seen this PSA around yet?

What’s ‘new’ in affordable housing? Not a lot — yet (Elevation DC, 6/19)

EDUCATION/DISTRICT | After a recent independent evaluation on the state of D.C. schools by the National Research Council, education leaders agree that although the system has come a long way, it still needs a lot of work to get to where it needs to be. (WaPo, 6/22)

POVERTY | A quarter of Americans are one emergency away from financial ruin (WaPo, 6/23)


How’s this for a real Metro map? What do you think?

– Ciara

Business and Philanthropy: A partnership whose time has come

by Tamara Copeland
President
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Last week, Bob Buchanan, principal of Buchanan Partners, a real estate development company, and president of the 2030 Group, an association of business leaders focused on regional issues and solutions, came to speak to WRAG member CEOs as part of our CEO Coffee and Conversation series. He was invited after he and Dr. Stephen Fuller (of the Center for Regional Analysis, George Mason University) called for a regional economic summit.  They suggested that, because the backbone of our region’s economy has been the federal government and that given the changes in our region’s relationship to this hometown employer, we must create a new regional economic reality.  They also underscored the fact that this isn’t a situation to be addressed solely by the District of Columbia or Fairfax, VA, or any other jurisdiction in our region, but a regional problem that should be examined as a whole and addressed by regional leaders using a broad lens and a long-range view.

I invited Bob to speak because, surprisingly, they hadn’t viewed philanthropy as one of the sectors to call to the planning table until I reached out. When asked why philanthropy wasn’t included, Bob responded, “business leaders go to those who can move the needle.”

What a wake up call!  Clearly, philanthropy wasn’t viewed as a change agent.

For years, I have thought that philanthropy doesn’t do enough to highlight the role that it plays in social change. That’s why we produced Beyond Dollars in 2009, featured Philanthropy Factoids in the Daily WRAG throughout 2011, and updated Beyond Dollars with a progress report in 2013. We wanted to showcase all that philanthropy does to improve people’s lives.  Unfortunately, that message hasn’t reached the business community, and part of that responsibility lies with us.  When I look back over the speakers that WRAG has presented over the last decade, I can’t find one business leader who isn’t also a philanthropist.  Until the conversation with Bob Buchanan, WRAG had not invited a business leader to present his or her ideas to philanthropy. We had not explored with business shared views and values toward possible shared action. In retrospect, wow.

So, WRAG is working to change that.  Bob Buchanan underscored the altruistic role that funders can play. He noted that when he speaks up for a particular need, he is often lumped in the category of “greedy developer” just trying to make his project work. Often, yes, he is trying to make a project happen, but it is a project that can improve the lives of many who live in a specific community.  His business identity often obscures the fact that he wants to turn a profit and improve the community.  He challenged the funding community to:

  • Consider how they are perceived as only helping the “un-” and “under-” members of the community. He acknowledged that funders are trying to improve the lives of all who live in a community and that when the “un”served or “under”served are helped, all community members are helped. He feels that the business community doesn’t see the role of philanthropy as helping everybody;
  • Look at how they might support start-up businesses that can improve the viability of communities just as they support start up/innovative, new social profit organizations; and
  • Make financial investments with their assets, not just grants.

He believes that elected officials charged with serving their discrete constituencies and limited by a relatively brief time in office can’t be the sole partners of business, particularly in pursuit of a new regional economic dynamic. He wants philanthropy to play a role.  Now we must determine what that role should be.

Announcing the Loudoun County Philanthropy Conference

What do you think of when you think about Loudoun County? If you say horses, wineries, and Dulles Airport, perhaps you haven’t been paying attention to all the exciting changes happening in this often overlooked area of our region.

Loudoun County is the fastest-growing jurisdiction in the Greater Washington region. According to the Center for Regional Analysis, the population has more than doubled in the last 15 years! And, thanks to new job centers, mixed-use developments, and the influx of younger people into the county, Loudoun is also leading the region in economic growth. With the county’s shifting demographics, new economic growth, and the opening of the Silver Line, this is an ideal time to learn about changing needs and explore opportunities for philanthropic investment.

That’s why, this spring, WRAG is focusing on Loudoun County by hosting our first-ever Loudoun County Philanthropy Conference on May 14. The goal of this gathering is to introduce the region’s philanthropic community to the specific needs in Loudoun, provide a venue for collectively exploring strategies for addressing those needs, and, ultimately, to encourage increased and more effective philanthropic investments in the county.

Michael Cassidy, President and CEO of the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, will kick things off with an overview of the needs and opportunities in Loudoun. Following Michael’s presentation, we’ll hear from a panel of experts representing the philanthropic, nonprofit, and government sectors on what their seeing “on the ground” in the county. Then, over lunch, funders interested in supporting Loudoun will have the opportunity to network with their philanthropic colleagues, discuss issues of shared interest, and explore individual and collaborative funding strategies for addressing county needs.

The event is open to WRAG members, non-members, nonprofits, government officials, community leaders, and anyone else interested in learning about the needs of the county. For more information, click here.

A BIG thanks to our already confirmed conference sponsors:

logo - claude moore_0

logo - claude moore_0

CFNCRnew

Middleburg Community Center:

Middleburg Community Center