Do More 24 in full swing!

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!

– 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

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)

– 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

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.

– 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)

 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)

– 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

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)

– 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

Wage inequality in U.S. metros

The Daily WRAG will return on Tuesday, October 13. 

While wage inequality is nothing new, the problem has become a staple of many major cities across the country. In some U.S. metros with high wage inequality – like the metropolitan Washington region – there are a number of implications for those who do not earn high salaries. (City Lab, 10/7)

[…] wage inequality appears to be bound up with higher housing costs, being closely correlated with the share of income devoted to housing […]. The higher wage earners in knowledge-based metros essentially bid up the cost of housing. And while knowledge workers and the creative class make enough to cope with the increased costs, as my own research has shown, this hits extremely hard at workers in lower paid service and blue-collar jobs who increasingly cannot afford to live in these places.

– Congratulations to WRAG members Rosie Allen-Herring, president and CEO of United Way of the National Capital Area, and Nicky Goren, president and CEO of the Meyer Foundation, for being featured in The Washington Business Journal’s Power 100 list in the category of Heavy Hitters, defined as “[…] those executives who lead the most powerful organizations in town, be it for their size, their reputations or the sheer dollars they generate.” (WBJ, 10/5)

– Congratulations are also in order for WRAG members IBM and Citi Foundation for taking home awards in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Awards in the areas of Best Corporate Steward – Large Business, and Best Community Improvement Program.

HOUSING | Enterprise takes a look at housing affordability for the millennial workforce on the heels of some newly released research on the topic. (Enterprise, 10/6)

TRANSPORTATION/DISTRICT | Bikeshare services are a convenience enjoyed by many in D.C. who seek alternative ways to get around, but they are often only available in more affluent parts of the city and to those with credit cards. In an effort to better reach minority and low-income residents, the District has unveiled potential plans to expand bikeshare stations across D.C. and eliminate barriers to payment to use the services. (WaPo, 10/6)

ENVIRONMENT/PUBLIC HEALTH | MoCo becomes first major locality to ban cosmetic pesticides from lawns (WaPo, 10/6)

Are you a native to the region? Here’s some nostalgia for you in the form of local TV ads.

– Ciara

More affordable housing for Arlington County

On Saturday, the Arlington County Board unanimously voted to move forward on a plan to bring more affordable housing to the area. The plan will bring about 15,800 affordable apartments to the county by 2040. (WaPo, 9/19)

Related: A recent report supported by Enterprise Community Partners and Citi Foundation, and presented by the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group – a collection of more than a dozen public and private sector leaders concerned about housing affordability convened by WRAG – highlights the need for collaboration to invest in solving the region’s affordable housing crisis.

WRAG/PHILANTHROPY | WRAG is excited to introduce you to the 2015-16 Philanthropy Fellows, a group of young professionals poised to make waves in the world of philanthropy. (Daily, 9/21)

DISTRICT/ECONOMY | D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute explores what new income and poverty data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal about communities of color in the District. (DCFPI, 9/18)

– A new interactive map examines the rate of obesity in D.C. neighborhoods. Neighborhoods in the northeast and southern parts of the city saw higher obesity rates due to lower levels of income and walkability in those areas. (DCInno, 9/18)

– New data from the Centers for Disease Control show that the narrative surrounding what we think we know about low-income families and their relationship to fast food may be all wrong. (WaPo, 918)

PHILANTHROPY | Rural Foundations’ Ideas for Increasing Rural Philanthropy (NPQ, 9/14)

WORKFORCE | The Typical Male U.S. Worker Earned Less Money in 2014 Than in 1973 (WSJ, 9/18)

SOCIAL PROFITS | The time is now for social profit organizations to ramp up security on online donation pages, as credit card thieves have taken to the websites to test stolen credit card numbers, creating unnecessary financial burdens for many organizations. (Chronicle, 9/17)

From now until September 25, WTOP is taking votes to give away $30,000 to local charities. All you have to do is click the “Like” button! 

– Ciara

A growing number of people living in high-poverty neighborhoods

The number of Americans living in high-poverty areas has steadily risen for years. According to a new analysis of Census data, the number of individuals living in those areas nearly doubled from 7.2 million in 2000 to 13.8 million in 2013 – and the effects are likely to last for years to come. (Atlantic, 8/9)

Half a century after President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty, the number of Americans living in slums is rising at an extraordinary pace.

The number of people living in high-poverty areas—defined as census tracts where 40 percent or more of families have income levels below the federal poverty threshold—nearly doubled between 2000 and 2013, to 13.8 million from 7.2 million, according to a new analysis of Census data by Paul Jargowsky, a public-policy professor at Rutgers University-Camden and a fellow at The Century Foundation. That’s the highest number of Americans living in high-poverty neighborhoods ever recorded.


A child who grows up in a high-poverty area is likely to be poor when he grows up. Research out this year from Harvard shows that children who moved from poor areas to more affluent areas had higher incomes and better educational achievements than those who stayed in poor areas. Without dramatic changes, today’s children who live in high-poverty areas are going to grow up to be poor, too.

Related Event: On September 18, sociologist Dr. Karl Alexander of Johns Hopkins University will discuss findings of a groundbreaking 25-year study on the life-long consequences of being born into povertyThis Brightest Minds event is sponsored by the Jane Bancroft Robinson Foundation. The event is open to the public.  Click here to learn more and to register.

CSR | Congratulations to WRAG members Accenture, Citi, and IBM for being named finalists for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s 2015 Corporate Citizenship Awards! Click here to learn more about why these companies have been chosen as nominees for this competitive award.

HOMELESSNESS/VETERANS | Housing for Homeless Veterans Is Planned For Ex-Walter Reed Site (NYT 8/10)

COMMUNITY | The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy shares a positive experience in collaboration from a recent event held by the Association of Black Foundation Executives in partnership with DC Trust and The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, focused on improving circumstances for black males. (NCRP, 8/7)

AGING | D.C. received high marks on a list ranking the best cities for aging in place based on the availability of technology-assisted services for things like meals, medical care, and transportation. (WBJ, 8/11)

This week, when Google announced its new parent company, the news went wild. Unfortunately, so did this unsuspecting man’s Twitter notifications.

– Ciara

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