A new bill would make changes to the DC Youth Rehabilitation Act

CRIMINAL JUSTICE
– In September, DC’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council released a study on the Youth Rehabilitation Amendment Act, which provides sentencing alternatives for offenders under the age of 22 who have committed certain crimes. The study found that the current law didn’t offer programs tailored to rehabilitating youth. A new bill would change this. (WaPo, 10/31)

A bill to overhaul the District’s troubled Youth Rehabilitation Act would limit the number of young offenders eligible for more lenient sentences and require judges to justify — in writing — why they are giving convicts benefits under the law.

But the bill also would require the city to offer new treatment and services to young-adult offenders, a change that is being applauded by juvenile-justice advocates, many of whom had been openly critical of adding any restrictions to the 32-year-old law.

– Virginia State Crime Commission briefed on marijuana decriminalization study, hears from public (Richmond Times, 10/30)

PHILANTHROPY | Congratulations to Mardell Moffett for being named executive director of The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation!

RACIAL EQUITY | Yanique Redwood, vice chair of WRAG’s board and president and CEO of Consumer Health Foundation, reflects on the response she received from nonprofits after the foundation began requiring prospective applicants to complete a racial equity impact assessment tool when applying for grants. (Daily, 10/31)

ARTS & HUMANITIESNew Public Art Project Connects Anacostia Historic District to River (East City Art, 10/30)

LGBTQ | Yesterday a US District Court judge rejected the administration’s ban on transgender people serving in the military. (DCist, 10/30)


Gretchen suggested I put something “spooky” in the Daily, so here you go – the story of Northern Virginia’s Bunnyman!

– Kendra 

Racial Equity Impact Assessment: A Tool for Funders

By Yanique Redwood
President and CEO, Consumer Health Foundation

Consumer Health Foundation (CHF) is no stranger to racial equity. The foundation was born from Group Health Association, a healthcare cooperative founded in the 1930s to provide pre-paid healthcare to its members in racially integrated settings. Our institutional predecessor was acting on racial equity at a time when Jim Crow was still alive and well. This legacy compels us to continue pushing the envelope to ensure that our investments are truly impacting communities of color.

For the first time in our history, CHF now requires that potential grantee partners use a racial equity impact assessment (REIA) tool when applying for a grant. According to Race Forward, REIA is a systematic examination of how different racial and ethnic groups will likely be affected by a proposed action or decision. REIAs are used to minimize unanticipated adverse consequences in a variety of contexts, including the analysis of proposed policies, institutional practices, programs, plans and budgetary decisions. The REIA can be a vital tool for preventing racism and for identifying new options to remedy long-standing inequities.

In partnership with Western States Center and borrowing from existing tools, CHF has developed an REIA tool that can be found here. We trained our nonprofit partners to use the tool and then embedded the tool in our request for proposals. For the top three policy changes at the center of our partners’ advocacy efforts, we asked that they use the tool to aid in their racial equity analysis and discuss how their work might shift as a result of their intentional focus on racism.

We have gotten feedback from nonprofit organizations that have used the tool. Here is a sampling of what we have learned:

Using the tool required greater staff participation. Completing the proposal required the participation and interaction of program staff, executive directors and board members. Development staff could not complete the proposal alone. One organization hopes to engage its constituents in using the REIA tool moving forward.

The tool affirmed values. The tool helped organizations to put in writing what was in their heads and hearts. For one organization, the REIA tool helped their leadership to lift up, make visible and be explicit about its commitment to racial equity.

The tool was useful. The REIA tool provided an opportunity to examine the bigger picture and helped organizations to further develop their policy recommendations and define data needs. Some organizations reported slowing down, stepping back and looking at their work in new ways.

Using the tool was challenging. Many of the organizations said that it was challenging to use the tool. It was time consuming and, at times, daunting. Some were not sure how deep or how broad the responses should be.

The tool helped shift the focus to affected communities and root causes. Some questions provoked staff to think more about the communities that could be adversely affected by their policy recommendations. They also considered how they could assist communities in better understanding systems of power. The tool also pushed organizations to reflect deeply on root causes.

In addition, some organizations not only used the REIA tool in developing their proposals, they also shared it with their affiliates, partner organizations, board members and coalition members.

From this feedback, we gather that tools like these are pivotal in helping organizations to make the shift toward operationalizing racial equity. We will continue to refine the tool and make it less cumbersome and thus easier to use. We will also provide more opportunities for nonprofit organizations to practice using the tool. For funders interested in adapting the tool in their own grantmaking, CHF is available to help.

Impact Investing in the DC Region: One Foundation’s Journey to Identify Peers and Uncover Best Practices

by Kate Lasso
Director of Finance and Administration
Consumer Health Foundation

As the finance director for the Consumer Health Foundation (CHF), my responsibilities include supporting the management of our endowment and how it is invested. CHF works at the intersection of health equity, racial equity and economic justice and we have been engaged in socially responsible investing (i.e. using positive and negative screens on our endowment) for several years. Recently, we began exploring impact investing as a way to further our mission and positive impact in the region. As part of that exploration, between February and March 2017, I interviewed representatives from 22 DC area foundations to learn about their experiences with impact investing. The questions included:

(1) current level of engagement in impact investing
(2) preference of Mission Related Investments (MRIs) or Program Related Investments (PRIs),
(3) which characteristics of impact investing were more important to them
(4) which social sectors were priority areas for investing for them
(5) what were barriers to engaging in impact investing in the DC region and
(6) how did they find out more about impact investing.

Below is a summary of what I learned.

Barriers and Challenges

The top cited barriers to engaging in impact investing included organizational culture, internal readiness, convincing the board, and lack of education/knowledge. Another challenge, especially related to impact investing in the DC area, was the inability to identify viable investment opportunities. Several respondents expressed reluctance to turn to individuals or groups who had a vested interest in impact investing, usually because they had an investment opportunity or product to promote. Respondents were seeking ways to find information and advice from an honest broker who could help them better understand the impact investing space and identify potential investment opportunities without being “pitched.”

Ideas and Solutions

The need for education about impact investing was a recurring theme, especially for foundation trustees and senior leadership. Increased knowledge and understanding about impact investing could directly address a number of the top-cited barriers including convincing the board to engage in impact investing and improving internal readiness.

Other field-building work that could enhance impact investing in the DC region includes supporting non-profits to help build their capacity as PRI recipients and, related to this, creating an information bank for foundations wishing to engage in impact investing, but who do not know how to find viable opportunities for themselves.

Several respondents noted that their expertise in impact investing came not just from educational opportunities but also from their experience. While trial and error was an effective form of professional development for some, a number of other respondents were looking to learn from the experiences of their peers prior to jumping in. Respondents also indicated that a report on impact investing strategies and opportunities in the DC region, describing both successes and the failures, would be useful in their learning journeys and convincing their foundations to engage.

Another suggested route to creating receptivity on the Board level, especially in family foundations, was to engage the next generation of family members, since the younger generation was often already expressing interest in impact investing.

Developing a clear strategy for impact investing, including clear Board guidance and determining the amount of funds available, were highlighted by respondents as essential to the process.

The final point worth noting is the fact that a majority of respondents were willing to accept a lower financial return on their impact investments in exchange for the opportunity for higher social return.

Conclusion

It’s important to remember that impact investing is a new field which is still developing its term definitions, business practices and relationships with both investors and investee organizations. In addition, measuring social returns is still a work in process, with few reliable indicators for social priorities such as racial equity, for example. But there is foundation interest in understanding and experimenting with impact investments, provided they can be supported in this process by a network of like-minded experts and peers.

Given the potential that impact investing has as a financial tool for the philanthropic sector, I look forward to working with WRAG and others who care about the DC region to engage more fully in this important work.

Reflecting on two decades of D.C.’s public charter school system

EDUCATION | D.C.’s public charter school system has officially been running for two decades this year. With slightly higher scores on academic tests and higher graduation rates than traditional public schools, the advocate who started it all helps to reflect on its flaws and advises on the future. (WaPo, 11/20)

The District’s charter school movement turned 20 at the start of this academic year. During the past two decades, charters have grown from three schools educating 160 students to more than 100 independent schools that educate almost 42,000 students, close to half of the District’s public school enrollment.

The city has one of the highest percentages of students enrolled in charter schools in the country, behind New Orleans and Detroit. School choice advocates hail the city’s charter schools as a model for the nation, while critics say that parents have more chance — a lottery ticket to get into one of a limited number of sought-after schools — than real choice.

PHILANTHROPY/RACISM
-WRAG has released its next video in its Structural Racism Theater series. Watch “Darkness in Emerald City” here!

Related: In case you missed it, last month WRAG’s president Tamara Copeland discussed the goal behind Structural Racism Theatre and why we here at WRAG felt the need to go outside our comfort zone with these videos. (Daily, 10/31). And, you can check out the first video, “A Pernicious Compromise,” here.

-Yanique Redwood, Consumer Health Foundation’s President and CEO, reflects on the dismay many of us have felt since the election and urges us to finally confront the U.S.’s racist roots. (CHF Blog, 11/21)

GENTRIFICATION/DISTRICT
-Often, gentrification brings resentment, but in this Shaw neighborhood, longtime residents also find new purpose in interacting with their new neighbors. (WaPo, 11/20)

To Stop Adams Morgan Building, Group Tests New Approach: Squatter’s Rights (WAMU, 11/21)

-The 11th Street Bridge project’s purpose is to bridge a community. And, before that happens, these local groups are supporting the communities that will be impacted by the development. (NextCity, 11,21)

JUSTICE | The Maryland Court of Appeals is hoping to change the bail system with a new rule that forbids judges from setting high bail for a person if they’re not a flight risk or a danger to society. (WaPo, 11/18)

TRANSPORTATION | The Federal City Council offers a new solution to our Metro problem: toss out the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Compact and start over. (WBJ, 11/21)

NONPROFIT | A new bill in Virginia would put new restrictions on individuals working with outside groups to register people to vote. (Richmond Times, 11/20)


Our feet have the power to light Dupont Circle at night!

-Kendra

D.C. Mayor Bowser affirms the District is a sanctuary city

IMMIGRATION| Yesterday, Washington, D.C., the 7th largest destination in the United States for immigrants in 2010, joined many other cities around the nation in declaring it will still be a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants. (DCist, 11/15)

“We are a sanctuary city because we know that our neighborhoods are safer and stronger when no one is afraid to call on our government for help, and when our police can focus on protecting and serving,” Bowser said in a statement last night. “The values, laws, and policies of Washington, D.C. did not change on Election Day. We celebrate our diversity and respect all D.C. residents no matter their immigration status.”

WRAG COMMUNITY| The Daily WRAG is daily once more! As you all know, we’ve published the Daily almost every day as we’ve looked for a permanent editor, and through a shared partnership with Consumer Health Foundation, we’ve found one; me, Kendra Allen. I look forward to continuing the work of previous Daily WRAG editors and making sure that you get relevant, timely regional news in your inbox every day. Read more about the transition here. (Daily, 11/16)

PHILANTHROPY| Opinion: David Biemesderfer, President of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, discusses how philanthropy can leverage the public’s trust in charities to heal the divisions exposed by the 2016 Presidential Election and to continue creating equitable communities. He also pledges the Forum’s leadership role in this work. (Forum of Regional Association of Grantmakers, 11/14)

HOUSING| Ward 8 has the most affordable house prices in the District, but it also holds the title for the lowest homeownership rates at only about 24 percent. The Ward 8 Homebuyers Club is working to change this. (GGW, 11/15)

NORTHERN VIRGINIA| This week Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church elected officials met to discuss how they can work together on transit and other social services that can help their communities save money. (WaPo, 11/16)

HEALTH EQUITY
DC Council passes assisted suicide bill (Washington Examiner, 11/15)

-Maryland has a state medical marijuana program, but few doctors have signed up. As a result, most people in need won’t be able to receive this care from their physician and will have to travel. (Baltimore Sun, 11/14)


Is the little owl on number 9 of these Comedy Wildlife photographs all of us next week leaping to the table when Thanksgiving dinner is ready?

Kendra

The home care workforce and systemic inequity

WORKFORCE/HEALTH/EQUITY
– As the population of Americans over the age of 65 rapidly increases, home care workers have become critical players in the healthcare system, performing the extremely necessary, but undervalued, services that help older adults stay in their homes. As home care workers are disproportionately women of color, their low wages and limited worker protections are an example of the intersections of structural racism and sexism in the workforce (City Lab, 10/11):

The big problem for home-care workers appears to be the same one that has plagued domestic workers since the days of black in-house “help”: that in-home service work has been subject to a gendering and racialization of labor that has largely carved it out of the labor movement, creating barriers to the kind of protections afforded to unions and industries mostly comprised of men. While organizations led by women of color have a strong history of organizing to advance the interests of in-home workers, domestic workers are still exempt from many provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the National Labor Relations Act. Home-care workers—as members of a more regulated industry where strikes and labor shortages directly endanger lives—are afforded more protections than domestic workers, but still lag far behind others in the health field. While home-care workers are much more likely to have health insurance than domestic workers, their wages often still fall well short of living wages. Home-care workers were only just granted full federal overtime and minimum wage protections in October 2015.

– This month the Consumer Health Foundation‘s blog is featuring a series of interviews related to the direct care workforce (which includes home care workers), highlighting how strengthening this workforce can both improve health care and advance economic justice. The first two interviews are with the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute and Home Care Partners. (CHF, 10/4)

Related: Back in 2011-2012, a working group of WRAG members focused on aging convened a year-long series to examine issues related to the direct care workforce. Some of learnings are summed up in What Funders Need to Know: Quality Jobs = Quality Care.

JUSTICE
– A bill that would reform the District’s juvenile justice system just passed a first vote in the DC Council. (DCist, 10/11)

Md. attorney general’s office raises constitutionality questions about state’s cash bail system (WaPo, 10/11)

– Here’s an interview with the Public Welfare Foundation about their work to advance worker’s rights, criminal justice reform, and juvenile justice reform. (NCRP, Summer 2016)

HEALTH/YOUTH | Anti-tobacco bills advance in District, would raise age to buy cigarettes to 21 (WaPo, 10/11)

SOCIAL INNOVATION | The U.S. Department of Education has announced its first-ever Pay for Success awards, focused on scaling career and technical education programs and dual language early education programs.

PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: Ditch Strategic Philanthropy — but Don’t Throw Out Strategy With It (Chronicle, 10/4)


Check out these amazing entries for the National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest.

– Rebekah

The role of philanthropy in addressing racism | Dr. Gail Christopher’s Putting Racism on the Table talk now available

PUTTING RACISM ON THE TABLE/WRAG | The sixth and final video in the Putting Racism on the Table learning series is now live. At the last session, Dr. Gail Christopher, Senior Advisor and Vice President for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, discussed the role of philanthropy in addressing racism and racial inequity in America.

Upon the completion of the learning portion of Putting Racism on the Table, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland said:

“Gail Christopher’s talk closed out a powerful learning journey for our region’s philanthropic community. We hope that these videos are fostering a deeper understanding among the wider community about structural and institutional racism, white privilege, implicit bias and how these forces have shaped our society. Events over the past two years, and especially this past week, drive home the urgency of this understanding – and also the urgency of action. WRAG looks forward to continuing Putting Racism on the Table as it transitions into a training series for our members, and to positioning the philanthropic community to potentially take substantive action on racism.”

After you’ve had a chance to view the video, we encourage you to share your thoughts via Twitter with the hashtag #PuttingRacismOnTheTable, or by commenting on WRAG’s Facebook page. We also suggest checking out the viewing guide and discussion guide to be used with the video.

EQUITY | Yesterday Fairfax County passed a resolution that will require the county to take racial and social equity into account in decision-making. (WTOP, 7/12) You can read the full resolution, “One Fairfax,” here.

RACISM/RACIAL JUSTICE| In a special guest post on the Consumer Health Foundation blog, Nat Williams, executive director of the Hill-Snowdon Foundation, reflects on last week’s killings and issues a powerful call to action for racial justice. (CHF, 7/11)

WORKFORCE | The Near Impossibility of Moving Up After Welfare (City Lab, 7/12)

EDUCATION
– At racially and economically diverse schools, parents with means often have more influence with school officials, marginalizing the needs of lower income students and families. (Atlantic, 7/13)

D.C. school lottery may cause parental anxiety, but it’s a research gold mine (WaPo, 7/11)

HEALTH | A new study found that nicotine use is on the rise among teenagers, thanks to e-cigarettes. (NY Times, 7/11)

PHILANTHROPY | With Millions at Stake, Some Foundations Slash Consulting Budgets (Chronicle, 7/12)

COMMUNITY | We are pleased to share that Ciara Myers, former WRAG program associate and editor of the Daily, has joined the staff of the Meyer Foundation as their new communications manager. Congrats, Ciara!


When the police have to issue public warnings about safety when playing a game on your phone, you know things have gone too far.

The Daily will be back on Friday!

– Rebekah