Friday roundup – May 16 through May 20, 2016

– Consumer Health Foundation board member Silvia Salazar shared her reflections on the Putting Racism on the Table series and how it has had a meaningful impact on her life in this blog post available in both English and Spanish. (Daily, 5/19)

– Caitlyn Duffy, project associate for Philamplify at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, discussed why she’s challenging philanthropy and other sectoral organizations to talk more explicitly about structural racism, and gave a shout out to WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table series. (NCRP, 5/18)

– In light of the coming dissolution of the DC Trust, WRAG 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.

Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers‘ president and CEO David Biemesderfer shared this open letter to foundations he signed as one of 22 nonprofit and philanthropy leaders, thanking foundations that have invested in nonprofit infrastructure. He also provided some examples of the important work Forum members Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, Maine Philanthropy Center, and WRAG are doing to strengthen communities nationwide. (Forum, 5/17)

– Metro Releases Finalized Long-Term Maintenance Plan. See How Your Commute Will Be Affected. (WCP, 5/19)

Communications and Development Associate | Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing
Associate | Innovation Network, Inc. 
Research Assistant | Innovation Network, Inc. 
Part Time Bookkeeper/Accountant | ACT for Alexandria
Associate Director | Arabella Advisors
Associate Director (Conservation Focus) | Arabella Advisors
Director, Corporate Philanthropy | Council on Foundations
D.C. PrEP for Women Project Coordinator | Washington AIDS Partnership 

Visit WRAG’s Job Board for the latest job openings in the region’s social sector.


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:

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Boston has found a poetic way to beat the rainy day blues.

– Ciara

How segregation leads to shorter lifespans

Yesterday, new County Health Rankings were released with an added measure on racial segregation in America’s counties, in recognition of the fact that segregation has profound effects on an individual’s health outcomes. Evidence shows that racial segregation is making and keeping people sick. (Atlantic, 3/16)

Bridget Catlin, the co-director of the County Health Rankings, said segregation wreaks havoc on the body primarily by stressing it out. In addition to experiencing more violent crime, people in racially segregated pockets might be stranded further from good jobs or the transportation necessary to reach them.

The data might help explain why African Americans fare worse across various health metrics. The average life expectancy for African Americans is still four years shorter than for whites, for example.

– Racism and sexism can present themselves in various aspects of daily life, but the one thing that is probably most expected to be bias-free is surprisingly not – computer programs. Algorithms for computer programs are revealing some unpleasant truths about the ways in which biases persist. (NPR, 3/15)

ARTS | The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Age-Friendly D.C., and the District Department of Transportation have announced a $40,000 grant dedicated to public art with an anti-street harassment message. (DCist, 3/15)

– President & CEO of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers David Biemesderfer, was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Philanthropy & Social Innovation Experts in the Business of Giving Newsletter, published by Philanthropy Media. Congratulations!

Related: In January, new to his role as president and CEO at the Forum, David shared with our readers why he was excited to take the helm of the organization and to support the work of WRAG and our regional association colleagues. (Daily, 1/27)

What Young Donors Respond to Today (Gelman, Rosenberg, and Freedman, 3/9)

– Opinion: We caused the Metro shutdown when we decided to let our cities decay (WaPo, 3/16)

– Though millennials have flocked to cities in droves for years, history and data show that is likely to change at some point. Here’s a look at how cities can prepare for the inevitable population loss. (City Lab, 3/16)

A missed opportunity has bewildered the region.

– Ciara

Friday roundup – January 25 through 29, 2016

– David Biemesderfer, the new president and CEO of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, shared why he is excited to take the helm of the growing organization and to support the work of WRAG and our regional association colleagues in his new role. (Daily, 1/27)

– Exponent Philanthropy, the Fund for Shared Insight, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy presented a video series called Philanthropy Lessons in which funders share their experiences and what they’ve learned in their philanthropic careers. Check out the first two videos in the series and stay tuned for more through June.

– A task force recommended an overhaul of federal prisons to reduce the number of inmates by 60,000 people in the next 10 years. The federal task force also recommended that mandatory minimum sentences only be issued to the most violent offenders, citing drug crimes as a major reason for overcrowding in prisons. (NPR, 1/26)

A report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development found that, despite a narrowing racial gap in business ownership between 2007 and 2012, white-owned businesses continued to be much more successful than those of their black counterparts. The study also found disparities in the performance of  women-owned businesses versus male-owned businesses. (WSJ, 1/25)

– If You Want Clean Water, Don’t Be Black in America (City Lab, 1/26)

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:

Calendar won’t display? Click here.

The fascinating history of highway signs and their fonts.

– Ciara

Very few U.S. neighborhoods are balanced

According to a recent analysis, just 14 percent of U.S. neighborhoods are considered “balanced” – meaning that they are both affordable and that they offer good quality public and private services. (WAMU, 1/27)

Across the country, just 14 percent of neighborhoods manage to be at once affordably priced, walkable and near decent schools. And many of those neighborhoods exist in only two cities: Washington and Seattle, according to a new analysis released Wednesday by the real estate brokerage Redfin.

The findings suggest a substantial mismatch between the neighborhoods where people say they want to live and the homes actually available to them.

– With a record number of Americans shelling out more than half of their incomes each month for rent, the urgent need for affordable housing is difficult to ignore. Enterprise Community Partners‘ Make Room campaign aims to bring awareness to the struggles of families who rent through private living room concerts, in the tradition of rent parties. (NPR, 1/27)

– David Biemesderfer, the new president and CEO of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, shares why he is excited to take the helm of the growing organization and to support the work of WRAG and our regional association colleagues in his new role. (Daily, 1/27)

– The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has released their third edition of GOOD BUSINESS, a publication that celebrates the impact of corporate giving in Northern Virginia and features stories of local businesses that practice corporate social responsibility in ways that benefit the local community. (CFNOVA, 1/26)

– Opinion: Natalie Wexler, education blogger/editor of Greater Greater Education and DC Eduphile, and trustee of the Omega Foundation, explores how the British government has been supporting an American education reform theory that has been slow to catch on right here in the U.S. (DC Eduphile, 1/19)

Lowering The Bar For The New GED Test (NPR, 1/27)

RACIAL EQUITY | If You Want Clean Water, Don’t Be Black in America (City Lab, 1/26)

Check out some real ingenuity when it comes to post-blizzard parking.

– Ciara

Leading a New Network for Philanthropy

by David Biemesderfer
President & CEO
Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers

Earlier this month, I moved from Florida to Washington, D.C. to take on a new role as president and CEO of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. A number of my friends and colleagues have teasingly questioned the wisdom of my decision to move north – particularly during the winter and particularly after the blizzard we just endured. But I am incredibly excited to be a new resident of our nation’s capital city, not just because it’s such a vibrant and growing metropolitan region, but because I have an opportunity to lead a vibrant and growing organization.

The Forum is the largest network serving philanthropy in America, consisting of 33 regional philanthropy associations – including the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) – with more than 5,500 participating organizations. The Forum Network’s greatest strength is that we bring together the dual assets of deep regional roots and a broad nationwide reach. No other organization in philanthropy brings these assets to the table in the way that we do.

The Forum supports and advances the work of WRAG and its regional association colleagues in many ways. We offer staff professional development and peer-to-peer networking opportunities to help people be effective in their regional association work. We strengthen philanthropy’s voice in public policy by building regional associations’ capacity to engage in policy work. We provide an effective vehicle to allow regional associations to share data, information, and resources. And we help regional associations pool their resources and expertise to better serve their members.

The Forum operates as a true network that relies on the contributions of all of its regional association members, and WRAG is an active contributor to the network. Some of WRAG’s recent work – like its “Our Region, Your Investment” affordable housing initiative and its “Putting Racism on the Table” lecture series – are shining examples of how regional associations can play an impactful leadership role in their regions, and Forum members will continue to learn a great deal from WRAG’s leadership efforts.

Over the next two years, the Forum will begin implementing a new vision. We plan to broaden our network to bring together the assets of the Forum with the assets of national philanthropy-serving organizations – specifically national issue-based, identity-based, and practice-based affinity groups – to create a “one-stop shop” for philanthropies to find and engage others with similar interests, share knowledge, and advance policy. We will put our new vision into action through an inclusive, collaborative, iterative, and co-designed process with current and new partners, guided by a design team comprised equally of representatives of regional associations and national affinity groups.

I’m honored to be taking over the helm of the Forum at this pivotal moment for the organization and for the philanthropy field, and look forward to being an active member of the Washington, D.C. community (weather challenges aside). Working with wonderful members and partners like our neighbor, the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, I am committed to making significant progress in how we support, connect and advance philanthropy in our country.

Note: WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland served on the Forum’s Board of Directors from 2009 to 2015.


New report on the power of the grantmaking/grantseeking relationship

The Daily WRAG will return on Monday, November 23 as we prepare for our 2015 Annual Meeting!

The Center for Nonprofit Advancement has released a new study, Return on Investment, diving into the challenges facing social profit organizations trying to enhance services while also sustaining resources. The report looks into social profit professional development, capacity building, and grantmaker engagement/relationships to better meet the needs of the sector. (Center for Nonprofit Advancement, 11/18)

WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland said this of the report’s findings:

“According to Return on Investment, a new release from the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, the social profit/nonprofit community needs and wants more unrestricted dollars, more professional development support, and a relationship of equals with their funders. Research by the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers shows that funders recognize the ‘lack of funding’ as the number one need of social profits, and note ‘capacity building grants’ as the third highest category of their grantmaking after ‘project/program specific’ and ‘general operating grants.’ And for the last two years, the funding community has ranked ‘collective impact’ as the number one trend that they see in philanthropy; so the notion of arriving at a shared vision between the philanthropic and social profit sectors – planning among equals – may be more on the horizon than is immediately apparent. To my colleagues in the social profit/nonprofit sector, I would say, ‘I don’t think we’re missing the mark, I think we’re at the early stages of an exciting culture shift. Onward.’”

You can click here to access the full report.

– The philanthropic and social profit communities have experienced a great loss as Rick Cohen, well-known national Nonprofit Quarterly correspondent, thought-leader, and social justice advocate, has passed away (Chronicle, 11/17):

“His loss will be inestimable to many of you, as it is to us,” Nonprofit Quarterly editors wrote in announcing the death. “Rick will be remembered for his integrity, his powerful and nimble intellect, his unyielding courage in pursuit of truth, his commitment to social justice, and his humor.”

–  The board of directors of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers has announced longtime philanthropy executive and current president and CEO of Florida Philanthropic Network David Biemesderfer as the organization’s next president and CEO. His new role will begin in mid-January 2016. Click here to find out more about the appointment.

– For the seventh-consecutive year, Booz Allen Hamilton has received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT equality in the workplace. (Booz Allen Hamilton, 11/18)

TRANSIT/MARYLAND | Md. receives four proposals to build light-rail Purple Line (WaPo, 11/17)

EDUCATION/PHILANTHROPY | Bloomberg Business takes a look at how more public universities are pushing for ambitious fundraising goals as some of their private peers have been the recipients of mega gifts in recent years. (Bloomberg Business, 11/12)

RACIAL EQUITY/SOCIAL JUSTICE | Police Are More Aggressive Overall in Encounters With African Americans (City Lab, 11/17)

When it comes to public speaking, it’s all about using your hands.

– Ciara