Introducing the 2016-2017 Philanthropy Fellows

(Top Row: Anisha Boucher, Anne Wagner, Catie Oidtman; Bottom Row: Delisha Thompson, Kevin Donnelly, Nicole Rodriguez)

The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers is excited to welcome the 2016-2017 Philanthropy Fellows! Six students from the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute (formerly known as the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership) are working at five WRAG member organizations this year:

  • Anisha Boucher is supporting communications and development with Amina Anderson at the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region.
  • Anne Wagner is  supporting the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region’s Safety Net Initiative and grantmaking programs with Silvana Straw.
  • Catie Oidtman is working on grants administration and the Healthcare Initiative Foundation Scholars program with Crystal Townsend at HIF for a second year.
  • Delisha Thompson is a public policy fellow working with Maggie Osborn at the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers.
  • Kevin Donnelly is supporting donor services and grants administration at the Community Foundation in Montgomery County, working with Bridget Hanagan.
  • Nicole Rodriguez is working with Tanya Edelin and the Community Benefit department at Kaiser Permanente.

These students are gaining valuable professional experience in philanthropy, making new connections in the community, and bringing fresh ideas and energy to their host organizations. To learn more about each fellow, click here. Check out our website to learn more about WRAG’s Philanthropy Fellows program.

New video is live – Putting Racism on the Table: Implicit Bias

The third video in the Putting Racism on the Table series is now live! The video features Julie Nelson, director of the Government Alliance on Race & Equity at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, speaking on implicit bias. After you’ve had a chance to view the video, we encourage you to share your thoughts on the series or on the specific topic via Twitter using 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. Both can be found on our website.

WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland had this to say of the new release:

We are halfway through the video releases from WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table series! We appreciate you continuing to share your thoughts from the Professor john a. powell installment on structural racism, and the Dr. Robin DiAngelo installment on white privilege. We hope you’ll keep the conversation going with this latest release, as Julie Nelson highlights the ways in which bias and racism play out at the individual, institutional, and structural levels.

– The Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier CountiesGive Choose day, a 24-hour fundraising campaign for 60 area social profit organizations, is in full swing!

– The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is seeking advisory review panelists for its upcoming grant season. D.C residents can nominate themselves or their peers to serve. Find out more about the opportunity here.

– The Healthcare Initiative Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to Mobile Medical Care, Inc. (MobileMed) and Aspire Counseling to support a collaborative program providing integrated behavioral health services for underserved Montgomery County residents.

A recent study by Stanford researchers finds that students in school districts with the highest concentrations of poverty score an average of four grade levels below their more affluent peers in the richest school districts. The study also finds large achievement gaps between white students and their African American and Hispanic classmates, especially in places where there are large economic disparities. (NYT, 4/29)

– AudioLocal D.C. STEM Careers Are Soaring – But For Whom? (WAMU, 5/3)

– A new report looks at the links between higher hourly wages and lower rates of crime. According to projections in the report, “raising the minimum wage to $12 by 2020 would result in a 3 to 5 percent crime decrease (250,000 to 510,000 crimes) and a societal benefit of $8 to $17 billion dollars.” (Atlantic, 5/3)

Want to learn how to prepare cuter, faster (and I do mean very cute and very fast)  meals? This is the cooking show for you.

– Ciara

A setback for youth programming in the District

Yesterday, news broke in The Washington Post about the DC Trust, an organization aimed at “grantmaking, capacity building, and coordination of youth programs and services.” While all the details have not been revealed as of yet, changes at the DC Trust will reverberate across many youth-serving organizations in the District. (WaPo, 4/26)

Related: DC Alliance of Youth Advocates (DCAYA) has released a statement regarding the DC Trust with updated information and their recommendations for a path forward.

The WRAG community is monitoring this situation carefully and looks forward to more information to know how best to respond.

– A report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation looks at the impact of having an incarcerated parent on families. According to the study, nearly 10,000 children in D.C. have a parent who has been jailed. (WCP, 4/26)

– Obama’s advisers just revealed an unconventional solution to mass incarceration (WaPo, 4/25)

– A new study conducted by the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at Case Western Reserve University explores the links between bad housing, lead exposure, and intellectual performance in school. The study finds that “children with both disadvantages (bad housing and lead) performed the worst, scoring 15 percent lower than their peers in better housing with no history of lead poisoning.” (NPQ, 4/21)

– Most High School Seniors Aren’t College Or Career Ready, Says ‘Nation’s Report Card’ (WAMU, 4/27)

– Unconscious bias can creep into every aspect of life – even the sharing economy. A recent experiment on AirBnB (a website for people to rent lodging) in five major cities, including D.C., revealed that hosts were 16 percent less likely to rent to guests with African American-sounding names than they were to rent to guests they presumed to be white. (NPR, 4/26)

Related: In this blog post, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland shared a similar personal experience. When renting a house she owns, she was advised by a friend reviewing her website to remove the image of a person of color. Why? The friend thought that it would limit interest in the property. (Daily, 3/15)

– Following Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s move to restore voting rights to 200,000 people with felony convictions, The Atlantic looks at a history of felon disenfranchisement in the state, often restraining African American political power. (Atlantic, 4/27)

HEALTH | Healthcare Initiative Foundation has announced an award of $45,000 for a planning grant to Community Health and Empowerment through Education and Research (CHEER), the convener of Healthy Long Branch, a consortia of health care providers, social service providers and community groups in Takoma Park and Long Branch. Find out more here.

Anyone interested in chipping in on this tiny town?

– Ciara

Montgomery County schools face challenges in serving increasing numbers of English language learners

EDUCATION/EQUITY | The pushback against proposed changes to the structure of Montgomery County Public Schools’ English for Speakers of Other Languages program highlights the rapid demographic changes in the county and the major academic achievement gap between English language learners and other students:

The number of students learning to speak English as they take classes at Northwood High School has tripled in three years. Many of those 350 teenagers have fled Central America as unaccompanied minors. Some are missing years of education. Not everyone graduates from high school in four years. […]

The plans to restructure come as the number of English-language learners has climbed nearly 40 percent since 2007 in the suburban school system, with more than 22,000 such students this school year — about 14 percent of the system’s 156,000 total enrollment.

HOMELESSNESS | The rate of homelessness in Arlington is declining, down 27 percent from last year and 64 percent since 2013. (ARLnow, 4/6)

COMMUNITY | The Healthcare Initiative Foundation has awarded The Universities at Shady Grove a $648,900 grant to fund 112 scholarships over five years to support students at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Social Work program and the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Nursing. The primary goal of the Healthcare Initiative Foundation is to enhance and expand workforce development in the healthcare field within Montgomery County. The scholarships will provide needed pathways to degrees and careers and will help build a culturally competent healthcare workforce. Read more about the program here.

RACE | Study finds police fatally shoot unarmed black men at disproportionate rates (WaPo, 4/7)

TRANSIT | The Purple Line is one step closer to reality. At this rate, construction might begin later this year and be completed by 2022. (WAMU, 4/6)

HIV/AIDS | The graying of HIV: 1 in 6 new U.S. cases are people older than 50 (WaPo, 4/6)

DISTRICT | This week the Kojo Nnamdi Show has featured a series of stories documenting challenges and changes in neighborhoods east of the Anacostia. (WAMU, 4/4-7)

PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: One of the most prominent advocates for strategic philanthropy reflects on the negative side effects of strategic philanthropy done poorly. (Chronicle, 4/4) – Subscription required.

Dog hockey > regular hockey any day.

– Rebekah

Friday roundup – March 14 through March 18, 2016

 – WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland posed the question, “When was the last time you talked about racism?,” and explained her view on why you should start. (Daily, 3/15)

– Catherine Oidtman, Philanthropy Fellow at the Healthcare Initiative Foundation, shared what she’s learned about going “beyond dollars” in philanthropy. (Daily, 3/14)

Related for WRAG Members: We are now accepting applications from WRAG members interested in hosting Philanthropy Fellows this fall. For more information about this program and how to apply, click here.

Opinion: Lynn Tadlock, Deputy Executive Director of Giving at the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation and WRAG board chair, shared her views on why urgent reform is necessary to put an end to gerrymandering in Virginia. (Loudoun Times, 3/3)

 Why Washington’s transportation is a problem, in one map (GGW, 3/15)

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

– WAMU released their new, four-part series on the continuing struggle for inclusion facing individuals with developmental disabilities in the District. (WAMU,  3/2016)

– The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released their 2016 County Health RankingsIn Virginia, Loudoun County was number one in the overall ranking for health outcomes, and in Maryland, Montgomery County came out on top. (WTOP, 3/16)

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.

Who do you think is the most photographed man of the 19th century?

– Ciara

Philanthropy Fellows in the Field: Learning about the importance of going ‘beyond dollars’

By Catherine Oidtman
Philanthropy Fellow at the Healthcare Initiative Foundation
Catherine is a joint Bachelor’s and Master’s student at the University of Maryland. She is working toward a BA in anthropology and an MPP degree focused in health policy.

Editor’s note: We are now accepting applications from WRAG members interested in hosting Philanthropy Fellows this fall. For more information about this program and how to apply, click here.

I am a Philanthropy Fellow at the Healthcare Initiative Foundation (HIF), an organization dedicated to supporting nonprofit organizations that offer solutions to improving the quality and delivery of healthcare for residents in Montgomery County. Post-graduation I am interested in working with philanthropy and nonprofits on the creation of fully integrated healthy communities policies. When I first heard about the Philanthropy Fellows program, I thought it was the perfect combination of gaining experience in the nonprofit community and learning how philanthropy works in action. Little did I realize just how much I would actually learn through this experience.

When I began my fellowship, I anticipated learning how a foundation operates and its role in the nonprofit community. However, I quickly learned that HIF goes above and beyond just grantmaking. Crystal Carr Townsend, president of the foundation, and the Board of Trustees care about creating a sustainable, high-quality, comprehensive and integrative healthcare system for all residents of Montgomery County. HIF works collaboratively with organizations to establish integrative care that takes into consideration social determinants and the upstream issues (housing, safety, discrimination, access to healthy foods, education, poverty, freedom from violence, environment, etc.) that impact population health outcomes. While HIF is focused on providing comprehensive healthcare, Crystal takes a leadership role in inspiring other entities to collaborate, because many healthcare issues in Montgomery County are impacted by poverty and other social inequities.

My fellowship at HIF has given me countless opportunities that go far beyond just learning about the work of a foundation. I have helped to launch a mentoring program between nursing, pharmacy and social work students at the Universities at Shady Grove and professionals in the community, and I have also gained experience attending professional meetings and Board of Trustee meetings. By accompanying Crystal on site visits, I have seen firsthand how empathy and human connection are critical to addressing complex health issues and to making a positive social impact. This is an inspiring message that I will carry with me as I move forward professionally working in health policy.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with HIF as a Philanthropy Fellow through UMD’s partnership with the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers. This experience has progressed my professional career through enhanced connections in the community and enriched knowledge about foundations, nonprofits, and the importance of integrative healthcare initiatives.

Pockets of poverty still a problem in affluent Montgomery County

A nationwide trend in which poverty has become more suburbanized than ever before, is hitting Montgomery County especially hard. Though the county can be described as affluent, there are areas where income disparities continue to grow. (WaPo, 9/6)

Pockets of need have long existed amid great wealth in Montgomery, where the $97,000 median household income is 12th-largest in the nation. But the pockets are getting wider and deeper, part of a suburbanization of poverty that demographers say is happening nationwide.


Poverty was actually declining in Montgomery at the turn of the century — dipping to 5.1 percent — until two recessions swept away those gains. The countywide poverty rate is now 6.5 percent.

– Students in D.C. face the unique challenge of preparing for high school in the same way that most students must prepare for college – applications, essays, and an intense selection process. For this reason, a number of middle schools are increasing efforts to help students make the transition after eighth grade. (WaPo, 9/5)

– As more and more schools in the region see an increase in undocumented children from Central America, many are struggling to find the capacity to address both educational and psychological needs of the new students. (WaPo, 9/7)

– Introducing The Healthy Communities Working Group (HCWG) – formerly known as the Health Working Group. Director of Safety Net Partnerships at Kaiser Permanente and HCWG Chair, Mindy Rubin, and president of the Healthcare Initiative Foundation and HCWG Vice Chair, Crystal Townsend, share the group’s exciting vision for the future and the reason for the name change in this post. (Daily, 9/8)

– Through Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Plant a Row program, vendors are able to donate fresh produce leftover from the day’s farmers market to local food pantries. Volunteers help to get thousands of pounds of produce to pantries and shelters each week to the benefit of patrons and farmers alike. (WaPo, 9/7)

AGINGD.C. Cops Say They Were Ousted Because of Their Age (WAMU, 9/5)

– As early as October a number of uniformed police officers in the District  may start wearing body cameras in a pilot program to test their effectiveness. While police in Laurel have been wearing cameras for some time, the idea has gained in popularity due to national debates surrounding alleged racial profiling and the threat of violence between officers and offenders. (WaPo, 9/7)

Commentry: Report on Relisha Rudd Misses the Big Picture (WAMU, 9/8)

In case you haven’t heard, Prince George will be a big brother!

– Ciara