Maryland high school graduation rates have increased

EDUCATION | According to a new report by the Maryland State Department of Education, graduation rates have increased slightly across the state. Rates improved among students who receive free and reduced meals, special-education students, and black students. There was a small decline among students with limited English proficiency. (Baltimore Sun, 1/24)

Graduation rates improved statewide for the class of 2016 across 10 jurisdictions, including by 1.13 percentage points in Baltimore and 1.08 points in Anne Arundel County, according to the data.

The rates fell slightly in several Baltimore suburbs. Harford County’s graduation rate dipped to 89.09 percent, down 0.85 of a point. Howard County decreased by roughly a quarter of a point to 93.21 percent, and Carroll dropped about three-quarters of a point to 95.13 percent.

Prince George’s, Montgomery, Calvert, Cecil, Queen Anne’s, Caroline and Dorchester counties also saw gains. Cecil County showed the largest gain, rising about 2.9 percentage points.

EQUITY | Anthony Pleasant, Owner of Pleasant Assembly, discusses the barriers that exist for returning citizens, including network and perception, and encourages funders to take more risks. (Daily, 1/25)

HEALTH
– A bill that would block D.C. from using local tax dollars to subsidize abortion services for low-income women has passed in the House. (WaPo, 1/24)

– Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has introduced new measures to address the state’s opioid epidemic. (WaPo, 1/24)

– Language may impact diabetes care for Latinos with limited English (Reuters, 1/23)

LGBTQ | Virginia Senate committee approves two pro-LGBT bills (Washington Blade, 1/23)

ARTS & HUMANITIES | A new exhibit at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum will explore the Latinx experience in the Baltimore, Washington, Raleigh-Durham, and Charlotte metropolitan areas. (HillRag, 1/24)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE | A D.C. councilmember wants to offer police officers eligible for retirement an incentive to stay on the force: doubling their salary in their fifth year. (WaPo, 1/25)

IMMIGRATION | A Virginia undocumented immigrant rights activist loses her battle to avoid being deported (WaPo, 1/25)


Another red panda is loose in the area…

-Kendra

New report closely examines racial and ethnic incarceration disparities in each state

MASS INCARCERATION/RACISM
A new report examines the rates of incarceration for whites, African Americans, and Hispanics state-by-state, finds three contributing factors to the racial and ethnic disparities in those rates, and makes some recommendations for reform. (Sentencing Project, 6/14)

Truly meaningful reforms to the criminal justice system cannot be accomplished without acknowledgement of racial and ethnic disparities in the prison system, and focused attention on reduction of disparities. Since the majority of people in prison are sentenced at the state level rather than the federal level, it is critical to understand the variation in racial and ethnic composition across states, and the policies and the day-to-day practices that contribute to this variance. Incarceration creates a host of collateral consequences that include restricted employment prospects, housing instability, family disruption, stigma, and disenfranchisement.

Related: In the most recently released video of WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table series, James Bell, J.D., founder and executive director of the W. Haywood Burns Institute, discussed mass incarceration and how structural racism, white privilege, and implicit bias collide within the criminal justice system.

OUR REGION, YOUR INVESTMENT | Our Region, Your Investment is gaining traction with local investors, with a recent $500,000 investment from the Diane and Norman Bernstein Foundation. Says Joshua Bernstein, president of the foundation (Daily, 6/16):

The Diane and Norman Bernstein Foundation is working to address the deficit in housing affordability in the D.C. area. An investment in the Enterprise Community Impact Note aligns our investment strategy with our mission and leverages our impact.  We are grateful for the opportunity that Our Region, Your Investment has created to invest funds in ways that promote additional investment in housing solutions.

COMMUNITY/LGBT/PHILANTHROPY | Following the recent tragedy in Orlando, a number of WRAG members have organized efforts to provide support to victims and their families or share valuable resources with those serving LGBT communities. Wells Fargo has announced a donation of $300,000 toward victims and community recovery through the OneOrlando fund, set up by the City of Orlando and administered by the Central Florida Foundation. The Council on Foundations has shared a resource guide created by Funders for LGBTQ Issues featuring Orlando’s local LGBTQ social profit organizations and fundraising efforts for the victims, and the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region has also shared resources for those who want to help.

EDUCATION/DISCRIMINATION/VIRGINIA | Students at Alexandria’s public schools are bringing to light what they describe as “excessive, discriminatory and reckless approach[es] to discipline” from the school system. Today, The Kojo Nnamdi Show explores those claims and the research that supports their argument. (WaPo, 6/3 and WAMU, 6/16)

Related: On Thursday, July 7, the third installment of WRAG’s Public Education Speaker Series (supported by The Omega Foundation and the Tiger Woods Foundation) tackles the topic of racial and gender disparities in school discipline, with Professor Anne Gregory of Rutgers University. WRAG members can click here to register.

ARTS/CULTURE African American Museum prepares for ‘a mini-inauguration’ (WaPo, 6/15)

PUBLIC HEALTHGun Violence ‘A Public Health Crisis,’ American Medical Association Says (NPR, 6/14)


Going back to school is tough at any age, but imagine going back to the 10th grade at age 68! This grandfather shows us it’s never too late.

– Ciara

Region tops areas for entrepreneurship

ECONOMY/REGION
According to a new report, Washington, D.C. takes the top spot in the country for entrepreneurial cities. Maryland and Virginia ranked high at the state level (DC Inno, 6/3):

This is actually the second year in a row that the D.C. area has been top ranked in entrepreneurship, but the overall growth of entrepreneurship in the U.S. is notable, with only four cities earning a lower score than last year, and some cities dropping in rank despite higher scores only because others jumped ahead. And while D.C. was the center of entrepreneurship in terms of city rankings, Virginia and Maryland were numbers one and two respectively when it came to comparisons by state, no doubt aided by the gravitational pull of the D.C. metro area, along with some impressive numbers out of Baltimore.

CHILDREN/POVERTYThe Families That Can’t Afford Summer (NYT, 6/4)

SOCIAL JUSTICE/MASS INCARCERATION | Despite research showing that employment leads to lower rates of recidivism, many returning citizens are met with endless barriers to joining the workforce. (Atlantic, 5/31)

Related: Following the Putting Racism on the Table session on mass incarceration, Graham McLaughlin of the Advisory Board Company and returning citizen and business owner Anthony Pleasant discussed their personal insights into the justice system and the many challenges facing returning citizens. (Daily, 4/25)

PHILANTHROPY
– MacArthur to Give $100 Million to 1 Group to Solve 1 Big Problem (Chronicle, 6/2)

– Could the future of philanthropic giving lie within a mobile app? (Co.Exist, 6/3)

ENVIRONMENT/RACISM | For some African Americans, a long history of racial discrimination has prevented them from feeling as though they can fully embrace the U.S. park system. (City Lab, 6/2)

TRANSIT/REGION
– WAMU takes a look at how Metro’s SafeTrack plan will impact the District’s 8,500+ public school students throughout the summer and early fall. (WAMU, 6/6)

–  Metro’s SafeTrack Is Underway: Here Are Your Transportation Alternatives (WCP, 6/3)


Dear middle school pen pal from Turkey whose letter I never got around to responding to – I failed you miserably.

– Ciara

Friday roundup – April 25 through April 29, 2016

THIS WEEK IN THE DISTRICT/THIS WEEK IN YOUTH
DC Trust interim Executive Director Angela Jones Hackley and board chair Marie Johns shared a message to friends and colleaguesregarding news that broke in The Washington Post about the organization. (WaPo, 4/26)

–  The District has one of the highest rates of asthma in the U.S. and many of those sufferers are lower-income children. Despite this fact, a planned homeless shelter in ward 5 is slated to open right near a bus garage. (WaPo, 4/23)

THIS WEEK IN MASS INCARCERATION
– Following a recent Putting Racism on the Table session on mass incarceration, Graham McLaughlin of the Advisory Board Company and returning citizen and business owner Anthony Pleasant discussed their personal insights into the justice system and the many challenges facing returning citizens. (Daily, 4/25)

– A newly-released report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation explores 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)

– When Parents Are in Prison, Children Suffer (NYT, 4/26)

THIS WEEK IN POVERTY
– Ahead of WRAG’s upcoming Brightest Minds event featuring author and Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University Eldar Shafir on May 18WRAG Philanthropy Fellow Hannah Davis broke down the idea of the “scarcity trap,”and why having too little is a such a big deal. (Daily, 4/26)

THIS WEEK IN HEALTH 
 Thousands Leave Maryland Prisons With Health Problems And No Coverage (NPR, 4/24)

–  Heroin epidemic worsens in Virginia (WTOP, 4/25)


WRAG’S COMMUNITY CALENDAR
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: myers@washingtongrantmakers.org.


Calendar won’t display? Click here.


When you hug a dog, they probably want you to stop doing that…according to psychology.

– Ciara

For some, disparities in access to work benefits

WORKFORCE/RACIAL EQUITY
A new study from the Center for American Progress finds dramatic disparities in African American and Latino workers’ access to flexible work schedules, paid leave, and vacation in comparison to their white counterparts. (HuffPo, 4/27)

[…]  when you compare a Latino worker with a white worker who is otherwise identical when it comes to educational attainment, type of job and earnings, the Latino worker is still less likely to have access to paid leave.

“This, to me, indicates that it’s not about trying harder, working harder, or going back to school to get a better job,” [report co-author, Sarah Jane] Glynn said. “This is someone’s ethnicity: They can’t work harder to get better access, it appears to be stacked against them.”

HOMELESSNESS 
– A report from the Downtown Business Improvement District on the state of downtown D.C.’s real estate and economic activity finds that, while the area added jobs, office vacancy rates rose, downtown residency declined, and the number of people experiencing homelessness increased citywide (WCP, 4/27)

– More Funding Needed to End Chronic Homelessness (DCFPI, 4/27)

COMMUNITY
– The Crimsonbridge Foundation and the Georgetown Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership (CPNL) have launched a new scholarship fund aimed at developing the leadership of Greater Washington region social profit organizations. The Crimsonbridge Leadership Fund will provide scholarships to CPNL’s Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program for leaders at locally-based and locally-serving organizations. Applications are due by May 2. More information can be found here. Contact the Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership with any questions at npmcert@georgetown.edu or (202) 687-5541.

– The DC Trust has announced their FY16 Summer Strong DC grant competition. High-performing, social profit youth development organizations in D.C. that serve youth between the ages of 5 and 24 with programming that addresses key developmental outcomes can apply for summer program funding.

HEALTH
– Brian Castrucci, Chief Program and Strategy Officer of the de Beaumont Foundation, candidly shares his personal health challenges and progression in order to shed light on the privileges that afford some people the opportunity to improve their circumstances, while others have very limited options. (HuffPo, 4/26)

Whitman-Walker releases details on 14th Street project (WBJ, 4/27)

MASS INCARCERATIONWhen Parents Are in Prison, Children Suffer (NYT, 4/26)

ARTS | A global art movement is headed to D.C.’s NoMa neighborhood, featuring murals by local and international artists. (Washingtonian, 4/27)

PHILANTHROPY
– Center for Effective Philanthropy president Phil Buchanan writes about the five most pressing issues he sees facing U.S. foundation leaders and their boards. (CECP, 4/28)

–  A New Website Serves Up 500 Years of Philanthropic History (Chronicle, 4/26) Subscription required.


A professor wants to make you feel better about yourself through his non-traditional CV.

– Ciara

A setback for youth programming in the District

DISTRICT/YOUTH
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.

MASS INCARCERATION
– 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)

EDUCATION
– 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)

RACISM/REGION 
– 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

Food insecurity rates remain high in the U.S.

FOOD
According to a new report, high rates of food insecurity in the U.S. following the recession have yet to come back down, in spite of rising employment rates. (City Lab, 4/22)

Food insecurity in America is an issue that can be hard to see. It is not synonymous with poverty: two-thirds of food-insecure households have incomes above the national poverty level, according to new data from The Hamilton Project. The same report also demonstrates that the way food insecurity is measured often masks the extent of the problem. Instances of food insecurity often arise suddenly and temporarily, and as a result are difficult to track from year to year.

RACIAL EQUITY
– Following the recent Putting Racism on the Table session on mass incarceration, Graham McLaughlin of the Advisory Board Company and returning citizen and business owner Anthony Pleasant discuss their personal insights into the justice system and the many challenges facing returning citizens. (Daily, 4/25)

– While many residents living in neighborhoods with very limited access to quality, well-stocked stores would be glad to have the ability to order from fast online delivery retailers à la Amazon Prime, if they happen to live in a predominately black neighborhood, most will find that such services rarely extend to their neck of the woods. The pattern plays out in many metropolitan areas, including the Greater Washington region. (Bloomberg, 4/21)

HEALTH | Thousands Leave Maryland Prisons With Health Problems And No Coverage (NPR, 4/24)

ENVIRONMENTD.C. Public Housing Buildings Will Get Solar Panels as Part of Sustainability Project (WCP, 4/25)

VIRGINIA
– Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe recently signed an executive order restoring voting rights to around 200,000 convicted felons. (DCist, 4/22)

AudioThe Kojo Nnamdi Show explores the economic impact of changing demographics in Fairfax County and across the Washington region. (WAMU, 4/25)

DISTRICT/YOUTH
–  The District has one of the highest rates of asthma in the U.S., counting many of its sufferers as lower-income children. Despite this fact, a planned homeless shelter in ward 5 is slated to open right near a bus garage, to the dismay of critics. (WaPo, 4/23)

–  D.C. Auditor: Summer Youth Employment Program Needs More Private-Sector Involvement, Yearly Independent Evaluation (WCP, 4/25)

PHILANTHROPY | In the movement toward creating more equitable communities, is philanthropy largely overlooking one potential solution – worker ownership? (Chronicle, 4/20)


It’s always a good day for a sandwich. Which of these have you tried?

– Ciara