Six policy recommendations to preserve affordable housing in the District

HOUSING
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s “Housing Preservation Strike Force” has released six new recommendations for preserving affordable housing units in the city to keep them accessible for lower-income residents (WCP, 6/13):

According to the mayor’s office, the strike force’s six recommendations are:

  • Establishing a preservation unit within a D.C. agency to identify specific affordable-housing opportunities, and to create a database of affordable-housing units
  • Funding a “public-private preservation fund” to “facilitate early investments in preservation deals”
  • Launching a program to renovate affordable housing in “small properties” of between five and 50 units
  • Drafting additional regulations for the District Opportunity to Purchase Act, which allows D.C. to purchase properties that risk losing their affordable-housing subsidies
  • Incentivizing residents and developers to take advantage of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act through “predevelopment activities, legal services, third-party reports, acquisition bridge financing,” and data-collection
  • Creating programs designed to benefit seniors, such as “tenant-based vouchers or other rental assistance”

– The D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development has launched a new pilot program to preserve affordable housing in ward 8, as neighborhoods east-of-the river expect economic development over the next several years. (WCP, 6/10)

PUTTING RACISM ON THE TABLE | While the Putting Racism on the Table learning series has drawn to a close, the lessons learned will linger on in the minds of the attendees. In this blog post, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland asks Julie Wagner of CareFirst and Terri Copeland of PNC to share their deepest insights and major takeaways from the full series. (Daily, 6/13)

EQUITY
– DC Fiscal Policy Institute discusses the importance of approving the Improving Access to Identity Documents Act that would allow District residents with incomes below 200 percent of poverty to obtain birth certificates, driver’s licenses, or ID cards at no charge. (DCFPI, 6/10)

– The Hell of Applying for Government Benefits (Atlantic, 6/12)

LGBT/DISCRIMINATION | In light of Sunday morning’s mass shooting in Orlando, The Atlantic takes a look at how, despite the advances in LGBT rights throughout the years, many still find themselves subject to violence at alarming rates. (Atlantic, 6/13)

PHILANTHROPY 
– Nonprofit Quarterly presents a two-part series authored by president of the F.B. Heron Foundation, Clara Miller, in which she discusses how they’ve worked to build a foundation that continues to evolve and engage with the larger economy. Check out part 1 and part 2. (NPQ, 6/8 and 6/9)

– Funding Infrastructure: A Smart Investment for All (SSIR, 6/10)

ECONOMYWhich U.S. Cities Suffer the Most During a Recession? (City Lab, 6/9)


Tonight is Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Which team are you rooting for? Can it be the Cavs? Please!?

– Ciara

D.C. Council approves $15 minimum wage

DISTRICT/WORKFORCE
Yesterday, the D.C. Council voted unanimously to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour (and the tipped minimum wage to $5 an hour) by July 2020. Additionally, an amendment to conduct a study on the minimum-income system’s feasibility was also passed. (WCP, 6/7)

D.C. Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey S. DeWitt estimates that raising the minimum wage would directly benefit approximately 127,000 workers, [D.C. Mayor Muriel] Bowser said, adding that it would put “more money in the hands of our working families.”

COMMUNITY | Catherine Foca, vice president for programs and operations at the Capital One Foundation, has been named president. Carolyn Berkowitz, who announced her departure from the role in April, will remain as an adviser until October. (WBJ, 6/7) Carolyn has also served as a faculty member for the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility.

PHILANTHROPY | Barbara Harman, founder and president of the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington and executive director of the Harman Family Foundation, talks giving (and considers a new name for the publication) in this fun interview. (WaPo, 6/2)

IMPLICIT BIAS/ECONOMY | A new study looks into the spending habits of black and white Americans at various income levels, and finds a number of differences – some of which, according to the study’s authors, could be attributed to discrimination or implicit bias. (Atlantic, 6/7)

YOUTH/WORKFORCE | The Brookings Institution looks at some of the challenges and opportunities ahead for the economic security and employment prospects of young people. (Brookings, 6/7)

HEALTHScientists Seek Genetic Clues To Asthma’s Toll On Black Children (NPR, 6/7)

MENTAL HEALTH 
– At some universities, master’s and Ph.D. students are providing much-needed counseling services to new immigrants to America who are often uninsured and have experienced high levels of trauma. (NPR, 6/7)

– How to Fix a Broken Mental-Health System (Atlantic, 6/8)


If you’re anything like me, you love a good road trip. Here’s how you can visit 48 state capitals in just over a week.

– Ciara

Watch Putting Racism on the Table | A Case Study: Mass Incarceration

PUTTING RACISM ON THE TABLE/WRAG
The fourth video in the Putting Racism on the Table series is now live! The video features James Bell, J.D., founder and executive director of the W. Haywood Burns Institute, discussing mass incarceration and how structural racism, white privilege, and implicit bias coalesce in the criminal justice system. After you’ve had a chance to view the video, we encourage you to share your thoughts 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.

HOUSING/PHILANTHROPY | Noting the perceived roadblocks to affordable home ownership for low-income residents, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland calls for philanthropy to seed an X Prize to spur innovation in the housing field. (Daily, 6/1)

HOMELESSNESS/DISTRICT | The D.C. Council has unanimously passed a revised version of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s homeless shelter plan. (WCP, 5/31)

HEALTH
– One paragraph that puts the white-black life expectancy gap in (horrifying) context (Vox, 5/31)

Related: Dr. David Williams, quoted in the above article, provided the keynote speech at WRAG’s 2015 Annual Meeting in a presentation titled, “The House that Racism Built.” You can view his presentation here.

– Preliminary numbers compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 2015 show a reversal in a years-long decline in American death rates. A rise in deaths from Alzheimer’s disease, drug use, firearms, hypertension and stroke, injuries, and suicides are among reasons for the uptick. (WaPo, 6/1)

EDUCATION/EQUITY Reports: Homeless, foster kids face enormous hurdles in trying to get to college (WaPo, 6/1)


Could you have taken home the top prize in the recent National Geographic Bee’s final round? 

-Ciara

New partnership brings support for small businesses in wards 7 and 8

DISTRICT/ECONOMY
As part of a new partnership between American University’s Center for Innovation in the Capital and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity, an initiative called Project 500 will offer support to hundreds of small businesses focused in D.C.’s wards 7 and 8. (DCist, 5/4)

Project 500 […] will provide resources to 500 “disadvantaged small businesses,” helping them to “grow in revenue and size over the next three years,” according to a release. Targeted businesses in wards 7 and 8 will include home-based companies and start-up ventures. Help will come in the form of “hands-on training, capacity building, mentoring, and networking support.”

From data gathered between 2006-2010, the Urban Institute found that a vast majority of D.C.’s economically challenged neighborhoods are located in wards 7 and 8. And not much has changed, despite Mayor Bowser cutting the ribbons of a Thai restaurant in ward 7 and a juice bar in ward 8 last year.

– D.C. is often said to be gaining 1,000 new residents per month without much explanation behind the figures. Greater Greater Washington breaks down the data that is actually driving those numbers. (GGW, 5/4)

PHILANTHROPY 
– A growing number of funders are stepping up to get involved in the food waste movement, including Agua Fund and New Venture Fund. Inside Philanthropy ponders whether or not the movement will catch on further in the world of philanthropy. (Inside Philanthropy, 5/3)

– How philanthropy can address barriers to social mobility (Urban, 5/5)

GUN VIOLENCE | The Joyce Foundation, Urban Institute, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies have released a new research report on gun violence in America, along with a roadmap to building safer communities. You can review the report’s top findings here.

HEALTH/CHILDREN
– Judith Sandalow of The Children’s Law Center marks this year’s Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day by highlighting the progress that the District has made in addressing the needs of its youngest residents. (HuffPo, 5/5)

–  Autism Research’s Overlooked Racial Bias (Atlantic, 5/5)

TRANSIT/REGIONMetro To Announce Major Months-Long Rehab Effort Affecting Most Riders (WAMU, 5/5)

WORKFORCE | Have you ever thought about taking on a midlife internship opportunity? Maybe not, but a growing number of companies and social profit organizations are creating opportunities for adults who have taken career breaks to re-enter the workforce through “returnships.” (NYT, 5/5)


Thirty-three years ago, David Copperfield taught us all a big lesson about liberty.

– Ciara

Visualizing the affordable housing deficit across the U.S.

HOUSING
A new report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC ) finds that each county in the U.S. is lacking in affordable housing, and there is no state where someone earning a minimum wage salary could afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment at market rate. NLIHC also created a map to visualize the number of affordable units available to low-income renters by each state. (City Lab, 3/28)

Using 2014 American Community Survey data, the report’s authors calculated the number of units families earning below 30 percent of the median income in their areas could rent comfortably, without devoting more than 30 percent of their income towards housing.

[…]

Overall, the report found that only 31 such units existed for every set of 100 poor families in the U.S. And this deficit increased as families got poorer (only 17 affordable units were available per 100 families in the bottom 15 percent, for example)—and turned into a surplus for those at the higher end of the income ladder.

– At a recent affordable housing forum, vice president and Mid-Atlantic Market Leader of Enterprise Community Partners and WRAG Board member David Bowers, discussed challenges and strategies surrounding affordable housing and community development in the region. (Bisnow, 3/28)

– DC Fiscal Policy Institute examines Mayor Bowser’s proposed fiscal year 2017 budget and what it could mean for affordable housing and rental assistance for District residents. (DCFPI, 3/28)

– Living From Rent To Rent: Tenants On The Edge Of Eviction (NPR, 3/29)

FOOD 
– Meal delivery services are a great convenience, but only when you live in the right zip code. Many of these services don’t extend their offerings to communities that could truly benefit from broader meal options – communities considered food deserts. (DCist, 3/24)

– Organic Foods Still Aren’t As Mass Market As You Might Think (NPR, 3/28)

WOMEN/WORKFORCE | A new report finds that 24 of the 25 largest U.S. cities saw the average rate of growth for women-owned businesses surpass the national average. Further, the report found a funding gap between women and men-owned firms that, if decreased, would strengthen the economy significantly. Citi Community Development is named as a partner in helping female business owners reach their goals. (City Lab, 3/24)


Check out some great photos of the cherry blossoms in full bloom.

– Ciara

Mayor Bowser shares new spending plan

DISTRICT
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser recently shared her latest spending plan. Raising the city’s minimum wage, hiring additional police officers, school modernization, and more were among the topics Bowser touched on (WaPo, 3/24):

Bowser’s budget also sidesteps a potentially bruising battle with advocates for the poor. Her spending plan does not carry out a threat made last year to cut off $10 million in funding for long-term welfare recipients. Instead, she will continue the funding for at least another year on monthly benefits for 6,500 families who have already been receiving checks for five years or more.

Related: Earlier this month, Ed Lazere, executive director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, shared with Daily WRAG readers what legislation to extend Temporary Assistance for Needy Families could mean to a number of households in the District. (Daily, 3/3)

PUTTING RACISM ON THE TABLE | Horning Family Fund Board Chair Missy Young, and lead staffer Dara Johnson, candidly share their reflections on implicit bias and what WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table series has meant to their organization so far. (Daily 3/24)

PHILANTHROPYExponent Philanthropy, the Fund for Shared Insight, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy present the next videos in their series, Philanthropy Lessons, in which funders share their experiences and what they’ve learned in their philanthropic careers. Stay tuned for more videos through June.

ARTS/VIRGINIA | A new documentary explores Reston, Virginia‘s distinctive, people-first urban development led by planner Robert E. Simon, Jr. 50 years ago, and how his ideas have inspired urban revival in other areas ever since. (City Lab, 3/23)

PUBLIC HEALTH/RACISM | OpinionThe color of heroin addiction — why war then, treatment now? (WaPo, 3/23)

JOBS | The Baltimore City Health Department is seeking an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer to serve from July 2016-July 2017. The goal of the AmeriCorps VISTA position is to train and organize Neighborhood Food Advocates for the Virtual Supermarket Program and to support and grow the Baltimore Food Justice Committee. Interested applicants should apply online now through May 15.


Have you ever wondered if you could be one variety of a cherry blossom tree, which tree you would be? Finally, you can find out. I’m a proud Kwanzan myself.

– Ciara

New report on investing in the good food system

FOOD
Arabella Advisors has released a new report, “Investing to Strengthen the Good Food Supply Chain,” and accompanying graphic, “On the Road to Good Food,” identifying areas where they believe capital investments can yield powerful investment returns and significant impact in expanding access to good food.

Developing the infrastructure to supply good food will require more than philanthropy alone can deliver. Most of the solutions we need must come from private-sector commitments—specifically, from investments in companies across the food supply chain that can bring more sustainable, healthy, and affordable food to market

CSR | The deadline to apply for the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards is Friday, April 1. Hint for Nonprofits: Nominating your corporate partners is a great way to show your appreciation and deepen your relationship!

Related: Interested in learning how to build new, stronger, and more mutually beneficial corporate partnerships? Join WRAG and more than 20 CSR professionals from some of the region’s top companies for the 2016 Fundamentals of CSR workshop on April 14-15.

HEALTHGrantmakers in Health, with support from the Aetna Foundation, recently released a supplement on health equity innovations, published in the spring 2016 edition of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. The supplement highlights promising strategies and emerging approaches for building healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities. (SSIR, spring 2016

EDUCATION/INFRASTRUCTURE | A new report looks at the conditions of school buildings across the country, and finds that many are in dire need of maintenance to the tune of an estimated $112 billion to ensure they are safe spaces in good condition. (WaPo, 3/22)

DISTRICT/WORKFORCE | D.C. mayor calls for raising minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020 (WaPo, 3/22)

ARTS
– A new interactive exhibit, “In it Together: Service Members, Community and Dialogue Through Art” at the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center, showcases artwork from service members and veterans. (Inside NOVA, 3/22)

–  D.C. Artists Protest Washington Post No-TYA-Review Policy (AT, 3/22)

– Have you been wondering what happened to those plastic white balls from last year’s “The Beach” exhibit at the National Building Museum? Look no further than the forthcoming Dupont Underground. (WaPo, 3/22)


Sometimes, this is what happens when you ask the Internet to name things.

– Ciara