Survey looks at perceptions of public safety in the District

DISTRICT 
A newly-released survey of District residents aims to provide a baseline idea of perceptions of public safety throughout the city and encourage greater collaboration with neighborhood police. The report (by the Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC), the Council for Court Excellence, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation) finds that residents in Ward 8 feel the least safe compared to residents in other areas of the city. (PR Web, 6/28)

District of Columbia residents who live in Ward 8 feel the least safe of any in the city, are more likely to have observed or experienced a violent crime, and are least likely to trust police than others who live here.

[…]

The survey findings come amid heightened concern about rising rates of homicides in major cities nationally. While data from the DC Metropolitan Police Department show that property crime is down and violent crime is level in the District as compared to a year ago, there has been a troubling spike in homicides. According to a recent report for the Department, between 2014 and 2015, there was a 54% increase in the number of homicides across DC with the increase mostly concentrated in the Northeast and Southeast quadrants. Between January and May of 2016, the number of homicides in Ward 7 tripled from the rate during the same period a year ago.

The full report, Perceptions of Public Safety, can be found here.

HEALTH/COMMUNITY | Jennifer Schitter, principal health planner at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, shares the partnership between their Region Forward Committee and WRAG’s Healthy Communities Working Group on a collective, cross-sector approach to shed light on how social, economic, and environmental factors influence health at the zip code level. (Daily, 6/28)

Related: The Healthy Communities Working Group has also just released their Theory of Change, illustrating a vision toward a better region “where communities across all jurisdictions are thriving, and all people are living their lives to their fullest potential.”

PHILANTHROPY | On Exponent Philanthropy‘s blog, Katherine B. Wright, executive director of the Wright Family Foundation, shares how her family’s organization stepped into the policy arena and witnessed the power of the collective voice of philanthropy. (Philanthrofiles, 6/24)

AGING
– According to a Freddie Mac survey of the housing plans and perceptions of people born before 1961, over five million in this age group anticipate moving to rental units by 2020, further placing pressure on low-income rental inventories. (Freddie Mac, 6/28)

– So you’re thinking about retirement? Find out which areas in the region were recently named among the best cities to do so. (ARLNow, 6/27)

– Nonprofit Work After Retirement? Maybe You Can Make It Pay (NYT, 6/24)


It is with a mix of sadness and excitement that I must share that today will be my last day at WRAG and writing The Daily WRAG :(  Rebekah Seder will be taking over once again – on a modified schedule – as I will be making my transition to another organization in the WRAG family. Sincere thanks to anyone who has ever responded to any of the weird things that I’ve posted down here, or has sent a kind note to let us know they are reading. I will certainly miss my colleagues I’ve had the great privilege of working with over the past couple years and am so happy to say that I won’t be going far. 

– Ciara

Does your zip code determine how long you will live? WRAG and COG join forces to explore

By Jennifer Schitter
Principal Health Planner
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments

What does housing, economy, education, transportation, public safety, environment, and land use have in common? They all have an impact on our health.

Inequalities in community health by location reflect the interplay of social, economic, and environmental factors that differentiate the quality and duration of life for residents from one Metro stop to another.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Region Forward Committee is partnering with the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) and its Healthy Communities Working Group (HCWG) to use a cross-sector approach to illuminate such disparities at the neighborhood level (Region Forward Sectors below). Once uncovered, both targeted policy and resource decisions by community stakeholders can have an impact on the lives of our communities. This collective approach to incorporate health considerations into decision-making is commonly referred to as Health in All Policies (HiAP).

In June, local health officials and health funders from across the region joined together to discuss the HiAP opportunities and challenges seen within their own efforts. A few of the comments are listed below:

 HiAP Opportunities:

“It offers the opportunity for people outside of the public health field to share a common objective and interest in health and well-being.”

“An equitable society where all citizens have an opportunity to reach their full potential.”

  HiAP Challenges:

 “Implementing HiAP often involves gaining buy-in and support from other sectors and definitely involves a multi-sector effort, all of which take time and rarely is there funding to do so.”

 “Probably the biggest barrier is the name itself – those outside of the health space are too easily confused. Too often they think HiAP is about clinical care because of the name – and reactions like ‘why should we care about healthcare in transportation polices’ become the norm.”

By COG and WRAG partnering to break down barriers by using cross-sector data, it will show just how where we live impacts the lives we live. This will ultimately assist policy makers in deciding where to invest their time, money, and resources for the greatest community benefit. Although there are some challenges, health officials, funders, and elected officials are optimistic in making health a priority across the metropolitan Washington region.

In search of funding certainty for Metro system

TRANSIT/REGION
Acknowledging the Metro transit system as “the lifeblood of the region,” the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments look to other regional transit systems’ funding sources for inspiration, and continue to rally for greater support behind a dedicated funding source for our own region’s transit system. (WBJ, 6/14)

After saying in May they would have a funding proposal crafted by September, officials with the Greater Washington Board of Trade and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments [COG] now say they will slow down the process. They now expect to have a plan by the end of the year but will spend a year garnering support before taking it to the Virginia and Maryland general assemblies in early 2018.

The groups said COG will help determine a metric to measure Metro’s progress to boost the argument for more money.

POVERTY/HOUSING/EQUITY | Using some adorable cartoons to drive home the point, Vox explores the effects that living in certain environments can have on a person’s life – particularly for African Americans. Montgomery County, Maryland is used as one example of what can happen when children from low-income families move to wealthier neighborhoods. (Vox, 6/6)

ARTS/EQUITY | Who Can Afford To Be A Starving Artist? (Createquity, 6/14)

EDUCATION/WORKFORCE | While quality early-childhood education often receives widespread support, wages for childcare workers remain low, despite increasing demands to deliver good outcomes. (Atlantic, 6/14)

HEALTH/POVERTY | What Happens When You Can’t Afford Self-Care? (Talk Poverty, 6/13)


What does your dog wear on special occasions? These canines are redefining glamour. 

– Ciara

Homelessness rises unevenly across the region

HOMELESSNESS/REGION
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments recently shared the results of the Annual Point-in-Time Count of Persons Experiencing Homelessness. Overall in the region, the homeless population rose by five percent from 2015 to 2016, though not spread evenly across the area. The report urges more aggressive action to bring affordable housing to families in Greater Washington. (WAMU, 5/11)

According to the Annual Point-in-Time Count of Persons Experiencing Homelessness […] there were 12,215 people who were homeless across the nine local jurisdictions that participate in the yearly census, which took place on Jan. 28.

That’s up from the 11,623 homeless people in the region at the same time last year.

[…]

In D.C., the number of homeless people increased by 14 percent, while it went up by 12 percent in Frederick County. Things went in the opposite direction for the rest of the region, though. In Arlington County, Loudoun County and the City of Alexandria, the number of homeless people decreased by 27, 20 and 16 percent, respectively.

The full report can be accessed here.

– The number of homeless families in D.C. has risen by more than 30 percent in comparison with a year ago. Further, the District’s homeless children and their parents outnumbered homeless single adults for the first time since the annual census began in 2001. (WaPo, 5/11)

RACISM/COMMUNITY
–  In a letter to the editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, WRAG president Tamara Copeland calls on organizations to talk about racism, and reflects on how the topic of diversity is sometimes used to deflect deeper conversations about race and racism in society. (Chronicle, 5/12).

– In his most recent blog post adapted from a panel presentation at last week’s GEO conference, Rick Moyers, vice president for programs and communications at the Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, summarizes Meyer’s experience with the 28 organizations they’ve supported in implementing the Benevon Model for increasing individual giving. His take away? “I wish we’d known at the outset that the goal was to change organizational culture.” (Meyer, 5/11)

Related: Rick is the first speaker in WRAG’s Nonprofit Summer Learning Series. Catch him on June 23 addressing The Dos & Don’ts of Working with Grantmakers!

ECONOMY/REGION | Region’s innovation economy needs boost or risks being ‘laggards’ (WBJ, 5/12)

MARYLAND | Study: Gaithersburg Is The Most Diverse City In America (DCist, 5/11)

HEALTH | A new study finds a 44 percent increase in hospitalizations for ischemic (the most common type) strokes among people ages 25 to 44, despite a 20 percent overall drop among all Americans. (WaPo, 5/11)


Conference calls, you’re the worst! Well…maybe not the worst, but honestly, does anyone actually enjoy them?

– Ciara

A glimpse into the region’s future

REGION
According to a new regional forecast from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the region’s population will continue to grow steadily and will add nearly 1.5 million residents over the next 30 years. Job growth is also expected to be significant. Officials are concerned a surge in residents to the region will continue to present challenges in providing affordable housing and quality transportation. (WaPo, 3/9)

The [District] is projected to expand from 672,000 residents last year to 987,000 in 2045, when it will be just shy of replacing Prince George’s County as the region’s third-most-populous jurisdiction, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG).

Fairfax and Montgomery counties will continue to rank first and second. They and other counties in the region will continue to grow. But only Charles County, which is a quarter of the District’s size, will gain population at a faster rate than the city.

Related: Last year, 2030 Group president Bob Buchanan and George Mason’s Center for Regional Analysis senior adviser and director of special projects Stephen Fuller, led the charge to undertake an extensive research project providing recommendations for ways in which the region can reposition itself to maximize potential and remain competitive in the global economy titled, The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy. WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland also shared how philanthropy in the region might respond and collaborate with other sectors to meet challenges facing our communities. (Daily 1/15)

HEALTH
– As misconceptions change about what the “face of HIV/AIDS” looks like, grassroots efforts are proving to be helpful in empowering those who are newly diagnosed. (WTOP, 3/10)

– Medicaid Rules Can Thwart Immigrants Who Need Dialysis (WAMU, 3/8)

EDUCATION/HOMELESSNESS | With recently-announced plans to replace the D.C. General shelter with smaller facilities, some are growing concerned about what the changes may mean for overcrowding in surrounding schools. (WCP, 3/8)

PHILANTHROPY/GENDER EQUITY | Mind the Gap – How Philanthropy Can Address Gender-Based Economic Disparities (PND, 3/8)

ARTSOpinion: One theatergoer shares his experience watching a popular Broadway show featuring a diverse cast, and how he felt when he look around and noticed the audience was anything but. (NPR, 3/8)

JOBS | The Abell Foundation is seeking to fill its Grants Associate position.


This quick quiz will guess your age, marital status, and income based on which mobile apps you have on your phone. My own results came pretty close! 

– Ciara

Opening date set for D.C.’s latest landmark museum

ARTS
The  Smithsonian Institution has announced that the highly-anticipated National Museum of African American History and Culture is slated to open September 24, 2016. A week-long celebration will also coincide with the opening of the new landmark museum. (WBJ, 2/2)

The National Museum of African American History and Culture has amassed a collection of 11 exhibits to trace the history of slavery, segregation and civil rights. Some of the collections will also illustrate African-Americans’ achievements in the arts, entertainment, sports, the military and the wider culture.

Related: In 2013, Dr. Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, spoke to our community about the enduring relevance of history to social change efforts today. (Daily, October, 2013)

– Who Should Pay for the Arts in America? (Atlantic, 1/31)

REGION/ECONOMY | The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments recently released their 2016 State of the Region: Economic Competitiveness report. The report  measures a wide range of indicators – from graduation rates to Gross Regional Product and poverty levels to parks – to assess the region’s current and future economic health. (MWCOG, 1/13)

COMMUNITY
Angela Jones Hackley has been named the interim Executive Director of DC Trust. Previously, she served as the former Vice President of Philanthropic Services and interim president of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region.

– Local social profit leader Amanda Andere has been selected as CEO to lead Funders Together to End Homelessness, a national funder coalition focused on ending homelessness in America.

– The Fauquier Health Foundation recently announced a new name, new look, and more than $2.5 million in grant funding for small and large community projects in 2016. Fauquier Health Foundation will now be known as the PATH Foundation, which stands for Piedmont Action to Health.

HEALTH
– Following the tragic loss of her grandson due to alleged child abuse, a grandmother is advocating for reform to boost mental health services in Maryland that she believes could save other families from going through what hers did. (WaPo, 2/1)

Why Are So Many Middle-Aged White Americans Dying? (Atlantic, 1/29)

NATION/ECONOMY | Why Some Still Can’t Find Jobs As The Economy Nears ‘Full Employment’ (WAMU, 1/31)


We’re counting on you, Potomac Phil.

– Ciara

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments releases new annual report on homelessness in the region

HOMELESSNESS/REGION
Though there were a number of reports over the last few months that pointed toward disappointing numbers, newly-released results from the annual point-in-time homelessness count found that the Greater Washington region saw a 2.7 percent decrease in homelessness from last year. Despite the slight drop, there is still much room for improvement. (WaPo, 5/13)

The tally, released Wednesday, confirmed a continued crisis of homelessness in the Washington region evident to almost anyone who lives, works or visits the city’s downtown core during winter, when homeless men and women amass in entrances to Metro stops and many other spots where they can stay warm. It also may have understated the challenge still faced by D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), who has vowed to end chronic homelessness in the city.

Much of the overall dip resulted from a 300-person drop in homeless parents and children in D.C. shelters on the night of the count.

But unlike last year, when the number of homeless families peaked near the date of the 2014 federal count, this year several hundred entered shelter or were placed in overflow motel rooms in the District throughout February, March and even early April.

[…]

Beyond the District, numbers of homeless families also surged this winter in the city of Alexandria and in Fairfax, Frederick and Montgomery counties. Given that trend, few on Wednesday celebrated the slight decrease in the total from last year’s count.

The data comes from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments new annual report, Homelessness in Metropolitan Washington.

–  D.C. Department of Human Services Director Laura Zeilinger spoke on the District’s own six percent decrease in homeless residents, stating that a celebration of the results would be too premature, “because there are still far too many people [who are homeless.] (City Paper, 5/13) 

Southeast D.C. facility for homeless veterans gets a boost (WaPo, 5/13)

WRAG/PHILANTHROPY | Interested in following the conversation from WRAG’s first-ever Loudoun County Philanthropy Conference? Check out the hashtag #FundLoudoun on Twitter to see what panelists and participants are saying.

NONPROFITS | Next month, the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, in partnership with the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, will hold a new, four-part communications series/training for leaders of nonprofits based in or serving residents of wards 7 or 8. The multi-day training seeks to help organizations strengthen their voices and raise awareness about issues affecting residents east of the river. For more information on how to register, click here.

POVERTY
Opinion: A number of emerging new studies are examining the long-term effects of government programs like the earned-income tax credit, Medicaid, SNAP, and more, on families. Though data can only go back so far, there is evidence that children whose families received benefits have better outcomes as they enter their 20s and 30s than those whose families were denied benefits. (NYT, 5/11)

Obama Urges Liberals and Conservatives to Unite on Poverty (NYT, 5/12)


How well can you read the emotions of others? Sometimes it’s all in the eyes! Take this quiz to see if you can tell what these people are thinking.

– Ciara