Efforts to shed light on housing affordability in the region and beyond

HOUSING
Over the past six months, Leadership Greater Washington, in partnership with WRAG, has hosted a thought-leadership series on housing affordability. Last week’s session on regional solutions featured the Roadmap for Our Region’s Economic Future, the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group, and WRAG’s Our Region, Your Investment initiative – all efforts in which WRAG is very involved. The Washington Post published a story on the importance of housing affordability to our region and focused specifically on the work of the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group. (WaPo, 5/28)

[…] a group of local leaders representing government, business and the philanthropic sector is studying whether to propose a “regional compact” in which the Washington area as a whole would commit to addressing runaway housing costs.

If nothing is done, they warn, the problem of overpriced housing will fester until it eventually explodes into a widely recognized crisis — much as the Metro transit system’s problems were ignored for years until they recently triggered a burst of attention.

Gretchen Greiner-Lott, who leads these efforts for WRAG, had this to say of the coverage:

Solving big issues takes collaboration. The Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group is just that – a regional, cross-sector collaboration of committed folks working on the issue. I am so pleased to see our work highlighted in the media.

– A new report released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, along with an interactive website supported by JPMorgan Chase, provide a close look at the disparity between rental housing costs and renter income in every jurisdiction in the U.S. In order to be able to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment in D.C., one would need to earn $31.21 an hour; $26.53 an hour in Maryland; and $22.44 an hour in Virginia. (NLIHC, 5/25)

– A new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities examines a decline in federal support for housing aid for families with children. Despite the damaging effects of the Great Recession to many families with children, the share of federal housing assistance that went to those families declined over the last several years. (City Lab, 5/26)

COMMUNITY 
– The Council on Foundations recently named Floyd Mills as its Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This role is a new position “intended to advance the Council’s work to promote inclusiveness as a fundamental operating principal in philanthropic organizations.” (COF, 5/23)

– Trustee, member of the board of directors, and Veterans Liaison for the PwC Charitable Foundation, Frank Guadio, recently sat with The Huffington Post to discuss best practices for collaboration on issues related to veterans. (HuffPo, 5/25)

REGION
– An annual ranking by the Trust for the Public Land places D.C. at number three and Arlington at number four on its list of the best U.S. cities for parks. Factors to determine the ranking included: accessibility; amenities; size; and the amount of money spent per resident on parks. (WaPo, 5/26)

– Loudoun County Reportedly the “Happiest” County in America (Washingtonian, 5/31)


A new art exhibit appeals to the procrastinator and/or perfectionist in all of us. 

– Ciara

Rebranding the region

REGION
As part of the Roadmap effort, the 2030 Group has announced the hiring of global brand consultant Interbrand to develop a marketing campaign for the region that is expected to launch in early 2017 with the help of a rebranding working group (WBJ, 5/12):

The marketing campaign is part of a larger effort by the 2030 Group to identify weaknesses in the region’s economy and come up with ways to boost growth in a time of federal austerity. The organization has spearheaded working groups to explore affordable housing and how area colleges and universities can work more closely with the business community. A working group exploring a regional transportation authority has been suspended as Metro embarks on its yearlong effort to fix major problems, [2030 Group’s Bob] Buchanan said, although he still hopes to restart that conversation in the future.

Related: Last year, the 2030 Group’s Bob Buchanan and the Center for Regional Analysis’s Stephen Fuller undertook an extensive research project called, The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy, to recommend ways the region can reposition itself to remain competitive in the global 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)

COMMUNITY
– In light of the coming dissolution of the DC Trust, WRAG has 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. Funders and advocates for children and youth will be watching closely as the DC Council votes on the proposed budget this month.

– BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) recently named Consumer Health Foundation president and WRAG board member Yanique Redwood as one of 36 leaders in their 2016 BALLE Local Economy Fellowship. In this blog post, she discusses why she looks forward to working with other members of her cohort and continuing along a path toward community transformation. (Be a Localist, 5/12)

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has announced plans to create a $500,000 endowment for its Innovation Fund, following a $250,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor. They’ve also announced the launch of a new online-fundraising platform, Granted. (WBJ, 5/13)

FOOD 
– Prince Charitable Trusts presents a short film in their series about farming and food, titled The Culture of Collards, which recently  premiered at the DC Environmental Film Festival. The film traces the cultural heritage of collard greens from Portugal, to Africa, to the American south during the slave trade, up to their current state as a popular staple in many kitchens today. The 9-minute film features culinary historian Michael Twitty; owner of Three Part Harmony Farm in Northeast D.C. Gail Taylor; and City Blossoms co-founders Rebecca Lemos and Lola Bloom.

Related: In 2014, Michael Twitty kicked off WRAG’s Brightest Minds series with a discussion about building a more inclusive food movement. Check out this post that followed his talk, then take a look at the exciting lineup for WRAG’s Brightest Minds programs for the rest of the year. Brightest Minds programs are open to the public.

– The Ongoing Need for Healthy Food in Corner Stores (City Lab, 5/12)

EDUCATION
– As the acknowledgment of the importance of quality pre-k education in a student’s future success picks up steam across the country, some states continue to struggle with making these programs accessible to millions of children. Locally, D.C. made progress by serving more 3- and 4-year-olds than ever during the 2014-2015 school year. (WaPo, 5/12)

– The troubling shortage of Latino and black teachers — and what to do about it (WaPo, 5/15)


Which of the seven deadly sins do some of the most popular social networks represent? Pinterest is spot-on!

– Ciara

Another year of decline in domestic migration

REGION/ECONOMY
A new report from George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis looks at the migration trends of the region’s population. According to the report, the region experienced its second straight year of decline in domestic migration. (WBJ, 3/28)

Domestic migration was responsible for a loss of 25,200 people from 2013 to 2014, according to the report. The last time the region had positive domestic migration was from 2013 to 2014, when 25,200 moved here.

[…]

People are leaving the region for a combination of factors that also includes overall affordability — child care and housing are the biggest — and the growth and opportunities in other areas of the country. Some U.S. regions had sluggish economies themselves right after the Great Recession but have recently seen stronger growth.

Center director Terry Clower also cites research from The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy for its recommendations on ways the economy can improve.

Related: Last year, the 2030 Group’s Bob Buchanan and the Center for Regional Analysis’s Stephen Fuller undertook an extensive research project called, The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy, to recommend ways the region can reposition itself to remain competitive in the global 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)

– Both D.C. and Montgomery County are eyeing a minimum wage increase to $15. (WAMU, 3/25)

HOUSING
– In their latest blog post, the D.C. Office of Revenue Analysis explores how rents in the city are so high despite many residences being subject to rent control. (District, Measured, 3/23)

NPR takes a glimpse into the courtrooms of D.C.’s Landlord and Tenant Branch where mostly low-income renters and their landlords squabble over issues of rent payments and substandard living conditions. (NPR, 3/28)

ARTS
– In Reston, officials are revisiting the allocation of funds for public art. (Reston Now, 3/25)

– D.C.’s Fillmore Arts Center will be saved for another year (WaPo, 3/25)

PHILANTHROPY
A recent survey looks at the philanthropic activity predictions of 400 leading private bankers and wealth advisors who manage around $500 billion in assets for ultra-high net worth individuals. (NPQ, 3/24)

– Have a look at Fortune‘s 2016 list of the World’s Greatest Leaders in philanthropy, arts, business, government and more. (Fortune, 3/2016)

CSR/SOCIAL PROFITS | Audio: How Nonprofits and Corporations Can Join Forces (Chronicle, 3/25)

EDUCATIONHow to Graduate More Black Students (Atlantic, 3/23)


Do you live in a paper napkin, cloth napkin, or paper towel household?

– 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

A rebound for the region’s economy

ECONOMY/REGION
After federal sequestration caused a blow to the region’s economy a few years ago, there are signs of progress in the area as economic sources of growth diversify. A new report from the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, however, raises awareness that the growth may not be reaching everyone. (WaPo, 1/28)

There are signs that the region is emerging from that slowdown, which one local economist calls a “dark period” for jobs and wages, perhaps with a more diversified economy less dependent on government dollars. But the authors of the new report warn that Washington’s economy risks further leaving behind racial minorities and the poor in the years to come.

Related: Recently, The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy was released to provide recommendations for ways in which the region can reposition itself in order to maximize its potential and remain competitive in the global economy. WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland also expanded on the ways in which philanthropy in the region might respond and collaborate with other sectors in order to meet the challenges facing our communities. (WBJ 1/14 and Daily 1/15)

– 2015 was seen as a big year for job growth in the region according to economists. The region is said to have had job growth that outpaced the national rate. (WaPo, 1/26)

A New Way to Rank Economic Growth in America’s Metros (City Lab, 1/28)

EDUCATION | Spending in nation’s schools falls again, with wide variation across states (WaPo, 1/27)

PHILANTHROPY | Exponent Philanthropy, the Fund for Shared Insight, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy present 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.

HEALTH | While a person’s lifestyle is a major contributor to how healthy they will be, studies confirm that socioeconomic factors are also a big part of one’s health outcomes. Those disparities become even more apparent as inequality reaches peak levels. (BSR, 1/27)

JOBS
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is hiring for a Manager of Grants and Scholarships.

– Independent Sector is hiring an Associate of Programs and Practice for their Programs and Practice department.

– Funders Concerned About AIDS is hiring a Program Associate.

– The Walton Family Foundation is hiring for several roles.


Barbie is about to get a little more realistic.

– Ciara

How will philanthropy respond to the Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy?

By Tamara Copeland
President
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

 

It was just last January that WRAG said “count us in” to Bob Buchanan and Stephen Fuller as the 2030 Group joined with the Center for Regional Analysis to develop a roadmap for the region’s future economy. Today, that roadmap was released.

It identifies seven industrial clusters in which Fuller and his team believe our region has a competitive advantage:

  • Advocacy
  • Information and communications technology
  • Science and security technology
  • Biological and health technology
  • Business and financial services
  • Media and information
  • Business and leisure travel

It is on these industries that he recommends we focus our economic development efforts. But before we do that, the regional leaders who Buchanan and Fuller convened over the last year cautioned that we must address three regional deficits: 1) transportation and housing affordability; 2) the lack of a shared regional brand; and 3) insufficient collaboration between the academic and business communities to foster an entrepreneurial culture.

Philanthropy is already making progress on housing affordability. Just last week, WRAG announced a major philanthropy-led initiative, Our Region, Your Investment, to address the housing affordability challenges in our region. And following the presentation by Jennifer Bradley, co-author of The Metropolitan Revolution, at WRAG’s 2015 annual meeting, philanthropists in the region are ready to learn more about what their colleagues did in Northeast Ohio when that region suffered a devastating loss of manufacturing jobs.

Locally, philanthropic leaders have been primed for this conversation for some time. They recognize that they must continue their efforts on workforce development, but it seems that philanthropic leaders are now ready to go deeper into economic development than ever before. Why? Because they know that the stakes are very high when you consider what contributes to the vitality of our region.

Perhaps Stephen Fuller’s presentation at WRAG’s 2012 annual meeting was a turning point. He cautioned his audience of philanthropists that declining federal procurement spending in our region needed to be acknowledged and addressed. Then in 2013, that admonition became very clear as local social profit organizations[i] and their clients struggled with the impact of sequestration and the 16-day shutdown of the federal government. People whose incomes were tied to the federal government were without wages, and as more people live paycheck-to-paycheck, the impact of that revenue loss was immediate. Social profit organizations were doubly affected. The demand for their services was increasing at the same time that they were laying off their own staff because they, too, were reliant on the federal government through federal grants. This was no longer theoretical. This was real.

Now, we have a plan and the work of philanthropists in Northeast Ohio may be a model. To Fuller and Buchanan, I say maybe the third deficit should note “insufficient collaboration between the academic, philanthropic, and business communities to foster an entrepreneurial culture.” The philanthropic community is ready to roll up its sleeves and be an engaged partner in broadly shifting the economic reality of our region. So, once again I say, “Count us in.”


[i] Just a reminder that I try to use the term “social profit organization” instead of “nonprofit” to celebrate the fact that these organizations provide value to society, turning this into a positive term.