Friday roundup – March 21 through March 25, 2016

THIS WEEK IN THE WRAG COMMUNITY
Reflections on implicit bias were shared by Board Chair Missy Young and lead staffer Dara Johnson from the Horning Family Fund. (Daily 3/24)

– The Consumer Health Foundation‘s Kendra Allen interviewed Sequnely Gray, Community Engagement Coordinator for So Others Might Eat and a TANF recipient, about her experience advocating for families on TANF and the impact of benefit time limits. (CHF, 3/21)

THIS WEEK IN EDUCATION/REGION
– A new report found significant racial disparities in the acceptance rates among selective academic programs at public schools in Montgomery County. (WaPo, 3/22)

 In Loudoun County, a proposal that would concentrate mostly low-income, majority Hispanic students into two schools is evoking memories of “separate but equal” policies of the past. (WaPo, 3/20) 

THIS WEEK IN HEALTH
–  Grantmakers in Health, with support from the Aetna Foundation, released a supplement on health equity innovations, published with 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)

–  OpinionThe color of heroin addiction — why war then, treatment now? (WaPo, 3/23)

THIS WEEK IN 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.


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.


Are you #TeamPancakes or #TeamWaffles? Personally, I found both to be far too filling.

– 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 

 

Promoting effective philanthropy for Greater Washington | A second quarter report to the community

By Tamara Copeland
President
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

A few years ago, there was a lot of talk in the social profit sector about moving from good to great. Some in that sector may be surprised to learn that folks in philanthropy have been having a similar conversation. What does it take to ensure effective philanthropy? How can we ensure that funds are being invested in the best way to truly improve the region?

So, for the second quarter of 2015, WRAG took “promoting effective philanthropy” as our focus:

WRAG’s “Fundamentals of CSR” seminar, held in April, aimed to promote effective partnerships between corporate funders and the region’s social profit community. Our belief was that corporate philanthropy’s impact would be strengthened by having community partners who better understood the unique philanthropic perspective of corporations. Over 50 members of the local social profit community participated in this very well-received workshop and told us that their knowledge about CSR improved from an average of 4.8 on a 1-10 scale before the seminar, to 7.9 by the end of the two-day seminar. Great. Now, we have to wait a bit to see if that knowledge gain makes a difference.

In May, Community Wealth Building took front and center as we hosted – along with the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, the Consumer Health Foundation, and City First Enterprises – the first community update on this initiative. The standing-room-only audience was eager to learn the status of the first business launched under the community wealth building umbrella, and to consider if they saw a place for themselves in this initiative. Many did! So, after several years of planning, community wealth building is taking off in our region. Great? I sure think so.

Next, affordable housing. We all know the current state of this as a crisis in our region. In May, WRAG and Enterprise Community Partners collaborated to present to the Federal City Council on a new funding pool that we are establishing for developers of affordable housing units. It will provide these developers with access to low interest bridge loans. This is exciting and innovative work for WRAG, and is creating buzz as we move into the impact investing arena. Stay tuned for an announcement next month about how you can be involved in this effort, too. It’s not just for institutional philanthropists. We can all play a role in enabling affordable housing in our region. Definitely a move from good (info gathering) –> to great (taking action and making a difference).

And, last, but definitely not least, what will it take to move the social profit sector in Loudoun County from good to great? More communication across sectors and more targeted and increased philanthropic investments. To get there, WRAG hosted our first philanthropy conference in Loudoun County. Over 100 people attended, including 40 funders, along with representatives of social profit organizations and local government. Now that interest in the county has been kindled, the next step is a meeting this summer to really talk about how to move from interest to action.

There will be no lazy, hazy days of summer at WRAG. Moving from good to great takes time, energy, and focus. We’re glad to play a part with philanthropy in our region. Happy summer everyone!


You can read Tamara’s first quarter report to the community about growing philanthropy in our region here

Growing philanthropy in our region | A first quarter report to the community

by Tamara Copeland
President
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

“Why aren’t there more national funders investing in our region?”

“Who else is funding XXX?  I need to know so we can coordinate better.”

“I can’t be the primary funder forever.  YYY needs more funding partners.”

At WRAG, we hear these comments and others like them all of the time from our members. This quarter “growing philanthropy in the region” has become our focus.

Most of the time, at WRAG, we wear the hat of the convener, or the voice of philanthropy, or the information aggregator.  For the first quarter of 2015, we have elevated another aspect of our work – fund developer. I know that this isn’t a descriptor that you typically associate with WRAG, but it is central to our role. Even our mission statement says that in addition to promoting effective and responsible philanthropy, we are “to increase philanthropy in the region.”   So, we’ve taken a number of new steps this quarter to do just that.

In January, Dr. Sherece West-Scantlebury, CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation in Arkansas, spoke at WRAG’s CEO Coffee and Conversation series.  Why?  Because Sherece had done a phenomenal job of bringing national funders into Arkansas, a state that, like the Greater Washington region, was rarely the pilot site of any major national initiatives.  We wanted to learn how she and her colleagues had managed to bring in millions in new revenue to social profits located in Arkansas in a relatively short period of time.  We heard her message of bold, coordinated action. Now a group of WRAG members is exploring how we might move forward in a similar way in our backyard.

In February, we launched the Get on the Map campaign, an effort to gather data on who is giving to which social profits in our region. Why? On the surface, this may appear to be a simple data mapping project.  It is that, of course, but it is also a means of assessing where investments are not being made in the region, and of providing a platform that might lead to better coordination of giving — a service that the WRAG community has wanted for years.

This month, we announced a new WRAG initiative, a two-day workshop on the Fundamentals of Corporate Social Responsibility.  Why?  Because we know that every funder and every social profit organization – both grantor and grantee – wants to expand the funding pool.  Through this workshop, we hope to help the local social profit sector better understand the constraints and opportunities that rest in the corporate community.  This knowledge will lead to more focused, appropriate proposals and to better partnerships to address the overall needs of the region.

And, it doesn’t stop there. In May, WRAG will be shining a spotlight on the needs of Loudoun County, just as we did years ago on Prince George’s County. Why? To showcase a part of our region that needs  greater philanthropic investment.  Many believe that WRAG’s role made a difference in Prince George’s. Now we hope to do the same thing in Loudoun.

It’s springtime. The seeds are being planted.  You’ll know when they bear fruit!

Friday roundup – Feb. 23 through Feb. 27, 2015

THIS WEEK IN THE REGION/POVERTY/EDUCATION
A new study from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service – analyzing demographic changes in 66 cities between 1990 and 2012 – shows that city centers continue to become more affluent as inner suburbs continue to see a rise in poverty rates. The shift in demographics has some local school districts contemplating how best to accommodate the growing diversity of their students. (WaPo, 2/26)

In 1990, the poverty rate was highest in the center of the District, and it fell as you traveled farther into the suburbs. In 2012, however, poverty was lower in the city center but spiked in the inner suburbs, four to five miles out, before dropping again in the outer suburbs and exurbs.

That change means that the number of low-income children are rising in traditionally affluent and high-performing school systems. Schools in Montgomery County, which has a reputation as a tony suburb of the nation’s capital, have seen the rate of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals — a rough proxy for poverty — rise from 29 to 35 percent just since 2009. Across the Potomac River in Northern Virginia, the share of students receiving free and reduced-price meals in Fairfax County Public Schools has risen from 19 percent in 2005 to 28 percent this year.

THIS WEEK IN PHILANTHROPY
– WRAG president Tamara Copeland told us about the Get on the Map campaign, and why WRAG members should share their data to help strengthen philanthropy in our region. (Daily, 2/23)

– We also learned about some future projections for giving for 2015 and 2016. (Chronicle, 2/24)

THIS WEEK AT WRAG
– Director of Corporate Strategy, Katy Moore, announced some exciting new offerings from WRAG – a Foundation Finance Affinity Group and the Fundamentals of CSR workshop. (Daily, 2/24 and 2/26)

THIS WEEK IN HOMELESSNESS
– We were able to get a revealing look at homelessness in the region through this multi-part series that includes the stories of people looking to make the issue a top priority. (WAMU, 2/20)

THIS WEEK IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING
– The Urban Land Institute and the Center for Housing Policy at the National Housing Conference released a report titled, “Public Land & Affordable Housing in the Washington, DC Region,” offering best practices and recommendations for meeting the housing needs of lower-income residents. (ULI, 2/2015)

THIS WEEK IN ARTS/EQUITY
– Rebekah Seder, senior program manager at WRAG, discussed a growing interest for many local arts funders – how to advance diversity and equity in the region’s cultural sector. (Dailly, 2/25)


WRAG EVENTS NEXT WEEK

Northern Virginia LEG: The Art of Successful Site Visits (Foundation donors, trustees, and staff; individual donors; donor advised fund holders; members of giving circles)
Thursday, March 5, 2015  10:00 AM – 12:00 PM


Nope…I won’t spend another second thinking about this dress. Here’s something much more productive – a quiz about which foreign language you should learn next. Auf Wiedersehen!

– Ciara 

WRAG launches new “Fundamentals of CSR” workshop

By Katy Moore
Director of Corporate Strategy
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

In the fall of 2013, WRAG, in partnership with Johns Hopkins University, launched the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility – an exciting new professional development program designed specifically for CSR professionals. Since then, WRAG has received more than 30 requests for information about the Institute from business students, aspiring CSR professionals, fundraising consultants, and nonprofit leaders seeking to better understand CSR for the purposes of, for example, launching a CSR career, identifying and building new corporate relationships, or strengthening existing corporate partnerships.

WRAG heard these requests and is proud to announce the launch of The Fundamentals of CSR: A Two Day Workshop. The inaugural class will be held on April 23-24, 2015 at Pepco Edison Place Gallery and will feature more than 15 speakers and panelists from some of the largest and most respected companies in the Greater Washington region.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn directly from CSR professionals about topics such as the history, key components, and recent trends in CSR; the breadth, depth, and variety of CSR disciplines; how corporate philanthropy and community involvement fit within a company’s overall CSR strategy; what it’s REALLY like to be a CSR professional; understanding a company’s community investment resources; how to think like a corporate funder; and best practices for building strong corporate partnerships.

There will also be a number of interactive sessions where participants engage with each other, stretch their thinking, and apply their learnings, including sessions on “Learning to make the CSR Business Case” and “Designing a Community Investment Strategy.” Each of these sessions is designed to help registrants think like a corporate funder and understand – from the inside out – what motivates CSR professionals and a company’s overall CSR strategy.

We’re proud to offer this new opportunity and would like to thank the members of our curriculum design committee for making this new program a reality:

Naomi Smouha (Capital One)

Pam Holman (Pepco)

Tracye Funn (Washington Gas)

Kelly Waldron (United Way Worldwide)

Lori Vacek (Freddie Mac)

Jeannan Peterson (Bank of America)

To learn more about the workshop or to register please click here. For questions about the program, please contact Katy Moore at moore@washingtongrantmakers.org.