A progress report on philanthropy and big change

A lot can change in a few years. That’s why WRAG is excited to release Beyond Dollars: Philanthropy and BIG Change in the Greater Washington Region. The new release is a 2013 progress report on our earlier publication, Beyond Dollars: Investing in BIG Change from 2009.

The earlier report chronicled and celebrated the unrecognized benefits of philanthropy in our region while also elevating what we saw as the common elements that led to change of great magnitude. Now, almost five years later, we want to check in on this work. Is the change lasting? If so, what factors have been critical? If not, what lessons have been learned?

The impact of philanthropy is especially important to consider in light of potential changes to the charitable deduction. As Beyond Dollars shows, philanthropic investments continue to make an important difference in our region.

HOMELESSNESS | The Senate has approved legislation for an Internet sales tax. It might not make it through the House, but if it does, D.C. Councilmembers Jim Graham and Mary Cheh think that the new revenue could end homelessness. As Aaron Wiener points out, this idealism is rooted in the belief that we could beat homelessness if we just had the money. (CP, 5/7)

If they really believe this, then it’s unsettling that better attempts haven’t been made to secure the necessary funds in the past.

HOUSING | ElevationDC interviews Michael Diamond, director of the Harrison Institute for Housing and Community Development, about affordable housing, gentrification, and policy solutions in our region. (Elevation, 5/7)

WORKFORCE | Over the weekend, New York Times bureau chief Dave Leonhardt wrote about the very high nonemployment rates of 25 to 34 year old Americans and the “grim shift” that has landed our country in a much worse position than most of Europe.

In a follow up, Leonhardt looks at the geography of the problem. Fortunately, our region is one of three spots in the country bucking the trend. (NYT, 5/7) Leonhardt is a great writer – very literary. The opening paragraph of the first article is fantastic.

HEALTH | Slowdown in Health Costs’ Rise May Last as Economy Revives (NYT, 5/6) Well, that’s a confusing headline.

Have you ever wondered what the subjects of abstract paintings might look like if they were real people? Me neither – but I found out the answer anyway. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Internet, somebody updated famous portraits for modern times.

And since there’s so much rain, how about the Belle Stars’ version of Iko Iko from Rain Man? If ever there was a movie that needed a music video…this was definitely not it. Good song though!