The Weekly WRAG

WRAG Statement_6.15.2020

A Call to Accountability and Action: Philanthropy and Anti-Black Racism


WRAG STATEMENT | We continue to see the dangers of resisting and rejecting the history and injustices that Black individuals, families, and communities have faced for centuries, and this moment in time is the most recent one as the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Amhaud Arbery have unleashed a new wave of pain, fear, and outrage across the United States that has escalated to global protests and calls for both accountability and action. 

The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) envisions an equitable region, filled with prosperity for all where everyone can meaningfully participate. As part of our mission to increase the effectiveness of philanthropy as a sector – while recognizing that everyone is at a different stage in the journey – we commit beyond learning, as a membership, to transforming our sector through the actions below: 

  1. Decentering whiteness. We will ensure that we do not perpetuate or sustain dangerous white-dominant or supremacist values in our work and that we lift up the worth and dignity of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, which recognizes and values race. For those of us who are white, we must acknowledge that we have benefited from racist systems, that our benefit was at the expense of others, and that it is our responsibility to actively push for change. 
  2. Centering experience. We must listen to those most impacted by structural inequities and ensure that when racism of any magnitude is shown, we denounce it and lift up and amplify the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We must bring to the front the incredible words and wisdom of BIPOC communities and stand in solidarity by spreading their messages in ways that are authentic and respectful, not extractive.
  3. Building, sharing, wielding and ceding power. We must be actively aware of power dynamics at all times and in all situations, and give up power to ensure that others are able to build it. A redistribution of power is necessary for such change, and therefore it is essential to invest in individuals and movements working to reconstruct systems.>Read More



$246 million going to Virginia nursing homes to bolster COVID-19 response

WUSA9 | June 19, 2020

The money will go toward testing residents and staff in long-term care facilities on an ongoing basis. Northam also ordered the VDH to make this testing data public.

Nearly $250 million in federal funding will be going to long-term care facilities in the Commonwealth to shore up their testing capabilities as the pandemic presses on.

It’s been widely reported that nursing homes are highly susceptible to individual outbreaks since the pandemic started.

As these facilities begin to reopen to visitors, the Virginia Department of Health has drawn up new guidelines requiring all of these centers to test their residents and staff on an ongoing basis. They’ve devised a phased-approach reopening plan for the facilities. These testing requirements will be enforced under the first phase. >Read More

Back to the office? DC-area office occupancy not rising much yet

WTOPNews | June 23, 2020

One way to measure how many office workers are going back to work is to track the number of building security card swipes and fob taps, and based on that data, the occupancy levels at D.C.-area buildings remain extremely low.

Falls Church, Virginia-based Kastle Systems, whose security systems are used by hundreds of buildings in the D.C. region, reports its Back to Work Barometer — which shows access to buildings using its systems — indicates an occupancy rate of 18.2% in the D.C. metro area as of June 17.

That is up, but not by much. D.C.-area office building occupancy was 14% in the first week of April, when most companies began widely adopting work-from-home policies. It was 96% in early March.
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Latest coronavirus test results in DC, Maryland and Virginia

WTOPNews | June 23, 2020

The coronavirus data include the number of coronavirus cases, deaths, recoveries and the total number of test results reported by each jurisdiction, among other data points. New numbers are updated each day as individual states release new data. The plus or minus signs (+ or -) next to daily numbers indicate how much those numbers are going up or down compared to the previous day. >Read More

Metro to reopen 15 stations, reallocate bus service to address crowding, starting Sunday

Metro today announced that 15 rail stations that had been closed as part of the transit agency’s Covid-19 response will reopen on Sunday, June 28. In addition, beginning Monday, June 29, buses will be added to the system’s 14 busiest bus lines to provide more capacity and more frequent service as the region reopens. >Read More

Gaylord National files layoff notice for thousands of employees

BizJournal | June 19, 2020

The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor filed a layoff notice June 15 affecting its 2,077 employees as the coronavirus pandemic continues to pummel the hospitality industry.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) filed with the Maryland Department of Labor lists an effective date of March 11. The Gaylord, Greater Washington’s largest hotel at 1,996 rooms, has been closed since March 24, when the owner of all seven Gaylord resort properties across the country suspended operations.

Ryman Hospitality Properties (NYSE: RHP), which owns the Gaylord hotels, said recently that it was targeting a late July reopening for the Maryland hotel, which is located in Prince George’s County. We’ve reached out to Ryman for more information on whether that target reopening date has changed and will update this post when we hear back. >Read More

Amazon partners with Prince George’s schools to fund elementary school computer science

WTOPNews | June 23, 2020

Amazon is teaming up with Prince George’s County Public Schools to fund computer science education at 132 elementary schools throughout the county, the school system announced Tuesday.

The megacorporation’s Amazon Future Engineer program is being done in partnership with BootUp, a nonprofit professional development provider specializing in elementary school education.
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