Category: community

Anne Arundel County Commits $5M Of CARES Act Funding To Restaurant, Food Service Grant Program

ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — Anne Arundel County is adding a new program they hope will provide restaurants and food service businesses with a bit of relief during the pandemic.

The county is committing $5 million of its federal CARES Act funding to the grant program, to help those establishments who are dealing with reduced revenue because of COVID-19 related restrictions and less customers from the pandemic.

County Executive Steuart Pittman also announced an expansion of the Humanitarian Relief Fund to include food service workers who are losing wages and tip income.

“From the beginning of this pandemic, our restaurants and their hard-working employees have been left with only a fraction of the revenue that they need to survive,” said County Executive Pittman. “That’s why we worked with Economic Development to create the largest assistance program of the pandemic to date for this industry and its people.” >Read More

10 People Shot, 3 Killed, During Weekend Outbreak of Violence in DC

Three people were killed and seven injured in numerous shootings over the weekend in D.C., police say.

A triple shooting in the 200 block of Okie Street NE Sunday afternoon killed one man and injured two others, police said. The deadly shooting happened in D.C.’s Ivy City neighborhood near the City Winery and Ivy City Smokehouse.

Hours before, a man was shot in his left leg at 519 51st Street NE, police said on Twitter. >Read More

Remembering Steve Jobs

When Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple a few months ago, it was a sobering acknowledgment of mortality accompanied by a sad feeling of inevitability. Yet Apple’s announcement of his death last night, with the simple graphic above, felt unexpected, even shocking. A sense of deep and profound loss instantly flooded the internet.

Over the years, Jobs suffered criticism about his philanthropy. But his critics were victims of narrow-mindedness and stale thinking. Last month, Dan Pallotta wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review titled Steve Jobs, World’s Greatest Philanthropist. It is a wonderful tribute and needs to be read in its entirety. Here’s just a bit:

The word philanthropy comes from the Greek philanthropos which comes from philein for “to love” and anthropos for “human being.” Philanthropy means love of humanity.

Which brings me to Steve Jobs.

Last year Change.org wrote of Steve Jobs, “It’s high time the minimalist CEO became a magnanimous philanthropist.”

I’ve got news for you. He has been. What’s important is how we use our time on this earth, not how conspicuously we give our money away. What’s important is the energy and courage we are willing to expend reversing entropy, battling cynicism, suffering and challenging mediocre minds, staring down those who would trample our dreams, taking a stand for magic, and advancing the potential of the human race.

On these scores, the world has no greater philanthropist than Steve Jobs. If ever a man contributed to humanity, here he is. And he has done it while battling cancer.

There’s too much to share about Steve Jobs, and no words sufficient enough to describe his contribution to the future. I recommend taking a few hours today or tonight and sifting through the incredible number of memorials being shared across the internet by people from every walk of life. At the very least, take fifteen minutes to watch Jobs’ truly powerful and empowering Stanford Commencement Address. His words are ones to live by.

A personal note: I find few things in the world more meaningful or inspiring than music. On my 21st birthday in 2004, my parents gave me a 40 gigabyte iPod. I haven’t left the house without my music and a pair of headphones ever since. Thank you, Steve. This one’s for you:

Positive Pathways participant highlighted in the Washington Post

By Jennifer Jue, Program Officer, Washington AIDS Partnership

The Washington Post recently profiled Sabrina Heard, a Women’s Collective staff member who is one of twelve Community Health Workers recruited, trained, and funded by the Washington AIDS Partnership’s Positive Pathways Initiative. Positive Pathways is an innovative new project that assists out-of-care HIV-positive African Americans living in Wards 5,6, 7, & 8 to access HIV medical care, with a particular focus on women and their partners.

Community Health Workers (CHWs) are placed in community and primary care settings with the goal of identifying out-of-care HIV-positive individuals. CHWs focus on building peer-based trust and informing individuals about the challenges of living with HIV. They provide personalized assistance to help these individuals enter and navigate service systems, and they support them throughout the early part of their medical care until they become fully engaged.

We’re excited that Sabrina was highlighted in the Post. She and her eleven amazing colleagues in Positive Pathways are doing important work to get people back into care.

Positive Pathways participants

Positive Pathways is funded through the AIDS United Access to Care Initiative, supported by a grant from the Social Innovation Fund; Consumer Health Foundation; Kaiser Permanente; MAC AIDS Fund; and the World Bank.

On behalf of flyers, Dan Pallotta gets creative with the TSA

Greetings from Denver International Airport, where most attendees of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers’ (excellent) annual meeting are boarding planes to head home. Tamara, Gretchen, and I leaving the Mile High City refreshed with new ideas. Speaking of new ideas, WRAG’s 2009 annual meeting speaker, Dan Pallotta, recently published an insightful and funny article titled Simple Ways TSA Could Make Customers Happier (Harvard Business Review, 7/19). This seems like a good time to share it. Here’s a highlight:

Magic Bin and 1,000th Passenger Programs. Put a star on the bottom of every 100th bin. The customer who gets that bin wins a voucher for a refreshing beverage at one of the airport concessions. The 1,000th passenger each day gets a voucher for a relaxing 15-minute massage at one of those airport mini-spas. Signs in the queue could alert customers to the programs, which would alter the spirit of the operations area. These two programs would create substantial positive word-of-mouth advertising. People would start saying, “You wouldn’t believe what happened to me in the TSA line the other day…” and it wouldn’t be that they got strip-searched.

Pallotta is a clever thinker – and an innovative problem solver. I like these ideas (and don’t see any reason not to try them)!

Oh, and one other thought – Denver’s airport has some very strange artwork.

– Christian

Are Infrastructure Organizations Still Needed in Today’s Networked Society? YES!

By Tamara Copeland, President (@WRAGprez)

When we stand outside of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC and gaze across the Potomac at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Northern Virginia, we sometimes think about the congestion on the 14th St. Bridge or the constant repairs, but rarely do we think about the inherent value of the bridge or its place in an almost 50,000 mile interstate highway system. We take for granted this important structure that directly connects two jurisdictions and facilitates a continuous flow along the I-95 North-South corridor.

Just like Dwight Eisenhower’s vision of the value of an interstate highway system, countless other leaders have envisioned and created systems of connectivity – some national, like the NAACP, the American Bar Association, or Voices for America’s Children – and others local or regional, like WRAG, the Council of Governments or the Nonprofit Roundtable. These infrastructure organizations have evolved top down and bottom up. Individual leaders have seen the merit of connecting the dots and the dots, so to speak, have seen the value of being connected. The resulting organizations define standards for their respective fields, serve as watchdogs, advocate for improvements, train practitioners and generally work to ensure that their members do the best job possible on the work that they do.

Some suggest that thanks to the advent of the internet and social media – and the sheer volume of information available through both – the era of infrastructure membership organizations has passed. Critics believe that these tools can replace the function of infrastructure organizations as vehicles for information exchange.

The reality is that infrastructure groups do so much more than just enabling the exchange of information. They foster a community that technology alone simply cannot.

By ourselves, we cannot advance a field, be the movement for change, develop the shared sense of direction, improve the standards or be that collective powerful voice. We still need the American Red Cross to galvanize its chapters across the country when there is a major emergency. We still need infrastructure groups – national, regional, state and local – to be the hub of the community, to be the voice of a sector, to promote collaboration and cooperation, to have a larger vision and to promote change on a scale greater than its individual members. The whole really is greater than the sum of its parts.

Decades after the interstate highway system came into being, cars have improved, highways have improved and much improved signage guides us along the way. But, the infrastructure of the bridges and roads that connect us across the country is still needed and must be improved and maintained. As funders contemplate the value of making a grant to either to direct service provider or to an infrastructure organization, I suggest that this is an apple to oranges comparison. Both are needed. Both provide important services. The question really lies in your decision to change the life of one family or to potentially change the ability of a sector to support needy families. Both are valid. Effective infrastructure groups maximize impact. In times of plenty or of scarcity, any vehicle that maximizes impact should be celebrated and nurtured.

Just one person’s opinion, what is yours?

What is Philanthropy?

By Tamara Lucas Copeland
President, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

What is philanthropy?

The easy answer is that philanthropy is the awarding of grants to worthy individuals or causes. That answer is clear, concise and incomplete. It captures the facts, but not the soul of philanthropy. The best definition I’ve ever seen is from Paul Ylvisaker, a legendary program officer with the Ford Foundation. He said “philanthropy is America’s passing gear.” Philanthropy is just that. It is the spark that leads to change on a level that is often transformational for society. Consider a few noteworthy examples:

A white line on the right side of the road was an idea from the Dorr Family Foundation. In 1953, John Dorr received permission to fund the addition of outer lines on the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut. His wife had mentioned that at night the headlights of oncoming traffic caused her to drift toward the shoulder. Today, we take for granted a simple line that defines a space and has probably saved thousands of lives. Dorr was the spark.1

Sesame Street was born in the late 1960s through a collaboration between Joan Ganz Cooney, an award winning documentary film producer, government, and philanthropy. Carnegie started with a $1 million investment, then the Ford Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the U.S. Office of Education joined. Today television, when used properly, is widely accepted as a viable component for the education of young children. The Carnegie Corporation was the spark. 2

Hospitals in rural areas were severely lacking in the 1920s. In fact, more than one-half of the counties in the US didn’t have one. The Commonweal Fund recognized the problem and began to establish rural hospitals. Ahead of their time, they required the hospitals to serve any person, regardless of “race, color, creed or economic status.” That program led to the 1946 passage of the Hill-Burton Act for hospital construction. The Commonweal Fund was the spark.3

911, the professions of nurse practitioner and physician’s assistant, multiple think tanks and over 2800 public libraries built in the late 1800s and early 1900s had their genesis – their spark – from philanthropy.

This month as the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers joins others across the country in celebrating the 100th anniversary of institutional philanthropy, it is important to remember that philanthropy can’t do it alone. While philanthropy might be that spark that engages the passing gear, it takes others to keep the engine roaring. Only when government, business, nonprofits and philanthropy join forces do we experience the social change that benefits us all.


WRAG is a member of 8 Neighbors, a regional collaborative composed of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the Nonprofit Roundtable, the United Way of Greater Washington, the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region, Leadership Greater Washington and the Center for Nonprofit Advancement. 8 Neighbors is working to make  metropolitan Washington a region in which all have the opportunity to succeed.

Reed Sandridge talks to WRAG about the Worldwide Day of Giving (today!)

Today we released Our Region, Our Giving, WRAG’s 2011 report on foundation giving in the Greater Washington region. While the philanthropic community is doing critical work by supporting nonprofit organizations, it’s important to also recognize that individuals are making an incredible impact on our community.

Of particular note, June 15th is the Worldwide Day of Giving, a movement founded by local resident Reed Sandridge who, in late 2009, decided to give $10 to a random stranger each day for a year. We interviewed Reed to learn more about the Year of Giving, how it has evolved and grown, and how others can get involved.


Q: Today is the second annual Worldwide Day of Giving. Can you tell us a little about the idea, and how it came about?

Reed Sandridge: The Worldwide Day of Giving was launched in 2010 when I was in the middle of my year-long commitment that I called the Year of Giving where I gave $10 every day to someone I didn’t know. I did that every day for one year after losing my job because it is precisely then when you need things the most that I believe you need to think about others. My mother was one of the most thoughtful and generous people I have known and I decided to embark on my challenge on the three year anniversary of her passing as a way to memorialize her life and the kindness she shared with everyone who knew her. I documented the experience and wrote a journal entry about every single person I gave my $10 to and recorded that at www.yearofgiving.org.

Q: How can our readers participate?

R.S. It’s simple. There are three ways that anyone in the world can participate:

1. Volunteering

You can volunteer with any organization. For those who are busy and can’t take off work, I suggest that they consider micro-volunteering on www.sparked.com. Many of their volunteer projects take 20-30 minutes. You can volunteer on your lunch break!

2. Give a stranger $10

You can also pay it forward like I did for 365 days. All you have to do is find a complete stranger, approach them and tell them that you are participating in the Worldwide Day of Giving and would like to give them $10 – no strings attached. The only rules are that you can’t know the person you are giving the money to and you can’t receive anything in return for the gift – aside from the rush of goodness you will feel!

I encourage people to take some time to speak with the recipients, maybe even take a photo, and find out what they will do with the $10 as well as a little bit about who they are. People can then share their stories and photos on the Year of Giving Facebook page.

3. Donate $10 to The Year of Giving

When I was giving my daily $10 away, I met many people who needed things. You can find this list on the Lend a Hand section of the Year of Giving website. I use 100% of the donations to purchase items that these people need. You can make a donation online at www.yearofgiving.org.

For your readers in Washington, DC, they can join us tonight at One Lounge near Dupont Circle for a meet-up from 6-8:00pm.

Q: Storytelling is a key component of your work, and the stories you share cover such a wide spectrum of experiences and circumstances. Are there any that have risen above the rest and really compelled you to share with other people?

R.S.  One story that I love is that of David G., a homeless newspaper salesman I met on Day 258. Originally from Western Kenya, he came here in the 90s and lost all contact with his family. I asked him if there was anything I could help him with as part of my Lend a Hand program – a program I launched to connect my 365 recipients with people around the world who wanted to help them. He said that he would like to find a long lost cousin, Ben, who was last known to be living in Poland. I posted his full name on the Lend a Hand page, but didn’t really think that I was going to find him.

Six months later I received a call from Poland. It was his cousin Ben who had learned about David’s search for him through a candidate he was interviewing for a job. He had Googled Ben’s name before the interview and happened to find my website. Now the General Manager of a large Polish company, Ben was stunned to learn that his cousin, now homeless, was looking for him. I connected the two and they have remained in touch ever since. They are planning to meet this year.

You can see how all the $10 gifts were used at www.yearofgiving.org.

Q: Your work is very unique in the types of outcomes you get. How do you measure success?

R.S. The best definition that I have found is attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson: “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children…to leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Q: Now that your year-long commitment has finished, what has become of the Year of Giving?

R.S. The Year of Giving continues in two ways. First, people who are unemployed or under-employed can become a kindness investor and give away $10 like I did for seven days and then share it on the website. You’d be surprised how it can help someone who is out of work.

As for me, I have a new commitment for 2011 which is focused on volunteerism. Each week this year I volunteer at a different organization and then post a blog about my experience every Monday. I hope to inspire others to consider making volunteering a more integral part of their life.

Giving in response to the Virginia Tech tragedy

Changing demographics in Prince George’s County

Brookings data shows what has been known anecdotally for some time — that the County has experienced significant demographic transformation over the last 15 years.  A new report illustrates how migration trends into and out of the County have contributed. Click here to view the report: A Pathway to the Middle Class: Migration and Demographic Change in Prince George’s County