Category: Uncategorized

Could a “Digital Tax” Be on the Way for Virginia?

  JUN 16, 2020

Lawmakers will return to Richmond later this summer for a special session, and they’ll be looking for ways to fund criminal justice reform during an economic crisis.

Virginia is one of 12 states that does not apply a sales tax to streaming platforms, missing out on about $10 million a year.

Chris Wodicka at the Commonwealth Institute says lawmakers could help fund new priorities and balance the books during an economic crisis by modernizing the tax code.

“If you went to your local video rental place, probably those don’t really exist anymore but you would pay sales tax on that,” he says. “But if you were to watch the exact same thing from your home, getting it on demand, you wouldn’t pay tax on that at this point. So this is really just updating the tax code for changes in technology.”

During the pandemic, streaming services have boomed while people have been staying at home. That could be a lucrative source of tax revenue.

>Read More

Kennedy Center board chairman David Rubenstein hosts new PBS history series

You know him as co-founder of The Carlyle Group and chairman of the Boards of Trustees at the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian and Council on Foreign Relations.

Starting July 3, David Rubenstein will host “History with David Rubenstein,” a 10-episode program airing on PBS stations across the country, including WETA in the nation’s capital.

“I started interviewing people who are historians at the New York Historical Society a few years ago and ultimately they decided to start a series,” Rubenstein said. “I interview great historians about their books or people who’ve been important figures in history.”

The series kicks off with the late great political commentator and author Cokie Roberts.

“Cokie was a longtime friend,” Rubenstein said. “I interviewed her about her three books that she wrote about women and their role in history. … Although many people think of her as a correspondent and interviewer, she actually was a very gifted writer about history. The fact that she passed away not too long ago makes it much more emotional.”

>Read More

These 9 hand sanitizers may contain a potentially fatal ingredient, FDA warns

CNN | June 22, 2020, 5:29 PM

The US Food and Drug Administration is advising consumers not to use hand sanitizer products manufactured by Eskbiochem SA due to the potential presence of a toxic chemical.

The FDA has discovered methanol, a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through skin or ingested, in samples of Lavar Gel and CleanCare No Germ hand sanitizers, both produced by the Mexican company.

Eskbiochem did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN.

The FDA recommends that consumers avoid the following brands of hand sanitizers produced by Eskbiochem:

  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01)
  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)
  • Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)
  • The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)
  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)

>Read More

The historic $2 trillion CARES Act will be an economic lifeline for gig workers and freelancers

  • The $2 trillion federal stimulus package known as the CARES Act, signed into law by President Trump on Friday, will be a lifeline to many gig workers and freelancers.
  • The law takes unprecedented steps to provide a social safety net for the self employed.
  • It offers an additional $600 a week in unemployment insurance, bringing weekly payouts to the $800- to $900-a-week range when state benefits are added, to workers including the self-employed.

The  $2 trillion federal stimulus package signed into law by President Donald Trump on Friday, March 27, will be a lifeline to many gig workers and freelancers.

Known as the CARES Act, the law takes unprecedented steps in including the self-employed in the social safety net. It offers freelancers unemployment insurance, for which they generally don’t qualify, on a large scale for the first time. As stipulated in the House bill, it offers freelancers an additional $600 a week in unemployment insurance, bringing weekly payouts to the $800- to $900-a-week range when state benefits are added, to workers including the self-employed, for up to four months.

“It’s an amazing win, given that there is no unemployment insurance for freelancers,” says Rafael Espinal, who recently took the helm of the Freelancers Union as executive director. “This will help inject cash flow into their homes.” >Read More

Getting Cash for your Small Business Through the CARES Act

Brian Thompson
JD/CFP® helping LGBTQ entrepreneurs thrive in business and in life.


Update: I’ve updated this piece to reflect the now functioning EIDL online application. I’ve also clarified the calculation for Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness.

As an advisor who supports small businesses and runs in a lot of small business circles, I’ve seen a lot of pain, fear, and anxiety these past few weeks. A lot of you are hurting and simply can’t find support right now. You’ve tried your best to prepare for slowdowns —  saved some emergency cash, got a line of credit, etc .— but you couldn’t have imagined going from 100 to 0 in a matter of hours, leaving you with a lot of bills to pay including rent and payroll.

The median business holds cash reserves to cover 27 days of expenses, according to Chase. But even if you’re well-prepared with a three- to six-month buffer for your business, you still need to plan for what happens if that runs out. No one knows how long this will last. What you need right now is cash.

The government has stepped up to help. But with three stimulus bills already passed, the last of which was 800 pages, it’s hard to know where to focus. Today, I’ll explain the main two ways your business can get cash now that the CARES Act is law. We’ll also discuss the steps you need to take to make sure you can get your money as efficiently as possible.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans >Read More

We’re in this together! Checkout the Regional Pooled Funds

The COVID-19 Response Fund |

WRAG, in coordination with peers in philanthropy throughout the Greater Washington region, is working to raise funds and deploy critical resources to nonprofits that are responding to the urgent health and economic needs of disproportionately impacted communities affected by COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Response Fund will serve as a mechanism to collect donations that can help with emergency preparedness activities or cash and other assistance to those in our community. With the information available to us, our funding priorities* are centered around:

  • Providing supplies for direct service providers to cover emergency preparedness activities;
  • Providing general operating support, especially for nonprofits that had to cancel major fundraising events and for volunteer-dependent direct service organizations;
  • Providing small grants to individuals in the service industry impacted by lost wages;
  • Providing additional food and supplies to low income people in quarantine;
  • Small business and gig economy relief;
  • Supporting organizations providing medical care access to marginalized communities; and 
  • Support to shelters, homeless service providers, and street outreach teams.

*Please note that as the crisis evolves, funding priorities may change.

Community Emergency Relief Fund

The Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties has established a Community Emergency Relief Fund to accept and strategically disburse funding to address COVID-19 emergency response and relief efforts in Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties.

Members of the community who wish to support aid to those affected by COVID-19 may donate to the Community Emergency Relief Fund.

The Community Foundation will work closely with local nonprofit organizations to provide grants to agencies to meet both immediate and long-term needs related to the impact of COVID-19 in Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties.

Grants will be prioritized to organizations:

Providing direct financial assistance to individuals who need monetary assistance to meet basic needs such as housing, utilities, and medical expenses due to the impact of COVID-19;

Providing services directly addressing impact of COVID-19 such as food distribution, shelter, housing, and health care.

The Community Foundation will form a Community Emergency Relief Fund Advisory Committee to advise on the distribution of any funds raised.  The Advisory Committee will include local experts on emergency response and local services, and will include diverse representation to ensure equitable distribution of the funds to those in need.

In the event that funds raised through the Community Emergency Relief Fund are no longer needed for COVID-19 relief, remaining funds will be reserved for future local disaster relief efforts.

ACT Now COVID-19 Response Fund
ACT and the City of Alexandria established the ACT Now Covid-19 Response Fund to provide emergency funding to nonprofits that are delivering the critical services and programs that are needed by Alexandrians right now.
The City of Alexandria will match donations, up to $100,000, to support the needs of nonprofit organizations experiencing an increase in demand for services as they support Alexandrians affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

United Way of NCA Emergency Assistance Fund (EAF)

United Way NCA has reactivated its Emergency Assistance Fund to promote the health, education and financial stability of our community, especially for those residents who have or will be impacted by restrictions and closures of schools, businesses, and community institutions designed to slow the spread of the virus.

The urgency is real! In the weeks and months ahead, the EAF will provide additional capacity to community-based organizations in the region to deliver economic assistance and access to vital food and basic need supplies to the thousands of school-age children who depend on their school’s meal programs and workers in the region who already have and will be impacted by the temporary loss of income.

Arlington Community Foundation COVID-19 Prompt Response Fund
To meet the urgent challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak in Arlington, Arlington Community Foundation is focusing the Prompt Response Fund exclusively on support to nonprofit organizations who are on the front lines with clients, patients, and residents impacted by the health crisis. This includes organizations focused on:

  • emergency food needs
  • health needs for the uninsured or underinsured, and
  • support for hourly workers displaced from their wage-earning positions.

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

Marijuana Decriminalization May Soon Be a Reality

Virginia is on the verge of decriminalizing marijuana, and bills to make that happen have already passed the House and Senate.

Both the House and Senate have passed bills to decriminalize marijuana, and now the lawmakers who introduced both of those bills have struck a deal to make them identical. That’ll keep the effort out of a conference committee and speed up the process of sending the bill to the governor’s desk. One remaining concern, though, is marijuana odor.
>Read More

Social Impact Continues to Evolve

Cheryl Robinson | Dec 15 | Source

Companies can no longer rely just on financial returns. Now, investors want to see companies social impact report cards. As the social impact revolution continues to evolve, more companies are being judged on how their actions are affecting their local communities. Most recently, the concept of social impact entertainment (SIE) is transcending the way Hollywood uses its platform to engage audiences on social issues.

Mass media, especially social media, has the power of driving conversation and change, and shaping culture. Direct impact includes awareness, attitudes and behaviors, whereas the cumulative impact includes shared standards, process innovation and resource allocation. >Read More

Keeping up the momentum to #CountDMVin

A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that effectively blocked the implementation of a proposed citizenship question on the 2020 Census. As census forms went to print, the administration continued its efforts to find a way to include the question, only relenting late last week. While we celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision and monitor the ongoing attempts by the administration to count citizens and noncitizens, we must continue to keep up momentum and energy around the 2020 Census.

Even without the citizenship question, we face challenges to a fair and accurate count. The stakes could not be higher. Many communities – especially those that historically have been hardest to count, such as immigrant and communities of color – may understandably be fearful of responding to the census, particularly given the continued efforts to politicize it. Organizations with deep relationships within these communities have the opportunity to serve as trusted messengers, helping their clients and constituents understand what is at stake in the census and what can be gained by getting counted. The census determines the amount of federal dollars our region receives for critical programs, the number of Congressional seats we have, and how district lines are drawn at all levels of government. Getting counted is the most powerful tool we have to secure our fair share of federal resources and political power.

This is an all-hands-on-deck moment for the region. That’s why we encourage everyone to help #CountDMVin. Here’s how you can get involved:


  • Talk to your grantee partners about how they might be able to engage hard-to-count communities in the 2020 Census and what kind of support they need to do so.
  • Consider investing in the Count DMV In Census Project, a pooled fund at the Greater Washington Community Foundation, to directly support 2020 Census activities.
  • WRAG members: Join the 2020 Census Working Group to get connected with other local funders investing in a complete and accurate census in our region.

Community-based organizations:

  • Consider how you might incorporate education and outreach about the 2020 Census into your work. Talk to your current funders now about what kind of additional support you would need.
  • Check out the national Census Counts Campaign for a wealth of resources related to census outreach, including messaging toolkits.
  • Get connected with your local Complete Count Committees, task forces responsible for developing strategies for local outreach. Find a list of committees in this resource guide.
  • Apply for funding from the Count DMV In Census Project (and act fast: the application deadline is July 29th!)

Local businesses:

  • The private sector depends on accurate census data. Local businesses can help get the word out about the importance of completing the census among their employees and customers. Check out this recent op-ed in the Washington Business Journal from the Northern Virginia Complete Count Committee on how business can engage in the census.


The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers’ 2020 Census Working Group is a collection of funders focused on leveraging the resources of local philanthropy and other stakeholders to ensure an accurate and complete census count in the region, co-chaired by Levina Kim (United Way of the National Capital Area), Ria Pugeda (Consumer Health Foundation), and Terri Wright (Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation). #CountDMVin is a regional communications campaign to raise awareness and spur action to ensure a complete 2020 Census.