Category: WRAG Affinity Groups

Government shutdown coincides with slowest time for charitable donations

NONPROFITS | Nonprofit organizations in the Greater Washington region are receiving an influx of calls for assistance during what is typically known as the worst months for charitable donations – and nonprofit leaders are worried about keeping up with the demand. Rosie Allen-Herring, president and chief executive of the United Way of the National Capital Area, said nonprofit groups have emphasized to her that the need they’re seeing around the Washington area is outstripping the support they were prepared to provide. (WaPo, 1/9)

“It’s not just the 800,000 workers we’re hearing about almost daily,” Allen-Herring said. “There’s another rung of smaller, more disadvantaged businesses who contract with the federal government. Those employees aren’t going to be made whole” with potential back pay when the shutdown ends.

– In order to combat structural and institutional racism affecting DC, Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie has introduced the Racial Equity Achieves Results Act, which lays out specific actions to advance racial equity, including designing and implementing a racial equity tool, racial equity-related performance measures and evaluations, and racial equity training for all District employees.

-Diversity and race are top issue priorities for PwC Chairman Tim Ryan. (Chief Executive, 1/9)

Related: Bold Leadership: How Companies are Stepping Up and Speaking Out on Hot Button Issues (Daily, 9/17)

IMPACT INVESTING | A decade-long push has urged foundations to devote more of their endowments to impact investing. But many still aren’t invested in line with their mission. (Chronicle, 1/8)

EDUCATION | Prince George’s schools start fund to buy lunches for children of furloughed workers (WaPo, 1/10)

HOUSING | See How Landlords Pack Section 8 Renters Into Poorer Neighborhoods (CityLab, 1/9)

FOOD | A new mobile pantry vehicle, funded in part by the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, is set to feed thousands in Loudoun County. (Loudoun Times, 1/2)

– The Community Foundation of Northern Virginia announced their 2019 Community Investment Funds Grant Cycle – proposals due: 2/14/19.

– CareFirst will award up to $2 million to support programs seeking to improve birth outcomes and lower infant mortality rates in Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia – proposals due: 1/14/19.

Social Sector Job Openings 

Grants & Communications Officer | The Crimsonbridge Foundation – New!
Executive Director | VHC Medical Brigade – New!
Director of Development | DC Bar Foundation – New!
Program Manager | Weissberg Foundation – New!
Senior Supervising Attorney, Criminal Justice Reform​ | ​Southern Poverty Law Center
Director of Development​ | ​The Barker Adoption Foundation
Grant Reviewer​ | ​Jack and Jill of America Foundation
Executive Assistant​ | ​Jack and Jill of America Foundation
Administrative Associate | United Philanthropy Forum
Programs Manager | DC127
Development Manager | DC127
Director of Development (East Coast) | Rocketship Public Schools
Director of Development | ECHO
Executive Director | The Volgenau Foundation
President | Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
Program Associate for Strategy, Equity, and Research | Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

Hiring? Post your job on WRAG’s job board and get it included in the Daily! Free for members; $60/60 days for non-members. Details here.

Community Calendar

To add an event to WRAG’s community calendar, email Rebekah Seder. Click here to view the community calendar.

Looks like it’s going to feel a bit more like winter this weekend – here’s some DC hot spots where you can find “ridiculously delicious hot chocolate.”

Next week we’ll publish the (Almost) Daily WRAG on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

– Buffy

How companies motivate their employees to volunteer

By Hudson Kaplan-Allen
WRAG’s 2016 Summer Intern

On June 23 WRAG’s Corporate Philanthropy Affinity Group heard from Chris Jarvis of Realized Worth on why employees are incentivized, or in some cases, dis-incentivized, to volunteer. Realized Worth is a consulting firm that focuses on engaging employees in corporate volunteering. As the co-founder and senior partner, Jarvis shared strategies for getting employees involved in their communities and committed to social issues.

“People who show up to company volunteering programs already like to volunteer,” Jarvis said, adding, “These aren’t the employees that need to be convinced.” It’s much harder to motivate those who are less inclined to come out and devote a day or even a few hours to volunteering in their community, he said. So how do organizations increase the number of employees who participate in these engagement opportunities?

Jarvis explained that people volunteer for a variety of reasons, noting that some people respond to extrinsic motivation while others respond better to intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation occurs when people engage in an activity to earn a reward. Maybe they are offered a bonus by their employer or are looking to meet new people. Intrinsic motivation is when people engage in a behavior because it is personally rewarding; in other words, performing an activity for its own sake rather than for an external/extrinsic reward. While our initial reasons are often extrinsic, if we fall in love with volunteering, it then becomes intrinsic.

Jarvis cited an episode of the PBS TV series The Brain entitled “Why Do I Need You?” When we find extrinsic happiness, he said, our reward system kicks in, and we often feel something like a runner’s high, a sensation that tricks us into going farther than we think we can go, pushing ourselves that last mile. These same chemicals are released when we volunteer, Jarvis said, especially when we visualize the beneficiary and can understand our own significance to that person. That’s when we fall in love with volunteering – when we can understand exactly how and what the significance of the volunteer work is. That’s when we will push to do that extra hour or even extra day of volunteering. We are intrinsically motivated. It’s about creating a transformative experience as opposed to a transactional interaction, Jarvis added. If we have the occasion to directly get to know the person we are helping, to have that “storyline,” we form an emotional connection with the cause and take away meaning from the experience.

Jarvis used an example from one of Realized Worth’s successful Corporate Citizenship programs. Recently, his company worked with one of their corporate clients to get its employees more engaged. They created a program in which the employees, customers, and business partners would come in on a Sunday morning, once a month, to learn about mental health awareness and hear from local professionals. Just months after the program launched, the corporation was benefiting tremendously. The employee engagement rate went up by 12% and the absenteeism rate dropped by 22%. Talking about mental health, Jarvis pointed out, created a safe space for employees where they felt comfortable and engaged with the company and the community. In concluding, Jarvis said that programs like this one benefit both the business and the community. And that’s good for everyone.

WRAG’s Corporate Philanthropy Affinity Group is comprised of corporate social responsibility leaders from more than 35 of the Greater Washington region’s top companies. This network provides members with professional development and best practice sharing; information on community needs and facilitated discussions with community, corporate, and nonprofit leaders; purposeful networking and partnership building; and a collective voice for corporate philanthropy. The next Corporate Philanthropy Affinity Group session, on measuring and evaluating CSR, is August 16. Click here to learn more.

The impact of 1M new jobs in the region…MD focusing on early childhood education reform [News, 10.28.11]

JOBS/HOUSING | By 2030, the Greater Washington region is predicted to have one million new jobs and three times the current number of commuters. A new report from the Center for Regional Analysis at GMU calls for local governments to focus on housing needs to ensure that future workers can live close to their jobs, thereby preventing a “catastrophic” traffic situation in the region. (Examiner, 10/28)

EDUCATION | The State of Maryland is applying for Race to the Top funds again this year, specifically to support reforms focusing around early childhood education. (Gazette, 10/26)

FOOD | Just because the food you can buy at your neighborhood farmer’s market is sourced locally, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is more environmentally-friendly. (WAMU, 10/21)

REVIEW | Looking to learn how to be a better philanthropist? I recently reviewed Thomas Tierney and Joel Fleishman’s book, Give Smart: Philanthropy That Gets Results. Here’s a snippet:

While grantmakers have the best of intentions, it is easy to underestimate the complexity of entrenched social problems, and it can be hard to resist the urge to jump right in to try to fix them. In the authors’ words, “ignorance is the paramount philanthropic sin.” Continuous learning, therefore, is imperative to impactful philanthropy.

COMMUNITY | Last week, CEOs and trustees of many of the region’s family foundations gathered at the Verizon Center to hear from Ted Leonsis, who spoke about his commitment to our region and his vision for the next generation of community investors.

AAAHHHHH | Watch out for a rogue mountain lion… (NBC Washington, 10/28)

According to the BBC, I was the 79,780,066,096th person to have lived on Earth. What about you? – Rebekah 

Corporate philanthropists focus on workforce development

By Katy Moore, Director of Member Services

WRAG’s corporate members recently got a behind-the-scenes tour of one of our region’s most highly-acclaimed workforce development programs: Northern Virginia Family Services’ Training Futures. Since its founding in 1996, Training Futures has prepared over 1,000 low-income people for administrative and medical office jobs with an 84% job placement rate.

In recent months, Training Futures has been heralded by the New York Times as one of a few “shining examples of small, well-devised retraining programs in the United States.” And, the program’s partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) was recently evaluated by The Aspen Institute as one of the top-performing nonprofit-college partnerships in the nation.

Following the site visit, attendees heard from a panel of their peers who addressed how and why their companies are supporting workforce development in the Greater Washington region. Some highlights:

Doug Koelemay, VP for Community Relations at SAIC, discussed how the company’s deep partnership with Training Futures has supported both the nonprofit and SAIC’s business goals.

Sarah Oldmixon, Director of Workforce Initiatives at the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, provided an overview of workforce needs, challenges, and opportunities in the region.

Mark Popovich, Senior Program Officer at the Hitachi Foundation, discussed the foundation’s early leadership and ongoing participation in the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.

Richard Tharp, Director of Kaiser Permanente’s Workforce Development and Educational Theatre Programs, discussed how Kaiser is partnering with area community colleges to train hundreds of front-line health care professionals (click here for more info).

Michelle Gilliard, Senior Director of The Walmart Foundation, discussed the company’s interest in workforce development in the DC region.

Read: Speaker bios
Related: The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region’s recent newsletter on workforce development.

Recap: “Philanthropist to Philanthropist” featuring Dick Snowdon and Elizabeth Snowdon

Dick Snowdon

Elizabeth Snowdon

Dick Snowdon and Elizabeth Snowdon of the Hill-Snowdon Foundation were our guest at April’s sold-out Philanthropist to Philanthropist luncheon.

For forty years, the Hill-Snowdon Foundation was a typical family foundation, coming together over the holidays to approve grants recommended by family members. The story recounted by Dick Snowdon and his daughter, Elizabeth Snowdon, at this month’s Philanthropist to Philanthropist luncheon tells of the remarkable transformation from kitchen table check-writing to nationally-known leadership in social justice.

Read more about the story of the Hill-Snowdon Foundation.

Washington Grantmakers’ “Philanthropist to Philanthropist” luncheons are exclusively for family philanthropists in the DC region. These invitation-only events provide a rare opportunity to openly share giving challenges, successes and failures, and learn from peers. For more information contact Katy Moore at 202-939-3436 or

This series made possible by the support of

‘Philanthropist to Philanthropist’ with Katherine Bradley

Katherine Bradley, president of CityBridge Foundation, was our guest at September’s sold-out Philanthropist to Philanthropist Luncheon.

“As part of its newest tranche of work, CityBridge brought to Washington the New York-based Turnaround for Children, which works to identify the academic and non-academic barriers that students face in order to successfully promote their academic success and healthy development.”

Read more about Katherine’s work at CityBridge.

Washington Grantmakers’ “Philanthropist to Philanthropist” luncheons are exclusively for family philanthropists in the DC region. These invitation-only events provide a rare opportunity to openly share giving challenges, successes and failures, and learn from peers. For more information contact Katy Moore at 202-939-3436 or

Corporate giving isn’t limited to dollars [News, 8.9.10]

Newcomers to the region bring their charitable dollars with them
(WaPo, 8/9) – “And not just dollars. Terri Lee Freeman, president of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, said approaches to giving can vary. For example, she said consulting firm Deloitte offers thousands of hours of pro bono expertise, providing analysis and business management expertise to local nonprofits, while Capital One, the financial giant based in McLean, has long operated a locally focused grant program through its foundation.” Also quoted in the article are Steve Gunderson (Council on Foundations) and Tamara Lucas Copeland (Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers).

Companies donate employees’ time, service instead of cash (USAToday, 8/8) – Wal-Mart was the top corporate giver last year.

GIVING | Warren Buffet discusses goals for the Giving Pledge (Tactical Philanthropy, 8/9) – “We will gather the Pledgers to talk about big problems in philanthropy and learn as a group about being smarter about philanthropy…”

Inexperienced companies chase U.S. school funds
(NYTimes, 8/9)
Gates’s millions: can big bucks turn students into graduates? (Chronicle of Higher Ed – subscription, 8/8)

REAL TALK | McKnight Foundation shares results of ‘Grantee Perception Survey’ (PND, 8/9)

JOBS/HEALTH | Work-based learning model helps community health centers ‘grow their own workforce’ (wire, 8/9)

Just how bad are homeless services in the District?
(CityPaper, 8/6)
– Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless joins the blogosphere.

“Philanthropist to Philanthropist” featuring Jack Davies

by Katy Moore, Director of Member Services, Washington Grantmakers

At the June 2010 “Philanthropist to Philanthropist” luncheon top philanthropists from around the region came together to learn from one of their own: Jack Davies. In an interview-styled session, Jack discussed with moderator Patty Alper his small-town beginnings, his dedication to improving the lives of children and youth in the DC region, and the unique way in which he has structured his giving to make a lasting impact on issues most important to him.

Jack began his varied and illustrious career at the age of 14 at his father’s car dealership in Meadville, PA. He smiles as he recalls his first position: “assistant to the assistant car wash manager.” By 16 he had worked his way up to salesman and by 17 he was the leading sales person in the company – an achievement for which he is still very proud. Following college, he worked for 10 years in marketing for GE consumer electronics before moving on to RCA Records Europe and then tackling the UK consumer mortgage business with Citicorp.

By the early 90’s, he was ready for a new challenge. Enter: America Online. In 1993, Jack took a gamble on a small, unheard of company in Northern Virginian called America Online. As the founder of AOL International, Jack helped build the business to over $1 billion in revenues. In 2000, following a minor health scare, Jack retired from AOL. But, as he found, retirement was his biggest challenge yet.

As Jack searched for “purpose” in retirement, he was inspired by the passion, enthusiasm and philanthropy of Mario Morino. Determined to make a difference in his community, Jack became a founding investor of Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) eventually joining the board and becoming the Chair of the Development committee helping to raise over $70 million to support nonprofits that serve low-income children and families in the DC region.

Since joining VPP, Jack’s philanthropy and community involvement have grown and expanded exponentially. His personal and foundation giving totals nearly $700,000 per year and he has served on numerous nonprofit boards including the See Forever Foundation/Maya Angelou Public Charter Schools, Washington Scholarship Fund, and HeadsUp – all of which align with his passion to improve the lives of low-income children and youth in the DC region.

In 2004, in his hometown of Meadville, PA, Jack and his family founded the Davies’ Community Service Leaders Program and annually present the Lew Davies Award for Community Service in honor of his late father. Since its inception, the program has allowed over 60 Allegheny College students to work with 15 nonprofits providing much needed organizational capacity while also bridging the gap between the college and the town. Jack is very proud that his mother, Ellie Davies, is so actively involved with the program. She still reviews every application and meets with every Davies Leader throughout the year, checking on their progress.

Throughout the interview, one theme was evident. Jack Davies is not a passive philanthropist. He puts his passion and energy behind his giving championing the organizations with which he works. As a very successful fundraiser for those causes closest to his heart, Jack was asked during the questions and answer section of the interview to share a few of his fundraising “tips.” He grinned wilily and joked that 100 point wine never hurts.

> Jack Davies – bio (.pdf)
> Patty Alper – bio (.pdf)


Washington Grantmakers’ “Philanthropist to Philanthropist” luncheons are exclusively for family philanthropists in the DC region. These invitation-only events are limited to 25 participants and provide a rare opportunity for philanthropists to openly share their giving challenges, successes and failures, and learn from their peers. For more information contact Katy Moore at 202-939-3436 or

Corporate philanthropy in a down economy

Hey, corporate philanthropists–are you struggling to keep and build momentum for your employee engagement programs in this continuously-challenged economic climate? This article from Changing Our World offers some timely tips. And be sure to join your corporate giving colleagues  for the next Corporate Philanthropy Luncheon!

-Katy Moore

“Philanthropist to Philanthropist” – featuring George Vradenburg

By Katy Moore, Director of Member Services, Washington Grantmakers

At last week’s “Philanthropist to Philanthropist” luncheon – the first of three that Washington Grantmakers will host this year – top philanthropists from around the region came together to learn from one of their colleagues. In an interview-styled session, George Vradenburg (bio) discussed with moderator Patty Alper (bio) how he has structured his giving to make a lasting impact on issues most important to him.


In 2001, Mr. Vradenburg left a very successful career in media – including senior executive positions at AOL, CBS and Fox – to pursue his passion for serving the public. Determined to make a difference, he and his wife, Trish, founded the Vradenburg Foundation.

Through the foundation, the Vradenburgs give about $1.2 million in grants each year  – well above the IRS-required 5%.   More importantly, George gives his endless energy and passion to the causes he supports. Most notably, he currently serves as Chairman of the Board of The Phillips Collection, co-chairs (with Trish) the National Alzheimer’s Gala and Alzheimer’s Action PAC, and is deeply committed to DC public education reform.

When asked how he describes himself, he jokes that Trish calls him a “philactivist,” but that he prefers a simpler description: restless. And restless he is! Listening to the dizzying variety and multitude of efforts with which he is involved, one wonders when he sleeps.

Throughout the interview, one theme rang true. From Alzheimers to “regionalism,” from The Phillips to education reform, Mr. Vradenburg’s strategy is bringing the “right” people to the table. And, by the “right” people, he means those who are willing to work together to effect systemic change in underperforming social or economic sectors. As he put it, “unless you have unlimited resources, you have to involve others in your work in order to move the needle.”

When asked how he knows when he’s making a difference, he bucks the idea of traditional metrics and says, “Either it works or it doesn’t.”

Washington Grantmakers’ “Philanthropist to Philanthropist” luncheons are exclusively for family philanthropists in the DC region. These invitation-only events are limited to 25 participants and provide a rare opportunity for philanthropists to openly share their giving challenges, successes and failures, and learn from their peers. Upcoming speakers include Jack Davies (June 8) and Katherine Bradley (September 14). For more information contact Katy Moore at