Tag: Baltimore

In D.C., racial disparities in marijuana arrests continue, despite decriminalization

– Even with the dramatic reduction in pot arrests over the past few years in D.C., there are still significant racial disparities in who gets arrested (WaPo, 4/5):

One of the most common crimes involving marijuana in the District is smoking it in public. Doing so is a misdemeanor on par with getting caught with an open container of alcohol and can cost an offender $500 and 90 days in jail.

Out of 128 arrests last year for smoking pot in public, 108 were of black people, according to arrest data that the D.C. police department furnished to the Drug Policy Alliance, a group that advocates for marijuana legalization.

– New HUD guidance indicates that blanket policies of refusing to rent or sell a home to individuals with criminal records violate the Fair Housing Act because such policies amount to de facto racial discrimination. (NPR, 4/4)

Related: Did you know that April is Fair Housing Month?

FOOD | A Loudoun County school experimented with letting students take breakfast to the classroom, rather than making them eat in the cafeteria, and found that the change encouraged many more low-income students to take advantage of school breakfast. (WaPo, 4/5)

WORKFORCE | The business community in Baltimore, led by Johns Hopkins University, has come together to commit to direct $69 million toward local companies, particularly minority- and women-owned businesses. The effort, called BLocal, arose as a response to the economic disparities highlighted by last year’s uprising. (WaPo, 4/5) An interesting model that could be replicated elsewhere…GWRLocal, anyone?

HOMELESSNESS | On Closing D.C. General Homeless Shelter, A Tug Of War Over Terms And Timelines (WAMU, 4/6)

HEALTH | IRS Could Help Find Many Uninsured People, But Doesn’t (NPR, 4/5)

POVERTY |  The Growth of Concentrated Poverty Since the Recession, in 3 Infographics (CityLab, 3/31)

TRANSIT | Everyone take a deep breath: Metro general manager says no lengthy line closures are needed to make repairs (WaPo, 4/5)

According to National Geographic, if I were an animal, I’d be a peahen. What about you? Make sure you check out the amazing photos that accompany the quiz too.

– Rebekah

New county health rankings released

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has released their 2016 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, measuring and ranking nearly all counties in the U.S. and “compiled using county-level measures from a variety of national and state data sources.” In Virginia, Loudoun County was number one in the overall ranking for health outcomes, and in Maryland, Montgomery County came out on top. (WTOP, 3/16)

The yearly report — released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute — evaluates 30 factors such as poverty, education, transportation, housing, violent crime, jobs and access to medical care.

The full rankings can be accessed here.

United Way of the National Capital Area has announced $100K to social profit organizations in Loudoun County. (Loudoun Times, 3/16)

– Funders for LGBTQ Issues has released a report tracking 2014 grantmaking from U.S. foundations. Open Society Foundations and Wells Fargo were among the top 10 funders for LGBTQ issues.

POVERTY/REGION | Opinion: Maryland and Virginia are headed toward reform in the way that the structured-settlement-purchasing industry preys on individuals who are often vulnerable to the lure of fast money through lump sum payments, despite standing to lose out on much of the funds awarded to them. Many of the cases involve victims who received settlements because they were exposed to lead poisoning. Advocates for the victims want to ensure that much-needed legislation is passed. (WaPo, 3/15)

DISTRICT New Bills Would Increase Access to D.C. Affordable Housing and Government Buildings (WCP, 3/15)

TRANSIT/REGIONWhy Washington’s transportation is a problem, in one map (GGW, 3/15)

Northrop Grumman is seeking a Manager of STEM Education Programs.

– The Baltimore Community Foundation is looking for the right candidate to fill their Program Officer position.

It’s that time of year again…check out this year’s entries for the Peeps Diorama contest!

– Ciara 

Friday roundup – January 19 through 22, 2016

In an op-ed in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Tamara Lucas Copeland challenged the notion of a postracial America and explained why WRAG is working to foster a better understanding among funders about the dynamics of racism. (Chronicle, 1/21)

– The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy partnered to release the Disaster Philanthropy Playbook, a comprehensive resource to help philanthropy respond to future disasters.

– Maryland saw a record high of close to 880,000 students this school year – a 5,000 student increase from the previous school year. Most of the surge in student enrollment was in Montgomery, Howard, Baltimore, Prince George’s, and Anne Arundel counties. (WaPo, 1/ 20)

 Recommendations to close or consolidate several schools in Prince George’s County have brought members of the community together to oppose the possible changes. (WaPo, 1/17)

Do you want to celebrate the fact that you are already a part of the “IN” crowd and encourage others, too? You’re already a change agent in the region, right? Now let’s celebrate that. In keeping with the theme of WRAG’s 2015 Annual Meeting, “Philanthropy All In,” where we shared the ways we sought to INfluence, INnovate, and INspire in 2015, we’d like to see how you plan to carry on that theme in the new year and beyond. Take a selfie, group photo, or get creative showing off the buttons we gave out at the annual meeting. Be sure to share where you wore it and how others reacted. Tweet us @WRAGtweets and use the hashtag #theINcrowd to join us in celebrating each other’s work! Check out how WRAG’s staff is already getting IN on the action:

Don’t have a button, but want to get INvolved? Ask for one the next time you see a member of WRAG’s staff at a meeting or event!


Click the image below to access WRAG’S Community Calendar. To have your event included, please send basic information including event title, date/time, location, a brief description of the event, and a link for further details to: myers@washingtongrantmakers.org.

Calendar won’t display? Click here.

Bei Bei recently made his first public appearance. See how much you know about pandas in honor of the occasion.

– Ciara

New study looks at role of place in determining economic mobility

POVERTY | A new study finds that poor children raised in some cities and regions are far more likely to rise out of poverty as adults than they would be if raised in other places (NY Times, 5/4):

Economists say the study offers perhaps the most detailed portrait yet of upward mobility — and the lack of it. The findings suggest that geography does not merely separate rich from poor but also plays a large role in determining which poor children achieve the so-called American dream.

These places [with higher levels of income mobility] tend to share several traits…They have elementary schools with higher test scores, a higher share of two-parent families, greater levels of involvement in civic and religious groups and more residential integration of affluent, middle-class and poor families.

In the Greater Washington region, children raised in Fairfax and Montgomery counties have more income mobility than those raised in the District or Prince William County. You can manipulate the regional data with this nifty interactive graphic here.

WRAG/WORKFORCE | In her latest column, WRAG’s president Tamara Copeland reflects on why good jobs are an important step to preventing the hopelessness that precipitated events in Baltimore (Daily, 5/4):

If we want to lessen the likelihood of the horrors of Baltimore happening in our neighborhood, I believe that we have to give people hope. For me, hope comes in the form of a job, a job with a future, a job that is secure, a job that pays a fair wage. If you have that job, you can hope to live in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood. You can hope to save enough to give your child the education that you know is needed. You can hope that your children will emulate your work ethic and see the benefits of work. Hope is a powerful motivator and when that hope is more than an emotion, when that hope leads to the reality of purchasing that home, setting up an education savings account and maybe even taking your family on that first-ever vacation, you are no longer a part of the problem. You’re a part of the solution.

– The summer 2015 class of Frank Karel Public Interest Communications Fellows have been announced. This fellowship places first-generation and minority undergraduate students at area nonprofit organizations to expose them to social change communications.

WRAG is pleased to be the fiscal sponsor for this program. Says Tamara Copeland,

“We can fully appreciate the importance of communications when we see the shift in thinking that occurs when we change the terminology we use from “affordable housing” to “housing affordability,” or when images accompanying stories about Baltimore are of people cleaning up the city and not the burned out buildings that remain. The power of phrasing and of pictures should not be minimized when we think of what changes public opinion and leads to social change. So, when WRAG was asked to be the fiscal agent for the Karel Fellows, we were honored to take on this responsibility that directly aligns with our work.”

– In a blog post, Angela Jones Hackley, interim president of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, announces the new EQUALITY Fund (Equitable Alternatives to Incarceration for Teens and Youth), created in partnership with the Kovler Fund, to provide investments in programs focused on addressing tensions in low-income communities, and the disproportionate incarceration of young men and boys of color in the region. (CFNCR, 5/1)

EVENT | The Consumer Health Foundation‘s annual meeting, Building Healthy Communities through Regional Economies, takes place on Monday, June 8. Harvard University’s David R. Williams, an internationally recognized authority on social influences on health, is the keynote speaker. Click here for more information and to register.

EQUITY | Obama to Unveil Nonprofit for Young Minorities After Baltimore Unrest (NY Times, 5/4)

HOUSING | With Prices Tripling, Homeownership Tanks Among Low-Income Washingtonians (CP, 5/1)

I’m not sure I’d be able to communicate with a 12-year-old anymore.

– Rebekah

A job – the right job – may be key to preventing other Baltimores

By Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

With Friday’s announcement by Maryland State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, a feeling that justice will prevail in the Freddie Gray case has begun to emerge. The anger seems to have dissipated as the cries for justice appear to have been heard. Criminal charges against the police officers is an important part of justice for Freddie Gray, as is a fuller examination of the criminal justice system’s relationship to all communities, particularly to African-American communities.

But, this is not the only answer. We must still look at root causes. We must still think what can be done to prevent another exploding powder keg of pent up hostility and hopelessness.

My thoughts go immediately to jobs.

Until last week, when most of us thought of Baltimore, we thought of the Inner Harbor, an area of mega economic development that has led to the revitalization of the city. Just a short walk from this area, one can find the boarded up properties, the proliferation of liquor stores, and the outward signs of hopelessness that form the profile of too many low-income communities, not just in Baltimore, but across America. This is home to many of the young people who were seen on the nightly news rioting and looting following the death of Freddie Gray.

As many in philanthropy and in other sectors think about what they can do, I hope there will be some focus on economic opportunities for these often forgotten or invisible communities.

If we want to lessen the likelihood of the horrors of Baltimore happening in our neighborhood, I believe that we have to give people hope. For me, hope comes in the form of a job, a job with a future, a job that is secure, a job that pays a fair wage. If you have that job, you can hope to live in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood. You can hope to save enough to give your child the education that you know is needed. You can hope that your children will emulate your work ethic and see the benefits of work. Hope is a powerful motivator and when that hope is more than an emotion, when that hope leads to the reality of purchasing that home, setting up an education savings account and maybe even taking your family on that first-ever vacation, you are no longer a part of the problem. You’re a part of the solution.

I am proud that grantmakers in our region have been focused on this kind of preventative work for years. Workforce development conversations and actions are making a difference in our region. An important call has been issued for a regional economic summit to lessen our region’s reliance on the federal government as our primary employer. And funders have successfully launched the first business under the Community Wealth Building Initiative (CWBI). If you haven’t heard about CWBI, it is a funder-led initiative to create jobs anchored to the community that pay a good wage, have a future, are worker-controlled, and provide a tangible benefit to the community.

I know that the Community Wealth Building Initiative isn’t the panacea for preventing another Baltimore. I don’t think there is just one intervention. We have to address our school systems, the affordability of housing, the accessibility of healthy foods and quality health care, and a host of other needs.

For me, I see people who are hopeless and I believe that the right job can give them the hope they need for a better life. For me, having a job, a job with a future, is key to preventing other Baltimores.

To learn more about the Community Wealth Building Initiative, join us for a briefing on Monday, May 18. Click here for more information.

The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region names new president and CEO

The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region has announced that Bruce McNamer is joining the foundation in June as
president and CEO

In a statement, CFNCR board chair Martin Weinstein said,

“Bruce is a dynamic leader who is deeply committed to strengthening our region through innovative, impactful, and effective philanthropy…His knowledge of real market opportunities and commitment to smart, bold innovation make him the ideal person to lead The Community Foundation in its next phase of growth. I know that Bruce will be an extraordinary leader, not only for our Foundation, but for this region’s philanthropic community at-large.”

Upon hearing the announcement, WRAG president Tamara Copeland, said,

“I was excited to hear the announcement of the new CEO of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. With such a rich background and history in both the philanthropic and social profit sectors, I know that he will be a great addition to the local philanthropic community. Congratulations, Bruce. I look forward to personally welcoming you to the WRAG community.”

BALTIMORE/PHILANTHROPY | Recognizing that many here in the Washington region would want to support our neighbor Baltimore, WRAG reached out to the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers to see how we might be helpful. Here’s the message from their CEO, Celeste Amato.

HOUSING | DC’s housing affordability crisis, in 7 charts (GGW, 4/30)

ENVIRONMENT | One of the signs of a healthier Anacostia River is the increase in wildlife living in and around it. (CP, 4/30)

AGING | Senior Villages and other community-based and affordable models for allowing elders to live at home will become increasingly necessary as the population of people over 65 skyrockets in the years ahead. (Atlantic, 5/1)

SOCIAL INNOVATION | Bill to Promote Social-Impact Bonds Has Support in High Places (Chronicle, 4/28)

BUDGET | Mayor Bowser Does a Lot with a Lean Budget But It May Not Work Again Next Year  (DCFPI, 4/30)

“America Online can do all that?”

– Rebekah

Rioting in Baltimore: A Plea for Justice

As media coverage on the riots in Baltimore continues, WRAG president Tamara Copeland asks us to look deeper into the plight of those on the forefront of the unrest:

Yesterday, I watched as angry young men looted and rioted in Baltimore following the funeral of Freddie Gray. I heard news commentators ask what this destruction had to do with Mr. Gray’s death.  I heard commentators question the impact of the rioters’ actions on the investigations that must occur into what the police did or did not do while Mr. Gray was in custody. “Was the rioting a distraction to the real issue?” was the unstated question.

The rioting was the manifestation of what I see as the real issue. It was the release of pent up feelings that relate not just to Freddie Gray, but to Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, and countless others. What may be less recognized is that the rioting relates to years of education in school systems that focus on the easy-to-educate. It relates to years of living in unfit housing because that’s all that the family can afford based on their minimum wage job. It relates to years and generations of being un-employed or under-employed. And, it relates to years of un-recognized and often unacknowledged stress that is born from simply living in a society in which you are routinely marginalized. The resentment and anger build and build.

Freddie Gray’s death ignited so many feelings that these young men had held for years.  Was the rioting the right response?  Of course not, but it may be the only voice they have to call out for help.

– Amid protests and rising tensions in Baltimore, many are trying to make sense of the frustrations that led to the growing violence there. (CityLab, 4/28)

– What does sitting at home, Googling racist things online have to do with mortality rates for African Americans? Apparently, much more than one would imagine. (WaPo, 4/28)

Many single, young mothers find that unstable housing and unreliable childcare leads to a path of homelessness and make the tough decision to drop out of school. In the District, homeless families make up nearly half of the 12,000 homeless individuals in the region. (WaPo, 4/27)

Three-fourths of the members of these homeless families are younger than 25. The problem is particularly acute in the District, which now houses 700 homeless families at the former D.C. General Hospital and motels. Around 40 percent are headed by someone, usually a single mom, younger than 24.


Academics and advocates say homeless adolescent mothers are substantially more at risk of further pregnancies, sexual abuse, mental health issues and dropping out. The trauma they experience during these vulnerable years they carry into adulthood and the homeless family service programs.

INTERNSHIPS | WRAG is looking for a summer intern. If you know of a college or graduate student interested in learning about philanthropy and/or nonprofit development, please help us spread the word!

CSR | Last year, Boeing invested more than $188 million and thousands of volunteer hours to help enhance the lives of people and communities around the world and in our region. Their 2014 Corporate Citizenship Report provides a snapshot of their activities supporting education, the environment, military and veterans, employee volunteerism, and more.

NONPROFITS | Despite signs that the economic climate is in recovery, the demand is still very high for critical services that nonprofit organizations offer. According to the 2015 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey, 76 percent of surveyed organizations reported a rise in demand for their services, while 52 percent reported an inability to meet those demands. (PND, 4/28)

TRANSIT | The opening of the Silver Line to Loudoun has been pushed back (WBJ, 4/27)

Be honest – how many of these hairstyles have you sported over the years?

– Ciara