Tag: budgets

How Foundations Can Help Stop Predatory Lending

JUSTICE | Foundations and nonprofits have an important role to play in helping to stop predatory lending practices.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has finally proposed a new rule that will curb the payday lending industry’s ability to prey on low-income members of our communities. Comments on the proposed rule are due October 7, 2016, and they represent an opportunity for foundations that prioritize economic justice to weigh in on the side of their constituents.

Within the next three months, there are three specific things foundations can do to help. (NP Quarterly, 8/31)

CIVIL RIGHTSVirginia Republicans go back to court to fight governor on felon voting rights (WaPo, 9/1)

HOUSING | DC officials work to balance the needs of DC residents with the promises of developers to build affordable housing in DC. David Bowers of Enterprise Community Partners weighs in: “to the extent we can, when we think about housing and connecting people to greater opportunity and amenities it really does behoove us as often as we can to make sure the affordability is on site.” (WaPo, 8/26)

EDUCATION Book Details Foundation Influence on Obama Education Policy (CP, 8/26)

IMMIGRATION | Under Trump’s latest plan, more than six million immigrants could be deported (WaPo, 9/1)

EQUALITYInequality is a choice: Rewriting the rules of the American economy (Equals Change Blog, 8/16)

– The “September Shock” is real, and it’s happening this month. Traffic in DC is about to get much worse. (dcist, 8/31)

– DC has almost no white residents without college degrees. (It’s a different story for black residents) (GGW, 8/29)

 Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Signs Executive Order to Start School after Labor Day  (Balt Sun, 8/31)

– A new four year study by the Maryland Transportation Authority will explore where to place, and how to fund a new Chesapeake Bay crossing. (WaPo, 8/30)

VIRGINIA | Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said funding for education and road projects in the Northern part of the state won’t be used to close the $1.5 billion budget shortfall. (WTOP, 8/31)

ARTSCreative Sponsorship Use by Local Nonprofits Opens Arts Patronage to Nearly Anyone (NP Quarterly, 8/28)

RELIGION | Churches are forming “Racists Anonymous” 12-step groups to help people become more aware of, and change their behavior. (WaPo, 8/31)

PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: How Grant Makers Can Improve Their Aid After Disaster Strikes. Co-written by Nina Stack, CEO of WRAG colleague organization the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, this opinion piece highlights the new Disaster Philanthropy Playbook, a comprehensive online resource for grantmakers, nonprofits, governments, and donors. (CP, 8/31)


Education Finance and Policy Analyst | DC Fiscal Policy Institute
Communications Director | Grantmakers In Health
Program Director | Grantmakers In Health

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Community Calendar – September 2016
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 seder@washingtongrantmakers.org.

As we head into the final, unofficial weekend of summer, we learn that edible sunscreens are all the rage – yum? Hope the tropical storm passes us by. Enjoy! – Buffy

The (almost) Daily will be back on Tuesday!


Increased spending for affordable housing and homelessness following D.C. Council vote

The D.C. Council unanimously passed Mayor Bowser’s $13 million budget yesterday. As a result, major funding will go toward affordable housing and homelessness programs. Many of Bowser’s proposals remained intact, though some were slightly altered (WAMU, 5/27):

While the Council did strip out a proposed increase in the sales tax and cut funding for body-worn cameras for police, it largely left Bowser’s other initiatives — including close to $150 million in new spending for the homeless and affordable housing — intact, and in some cases even put more money towards them.

The approval of the budget drew applause from advocates for the homeless and for affordable housing, who said that the spending increases will help residents find — and stay in — homes in a city that has grown increasingly expensive in recent years.

Council, Bowser Win Big In Fight For Budget Autonomy (DCist, 5/27)

– According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, incomes for District residents born in another state rose around 12 percent, while incomes for D.C.-born residents decreased around 16 percent in the period between 2006 and 2012. (GGW, 5/27)

– With the help of community groups and local nonprofits, the area presently known as Marvin Gaye Park has undergone extreme revitalization over the years that residents hope will continue on and spread to nearby areas. (WCP, 5/28)

YOUTH | DC Trust provides a glimpse into the lives of young men of color using the cultural safe-haven of a barbershop as the backdrop for their ShopTalk Storytelling Series. In this second installment, individuals discuss the ins and outs of D.C.’s juvenile justice system that so often affects the lives of young men of color in the city. (YouTube, 3/12)

Tax Increase Plan For Schools Is Shelved By Prince George’s County Leader (WAMU, 5/28)

– Enrollment at DCPS middle schools has seen a dramatic downward trend compared with the number of students who entered kindergarten within the system. Efforts are underway to change the course of that movement and improve the city’s middle schools. (GGW, 5/27)

Your name can reveal a lot about your age, birthplace, profession, and more. How accurate are your results?

– Ciara

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

Friday roundup – April 20 through April 24, 2015

Many older Americans across the U.S. are experiencing food insecurity, a lingering effect of the Great Recession that has not yet shown signs of recovery for the growing senior population. According to a new report ranking each state’s percentage of seniors facing the threat of hunger, the Greater Washington region’s senior population is among those facing hard times. (WaPo, 4/23)

A new national report on food insecurity among older Americans ranks the District fourth, just behind Mississippi.

The report says that more than 20 percent of the District’s elderly have concerns about eating enough food or the right kind of food, compared with more than 24 percent of seniors in Mississippi.

The estimates of senior hunger range from about 8 percent in Minnesota to more than 26 percent in Arkansas, which was ranked highest among states where seniors face the threat of hunger. Virginia and Maryland both had rates of about 14 percent.

The Atlantic explored the economic inequalities that exist for many Americans well beyond retirement age, despite the shared experiences of growing older that most seniors endure. (Atlantic, 4/20)

– Lynn Tadlock, Vice Chair of WRAG’s board and Deputy Executive Director of Giving at the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, discussed the upcoming Loudoun County Philanthropy Conference on May 14 and how it aims to strengthen the “three-legged stool” of government, business, and the social sector to meet the often unnoticed needs of Loudoun County. (Daily, 4/22)

– Prince George’s County braced itself for what could potentially be a $20 million loss in state school funding. (Gazette, 4/22)

D.C. schools budget includes wide range in per-student spending (WaPo, 4/23)

National Parks Brought $1.4 Billion to the D.C. Region in 2014 (DCist, 4/24)


Northern Virginia LEG: The Art of Successful Site Visits (co-sponsored with Exponent Philanthropy and the Southeastern Council of Foundations)
Wednesday, April 29  10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Brightest Minds: Dr. Isabel Sawhill on Creating a New Ethic of Responsible Parenthood (WRAG members and non-members)
Thursday, April 30  9:30 AM – 11:30 AM (At PNC Bank)

Today is the Library of Congress’ 215th birthday! Find out what’s actually in there.

– Ciara

A deeper look into the District’s 2016 budget

The DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI) has released a Budget Toolkit full of resources that provide an in-depth analysis of the 2016 budget proposed by Mayor Bowser. You can access the toolkit here. (DCFPI, 4/21)

While the budget provides a record level to build affordable housing, it offers a much more modest increase to help families pay rent, yet rental assistance is key to making housing affordable to very low-income families. In addition, a one-year plan to keep families from being cut off the TANF welfare-to-work program gives the new mayor time to repair a flawed system, but leaves vulnerable families with too little to make ends meet, about $156 a month for a family of three. And the budget reduces some key programs, such as job training for adults. These programs face administrative and implementation problems that have kept them from fully spending available funds – and thus the reductions may make sense – but this highlights the urgency of strengthening programs critical to helping all residents thrive. These challenges could be addressed by the DC Council as it takes up the budget, or they will need to be addressed in future years.

The mayor’s budget shows that building a city where everyone can succeed requires substantial new commitments to housing, jobs, and other needs. In that light, the proposed revenue increases – which equal less than half of one percent of the budget – stand out as modest. Moreover, the revenue increases will fall on all residents instead of asking well-off residents to contribute more to building a stronger city. Given DC’s substantial income inequality – and the fact that taxes on DC residents are the lowest in region – raising additional revenues from residents most able to pay is a key to expanding economic opportunity to all residents.

Related: Last week, Ed Lazere of DCFPI clued us in to what funders should know about the District’s 2016 budget here. (Daily, 4/15)

– The Washington Area Women’s Foundation has released a new issue brief on the economic security of girls within the Washington region. Exploring demographic trends, the issue brief examines the challenges and opportunities girls in the region face as they move toward economic security as adults. The full issue brief can be found here. (WAWF, 4/21)

The New York Times takes a look at the “Missing Black Men” phenomenon in America, in which 1.5 million African American men are “missing,” due to early death or incarceration. (NYT, 4/20)

Opinion: What’s one good way to expand the tax base in Prince George’s County in order to boost the economy and fund public schools? Some say developing the underdeveloped areas surrounding the Metro stations in the area is a great place to start. (GGW, 4/21)

– The Washington region is the world’s 77th largest urban area (GGW, 4/20)

What’s it take to be wealthy in D.C.? Apparently a net worth of $1.25 million. (WaPo, 4/21)

Have you ever come across another person who looks a lot like you? Some people are taking to social media to find their doppelganger

– Ciara 


What you need to know: A look at Mayor Bowser’s 2016 District budget

*Editor’s Note: This week, The Daily WRAG is excited to bring you commentary on the recently released 2016 federal and state budgets from leading fiscal policy experts. What issues should you be concerned about in your jurisdiction? How might the proposed budgets affect your grantmaking priorities? Check in this week for an overview of the federal, District, Maryland, and Virginia budgets, and their implications for some of the most pressing social issues affecting our region.

Next up, Ed Lazere, executive director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, shares his take on Mayor Bowser’s first budget:

by Ed Lazere
DC Fiscal Policy Institute

Mayor Bowser’s first budget invests heavily in affordable housing, in efforts to address rising homelessness and to protect thousands of families with children from losing basic income support. She accomplished this despite facing a shortfall between revenues and the costs of maintaining city services. To fund these important investments while still balancing the budget, the mayor proposed a number of reductions and modest tax increases, including a sales tax change that will add 25 cents to a $100 purchase.

  • Building Affordable Housing: Mayor Bowser committed $100 million to the Housing Production Trust Fund to build and renovate housing. This doubles the Trust Fund’s resources.
  • Helping More Families Pay Rent: The budget expands rental assistance (D.C.’s Local Rent Supplement Program) to make 200 homes affordable to very low-income households and to aid families needing help after short term “rapid rehousing” subsidies end.
  • Protecting Families with Children: Mayor Bowser extended income and employment assistance for one year to 6,000 families facing the loss of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits. This will prevent 13,000 children from falling deeper into poverty and will give the mayor’s new human services leadership a year to address a TANF program that has not always served families well.

Despite these gains, large gaps remain to creating “pathways to the middle class,” Mayor Bowser’s stated goal. While the budget provides a record level to build affordable housing, it offers a much more modest increase to help families pay rent, yet rental assistance is key to making housing affordable to very low-income families. In addition, a one-year plan to keep families from being cut off the TANF welfare-to-work program gives time to repair a flawed system, but leaves vulnerable families with too little to make ends meet – $156 a month for a family of three.

Here are areas the DC Council should prioritize as it considers adding resources to the mayor’s spending plan.

  • Add Support to Families with Children on TANF: TANF should provide financial stability while helping parents move to greater self-sufficiency. Even with the extension of benefits for a year, the very low levels of assistance do not support family stability.
  • Expand Rental Assistance: There is virtually no affordable private-market housing in the District, which means that families with low wages or living on fixed incomes will struggle with housing cost burdens without additional assistance. Expanding rental assistance is a way to create affordable housing quickly and for the lowest-income families.
  • Increase Resources for At-Risk Students: The current funding devoted to helping low-income and other at-risk students in DCPS and public charter schools is well below the level recommended by a D.C.-commissioned study. Increasing the “at-risk weight” would allow high-poverty schools to take the steps needed to help low-income students succeed.

You can check DCFPI’s full take here for the key changes in Mayor Bowser’s budget.

Ed Lazere, the executive director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, has led the organization since its inception in 2001. Under his leadership, DCFPI has become the primary source of independent information on the DC budget and one of the most influential policy organizations focused on the District. Mr. Lazere is recognized as a leading expert on the District’s budget and tax system, and he is looked to as a resource on a number of policy issues such as affordable housing and welfare-to-work programs.

What you need to know: Virginia’s 2016 budget in the wake of proposed federal cuts

*Editor’s Note: This week, The Daily WRAG is excited to bring you commentary on the recently released 2016 federal and state budgets from leading fiscal policy experts. What issues should you be concerned about in your jurisdiction? How might the proposed budgets affect your grantmaking priorities? Check in this week for an overview of the federal, District, Maryland and Virginia budgets and their implications for some of the most pressing social issues affecting our region.

Today, Michael Cassidy, president of The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, gives us his thoughts on how the U.S. House and Senate budget proposals may affect Virginia:

by Michael Cassidy
The Commonwealth Institute

Further cuts to federal investments in public services, as proposed in both the House and Senate budget plans, will hurt our local economy and do so on the backs of the state’s most vulnerable. That’s because Virginia relies heavily on federal help to meet the needs of our communities and our people:

  • Despite the bright spots in the national economy, Virginia has still not fully recovered from the recession and earlier federal budget cuts. The number of unemployed Virginians is still 70 percent above where we were eight years ago, and more Virginians still need help meeting their basic needs. In February, more than 856,000 people relied on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help put food on the table. That’s a 67 percent increase since the same month in 2007.
  • As Virginia’s economy regains its footing, federal assistance is vital.  For example, the state is expected to receive $102 million in 2016 to help women and infants get the nutrition they need. Likewise, federal funds will help us support struggling communities and provide affordable housing for low-income families: through $430 million in housing vouchers and an additional $50 million community development block grant.
  • Our schools rely heavily on federal funding, too, especially to make up for recent state cuts. In 2016 our school divisions are expected to receive almost $261 million to help students in poverty get ready for college and careers, and $285 million to help teach students with disabilities.

Under either the House or the Senate budget plans, all of these services could face deep cuts.

What’s more, these two plans would put health care out of reach for hundreds of thousands of Virginians by eliminating the tax credits available through the federal marketplace for private insurance, as well as cutting Medicaid and changing the way it’s funded. Removing the tax subsidies alone would threaten health care for the 319,000 Virginians who have gained coverage through the federal marketplace this year. On top of that, the proposed changes to  Medicaid would inevitably result in less funding and fewer people receiving coverage.

Given the state budget landscape, there’s little hope that Virginia’s General Assembly would make up the difference in the wake of federal cuts. The state just had to fill a $2.4 billion shortfall last fall and relied heavily on budget gimmicks and deep cuts to do it.

With families still struggling across Virginia and the state unwilling to invest in the things that we know strengthen the economy, we cannot bear further cuts at the federal level. At a time when Virginia’s families need Congress to continue making strong investments in education, health care, and family supports like nutrition and housing, the House and the Senate budget plans would do great damage to the commonwealth.

Michael Cassidy is the president and CEO of The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, a nonprofit think tank focused on providing independent research, analysis and public education on budget and tax issues, with emphasis on the impact of fiscal decisions on low- and moderate-income Virginians. He also worked for several years as a budget analyst at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget where he handled policy development, regulatory and legislative review and budgetary process and execution for a wide variety of social policy programs.

Aging in place proves difficult when places need fixing

Despite being accepted into a program that rehabilitates the homes of low-income seniors in the District, many who prefer to age-in-place find remaining in their homes difficult as older buildings are falling apart around them. The program out of the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development has left some feeling neglected. (WaPo, 4/12)

The program can mean fixing leaky roofs, upgrading wiring or installing wheelchair ramps, chair lifts or bathroom fixtures. Homeowners 62 and older can have the first $10,000 of a loan forgiven. Advocates point out that for some low-income residents, the program is more cost-efficient than moving to a retirement home, where expenses are often borne by taxpayers through Medicaid or other programs.

Yet, only a tiny portion of the program’s allocated budget was used last year. The D.C. Council, citing the program’s importance, has increased its budget tenfold to $8 million. The program used only $800,000.

BUDGETS | This week, we’ll bring you commentary from fiscal policy experts on the recently-released FY 2016 federal and state budgets for D.C., Virginia (and soon, Maryland). Today, Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, gives his analysis of the 2016 federal budget. (WaPo, 4/13 and Daily, 4/13)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | Fight Over Barry Farm Highlights Fears About Public Housing Redevelopment (WAMU, 4/10)

HEALTH | The growing prevalence of diabetes diagnoses across the U.S. has reached alarming levels. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arlington County is one of only 10 counties in the country that had a decrease in diabetes cases between the years 2004 and 2012. (WaPo, 4/13)

– The Center for Effective Philanthropy has released a new report on the ways in which nonprofits assess performance and what they need from funders to support those endeavors. (CEP, 4/2015)

How Family Foundations Can Pass on the Philanthropy Flame to the Next Generation (WSJ, 4/12)

HOMELESSNESS | D.C. Claims Huge Progress Moving Families Into Housing (WCP, 4/10)

– Many schools in the District are shown to have inadequate libraries, particularly charter schools. In a pilot program, some public schools are partnering with D.C. Public Libraries to increase access to books for District children. (WaPo, 4/12)

– The District is focusing in on expanding the quality of childcare for children from low-income families in the pivotal developmental years before the age of three. (GGW, 4/9)

What if people spoke to each other in real life like they do in emails?

– Ciara

What you need to know: The 2016 federal budget

*Editor’s Note: This week, The Daily WRAG is excited to bring you commentary on the recently released 2016 federal and state budgets from leading fiscal policy experts. What issues should you be concerned about in your jurisdiction? How might the proposed budgets affect your grantmaking priorities? Check in this week for an overview of the federal, District, Maryland and Virginia budgets and their implications for some of the most pressing social issues affecting our region. Don’t worry – Maryland’s state budget should hopefully be completed soon. When that happens, we’ll have you covered.

First up, Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, offers his analysis of the 2016 federal budget:

by Robert Greenstein
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The budgets that the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed in late March would shrink federal spending to strikingly low levels that, measured as a share of the U.S. economy, are unprecedented in modern America.  These cuts would seriously affect the ability of states and localities to deliver adequately in areas such as educating children and increasing opportunities for disadvantaged people.  Congress’ new budget plans would:

  • Repeal health reform and cut Medicaid deeply on top of that. The plans would radically restructure Medicaid by converting it to a block grant and cutting federal funding steeply. The Medicaid cut in the House plan, including its repeal of health reform’s Medicaid expansion, would reach $1.8 trillion over ten years relative to current law, adding tens of millions of Americans to the ranks of the uninsured and underinsured.  Federal spending for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program in 2025 would be a third less than what states would receive under current law, and the cuts likely would keep growing after that.
  • Deeply cut other federal funding for state priorities. Federal policymakers already have substantially cut the part of the budget that includes support for schools and a wide range of human services (such as nutrition assistance for new mothers and young children, job training, housing assistance, and child care), along with transportation, medical and scientific research, and other programs. Funding for this part of the federal budget — known as non-defense discretionary funding — is set to fall under current law to the lowest levels on record, measured as a share of the economy, with data going back to the 1960s.  Yet the House and Senate budgets would cut funding further for this part of the budget.  Many of these programs are important to increasing opportunity, productivity, and long-term economic growth.

States are not in a position to absorb major new cost shifts from the federal government.  State revenues were seriously damaged by the recent recession, the worst for state finances in 70 years.  While revenues are slowly recovering, they remain in a hole, often well below what is needed to meet state needs.  For instance, school districts nationally employ 285,000 fewer workers than in the fall of 2008, the first full school year after the recession started, even as the number of students has risen by about 485,000.

Congressional budget plans aren’t laws.  Rather, they establish a framework for subsequent legislation.  With government remaining divided in Washington, much of what is in the House and Senate budgets won’t become law this year, as gridlock will likely continue.  But some aspects of these budgets could be seriously considered — if not now, possibly in 2017.  And in any event, continuing gridlock and eroding federal investments in areas important to promoting opportunity pose major problems by themselves, including problems for states and localities.

Robert Greenstein is the founder and president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  He is considered an expert on the federal budget and a range of domestic policy issues, from anti-poverty programs and various aspects of tax policy to health reform and Social Security.  He has written numerous reports, analyses, book chapters, op-ed pieces, and magazine articles on these issues. 

Report card shows progress – and room for improvement – in fight against HIV in D.C.

HIV/AIDS | D.C. Appleseed today released its ninth annual report card grading the District government on a number of issues related to the effort to end HIV in the city. The report card notes progress on some areas (including leadership, grants management, HIV surveillance, and monitoring and evaluation) and indicates where more work is necessary, particularly around education and housing. (D.C. Appleseed, 12/16)

The annual report card has been supported by the Washington AIDS Partnership since 2004. Look for more coverage of the report in the Daily tomorrow.

– The entity aiming to create an arts exhibition hall and venue in the former trolley space under Dupont Circle has signed a lease for the space. (CP, 12/16)

Why the Demise of the Field Trip is Bad News (Atlantic, 12/9)

DISTRICT |Bowser Appoints New Senior Officials For Education, Human Services (WAMU, 12/15)

– Loudoun County officials are considering paying for playgrounds at elementary schools, rather than relying on private donations to build them. (WaPo, 12/15)

As Lottery Opens, Bowser Remains Mum On Tweaks To New School Boundaries (WAMU, 12/15)

BUDGETS | Maryland budget shortfall grows to $1.2 billion (WTOP, 12/16)

REGION | DC2024 Olympic bid to present its case to USOC board of directors (WaPo, 12/16) The decision about which U.S. city (or in our case, region) will move forward could be made today.

And the 2014 word of the year is….

– Rebekah