Tag: Channing Wickham

First citywide program for connecting black women with HIV prevention drugs coming to DC

A $1 million investment from the MAC AIDS Fund will go toward making D.C. the first major city to get a program that will connect black heterosexual women (the second-highest group of new HIV infections) in the District with pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP. (Slate, 6/17)

In 2009, D.C. declared an HIV epidemic that rivaled those in many African nations, with around 3 percent of the city’s residents living with HIV. In some areas and age groups, it was closer to 5 percent. Though targeted prevention efforts have cut D.C.’s new-diagnosis rate by almost 60 percent since then, the city still has an HIV rate nearly twice as high as the state with the next highest rate, Louisiana, and nearly 4 percent of black residents are infected. In D.C. and across the country, HIV is a racialized epidemic among women: As of 2012, 92 percent of D.C. women living with HIV were black.

Channing Wickham, executive director of Washington AIDS Partnership, which is at the forefront of these efforts, had this to say:

The Washington AIDS Partnership is excited to be at the center of Washington, D.C.’s goal to “end HIV” through the soon-to-be released “90/90/90/50 by 2020” plan, and innovative HIV prevention strategies such as  Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for women. Stay tuned for a major announcement with more details on June 30!

RACISM/INEQUALITY | Marcela Brane, Herb Block Foundation president and CEO, shares with WRAG this year’s winner of the Foundation’s annual Herblock Prize for Editorial Cartooning, and the enduring impact and significance of the political cartoonist in society. Check out the winning cartoon, “Racist EZCash,” by Mark Fiore(Daily, 6/20)

REGION | Leaders of Washington’s former bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics are said to be keeping up the momentum of their efforts by continuing to meet to discuss objectives for further regional cooperation, even without the possibility of the summer games. (WBJ, 6/17)

Unemployment rates in D.C.’s ward 7 and 8 are at the lowest levels in several years, according to newly-released federal data from the Department of Employment Services. (WCP, 6/17)

– A report by the District’s Office of Revenue Analysis examines the gender pay gap among the city’s workforce. While men make more than women for the same work in most industries, D.C.’s nonprofit sector is shown to be one area where women often make more than men in similar positions. (WBJ, 6/17)

–  This Is The Insane Amount of Money it Takes To Be Considered “Wealthy” in DC (Washingtonian, 6/17)

Montgomery County schools have adopted a new budget officials hope will narrow the school system’s achievement gap and lower class sizes. (WaPo, 6/17)

– Data show that more than 1.3 million U.S. students were homeless in 2013-2014. Advocates are looking to bring greater awareness and support to youth experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty, and a new report surveying homeless youth reveals that many schools may be failing to help students. (WaPo, 6/17)

– According to estimates, there are still 37 million homes in the U.S. that contain lead-based paint and 6 million that recieve drinking water through lead pipes. With children shown to absorb more lead than adults, the American Academy of Pediatrics is urging physicians to be more proactive about testing children for exposure. (NPR, 6/20)

Video: Can the U.S. End Teen Pregnancy? (Atlantic, 6/14)

Just in case you haven’t heard, Clevelanders are very, very happy today.

– Ciara

Moving on too soon?

In part two of their in-depth series on housing for HIV-positive residents in D.C., Washington City Paper explores how, after years of major federal and philanthropic funding to support successful initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS in the District, many of those sources are beginning to move toward funding other urgent causes with the false belief that the problem has been solved (WCP, 3/4):

Altogether, the slowed trickle of public and private funds out of the city has spurred concern among advocates and city officials alike. They worry that decreasing funds for HIV initiatives will sacrifice the progress that’s already been made, and that the cuts will take effect just as D.C. hits its stride in patient care.

Channing Wickham, executive director of Washington AIDS Partnership (WAP), who is quoted throughout the article due to WAP’s continued leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the District, had this to say:

I look forward to the day when the Washington AIDS Partnership can close its doors and declare victory. Until then, I appreciate the local and national funders who participate in our funding collaborative, and encourage funders who haven’t gotten involved or who have moved on to join in our life-saving work.”

– In her latest blog post, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland further explores the challenges many social profit organizations face when funders decrease giving in a particular issue area. (Daily, 3/7)

HOUSING | The Region Forward Coalition shares details of their first meeting of the year, at which WRAG vice president Gretchen Greiner-Lott presented Our Region, Your Investment, alongside Enterprise Community Loan Fund, as a part of the solution to the Greater Washington region’s affordable housing crisis. (Region Forward, 3/2)

FOOD/ENVIRONMENT | On Saturday, March 19 at American University, Farming for the Future will debut new films at this year’s D.C. Environmental Film Festival. Three of the films were done by the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University, with grant support from the D.C. office of Prince Charitable Trusts. The films include the premiere of The Culture of Collards, featuring culinary historian Michael Twitty; Gail Taylor, owner of Three Part Harmony Farm in Northeast D.C.; and Lola Bloom, Rebecca Lemos, and young people from City Blossoms, an urban farm/youth agricultural program in D.C. Reservations are requested to this popular event. Click here for additional information and to RSVP.

EDUCATION | A new documentary debuting this month, Southeast 67, follows the stories of 67 students from the District’s Anacostia neighborhood who were offered free college tuition as seventh-graders in 1988. Stewart Bainum, Sr.  and Eugene Lang (trustee of the Eugene M. Lang Foundation) were instrumental in establishing the program, as part of the I Have a Dream Foundation. (WaPo, 3/6)

HOMELESSNESS/DISTRICT | In Georgetown, the homeless can be hidden amid the million-dollar homes (WaPo, 3/6)

TRANSIT/MARYLAND | Here’s a look at what may be in store for the forthcoming Purple Line. (WTOP, 3/4)

ARTS | Before Smithsonian’s opening, smaller African American museums grapple with a behemoth in D.C. (WaPo, 3/2)

– The Coalition for Smarter Growth has an opening for a Development Manager.

– Flamboyan Foundation is seeking a Program Assistant.

A reporter once declared this the worst place to live in America. Now, he’s moving there.

– Ciara

The penny isn’t always shiny and new

by Tamara Lucas Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

On Friday, the Washington City Paper featured a major article on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the District of Columbia. It highlighted several excellent programs, such as the Washington AIDS Partnership’s Positive Pathways’ community health workers, celebrated the leadership of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and very candidly reminded us all of what happens when a funder – be it the federal government, a national funder, or a local grantmaker – stops funding in a given area; successful programs are put in jeopardy.

We – social profit organizations – always know that such a reality is possible, but we continue to believe, as the funding community often tells us to, that if we just show impact, if the evaluation data reflects positive outcomes, the financial support will remain. But that is not always true. As Channing Wickham, executive director of the Washington AIDS Partnership, an initiative of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, pointed out in the article, “It’s an unfortunate reality […] HIV  is no longer a new and exciting issue.” He continued by saying, “In this work, in year one a new program is exciting. By the fifth year, even if you have results … it’s not the latest thing on the block.” His remarks reflect the perception that some funders prioritize being on the cutting-edge, changing their goals as new research emerges or as new leadership takes the helm.

So what do we do?

To the social profit organizations, I say evaluation data is definitely a key part of the protective coating, but, as you know, it isn’t the only ingredient to safeguard continuing funding. You need visibility for your issue, like what HIV/AIDS received in that major article in Friday’s paper. You need a champion like Barbara Jordan was for funding for HIV/AIDS programs during her service on the Freddie Mac Foundation Board years ago and Mayor Bowser seems to be today. And, even with the data, the visibility, and the champion, your funder may still close his doors or decide to change funding priorities. It’s not a new story. You must continue to be nimble, telling all who will listen about the need and about your impact, be a visible advocate, and always work to broaden your base of support.

To the funding community, just a reminder: sometimes the right intervention isn’t new and flashy. It is grounded in research. It is making a difference. It is simply tried and true – the community health worker, the peer counselor, the mentor. Not the shiny new penny, but the value is the same.

Reported HIV cases decrease for seventh year in a row

According to a new report released by the D.C. Department of Health, the number of reported annual new HIV cases is down for the seventh consecutive year. (DCist, 2/2)

The report shows preliminary data for 2014, which includes 396 new HIV cases – a 29 percent decrease from the 553 cases reported in 2013. The highest number of HIV cases was reported in 2007 with 1,333 cases. Since then, numbers are down by 70 percent.

Executive director of the Washington AIDS Partnership, Channing Wickham, had this to say of the news:

I’m very pleased to see the hard work of the nonprofit community, the D.C. Department of Health, and the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration (HAHSTA) reflected in the latest data for new HIV cases.  At the same time, it’s imperative to remember the thousands of District residents who are living with HIV and the need to continue and expand HIV prevention efforts.

REGION/ECONOMY | A new study by the Brookings Institution ranks the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area against 99 other metro regions in the U.S. in terms of recovery from the Great Recession. The study rates the D.C. area’s performance as: 71st in “growth;” 91st in “prosperity;” 72nd in “inclusion;” and 77th in “inclusion by race.” (DCist, 2/2)

HOUSING/DISTRICT | Some 7,300 households rely on public housing in the District. With a number of public housing properties slated for overdue rehabilitation or replacement, DC Fiscal Policy Institute shares some of the risks this could cause for families who may be displaced, and offers recommendations for their protection. (DCFPI, 1/27)

WORKFORCE/SOCIAL PROFITS | Hiring Keeps Rising at Nonprofits in N.Y and D.C., Study Says (Chronicle, 2/2)  Subscription required

– The District and the D.C. Public Library have announced a new program, Books from Birth, that will send enrolled children a book every month until the age of five. The program is a partnership between the city and the Dollywood Foundation. (WCP, 2/2)

How Rich Parents Can Exacerbate School Inequality (Atlantic, 1/28)

ARTS/RACIAL EQUITY | Opinion: A writer shares his experiences witnessing slotting, tokenism, and dehumanization in the nonprofit theater sector. (NPQ, 1/29)

POVERTY | OpinionWhat Data Can Do To Fight Poverty (NYT, 1/29)

The Washingtonian presents a guide to successfully living in Washington, D.C.

– Ciara

Arlington uses innovative approach to house chronically homeless

– Arlington’s no-silo method to housing the county’s homeless population has proven to be successful for a number of formerly chronically homeless adults. Agencies have been working together to tailor services to each individual in need (WaPo, 1/31):

Arlington has a master spreadsheet that lists homeless individuals by name, drawing from an annual survey of people living on the streets and carefully cultivated contacts at food distribution sites, shelters and other places where the vulnerable gather. The spreadsheet includes whether the people want housing, what health problems they have, their income sources and anything that might help or hinder their search for a home.

Once a month, there is a meeting of a task force that includes advocates and specialists in physical and mental health, as well as county social service workers. One person takes responsibility for each name on the spreadsheet. They go line by line, brainstorming about which public and private treatment programs and funding can be tapped to help each homeless person.

Bowser administration says D.C. ‘operating in crisis mode’ on homeless issue (WaPo, 1/30)

– The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute has recommendations for what the city can begin doing now to tackle to the homeless crisis. (DCFPI, 2/2)

– WRAG president Tamara Copeland shares her vision for moving toward racial justice in the U.S. (Daily, 2/2)

– The Campaign for Black Male Achievement’s Social Innovation Accelerator has launched a national (and local in Detroit) search for 2015-16 Black Male Achievement Innovators – leaders whose organization exemplifies the pursuit of high performance that leads to tangible results in improving the life outcomes of black men and boys and who has the passion and potential to increase his/her local and national leadership. To learn more and to nominate a leader for the next cohort of innovators, click here.

– A recent study out of the University of South Carolina and Michigan State University finds that black and Hispanic boys who have committed crimes are more likely to have been placed in a correctional facility than their white counterparts who had committed more crimes. Data from the Department of Justice further supports that disparities exists (WaPo, 1/30):

Although the overall number of cases in juvenile court has declined sharply since 2008, blacks still account for a third of cases in juvenile court, far more than their share of the population.

COMMUNITY/HIV/AIDS | Metro TeenAIDS (MTA) and Whitman-Walker Health (WWH) have announced the start of a new strategic collaboration to provide HIV and other health and wellness programs and services to young people and their families as MTA will become part of WWH. MTA’s programs and services will continue to operate out of the existing MTA site in Southeast Washington.

Executive director of the Washington AIDS Partnership, Channing Wickham, had this to say of the new partnership (WWH, 2/2):

“From our position as one of the region’s leading funders of HIV/AIDS services, the direction being set by MTA and WWH is a smart and proactive move that will benefit the entire community. We also believe that the Washington AIDS Partnership’s investment in MTA’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Youth Health Innovation Lab will only be enhanced by the partnership with WWH, the city’s leader in LGBT health care.”

POVERTY True or False: Free and Reduced-Price Lunch = Poor (NPR, 1/30)

ECONOMY | According to data from the Census Bureau, when adjusted for inflation, the average millennial’s median income is about $2,000 less than that of their parents in 1980. Another big sign of the times – in 1980, the average young worker in Detroit or Flint, Michigan earned more than they would have in San Francisco or San Jose, California. (Atlantic, 1/31)

Do you think you could name these foods just by looking at where they come from?

– Ciara

Celebrating a special milestone at the Washington AIDS Partnership

This year marks Channing Wickham’s 20th anniversary with the Washington AIDS Partnership. It is always important to recognize such a milestone, but in this case it is especially important. Channing hasn’t just been doing this work for 20 years, he’s been making a difference. It is our pleasure to thank Channing for all that he has done and to showcase what others have to share about his impact.

Channing’s visionary and strategic leadership has changed the lives of thousands of people living with HIV and the nonprofits that serve them. By creating the HIV Report Card and the outstanding AmeriCorps program, and providing deep support to nonprofits as approaches to care have changed, he has made an enormous difference. Channing is the hero of this compelling collaboration, and as the Partnership’s founder, the Meyer Foundation and I are profoundly grateful!
Julie L. Rogers, President and CEO, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

DC Appleseed has been working closely with Channing since 2003, when he first approached us with the idea that we investigate why DC was leading the nation in the incidence of HIV/AIDS cases and recommend specific steps for addressing the crisis. This led to the issuance of DC Appleseed’s major report on the issue in August 2005, and also to our annual report cards on the subject – the eighth of which we issued last November. This work has helped transform and dramatically improve the city’s response to the epidemic. None of this would have happened without Channing’s leadership, commitment, and support. Not only was it his idea that we do this work, but the work could not have been accomplished without his continuous advice and guidance.
Walter Smith, Executive Director, DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Inc.

One of the many memorable moments with Channing that stands out was the day I handed him a check for $5.8 million, the largest check I’ve ever held, to secure the AIDS Drug Assistance Pipeline, one of our most innovative collaborations between the Washington AIDS Partnership and the DC Department of Health. This project saved millions of dollars that would otherwise have been returned to the federal government and ensured that thousands of District residents living with HIV would continue to receive their medications. It would not have been possible without Channing’s vision and commitment. We’ve continued our partnership with the DC Female Condom Project, which received more than $1 million in foundation funding for women’s health and HIV prevention; Positive Pathways, a Social Innovation Fund national demonstration; and our continuing efforts to help community providers in the District build capacity and grow in the new health care landscape. I cannot imagine the progress we’ve made in the city on HIV without Channing. He has made and continues to make an invaluable and enduring contribution to the District’s response to HIV. On a personal note, I treasure his insight and inspiration, our idea brainstorming lunches, and our friendship. Congratulations, Channing, on 20 extraordinary years!
Michael Kharfen, Senior Deputy Director, D.C. HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD & TB Administration

Channing has been a partner to AIDS United for decades. From the early days of the National Community AIDS Partnership to the evolution to the National AIDS Fund to the merger that is now AIDS United, Channing has been a true partner in this work to this organization and our team. Whether it be through AmeriCorps, Access to Care, or Community Restructuring, partnering with WAP has been critical to our success. As new initiatives were developed and new alliances formed, the Washington AIDS Partnership has always been among the first we call for development and execution. This is, in no small part, due to Channing’s leadership. Channing has been a leader in the field and a friend to this organization for the past two decades. We’re in it to end it—and, with Channing as a leader and partner in this work, we will.
Vignetta Charles, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, AIDS United

Thank YOU Channing for your long standing commitment to the issue of women and girls affected by HIV. You provided our very first real investment grant: it came at a time when we felt like no one was hearing our cries for support or even cared that we were part of this epidemic. Your love, support, and investment sent a clear message that someone cared and it opened the door for other funders to follow suit. Thank YOU.
Pat Nalls, Founder/Executive Director, The Women’s Collective

In a city flooded with professional do-gooders, returned Peace Corps volunteers, AmeriCorps members, a record number of interns, and a general population of aware and concerned citizens, it’s not easy to feel like you are contributing to something legendary or one-of-a-kind. Those who work with Channing Wickham as part of the Washington AIDS Partnership AmeriCorps team have no choice but to hold their head high. For 18 years, Channing has led groups of 10+ young people in one of the most memorable years of service in their lives. Personally, I know that the mentorship I gained from Channing gave me the confidence to take my life across the country in pursuit of an advanced degree. Yet his own spirit, energy, support, compassion, consideration, friendship, and professionalism is what drew me back to DC and eventually work at one of the agencies where he places AmeriCorps members. I will do whatever it takes to stay within two degrees of Channing Wickham, as it’s pretty obvious that his “touch” goes a long way to making a program successful, fulfilling, and, often, possible.
Brittany Walsh, Washington AIDS Partnership 2008-2009 AmeriCorps Team Alum

Over the years, I have seen how passionately Channing leads the work of the Washington AIDS Partnership. He is committed to addressing the problem in our region, to mentoring and inspiring the AmeriCorps volunteers, to forging critical partnerships and to working with local philanthropy to maximize impact. Congratulations, Channing on 20 meaningful years.
Tamara Copeland, President, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Channing Wickham is one of the most effective executives I know. It has been a pleasure and a huge learning experience for me to work with him over the past 20 years. The effort to overcome and eventually eliminate HIV has been long and sometimes discouraging. Yet Channing has stuck with it. His optimism, opportunism, and hard work have ensured that the Washington AIDS Partnership has remained in the forefront of the work, regionally and nationally. I look forward to seeing it through – with Channing at the helm.
Wilton C. Corkern, Jr., Chair, Washington AIDS Partnership Steering Committee and a Trustee of the Corina Higginson Trust

The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers’ Board of Directors, the Washington AIDS Partnership’s Steering Committee, and the WRAG and WAP staff congratulate Channing on his longstanding service and commitment to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Thousands still trying to enroll in health insurance in Maryland

HEALTHCARE | Maryland health centers are thronged with people trying to enroll in health insurance before the March 31 deadline. Many people are being told to come back another day because the locations lack the capacity to meet demand (WaPo, 3/27):

Navigators at the center spend much of their time explaining the complicated basics of health insurance. Although the sign-up deadline is well publicized, there is confusion about nearly everything else. Several of those waiting for help Tuesday and Wednesday said they had no idea what sort of insurance they wanted, for example, or how much it might cost.

“We want them to make a very informed decision,” said [Lesly] Martinez, the program manager. “They’ve never had insurance before, so we have to explain: ‘What is a co-pay? What is a deductible?’ ”

The center sees a high number of immigrants, some of whom speak limited English. Although Maryland had hoped to launch a Spanish-language version of its exchange, that never happened.

WASHINGTON AIDS PARTNERSHIP | Today we’re celebrating Channing Wickham‘s 20th year leading the Washington AIDS Partnership. Twenty years is a major milestone, and a number of partners, supporters, and others who have been involved with the AIDS Partnership over the years shared their thoughts with us about Channing. (Daily, 3/27)

COMMUNITY | This morning WRAG member and partner organization, the Association of Small Foundations, pulled back the curtain on their new name and brand: Exponent Philanthropy. Congratulations!

Related: Foundation Group Expands to Reach More Donors (Chronicle, 3/27)

– Yesterday DCPS chancellor Kaya Henderson and Donald Graham, trustee of the Philip L. Graham Fund, were on “Andrea Mitchell Reports” to discuss the progress DCPS has made over the last few years. (MSNBC, 3/26)

– The traditional public Alice Deal Middle School, where students have a plethora of extra-curricular activities to choose from, and the charter school DC Prep, which focuses singly on academics, offer two different models for successful middle schools. (WAMU, 3/27)

– Charter school advocates rank Maryland among the worst states in the country in terms of laws favorable for charter schools. (WaPo, 3/23)

HOMELESSNESS | Coucilmembers Urge Gray to Continue Sheltering Homeless Families As Temperatures Rise (CP, 3/26)

LOCAL | Consultants: Columbia Pike streetcar would bring more money, growth than bus transit (WaPo, 3/26)

Ever wondered what it would be like to skydive off of a skyscraper? (Well, I have, at least.)

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Monday. Have a great weekend!

– Rebekah

New HIV/AIDS report card shows both gains and losses

Yesterday, D.C. Appleseed and Mayor Gray released the eighth HIV/AIDS Report Card, which measures the District’s progress combating the disease against various benchmarks. This year’s report card revealed improvements in some critical areas, but lost ground in others.

In particular, public education, grants management, and monitoring/evaluation slipped. At the release event yesterday, D.C. Appleseed’s Walter Smith said:

While 718 new HIV cases reported last year is an improvement, it’s still too many. It is a reminder that we still have a long way to go to end the epidemic. D.C. government, service providers, and the community need to work together as partners now more than ever.

The report card has been supported by the Washington AIDS Partnership since 2003. Executive Director Channing Wickham was at the release event yesterday and observed:

With a few minor variances, this year’s report shows that the city is continuing to do excellent work in the fight against HIV/AIDS. As always, there are areas where we need to improve.

I am very encouraged that the District’s experienced new leadership team – Mayor Gray, Department of Health Director Garcia, and HAHSTA Director Kharfen – is well positioned to quickly bring about these improvements.

Related: Latest HIV/AIDS report card is mixed bag for D.C. leaders (WaPo, 11/14)

– Two big bits of news today. First, President Obama has announced a temporary solution to the problem of people losing insurance plans that they like. A one-year renewal will be called for, though House Democrats are apparently also planning different legislation to address this problem. (CNN, 11/14)

– October enrollment numbers were released yesterday and they fall short of projections. The Post breaks down the numbers. (WaPo, 11/14)

SHUTDOWN | Gallup just reported that Congress has the lowest approval rating on record at 9%. That’s not surprising when you consider, for example, that some of the lowest-wage workers for the government weren’t granted back pay after the shutdown ended. The Post looks at the continuing struggle of these workers, who are trying to make up for the weeks of lost income. (WaPo, 11/14)

HOMELESSNESS | As winter approaches – and shelters remain overfilled – local homeless advocates are doing their best to plan for the elements. (WaPo, 11/14)

– Last week, the Center for American Progress released a report called Social Finance: A Primer. It explores the concepts of innovation funds, social bonds, and impact investing. (CAP, 11/5) Now we just need somebody to start an impact innovation bond.

Donor-Advised Fund Assets Reached $45-Billion in 2012, Study Finds (Chronicle, 11/11)

I linked to a cool series of ads yesterday. Here are two more. First, Russia has a brilliant and utilitarian way of promoting the 2014 Olympics. The application of this idea could go far beyond a one-time promotion.

Second, Volvo and Jean-Claude Van Damme thought of a very clever way to showcase vehicle steering stability. This makes me want to rewatch the under-appreciated, brainless action movie Sudden Death. Don’t judge me! I like all kinds of movies!

Rebekah has the Daily tomorrow, so I’ll see you on Monday. – Christian

How can we grow our nation’s sense of civic responsibility?

Our country always unites around tragedy. Shortly after, it shatters back into partisan bickering with a focus on the things that divide us. So, how can we capture and nurture that sense of unity in a more permanent (and positively-driven) way? A fantastic op-ed in Politico suggests a viable possibility (Politico, 6/20):

To make citizens, we must facilitate the shared experiences that cultivate civic pride and responsibility.

This should mean a period of full-time national service as a rite of passage for every young American, ages 18 to 28. Such service could be military or civilian. Young adults could choose the Army or Peace Corps, Marine Corps or AmeriCorps, the Navy or VISTA. National service would be optional, but expected. Every college admissions officer or employer must start to ask, “Where did you serve?”

For nearly two decades, the Washington AIDS Partnership has fielded an AmeriCorps team in the District. The participants supplement the staffs of the Partnership’s grantees. Executive Director Channing Wickham says that the program works exactly as the Politico piece suggests it would:

The AmeriCorps experience is unquestionably transformative for the twelve young people who pass through our program each year. Team members develop a deep sense of social justice, and a personal responsibility to serve others and to give back to society. We stay in touch with our alumni, and we’ve seen those qualities continue to thrive. The vast majority of former Washington AIDS Partnership AmeriCorps members are now working as physicians, nurses, social workers, public health professionals, teachers, or front-line workers in poverty, housing, or health.

HEALTH | A new study from Pew Research Center finds that the portion of healthcare being administered by family caregivers has jumped from 30% to 39% in just one year. This trend reflects a number of things, including the high cost of healthcare in a bad economy and rising rates of life expectancy. (USA, 6/20)

– Next week, WRAG will release its newest edition of What Funders Need to Know. This one looks at our local direct care workforce.

Obamacare behind schedule as Oct. 1 rollout nears (CSM, 6/19)

AGING | In a program that could have been the brainchild of Todd Rundgren and Ron Howard, local seniors are using drum circles to fight through symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s. (WaPo, 6/20)

FOOD | The SNAP Challenge – living on food stamps to build awareness of the hardships faced by those who rely on the program – has become quite trendy among politicians. The politicians advertise a $1.50 per meal budget and post pictures of the meals they can afford through social media outlets. It’s hard to tell what the challenge seeks to prove. Amidst budget debates, nobody is actually arguing in favor of food insecurity or claiming that being hungry is easy.

Anyhow, the Post’s Fact Checker has a great look at SNAP and whether or not the $1.50 per meal budget corresponds with the realities of the program. The bottom line:

[B]uying food based only on the average SNAP benefit for a single person [$1.50 per meal] gives a misleading impression of the program and its intended impact. The SNAP program is intended as a supplement; it is not expected to be the only source of income for food.

NONPROFITS | Why does the media tend to ignore the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors? It hurts our feelings! The Stanford Social Innovation Review writes on the subject. (SSIR, 6/20)

HOUSING | Mayor Gray Opens New Mixed-Use Apt. Building in NE (NBC, 6/19) The building includes 70 affordable housing units.

LOCAL | An ursine creature was seen bearing down Quince Orchard Road in Gaithersburg. It’s not clear where it came from – or whether it was just searching for forest fires. (WaPo, 6/20)

David Bowie once asked if there is Life on Mars. He’d probably be interested in these 1.3 billion pixel images from the Red Planet’s surface. Also, have you ever wondered why Bowie’s eyes look different? The answer is because of teenage love. Seriously!