Tag: Community Foundation for Northern Virginia

Two endangered species met on the Anacostia River and life bloomed

ENVIRONMENT | Cleaning up the polluted Anacostia River in order to reintroduce wildlife to the area saved many of the youth who participated in the Eagle Conservation Corps in the 90s from leading the lives that took many of their peers in Southeast DC. (NPR, 5/20)

In the first three months, a team of seven young men and two women waded into the creek and dragged out everything from car engines to sofas, bikes — and 5,000 tires. “They cleaned every scrap out of that creek,” [creator of the Eagle Conservation Corps Bob] Nixon says.

It was hard work with no prestige, and their friends in Valley Green [housing project] gave them a hard time. But “we started feeling a sense of accomplishment and pride,” says Anthony Satterthwaite, another of the original volunteers.

That sense of accomplishment was key.

CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP AWARDS | The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce has announced the nominees for its 2017 Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards. Congratulations to the many WRAG members nominated! (Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, 5/15)

Outstanding Corporate Citizen of the Year (Large Business)

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

CSRA, Inc.

Kaiser Permanente

PNC Bank

WGL Holdings/Washington Gas

Wells Fargo Bank

Outstanding Veteran and Military Advocate Award

PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP

Executive Leader of the Year

Adrian Chapman, WGL Holdings/Washington Gas

Todd Yeatts, The Boeing Company

Emerging Influential of the Year

Ben Ingham, Northrop Grumman

NOVAForward Award

Eileen Ellsworth, President & CEO, Community Foundation for Northern Virginia

Non-Profit of the Year

Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers in partnership with the Community Foundation for Loudoun & Fauquier Counties

– Tamara Lucas Copeland, WRAG’s president, said this about the nomination: We are honored to be nominated with the Community Foundation for Loudoun & Fauquier Counties. Since 2015, when WRAG hosted the first-ever Loudoun County Philanthropy Conference, we have been working with the Community Foundation for Loudoun & Northern Fauquier Counties and a robust cross-sector steering committee to identify and address top needs in the county. On March 1, we launched the “Faces of Loudoun” marketing campaign designed to highlight the often hidden needs in Loudoun and encourage increased and more effective philanthropic investments from residents and the larger philanthropic community across the region.

WORKFORCE | This Chesapeake Bay company, and the island where it is located, need Mexican guest workers to keep its business afloat. (WAMU, 5/21)

HEALTH | District policymakers passed a bill to raise the smoking age to 21 last year, but there are no funds set aside in the current FY18 budget proposal to implement the law. (DCFPI, 5/19)

HOUSING | The Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights area is now the third most expensive neighborhood in DC. (WTOP, 5/19)

POVERTY | A new study explores why some children who grow up in poverty are able to become economically successful adults. (Citylab, 5/19)

NONPROFITS | Nonprofits anxiously await the new administration’s first budget request. (Chronicle, 5/19 – Subscription needed)

These puppets do not want to harm you. 

– Kendra

Grantmakers share how nonprofits can deepen relationships beyond dollars

By Hudson Kaplan-Allen
WRAG’s 2016 Summer Intern

The second in WRAG’s Nonprofit Summer Learning Series, “Navigating the Grants Process: From Initial Contact to Long-Term Partnership,” focused on how nonprofit organizations can build and maintain strong and positive relationships with their funders after receiving a grant. The session was led by the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s (CFNV) president, Eileen Ellsworth, and featured a panel of experienced grantmaking professionals from across the Greater Washington region.

Ellsworth started the discussion by asking one of CFNV’s grantees to speak about her organization’s experience throughout the grant process. Jessica Fuchs from Serving Together shared her nonprofit’s relationship over the years with CFNV and made the point that, while the funding has been extremely helpful, “it’s really about the connections the [Community Foundation] has helped make.” She emphasized that the support and partnership CFNV has provided has helped validate and promote Serving Together’s work to other funders, individual donors, and the general public, and has helped expand the organization’s reach as a nonprofit organization.

The panelists — Timothy McCue of the Potomac Health Foundation, Danielle Reyes of the Crimsonbridge Foundation, and Naomi Smouha of Capital One — shared insights into the grantmaking process and gave examples of strong nonprofit relationships they have formed in their time as grantmakers. All of the panelists agreed that they find it important both to compare notes and best practices with their grantmaker peers and network within the nonprofit world to find the best partners.

Smouha compared the process to dating, pointing out that it’s smart to go on a few dates and get an idea of who she is working with before she “brings you home to mom.” Every quarter, Capital One hosts one-hour information sessions to allow potential grantees to get an idea of the partnerships they are looking for. They want to make sure they are being completely transparent every step of the way.

Reyes pointed out the importance of nonprofit organizations using Twitter to form connections with funders. At Crimonsonbridge, one of the ways they look to see who wants to partner with them is by checking their Twitter feed and followers. She uses the social media platform to research whose work best fits the foundation’s mission. “We don’t just follow back anyone,” she said.

All of the funders drove home the importance of developing and maintaining an honest and open relationship. “Don’t wait to tell your funder that something is going awry with one of your projects,” said McCue. “Be forthcoming with them.” On top of that, nonprofits are often tempted to follow the money. Instead, McCue said, organizations should be sure to stick with their missions. All three panelists said they use interim or progress reports to check-in with their grantees and make sure they are on track with their projects. If a nonprofit hits a roadblock and decides to change their approach after receiving a grant, they should be open with their funder about the changes. If you go through a staff turnover at your organization, give your funder a heads up that you are going through a transition, said Reyes. “Nonprofits should look at their funders beyond just a dollar relationship,” she said. Explore the partnership by asking questions and being open to suggestions. The next in the Nonprofit Summer Series, “Having Tough Conversations with Your Funder,” on August 19, will address the ways that some of these more difficult conversations between grantmakers and grantees can be resolved and can be used to deepen the relationship.

Shining a light on need in Loudoun County

Editor’s note: WRAG’s staff are heading next week to Indianapolis, to attend the Forum of Regional Association of Grantmakers’ annual conference. The Daily will return on Tuesday, July 26. Stay cool!

COMMUNITY | Next year, the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties will launch a community awareness campaign to raise the profile of poverty in Loudoun and encourage residents to support local nonprofit organizations that serve their neighbors in need. (Loudoun Now, 7/14)

Leading up to the campaign’s launch in March of 2017, nonprofit leaders will hold focus groups to identify how best to let the public know what local charities exist and what services they provide.

America Gives’ most recent report shows that, in 2012, Loudoun County residents donated, on average, 1.98 percent of their discretionary income to charities. That’s well below neighboring jurisdictions.

“This is a chance to change people’s knowledge and behavior toward nonprofits in Loudoun County,” said Caroline Toye, associate director of Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties. “We want to empower residents to be engaged, however they want to, whether through volunteering, serving on a board or donating.”

The campaign grew out of WRAG’s 2015 Loudoun County Philanthropy Conference, and additional funding has been provided by the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, the Community Foundation for the National Capital Area, and the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.

Related: WRAG’s Katy Moore and Amy Owen, executive director of the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties, take a closer look at poverty in Loudoun County – a place typically portrayed as having great wealth –  and explain the need for this campaign. (Daily, 7/15)

LGBTQ | The Fairfax County School Board is considering regulations to safeguard the rights of transgender students that would ensure access to restrooms that align with their gender identity, and require teachers to use students’ preferred pronouns. (WaPo, 7/15)

– Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett says he is committed to increasing the supply of affordable housing for seniors in the county, a population that is growing rapidly. (Bethesda Beat, 7/13)

Nonprofit seeks to revitalize Anacostia one blighted house at a time (WaPo, 7/7)

RACISM | Scientists are trying many different experiments to try to counteract implicit bias. Most interventions, but not all, haven’t been shown to be very effective. (Atlantic, 7/14)

RFP | EventsDC is accepting grant proposals from nonprofits supporting children through sports, performing arts, or cultural arts in the District of Columbia. More information is available here.

PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: Think Giving to Groups That Support Nonprofits Is a Waste? You’re Wrong. (Chronicle, 7/6)


Administrative Assistant | Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
Philanthropic Services Associate | The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region
Grants Manager | The Norman & Ruth Rales Foundation
Senior Communication Consultant | Kaiser Permanente

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

Note to self: When in the woods, always look inside your car before opening the door.

– Rebekah

Rebranding the region

As part of the Roadmap effort, the 2030 Group has announced the hiring of global brand consultant Interbrand to develop a marketing campaign for the region that is expected to launch in early 2017 with the help of a rebranding working group (WBJ, 5/12):

The marketing campaign is part of a larger effort by the 2030 Group to identify weaknesses in the region’s economy and come up with ways to boost growth in a time of federal austerity. The organization has spearheaded working groups to explore affordable housing and how area colleges and universities can work more closely with the business community. A working group exploring a regional transportation authority has been suspended as Metro embarks on its yearlong effort to fix major problems, [2030 Group’s Bob] Buchanan said, although he still hopes to restart that conversation in the future.

Related: Last year, the 2030 Group’s Bob Buchanan and the Center for Regional Analysis’s Stephen Fuller undertook an extensive research project called, The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy, to recommend ways the region can reposition itself to remain competitive in the global economy. WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland also shared how philanthropy in the region might respond and collaborate with other sectors to meet challenges facing our communities. (Daily, 1/15)

– In light of the coming dissolution of the DC Trust, WRAG has submitted a letter on behalf of the region’s philanthropic community to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, calling on the Council to maintain funding for out-of-school and summer programming for D.C.’s  children and youth in the FY17 budget. Funders and advocates for children and youth will be watching closely as the DC Council votes on the proposed budget this month.

– BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) recently named Consumer Health Foundation president and WRAG board member Yanique Redwood as one of 36 leaders in their 2016 BALLE Local Economy Fellowship. In this blog post, she discusses why she looks forward to working with other members of her cohort and continuing along a path toward community transformation. (Be a Localist, 5/12)

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has announced plans to create a $500,000 endowment for its Innovation Fund, following a $250,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor. They’ve also announced the launch of a new online-fundraising platform, Granted. (WBJ, 5/13)

– Prince Charitable Trusts presents a short film in their series about farming and food, titled The Culture of Collards, which recently  premiered at the DC Environmental Film Festival. The film traces the cultural heritage of collard greens from Portugal, to Africa, to the American south during the slave trade, up to their current state as a popular staple in many kitchens today. The 9-minute film features culinary historian Michael Twitty; owner of Three Part Harmony Farm in Northeast D.C. Gail Taylor; and City Blossoms co-founders Rebecca Lemos and Lola Bloom.

Related: In 2014, Michael Twitty kicked off WRAG’s Brightest Minds series with a discussion about building a more inclusive food movement. Check out this post that followed his talk, then take a look at the exciting lineup for WRAG’s Brightest Minds programs for the rest of the year. Brightest Minds programs are open to the public.

– The Ongoing Need for Healthy Food in Corner Stores (City Lab, 5/12)

– As the acknowledgment of the importance of quality pre-k education in a student’s future success picks up steam across the country, some states continue to struggle with making these programs accessible to millions of children. Locally, D.C. made progress by serving more 3- and 4-year-olds than ever during the 2014-2015 school year. (WaPo, 5/12)

– The troubling shortage of Latino and black teachers — and what to do about it (WaPo, 5/15)

Which of the seven deadly sins do some of the most popular social networks represent? Pinterest is spot-on!

– Ciara

DCPS hones in on alternative high schools

In their proposed budget for 2017, D.C. Public Schools aims to focus on bolstering the city’s alternative high schools to support students who have fallen behind and ensure they graduate with employment opportunities, among several other new programs and initiatives. (WaPo, 2/16)

Alternative high schools — which focus on students who don’t have success in a typical school environment — offer small class sizes and flexible schedules, and they can be more effective for students who need to work during parts of the day or have small children.

The four-year graduation rate across all city public schools in 2014 was about 65 percent, and that figure was sometimes far lower in the city’s alternative high schools.

Related: WRAG is excited to roll out our 2016 Public Education Speaker Series on a variety of critical topics facing students today. Education Funders: Click here to learn more about the series and to registerPlease, note that these programs are open to grantmakers only.

 Opinion: President and CEO of The Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation (and WRAG Board member) Nicky Goren discusses the need for leaders in business, government, and the social profit sector to break down silos in order to work toward building a more equitable region. She also shares the three interconnected goals in Meyer’s new strategic plan. (WBJ, 2/12) – Subscription required

Exponent Philanthropy has released a new publication in partnership with The Philanthropic Initiative titled, “Ramping up Your Foundation: Key Considerations for Planning and Managing a Significant Increase in Giving.” The guide offers lessons on the experiences of a number of foundations that have undergone such transitions and tackles important considerations for foundation leadership in the areas of governance, staffing and operations, grantmaking and evaluation, investments, and tax and legal arenas. (Exponent Philanthropy, 2/2016)

–  The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has released their 2014-2015 Annual Report, “A Year of Partnering for Greater Impact,” highlighting the ways in which they have developed partnerships in the past year to aide those in need, alleviate poverty, and advance the region through philanthropy. You can read the report here. (CFNoVa, 2/16)

Local culinary historian Michael Twitty is profiled in The Washington Post on his growing reputation as an expert on the deep roots of African American and Jewish cuisine. (WaPo, 2/12)

Related: In 2014, Michael Twitty kicked off WRAG’s Brightest Minds series with a discussion about building a more inclusive food movement. Check out this post that followed his talk, then take a look at the 2016 lineup. WRAG’s Brightest Minds programs are open to the public.

Opinion: Most parents strive to meet their children’s dietary needs, regardless of income level. But when faced with poverty, one researcher has found, the cost of serving a picky audience is often weighed much more heavily than in families with higher incomes. (NYT, 2/16)

ARTS | Staging a Comeback: How the Nonprofit Arts Sector Has Evolved since the Great Recession (NPQ, 2/9)

HOUSING | The Continued Rise of Renting (City Lab, 2/16)

JOBS | The Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation is hiring for the role of Communications Manager.

The Westminster Dog Show just happened. Take a look at some of the cutest canines around. Spoiler alert: CJ won it all.

– Ciara

Many millennials experiencing burdensome rental costs

A new report from the National Housing Conference and Center for Housing Policy finds that for many millennials in the region (and especially D.C.), rental prices have become far too burdensome (WCP, 10/2):

The report, based in part on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data, illustrates that the income needed to affordably rent a one- or two-bedroom apartment in the D.C. area is $49,200 and $58,320, respectively. The median wages for other jobs popular among millennials, including eCommerce customer service representative ($37,986), administrative assistant ($48,927), cashier ($22,332), and cardiac technician ($44,258), don’t make the cut for either type of apartment. Meanwhile, none of these occupations bring in the income needed to affordably own a home in the metro area: $94,023, a statistic derived from the 2015 median home price of $345,000, which is based on National Association of Home Builders data. This is despite the fact that the jobs singled out in the report each pay a few thousand dollars more annually in the D.C. area than they do on average across the United States.

– For the first time in seven years, Prince George’s County has reopened the application process for its voucher program. Some, however, are concerned that the online-only application will be a barrier to more vulnerable populations who may have limited Internet access or disabilities. (WaPo, 10/4)

PHILANTHROPY | Sari Raskin, associate director of community investment at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, recently got a sneak preview of WRAG’s new interactive grants data mapping tool. After spending some time digging into the map data, she came away with a new vision for how valuable this tool will be for helping the foundation invest more strategically in the communities it serves – especially if more funders participate. She wrote a guest blog post about why she hopes her colleagues will follow the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s lead and “get on the map.” (Daily, 10/5)

YOUTH/DISTRICT | Opinion: Examining the prevalence of crimes committed in D.C. by youth under the age of 18, a columnist questions whether enough is being done in the city to curb criminal behavior by juveniles. (WaPo, 10/2)

ECONOMY/MARYLAND | A New Era For Prince George’s County (Bisnow, 9/30)

ARTS | The University of Maryland has announced a new partnership with the Phillips Collection that will expand the reach of the university’s art and educational programs into D.C. (WaPo, 10/5)

EDUCATION | America Needs to Let Go of Its Reverence for the Bachelor’s Degree (Atlantic, 10/5)

Reston is really excited about October 21, 2015.

– Ciara



Leveraging data for greater impact: Why the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia wants you to get on the map

By Sari Raskin
Associate Director of Community Investment
Community Foundation for Northern Virginia

Though rankings of the wealthiest places in America often list Northern Virginia counties near the top, the perception of affluence often masks considerable need in our communities. Our role as the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is to shine a light on the issues affecting this region and to invest as strategically as possible in support of our neighbors in need.

Investing strategically requires having a deep understanding of who is working on the ground in our communities, knowing who else is funding those organizations, identifying where there are funding gaps, and seeking out possible funding partners. All of this requires accurate, timely, and accessible data about philanthropy in the region.

That’s why we are excited about WRAG’s Get on the Map campaign to make this kind of data available to its members. Through the campaign, the grants data of WRAG members who e-report to the Foundation Center will be captured in a searchable, interactive mapping platform. This platform has the potential to serve as an invaluable tool for better understanding the funding landscape in our region and help us become more strategic in our own funding. (If you’re not already up to speed on Get on the Map and how to get involved, check out WRAG’s website.)

The value of this tool is directly proportional to the amount of data it contains. We at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia urge all WRAG members to participate by e-reporting their grants data to the Foundation Center. It’s a bit of work on the front end that will pay dividends in the future as we all work to more strategically invest in our communities. We know that greater impact can be achieved if we work together as funders!

The Get on the Map campaign will culminate with the launch of the map at WRAG’s Annual Meeting on November 19. Will we see you on the map?

Sari invites funders to reach out to her to learn more about how the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia thinks getting “on the map” will be beneficial to their work.

For more information about how to participate in the initiative, contact Rebekah Seder at WRAG.

Friday roundup – September 7 through September 11, 2015

– The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia highlights the work of local companies supporting the community through employee engagement activities and CSR programs that benefit the region in their second issue of GOOD Business. (CFNV, 8/27)

– Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and lead faculty member for the Institute for CSR, discussed income inequalities in the social profit sector. (American Express, 9/8)

– Opinion: A writer argues that much more philanthropic aid goes toward poor minorities in cities than poor whites in rural areas, despite data that four in 10 poor Americans are white. (Chronicle, 9/3)

Why Boosting Poor Children’s Vocabulary is Important for Public Health (Atlantic, 9/7)

– Most of the District’s new housing is located in the center of the city, creating a situation where almost all new housing is in high-rise apartments that most residents and potential residents cannot afford. (GGW, 9/9)

–  Candidates for Arlington County Board recently fielded questions around plans to bring more affordable housing to the area. (ARLnow, 9/9)

– Extreme rent hikes in one longstanding apartment property in Montgomery County, Maryland highlight the much larger issue of affordable housing getting further out of reach for less affluent residents. (WaPo, 9/5)

While early mornings are far from being my favorite time of day, these sounds of daybreak from around the world are no less amusing.

– Ciara


Mapping 40 years of concentrated poverty

A new series of maps looks at how poverty has increased or declined in census tracts within 10 miles of several major U.S. cities between 1970 and 2010. Many of the maps show the stronghold poverty has had on already poor neighborhoods over the last 40 years. (City Lab, 8/13)

Despite efforts to turn neighborhoods around in cities like Washington, D.C., the authors argue that any good effects of gentrification are actually quite limited when compared to the overall increase in the number of neighborhoods of concentrated poverty. In 1970, there were 5 million people living in more than 1,100 extremely poor neighborhoods across the country. Today, there are 3,100 of these neighborhoods, housing more than 10 million people combined.

– A new report by the Century Foundation examines the ways in which poverty can differ among poor African Americans and poor whites. The stark difference, the study found, is the way poverty is often much more highly concentrated and isolated in poor, majority African American neighborhoods. (WaPo, 8/12)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | Affordable housing can sometimes be a controversial and divisive topic – particularly when it comes to semantics. Greater Greater Washington recently asked their contributors to sound off on some of the issues surrounding terminology. (GGW, 8/13)

HOMELESSNESS | A number of cities have enacted ordinances that prohibit the homeless from sleeping outdoors. The Department of Justice, however, recently filed a statement arguing that such laws are unconstitutional and only criminalize homelessness. (WaPo, 8/13)

ARTS/GENDER EQUALITY | Washington Stages More Plays by Women Than New York And Los Angeles (Washingtonian, 8/14)

JOBS | The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is hiring a Director of Donor Relations and an Administrative Assistant.

There are a few types of people in this world: those who use haha, hehe, lol, or the classic :) when e-laughing. Which one are you? 

– Ciara

The push for more flexible DCPS graduation requirements reemerges

Picking up on a previously stalled attempt to bring about more flexible graduation requirements for DCPS students, the D.C. State Board of Education plans to launch a task force to develop recommendations for awarding credit. (WaPo, 7/30)

The proposal would move the District away from a system based solely on the age-old “Carnegie unit,” which grants credit according to seat time in favor of a system that rewards how much a student knows or can do.


Proponents say students often need more or less time to demonstrate their understanding of a subject. And seat time requirements make it difficult for students who drop out or fall behind to catch up and pursue a diploma, an increasingly important consideration as the District works to improve its graduation rate and bring back young people who have dropped out.

HIV/AIDS | Today, the White House unveils an updated national strategy to progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS. (White House, 7/30)

– Interview: Director of Arlington Economic Development Victor L. Hoskins discusses the future of the county and how it can rise to face the challenges that could prohibit economic growth there. (WaPo, 7/29)

– A new study examines the debt burdens for Americans across generations. According to data, 80 percent of Americans have some form of debt and many are carrying it well into their later years. (NPR, 7/29)

CHILDREN/DISTRICT| Coalition Forms To Bring Universal Child Care to D.C. (DCist, 7/29)

– The Montgomery County Council approved tax credits for low-income renters as the area looks to become more urban with upcoming development. Few people are expected to qualify. (WAMU, 7/29)

Latino Incomes Are Rising, So Why Are Their Homeownership Rates Dropping? (City Lab, 7/29)

ARTS | The Shakespeare Theatre Company will extend its annual Free For All Program to each mainstage show this season, in an effort to make the arts more accessible to the community. (WaPo, 7/30)

PHILANTHROPY | Are you looking for ways to make your nonprofit reporting requirements more thoughtful and meaningful for all involved? Here are some tips to further develop guidelines. (CEP, 7/28)

COMMUNITY | The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Business Women’s Giving Circle has launched its second annual grant cycle to support nonprofit organizations and schools that provide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Entrepreneurship and/or Leadership programs to girls in K-12 public schools, colleges and universities. Interested applicants can learn more here.

What do you do when your toddler is obsessed with a personal injury lawyer’s commercials on television? You throw him a personal injury lawyer-themed birthday party, of course!

– Ciara