Tag: crime

Maryland lawmakers and advocates to help parents

CHILDREN & FAMILIES | Maryland lawmakers and advocates are concerned about child-care in the state. Lawmakers want to increase funding for child-care subsidies in addition to finding other financial assistance measures to help struggling parents. Advocates argue that subsidies are too low in the state, which can make some families ineligible for the program. (WaPo, 1/2)

Advocates say state and federal funding levels for child-care subsidies are too low, forcing Maryland to restrict how many low-income families qualify for vouchers and greatly limiting which day-care centers those families can afford.

Del. Ariana B. Kelly (D-Montgomery) and Sen. Nancy J. King (D-Montgomery), who chair a legislative committee that oversees child care in the state, want Hogan (R) to increase funding for subsidies and work with the panel to come up with tax proposals that would ease the financial burden of child care for families and providers.

RACIAL EQUITY | Caitlin Duffy, Diverse City Fund board member and Senior Associate for Learning and Engagement at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, discusses WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table series as she encourages members of the philanthropic sector to participate in racial justice trainings this year. (NCRP Blog, 12/28)

HUMAN RIGHTS | Opinion: A smokescreen for bigotry: Disguising anti-Muslim bias with land-use objections (WaPo, 1/2)

IMMIGRATION | Ike Leggett, County Executive of Montgomery County, and more than 30 other mayors and county executives wrote letters to President Obama and President-elect Trump asking for more protections for DACA. (Dcist, 12/29)

HOMELESSNESS | Two Northern Virginia nonprofits have come together to provide services, including rapid re-housing, for the homeless. (InsideNOVA, 1/1)

CRIME | Mayor Muriel Bowser credits implementation of crime initiatives for the decrease in the District’s homicides in 2016. (Washington Times, 12/29)

WORKFORCE | With the opening of the MGM National Harbor, employees see a gateway to a better life for their families. (WTOP, 1/1)

ARTS | American University will remove the statute of a Native American man, who some call a political prisoner, convicted of ‘aiding and abetting’ the killers of an FBI agent in 1975. (WUSA, 1/2)

Happy New Year! Did you happen to come across a menorah of bagels in Bethesda last Thursday?


Northern Virginia’s transformation over the years

Northern Virginia Magazine explores the changing economic, political, and social landscape of Northern Virginia over the past 10 years, and looks at some of the key moments that drove the transformation. (NVM, 1/22)

The U.S. census reports that 92 percent of residents in Fairfax County have a high school degree or higher—nearly 59 percent with a college degree. Of 1.1 million residents in Fairfax, there are nearly 250,000 between the ages of 20 and 34.

According to a demographic study by the University of Virginia, Northern Virginia has both the largest population among Virginia’s regions (nearly 3 million of the state’s total 8.3 million) and the fastest growth rate between 2010 and 2013 (5.9 percent). Nearly three-fifths of Virginia’s population growth since 2010 occurred in Northern Virginia.

HOMELESSNESS/DISTRICT | D.C. Transported Hundreds of People to Shelters and Warming Sites During the Blizzard (WCP, 1/25)

FOOD | Opinion: When it comes to “the food movement,” one writer ponders if there is more an illusion of progress than any actual action taking place. (WaPo, 1/26)

PRISON REFORM | A federal task force is recommending action to overhaul federal prisons and reduce the number of inmates by 60,000 people in the next 10 years. As the primary reason for prison overcrowding is mandatory minimum sentences issued for drug crimes, the task force recommends they be issued to only the most violent offenders. (NPR, 1/26)

HEALTH/AGING | As Population Ages, Where Are the Geriatricians? (NYT, 1/25)

Being extinct doesn’t mean you get out of shoveling snow.

– Ciara

Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough

by Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Last week, President Obama stood before the American people and again professed great sadness at another mass shooting in America. I’m not sure if he has said these exact words before, but I hadn’t heard them. He said that “thoughts and prayers aren’t enough.”

I had thought an appropriate response would occur following the killing of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In fact, at the time there was legislation pending in Congress that could have helped to prevent similar occurrences in the future. I was  certain of that legislation’s passage when President Obama brought some of the parents of those children to speak to Congress about the need for background checks and the need to limit the sale of some semi-automatic weapons. But it wasn’t enough. The legislation failed.

Mass shootings are becoming so commonplace that we have started to accept them as the norm. The national news no longer reports all of them, only the most serious. Consider this recent article in the Washington Post, quoting The Economist,

“ ‘Those who live in America, or visit it, might do best to regard [mass shootings] the way one regards air pollution in China: an endemic local health hazard which, for deep-rooted cultural, social, economic and political reasons, the country is incapable of addressing,’ The Economist wrote in response to the Charleston massacre. ‘This may, however, be a bit unfair. China seems to be making progress on pollution.’ ” 

But I continue to believe that America is better than that. And, I continue to believe that my sector –philanthropy – can and will play a leadership role. Why? Because we have on another problem that was also once considered intractable – smoking.

In the early 1960s, cigarette use had reached its peak. Smoking had become a societal norm. Even with studies from the U.S. Surgeon General and advocacy by countless groups, the number of users was not declining at an appreciable rate. In 1991 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) courageously decided that it was going to work for the health of the country and support anti-smoking campaigns. Their decades-long, concentrated effort contributed to a major decline in smoking. Leadership mattered.

Well, now we have another public health problem in America. Just two days ago, the Wall Street Journal reported on a study on mass shootings from the University of Alabama, The U.S. represents less than 5% of the 7.3 billion global population but accounted for 31% of global mass shooters during the period from 1966 to 2012, more than any other country.” 

Can philanthropy be the conscience of society? Can philanthropy be the vehicle to promote accessible mental health care for those who need it? Can philanthropy be the broker who finds a path of reasonableness between those who want to ban the sale of guns and those who feel they have the right to own them with no limitations? Is this another public health tragedy to be tackled by Robert Wood Johnson? Perhaps, but RWJF isn’t the only funder with the resources and commitment to address this problem. Other national funders could step up to take on this challenge as could a collective of local funders who decide to collaborate on tackling this problem. Paul Ylvisaker, a former executive at the Ford Foundation, once described philanthropy as “society’s passing gear.” We need that vision and that commitment to overtake this problem. It takes leadership.

Philanthropy led before. I think philanthropy can again.

Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. Who will lead? I’m putting my faith in philanthropy.

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