Tag: culture

Homelessness survey in the District points to need for regional cooperation

HOMELESSNESS | A new survey released this week shows that one-third of people currently experiencing homelessness in DC used to have homes in Maryland, Virginia or another state. (WAMU, 6/12)

The question of where DC’s homeless come from isn’t new — and it is often politically fraught. The survey won’t be used to try and limit homeless services to DC residents, according to Kristy Greenwalt, the director of the Interagency Council on Homelessness … she hopes it will spur better regional coordination on tackling homelessness which has been a topic of conversation among local leaders for some time … “We just wanted to learn a little more about people’s experience and what’s driving their decision-making. Were they originally from the District and lost housing and left and are returning to a support network? Are they from somewhere else and are coming here because they couldn’t get help in their jurisdiction?” Greenwalt says.

HOUSING
–  Why’s everyone talking about upzoning? It’s the foundation of green, equitable cities. (GGWash, 6/11)

– DC’s affordable housing is extremely inequitably distributed across the city, according to this image from the DC Office of Planning. (GGWash, 6/5)

FOOD | In Farm-to-Table 2.0, Local Farmers Are Partners Not Purveyors (CP, 6/12)

ENVIRONMENT | The Anacostia River suffered after the region’s wettest year on record, which has brought trash, waste and dirt that is harming the river. (WAMU, 6/11)

HEALTH | Absence Of ‘Harris Rider’ Could Put D.C. One Step Closer To Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries (WAMU, 6/12)

EDUCATION | DC Charter School Leaders Campaign For More Space (WAMU, 6/12)

ART/CULTURE | The Smithsonian Institution has picked a 10-story building by the L’Enfant Plaza Metro in Southwest DC for its new headquarters, which sets the stage for the institution’s larger planned South Mall campus renovation. (WBJ, 6/11)

PHILANTHROPY
The Rise, Fall, and Possible Rebirth of 100 Resilient Cities (CityLab, 6/12)

– Assets at Small Foundations Declined 3.5% Last Year, Study Shows (Chronicle, 6/12)

ANNOUNCEMENT | WRAG is excited to introduce our newest team member, Carmen Rodriguez, Director of Communication, Technology, and Administration! With Carmen on board, I am closing out my time as WRAG’s communications consultant responsible for producing the (Almost) Daily WRAG. It has been a true pleasure bringing you the (Almost) Daily over the past six months as WRAG builds its new team.

This summer, the Daily will go on “vacation” as WRAG assesses its communications strategy and needs going forward. We will continue to bring you occasional updates using this platform, but we will not produce a regular news roundup. In the meantime, we would love to hear from readers: What have you valued about the Daily WRAG? What would you like to see more of from WRAG? Less of? We welcome your thoughts via this quick survey.

We look forward to sharing with you our new communications strategy later this year!


Social Sector Job Openings 

Institutional Development Manager | Martha’s Table – New!
Director | Open Society Institute-Baltimore
Director, School Partnerships Coach | Flamboyan Foundation
Senior Director of Development, Research & Innovation | Children’s Hospital Foundation
Senior Program Manager | Rising Tide Foundation
Development Manager | Mikva Challenge DC
Foundation Director | Venable LLP
Development Associate | Sitar Arts Center
Grants Manager | Arabella Advisors
Institutional Development Officer | Martha’s Table
Development Manager, Washington, DC | Reading Partners
Director of Individual Giving | Horizons Greater Washington
Grants Compliance Manager | Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter
Director of Corporate and Foundation Advancement | Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
Engagement Officer | Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
Grants and Communications Associate | Neighborhood Health
Senior Manager of Member Engagement and Partnerships | United Philanthropy Forum

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

To add an event to WRAG’s community calendar, email Rebekah Seder. Click here to view the community calendar.


An app to find the best happy hour in DC? Yes, please – cheers to a great summer!

– Buffy

Decriminalizing sex work in the District

PUBLIC HEALTH/CRIMINAL JUSTICE | A coalition of sex workers and their advocates have introduced a bill, the Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019, to decriminalize the sale and purchase of sex in the District. (CP, 6/3)

The world of people who sell sex for money in DC is not a monolith with one blanket policy need … among their ranks are those who sell sex by choice; those who sell sex to survive, feed their children, and stave off homelessness; and those who sell sex against their will because they’ve been trafficked. Under the current law in DC, police can arrest and charge anyone who sells sex and under this new bill, police would no longer have cause or power to employ this tactic for catching sellers of sex mid-sale—a change that many sex workers and their advocates enthusiastically endorse.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | Minneapolis ended exclusive single-family zoning. Could the DC region do the same? (WBJ, 6/6)

LGBTQIA | DC’s LGTBQIA communities continue to fight for some basic rights—and celebrate their victories, too. (CP, 6/6)

ENVIRONMENT
Key Urban Agriculture Programs Delayed as City Swaps Who Will Manage Them (CP, 6/7)

– Michael Bloomberg’s foundation said that he will donate $500 million to a new campaign to close every coal-fired power plant in the United States and halt the growth of natural gas. (NYT, 6/6)

MARYLAND | Residents voice concerns over Montgomery County policing (WTOP, 6/7)

DC/CULTURE | The DC Public Library is launching a three-part Go-Go Book Club, in collaboration with Washington Performing Arts and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. (dcist, 6/6)

TRANSIT/CLIMATE | Maryland and Virginia plan to expand roads, in defiance of their own climate goals (GGWash, 6/6)

GENTRIFICATION | What’s In A Name? Residents East Of The Anacostia River Say, ‘Everything.’  (WAMU, 6/7)

PHILANTHROPY
– A new report,  Nonprofit Executives and the Racial Leadership Gap, details that people of color who lead nonprofits face barriers and challenges that their white counterparts don’t. (Chronicle, 6/4)

– Fund the People has launched the Talent Justice Initiative to help funders and nonprofits invest in intersectional racial equity across the nonprofit career lifecycle and workforce.

– Has the Giving Pledge Changed Giving? (Chronicle, 6/4)


Social Sector Job Openings 

Director | Open Society Institute-Baltimore – New!
Director, School Partnerships Coach | Flamboyan Foundation – New!
Senior Director of Development, Research & Innovation | Children’s Hospital Foundation – New!
Senior Program Manager | Rising Tide Foundation
Development Manager | Mikva Challenge DC
Foundation Director | Venable LLP
Development Associate | Sitar Arts Center
Grants Manager | Arabella Advisors
Institutional Development Officer | Martha’s Table
Development Manager, Washington, DC | Reading Partners
Director of Individual Giving | Horizons Greater Washington
Grants Compliance Manager | Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter
Director of Corporate and Foundation Advancement | Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
Engagement Officer | Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
Grants and Communications Associate | Neighborhood Health
Senior Manager of Member Engagement and Partnerships | United Philanthropy Forum

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

To add an event to WRAG’s community calendar, email Rebekah Seder. Click here to view the community calendar.


Blueberries all day, every day

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back next week on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday!

– Buffy

Will Lonnie Bunch and the Smithsonian change the conversation and culture surrounding white supremacy?

CULTURE | The significance of Lonnie Bunch’s appointment as the 14th secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, goes far beyond the fact that he is the first African American to hold the job. He is in a unique position to grapple with the institution’s history, which is bound up in complicated ways with the history of white supremacy. (WaPo, 5/28)

Bunch can talk comfortably, in public, about white supremacy which could change not only the Smithsonian, but also the culture of the country it represents. Bunch takes over at a moment of extreme peril in human history, and will lead perhaps the only institution in American life that has both the intellectual capacity and the public credibility to confront the three greatest dangers we now face: climate change, the cultural and technological corruption of democratic processes, and white supremacy and neo-nationalism, three things that will be increasingly interconnected … the fact that Bunch can utter the words “white supremacy” is occasion for hope … if you can anatomize it and explain it to Americans, you can probably solve a host of other problems, too. Bunch has long since demonstrated he can do exactly that.

PHILANTHROPY/NONPROFITS | Yesterday, The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation announced an innovative partnership with Catchafire to bring capacity building support to more than 100 nonprofits in the D.C. metropolitan area. Through this partnership, select Cafritz grantees will have access to virtual, skills-based volunteers, to help them strengthen their infrastructure, build their capacity, and allow staff to focus on achieving their organization’s programmatic goals. Read the press release here.

WORKFORCE | The DC Central Kitchen’s latest culinary arts program for 18-24 year-olds aims to help connect them to job opportunities in DC’s booming restaurant industry. The program is run out the THEARC in Ward 8. (WaPo, 5/27)

DISTRICT
– On Tuesday the DC Council added millions to subsidize the District’s only public hospital and to repair deteriorated public housing stock, with the passage of a $15.5 billion budget for the next fiscal year, but made cuts in other areas, including a workforce housing fund and free fares on Circulator buses. (WaPo, 5/28)

After a heated fight about race and schools, DC Council decides: Banneker will move to Shaw (WaPo, 5/28)

Need For Urgent Public Housing Repairs Prompts DC Council To Tap Controversial Source Of Money (WAMU, 5/28)

HOUSING | Getting a home near Amazon’s HQ2 in Crystal City is already a lot harder than it was before the announcement that they were coming to town. (WBJ, 5/27)

PUBLIC SAFETY | ‘This Will Not Be the New Normal’: DC Police Prepare For Possible Spike In Violence (WAMU, 5/28)

TRANSIT | As Metro shutdown arrives, dread pervades the Yellow and Blue lines (WaPo, 5/27)

NONPROFITS/RACIAL EQUITY | The Building Movement Project has just released Nonprofit Executives and the Racial Leadership Gap: A Race to Lead Brief which explores the gaps between executive leaders of color and white leaders and compares nonprofit executives to respondents in staff positions.


How to get to the beach this summer without a car.

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Thursday!

– Buffy

Montgomery County sees significant increase in the number of uninsured children seeking health care

HEALTH | According to the Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services, for the first time there is a significant increase in the number of uninsured children seeking health care in the county. The increase may be linked to an increasing number of immigrant children released from detention centers earlier this year. (WAMU, 4/16)

While new immigrant children are seeking more health care services, the broader relationship between immigrants and social services in Montgomery County is more complicated … the fear of deportation is limiting the uptake of certain benefits and services. Even with the uptake in requests for services … “there is now clear evidence of families who are reluctant to access those services for fear that it will impact their applications for long-term status here in the country,” said County Council member Gabe Albornoz. According to the Pew Research Center, 425,000 unauthorized migrants lived in the Washington Metropolitan Area in 2016.

CENSUS 2020 | Last week, the United Philanthropy Forum joined a number of foundations and other philanthropy-serving organizations in signing an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court. The brief discussed the ways in which philanthropy relies on census data and made the case to uphold the lower courts’ rulings to set aside the citizenship question from the 2020 Census. (Forum, 4/4)

HOUSING/HOMELESSNESS
Despite Housing Crunch, Montgomery County Expected To Freeze New Development (WAMU, 4/16)

– The recently opened Downtown Day Services Center offers many services, including a clean shower and laundry, to those experiencing homelessness. (WaPo, 4/15)

EMANCIPATION DAY | As DC commemorated Emancipation Day yesterday, the DC Fiscal Policy Institute recognizes the District’s important position as the first place where enslaved Black people were freed by federal action, and highlights the long history of institutional policies that maintained racial inequities, with impacts that continue to this day. (DCFPI, 4/16)

ARTS/CULTURE | Cities across the country, including DC, are drafting documents to help protect their cultural resources from economic changes — but do they really help cities save their art and music scenes?  (CityLab, 4/10)

DISTRICT
Tragedy At Notre Dame Might Accelerate Fire Safety Work Underway At National Cathedral (dcist, 4/15)

– Capital Bikeshare is removing electric bikes from its fleet after receiving  complaints that the front wheels aren’t working well. (WaPo, 4/14)

PHILANTHROPY As We Wait for Attorney General Barr to Release the Mueller Report, What Foundations Should Do (Chronicle, 4/11 – Subscription)


City Paper has a Peeps diorama contest – vote for your favorite!

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Thursday!

– Buffy

Thousands of families in the District could be moved out of public housing for urgent repairs

HOUSING | Years of neglect in the District has led to a crisis in public housing and the DC Housing Authority has asked local government to step in and help the agency pay for repairs. In testimony before the DC Council last week, Housing Authority director Tyrone Garrett said thousands of families in the District could be moved out of public housing to allow for urgent repairs to be made. (WAMU, 4/12)

The agency said 2,610 of its “extremely urgent” units need attention before the end of this year and an additional 4,445 units of its approximately 8,000-unit portfolio are in “critical condition,” – which means the vast majority of DC’s public housing is in serious disrepair. Garrett said the Housing Authority would need $2.2 billion over the next 17 years to get all of DC’s public housing back in good shape — and $343 million is required in the next fiscal year just to address lead and environmental hazards in the city’s most unsafe units.

EDUCATION
– In honor of 15 years, PNC Financial Services Group has made an additional $150 million pledge to PNC Grow Up Great, its program to expand access to high-quality early learning for young children in 40 communities.

– They believe more students should attend neighborhood schools. But what happens when it’s their child? (WaPo, 4/13)

ARTS/CULTURE | In the New Haven, CT, neighborhood of Dixwell, a once-thriving historic African-American neighborhood, Titus Kaphar – last year’s WRAG Annual Meeting keynote speaker – found a home for himself, and he’s creating a center there to nurture emerging artists. (NYT, 4/12)

GUN VIOLENCE | What Are Maryland Schools Doing To Prevent Gun Violence? (Kojo Nnamdi Show, 4/15)

RACIAL JUSTICE 
– Nikki Highsmith Vernick, President and CEO of the Horizon Foundation, writes in a Letter to the Editor that philanthropists should tackle racial justice. (Baltimore Sun, 4/11)

– A new documentary, Segregated By Design, examines the forgotten history of how our federal, state and local governments unconstitutionally segregated every major metropolitan area in America through law and policy. The film is based on The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein (another past WRAG annual meeting speaker).

How Parole Perpetuates a Cycle of Incarceration and Instability (Truthout, 4/7)


Never give up – it’s all about the come back. Congrats, Tiger.

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Wednesday and Thursday!

– Buffy

New report closely examines racial and ethnic incarceration disparities in each state

MASS INCARCERATION/RACISM
A new report examines the rates of incarceration for whites, African Americans, and Hispanics state-by-state, finds three contributing factors to the racial and ethnic disparities in those rates, and makes some recommendations for reform. (Sentencing Project, 6/14)

Truly meaningful reforms to the criminal justice system cannot be accomplished without acknowledgement of racial and ethnic disparities in the prison system, and focused attention on reduction of disparities. Since the majority of people in prison are sentenced at the state level rather than the federal level, it is critical to understand the variation in racial and ethnic composition across states, and the policies and the day-to-day practices that contribute to this variance. Incarceration creates a host of collateral consequences that include restricted employment prospects, housing instability, family disruption, stigma, and disenfranchisement.

Related: In the most recently released video of WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table series, James Bell, J.D., founder and executive director of the W. Haywood Burns Institute, discussed mass incarceration and how structural racism, white privilege, and implicit bias collide within the criminal justice system.

OUR REGION, YOUR INVESTMENT | Our Region, Your Investment is gaining traction with local investors, with a recent $500,000 investment from the Diane and Norman Bernstein Foundation. Says Joshua Bernstein, president of the foundation (Daily, 6/16):

The Diane and Norman Bernstein Foundation is working to address the deficit in housing affordability in the D.C. area. An investment in the Enterprise Community Impact Note aligns our investment strategy with our mission and leverages our impact.  We are grateful for the opportunity that Our Region, Your Investment has created to invest funds in ways that promote additional investment in housing solutions.

COMMUNITY/LGBT/PHILANTHROPY | Following the recent tragedy in Orlando, a number of WRAG members have organized efforts to provide support to victims and their families or share valuable resources with those serving LGBT communities. Wells Fargo has announced a donation of $300,000 toward victims and community recovery through the OneOrlando fund, set up by the City of Orlando and administered by the Central Florida Foundation. The Council on Foundations has shared a resource guide created by Funders for LGBTQ Issues featuring Orlando’s local LGBTQ social profit organizations and fundraising efforts for the victims, and the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region has also shared resources for those who want to help.

EDUCATION/DISCRIMINATION/VIRGINIA | Students at Alexandria’s public schools are bringing to light what they describe as “excessive, discriminatory and reckless approach[es] to discipline” from the school system. Today, The Kojo Nnamdi Show explores those claims and the research that supports their argument. (WaPo, 6/3 and WAMU, 6/16)

Related: On Thursday, July 7, the third installment of WRAG’s Public Education Speaker Series (supported by The Omega Foundation and the Tiger Woods Foundation) tackles the topic of racial and gender disparities in school discipline, with Professor Anne Gregory of Rutgers University. WRAG members can click here to register.

ARTS/CULTURE African American Museum prepares for ‘a mini-inauguration’ (WaPo, 6/15)

PUBLIC HEALTHGun Violence ‘A Public Health Crisis,’ American Medical Association Says (NPR, 6/14)


Going back to school is tough at any age, but imagine going back to the 10th grade at age 68! This grandfather shows us it’s never too late.

– Ciara

How funders can advance equity in and through the arts

By Rebekah Seder
Senior Program Manager
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

As the United States undergoes dramatic demographic shifts, there is a growing urgency for addressing historic racial inequities within our society. This is no different in the sphere of arts and culture. Research showing that more than half of the total philanthropic dollars for the arts flow to institutions with budgets of over $5 million – organizations predominantly focused on Western European artistic traditions and that often primarily serve white, wealthy audiences– reveal a need for a more equitable approach to funding the arts. This is an issue that funders nationally and here in our region are increasingly prioritizing.

Recently, local public and private arts grantmakers, gathering under WRAG’s Arts and Humanities Working Group, considered their own efforts to support the arts among diverse communities across the region. A number of strategies for addressing inequities rose to the top:

Reconsider application and report format: Extensive application and reporting processes can be an extra burden on organizations with few staff and resources. Allowing performances, events, portfolios, etc., to replace traditional written reports can help make the grant process more accessible to small organizations and for those that don’t have a lot of experience working with institutional funders.

Don’t get stuck on quantitative measures of impact: Impact is always a tricky question in the arts, and using typical metrics might not tell you much about how effectively an organization engages its audience or serves its community. For instance, a show at a big, sold-out venue might entertain a lot of people, but a performance in a more intimate setting might deeply impact a small audience. Getting out in the community and seeing organizations in action is a good way to witness impact first hand. (The importance of qualitative assessment will be further explored by David Grant, author of the Social Profit Handbook, at WRAG’s next Brightest Minds event on March 10.)

Be intentional about language: Words matter. Being intentional about the language used in application forms can help make funding opportunities more inclusive. If funding is limited to a particular jurisdiction, consider, for instance, the difference in meaning between “resident” and “citizen:” one of those words is much more exclusive than the other. Terms like “underresourced,” “underrepresented,” and “underserved” are often used to define communities that funders are seeking to support, but those descriptors don’t necessarily resonate with individuals in those communities.

Provide support beyond dollars (and project grants): General operating, capacity building, and multi-year support are critical for enabling organizations to grow and thrive. Besides providing financial support, however, funders can be of service to arts organizations as thought partners and as catalysts for new collaborations and partnerships.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the ways that philanthropy can support more diverse artistic communities and cultural practices – indeed, they are really just starting points for creating a more equitable arts ecosystem that reflects the incredible cultural diversity of our region.