Tag: district of columbia

Pilot program wants to help DC students avoid remedial STEM courses in college

EDUCATION | A new after-school program focused on math and science skills, with support from the
The Boeing Company, is being piloted at three DC high schools by the D.C. College Access Program. The aim of the program is to reduce the need for students to take remedial courses once they get to college. (WaPo, 2/6)

Graduation rates in the city’s traditional public and public charter high schools have risen from 59 percent in 2011 to 69 percent in 2016. But data collected by DC-CAP from a sample of its students suggests that a large share of public high school graduates end up needing remedial math.

Colleges often require students with weak academic records to take remedial courses to help them catch up to classmates. Experts say students end up paying more for tuition and fees because remedial courses can delay them from graduating on time.

ARTS | In a time of tension and upheaval, local theaters are considering how to respond through productions that engage audiences in conversations about current events. (WaPo, 2/5)

IMMIGRATION | Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) has issued a joint statement on immigration with funders from across the country, in response to the recent executive orders on immigration and refugees.

NONPROFITS/ADVOCACY | Some Nonprofit Groups Push Back Against Calls to Strike Ban on Politicking (Chronicle, 2/2)

WORKFORCE | Why Apprenticeships Are Taking Off (CityLab, 2/1)

Is D.C.’s local government in the fight of its life? (WaPo, 2/4)

– The DC Fiscal Policy Institute and others hosted an event last week, entitled “Progress Amidst Uncertainty: Making the Most of DC’s 2018 Budget.” Watch it here.

CSR | Two Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility faculty members and one of our partner organizations have been named to the Top 500 influencers active on Twitter. Congrats to Michael Bzdak, Aman Singh, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Congrats to the winners of yesterday’s big game – Team Fluff!

– Rebekah

DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier announces departure

After a long and distinguished career with the D.C. police department, Chief Cathy Lanier announced Tuesday that she will step down to head security for the NFL. An interim police chief and a search process will be announced soon. (WaPo, 8/16):

Lanier is ending her 26-year career after recently turning 49, and four months short of serving a full decade heading one of the nation’s highest-profile police departments. She was the District’s first permanent female chief.

COMMUNITY The DC Trust has released information regarding out-of-school time funding for FY 2017, which will be administered by the United Way of the National Capital Area. Read their message here.

ENVIRONMENT | There’s a new lawsuit concerning pollution in the Anacostia and Potomac rivers alleging the EPA is allowing dangerous amounts of E. coli into the two rivers. (DCist, 8/16)

 The passage rate on Virginia’s statewide standards of learning exams rose this year, though the achievement gap between black and Hispanic students and white students remained. In northern Virginia, every jurisdiction except Alexandria had a higher passing rate on the reading and math exams than the state as a whole. (WaPo, 8/16)

– Opinion: With technology creating greater automation across any number of fields, this writer calls for the presidential candidates to focus on the kinds of education needed in the 21st century workforce. (WaPo, 8/16)

AGING | A DC program is providing help to those who need it by recycling and redistributing expensive medical equipment. (WaPo, 8/16)

POVERTY | Delays Persist in Shuttering D.C. Homeless Shelter That Few Consider Livable (NYT, 8/15)

EQUITY | Why a Data-Driven Approach Matters to Race Equity. (Casey Connects Blog, 8/8)

RACE | The Need for Black Rage in Philanthropy. (Invested Impact, 8/9)

PHILANTHROPY | The Foundation World Couldn’t Care Less About Your Cause? Start a Giving Circle. (Inside Philanthropy, 8/11)

As much as I love and embrace technology, with four children,  I do sometimes feel the tech fatigue …. Pokémon or not – Buffy

Constitutional convention underway in the District

DISTRICT | Yesterday marked the start of the three-day Constitutional Convention for New Columbia to hash out a proposed state constitution for D.C. (WAMU, 6/13):

The ultimate goal is to produce a state constitution for D.C., which would then be put to voters in November for approval and submitted to Congress next year as part of a formal petition for statehood.
Mayor Muriel Bowser and members of the New Columbia Statehood Commission say any and all residents can offer amendments to the proposed constitution during the convention, and that the process is moving so quickly because they want to be able to present a statehood petition to Congress early next year. The hope is that November’s elections will usher in a new Democratic majority, and an unprecedented opportunity to finally become the 51st state.

Individuals and organizations can submit comments to the commission here.

PHILANTHROPY | WRAG’s colleague organization, the Florida Philanthropic Network, has posted a list of resources for those who want to provide financial assistance to those affected by the mass shooting in Orlando. Funders for LGBTQ Issues also has a comprehensive roundup of ways funders can help.

– The latest Giving USA report finds that giving was up 4 percent in 2015 over 2014, for a total of $373.3 billion. (Chronicle, 6/14)

– In a special post for the Daily, Natalie Wexler, trustee of the Omega Foundation, lays out how schools can better teach kids to read. (Hint: it’s not by teaching reading comprehensive strategies.) The article sums up the latest event in WRAG’s 2016 Public Education Series, which featured Dan Willingham, who studies the science of learning. (Daily, 6/14)

– New research examines the role teachers play in fostering or hindering interracial friendships among kids. (Atlantic, 6/14)

HOUSING/HEALTH | The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation explores how partnering with the housing sector can improve health. (RWJF, 6/8)

Related: Hey, WRAG has done that too!

WORKFORCE | With Minimum Wage Fight Over, D.C. Activists Hope To Eliminate Tipped Wage (WAMU, 6/13)

RACISM | Google faulted for racial bias in image search results for black teenagers (WaPo, 6/10)

CSR | Deloitte Survey Finds That a Mere 30 Percent of Resumes Include Volunteering, Despite the Known Benefits to Career Advancement (CSRwire, 6/10)

SPECIAL FOR WRAG MEMBERS | This year WRAG is proud to partner with Independent Sector on their 2016 conference, New Frontiers (November 16-18 in D.C.) WRAG members can save $500 when registering for the conference – and save up to $1,050 if they register by June 19. Email Rebekah Seder to get the discount code!


– Rebekah

Report reveals racial disparities in selective Montgomery County academic programs

– A new report finds significant racial disparities in the acceptance rates among selective academic programs at public schools in Montgomery County (WaPo, 3/22):

At the high school level, for instance, the report found an acceptance rate of 45 percent for white students applying to selective programs studied, compared with 39 percent for Asians, 23 percent for Hispanics, 19 percent for African Americans and 11 percent for low-income students.
Community leaders called the data deeply troubling, saying it reflects diminished opportunities for minority students at a time when the fast-growing school system is increasingly diverse.

How Can Schools Identify The Most Effective Teachers? Just Ask The Students (WAMU, 3/21)

COMMUNITY/POVERTY | The Consumer Health Foundation‘s Kendra Allen interviews Sequnely Gray, Community Engagement Coordinator for So Others Might Eat and a TANF recipient, about her experience advocating for families on TANF and the impact of benefit time limits on families. (CHF, 3/21)

ENVIRONMENT | An investment into a D.C. company affiliated with the Nature Conservancy may give a needed boost to a program designed to incentivize incorporating stormwater retention into new developments. Stormwater runoff contributes to the pollution of the area’s waterways. (CityLab, 3/18)

DISTRICT | Superior Court judge sides with D.C. lawmakers on control of locally-raised dollars (WaPo, 3/18)

HOUSING | Why it seems impossible to buy your first home (WaPo, 3/22)

What a cute family!
– Rebekah

A longer road to economic recovery for some

A new analysis hones in on state unemployment rates by race and ethnicity in the U.S. According to the study, while unemployment rates are down throughout most of the U.S., “only a handful of states have seen meaningful improvement in the labor market for African-American and Latino workers.” Virginia’s black unemployment rate is the lowest in the nation at 6.7 percent. (WSJ, 2/23)

Even in Virginia, the unemployment rate for black workers was twice as high as it was for white workers. The largest gaps in black and white unemployment were in the District of Columbia, where the black unemployment rate was 5.4 times that of white workers, and in Michigan, where the rate was 3.4 times higher, the report found. The smallest gap was in New Jersey, where the rate was 1.5 times higher.

– On Friday, February 26 and Saturday, February 27, the Reston Community Center, in association with the Equitable Growth Profile Advisory Group of Fairfax County, invites you to hear Professor john a. powelldirector of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society and professor of law and African American Studies & Ethnic Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. Professor powell will present, “Racing To Justice:  Understanding Social Equity,” in two sessions that are open to the public and free of charge with pre-registration. Click here to learn more.

Related: Professor john a. powell kicked off WRAG’s, “Putting Racism on the Table”learning series last month, with a thoughtful discussion on structural racism.

ARTS/PHILANTHROPY | Audience Engagement Is All the Rage Among Arts Funders. But What Is It, Really? (Inside Philanthropy, 2/18)

– In Fairfax County, officials are hopeful for the effectiveness of the Diversion First program that launched this year to emphasize treatment in lieu of jail time for low-level nonviolent offenders with mental illnesses. So far, 103 individuals have been diverted into treatment since the program took off on January 1. (Fairfax Times, 2/19)

– Arlington Has the Highest Earning Millennials in the U.S. (Arlington Now, 2/19)

– Opinion: How Society Pays When Women’s Work Is Underpaid (NYT, 2/22)

– An analysis of the best and worst metropolitan areas for women-owned businesses gives parts of the Greater Washington region high marks in certain categories, along with some disappointing marks in others. (WBJ, 2/23)

DISTRICT | In this neighborhood guide, Washingtonian sheds light on some of the major draws to Southeast D.C.’s Anacostia area – present and future. (Washingtonian, 2/19)

With the recent announcement of the D.C. streetcar’s service date, a quick guide on how to ride the streetcar was only right. 

– Ciara


Friday roundup – September 21 through September 25, 2015

– WRAG president Tamara Copeland examined how homeownership, once the American dream that promised greater financial stability, is no longer accessible to many in the Greater Washington region. (Daily, 9/22)

– We introduced the 2015-2016 Philanthropy Fellows, nine students from the University of Maryland’s Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership working at WRAG member organizations this year. (Daily, 9/21)

– On the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s blog, Maggie Osborn, head of WRAG’s colleague organization, the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, shared some important lessons that philanthropy can learn from jazz music. (CEP, 9/22)

– The release of new data from the Centers for Disease Control may dispel some myths about what we think we know about low-income families and their relationship to fast food, and show how obesity affects various racial groups in America. (WaPo, 9/18 and NPR, 9/23)

– We were also able to see how prevalent obesity has become in certain D.C. neighborhoods. (DC Inno, 9/18)

Basically, the moon is going to get really weird on Sunday. Don’t miss it. 

– Ciara


More affordable housing for Arlington County

On Saturday, the Arlington County Board unanimously voted to move forward on a plan to bring more affordable housing to the area. The plan will bring about 15,800 affordable apartments to the county by 2040. (WaPo, 9/19)

Related: A recent report supported by Enterprise Community Partners and Citi Foundation, and presented by the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group – a collection of more than a dozen public and private sector leaders concerned about housing affordability convened by WRAG – highlights the need for collaboration to invest in solving the region’s affordable housing crisis.

WRAG/PHILANTHROPY | WRAG is excited to introduce you to the 2015-16 Philanthropy Fellows, a group of young professionals poised to make waves in the world of philanthropy. (Daily, 9/21)

DISTRICT/ECONOMY | D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute explores what new income and poverty data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal about communities of color in the District. (DCFPI, 9/18)

– A new interactive map examines the rate of obesity in D.C. neighborhoods. Neighborhoods in the northeast and southern parts of the city saw higher obesity rates due to lower levels of income and walkability in those areas. (DCInno, 9/18)

– New data from the Centers for Disease Control show that the narrative surrounding what we think we know about low-income families and their relationship to fast food may be all wrong. (WaPo, 918)

PHILANTHROPY | Rural Foundations’ Ideas for Increasing Rural Philanthropy (NPQ, 9/14)

WORKFORCE | The Typical Male U.S. Worker Earned Less Money in 2014 Than in 1973 (WSJ, 9/18)

SOCIAL PROFITS | The time is now for social profit organizations to ramp up security on online donation pages, as credit card thieves have taken to the websites to test stolen credit card numbers, creating unnecessary financial burdens for many organizations. (Chronicle, 9/17)

From now until September 25, WTOP is taking votes to give away $30,000 to local charities. All you have to do is click the “Like” button! 

– Ciara

Expanding opportunities necessary to growth in Fairfax County

A recent analysis by PolicyLink and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity finds that inequities in income, employment, education and opportunity, are a hindrance to economic growth in Fairfax County. Though the county maintains its status as one of the most prosperous local jurisdictions, the report found that eliminating disparities will be necessary for continued economic growth – especially as demographics shift in the area. Patricia Mathews, WRAG board chair and president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Health Foundation, shared her thoughts on the study (NVHF, 8/10):

“If we don’t focus our attention on educating young people of color and making sure they are healthy, how will they thrive? How will they become the next wave of IT workers, public school teachers, and pharmacists?  And where will we be without that strong workforce?” said Patricia Mathews, President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Health Foundation (NVHF), which is partnering with a number of Fairfax County stakeholders to help bring attention to the report.


“Fairfax County is not alone—demographic shifts are taking place all across Northern Virginia,” said Ms. Mathews. “We hope this report spurs conversations and action across all sectors—from government officials and advocates to employers, city planners, nonprofits, and others. Making sure everyone has a chance at success is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” she added.

You can access the full report, “Equitable Growth Profile of Fairfax County,” here.

HOMELESSNESS/REGION | After a few delays a new homeless-services center is slated to open in Arlington County in late September. The center is expected to provide a number of offerings (InsideNoVa, 8/10):

The new facility “will be the first of its kind in the D.C. area, and is more than just a shelter – it will allow us to offer all our services under one roof, year-round, like meals, medical services, shelter and job training and, most importantly, will help us to move someone from homelessness to a home quickly,” Sibert said.

A January 2015 count of homeless across the region, conducted by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), found 239 in Arlington – both those living on the streets and those in shelters. The number was down 18 percent from a year before, the largest percentage decline among the nine jurisdictions taking part in the count.

Since 2011, the COG count of homeless has seen a 48-percent decline in Arlington, compared to a 2.2-percent decrease regionwide.

CSR | Are you a nonprofit with a great corporate partner? Or a business who is dedicated to improving the communities where you work? Nominations for the Washington Business Journal’s annual Corporate Citizenship Awards are due by Friday, September 11, 2015.

FOOD | Locally and nationwide, school gardens are teaching students not only how to eat healthy, but also some math, science, and business skills, too. (NPR, 8/10)

EDUCATION/YOUTH | An analysis by the Brookings Institution and data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that many of the states that have the fastest-growing youth populations are also producing some of the weakest outcomes for those youth. Maryland and Virginia were found to be among the 15 states producing the best outcomes for kids. (Atlantic, 8/9)

ARTS/DISTRICT | The District will be getting some new public art soon. Check out one location’s possible new mural designs. (WCP 8/10)

Watch how these artists turn trash from the ocean into impressive works of art.


A growing wealth gap between younger and older Americans

There’s an emerging, but not often discussed, wealth gap explored in a newly-released study – the growing wealth gap between young Americans (individuals under 40) and older Americans. The longitudinal study on the incomes of 40,000 families takes a look at how each generation has accumulated wealth. (WaPo, 7/29)

Basically, young people have always been poor. But looking beyond that basic trend, you can see that today’s young people are poorer than young people of the past.

The period of time in which someone is born can also have a dramatic effect on their wealth compared with other generations. The winners of this historical jackpot appear to be those who were born between 1930 and 1945 and came of age after World War II, who are sometimes called The Silent Generation.


In just 25 years, the wealth gap between young and old people has yawned wider. In 1989, old families had 7.6 times as much median wealth as young families. By 2013, it had grown to 14.7 times.

According to the economists’ calculations, someone born in 1970 has a quarter less income and 40 percent less wealth than an identical person born in 1940.

– In this blog post, the D.C. Office of Revenue Analysis dives into District taxpayer data in order to analyze an individual’s likelihood of income mobility. (District Measured, 7/28)

Opinion: In D.C.’s ward 8, spikes in violence and a continuing struggle to get widespread neighborhood buy-in for programs aimed at improving circumstances for residents have left some officials perplexed. (WaPo. 7/28)

Meant To Keep Youths Out of Detention, Probation Often Leads Them There (NPR, 7/29)

HEALTHCARE/REGION | Medicare turns 50 this week. To mark the occasion, take a look at how many people are impacted by the program in our region. (WBJ, 7/29)

TRANSIT | Silver Line is a mixed blessing for Metro riders (WaPo, 7/28)

REGION | The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved a redevelopment plan for the Seven Corners area after a lengthy debate (WaPo, 7/29):

The plan would create three villages and add several thousand homes to the area, along with restaurants, shops and a street grid that could draw local traffic away from the confusing Seven Corners intersection.

This Friday, you may find yourself doing those things you usually only claim to do once in a blue moon.

– Ciara

Increased giving among largest foundations in 2015

According to a new Chronicle of Philanthropy survey, the nation’s largest foundations have significantly increased giving since last year, though they have yet to reach 2007 figures. The forecast is a good showing of overall financial health among foundations, but shows it will take some time to reach pre-recession levels. (Chronicle, 6/1) – Subscription required

“Foundations were severely hit by the financial crisis,” says Lester Salamon, director of the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

In the years following the downturn, uncertainty about the markets “lingered for quite a while” among foundation chiefs, Mr. Salamon says.

But after three straight years of double-digit market gains, he says, many foundations had no choice but to increase their generosity last year, lest they be penalized for failing to pay out a minimum of 5 percent of their assets (certain expenses other than grants can be used to meet the payout rates), as required by law.

– Opinion: Is the world of philanthropy shrouded in too much secrecy? One writer points to some broad goals to bring oversight to the philanthropic sector in the wake of allegations of questionable practices among widely-known foundations.  (NYT, 5/30)

COMMUNITY | The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region (CFNCR) recently celebrated the inaugural graduation of their Youth Workforce Leaders Academy. The Academy, launched through the Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative at CFNCR, provided professional development to fifteen youth workforce leaders in the region. To read more about the program and how to provide support, click here. (CFNCR, 5/29)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | In their continuing Matters@Hand thought-leadership series sponsored by Enterprise Community Partners, HAND examines what is being done in the region to bring about more affordable housing and some of the approaches the area could borrow from other areas. (Helping Hands Blog, 6/1)

WRAG vice president, Affordable Housing Action Team, and Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group member, Gretchen Greiner-Lott, adds:

In this piece, Dr. Lisa Sturtevant explores other region’s efforts to make housing more affordable. Some of the successful examples she highlights may seem “small” but can, she thinks, have great impact over time due to the fact that they help to “build broader support for regional action.”  That is exactly what WRAG is trying to do through the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group (GWHLG), which is mentioned in the piece. The GWHLG is a collection of more than a dozen public and private sector leaders concerned about and looking at strategies to increase affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households in the region.

– A Washington Post analysis reports that the number of individuals fatally shot by police nationwide so far this year is steadily approaching 400. The study also includes findings such as the gender, race, and socioeconomic class of the victims, as well as details surrounding the circumstances of the incidents. (WaPo, 5/30)

The Missing Statistics of Criminal Justice (Atlantic, 5/31)

EDUCATION | D.C. mayor’s first budget thin on new investments for middle schools (WaPo, 5/31)

Some words are just hard to remember how to spell. Have a look at which words are most commonly being Googled for a spell check in each state.

– Ciara