Tag: diversity

DC officials take steps to protect unpaid federal workers during shutdown

– The DC Council passed emergency legislation on Tuesday to expand the safety net for unpaid federal employees and contractors during the partial government shutdown, and the Bowser administration is providing $2 million in emergency funds to help food stamp recipients. (WaPo, 1/23)

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser also announced she was introducing legislation to give the city authority to grant unemployment benefits to essential employees who must show up to work without pay, such as TSA airport screeners and special police. The U.S. Labor Department denied her request to authorize such benefits last week. “They are deemed essential, they are required to go to work, and they are not getting paid,” she said at a news conference at a warehouse for the Capital Area Food Bank, one of the charities ramping up services during the shutdown. “They provide some of the most vital services for us.”

– ‘Barely Treading Water’: Why The Shutdown Disproportionately Affects Black Americans (NPR, 1/14)

RACIAL EQUITY | The DC Council voted on Tuesday to override Mayor Muriel Bowser’s veto of its legislation decriminalizing fare evasion on Metro, arguing that Black residents are disproportionately impacted by fare evasion enforcement. (WaPo, 1/22)

HEALTH | Maryland could become the first state to put a cap on prescription drug costs by creating a state board tasked with limiting what people pay for prescriptions. (WAMU, 1/22)

EDUCATION | The Kirwan Commission approved a $3.8 billion increase in spending on public schools to make Maryland’s public schools some of the “best in the country.” (Sun, 1/18)

ENVIRONMENT | DC Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a sweeping clean energy law, requiring all of DC’s electricity to come from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2032. (GGW, 1/22)

LGBTQIA | The Supreme Court has reinstated President Trump’s ban on transgender military service during a lower-court appeals process. (NPR, 1/22)

Equal Rights Amendment Proposal Fails To Advance In Virginia Legislature (WAMU, 1/22)

– Virginia lawmaker proposes legislation to help youth in foster care. (Inside Nova, 1/21)

– United Philanthropy Forum members are working to eliminate racism and advance racial equity, diversity and inclusion in philanthropy.

– A new Urban Institute report validates the recent Chronicle of Philanthropy findings that ranks greater DC as a place of exceptional giving, but also shows that there is considerable variation among giving patterns within the region. (Urban Institute, 12/21)

To help stem population decline, small towns around the world are offering homes to newcomers at almost no-cost – hellloooooo Australia!

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

– Buffy

Placing midwives in high schools helps to educate teens on sexual health

– Teen pregnancy has decreased overall in the US, but the rates still remain high in some communities, including those that are low-income and communities of color. In this District high school, with help from a CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield grant, a midwife works to provide prenatal care, contraceptives and counseling to teen parents and other students. (NPR, 6/11)

Patchen had been trying to combat the city’s teen pregnancy rates for twenty years as the founder of the Teen Alliance for Prepared Parenting or TAPP at Medstar Washington Hospital Center. She was happy with what they accomplished, but she wanted more access to the young people who needed her. Her organization got a 2015 grant from the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield health insurance to start working in two schools. Now she says she’s one of a handful of school midwives in the country.

In the three years that she’s been working out of Anacostia High School, Patchen says no students participating in the program have had a subsequent pregnancy. And after choosing a long term birth control method like an IUD, 85 percent of Anacostia students are still using it one year later.

RACIAL EQUITY | In today’s blog post, Tamara Lucas Copeland, WRAG’s president, introduces her new book, Daughters of the Dream, which she hopes will inspire others to work against racial injustice. She also discusses why she believes helping people who are not Black understand the experiences of African Americans in the US is essential to achieving racial equity. (Daily, 6/18)

DIVERSITY | Tim Ryan, US chairman and senior partner of PwC, advises CEOs on how to address diversity and inclusion challenges within their organizations. (Huffington Post, 6/13)

WORKFORCE | DC’s Initiative 77 Doesn’t Just Affect Servers. Why Haven’t We Heard From Delivery Drivers, Nail Technicians, Bellhops, And Others? (DCist, 6/18)

TRANSPORTATION | The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority has announced a six year program which outlines the funding it will distribute. Arlington, VA will recieve about $83 million for various projects, including the expansion of transit options in Pentagon City. (ARLnow, 6/15)

The Daily will be back on Wednesday as I will be taking off tomorrow in honor of Juneteenth. I hope you will join WRAG in a moment of silence at 10 am tomorrow to acknowledge the enslaved African Americans who built this country’s wealth.

Here’s something to make you smile on this Monday:


Do you want to be involved? Send us a picture of something that has made you smile and we may include it in the “Daily WRAG’s Monday Smile”!

Email us your content at allen@washingtongrantmakers.org.

– Kendra

Triage nurses and 911 operators come together to help DC residents

PUBLIC SAFETY | Washington, DC has the highest rate of 911 calls, but 25% of those calls are not emergencies. To lower the number, the city is launching a new program that consists of placing triage nurses in 911 call centers to help dispatchers field calls that are not urgent. (WAMU, 4/19)

The triage nurses can even coordinate free Lyft rides for people who are on Medicaid — including a stop at a pharmacy if needed.

The “ride” part of the new triage service is critical, proponents say, because that’s the real emergency for many of the inappropriate calls to 911. Some callers simply have a hard time getting to the doctor in parts of the District where clinics can be miles away, and public transportation may not be readily accessible.

RACIAL EQUITY | Last year, Tamara Lucas Copeland, WRAG’s president, was named the Waldemar Nielsen Visiting Fellow at the Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. Today, she reflects on her time spent educating public policy graduate students about racial equity and how philanthropy can play a role in achieving it. (Daily, 4/19)

HOMELESSNESSResidents Fight the Construction of the Ward 5 Homeless Shelter (WCP, 4/19)

FINANCE | JPMorgan Chase has announced that it will open 70 banking branches in the Greater Washington region and increase affordable housing lending to $500 million. (WaPo, 4/18)

DIVERSITY | GrantCraft has published a report exploring how the philanthropic sector can better integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into its grantmaking practices. Read it here. (GrantCraft, 4/17)

FOODSome D.C. students are seeking healthier, more affordable food for themselves, and their classmates (WaPo, 4/17)

NONPROFITS | Compass provides pro bono consulting to nonprofits in the following areas: board development, funding strategy, partnerships & collaborations and strategic marketing. Applications for 2018-19 are now open.

ENVIRONMENT | A new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council suggests that climate change is impacting the health of Virginians, and it is only going to get worse. (WaPo, 4/17)

Watch this cool video of some kids setting up dominoes and knocking them down.

– Kendra

“Native Gardens” at Arena Stage: Poking fun to provoke a conversation

By Tamara Lucas Copeland
President, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Last week, I went to see “Native Gardens” at Arena Stage. The storyline: a white couple in their sixties, Virginia and Frank Butley, have lived in this Capitol Hill-like neighborhood for over 30 years.

Frank prides himself on his formal English garden. The new neighbors, Tania and Pablo del Valle, who Virginia and Frank assume to be Mexican (they aren’t), want to use plants indigenous to the region to create an environmentally-friendly, native garden. But first, they have to build a fence. The survey of the property line, the precursor to building the fence (read “wall” here), is where the comedy kicks off.

The play looks at gentrification, neighborhood change, diversity, implicit bias, historical inequities, and immigration — topics of interest to WRAG and to our membership — and does it through really funny dialogue. At one point, in defense of his flowers foreign to the mid-Atlantic, Frank accuses Tania of “botanical xenophobia.” The banter continues with:

Frank to Pablo: “Tania has problems with my plants because they are immigrants.”

Pablo to Frank: “No, because they are colonialists.”

I decided to see the play again because I wanted to listen more carefully. I wanted to decide whether to recommend the play to colleagues interested in issues of inequity. It was on the second time that another thought occurred to me: does satire work?

As I looked around the audience, I started to wonder how we were each perceiving the play.

When Frank tells Pablo that if they wanted to “go native,” maybe they should have moved to the “hip” neighborhoods of Navy Yard or Petworth, or even Takoma Park where they could have chickens, the audience at each performance laughed uproariously. But I wondered: Are we laughing at the same thing? I’m laughing because I think local playwright Karen Zacarías has written a funny line that captures how some see these neighborhoods in our region. Are others laughing because Frank got in a good zinger? I wondered which couple audience members identified with.

As the play continues, tempers flare and each couple digs in their heels. When the del Valles try to put up their fence, Virginia says, “You can’t just move in and take over.” She validates their past and current use of the del Valle property by explaining “It has been like this for a long time.” Sound familiar?

On my way out of the theater I heard audience members laughing at the jokes and the characters. I have no doubt that the satirical storyline and dialogue raised questions, spurred thinking, and provoked conversations. “Native Gardens” has a message, delivers it in a funny and engaging way, and is pertinent to our region and to our work. I hope you have a chance to see it. And, I’d love to hear your thoughts about satire. Does it work?

The rising demand of identity recognition on college campuses

EDUCATION/DIVERSITY | University officials are reporting an increase, especially over the last year, of students demanding an official recognition of their identities, including race, sexual identity, class, and others, and for these identities to be supported by the institution. (NYT, 8/4)

Campuses that have prided themselves on increased diversity in admissions are now wrestling with students who want more control over the institutions they attend, including a say in hiring (even of visiting professors), housing (a theme house at the University of California, Santa Cruz, must be painted in Pan-African colors) and curriculum (among nearly 50 demands presented to the University of Chicago: the creation of courses on the Islamic golden age, sequences on Caribbean and Southeast Asian civilizations, and a required diversity/inclusion course).

– The pains of looking for a job as an older adult with no means of transportation and little computer experience. (WaPo, 8/7)

– Montgomery County council members and activists react to the new study released recently that analysed the potential impact of a minimum wage increase in the county. (Bethesda Beat, 8/4)

– Here are a few tips for millennials looking to buy a home, even with all that student loan debt and living expenses. (WaPo, 8/7)

– Suburban neighborhoods are still struggling after the Great Recession. Here’s how we can fix that (GGWash, 8/3)

ENVIRONMENT | The District wants to make composting available to all residents in five years. (WaPo, 8/7)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE | The criminal justice system has embraced plea bargaining. (Atlantic, 8/5)

ARTS & HUMANITIES | This DC immigration lawyer sings about the plight of immigrants in her own band. (WAMU, 8/7)

For those Disney lovers who need help naming their cats (or other pets)…

– Kendra

Philanthropy can go beyond grant making to advance racial equity

DIVERSITY/PHILANTHROPY | Mary McClymont, WRAG board member and president and CEO of the Public Welfare Foundation, discusses how her foundation is going beyond grant making to advance diversity and inclusion by pushing for diversity in the investment managers that oversee the Foundation’s endowment assets. (Chronicle, 7/31)

As in the larger world of finance, the share of foundations that hire minority-owned companies to manage their assets is woefully low. A recent study commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation found that in the $71 trillion asset-management industry, women- and minority-owned firms managed only 1.1 percent of the total assets. That’s even though those companies have achieved financial performance on par with those managed by white men.

This is especially disturbing because philanthropy, after all, is the sphere in which one would normally expect a strong push to bring mission-related concerns to the investment arena. For example, the Center for Effective Philanthropy reported in 2015 that 41 percent of foundations engage in impact investing. Unfortunately, however, foundations are paying only minimal attention to the diversity of asset managers, as compared to other big investors, such as public pension funds.

INCOME | How restaurants and other businesses going cashless will further marginalize low-income individuals with no credit or bank accounts. (GGWash, 7/31)

FAMILIES | This Prince George’s County nonprofit is helping domestic violence survivors rebuild their lives. (WaPo, 7/31)

TRANSIT/WORKFORCE | Uber recently introduced changes to its policies to benefit drivers, but workers in the District still see issues. (WAMU, 8/1)

EDUCATIONThe Unexpected Value of the Liberal Arts (Atlantic, 7/31)

Here’s some tips for photographing the solar eclipse

– Kendra

A new guidebook for increasing housing affordability in the Greater Washington region

HOUSING AFFORDABILITY | The Housing Leaders Group of Greater Washington (HLG) just released A Guidebook for Increasing Housing Affordability in the Greater Washington Region. It is a compilation of planning and policy tools that local governments, nonprofit and for-profit developers, and advocacy groups in the Greater Washington region are using—or could be using—to promote the production and preservation of housing that is affordable for all in the region. WRAG, along with Citi Community Development, Enterprise Community Partners, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, is a co-convener of the Housing Leaders Group.

Diana Meyer, community development state director at Citi, says, “This is a great resource for anyone interested in increasing housing affordability in our region and how to start to make it happen. It highlights the many local jurisdictions that are using these strategies already.”

ARTS/CRIMINAL JUSTICE | An art collector sold a $150 million painting to create a fund, in partnership with the Ford Foundation, to support criminal justice reform and reduce mass incarceration in the US. (NYT, 6/11)

– DC area mental health providers weigh in on the barriers communities of color face when trying to access mental health services in the District. (CHF Blog, 6/7)

– Virginia’s top behavioral health official outlines looming mental health challenges (Richmond Times, 6/12)

BUSINESS | As a part of the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital (DCC) program, it has granted Latino Economic Development Center $300,000 to support small business owners in DC and Baltimore. (Wells Fargo, 6/13)

WORKFORCE | Two local nonprofits focused on providing job opportunities for people with disabilities are merging. (WBJ, 6/12)

DIVERSITY | Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers and CEOs from other companies have committed to bringing diversity and inclusion to their workplaces. (NYT, 6/12)

EDUCATION | To reduce academic failure due to suspensions, a new Virginia law encourages the state board of education to establish alternative actions to misbehavior. (InsideNOVA, 6/13)

IMMIGRATION | In this Northern Virginia community, the police force cooperates with ICE. (WAMU, 6/12)

ENVIRONMENT | The Justice Department no longer wants funds won in settlements with companies to be given to nonprofit organizations. (NYT, 6/9)

Congrats to the Golden State Warriors! (I guess)

– Kendra