Tag: Exponent Philanthropy

Mayor Bowser shares new spending plan

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser recently shared her latest spending plan. Raising the city’s minimum wage, hiring additional police officers, school modernization, and more were among the topics Bowser touched on (WaPo, 3/24):

Bowser’s budget also sidesteps a potentially bruising battle with advocates for the poor. Her spending plan does not carry out a threat made last year to cut off $10 million in funding for long-term welfare recipients. Instead, she will continue the funding for at least another year on monthly benefits for 6,500 families who have already been receiving checks for five years or more.

Related: Earlier this month, Ed Lazere, executive director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, shared with Daily WRAG readers what legislation to extend Temporary Assistance for Needy Families could mean to a number of households in the District. (Daily, 3/3)

PUTTING RACISM ON THE TABLE | Horning Family Fund Board Chair Missy Young, and lead staffer Dara Johnson, candidly share their reflections on implicit bias and what WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table series has meant to their organization so far. (Daily 3/24)

PHILANTHROPYExponent Philanthropy, the Fund for Shared Insight, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy present the next videos in their series, Philanthropy Lessons, in which funders share their experiences and what they’ve learned in their philanthropic careers. Stay tuned for more videos through June.

ARTS/VIRGINIA | A new documentary explores Reston, Virginia‘s distinctive, people-first urban development led by planner Robert E. Simon, Jr. 50 years ago, and how his ideas have inspired urban revival in other areas ever since. (City Lab, 3/23)

PUBLIC HEALTH/RACISM | OpinionThe color of heroin addiction — why war then, treatment now? (WaPo, 3/23)

JOBS | The Baltimore City Health Department is seeking an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer to serve from July 2016-July 2017. The goal of the AmeriCorps VISTA position is to train and organize Neighborhood Food Advocates for the Virtual Supermarket Program and to support and grow the Baltimore Food Justice Committee. Interested applicants should apply online now through May 15.

Have you ever wondered if you could be one variety of a cherry blossom tree, which tree you would be? Finally, you can find out. I’m a proud Kwanzan myself.

– 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

Friday roundup – January 25 through 29, 2016

– David Biemesderfer, the new president and CEO of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, shared why he is excited to take the helm of the growing organization and to support the work of WRAG and our regional association colleagues in his new role. (Daily, 1/27)

– Exponent Philanthropy, the Fund for Shared Insight, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy presented a video series called Philanthropy Lessons in which funders share their experiences and what they’ve learned in their philanthropic careers. Check out the first two videos in the series and stay tuned for more through June.

– A task force recommended an overhaul of federal prisons to reduce the number of inmates by 60,000 people in the next 10 years. The federal task force also recommended that mandatory minimum sentences only be issued to the most violent offenders, citing drug crimes as a major reason for overcrowding in prisons. (NPR, 1/26)

A report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development found that, despite a narrowing racial gap in business ownership between 2007 and 2012, white-owned businesses continued to be much more successful than those of their black counterparts. The study also found disparities in the performance of  women-owned businesses versus male-owned businesses. (WSJ, 1/25)

– If You Want Clean Water, Don’t Be Black in America (City Lab, 1/26)

Click the image below to access WRAG’S Community Calendar. To have your event included, please send basic information including event title, date/time, location, a brief description of the event, and a link for further details to: myers@washingtongrantmakers.org.

Calendar won’t display? Click here.

The fascinating history of highway signs and their fonts.

– Ciara

A rebound for the region’s economy

After federal sequestration caused a blow to the region’s economy a few years ago, there are signs of progress in the area as economic sources of growth diversify. A new report from the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, however, raises awareness that the growth may not be reaching everyone. (WaPo, 1/28)

There are signs that the region is emerging from that slowdown, which one local economist calls a “dark period” for jobs and wages, perhaps with a more diversified economy less dependent on government dollars. But the authors of the new report warn that Washington’s economy risks further leaving behind racial minorities and the poor in the years to come.

Related: Recently, The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy was released to provide recommendations for ways in which the region can reposition itself in order to maximize its potential and remain competitive in the global economy. WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland also expanded on the ways in which philanthropy in the region might respond and collaborate with other sectors in order to meet the challenges facing our communities. (WBJ 1/14 and Daily 1/15)

– 2015 was seen as a big year for job growth in the region according to economists. The region is said to have had job growth that outpaced the national rate. (WaPo, 1/26)

A New Way to Rank Economic Growth in America’s Metros (City Lab, 1/28)

EDUCATION | Spending in nation’s schools falls again, with wide variation across states (WaPo, 1/27)

PHILANTHROPY | Exponent Philanthropy, the Fund for Shared Insight, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy present a video series called Philanthropy Lessons in which funders share their experiences and what they’ve learned in their philanthropic careers. Check out the first two videos in the series and stay tuned for more through June.

HEALTH | While a person’s lifestyle is a major contributor to how healthy they will be, studies confirm that socioeconomic factors are also a big part of one’s health outcomes. Those disparities become even more apparent as inequality reaches peak levels. (BSR, 1/27)

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is hiring for a Manager of Grants and Scholarships.

– Independent Sector is hiring an Associate of Programs and Practice for their Programs and Practice department.

– Funders Concerned About AIDS is hiring a Program Associate.

– The Walton Family Foundation is hiring for several roles.

Barbie is about to get a little more realistic.

– Ciara

A look back at WRAG in 2015

WRAG | 2015 proved to be an exciting year for WRAG and our members. Check out our 2015 Year Book to see how we continued to strive to inspire, influence, and innovate through our work.

ARTS | Arts funders convened at WRAG last month to discuss strategies for advancing equity and diversity in the arts. Here are a few of the ideas that rose to the top. (Daily, 1/11)

Exponent Philanthropy has released their 2016 Foundation Operations and Management Report, detailing how foundations work to create change and the seven strategies their members use to bring about outsized impact. (Philanthrofiles, 1/11)

–  Hill-Snowdon Foundation executive director Nat Chioke Williams shares his thoughts on the power of young leaders (like those recently recognized in The Chronicle of Philanthropy‘s 40 under 40 list) and how he thinks philanthropy needs to change in order to achieve the future that these leasers have envisioned. (NCRP, 1/5)

CSR | Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and head faculty member for the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility, shares his  2016 predictions for CSR trends. (American Express, 1/4)

SOCIAL PROFITS | A recent survey of social profit communications staff finds that while many are generally satisfied with their jobs, nearly half of those surveyed plan to leave their positions within two years due to on-the-job frustrations that cause them to feel restless. (Chronicle, 1/8) – Subscription required

HOUSING | The Growing Trend of Affordable Housing Impact Statements (City Lab, 1/8)

The man who sent the first email thinks we should all send less emails.

– Ciara

Exploring the financial lives of Americans

A recent project explores the financial lives of poor and middle-class Americans and the barriers they face toward economic stability and upward mobility. Research finds that the policies, products, and programs that exist to help many struggling Americans have to change in order to continue to meet their needs. (SSIR, 1/5)

The new barriers to economic stability and upward mobility are not trivial. Recent data show that wages are stagnant for a wide swath of earners, annual income volatility has risen markedly since the 1970s, economic mobility varies widely, wealth inequality is increasing, and the middle class is shrinking. That’s in addition to the long-standing, deep inequalities of race and class that have stubbornly resisted efforts to abate them.

But those data illuminate only macro-level changes. Households don’t make financial decisions—or other important decisions that affect or are affected by finances—based on annual averages or national trends. Financial lives are made up of day-to-day choices.

How to Help Kids in Poverty Adjust to the Stability of School After Break (NPR, 1/7)

DISTRICT | The D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development has launched a new website that will serve as a one-stop-shop for basic facts and government data about the city’s economic development. (DCist, 1/6)

The New Yorker dives deeper into Darren Walker and the Ford Foundation’s big decision to move their focus toward tackling inequality. (The New Yorker, 1/4)

– In case you missed it, the IRA charitable rollover provision, which shifts millions of dollars from IRAs into charity, was made permanent, retroactive to January 1, 2015. (MarketWatch, 12/2015)

A few of our members are hiring! Be sure to share these exciting positions within your networks:

– The Northern Virginia Health Foundation is seeking an Operations and Program Associate.

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is hiring for the roles of Philanthropy Assistant and Philanthropy Officer.

Exponent Philanthropy is seeking candidates for the roles of Program Associate and Program Director.

Take a peek at these renderings of the architecturally impressive school building that may be coming to Rosslyn. And while you’re at it, take a look at some of these other impressive buildings that already exist in the region.

– Ciara

Friday roundup – September 14 through September 18, 2015

 Consumer Health Foundation president and CEO Yanique Redwood discussed how foundations and social profit organizations can transform communities by spending in them. (CHF, 9/16)

Exponent Philanthropy shared how thinking more like a designer may be a great method to apply to the field of philanthropy. (PhilanthroFiles, 9/17)

– Dr. Alvin Crawley, Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent, explained why integrating health and wellness goals into the day-to-day activities at schools is so important for staff and students over on Northern Virginia Health Foundation‘s blog. (NVHF, 9/16)

 Proportion of Americans without health insurance dropped in 2014 (WaPo, 9/16)

– Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates explored African American families in the age of mass incarceration. (Atlantic, 10/2015)

– Washington Business Journal compiled a list of the top 20 fastest-growing jobs in the region. Personal care aides topped the list with a 29% average annual rate of change in the number of jobs available in the region from 2009-2014. (WBJ, 9/15)

Can you guess whether these crazy menu items are real or fake?

– Ciara

Washington AIDS Partnership honored for their work in the fight to end AIDS

Last night, the Washington AIDS Partnership (WAP) was recognized by DC Appleseed for their work in the fight to end AIDS in the District. Beginning in 2015, WAP embarked on a new initiative with DC Appleseed, local experts, and the D.C. government to create a plan which would identify barriers to end HIV/AIDS, gaps in services and infrastructure, and capacity needs among community-based organizations. At the event, both D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institutes of Health spoke to the need for D.C. to set the example for the rest of the nation and end the epidemic in the city. Within the District, 80 percent of individuals are linked to care within three months of testing positive for HIV, 62 percent are retained in care, and 40 percent are virally suppressed. These numbers are above the national averages for HIV care; however, WAP, DC Appleseed, and the D.C. government are committed to bringing the number of individuals linked and retained in care to 90 percent by the year 2020. WAP will continue to fund and support innovative programs that look to treat, prevent, and educate individuals in D.C. about HIV in an effort to bring the epidemic to an end in the city.

– New data on income and poverty in 2014 by the Census Bureau finds income growth, wage growth, and poverty rates remained unchanged from 2013. (NPR, 9/16)

– Mapping the Difference Between Minimum Wage and Cost of Living (City Lab, 9/10)

HEALTH/YOUTH | In a new blog post for the Northern Virginia Health Foundation, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) superintendent Dr. Alvin Crawley  explains why integrating health and wellness goals into the day-to-day activities at schools, just as ACPS plans to do beginning this fall, is so vital for staff and students alike. (NVHF, 9/16)

PHILANTHROPY | Check out how thinking more like a designer may be a great method to apply to the field of philanthropy over at Exponent Philanthropy‘s blog. (PhilanthroFiles, 9/17)

EDUCATION/VIRGINIA | Opinion: As Fairfax County Public Schools face severe budget cuts, officials of the nation’s 10th largest school system with 190,000 students, discuss what under-funding could mean for the very near future. (WaPo, 9/17)

FOOD | A study from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity examines the dietary habits of Americans and finds that there is a growing gap in the dietary quality of wealthier people and people in poverty. (WaPo, 9/17)

DISTRICT/ECONOMY | D.C.’s ward 8 will soon see a big public investment in the form of a new sports and entertainment complex on the St. Elizabeths East campus. (WBJ, 9/16)

When it comes to autumn, Denali Park just “gets it.”

– Ciara 

Nearly one in 10 youth disconnected in the District

Raise DC,  a coalition of public, private, and social profit groups, has released a new report providing  a snapshot of the District’s progress on its five high-level goals related to kindergarten readiness, high school graduation, reconnection of youth to education and/or training, college or credential completion, and youth employment. This marks a first look at improvement in aggregated citywide data since its baseline report card in 2013. Some of the findings in the report include (WaPo, 9/9 and RAISE DC, 9/9 ):

Nearly one in 10 District residents aged 16 to 24 was not working and not in school between 2010 and 2012 […], according to a new report from Raise DC, a coalition of public, private and nonprofit groups.

The city calls such people “disconnected youth,” and officials are trying to find them and help them re-enroll in school or job training.

Click here to view Raise DC’s full Progress Report.

– D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson has proposed changes to the city’s summer jobs program that would provide a pathway to higher-earning jobs for young people. (WAMU, 9/9)

– Exponent Philanthropy, along with Arabella Advisors and Mission Investors Exchange, has released a new guide for small foundations interested in the essentials of impact investing. (Exponent Philanthropy, 9/9)

Opinion: Why Success Sometimes Eludes Community Efforts to Fight Social Problems (Chronicle, 9/4)

CSR/SOCIAL PROFITS | Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and lead faculty member for the Institute for CSR, discusses income inequalities in the social profit sector – more often associated with large corporations – in the wake of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new requirement for publicly-traded companies to disclose CEO pay ratios. (American Express, 9/8)

CHILDREN/HEALTH | The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that extremely premature babies born today have a better chance at survival than they did 20 years ago. Despite this improvement, the rate of significant health problems for those who survive has remained unchanged since 1993. (NPR, 9/8)

– A new book explores what life is like for the many Americans who get by on cash incomes of around $2.00 per day for long stretches of time. Many of those individuals are completely disconnected from the job market and are unable to receive much in government assistance. (Atlantic, 9/6)

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

Take a quick guess before you click on this. What do you think is the dirtiest surface on an airplane?

– Ciara

Despite higher education, a persistent racial and ethnic wealth gap

A new study finds that, despite being known as “the great equalizer” for economic mobility, a college degree rarely protects black and Hispanic graduates from an ever-present wealth gap. (NYT, 8/17)

“The long-term trend is shockingly clear,” said William R. Emmons, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and one of the authors of the report. “White and Asian college grads do much better than their counterparts without college, while college-grad Hispanics and blacks do much worse proportionately.”


There is not a simple answer to explain why a college degree has failed to help safeguard the assets of many minority families. Persistent discrimination and the types of training and jobs minorities get have played a role. Another central factor is the heavy debt many blacks and Hispanics accumulate to achieve middle-class status.

– Prince George’s celebrates better economic numbers, but county still lags (WaPo, 8/17)

– The Chronicle of Philanthropy takes a look at how two major foundations – The Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation – are taking very different new approaches to their grant making. (Chronicle, 8/17)

Exponent Philanthropy explores some of the difficulties funders often encounter when honing in on a giving focus and ways they can work to break through the barriers. (Philanthrofiles, 8/17)

ARTS | Opinion: As the world of American ballet grows more diverse, one writer ponders why the audience for productions continues to be so homogeneous. (WaPo, 8/17)

Check out these insanely tall roller coasters from the comfort of your desk. But, I do highly recommend taking a real ride on the Millennium Force in Sandusky, OH!

– Ciara