Tag: families

Voting rights could be restored for incarcerated prisoners in the District

VOTING RIGHTS | Lawmakers in the District are seeking to make the nation’s capital the first jurisdiction to restore voting rights to incarcerated prisoners, with plans to introduce legislation Tuesday to repeal language in a 1955 law that disenfranchises DC residents upon felony convictions. (WaPo, 6/3)

The District has some of lowest restrictions on felons voting, where their voting rights are automatically restored when they are released from prison, and election officials visit the DC jail to help non-felons cast absentee ballots … “Unfortunately in the District and across the country, incarcerated people make up a sizable population of residents,” said Council member Robert C. White Jr., who is introducing the legislation … “They don’t lose their citizenship when they are incarcerated, so they shouldn’t lose their right to vote.” White’s bill thrusts the District to the vanguard of the felon enfranchisement movement, and believes that the discussion around criminal voting restrictions should focus on the racist motivations of the laws and how they disproportionately disenfranchise African Americans.

CENSUS 2020Deceased GOP Strategist’s Hard Drives Reveal New Details on the Census Citizenship Question (NYT, 5/30)

Related: Vanita Gupta, president & CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued this statement in response to the New York Times’ revelation. Gupta is the keynote speaker at Thursday’s Interventions that Work: Census 2020 & Hard-to-Count Communities forum, co-convened by WRAG and 14 partner organizations to elevate strategies for a complete and accurate 2020 Census.

COMMUNITY | Last year WRAG launched the Journalism Fellows Project to share our platform with youth of color in this region who are often written about, but are rarely asked their perspectives on the issues facing their communities and families. In today’s edition, we hear from Thomas Kent, 2019 graduate of Richard Wright Public Charter School in DC, about the impact of violence in his neighborhood. (Daily, 6/4)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | A new audit reveals that DC Mayor Bowser has awarded at least five housing projects to developers with low-ranked proposals. The move cost the city 353 affordable housing units, and raises questions about the process. (WaPo, 5/30)

WORKFORCE/EQUITY | Emergency legislation at the DC Council would prevent employment discrimination against city workers in the medical marijuana program. (dcist, 5/31)

NONPROFITS | New Pilot Program is Bringing Books to a Barbershop on Lee Highway (ARLnow, 5/28)

ENVIRONMENT | According to a just-published list put out each year by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Tidal Basin is among the 11 most endangered historic places in 2019. (WAMU, 5/30)

CHILDREN & FAMILIES | What Makes A City Child-Friendly? (WAMU, 5/31)

PHILANTHROPY | The Kids Are Alright: Millennials Reluctant to Give, But Donate Generously When They Do (Inside Philanthropy, 5/30)

It’s 3 am – do you know what your iPhone is doing? Yikes!

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

– Buffy

Lack of foster parents in DC puts vulnerable children at risk

CHILDREN/FAMILIES | There is a shortage of foster parents in DC, which child welfare advocates say is putting children at risk of harm. Some children have even had to sleep at the office of DC’s Child and Family Services Agency while they waited to be placed in a home. (WAMU, 4/8)

“We’ve seen cases where kids have been exposed to a lot of violence, have been physically hurt, but have remained in their homes … because there are not enough foster homes right now” … the shortage has been caused in part by increased housing costs, experienced foster parents retiring, and changing demographics in the city. A spokesperson for DC’s Child and Family Service Agency says they are looking to add 40 new beds in the foster care system over this fiscal year … and specifically have a shortage of parents for children with special needs and for older children.

Related: Last year, WRAG’s president Tamara Copeland, urged philanthropy to focus on the child welfare system, a topic that is often invisible to many in our region. (Daily, 9/2018)

– DC’s first-ever cultural plan lays out a strategy for growth through investments, infrastructure and programming. The plan was developed by the DC Office of Planning, in consultation with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment – and includes input from over 1,500 artists, art consumers, and experts from the cultural sector. (WAMU, 4/4)

– The owner of Bethesda’s Union Hardware is promoting a plan to open a collective art studio in downtown Bethesda for up to 30 artists by this summer. (Bethesda Magazine, 4/3)

ECONOMIC INEQUALITY | America’s growing geographic divide derives from economic inequality, especially the tremendous gains of the one percent. (CityLab, 4/3)

– DC’s Low-Income Neighborhood Schools Are Losing Money. Is The Budget Or Enrollment To Blame? (WAMU, 4/5)

– In Montgomery County, a $5.7 billion budget proposal is being questioned by those who want to see more money focused on education. (WaPo, 4/7)

MARYLAND | Mike Busch, the longest-serving state House speaker in Maryland history who helped shepherd laws that improved access to health care and legalized same-sex marriage, died on April 7 at age 72. (WaPo, 4/7)

VIRGINIA | As Amazon builds and staffs up HQ2, other tech companies who orbit them could follow. (WBJ, 4/4)

FOOD | Hungry, a new Arlington-based healthy food delivery service, has received star-powered support. (WAMU, 4/5)

PHILANTHROPY | The Road Ahead: Will Philanthropic Critique Change Philanthropic Practice? (NPQ, 4/4)

How would you improve the Metro map when it’s reprinted?

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

– Buffy

Why segregation in the District’s school system persists

– A new report by the Albert Shanker Institute has found that DC’s private school enrollment is contributing to the city’s school segregation. The report, which used information from the 2011-2012 school year, discovered that white students made up almost 60% of private school enrollment compared to 28% for black students and only 8% for Hispanic students. (WaPo, 11/24)

The study recommends that the city’s public schools continue to work to attract more private school families and that private schools work to increase diversity, using scholarships and financial aid to recruit more students of color. Without changing the imbalance of demographics between public and private schools, “there may be what amounts to an impermeable ceiling on the citywide impact of big city public school integration efforts,” the report concludes.

– The DC Tuition Assistance Grant program, which helps low-income and middle-class DC residents afford college, is now facing funding cuts. (WaPo, 11/21)

FOOD INSECURITY | DC Central Kitchen’s chief operating officer Mike Curtin discusses why just feeding hungry people will not end hunger and how the organization is addressing the underlying factors that lead to a person being hungry, including poverty. (National Geographic, 11/21)

PHILANTHROPYWhy More Philanthropists Are Giving Before They Die (Atlantic, 11/26)

FAMILIES | A new Prince George’s County program will allow domestic violence victims to access funds to help them escape their living situations before they are granted a protective order. (WaPo, 11/26)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | DC has established a $10 million private-public fund to acquire and preserve the city’s affordable housing. (WaPo, 11/26)

LGBTQ RIGHTS | The Human Rights Campaign has released its annual report that analyzes how inclusive local laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQ residents. See how Virginia and Maryland scored here. (HRC, 11/21)

TRANSITIn major change, Metro to no longer allow negative SmarTrip balances (WTOP, 11/24)

Help this cat wake its owner by destroying the bedroom.

– 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

The impact of gender and generation on philanthropy

PHILANTHROPY | This week Fidelity Charitable released a new report exploring the impact of generation and gender on giving. The report found that women of all generations view giving as an integral part of their identities and use it to make significant contributions to address societal challenges. (Fidelity Charitable, 5/8)

More than half of Millennials say they give to a wide range of causes, and seven in 10 say they are more likely to give in the moment than be strategic about their giving. But with relatively limited resources compared with their older peers, Millennials’ sense of impact may feel diluted. They may be missing the satisfaction of understanding how their gifts are making a difference for the
causes they care about.

Boomers are more satisfied in their giving than Millennials, leveraging age, experience and greater accumulated wealth to achieve their giving goals. But Boomers are also less social about the causes they support, and less likely to have adopted some of the trends changing the giving landscape.

HOMELESSNESS | Amanda Andere, CEO of Funders Together to End Homelessness, discusses why public-private partnerships are important and necessary to communities’ efforts to prevent and end homelessness. (US Interagency Council on Homelessness, 5/1)

EDUCATIONPanel seeks probe of potential racial hiring bias in Virginia school system (WaPo, 5/11)

ENVIRONMENT | The District’s program to reduce stormwater runoff that pollutes the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers is off to a slow start. (WAMU, 5/11)

SOCIAL INNOVATION | Montgomery County, MD is looking for a partner to create a new incubator that will focus on tech and media. (WBJ, 5/11 – Subscription needed)

FAMILIES | A local group has raised money to bail out mothers for Mother’s Day. (WUSA9, 5/12)

Social Sector Job Openings 

Program Assistant | Public Welfare Foundation – New!
Communications Manager | Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers – New!
Director of Communications | de Beaumont Foundation – New!
Program Coordinator, Grants and Selection | Jack Kent Cooke Foundation – New!
Director of Programmatic Initiatives | Fight For Children
Major Gift Officer–DC | Urban Teachers
Program Analyst | Clark Charitable Foundation, Inc.
Market Coordinator, Community Affairs Mid-Atlantic | Capital One
Director of Community Engagement | Association of American Medical Colleges
Director of Data Services | GuideStar USA, Inc.
Community Affairs Contractor – Engagement, Capital One Cafés | Capital One

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 the image below to access the calendar.

The real life inspiration behind Twin Peaks.

– Kendra

Protecting TANF as a lifeline

by Ed Lazere
DC Fiscal Policy Institute

This spring, D.C.’s leaders will face what I believe is the single most important social policy issue in my 15 years at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute: how to modify the city’s rigid Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) time limit. Under current law, the time limit will cut 13,000 children off from assistance this fall, regardless of their family’s circumstances. Yet cutting families off who are not ready will simply push children deeper into poverty and distress, worsening D.C.’s homelessness crisis, reducing children’s success in school, and increasing the chance that children will end up in foster care.

By contrast, a TANF program focused on protecting children, with a time limit that recognizes that some families need more time, can help put D.C.’s poorest families on a path to success. That’s why the DC Fiscal Policy Institute and a number of organizations support legislation introduced last December to extend assistance to families under certain conditions, and to follow the lead of many states that never cut children off from aid.

D.C.’s TANF program ensures that our children can have their most basic needs met despite the economic hardships their parents face. Protecting families is not only the right thing to do; it also helps children go to school ready to learn and improves their chances of future success.

Now, this lifeline for D.C.’s children is at risk. Under current law, D.C. is poised to drop 6,500 families who have reached the 60-month time limit from TANF – including more than 13,000 children – this October. We know that even with the best TANF services, some families face barriers, like domestic violence or a disability, that get in the way of finding or holding a job. Equally important, D.C.’s economy is not working well for low-income residents. Wages have fallen for residents with less than a college degree, and unemployment remains high years after the Great Recession. The income of the poorest D.C. families has fallen to just $9,300 – a $1,500 drop over the last decade.

The reality is, if families are kicked out of TANF without being ready, they will end up straining other costly programs.

• Half of the families trying to move out of homelessness through rapid rehousing are TANF recipients at the 60-month point.

• When TANF benefits are cut off from mothers of preschoolers, their children are three times more likely to have serious behavior problems than other young children.

• When parents are cut off of TANF without a secure job, their children are more likely to be abused or neglected and end up in foster care.

This is our chance to strengthen TANF so D.C. families and children facing the greatest odds have the support they need to get on a path to greater independence.

Organizations that want to sign on to support legislation to extend assistance to families under certain conditions, or who want to learn more about the legislation, should visit www.TANFisalifeline.org.

Funders explore early childhood mental health

By Rebekah Seder, Program Coordinator

This month, the Children, Youth, and Families Working Group dove deeper into its children’s mental health agenda, with a discussion of issues surrounding the mental health of children from birth to age three and their primary caregivers, and the services and supports needed to help families create a healthy environment for themselves and their young children.

Tamara Halle, a child psychologist and researcher with Child Trends, gave an overview of research into the impact of early childhood years on an individual’s social and emotional competency throughout life, emphasizing that the bonds between children and their parents or other caregivers set the stage for later social interactions. For this reason, problems that affect the bonds between children and their caregivers, such as poverty, homelessness, substance abuse, or maternal mental health issues, can have a significant impact on children’s emotional well-being.

Maria Gomez, founder and CEO of Mary’s Center, discussed the relationship between poverty, maternal depression, and children’s mental health, and the critical importance of very early assessment and intervention in mitigating the impact of mental health issues in young children and their mothers. In her experience, addressing a woman’s mental health before her child is born is the best way to ensure that children don’t develop similar issues of their own in later years. Mary’s Center, which does mental health assessments on all of its clients, has found that almost 100% of pregnant women they serve show signs of depression, and that 80% of mental health issues are related to poverty. This highlights the interrelated nature of mental health and economic security: as Gomez noted, if parents are healthy and feel good about themselves, they are stronger parents and better able to move their families out of poverty. Gomez strongly believes that all publicly funded health centers should include basic mental health assessments as a component of the medical services they provide.

Members also heard from Marti Worshtil, Executive Director of the Prince George’s Child Resource Center, about the Center’s simple, but highly effective, intervention program for young children in childcare settings who display behavioral issues. The program provides a social worker to do an assessment of the child and their childcare provider, works directly with the child and family, trains their childcare providers on how to more effectively engage the child, and provides referrals to community agencies. The program has succeeded in reducing the preschool expulsion rate from six to 1.2 children out of 1,000, and its biggest obstacle moving forward is the very high demand for its services.

There is an important role for philanthropy in promoting children’s mental health in the region. As Gomez emphasized, there is a need for greater outreach services to engage people in the community who need mental health services, as well as workforce training and improvement of mental health workers. In addition, philanthropy can play a key role in advocating for systemic integration of health, mental health, and other services to ensure that people can easily receive the support that they need.