Tag: farming

Northern Virginia’s transformation over the years

Northern Virginia Magazine explores the changing economic, political, and social landscape of Northern Virginia over the past 10 years, and looks at some of the key moments that drove the transformation. (NVM, 1/22)

The U.S. census reports that 92 percent of residents in Fairfax County have a high school degree or higher—nearly 59 percent with a college degree. Of 1.1 million residents in Fairfax, there are nearly 250,000 between the ages of 20 and 34.

According to a demographic study by the University of Virginia, Northern Virginia has both the largest population among Virginia’s regions (nearly 3 million of the state’s total 8.3 million) and the fastest growth rate between 2010 and 2013 (5.9 percent). Nearly three-fifths of Virginia’s population growth since 2010 occurred in Northern Virginia.

HOMELESSNESS/DISTRICT | D.C. Transported Hundreds of People to Shelters and Warming Sites During the Blizzard (WCP, 1/25)

FOOD | Opinion: When it comes to “the food movement,” one writer ponders if there is more an illusion of progress than any actual action taking place. (WaPo, 1/26)

PRISON REFORM | A federal task force is recommending action to overhaul federal prisons and reduce the number of inmates by 60,000 people in the next 10 years. As the primary reason for prison overcrowding is mandatory minimum sentences issued for drug crimes, the task force recommends they be issued to only the most violent offenders. (NPR, 1/26)

HEALTH/AGING | As Population Ages, Where Are the Geriatricians? (NYT, 1/25)

Being extinct doesn’t mean you get out of shoveling snow.

– Ciara

How misdemeanors can lead to homelessness

Washington City Paper provides a firsthand account of the ways in which misdemeanors can often come back to haunt those convicted, particularly when it comes to obtaining necessities like housing. (WCP, 11/13)

[…] even minor brushes with the law leave ripple effects lasting far beyond when a fine was paid or sentence served, making it hard to get a job, housing, and other necessities. Public and assisted housing providers are allowed to screen applicants for their criminal histories, but […] it’s over-enforced and frequently far beyond the legal guidelines laid out in the Fair Housing Act.

– In D.C., members of a homeless tent community face being pushed out after their 14-day notification period has ended. Some cite encampments as a preferred option to potential safety threats while staying in shelters. Officials and health specialists are working to provide them with supportive services and permanent housing. (WTOP, 11/16)

ECONOMY/REGION | In their biannual survey of small business owners in the Greater Washington Region, Bank of America found that the small business market is hiring faster than any other it surveyed, and that 81 percent expect to grow their businesses over the next five years – a positive outlook for the local economy. (WBJ, 11/17)

COMMUNITY | The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region has announced that they will honor The Horning Family Fund with the 2016 Civic Spirit Award at their Annual Celebration of Philanthropy on March 14, 2016. Since 1990, the fund has helped to build communities where families thrive and children are nurtured to achieve their greatest potential. For more information about the event, contact Jenny Towns.

FOOD/VIRGINIA | In Loudoun County’s “transition area” (the area between suburban subdivisions and rural land) a 4,000-acre development is making the idea of farm-to-table a high priority for the community. (WaPo, 11/16)

– According to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal, men’s weekly median earnings  have increased twice as much as women’s weekly median earnings in the first three-quarters of 2015. Researchers hope that trends from this year don’t point to an ever-widening gap. (Atlantic, 11/17)

For Women, Income Inequality Continues into Retirement (NPR, 11/17)

IMMIGRATION | The Brookings Institution recently explored whether or not the lives of Hispanic immigrants and their families are economically better off once settling in the U.S. The data reveal mixed results about the upward mobility of immigrants and their children. (Atlantic, 11/16)

Can you name these North American cities based solely on their night sky views?


Advancing corporate support for arts and culture

ARTS/CSR | A new report from Americans for the Arts details how companies engage arts and culture to advance their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate community involvement (CCI) goals. Kaiser Permanente‘s Educational Theatre Program and Boeing‘s innovative work in Seattle are named as leading examples of these efforts. (Animating Democracy, 3/2015)

To what extent have corporations engaged and supported arts and culture toward their CSR/CCI goals? A scan of recent reports on corporate funding patterns and trends, as well as observations from field leaders and interviewees, suggest a challenging corporate funding terrain for the arts and culture sector even though arts and culture appear to be well positioned to serve both philanthropic goals and business objectives. As the slow economic recovery continues to dampen corporate profits, more corporations are shifting their traditional and purely philanthropic charitable giving programs to focus more strategically and specifically on issues that align with their business interests and have a positive social impact—whether national or global—on their consumers or the communities in which they do business.

PHILANTHROPY | More and more grantmakers are committing to “get on the map.” Find out why the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region is excited about the interactive mapping tool and sharing their grants data with colleagues. (Daily, 3/16)

– Opinion: In the wake of a growing number of tragic events that question the notion of racial justice in America, many foundation leaders wonder what they can do to promote greater equity. Citing examples from the Association of Black Foundation Executives and the Hill-Snowdon Foundation, Aaron Dorfman of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy provides a few recommendations for a good starting place. (Chronicle, 3/13)

– Dr. Gail Christopher, Vice President for Program Strategy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, shares how popular culture can reflect reality and propel it forward, including some story lines from some of the most addicting television shows today. (HuffPo, 3/15)

– On Saturday, March 28 at 6:00 PM, Prince Charitable Trusts, in collaboration with the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University, will hold a screening of four short films on the ways in which communities and farmers expand practices and traditions to preserve farmland and meet demands for sustainable, locally-grown food while also ensuring their career remains profitable. The session, titled Farming for the Future – Enduring Traditions, Innovative Practices, features two films – Farming for the Future and 50 Years of Farming: For Love & Vegetables – that were supported by grants from Prince Charitable Trusts and filmed in Northern Virginia by the Center for Environmental Filmmaking. Growing Legacy features the Maryland Agricultural Reserve in Montgomery County. A panel discussion will follow the screenings.

The ‘greenest’ school building in the world is in Washington (WaPo, 3/12)

– Take note, D.C. In Jackson, Wyoming a small piece of land next to a vacant parking lot will be transformed into one of the world’s only vertical farms. (Fast Company, 2/23)

MENTAL HEALTH | Booz Allen Hamilton is leading the charge to change how mental health, illness, and wellness are viewed in America. As a founding member of the national initiative The Campaign to Change Direction, Booz Allen will educate 11,000 employees over the next five years on the signs and symptoms of emotional health issues. (Booz Allen Hamilton, 3/4)

HOMELESSNESS | The District anticipated a 16 percent rise in homeless families seeking shelter this winter, up 840 from 723 during the 2013-2014 season. The number this year, however, rose to an estimated 897 families who sought shelter this winter. (WCP, 3/12)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | A big boom in the development of high-end apartments in the region has made the market more favorable for renters. While the surplus has meant lower rents and greater perks for more affluent renters, the benefits have not yet trickled down to lower-income renters. (WaPo, 3/15)

 Businesses don’t just want you to see their marketing efforts…they want you to smell them, too.

– Ciara

Understanding local agriculture is the key to an equitable food system

Last week, Crystal Townsend, president of the Healthcare Initiative Foundation, attended the Farming At Metro’s Edge Conference. The conference was co-sponsored by The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers’ D.C. Regional Convergence Partnership* and gathered together over 240 farmers, foundations, consumers, environmentalists, government agencies and other interested parties to discuss the current state of agriculture in Frederick and Montgomery counties. Below, Crystal shares some of the lessons learned and discusses how a group of WRAG members are taking action.

by Crystal Townsend
President, Healthcare Initiative Foundation

Farmers in the area face a multitude of challenges: continued residential development; limited marketing opportunities and connectivity with local consumers; increased local and state regulations; and decreased technical assistance and capital investment supports to incorporate innovative farming techniques. As a result, the number of farms and agriculture activities are in decline.

To ensure the continued viability of agriculture in Frederick and Montgomery counties, a concerted effort must be made to understand agriculture as it exists today, to anticipate the challenges it will face tomorrow, and to encourage its continued growth in the metropolitan area.

The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers’ D.C. Regional Convergence Partnership, a group comprised of cross-sector funders, is committed to advancing a more equitable regional food system examining:

1) land/food/agricultural production;
2) food processing and distribution;
3) marketing, consumer choices, and access; and
4) consumption and public health.

The farmer and agricultural communities are essential partners for this work. Examining how to more fully integrate agriculture production and stewardship into the Greater Washington region will require private, public, and nonprofit collaborations to creatively address innovations in land use planning, creation of an equitable food system, infrastructure needs, expanding institutional markets, farm transitions, and environmental issues.

*The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers’ D.C. Regional Convergence Partnership was one of the conference sponsors representing contributions from: The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; The Community Foundation for Montgomery County; Consumer Health Foundation; Corina Higginson Trust c/o Accokeek Foundation; Healthcare Initiative Foundation; and Kaiser Permanente.

If you are a funder who is interested in joining the effort and learning more about the Convergence Partnership, please contact Mardell Moffett, associate director at the Cafritz Foundation.