Tag: Freddie Mac Foundation

The penny isn’t always shiny and new

by Tamara Lucas Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

On Friday, the Washington City Paper featured a major article on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the District of Columbia. It highlighted several excellent programs, such as the Washington AIDS Partnership’s Positive Pathways’ community health workers, celebrated the leadership of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and very candidly reminded us all of what happens when a funder – be it the federal government, a national funder, or a local grantmaker – stops funding in a given area; successful programs are put in jeopardy.

We – social profit organizations – always know that such a reality is possible, but we continue to believe, as the funding community often tells us to, that if we just show impact, if the evaluation data reflects positive outcomes, the financial support will remain. But that is not always true. As Channing Wickham, executive director of the Washington AIDS Partnership, an initiative of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, pointed out in the article, “It’s an unfortunate reality […] HIV  is no longer a new and exciting issue.” He continued by saying, “In this work, in year one a new program is exciting. By the fifth year, even if you have results … it’s not the latest thing on the block.” His remarks reflect the perception that some funders prioritize being on the cutting-edge, changing their goals as new research emerges or as new leadership takes the helm.

So what do we do?

To the social profit organizations, I say evaluation data is definitely a key part of the protective coating, but, as you know, it isn’t the only ingredient to safeguard continuing funding. You need visibility for your issue, like what HIV/AIDS received in that major article in Friday’s paper. You need a champion like Barbara Jordan was for funding for HIV/AIDS programs during her service on the Freddie Mac Foundation Board years ago and Mayor Bowser seems to be today. And, even with the data, the visibility, and the champion, your funder may still close his doors or decide to change funding priorities. It’s not a new story. You must continue to be nimble, telling all who will listen about the need and about your impact, be a visible advocate, and always work to broaden your base of support.

To the funding community, just a reminder: sometimes the right intervention isn’t new and flashy. It is grounded in research. It is making a difference. It is simply tried and true – the community health worker, the peer counselor, the mentor. Not the shiny new penny, but the value is the same.

A Fresh Take

By Lori Vacek
Foundation Manager
Freddie Mac Foundation

When I first heard about the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), I was not sure about registering. Like many of us, I’ve attended numerous conferences, most of which have been interesting and provided a chance to network, but I was looking for something different – something fresh, inspiring, and substantive.

I found that in the Institute for CSR, and here’s why:

  • Throughout the year, we have been challenged to develop our own creativity. Dinah Dittman from Kaiser Permanente shared this TED talk and described how she strives to incorporate a sense of creativity into her work. This line of thinking was a nice complement to the more typical strategic perspective discussed at corporate conferences.
  •  From Jon Spector of The Conference Board, we heard that it is not always possible to “prove” the value of CSR with data (which can be compelling), but that it is our responsibility to make the business case for this work. For instance, offering meaningful employee volunteer opportunities supports retention and recruitment goals.
  • James Abruzzo from the Center for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers asked us to consider why a corporation would produce a product for which there was no viable market. A case study describing Merck’s handling of the decision to manufacture and give away a vaccine for river blindness in Africa “for as long as is necessary” was inspiring, and offered a strategic analysis of the decision making process from a senior management perspective.
  • Dane Smith from FSG and Sonal Shal from the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown discussed new frameworks and tools for achieving both business and social goals, including shared value and social impact bonds.
  • Lead faculty member, Tim McClimmon, of the American Express Foundation encouraged us to assume a greater CSR leadership role by, for example, authoring new case studies and creating new resources to strengthen the field.
  • And, most recently we were inspired by Mike Harreld, the head of PNC Bank in the Washington metropolitan region, who spoke clearly about how community involvement is “just what you do,” and described PNC’s role in both early childhood education and sustainability practices.

I’m only able to mention some of the many substantive speakers and discussions the Institute for CSR has offered, but,  overall, it’s provided a chance to step back, reflect, connect with peers (each session is like a day-long round table discussion!), dig deeper into current trends, learn about new resources, and to think anew about long-standing challenges.  I’d recommend it for all CSR practitioners interested in strengthening their programs and striving to “make a difference” for the stakeholders we serve.

Freddie Mac Foundation announces final wind down plans

Yesterday the Freddie Mac Foundation released a letter to the community announcing its final wind down and how it will continue to support its grantees after it closes at the end of 2014. Key to that transition are two WRAG members – the Meyer Foundation and the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region.  Here’s how it will work:

As part of its wind-down strategy, the Freddie Mac Foundation has made a grant to the Meyer Foundation to create the Children and Family Capacity-Building Initiative, a two-year program to provide capacity-building grants and other support to a targeted group of 125 organizations that serve vulnerable children and families in the DC region. The initiative includes a capacity-building grants program, grants to implement the Benevon fundraising model for engaging individual donors, and the opportunity to work with CompassPoint to conduct organizational self-assessments. The initiative was announced to eligible organizations in mid-May, and is described in more detail on the Meyer Foundation’s website. Grantmaking colleagues who would like more information should contact Karen FitzGerald, who is lead program officer for the initiative.

Says Rick Moyers, vice president for programs and communications at Meyer,

While we will miss the Freddie Mac Foundation as part of our community, we admire the thoughtful way they’ve concluded their work. We are also grateful for the opportunity to provide capacity-building resources to help sustain the grantees supported by the Freddie Mac Foundation over the years.

Additionally, the  Freddie Mac Foundation has established two funds at the Community Foundation. These funds will continue Freddie Mac’s legacy of support for children, youth and families in our region by providing funding through 2019 for eligible nonprofits. Both funds will be implemented using the same core outcomes and grantmaking framework established by the Freddie Mac Foundation which is focused on Stable Homes Stable Families, Foster Care and Adoption, and Academic and Career Success.

The Children and Family Legacy Fund, established in 2013, is a designated fund administered by the Community Foundation,  that supports nonprofits previously designated by Freddie Mac as eligible to receive support from the Fund. Nonprofits were notified of their eligibility for support from this fund in early 2014. The newly announced Fund for Children, Youth and Families will make grants beginning in 2016 through an open and competitive grantmaking process  to nonprofits meeting the aforementioned core priorities and outcomes. For additional information please contact Alicia Reid, Philanthropic Services Officer, areid@cfncr.org.

Says Terri Lee Freeman, president of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region,

The Freddie Mac Foundation has a rich history of supporting and bolstering this local community. The Community Foundation is pleased to help extend this legacy.

Related: Tamara reflected on the Freddie Mac Foundation’s legacy, particularly around their Wednesday’s Child program that connected 2,000 children in foster care to adoptive families. (Daily, 6/4)

Bill Would Give Youths Charged as Adults Right to Motion for Family Court Transfer 
(DCist, 6/4)

Opinion: At a recent policy briefing for the D.C. Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation,  community leaders provided some insight into the educational aspirations of young black men in the city and what can be done to improve their circumstances. (WaPo, 6/3)

Related: Last month, WRAG, ABFE, D.C. Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation, the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region and the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation convened a listening session for the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative Task Force’s Report to the President concerning issues of boys and young men of color.

– A computer program that teaches math to students without using words is improving math test scores in some DCPS schools at as much as three times the rate of those at other schools. (GGE, 6/4)

Prince George’s to discuss how to increase the number of fathers involved in education (WaPo, 6/4)

Just in case you haven’t seen it yet, here are highlights from the transportation plan for the future.  I’ll definitely be filling out the survey here. Will you?


A Voice from Philanthropy: Celebrating the legacy of the Freddie Mac Foundation

By Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

“Honoring our Partners, Celebrating our Legacy” was the theme of Monday night’s final gathering of the Freddie Mac Foundation. This culminating event poignantly captured all that the foundation has meant to the community. Program staff Tia Waller Pryde and Renette Oklewicz highlighted the foundation’s impact in a powerful hour of remembrance, from its beginning when Leland Brendsel, former Freddie Mac CEO, shared his vision of a corporation focused on the American dream of home ownership paired with a foundation focused on developing safe and nurturing families.

What especially resonated with me were Tia and Renette’s remarks about the Freddie Mac Foundation’s signature program, Wednesday’s Child.

For years, many talked about the sadness of children languishing in foster care. The Freddie Mac Foundation did something about it. They made the adoption of children a foundation priority. In 1992, the foundation launched the televised adoption program, Wednesday’s Child, in the Washington region, later expanding it to New York, Atlanta, Dallas, and Chicago. In 2000, they founded National Adoption Day to raise awareness about adoptions in the country. The next year they launched the Congressional Coalition on Adoption. Then they funded the production of a documentary in 2004, The Beat Down Club, that portrayed foster care through the eyes of five youth in the system. The list of initiatives goes on and on: scholarships for child welfare workers, partnerships with sports teams to raise awareness about adoption, the creation of a portrait gallery of children waiting to be adopted that hung in the U.S. Capitol. Their work was coordinated, focused and impactful. Over 2,000 adoptions occurred in the life of the Wednesday’s Child program. But, it was so much more than that. As one young man said when it was pointed out that he had not been adopted even though he appeared on the show twice, “Maybe my appearance led to the adoption of another child. Maybe someone else got a family.”

As someone who started my professional career as a foster care caseworker, I understand the foster care system and the despair of children in foster care. The Freddie Mac Foundation made a difference. Thank you.

Celebrating the successful transition of the Freddie Mac Foundation

By Tamara Copeland
President, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Today, the Freddie Mac Foundation announced its plan to continue giving in our region through 2016. Is this a success? Yes, it sure is!

In September 2008, we didn’t know what the future might hold for the Freddie Mac Foundation. An announcement had been made by the federal government that the Federal Housing Finance Agency (the “conservator”) would control how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operated and how they spent their resources. At risk was $47M that was invested by these two entities in about 400 nonprofit organizations across our region. If those investments were discontinued, people were going to suffer.

The announcement about the conservator was made on a Sunday. By Friday of that same week, the 8 Neighbors group was born. 8 Neighbors was, and is, a partnership of eight regional organizations: the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, Leadership Greater Washington, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the Nonprofit Roundtable, the United Way of the National Capital Area and the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, all committed to improving the lives of people who live in our region.

This group developed a media strategy, a legislative strategy, and a community engagement strategy. Over the next couple of months, our advocacy contributed to an announcement in December 2008 that both Freddie and Fannie would continue their philanthropic investments in the region. We celebrated, though we also knew that impending structural changes to both organizations would permanently impact their giving in the future.

In 2011, the Freddie Mac Foundation announced that like its sister organization, the Fannie Mae Foundation, it would be closing its doors. They slated 2014 as an endpoint. Following the announcement, 8 Neighbors continued behind the scenes outreach to the leaders of the Freddie Mac Foundation to offer perspectives on how the foundation’s plans to spend down would impact our region.

Today, the foundation announced how it will manage its closure – with a plan that carefully winds down giving to soften the impact on its grantees. Beginning next year and lasting through 2016, the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region will administer remaining grants. Would we have wanted the foundation to continue in perpetuity? Of course. But given the current reality, this is a successful outcome.

Our hats are off to the leaders of the Freddie Mac Foundation for all that they have done for the region over their decades-long existence and for their strategy for the near future.

Related information:
Mortgage Giants’ Fall May Hurt Nonprofits (WaPo, Sept. 2008)

Who will step up to fill Freddie’s and Fannie’s pullback on giving? by Tamara Copeland and Chuck Bean (WaPo, Sept. 2011)

New report from 8 Neighbors on the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s giving in the Greater Washington region (Daily, Oct. 2011)

New numbers reveal increased youth poverty across the Greater Washington region; District among worst in the country [News, 11.30.11]

POVERTY | Here are some numbers that should make you angry. New Census data show that the poverty rate for youth (ages 5 to 17) has risen significantly in our region over the course of the recession.

  • In Montgomery County, the rate has almost doubled, from 5.4% in 2007 to 9% in 2010.
  • Manassas rose from 11.6% to 15.8%.
  • And the District rose from an already ridiculous 24.5% to a whopping 30.5%.

That puts the District in the rare and sour company of just 73 jurisdictions in the country with a youth poverty rate above 30%. The Examiner has a chart with numbers from each jurisdiction – and they are all higher than they were four years ago. (Examiner, 11/30)

HIV/AIDS | A new report from the CDC finds that only 28 percent of Americans living with HIV are getting optimal care. (WaPo, 11/30)

In the District, the Washington AIDS Partnership is ahead of the curve. Its Positive Pathways initiative is working to get people living with HIV/AIDS into care and measuring viral load to assess success.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | The developers of the Hubbard Place affordable housing complex in Columbia Heights were expecting a line of people to sign up for 100 spots on the apartments’ waiting list. They were not, however, expecting people to wait overnight in a line that extended for blocks. (WaPo, 11/30) And that was just to get on the waiting list.

EDUCATION | The Freddie Mac Foundation has awarded $250,000 to Prince George’s County schools for the “principal pipeline” initiative which is designed to improve principal recruitment, training, and evaluation. (Patch, 11/29)

JUVENILE JUSTICE | The New York Times has identified five nonprofits that are making big strides with only a little money. One is the District’s Youth Court which allows first-time, non-violent teenage offenders the chance to be reviewed by a group of peers and given alternatives to formally entering the juvenile justice system. (NY Times, 11/30)

Related: Be sure to check the Daily tomorrow for a new funder-commissioned report on major reform success in the District’s juvenile justice system in recent years.

WORKFORCE | Tamara found this hilarious re-imagining of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” routine. Written by Academy Award winning director Barry Levinson, it mocks the twisting of unemployment numbers to trick the public. (HuffPo, 11/28)

TUNES | The D.C. Public Library announced that cardholders can now download and keep more than 2 million songs for free (at a rate of 3 per week) from the library’s website. That works out to about a free album per month!

TRANSIT | The District has installed 9 new speed cameras. Fortunately, WAMU mapped them out so you can avoid them. (WAMU, 11/30)

FACTOID | Today’s Philanthropy Factoid Wednesday mixes history, law, academia, and manufacturing to give you…the origins of corporate philanthropy! (WG Daily, 11/30)

There are lots of problems to face in today’s news. But to end on a positive note, here’s a really neat list of ten futuristic engineering projects (both real and hypothetical) that could help save the environment and boost the global economy. My favorite is an elevator to space.