Tag: Greater Washington region

Prince George’s County Head Start Loses Millions in Grant Funding


The Department of Health and Human Services released a scathing report detailing Head Start deficiencies in the Prince George’s County school system, which resulted in the loss of a $6.3 million grant. The report cites abuse, poor teacher training, and a failure to correct past problems.The Head Start program is an early childhood program largely funded with federal dollars. (WaPo, 8/17)

Prince George’s school leaders are trying to determine how to keep the county’s Head Start program funded. The federal Administration for Children and Families released a statement Wednesday saying that the federal government “is committed to continuing Head Start services in Prince George’s County and to minimize any disruption to children and families.”

Related: After Funding Cut, What’s Next for Prince George’s Co. Head Start? (WTOP, 8/17)

– The Nation’s Teacher Force Lacks Diversity, and it Might Not Get Much Better. Minority students across the country would benefit from having more minority teachers studies show, but recruitment is a critical challenge for the future. (WaPo, 8/18)

– District Residents Have The Most Student Debt In The US. (WAMU, 8/15)

REGIONAL | A human-trafficking ring that operated for years and spanned from Northern Virginia to Baltimore has been shut down. (WaPo, 8/15)

FOOD/ART | How To Cultivate Plants Using Just Water, Nutrients And A Steady Diet Of DC Punk (WAMU, 8/12)

NONPROFITS | Communicating effectively about the real costs of running a nonprofit is imperative in order to engage and sustain donors and investors.  This post highlights how nonprofits can use new imagery to help educate about the sector. (NP Quarterly, 8/16)

 Women are Increasingly Powerful Philanthropists. But How Can They be Most Effective?  (Huff Po, 8/12) 

-Foundations and endowments are limiting the use of hedge fund investments in their portfolios according to a survey of nonprofit investors. (Bloomberg, 8/15)

At the end of one of the hottest weeks of the year, this isn’t looking so bad : ) … 2017 Farmers’ Almanac predicts a particularly cold, wet winter  for D.C., Maryland and Virginia – Buffy


Facing eviction in a gentrifying neighborhood

– At a massive apartment complex that is up for redevelopment in a changing DC neighborhood, low-income tenants are facing eviction proceedings over such infractions as owing $25 in outstanding rent and walking dogs without leashes. In perhaps the most egregious case, the property owner moved to evict a woman whose teenage son used a gun to commit suicide in her apartment (WaPo, 8/9):

District housing lawyers…see eviction lawsuits over small lease violations as one in an arsenal of quiet but aggressive pressure tactics landlords use to clear buildings before redevelopment; another is allowing units to deteriorate so people want to move out on their own.

Lawsuits alleging extremely small debts in particular illuminate what they call a little-known but reoccurring phenomenon in gentrifying Washington. […]

Eviction lawsuits at Brookland Manor rarely led to actual evictions…But in a digital age when court information is easy to access and cheap to acquire, lawsuits over small money can cause big problems, even when tenants aren’t forcibly removed. This is especially true in quickly developing areas such as the District, where the competition for affordable housing has already pushed 1,500 families into homelessness.

Related: The experiences related in this article reflect how many systems and institutions in American society perpetuate racial inequities, which john powell explained in his talk on structural racism earlier this year as part of WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table series.

DC’s affordable housing fund isn’t doing enough for low-income residents, an audit says (GGW, 8/9)

HOMELESSNESS | Amanda Andere of Funders Together to End Homelessness calls for more public-private partnerships to advance solutions to homelessness across the country. (HuffPo, 8/9)

JUSTICE/RACE | The Justice Department has released a scathing report on racial discrimination and the use of excessive force within the Baltimore police department. (WaPo, 8/9)

FOOD | A local film executive produced by Prince Charitable Trusts and the Center for Environmental Filmmaking called “The Culture of Collards” is up for an award for best food video from Saveur Blog. Click here to watch the film and, if you like it, vote for it to win.

Related: The film stars someone who should be familiar to the WRAG community: Michael Twitty, who spoke as part of WRAG’s 2014 Brightest Minds series about culinary justice and building a more inclusive food movement. (Daily, April 2014)

PHILANTHROPY | Giving Circles’ Unique Role in Philanthropy to Marginalized Communities (NPQ, 8/9)

REGION | A study finds what we probably all already knew – this region is not the place to live if you’re looking for the most bang for your 100 bucks. (DCist, 8/9)

Apparently, the Olympics used to be much nerdier.

– Rebekah

Making solar power available to low-income DC residents

ENVIRONMENT/EQUITY | D.C., which is committed to getting half of its energy from renewable sources by 2032, has set aside almost a third of its funding for solar initiatives to specifically target low-income residents. Besides not having the considerable resources needed to access solar power, lower-income households often face energy bills that are disproportionately high (Atlantic, 7/26):

While the city’s highest-profile efforts have focused on the availability of housing, it is now devoting some attention to helping poorer households save money on their energy bills. Utility bills for low earners can eat up as much as 10 percent of household income, according to a report from Groundswell, a nonprofit focused on energy issues. For the highest 20 percent of earners, utilities make up less than 2 percent of expenditures. But it’s not just a matter of percentages: Poorer families actually tend to have higher utilities bills, usually because their homes are less energy-efficient. On average, a monthly utility bill cost an American household around $115 in 2013, by Groundswell’s calculations, but poorer families were significantly more likely to have bills that topped $200 every month.

EDUCATION | The new head of Montgomery County Public Schools, Jack Smith, sees the racial achievement gap as being the most critical challenge facing the county’s school system. (WaPo, 7/26)

HEALTH | The DC Department of Health launched a pilot program earlier this year to make a life-saving drug that reverses the effects of opioid overdoses called Narcan available to drug users, but so far demand for the drug has far outstripped supply. (CP, 7/21)

EARLY ED/WORKFORCE/EQUITY | A new report finds that, thanks to extremely low pay, nearly half of the country’s childcare workers receive some form of government assistance. (WaPo, 7/11)

HOMELESSNESS | Homeless in relentless heat (WaPo, 7/26)

NONPROFITS | Opinion: New Overtime Rules Are Good for Nonprofits — and Good for America (Chronicle, 7/26)

GIVING | Giving Up Only Slightly in First Half of 2016, Report Says (Chronicle, 7/26)

Oh how lovely.


P.S. The (Almost) Daily will be back on Friday.

Developing a cultural plan for DC

ARTS | Last week, the DC Office of Planning kicked off a cultural planning process for the city. The cultural plan is intended to increase the role of the arts in the local economy, boost arts appreciation, and make the city more attractive to artists and creative industries (WAMU, 7/26):

Research by Americans for the Arts shows that when governments invest in the arts, they get sizable returns in tax revenue and jobs — and in 2010, nonprofit arts groups and their audiences contributed more than $80 million to D.C.’s economy. But the people who make art often say they can’t afford D.C., which has one of the priciest housing markets in the country. That’s why artist Holly Bass says the D.C. Cultural Plan should prioritize affordability.

“More focus needs to be on these sort of deeper policy issues of affordable housing,” Bass says, “and with that, also, affordable studio space.”

But beyond just deciding where the money goes, creators of the cultural plan want to foster appreciation for the arts in all eight wards of the city. That could mean putting more arts in public schools, supporting arts in underserved neighborhoods and formalizing a process for neighborhoods to plan cultural activities. All of this could lead to economic returns.

The cultural plan process is being led by the DC Office of Planning, in collaboration with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment. (And on a semi-related note, Holly Bass will be familiar to anyone who attended WRAG’s annual meeting last year, where she delivered a powerful performance on racial equity.)

JOBS/REGION | Thanks to growth in northern Virginia and suburban Maryland, the region added 81,100 jobs in the year ending in June. However, most of these jobs were in lower-wage industries. (WaPo, 7/22)

HOUSING | Zoning Change Could Give District 2,600 More Affordable Housing Units (CP, 7/26)

–  The CEO of Kaiser Permanente recently published an essay on racism in America and his experience as a black man outside of the C-suite. (Fortune, 7/18)

– Opinion: Charities, Stop Stereotyping People of Color as Needy (Chronicle, 7/1)

EDUCATION | What it’s like to be a D.C. high school student interning at a big federal agency (WaPo, 7/25)

Is the internet too 21st century for you? Take any website back to 1995 with this nifty GeoCities-izer! You can even GeoCities-ize the Daily.

– Rebekah

How will philanthropy respond to the Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy?

By Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers


It was just last January that WRAG said “count us in” to Bob Buchanan and Stephen Fuller as the 2030 Group joined with the Center for Regional Analysis to develop a roadmap for the region’s future economy. Today, that roadmap was released.

It identifies seven industrial clusters in which Fuller and his team believe our region has a competitive advantage:

  • Advocacy
  • Information and communications technology
  • Science and security technology
  • Biological and health technology
  • Business and financial services
  • Media and information
  • Business and leisure travel

It is on these industries that he recommends we focus our economic development efforts. But before we do that, the regional leaders who Buchanan and Fuller convened over the last year cautioned that we must address three regional deficits: 1) transportation and housing affordability; 2) the lack of a shared regional brand; and 3) insufficient collaboration between the academic and business communities to foster an entrepreneurial culture.

Philanthropy is already making progress on housing affordability. Just last week, WRAG announced a major philanthropy-led initiative, Our Region, Your Investment, to address the housing affordability challenges in our region. And following the presentation by Jennifer Bradley, co-author of The Metropolitan Revolution, at WRAG’s 2015 annual meeting, philanthropists in the region are ready to learn more about what their colleagues did in Northeast Ohio when that region suffered a devastating loss of manufacturing jobs.

Locally, philanthropic leaders have been primed for this conversation for some time. They recognize that they must continue their efforts on workforce development, but it seems that philanthropic leaders are now ready to go deeper into economic development than ever before. Why? Because they know that the stakes are very high when you consider what contributes to the vitality of our region.

Perhaps Stephen Fuller’s presentation at WRAG’s 2012 annual meeting was a turning point. He cautioned his audience of philanthropists that declining federal procurement spending in our region needed to be acknowledged and addressed. Then in 2013, that admonition became very clear as local social profit organizations[i] and their clients struggled with the impact of sequestration and the 16-day shutdown of the federal government. People whose incomes were tied to the federal government were without wages, and as more people live paycheck-to-paycheck, the impact of that revenue loss was immediate. Social profit organizations were doubly affected. The demand for their services was increasing at the same time that they were laying off their own staff because they, too, were reliant on the federal government through federal grants. This was no longer theoretical. This was real.

Now, we have a plan and the work of philanthropists in Northeast Ohio may be a model. To Fuller and Buchanan, I say maybe the third deficit should note “insufficient collaboration between the academic, philanthropic, and business communities to foster an entrepreneurial culture.” The philanthropic community is ready to roll up its sleeves and be an engaged partner in broadly shifting the economic reality of our region. So, once again I say, “Count us in.”

[i] Just a reminder that I try to use the term “social profit organization” instead of “nonprofit” to celebrate the fact that these organizations provide value to society, turning this into a positive term.

Impact Investing Campaign “Our Region, Your Investment” Launches to Address Local Housing Crisis

We are excited to announce the launch of Our Region, Your Investment  – an initiative to address the Greater Washington region’s affordable housing crisis.

Over the past years, WRAG has worked alongside its membership, local stakeholders, and regional leaders to identify and implement new ways to address the affordable housing need in our region. Now we have teamed up with Enterprise Community Loan Fund to develop Our Region, Your Investment as an opportunity for local stakeholders to be a part of the solution to the affordable housing crisis through impact investing.

More than 150,000 families in the Greater Washington region are currently in need of affordable homes, a number that is expected to double in less than 10 years. When people spend too much on housing, they are less likely to be able to cover basic needs. That instability can lead to negative health outcomes for residents, poor educational outcomes for their children, and an increased risk of homelessness.

Additional capital resources are required to create and preserve the affordable homes needed in the region over the next decade. Learn about how you can be a part of the solution at www.impactnote.com/ourregion.

Read the press release from WRAG and Enterprise Community Loan Fund, and check out the brochure to learn more about the campaign.

For more information on the affordable housing need in the Greater Washington region, read Call The Question: Will the Greater Washington Region Collaborate and Invest to Solve Its Affordable Housing Shortage?

Disclosure: The Enterprise Community Impact Note is offered by Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation. It is guaranteed by Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation. The Enterprise Community Impact Note is not FDIC or SIPC insured and is only available in states where authorized. This brochure is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation of an offer to buy these securities. The offering is made only by the prospectus, which can only be delivered by eligible employees of Enterprise Community Loan Fund, and should be read before investing. WRAG is not affiliated with Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Inc. or Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. WRAG is not offering to sell nor soliciting an offer to buy these securities. WRAG is not providing advice, receiving compensation, or making any suitability determinations in respect to you.

The impact of Senate inaction on D.C. kids and families

DISTRICT | Thanks to politics on Capitol Hill, the D.C. Superior Court is short a number of judges as they wait Senate confirmation. This has a negative impact on D.C. residents as they often have to wait months – or longer – for hearings at the court (WAMU, 12/4):

Senate inaction can have real consequences on day-to-day justice in the District — especially on some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.


One custody case took almost two full years from the time the mother filed for custody until there was a resolution.

“During that time, mom became homeless, and the family had to deal with all of the problems that come with being homeless. And on top of that, the children never knew for 23 months – for almost 2 years – who are they going to live with, mom or dad?”

– Recognizing that socioeconomic diversity can improve student performance, some D.C. charter schools are attempting to diversify their student bodies. Currently, charter schools in the city are slightly less diverse than traditional public schools. (WaPo, 12/4)

– One way to boost achievement among poor kids? Make sure they have classmates who aren’t poor. (WaPo, 12/8)

HEALTH | Hundreds of Maryland children still poisoned by lead paint each year (WaPo, 12/8)

REGION | Washington City Paper interviews new Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld. (WCP, 12/7)

Who would have thought that parking was so much more technologically advanced 60 years ago?


A widening education gap in the U.S. based on class

Though racial disparities in educational opportunity persist, researchers are taking a closer look at how economic class has increasingly become the major determinant in a child’s educational attainment, and thus, their chances for economic mobility. (NYT, 9/22)

On the day they start kindergarten, children from families of low socioeconomic status are already more than a year behind the children of college graduates in their grasp of both reading and math.

And despite the efforts deployed by the American public education system, nine years later the achievement gap, on average, will have widened by somewhere from one-half to two-thirds.

– A new report takes a look at obesity trends across the nation. In the Greater Washington region, D.C. has one of the lowest obesity rates (despite a steady increase over the years) at 21.7 percent; Virginia’s is 28 percent; and Maryland’s is 29 percent. (WAMU, 9/21)

Rising Health Deductibles Take Bigger Bite Out of Family Budgets (NPR, 9/22)

EDUCATION | As Fairfax County schools continues to grapple over an anticipated budget shortfall to the tune of $50 million to $100 million, officials seek community input for a proposed budget. (WaPo, 9/23)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | The Atlantic offers a brief history on public housing in America and looks at some lessons big cities can take from small cities on how to provide successful public housing programs. (Atlantic, 9/22)

Who doesn’t love a good, completely unnecessary history lesson? Read this background of what many have come to know as the “sad desk lunch” – a practice that has endured throughout American history.

– Ciara

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments releases new annual report on homelessness in the region

Though there were a number of reports over the last few months that pointed toward disappointing numbers, newly-released results from the annual point-in-time homelessness count found that the Greater Washington region saw a 2.7 percent decrease in homelessness from last year. Despite the slight drop, there is still much room for improvement. (WaPo, 5/13)

The tally, released Wednesday, confirmed a continued crisis of homelessness in the Washington region evident to almost anyone who lives, works or visits the city’s downtown core during winter, when homeless men and women amass in entrances to Metro stops and many other spots where they can stay warm. It also may have understated the challenge still faced by D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), who has vowed to end chronic homelessness in the city.

Much of the overall dip resulted from a 300-person drop in homeless parents and children in D.C. shelters on the night of the count.

But unlike last year, when the number of homeless families peaked near the date of the 2014 federal count, this year several hundred entered shelter or were placed in overflow motel rooms in the District throughout February, March and even early April.


Beyond the District, numbers of homeless families also surged this winter in the city of Alexandria and in Fairfax, Frederick and Montgomery counties. Given that trend, few on Wednesday celebrated the slight decrease in the total from last year’s count.

The data comes from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments new annual report, Homelessness in Metropolitan Washington.

–  D.C. Department of Human Services Director Laura Zeilinger spoke on the District’s own six percent decrease in homeless residents, stating that a celebration of the results would be too premature, “because there are still far too many people [who are homeless.] (City Paper, 5/13) 

Southeast D.C. facility for homeless veterans gets a boost (WaPo, 5/13)

WRAG/PHILANTHROPY | Interested in following the conversation from WRAG’s first-ever Loudoun County Philanthropy Conference? Check out the hashtag #FundLoudoun on Twitter to see what panelists and participants are saying.

NONPROFITS | Next month, the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, in partnership with the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, will hold a new, four-part communications series/training for leaders of nonprofits based in or serving residents of wards 7 or 8. The multi-day training seeks to help organizations strengthen their voices and raise awareness about issues affecting residents east of the river. For more information on how to register, click here.

Opinion: A number of emerging new studies are examining the long-term effects of government programs like the earned-income tax credit, Medicaid, SNAP, and more, on families. Though data can only go back so far, there is evidence that children whose families received benefits have better outcomes as they enter their 20s and 30s than those whose families were denied benefits. (NYT, 5/11)

Obama Urges Liberals and Conservatives to Unite on Poverty (NYT, 5/12)

How well can you read the emotions of others? Sometimes it’s all in the eyes! Take this quiz to see if you can tell what these people are thinking.

– Ciara

Announcing the Loudoun County Philanthropy Conference

What do you think of when you think about Loudoun County? If you say horses, wineries, and Dulles Airport, perhaps you haven’t been paying attention to all the exciting changes happening in this often overlooked area of our region.

Loudoun County is the fastest-growing jurisdiction in the Greater Washington region. According to the Center for Regional Analysis, the population has more than doubled in the last 15 years! And, thanks to new job centers, mixed-use developments, and the influx of younger people into the county, Loudoun is also leading the region in economic growth. With the county’s shifting demographics, new economic growth, and the opening of the Silver Line, this is an ideal time to learn about changing needs and explore opportunities for philanthropic investment.

That’s why, this spring, WRAG is focusing on Loudoun County by hosting our first-ever Loudoun County Philanthropy Conference on May 14. The goal of this gathering is to introduce the region’s philanthropic community to the specific needs in Loudoun, provide a venue for collectively exploring strategies for addressing those needs, and, ultimately, to encourage increased and more effective philanthropic investments in the county.

Michael Cassidy, President and CEO of the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, will kick things off with an overview of the needs and opportunities in Loudoun. Following Michael’s presentation, we’ll hear from a panel of experts representing the philanthropic, nonprofit, and government sectors on what their seeing “on the ground” in the county. Then, over lunch, funders interested in supporting Loudoun will have the opportunity to network with their philanthropic colleagues, discuss issues of shared interest, and explore individual and collaborative funding strategies for addressing county needs.

The event is open to WRAG members, non-members, nonprofits, government officials, community leaders, and anyone else interested in learning about the needs of the county. For more information, click here.

A BIG thanks to our already confirmed conference sponsors:

logo - claude moore_0

logo - claude moore_0


Middleburg Community Center:

Middleburg Community Center