Tag: Gun control

Fairfax County plans to invest millions to boost affordable housing

– Fairfax County officials are discussing new plans to strengthen investments in affordable housing programs in fiscal year 2020. They also plan to increase spending right now to $15 million to help developers pursue affordable housing projects, and to hire a new “housing in all policies coordinator” who will manage the county’s efforts. (WBJ, 4/29)

Those changes are merely the first stage of a broader effort to meet the recommendations of a task force studying the county’s housing needs. That group wants to see Fairfax add 5,000 new homes affordable to people making 60 percent or less of the area median income — that would apply to anyone making an annual salary of at least $46,350 — over the next 15 years. To meet that goal, the board is directing county staff to draft “innovative land use policies” to expand affordable housing projects, running the gamut from new density bonuses to more flexible parking requirements.

– As the number of families with multiple generations living under one roof is rising, home builders are focusing on extended families. (WAMU, 4/24)

Should cities subsidize housing for a family making $141,000? (WaPo, 4/29)

VIRGINIA | Amazon posts first jobs for HQ2, says project is ‘ahead of schedule’ (WaPo, 4/29)

LGBTQIA+/EDUCATION | The school boards in Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, and Arlington are supporting the rights of transgender students, weighing in on a case involving a teenager’s legal fight over his attempt to use the boys’ restroom at his high school. (WaPo, 4/29)

IMMIGRATION | Trump tightens asylum rules, will make immigrants pay fees to seek humanitarian refuge (WaPo, 4/30)

ENVIRONMENT | Global Inequality Is 25% Higher Due to Climate Instability (Truthout, 4/27)

HATE/JUSTICE | One day after Passover ended, an interfaith group gathered at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society to celebrate at an event that featured a moment of silence — and a continued resolve to counter hatred — after Saturday’s deadly shooting at a California synagogue. (WTOP, 4/29)

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS | Arlington plan for managing mass casualties is first in nation (WTOP, 4/29)

GUN VIOLENCE | Newtown Wasn’t an End for Gun Control. It Was a Beginning. (NYT, 4/29)

PHILANTHROPY | How Philanthropy Can Curb the Rise of Hate: Count It, Condemn it, Confront It (Chronicle, 4/29)

Interesting visual of 25 years of sprawl in Northern Virginia.

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

– Buffy

New partnership brings support for small businesses in wards 7 and 8

As part of a new partnership between American University’s Center for Innovation in the Capital and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity, an initiative called Project 500 will offer support to hundreds of small businesses focused in D.C.’s wards 7 and 8. (DCist, 5/4)

Project 500 […] will provide resources to 500 “disadvantaged small businesses,” helping them to “grow in revenue and size over the next three years,” according to a release. Targeted businesses in wards 7 and 8 will include home-based companies and start-up ventures. Help will come in the form of “hands-on training, capacity building, mentoring, and networking support.”

From data gathered between 2006-2010, the Urban Institute found that a vast majority of D.C.’s economically challenged neighborhoods are located in wards 7 and 8. And not much has changed, despite Mayor Bowser cutting the ribbons of a Thai restaurant in ward 7 and a juice bar in ward 8 last year.

– D.C. is often said to be gaining 1,000 new residents per month without much explanation behind the figures. Greater Greater Washington breaks down the data that is actually driving those numbers. (GGW, 5/4)

– A growing number of funders are stepping up to get involved in the food waste movement, including Agua Fund and New Venture Fund. Inside Philanthropy ponders whether or not the movement will catch on further in the world of philanthropy. (Inside Philanthropy, 5/3)

– How philanthropy can address barriers to social mobility (Urban, 5/5)

GUN VIOLENCE | The Joyce Foundation, Urban Institute, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies have released a new research report on gun violence in America, along with a roadmap to building safer communities. You can review the report’s top findings here.

– Judith Sandalow of The Children’s Law Center marks this year’s Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day by highlighting the progress that the District has made in addressing the needs of its youngest residents. (HuffPo, 5/5)

–  Autism Research’s Overlooked Racial Bias (Atlantic, 5/5)

TRANSIT/REGIONMetro To Announce Major Months-Long Rehab Effort Affecting Most Riders (WAMU, 5/5)

WORKFORCE | Have you ever thought about taking on a midlife internship opportunity? Maybe not, but a growing number of companies and social profit organizations are creating opportunities for adults who have taken career breaks to re-enter the workforce through “returnships.” (NYT, 5/5)

Thirty-three years ago, David Copperfield taught us all a big lesson about liberty.

– Ciara

Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough

by Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Last week, President Obama stood before the American people and again professed great sadness at another mass shooting in America. I’m not sure if he has said these exact words before, but I hadn’t heard them. He said that “thoughts and prayers aren’t enough.”

I had thought an appropriate response would occur following the killing of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In fact, at the time there was legislation pending in Congress that could have helped to prevent similar occurrences in the future. I was  certain of that legislation’s passage when President Obama brought some of the parents of those children to speak to Congress about the need for background checks and the need to limit the sale of some semi-automatic weapons. But it wasn’t enough. The legislation failed.

Mass shootings are becoming so commonplace that we have started to accept them as the norm. The national news no longer reports all of them, only the most serious. Consider this recent article in the Washington Post, quoting The Economist,

“ ‘Those who live in America, or visit it, might do best to regard [mass shootings] the way one regards air pollution in China: an endemic local health hazard which, for deep-rooted cultural, social, economic and political reasons, the country is incapable of addressing,’ The Economist wrote in response to the Charleston massacre. ‘This may, however, be a bit unfair. China seems to be making progress on pollution.’ ” 

But I continue to believe that America is better than that. And, I continue to believe that my sector –philanthropy – can and will play a leadership role. Why? Because we have on another problem that was also once considered intractable – smoking.

In the early 1960s, cigarette use had reached its peak. Smoking had become a societal norm. Even with studies from the U.S. Surgeon General and advocacy by countless groups, the number of users was not declining at an appreciable rate. In 1991 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) courageously decided that it was going to work for the health of the country and support anti-smoking campaigns. Their decades-long, concentrated effort contributed to a major decline in smoking. Leadership mattered.

Well, now we have another public health problem in America. Just two days ago, the Wall Street Journal reported on a study on mass shootings from the University of Alabama, The U.S. represents less than 5% of the 7.3 billion global population but accounted for 31% of global mass shooters during the period from 1966 to 2012, more than any other country.” 

Can philanthropy be the conscience of society? Can philanthropy be the vehicle to promote accessible mental health care for those who need it? Can philanthropy be the broker who finds a path of reasonableness between those who want to ban the sale of guns and those who feel they have the right to own them with no limitations? Is this another public health tragedy to be tackled by Robert Wood Johnson? Perhaps, but RWJF isn’t the only funder with the resources and commitment to address this problem. Other national funders could step up to take on this challenge as could a collective of local funders who decide to collaborate on tackling this problem. Paul Ylvisaker, a former executive at the Ford Foundation, once described philanthropy as “society’s passing gear.” We need that vision and that commitment to overtake this problem. It takes leadership.

Philanthropy led before. I think philanthropy can again.

Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. Who will lead? I’m putting my faith in philanthropy.

More problems with D.C.’s tax lien program

DISTRICT | A Post investigation has found that in hundreds of cases the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue has sent warnings to incorrect and outdated addresses, meaning that many people find out that they are behind on their property taxes only after the liens are sold to investors. (WaPo, 10/11) Seriously?

Another series of increasingly dire shutdown-related news today:

Mayor: Federal shutdown threatens D.C. (WaPo, 10/10)

Nine ways the shutdown will get more painful as it drags on (WaPo, 10/10)

Lack Of Medicaid Funding Cutting Off Primary Care For District Children (WAMU, 10/11)

– The Children’s Law Center’s Judith Sandalow was on WAMU this morning talking about the devastating impact a continued shutdown will have on safety net services and the D.C. residents who depend on them. (WAMU, 10/11)

HOUSING | Maryland and Northern Virginia have seen a big uptick in the number of new foreclosures in the past year, despite foreclosures declining nationally. (WBJ, 10/10)

ENVIRONMENT | Mayor Gray is proposing a ban on the use of styrofoam food containers, which seem to find a way of ending up in the Anacostia River. (WBJ, 10/10) The article also includes this lovely side note: thanks to the – wait for it – government shutdown, the Anacostia Watershed Society can’t access the trap that captures trash in the river. If it keeps raining much longer, the trap will overflow, sending garbage into the surrounding area.

GUNS |The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments passed a measure calling for increased education and training about (rather than stricter control of) guns. (WaPo, 10/11)

NONPROFITS | The Post profiles Abel Nuñez, the new head of the Central American Resource Center, D.C.’s largest and oldest Hispanic nonprofit organization. (WaPo, 10/11)

DATA | Metro has released two interesting maps that show ridership at each Metro station in terms of race and income. (CP, 10/10)

TRANSIT | Metro Considering Fare Hikes Next Year (WAMU, 10/10)

So, this exists.

The Daily will be back on Tuesday. Have a great long weekend!

– Rebekah