Tag: Hill-Snowdon Foundation

A call to fund Black-led social change

ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities and the Hill-Snowdon Foundation have partnered to release The Case for Funding Black-Led Social Change, a call to action to increase support to Black-led social change organizations. The case found that less than 2 percent of funding by the nation’s largest foundations is specifically targeted to the black community. (ABFE, 2/9)

It is important for philanthropy to invest in strengthening the infrastructure for Black-led social change to reverse its pattern of underinvestment, so that the Black community can thrive and the broader progressive community can achieve its most ambitious goals.

We define Black-led social change organizations as those with predominantly Black boards, executive leadership, staff leadership and constituents. The primary purpose of these groups is to build political, economic and social power in order to secure freedom and equity for the Black community.

– Yanique Redwood, Consumer Health Foundation‘s President and CEO (and vice chair of WRAG’s board), advises foundations and nonprofits that are considering racial equity work on what has helped CHF and invites other experienced persons to share their knowledge. (CHF Blog, 2/9)

Related: For those looking for other resources to figure out where to start, check out WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table materials here.

WORKFORCE | As the time draws closer for DC’s mayor Muriel Bowser to sign the recently passed paid family leave bill, the DC Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders urge her to veto the bill. (WBJ, 2/10)

HEALTH | The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will begin its first session today to potentially stop DC’s “Death with Dignity” bill from becoming law. (WAMU, 2/13)

FOOD | Opinion: Cheap Eats, Cheap Labor: The Hidden Human Costs Of Those Lists (NPR, 2/12)

– A five part series explores the struggle for affordable and convenient childcare in our region (WTOP, 2/13)

– A Virginia bill requiring fingerprint background checks for all licensed childcare providers has opponents citing government overreach. (Richmond Times, 2/12)

TRANSGENDER RIGHTS | Justice Department signals it may pull support for trans student protections (MetroWeekly, 2/11)

EVENT | Public Welfare Foundation is hosting a panel, “Forging a Path Forward in a Post-Election Nation: A Conversation with Leading Progressive Activists,” on Monday, February 27 from 12-2pm. Register here

DC’s black Broadway…..

– Kendra

The role of philanthropy in addressing racism | Dr. Gail Christopher’s Putting Racism on the Table talk now available

PUTTING RACISM ON THE TABLE/WRAG | The sixth and final video in the Putting Racism on the Table learning series is now live. At the last session, Dr. Gail Christopher, Senior Advisor and Vice President for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, discussed the role of philanthropy in addressing racism and racial inequity in America.

Upon the completion of the learning portion of Putting Racism on the Table, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland said:

“Gail Christopher’s talk closed out a powerful learning journey for our region’s philanthropic community. We hope that these videos are fostering a deeper understanding among the wider community about structural and institutional racism, white privilege, implicit bias and how these forces have shaped our society. Events over the past two years, and especially this past week, drive home the urgency of this understanding – and also the urgency of action. WRAG looks forward to continuing Putting Racism on the Table as it transitions into a training series for our members, and to positioning the philanthropic community to potentially take substantive action on racism.”

After you’ve had a chance to view the video, we encourage you to share your thoughts via Twitter with the hashtag #PuttingRacismOnTheTable, or by commenting on WRAG’s Facebook page. We also suggest checking out the viewing guide and discussion guide to be used with the video.

EQUITY | Yesterday Fairfax County passed a resolution that will require the county to take racial and social equity into account in decision-making. (WTOP, 7/12) You can read the full resolution, “One Fairfax,” here.

RACISM/RACIAL JUSTICE| In a special guest post on the Consumer Health Foundation blog, Nat Williams, executive director of the Hill-Snowdon Foundation, reflects on last week’s killings and issues a powerful call to action for racial justice. (CHF, 7/11)

WORKFORCE | The Near Impossibility of Moving Up After Welfare (City Lab, 7/12)

– At racially and economically diverse schools, parents with means often have more influence with school officials, marginalizing the needs of lower income students and families. (Atlantic, 7/13)

D.C. school lottery may cause parental anxiety, but it’s a research gold mine (WaPo, 7/11)

HEALTH | A new study found that nicotine use is on the rise among teenagers, thanks to e-cigarettes. (NY Times, 7/11)

PHILANTHROPY | With Millions at Stake, Some Foundations Slash Consulting Budgets (Chronicle, 7/12)

COMMUNITY | We are pleased to share that Ciara Myers, former WRAG program associate and editor of the Daily, has joined the staff of the Meyer Foundation as their new communications manager. Congrats, Ciara!

When the police have to issue public warnings about safety when playing a game on your phone, you know things have gone too far.

The Daily will be back on Friday!

– Rebekah

Rising poverty rates in Virginia schools bring challenges

Over the past several years, some Northern Virginia schools have seen a stark increase in the number of students who live in poverty. Particularly in Fairfax County, school administrators continue to try to meet the growing needs of students amid budget constraints. (WAMU, 3/1)

In the last decade, school administrators across Northern Virginia noticed a marked increased in the number of students who live in poverty. Nowhere was the trend more pitched than Manassas, where the percentage of students living in poverty increased from 24 to nearly 58 percent in the last 10 years.

RELATED: Yesterday, we shared some of the important points made by Dr. Matthew Biel, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Georgetown University Medical Center, at the first session of WRAG’s 2016 Public Education Speaker Series where he spoke on the impact of toxic stress on children’s development stemming from a number of issues like housing instability and food insecurity. (Daily 2/29)

– The Hill-Snowdon Foundation has launched a new website for their Making Black Lives Matter Initiative (MBLM). The site will provide background on the MBLM Initiative, focused on “supporting black-led organizing in order to help revitalize and strengthen the institutional and political power of the black community.” The website also introduces the Black Social Change Funders Network  a network to help foundations and donors accelerate their interest in supporting black-led social change – in partnership with the Association of Black Foundation Executives.

Venture Philanthropy Partners, in association with Prince George’s County administration, public schools, local business leaders, philanthropy, and social profit organizations, recently launched the Ready for Work initiative, aimed at providing students with real work experiences prior to graduation from high school. (VPP, 2/2016)

– The Executives’ Alliance for Boys & Men of Color have announced a ‘Ban the Box Philanthropy Challenge,’ calling for U.S. philanthropic institutions to adopt fair chance hiring policies. Participating and supporting organizations include: Butler Family Fund, Consumer Health Foundation, Council on FoundationsOpen Society Foundations, and Public Welfare Foundation.

– Funders for LGBTQ Issues has released their 2014 Tracking Report, analyzing 4,552 grants from 313 foundations funding LGBTQ issues within that calendar year. You can view the comprehensive assessment and its accompanying infographic here. (Funders for LGBTQ Issues, 2/25)

IMMIGRATION/YOUTH/REGION | Remaking High School for Immigrant Kids (City Lab, 2/29)

CSR | In his latest blog post, Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and head faculty member for the Institute for CSR, examines the challenges facing many CSR professionals today in keeping millennial leaders engaged. (American Express, 2/29)

ARTS | The Theatre Communications Group is taking nominations for D.C. area early-career leaders of color in social-profit theater to participate in their Rising Leaders of Color program, designed to “change the face of the theatre field by nurturing and supporting an inter-generational network of leaders of color at various stages in their careers.”

Check out this trailer for what is probably the only right way to do a film about the life of Vincent Van Gogh. 

– Ciara

A look back at WRAG in 2015

WRAG | 2015 proved to be an exciting year for WRAG and our members. Check out our 2015 Year Book to see how we continued to strive to inspire, influence, and innovate through our work.

ARTS | Arts funders convened at WRAG last month to discuss strategies for advancing equity and diversity in the arts. Here are a few of the ideas that rose to the top. (Daily, 1/11)

Exponent Philanthropy has released their 2016 Foundation Operations and Management Report, detailing how foundations work to create change and the seven strategies their members use to bring about outsized impact. (Philanthrofiles, 1/11)

–  Hill-Snowdon Foundation executive director Nat Chioke Williams shares his thoughts on the power of young leaders (like those recently recognized in The Chronicle of Philanthropy‘s 40 under 40 list) and how he thinks philanthropy needs to change in order to achieve the future that these leasers have envisioned. (NCRP, 1/5)

CSR | Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and head faculty member for the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility, shares his  2016 predictions for CSR trends. (American Express, 1/4)

SOCIAL PROFITS | A recent survey of social profit communications staff finds that while many are generally satisfied with their jobs, nearly half of those surveyed plan to leave their positions within two years due to on-the-job frustrations that cause them to feel restless. (Chronicle, 1/8) – Subscription required

HOUSING | The Growing Trend of Affordable Housing Impact Statements (City Lab, 1/8)

The man who sent the first email thinks we should all send less emails.

– Ciara

Philanthropy and its support of black-led social change efforts

Opinion: In this op-ed, Nat Chioke Williams, executive director of the Hill-Snowdon Foundation, discusses the urgent need for philanthropy to ramp up efforts to propel the Black Lives Matter movement and other black-led grassroots efforts like it, and ways foundations like Hill-Snowdon are working to answer the call. (Chronicle, 8/27).

[…] this movement is at risk if it doesn’t get the money it needs to build institutions that can capitalize on this social power. For far too many decades, black-led social-change organizations have received too little in donations to grow into the strong influencers on the American way life that they must be.

WRAG president Tamara Copeland had this to say of Mr. Williams’ op-ed and announcement:

“The Hill-Snowdon Foundation sets an important example for the philanthropic community with this announcement. Supporting black-led social change organizations sends a powerful message that needs to be heard at no time like the present. Leadership matters.”

HEALTH | Opinion: Brian Castrucci, chief program and strategy officer at the de Beaumont Foundation, writes about how real-time data on communities could work to dramatically change the way local health departments tackle neighborhood challenges. (HuffPo, 8/28)

HOMELESSNESS/DISTRICT | The District has been implementing expanded services for homeless individuals through year-round shelter placement in motels (as opposed to the usual practice of motel placement when temperatures fall below freezing) in an effort to better control the stream of homeless families seeking shelter in the winter months. (WaPo, 8/31)

HOUSING/POVERTY | When it comes to housing, terms like ‘affordable housing’ and ‘low-income housing’ are not even close to being synonymous. In a three-part series on housing in D.C., two authors take a look at why semantics are so important when we talk about those in need of secure housing.  (HuffPo, 8/25)

WORKFORCE/IMMIGRATION/VIRGINIA | In Virginia, labor advocates and officials are hoping to crack down on businesses that improperly classify immigrants as independent contract workers in an attempt to cut corners and save money. A growing number of industries in the state are engaging in the unfair practice, making enforcement difficult. (WaPo, 8/30)

– Montgomery County Public Schools are seeing record-high enrollment this year – a trend that began in 2007, and is expected to continue for years to come. Officials are calling for additional funding and higher taxes to meet growing needs. (WTOP, 9/1)

–  Report: Chronic school absenteeism is contributing to academic gaps (WaPo, 8/31)

ARTS | D.C.’s Historic Murals Are Disappearing (WCP, 8/31)

Here’s some little-known philanthropy history for the day.

– Ciara

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

Announcing WRAG’s new Foundation Finance Affinity Group

By Katy Moore
Director of Corporate Strategy
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Each year, WRAG offers more than 50 opportunities for members to learn about community issues, from experts, and from each other. These opportunities build community among grantmakers and provide a robust arena for idea exchange, collective problem-solving, and the development of cross-sector solutions.

In 2015, WRAG will launch a new area of programming focused on the specific needs and professional development of foundation finance staff.

“Having a learning community dedicated specifically for foundation finance officers will give us a place to discuss the issues we’re all grappling with and, more importantly, to brainstorm  solutions.”

Janice Thomas, chief financial officer, Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

The fiduciary oversight requirements for private foundations are different from those of traditional 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Foundation finance officers must not only understand traditional accounting rules, they must also be familiar with required legal and tax filings (such as the 990-PF), have a working knowledge of endowment management (including staying up-to-date with trends such as mission- and program-related investing), and understand the often complicated calculation of the required 5 percent annual payout.

“Having a network of peers to call on when my Board asks ‘how do other foundations handle this’ will be hugely helpful. I also think this group will foster very valuable mentoring relationships between veteran and new foundation finance officers. When I started in my position 10 years ago, I had a solid background in nonprofit finance but having a mentor to help me understand the many nuances and financial rules specific to foundations was essential.”

Christine Harris, director of finance and administration, Hill-Snowdon Foundation

WRAG, in partnership with a group of our member CFOs (including Janice and Christine), has developed a strong series of programming to kick off our first year of learning, including:

 March 30 – Getting Prepared for Your Annual Financial Audit with guest speakers Tom Raffa and Frank Smith from Raffa, PC

 June 18 – Navigating Private Foundation Excise Tax Rules with guest speaker Andrew Schulz, general counsel for Arabella Advisors

 October 8 – Best Practices for Calculating the 5% Payout with guest speaker Chris Peterman of O’Conner Davies

 If you are a foundation finance staff member who would like to join this new group, please contact Katy Moore at moore@washingtongrantmakers.org.

An update on Greater Washington’s economy

In remarks delivered today, George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis economist, Stephen Fuller, warned that the Greater Washington region’s economy could be at risk if a lack of cooperation and government-related business diversification continues. The region’s addition of low-paying jobs is driving median household incomes downward (WBJ, 1/15):

The region is adding more low-paying jobs than high-paying jobs – an alarm Fuller has sounded several times recently. Here’s the math, taken from his presentation: From August 2008 through February 2010 the region lost 177,700 jobs worth $28.4 billion to the regional economy. From August 2008 through November the region gained 242,400 jobs worth $27.4 billion. That leaves a gap of more than $983 million.

The region is adding more leisure and hospitality jobs than professional and business services positions. The result? Average wages have declined the last three years in a row. Median household income has dropped by nearly $2,300 since 2009 in 2013 dollars.

– Much like nearby jurisdictions before them, local legislators in Fairfax County are advocating for a higher minimum wage to combat income inequality. With such varying unemployment rates throughout the state, officials contemplate whether it makes more sense to allow localities to opt in to a higher minimum wage through public referendum. (Fairfax Times, 1/12)

– Should Cities Have a Different Minimum Wage Than Their State? (Atlantic, 1/15)

DISTRICT | The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy has released their 2015 report, Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax System in All 50 States, including findings for D.C. The report shows that progress has been made toward making the D.C. system one in which taxes for low-income residents are close to being the lowest in the nation (only behind Delaware) and includes recommendations for ensuring the District gets there. (DCFPI, 1/14)

MARYLAND | Officials in Prince George’s County say that thanks to stronger coordination and partnerships, crime has dropped considerably in the area over the past four years. Homicides have dropped by 40 percent, while violent crime has fallen by 36 percent. (WaPo, 1/13)

BUDGETTransportation, Education Could Be Big Sticking Points for Hogan’s Budget (WAMU, 1/15)

– The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has begun seeking nominations for this year’s 2015 Impact Awards. Four foundations will be honored in four categories: Large Private Foundation, Small/Mid-size Foundation, Corporate Foundation and Grantmaking Public Charity. Last year, the Hill-Snowdon Foundation was honored as a Mid-sized Private Foundation.

– Opinion: As Donors, We Need to End Our Stinginess and Dysfunctional Behavior – Subscription required (Chronicle, 1/14)

HEALTH | Though medical care remains a severe cost burden for many American families, a recent survey has found that there has been a significant decline in the number of people who experience financial distress over medical bills and who are avoiding visits to the doctor due to financial concerns. (NYT, 1/15)

What do you think of this morning’s Academy Award Nominations? Bleh!


New plan in Virginia for skilled jobs, speedier employment for veterans

Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe, has announced a job training plan that will better prepare workers for more skilled jobs and allow for the faster employment of military veterans. The plan is known as the “New Virginia Economy Workforce Initiative.” (WaPo, 8/13)

McAuliffe (D), who likes to call himself the state’s “chief jobs creation officer,” set a goal of graduating 50,000 Virginians from training programs in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and health fields — known as STEM-H — by the time he leaves office at the end of 2017.


Turning to the state’s military population, McAuliffe promised to double the number of veterans hired through the state’s Virginia Values Veterans program, and said he will ask 10,000 businesses to sign pledges to hire veterans.

HEALTH/FOOD │ Johns Hopkins University’s Center for a Livable Future and the Union of Concerned Scientists has released a fact sheet titled “Hospitals and Healthy Food: How Health Care Institutions Can Improve Community Food Environments,” which focuses on a new Farm Bill program and how it could help hospitals and community groups partner up in the prevention of chronic illness. (USCUSA, 8/5)

CSR │ Michael N. Harreld, Regional President of PNC Bank, discusses PNC’s strong commitment to sustainable business practices in this exclusive guest blog post. (Daily, 8/14)

– The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) celebrates the Hill-Snowdon Foundation – recipient of the 2014 NCRP Impact Award for Small/Midsize Foundation – and reflects on why they were so deserving of the honor. (NCRP, 8/11)

– Perhaps you’ve logged into Facebook lately only to find videos of people dumping buckets of ice water on themselves in what is known as the “Ice Bucket Challenge?” The challenge is actually a viral stunt to raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Senior executives at Booz Allen Hamilton recently joined in – while wearing their business suits! (WBJ, 8/13)

PHILANTHROPY │ Exponent Philanthropy takes a look at what it means to “fund with intentionality” in this blog post. (Exponent Philanthropy, 8/14)

SIBs │ First Social Impact Bond Fails to Meet Halfway Mark Performance Target (NPQ, 8/13)

– Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority recently announced they were open to development opportunities near the Capital Heights, College Park and Huntington stations. Surprisingly, just two proposals were submitted for the three sites, which were for residential projects. (WBJ, 8/13)

In Housing Trends, Arlington’s in the 1920s, Greenbelt the ’30s, Reston the ’60s, and D.C. the 2010s (WCP, 8/13)

Which is America’s most miserable city for sports? No…it’s not the one you think it is!


Low-income residents in D.C. are being shown the door

A number of low-income residents at a Northwest D.C. housing complex were recently handed notices that their Section 8 vouchers would not be renewed once the contract with their leasing company expires.  Despite having lived in the building for decades, many will soon be forced out of one of D.C.’s prime neighborhoods. (WJLA, 5/19)

The residents are living in the middle of one of D.C.’s hottest new real estate sectors, and new buildings have sprung up on three sides. In this one, the cheapest one-bedroom apartment is $2,227 a month.

But many of those who are living at 401 K Street have incomes of less than $10,000 a year.

A recent report released by the Greater Prince George’s Business Roundtable reveals the quality of life in the county has vastly improved in a number of areas over the last four years.  The organization developed the report to debunk misleading stereotypes about the county and its progress. (WaPo, 5/20)

According to the report, which measures indicators in areas including  the county’s economy, education, public safety, health, transportation and parks and recreation, the county has made significant strides. The report, which relies largely on government sources and data, compares indicators in Prince George’s with other counties in the Washington region.

Related: Last year, funders, nonprofits, and businesses gathered for a special summit on Prince George’s County to learn about the positive changes underway in the county, particularly as a result of the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative and the Partnership for Prince George’s County, and to identify ways that leaders from across sectors can work together to continue to improve the county. (Daily, Sept. 2013)

– The Hill-Snowdon Foundation is the recipient of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy‘s 2014 Impact Award for Small or Mid-Sized Private Grantmakers. Winners are nominated and were chosen based on their commitment to effective philanthropy and the results they and their grantees achieved.

The Future Fund, a giving circle for young professionals at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, raised $52,000  at its annual Awards Gala, and has raised over $200,000 since its inception in 2011, to support the critical needs in Northern Virginia. (CFNova, 5/19)

– Event: Attend a free red-carpet screening of the award-winning documentary First Generation this evening at Landmark’s E Street Cinema at 6:30 PM.  There will be opening remarks from a number of guests, including D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and Herb Tillery, Executive Director at D.C. College Success Foundation – a nonprofit partner of The Lois and Richard England Family Foundation.

AGING │The Home First program, run by D.C. nonprofit Seabury Resources for Aging, faces an uncertain future as it may not have enough funding to continue its 20-year-old history of offering regular home help to around 300 older adults in wards 4 and 5. (WaPo, 5/20)

YOUTH Advocates Want D.C. to End Pretrial Holding of Minors in Adult Jails (DCist, 5/20)

Not at all surprising, but informative nonetheless!