Tag: Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility

Charitable giving in Loudoun County lags behind the region’s giving

CHARITABLE GIVING | A new analysis by the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that Loudoun County’s giving rates have remained the same since 2014. Amy Owen, executive director of the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties, which recently launched the Faces of Loudoun campaign responded to the news with disappointment. WRAG worked on the Faces of Loudoun campaign with the foundation to bring awareness to challenges faced by low-income families in the county. (Loudoun Times, 2/1)

The first study, released in 2014, showed the median total gifts given to charity from Loudouners was $3,167, or 1.9 percent of their income. The 2017 study shows the figure remained at 1.9 percent, which equates to a median gift of $3,685.

Amy Owen, executive director of the Community Foundation, said she is disappointed by the findings.
“This is based on 2015 data, there is a two year time lapse to get the data out. We are very hopeful we are making an impact,” Owen said.

HOUSINGHUD May Push New Work Requirements for Public Housing Residents (CityLab, 2/2)

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY | The Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility has announced its 2018 faculty. Staff include:

  • Timothy J. McClimon, President of the American Express Foundation;
  • Diane Melley, Vice President of Global Citizenship Initiatives at IBM
  • Catherine Foca, President of the Capital One Foundation
  • Kim Fortunato, President of the Campbell Soup Foundation
  • Katherine Neebe, Senior Director, ESG, Trust & Transparency at Walmart
  • Aman Singh, Head of Content Strategy at FUTERRA.

There’s still time to register through March 1st or until the class is full. Download an application here.

ARTS PHILANTHROPY | Janet Brown, former executive director of Grantmakers in the Arts, discusses why the organization made racial equity a priority and the future of arts funding. (Barry’s Blog, 1/29)

TRANSGENDER RIGHTS | On Consumer Health Foundation‘s blog, I wrote about the life expectancy of transgender women of color and how the District can support the health of this community. (CHF Blog, 2/5)

– Fairfax County’s appeals process for students in advanced academic programs in public schools is facing criticism from parents and students. (WTOP, 2/3)

– Students at a Maryland high school created videos to show how they practice kindness at their school. Watch the videos here and here. (Gandhi Brigade Youth Media, 2/2)

TRANSIT | DC officials are looking into public transportation options that cater to seniors and night-shift workers. (WaPo, 2/3)

HOMELESSNESS | A proposed bill to prohibit panhandling in Montgomery County drew opposition from firefighters at a recent hearing. (Bethesda Beat, 2/2)

Watch these adorable kids impersonate journalists and talk about black excellence here.

– Kendra

Why I traveled almost 6,000 miles to attend the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility

We recently celebrated the graduation of our fourth class from the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility. Since the launch of the Institute in 2014, the program has attracted CSR professionals from around the region and across the country. Recently, we have seen interest from the international community. Sunday Kubba Hassan with Central Bank of Nigeria is the first international graduate from the Institute. Below, Sunday reflects on why his company decided to send him to the Institute and how he has used the knowledge he gained since graduating in 2016.

By Sunday Kubba Hassan
Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility Class of 2016
Central Bank of Nigeria

In 2015, the Central Bank of Nigeria was looking to build a robust CSR unit that would have a positive impact on society through its programs. In order to achieve this vision, I began looking for professional development opportunities that would help bridge the gap between CSR theory and practice and help us to identify and apply CSR principles that best suit our organization and country.

In my search, I stumbled upon the Institute for CSR at Johns Hopkins University. Even though this program required me to travel from Nigeria to Washington, DC four times over the course of six months, my organization’s leadership team and I determined that the time commitment and travel costs were worth the investment. Over the course of the Institute curriculum, I learned from and networked with some of the top CSR leaders from major companies across the United States, including faculty members from American Express, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, and Walmart.

Today, one year after graduation, our CSR unit has implemented country and organization specific programs around employee engagement. We have also utilized many of the best practices and problem solving approaches that I learned during our brainstorming sessions.

“If you’re looking for inspiration and new ideas to take your CSR program to the next level, the Institute for CSR is for you!”

The Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility offers CSR practitioners the opportunity to earn a Professional Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from Johns Hopkins in just six months. This non-credit professional certificate program is an initiative of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakersand is offered in partnership with  Advanced Academic Programs at Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center. Registration for 2018 is now open! Download an application and learn more about the 2017 faculty and curriculum here.

Where should the District build affordable housing?

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | The DC Fiscal Policy Institute has created a new interactive tool that lets users explore the best places to build affordable housing in the District. The tool utilizes indicators such as neighborhood poverty, violent crime, job proximity, racial diversity, and residential land cost to determine if a neighborhood is suitable. (DCFPI Blog, 8/10)

The tool allows users to choose their level of priority for each of the four opportunity-related indicators and the land cost index, which then creates an “affordable housing priority score” for each neighborhood based on the selected priorities. You could use the tool, for example, to focus only on land costs, or access to jobs, or on a mix of factors. Adding, removing, or changing the weight of an index changes a neighborhood’s priority score. Whatever you choose, the higher a neighborhood’s score indicates the higher priority the District should place on creating affordable housing there according to your criteria.

INSTITUTE FOR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY | Bailey Jacobs, director of communications and marketing at U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center, gives five reasons why CSR professionals should register for the Institute for CSR. (Daily, 8/16)

EDUCATION | A new analysis shows improved test scores for Northern Virginia students, especially English learners. (WaPo, 8/15)

TRANSPORTATION | There’s a new Capital Bikeshare mobile app that allows riders to check ride history and find stations and bikes. (DCist, 8/15)

HEALTH | Here are some of the “critical errors” that led to DC regulators ordering the shutdown of United Medical Center’s obstetrics ward for ninety days. (WBJ, 8/15)

PUBLIC SAFETY | Maryland’s governor has called for the removal of a statue of Roger B. Taney, a US Supreme Court justice and slavery defender, from the State House grounds. (WaPo, 8/15)

The Daily will be back on August 21!

Just a reminder of the beauty of polar regions…

– Kendra

Five Reasons to Register for the Institute for CSR

By Bailey Jacobs
Director of Communications and Marketing
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a dynamic space—businesses of all sizes are constantly innovating and finding new ways to make an even greater impact in the communities where they operate. For CSR professionals, keeping up on these trends and best practices are crucial to both your professional growth and your ability to make a sustained impact through your work.

As you consider your priorities for 2018—I encourage you to put your professional development at the top of that list.

Now in its fifth year, the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility was designed by and for those working in the field. It’s helped practitioners at companies of all sizes refine their strategy, find new inspiration, and build new partnerships. Here are four reasons why you need to join us at Institute for CSR next year—as well as one reason why you need to get your application in before September 30!

1. Build your Peer Network

CSR is a unique space in the business world—balancing community impact, grants, creating shared value, and more. This balancing act makes it even more important to connect with those that understand your priorities and challenges.

Institute for CSR was designed with this in mind—during the four sessions you’ll connect as well as learn from your fellow participants. And since the Institute is limited to the first 25 accepted applicants, it fosters an intimate setting to make these invaluable professional connections.

2. Learn from the Best

The Institute for CSR faculty includes some of the nation’s leading CSR practitioners, thinkers, and authors, including top executives from companies such as American Express, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, PwC, and, Walmart. Each of these leaders dedicates their time to build a robust and challenging course for each Institute session—ensuring participants are exposed to some of the most exciting thinking and promising practices from the field.

3. Interactive Learning Experience

Designed by and for CSR professionals, the Institute’s curriculum is highly interactive, steeped in practice, and based on real-life case studies and current trends. The face-to-face learning experience will provide you with a trusted forum for robust discussions, debates, and exploration of unique challenges faced by participants, their companies, and the field at large.

4. Content Designed for You

The Institute for CSR was designed for the busy CSR business professional—and that is reflected in everything from the topics covered to the guest speakers featured. Ranging from ethics to sustainability, from measurement to communications—the Institute for CSR is designed to expose you to a comprehensive overview of CSR best practices.

And one reason for why you should submit your application ASAP?

Best Pricing on 2018 – Now until September 30

The time to register for the 2018 Institute is now! Prices will increase as we get closer to the start of the 2018 season. The Institute will help you be better and more impactful in your job. Make the commitment to your company and your professional development by submitting an application for the Institute today!

The District will continue to protect low-income families receiving TANF benefits

CHILDREN & FAMILIES | Due to a time limit, families who have been receiving assistance from the TANF program for longer than 60 months were set to lose their benefits this October. The District has eliminated the time limit and introduced new legislation to help families become self-sufficient. (WaPo, 7/24)

The city’s Department of Human Services, which runs the TANF program, has contracts with private service-providers that offer job training, education and other forms of help aimed at getting clients off the welfare rolls. With “the cliff” no longer looming, and thousands of 60-monthers due to continue getting benefits, the agency said it intends to beef up those services, hoping to boost the rate of welfare “exits.”

“One of the things we looked at carefully was, ‘What is the cost of not doing this?’ ” said council member Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1), a member of the study group and a leading opponent of the TANF cutoff. “We found that if just one out of 10 of these families falls into homelessness, then the cost of getting them out would be far greater” than the cost of continuing TANF benefits. “So we’ll be saving money by helping them.”

INSTITUTE FOR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY | Registration is now open for the 2018 Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility! Read why this program is beneficial for CSR professionals here. (CSR Wire, 7/18)

HEALTH | Maryland health officials are working to bring needle exchange programs to several of its counties. (WaPo, 7/19)

POVERTY | Once again, Loudoun is the nation’s most affluent county. So why isn’t everyone celebrating? (Loudoun Times, 7/20)

HOUSING | Developers and displaced community residents are often the topic of discussion when District residents talk about gentrification, but what about the powerful people who use their privilege to prevent their neighborhoods from changing?  (GGWash, 7/21)

TRANSIT | Maryland now has approval from a federal appeals court to build its light-rail project, the Purple Line. (WaPo, 7/19)

PHILANTHROPY | The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers is now the United Philanthropy Forum. More information about the change here.

EDUCATION | Civil rights advocates and education groups in the District are calling for DC public schools to audit its suspension rates after a recent investigation found that some schools were not classifying suspended students correctly. (WAMU, 7/19)

IMMIGRATION20 Democratic attorneys general urge Trump to keep DACA, say it has boosted economy (WaPo, 7/21)

Remembering Jim Vance

– Kendra

HIV prevention drug awareness in DC focuses on black women

HIV/AIDS | Addressing the HIV rate in the District, which is the nation’s highest, has long been a priority for the city. Now the city has partnered with local organizations to raise awareness and increase access to a new prevention drug for the community that are the second-highest demographic at risk for HIV: black women. But with this new awareness, they are still dealing with the barriers related to accessing the drug. (StreetSense, 3/22)

Low-income Black women or those who are homeless face systemic barriers to accessing PrEP when they are HIV-negative. If they are HIV-positive, they face significant stigma surrounding HIV in society and even within the medical community.

Since PrEP requires a prescription and follow-up appointments every three months, people with unstable housing face additional challenges in trying to obtain PrEP. Simply lacking a place to store the medication is a problem.

Dr. Monica Vohra, a primary care physician at Bread for the City, noted that transportation is a large problem for adherence to PrEP by patients experiencing homelessness. “How do you get to your provider to have these follow-up visits that are pretty much required for you to be able to take the medication?” Vohra asked. “PrEP is useful if it’s taken correctly. Its efficacy really reduces if it’s not taken on a consistent basis.”

Related: The Washington AIDS Partnership launched its PrEP for Women Initiative last year to increase knowledge and use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) among women of color in the District. Channing Wickham, executive director of Washington AIDS Partnership said this about the program,”We are proud to be managing one of the largest programs helping women of color.”

NONPROFITS/EVENT | Dr. Donney John, executive director of NOVA Scripts Central, reflects on his experience at WRAG’s Fundamentals of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Two-Day Workshop in 2016 and shares why the workshop was valuable for his work with his clinic. (Daily, 3/23)

Related: Learn how to strengthen relationships with existing corporate funders and attract the attention of future corporate partners at WRAG’s Fundamentals of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Two-Day Workshop. Register here

PHILANTHROPY | This week foundation leaders met with members of Congress during Foundations on the Hill, an annual event sponsored by the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, the Alliance for Charitable Reform, and the Council on Foundations. The topics discussed included the Johnson Amendment and recent proposed budget cuts. (Chronicle, 3/22 – Subscription needed)

LGBTQ/AGINGAdvocates fear erasure of LGBTQ seniors from national elder survey (MetroWeekly, 3/20)

REGION | Both Loudoun County and DC saw the most population growth in our region. (WTOP, 3/23)

GENDER EQUITY | Women in the District and Maryland most likely will have equal pay by 2065, but nationally, women of color might have to wait about 200 more years according to new research by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. (Citylab, 3/22)

MENTAL HEALTH | NPR explores how a ‘scarcity mindset‘ can make problems worse and how to deal with it. (WAMU, 3/23)

Related: Last year’s Brightest Minds speaker Eldar Shafir, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, discussed how scarcity impacted individuals living in poverty. Read about the session here.

Would you have guessed the right letter?

– Kendra

D.C. Council approves $15 minimum wage

Yesterday, the D.C. Council voted unanimously to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour (and the tipped minimum wage to $5 an hour) by July 2020. Additionally, an amendment to conduct a study on the minimum-income system’s feasibility was also passed. (WCP, 6/7)

D.C. Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey S. DeWitt estimates that raising the minimum wage would directly benefit approximately 127,000 workers, [D.C. Mayor Muriel] Bowser said, adding that it would put “more money in the hands of our working families.”

COMMUNITY | Catherine Foca, vice president for programs and operations at the Capital One Foundation, has been named president. Carolyn Berkowitz, who announced her departure from the role in April, will remain as an adviser until October. (WBJ, 6/7) Carolyn has also served as a faculty member for the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility.

PHILANTHROPY | Barbara Harman, founder and president of the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington and executive director of the Harman Family Foundation, talks giving (and considers a new name for the publication) in this fun interview. (WaPo, 6/2)

IMPLICIT BIAS/ECONOMY | A new study looks into the spending habits of black and white Americans at various income levels, and finds a number of differences – some of which, according to the study’s authors, could be attributed to discrimination or implicit bias. (Atlantic, 6/7)

YOUTH/WORKFORCE | The Brookings Institution looks at some of the challenges and opportunities ahead for the economic security and employment prospects of young people. (Brookings, 6/7)

HEALTHScientists Seek Genetic Clues To Asthma’s Toll On Black Children (NPR, 6/7)

– At some universities, master’s and Ph.D. students are providing much-needed counseling services to new immigrants to America who are often uninsured and have experienced high levels of trauma. (NPR, 6/7)

– How to Fix a Broken Mental-Health System (Atlantic, 6/8)

If you’re anything like me, you love a good road trip. Here’s how you can visit 48 state capitals in just over a week.

– Ciara

Examining the U.S. housing market paradox

A recent report looks into the big contradiction of the U.S. housing market today that says renters could save money by owning a home, although many cannot afford to buy one. Rental costs continue to rise nationwide, but for many families home ownership is no simple trade off. (City Lab, 1/4)

Now that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates, the costs of home ownership are beginning to rise, if slowly. Advice to buy now may be sound, but it can’t sit that well with people in truly unaffordable housing markets. Or for people for whom a 3-percent down payment is a tricky proposition given slowly rising wages. Or for people whose student debt or shaky credit is keeping them out of the buyers’ bracket. For too many renters, home ownership still looks like an unattainable winners’ bracket.

– In San Francisco, like most other major American cities, housing is a big issue. There, the head of a renter’s federation likens the community’s not building affordable housing to the act of tearing down homes. (GGW, 1/5)

– In case you missed it, WRAG and Enterprise Community Loan Fund made a major announcement about a new impact investing initiative to support affordable housing here in our region. Click here to read more.

WORKFORCE/DISTRICT | The D.C. Council has recently introduced two bills that could further boost protections for workers in the District if passed. (WCP, 1/6)

CSR | Guidestar has released a new resource guide for corporations looking to start or grow their corporate social responsibility strategies. Click here to access the guide.

Related: Great news – there is still time to join WRAG’s Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility. CSR professionals have the opportunity to earn a Professional Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from Johns Hopkins in just six months. Applications must be received no later than January 8. Contact Katy Moore, moore@washingtongrantmakers.org, for more information.

PHILANTHROPY | A  new, first-of-its-kind philanthropy almanac aims to offer an abundance of data and facts about the field. (Chronicle, 1/6)

– Researchers have unveiled new data on income inequality in America that support the idea that recent reports on middle-class wage stagnation have been slightly overblown. The research still shows, however, that inequality has widened and income growth has remained slow for most Americans. (WaPo, 1/6)

Income Inequality Leads to Less Happy People (City Lab, 12/2015)

Our region has a handful of options for commuting to work, but here’s one I’ve never heard of before.

– Ciara

Making a Difference | A Fourth Quarter Report to the Community

by Tamara Lucas Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

In my third quarter report to the community, I referenced our mission statement. I’d like to do that again: “The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers promotes increased, effective and responsible philanthropy to improve the health and vitality of the region and all who live here.” Certainly, it’s an appropriate and laudable mission statement. But, at the end of the day, how do we know we’re succeeding? This quarter, our work focused on outcomes and our impact in the community.

Taproot Foundation – Earlier this year, WRAG applied for a Taproot Foundation grant because we wanted to know if we were making a difference. Were we living up to our mission statement? If you don’t know the Taproot Foundation, it is an entity that utilizes coordinated, pro bono services from the local corporate community to address the needs of the social profit sector. Via a comprehensive, six-month assessment, Taproot determined that the answer is “yes.”  WRAG’s value and impact rests in what Taproot calls our “pillars of value and impact:” 1) WRAG as a convener; 2) WRAG as a source of knowledge and information; 3) WRAG as the voice of philanthropy in the region; and, 4) WRAG as a promoter of collaboration and relationships.

Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility – This quarter, the second class graduated from our joint program with Johns Hopkins University. While already effective in their corporate responsibility work, the graduates acknowledged that participation in this year-long course made them even stronger in their positions. That’s exactly what we hoped would happen. Good news for anyone in the corporate community looking to  improve their work in CSR: there is still space in the 2016 class.

Get on the Map –Through a partnership between the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and the Foundation Center, WRAG is now able to map the philanthropic investments of our membership. Launched this quarter, this mapping tool enables WRAG members to know who else is investing in a certain issue, in a certain geographic area, or to a certain social profit organization. Better information will lead to better coordinated investments. Just an FYI: this tool is available on our website only to WRAG members.

WRAG’s 2015 Annual Meeting – “Philanthropy All In” was the theme for this year’s annual meeting. The immediate feedback suggests that the business meeting session on The Metropolitan Revolution and regional cooperation, followed by the luncheon presentation, “The House that Racism Built,” gave the sold-out audience lots of food for thought. If you weren’t able to attend, video from the sessions will be available soon. After you watch Dr. David Williams’ presentation on racism, look out for an artistic element that powerfully underscores his message.

Is WRAG making a difference in the community? We think so, and hope you do, too.


Friday roundup – November 9 through November 13, 2015

– Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and head faculty member for the Institute for CSR, shared how his organization supports the Veterans Empowerment Movement. (American Express, 11/9)

– Schools in the region, particularly in Prince George’s County, are getting their hands dirty by taking the classroom experience outdoors in learning gardens. (WTOP, 11/10)

– Though research has often suggested that most low-income individuals find it difficult to maintain healthy nutritional habits because of food deserts, recent studies say poor eating habits have less to do with proximity and much more to do with income. (Atlantic, 11/9)

– The Nonprofit Finance Fund released two reports – one for grantmakers and another for arts organizations – summarizing lessons learned about capitalization in the arts sector. (NFF, 10/2015)

– Nonprofit theaters are attracting more donors, but audiences keep shrinking, report says (LA Times, 11/5)

 Harvard Medical School joins an emerging trend among institutions encouraging their students to take part in arts and humanities courses in order to improve their skills in empathy and observation. (Boston Globe, 11/2)

Click the image below to access WRAG’S Community Calendar. To have your event included, please send basic information including event title, date/time, location, a brief description of the event, and a link for further details to: myers@washingtongrantmakers.org.

Calendar won’t display? Click here.

Rejoice, cat owners! As it turns out, your cat is unlikely sitting at home plotting your demise – research be darned.

– Ciara