Tag: Institute for CSR

The racial divide in the Greater Washington region’s schools

– Recently released data suggests that a racial divide exists in educational opportunity, attainment and school discipline practices in the Greater Washington region. It found that Black students in DC charter and traditional public schools are 11.7 times more likely than white students to be disciplined, and Montgomery County has the second highest rate of suspensions for Black students (WAMU, 10/18)

Jacqueline Naves, the supervisor of pupil personnel services at Prince George’s County says her district’s focus on the “root causes” of behavioral issues is what has driven down the number of suspensions.

“It might be the child is misbehaving in school because of other factors that are happening to them. It could be something at home like maybe they didn’t have enough to eat,” says Naves, [whose] department works with partners to provide students with food. They have also recently hired someone in the central office whose fulltime job is to help educators figure out how to respond to negative classroom behavior in positive ways.

– An analysis of the average student debt burden in the US found that in large cities with a substantial population of young and low-income borrowers, their debt burden can exceed 10 percent. (Citylab, 10/19)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE | In a speech on Sunday, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring called for reform to the state’s cash bond system because many nonviolent, low-risk defendants are jailed due to their inability to afford bail. (WaPo, 10/21)

IMMIGRATIOND.C. Attorney General Sues ICE For Information About Arrests In The District (WAMU, 10/22)

CSR | Laura Howard, senior program manager of community benefit at Kaiser Permanente, discusses how her participation in the 2017 Institute for CSR has enhanced her knowledge and ensured her work supports the goals of her organization. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 10/22)

HOUSINGHUD can’t fix exclusionary zoning by withholding Community Development Block Grant funds (Brookings, 10/15)

Today is National TV Talk Show Host Day! Oprah, of course, is one of my top five. What talk show host are you celebrating today?

– Kendra

Our Region, Your Investment is making a real impact in the region: Here’s an update

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | Last year, Enterprise Community Loan Fund and WRAG created a local impact investing initiative, Our Region, Your Investment, to protect and produce affordable homes in the Greater Washington region. Today Enterprise released a report on Clarendon Court, an affordable housing development in Arlington County, VA, which was financed through Our Region, Your Investment.

Gretchen Greiner-Lott, WRAG’s vice president, said, “The Washington Regional
Association of Grantmakers is pleased to work with Enterprise Community
Loan Fund on the Our Region, Your Investment initiative. Through this initiative,
we have brought additional attention to the housing crisis in the greater
Washington, D.C., region and raised new capital to address the issue.
We know that Clarendon Court and the other projects supported by these
investments—from foundations, individuals, nonprofits and businesses—are
making a positive difference for individuals, families, neighborhoods and our
region as a whole.”

Read the stories of the Clarendon Court residents here.

Join the Live Online Event on December 7th, at 2 pm to learn more about the report, the impact measurement methodology, and how Enterprise Community Loan Fund engages investors to strengthen communities.

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY | Sunday Kubba Hassan, of the Central Bank of Nigeria, discusses why he traveled almost 6,000 miles to attend the Institute for CSR and how he’s applying the lessons he learned to his work. (Daily, 11/16)

Related: Registration for the 2018 Institute for CSR is open! Download an application and learn more about the 2017 faculty and curriculum here.

– A local woman experiencing homelessness discusses her interactions with District shelters and how they can improve their treatment of families. (Street Sense, 11/15)

– This local organization prepares young children from homeless families for elementary school and also offers parenting classes. (WaPo, 11/15)

– Mildred Muhammad, author and ex-wife of John Muhammad (the DC sniper), discusses the link between domestic abuse and mass shootings. (WaPo, 11/16)

– What If We Treated Gun Violence Like A Public Health Crisis? (NPR, 11/15)

This map flashes every time a baby is born.

– 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

Friday roundup – October 26 through October 30, 2015

– The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region released a new report on the perspectives of black and African American youth in Montgomery County, and offered recommendations for the school system and community to improve outcomes. (WaPo, 10/22)

– The Association of American Medical Colleges released a report that found that, although more black men have graduated from college over the last few decades, there were fewer black men in medical school in 2014 than in 1978. Newly released numbers for 2015, however, show a modest gain in enrollment since 2014. (WAMU, 10/24)

– A number of hospitals in D.C. are feeling the strain of patients who have been abandoned in their care. Some have banned together to create a task force to better address the challenges. (WBJ, 10/27)

Pediatricians are being encouraged to look further into the socioeconomic circumstances of their patient’s families, as 14 percent of American households are considered food insecure. (Atlantic, 10/26)

– Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and head faculty member for the Institute for CSR, shared how his company works to minimize its operational impact on the environment. (American Express, 10/26)

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.

Sometimes, you can’t rely on online reviews.

– Ciara

Nearly one in 10 youth disconnected in the District

Raise DC,  a coalition of public, private, and social profit groups, has released a new report providing  a snapshot of the District’s progress on its five high-level goals related to kindergarten readiness, high school graduation, reconnection of youth to education and/or training, college or credential completion, and youth employment. This marks a first look at improvement in aggregated citywide data since its baseline report card in 2013. Some of the findings in the report include (WaPo, 9/9 and RAISE DC, 9/9 ):

Nearly one in 10 District residents aged 16 to 24 was not working and not in school between 2010 and 2012 […], according to a new report from Raise DC, a coalition of public, private and nonprofit groups.

The city calls such people “disconnected youth,” and officials are trying to find them and help them re-enroll in school or job training.

Click here to view Raise DC’s full Progress Report.

– D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson has proposed changes to the city’s summer jobs program that would provide a pathway to higher-earning jobs for young people. (WAMU, 9/9)

– Exponent Philanthropy, along with Arabella Advisors and Mission Investors Exchange, has released a new guide for small foundations interested in the essentials of impact investing. (Exponent Philanthropy, 9/9)

Opinion: Why Success Sometimes Eludes Community Efforts to Fight Social Problems (Chronicle, 9/4)

CSR/SOCIAL PROFITS | Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and lead faculty member for the Institute for CSR, discusses income inequalities in the social profit sector – more often associated with large corporations – in the wake of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new requirement for publicly-traded companies to disclose CEO pay ratios. (American Express, 9/8)

CHILDREN/HEALTH | The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that extremely premature babies born today have a better chance at survival than they did 20 years ago. Despite this improvement, the rate of significant health problems for those who survive has remained unchanged since 1993. (NPR, 9/8)

– A new book explores what life is like for the many Americans who get by on cash incomes of around $2.00 per day for long stretches of time. Many of those individuals are completely disconnected from the job market and are unable to receive much in government assistance. (Atlantic, 9/6)

Why Boosting Poor Children’s Vocabulary is Important for Public Health (Atlantic, 9/7)

Take a quick guess before you click on this. What do you think is the dirtiest surface on an airplane?

– Ciara

Health care systems ramp up efforts to assist hardest-to-help patients

For many Americans, health issues are further complicated by the effects of addiction, homelessness, and poverty. For that reason, a number of health systems across the country – including Kaiser Permanentehave begun experiments in providing more comprehensive care for those in poverty, in an effort to curb the high costs of care. (NYT, 3/22)

What is [the health care system’s] role in tackling problems of poverty? And will addressing those problems save money?

“We had this forehead-smacking realization that poverty has all of these expensive consequences in health care,” said Ross Owen, a county health official who helps run the experiment here [in Hennepin County, Minnesota]. “We’d pay to amputate a diabetic’s foot, but not for a warm pair of winter boots.”

Now health systems around the nation are trying to buy the boots, metaphorically speaking. In Portland, Ore., health outreach workers help patients get driver’s licenses and give them essentials, such as bus tickets, blankets, calendars and adult diapers. In New York, medical teams are trained to handle eviction notices like medical emergencies. In Philadelphia, community health workers shop for groceries with diabetic patients

– Foundations of every size are “getting on the map!” Lori Jackson, executive manager at the Alexander and Margaret Stewart Trust, shares why they’re joining a growing list of funders in e-reporting their grants data to the Foundation Center. (Daily, 3/23)

What becomes of an initiative once funders have ended support and hand the program over to the community? Results may vary greatly, but there are ways to continue moving forward and increase the odds of sustainability. (SSIR, 3/13)

Urban Institute Gets $8.4 Million to Help Measure Pay-for-Success Programs (Chronicle, 3/18)

CSR | On April 1, 2014, the India Companies Act went into effect. The new law requires companies meeting certain criteria to spend 2 percent of rolling average net profits from the past three financial years on specific CSR activities. WRAG member and 2015 Institute for CSR class member, Anita Whitehead, from KPMG LLP gives a succinct overview of the new rule and how it affects companies working in the country. (TCB Blogs, 3/3)

VIRGINIAAttorney General appoints NOVA community outreach coordinator (Fairfax Times, 3/20)

DISTRICT | Ahead of Mayor Bowser’s first State of the District speech and budget proposal, this week will be dedicated to offering a preview of key themes that are expected to be discussed as part of the “Pathways to the Middle Class” agenda. (WaPo, 3/23)

ARTS | Brentwood Arts Exchange looks to move beyond walls in next five years (Gazette, 3/19)

FOOD | Both Parties Agree The Food Stamp Program Needs to Change. But How? (NPR, 3/20)

A beautiful, extraordinary, and priceless work of art…or just a generic print from Ikea?

– Ciara

Twenty-five years later, the racial wealth gap persists

A new report from a group of economists provides evidence that the startling racial wealth gap that was apparent 25 years ago has changed very little for historically disadvantaged groups (WSJ, 2/26):

Twenty-five years ago there was a glaring wealth gap in the U.S. between blacks and Hispanics on one hand, and whites on the other. Little has changed, a new report shows.

White families are still more than twice as likely as Hispanic and black families to have wealth—assets minus liabilities—above the median U.S. level, according to a report by economists William Emmons, Bryan Noeth and Ray Boshara at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.


The St. Louis Fed researchers said it’s not differences in age or education levels that explain the racial and ethnic wealth disparities; these persist even if you’re looking at older and better-educated blacks, Hispanics and whites.

–  Women need time off from work but often get it the least (WaPo, 2/25)

– In 2013, WRAG launched the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility in partnership with Johns Hopkins University for professional CSR practitioners. But how can aspiring CSR professionals, business students, fundraising consultants, and nonprofit leaders learn more about the field? Director of corporate strategy, Katy Moore, announces WRAG’s exciting new offering – the Fundamentals of CSR workshop. (Daily, 2/26)

– Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and lead faculty member for the Institute for CSR, offers his thoughtful advice on breaking into the world of corporate social responsiblity. (American Express, 2/23)

HOMELESSNESS/DISTRICT | Nearly five years after taking over daily operations at the D.C. General homeless shelter, Washington City Paper dives into the current state of operations at the family facility. (WCP, 2/25)

–  In Maryland, advocates, inmates, and officials struggle to find common ground on the differences between what makes a life sentence and a death sentence. (WaPo, 2/25)

–  Opinion: A national cry for criminal justice reform (WaPo, 2/24)

– Victims of sex trafficking often find it difficult to move on with their lives with a criminal conviction on their record. Some states, however, have little-known laws that make having a chance at a new life a possibility. (NPR, 2/24)

DIVERSITY | The National Audubon Society recently underwent a study to identify opportunities to build and maintain a more diverse staff, in order to better engage and serve diverse communities. The five practices identified are relevant to nonprofit organizations across issue areas. (Bridgespan, 2/23) Thanks to Julia Baer-Cooper for passing this one along.

This is what happens when it snows down south. 

– Ciara