Tag: Jennifer Bradley

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.

Friday roundup – December 14 through December 18, 2015

The Daily WRAG will return on Monday, January 4. We hope you enjoy the holiday season!

– WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland presented her fourth quarterly report to the community, and shared highlights on how WRAG stayed true to its mission of promoting increased, effective and responsible philanthropy to improve the health and vitality of the region and all who live here in 2015. (Daily, 12/14)

– Videos from WRAG’s 2015 Annual Meeting, “Philanthropy All In,” are now available! You can watch Dr. David Williams’s keynote speech on racism, followed by Holly Bass’s powerful performance piece; Jennifer Bradley’s presentation on the “metropolitan revolution,” followed by a panel of regional respondents; and WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland’s update to the membership.

– Mayor names Busboys and Poets owner Andy Shallal to key jobs post (WaPo, 12/14)

– In the first part of their series on housing for D.C. residents living with HIV, Washington City Paper explored how housing resources for homeless, HIV-positive individuals can be scarce. (WCP, 12/14)

Opinion: Why Are So Many Black Women Dying of AIDS? (NYT, 12/11)

– A new Census report looked at the demographics of Metro-accessible neighborhoods in the Greater Washington region and found that those who live near stations are more likely to be educated, young, and white. (WaPo, 12/17)


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How much do you know about Star Wars?

– Ciara

Videos from WRAG’s 2015 Annual Meeting now available

Did you miss WRAG’s 2015 Annual Meeting, “Philanthropy All In,” or just want to relive some of the highlights? Videos from the meeting are now available! You can watch Dr. David Williams’s keynote speech on racism, followed by Holly Bass’s powerful performance piece; Jennifer Bradley’s presentation on the “metropolitan revolution,” followed by a panel of regional respondents; and WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland’s update to the membership.

VETERANS/MARYLAND | The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services announced that the county has reached what is known as “functional zero” in its number of homeless veterans. This indicates that the county has enough funding and supportive resources in place for veterans who may become homeless in the future. (Bethesda Magazine, 12/16)

–  In Prince George’s County, officials are hoping that integrating more literacy instruction in subjects like math and science will help to better prepare students for college. (WaPo, 12/14)

– New federal data finds that the national high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high with 82 percent of students finishing on time in 2013-2014. You can also see how the region compares to the rest of the country (WaPo, 12/15):

Locally, Maryland (86.4 percent) and Virginia (85.3 percent) were above average. The District had a graduation rate below the national average, at 61.4 percent.

HOUSING/DISTRICT | New study shows how costly D.C. apartments are (WaPo, 12/16)

SOCIAL CHANGE | Working Narratives has released a new storytelling strategy guide for individuals and organizations seeking to create progressive change on important causes. The guide includes ideas on how to use fiction, humor, and history in social change stories to reach new audiences and evaluate impact. You can check out the guide here.

Related: You might remember that Paul VanDeCarr from Working Narratives spoke to local funders and social profit organizations last year as part of our Brightest Minds series. He shared some tips on the Daily WRAG for “breaking through the clutter” to reach people with a great story. (Daily, June 2014)

POVERTY/MASS INCARCERATION | How mass incarceration is spreading to rural counties and the suburbs (WaPo, 12/15)

Bei Bei says hello!

– 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.


The numbers (and morals) behind developing affordable housing

new interactive tool available online shows how developers can, in fact, generate a profit by building affordable housing almost anywhere despite the commonly-held belief that this is not possible. Jennifer Bradley, founding director of the Center for Urban Innovation at the Aspen Institute (and WRAG’s business meeting speaker at our upcoming 2015 Annual Meeting) was a panelist at a recent summit that examined assumptions like this around affordable housing. (City Lab, 10/19)

It can feel like a mantra among private developers: Requirements by municipal governments to include affordable units in market-rate housing developments make those developments unprofitable, even unfeasible. It may be one of the most frequently repeated claims about housing in general. Can it possibly be right?

That’s the question that Jennifer Bradley, founding director of the Center for Urban Innovation at the Aspen Institute, posed during an afternoon session Monday at The Atlantic’s CityLab 2015 summit in London. As it turns out, it’s not a rhetorical question. Affordable housing isn’t a profit proposition. It’s a question of morals.

DC’s affordable housing might be saved through collaboration (Elevation DC, 10/20)

COMMUNITY/EVENTS | WRAG’s colleague organization, the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, has generously invited WRAG member funders to participate in their upcoming program, Vulnerable Immigrants in Maryland: Responding to Unaccompanied Children and Undocumented Adults on Tuesday, October 27 at 2:00 pm. Click here for details on how to attend in person or register to join remotely.

ENVIRONMENTBig Solar Plans for Montgomery County (WBJ, 10/20)

– Newly-released numbers point to a four percent increase in graduation rates for D.C. public school students who graduated within four years, up from the 2013-14 school year. (DCist, 10/19)

– In a new study measuring the efforts of high schools across the U.S. in teaching financial literacy, Virginia was named one of only five states to receive an “A” grade. Maryland received a “B”, while D.C. came away with an “F”.  (WBJ, 10/20)

WORKFORCE | Survey: Half Of Food Workers Go To Work Sick Because They Have To (NPR, 10/19)

SOCIAL PROFITS | The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation invites proposals from youth-serving social profit organizations in the Greater Washington region for its Good Neighbor Grant program, which offers one-time grants of $10,000 to $35,000. The application deadline is December 3, 2015. Click here for more information.

ECONOMY/VIRGINIA | Check out which Virginia county is becoming a hub for startups. (Inc., 10/15)

When you come across an old-timey photo at a garage sale or junk store, you buy it!

– Ciara