Tag: Julie Rogers

A Voice From Philanthropy: A Call to Action for Tomorrow’s Philanthropic Leaders

By Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Years ago, Julie Rogers of the Meyer Foundation told me, somewhat wistfully, that there used to be a time when a core group of funders in the region could come together and make big things happen.  It wasn’t just Meyer. It was AOL and Fannie Mae. Freddie Mac and Annie E. Casey.  Except for the Meyer Foundation, those stalwarts of philanthropy in our region are gone.

Julie’s comments came to mind last week when WRAG co-hosted an event to celebrate the impact of the MARPAT Foundation.  MARPAT focused its work on Wards 7 and 8 in the District. Somewhat quietly, it used its resources to invest in efforts like  Academy of Hope and Fair Chance DC, programs intended  to enhance the likelihood of low-income residents getting out of poverty. After six years, the trustees have made the decision to sunset their philanthropy.

And, they aren’t the only funders to make this decision. Soon, the Summit Fund will cease its support of Anacostia River cleanup efforts and the prevention of teen pregnancy in the District, after many years of successfully leading the charge on both fronts.

A few years ago, the Fannie Mae Foundation closed its doors. Then, last year, without much fanfare, a letter went to grantees announcing that Fannie Mae itself was ending its philanthropic investment in the region.  At a time when George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis is warning the region about the critical need for affordable housing, one of the major housing funders has totally ended its philanthropy.

I am happy that next week, the Freddie Mac Foundation will celebrate over 20 years of impact that its partner grantees have had on the region. Fortunately, Freddie’s signature adoption initiative, “Wednesday’s Child” has moved to the Dave Thomas Foundation. But the powerful voice that it leveraged on foster care issues is now silent.

MARPAT, Summit, Freddie, and Fannie represented upwards of $25 million in annual giving to the Greater Washington region.  Last year, we reported in our giving report that WRAG members gave $279 million in our region in 2012. A loss of $25 million is not inconsequential. And when considering the earlier closure of the AOL Foundation and the decision by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to cease their grantmaking in our region, that figure is even higher. Certainly familial and corporate realities make such decisions necessary, and perhaps even prudent. But the impact on our region cannot be minimized. We are losing philanthropic dollars and leadership at a time when we need them more than ever.

The problem of poverty east of the Anacostia remains, as do hidden pockets of poverty throughout our region. Affordable housing is not yesterday’s problem. It is today’s.  And while the lovely Yards Park now sits alongside the Anacostia River,, the river is still not safe for swimming.  Important inroads have been made, and to all of the philanthropic leaders who made that possible, we say “thank you.”  Now we need the mantle to be picked up. Who will champion the eradication of poverty east of the river?  Who will champion the production and preservation of affordable housing across our region? Who will be the philanthropic leaders whose  impact we celebrate in the next decade?

The Washingtonian’s ‘Most Powerful Women’ in the region

Joining the ranks of individuals like Michelle Obama, Christine Lagarde, and the female members of the Supremes Supreme Court, we are very proud that six leaders in the WRAG community were named to the Washingtonian’s Most Powerful Women list. List members are being honored at a luncheon today.

The full list is available in the November print edition of Washingtonian magazine. Here are excerpts from the issue (Washingtonian, Nov. 2013):

Rosie Allen-Herring, president and CEO, United Way of the National Capital Area. In June, Allen-Herring tookover an almost entirely female senior staff at the DC branch of the country’s largest charity. She now oversees millions in grants, most of which go to midsize-to-large charities.

Rose Ann Cleveland, executive director, Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation. As head of the biggest private foundation focused on Washington, Cleveland doled out more than $18 million in grants last year to arts, education, health, and community organizations.

Terri Lee Freeman, president, Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. When local tragedies warrant relief funds – such as the September 11 attack on the Pentagon and this year’s shootings at the Navy Yard – the funds are administered by Freeman’s Community Foundation, which also manages many smaller, private foundations.

Nicky Goren, president and CEO, Washington Area Women’s Foundation. As head of the 15-year-old foundation, Goren oversees grant-giving and programming efforts that empower women and girls in the area.

Julie Rogers, president, Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation. Next June will bring an end to Roger’s 28-year tenure directing grant administration and management assistance on behalf of the Meyer Foundation, which funds mostly community and educational organizations.

Victoria Sant, president of the board, National Gallery of Art. A major philanthropic force in Washington, Sant has supported not only the National Gallery, but also the Summit Foundation, the Smithsonian, and Vital Voices.

HOUSING | In What Funders Need to Know earlier this year, we mapped out transportation and housing costs to show where a family of four could afford to live in the area. A new interactive tool called the Location Affordability Portal takes a similar approach. (WaPo, 11/12)

NONPROFITS | NASDAQ for Nonprofits? A Wharton grad came up with the idea when she was in school. Over the last year, she has made a huge amount of progress on the innovative idea. At the moment, lawyers are working with the SEC to examine its feasibility. (NYT, 11/12)

HEALTHCARE | Former President Bill Clinton was interviewed by the digital magazine Ozy about the roll out of the Affordable Care Act. He makes four main points, some of which are optimistic and some of which are potentially cause for concern. (Ozy, 11/12)

Related: Troubled HealthCare.gov unlikely to work fully by end of November (WaPo, 11/13)

LOCAL | Is Washington broken? Not for the city’s exploding startup scene. (WaPo, 11/12)

FOOD | Cuts To Food Assistance Puts Strain On Maryland Families And Institutions (WAMU, 11/13)

SEQUESTRATION | Imagine there’s no research. It’s easy if you try. No data to inform us. We might as well cry. In a survey of research universities, seven of 10 respondents said that sequestration is delaying their research projects. (WaPo, 11/12)

We are completely surrounded by advertisements, so it’s refreshing to see genuine creativity injected into the fray.* Here are some truly clever ads, though I think the Kung Fu Panda one might have been ironic vandalism.

* This comment was brought to you by your friends at the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers.

How the region’s foreclosure crisis affects us all

– In an op-ed, Russ Snyder, chair of the Nonprofit Roundtable, and Karen Lewis Young, chair of the Council of Governments, write that the foreclosure crisis is far from over. Although the media seems to have moved on from the crisis, foreclosures continue to impact everyone (WaPo, 8/9):

The housing crisis affected all income levels in all parts of our region. “We have seen every economic group, from owners of $125,000 condos to $1 million homes,” says Marian Siegel of Housing Counseling Services. “This is not a poor person’s issue or a minority issue, but one that impacts the entire community.” Even people who have remained current may see their property values drop as the number of foreclosures in the neighborhood increases. It continues to weigh on the region’s recovering housing market.

In response to their piece, WRAG’s VP Gretchen Greiner-Lott says,

“Kudos to the Nonprofit Roundtable and the Council of Governments for both supporting folks facing foreclosure and reminding us all that the foreclosure crisis in our region is not over yet. As stated in their piece, foreclosures impact our entire community, not just poor or minority communities. If our region is to thrive, everyone needs stable housing that is affordable to them. That’s the very reason that WRAG’s Affordable Housing Action Team is working to engage the philanthropic sector in helping to expand and/or preserve the local affordable housing stock.”

The Incredible Shrinking Housing Authority Funding (CP, 8/13)

COMMUNITY | The sale of the Post has inspired much reflection on the prominent role the Graham family has played in the civic life of D.C.  Julie Rogers, president of the Meyer Foundation (which was founded by Eugene Meyer, former owner and publisher of the Post, and his wife Agnes), comments on the Graham family’s impact on local philanthropy: (WaPo, 8/11)

In the late 1990s, a group of executives from major national foundations was in town for a meeting. Katharine Graham invited them to what Rogers called “a magnificent and memorable party” on the porch of her home, where they mingled with Washington luminaries and members of the local giving community.

That night, Rogers said, was something of a turning point for philanthropy in the region.

“We went a long way in changing the attitudes of national foundations,” Rogers said, who previously hadn’t committed much funding to groups in this region with local missions.

– In his latest “Against the Grain” post, the Meyer Foundation‘s Rick Moyers writes about how to know when to say “no” to board service. (Chronicle, 8/12). Needless to say, we are glad he did not say no to serving on WRAG’s board.

– The country’s changing demographics have big implications for fundraising. (Chronicle, 8/11)

– Corporations increasingly allow employees to take paid time off for community service, a strategy that allows companies to continue their community engagement work when budgets are tight, as well as attract and retain employees. One company that is taking this approach is PNC, which gives employees 40 paid hours a year to volunteer with the company’s “Grow Up Great” initiative. (WaPo, 8/12)

HEALTHCARE | The D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority today announced $6.4 million in grants to 35 local organizations to focus on getting uninsured District residents enrolled in health insurance when the insurance marketplace opens on October 1. (WaPo, 8/14)

ARTS | Silver Spring’s Forum Theatre is introducing a pay-what-you-want policy for tickets, in an attempt to make its plays more accessible to all. (WaPo, 8/12)

EDUCATION | Opinion: Losers in the education wars (WaPo, 8/8)

The history of the world in one simple data visualization!

– Rebekah

Meyer Foundation’s Julie Rogers announces plans to step down

After a deeply impactful 28 years at the helm, Julie Rogers has announced that she will step down as president and CEO of the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation next June. The foundation has more than quadrupled its assets under her leadership, which has led to more than $153 million in grantmaking during her time there.

Among her innumerable accomplishments, Julie was the founder of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers and the Washington AIDS Partnership, and a co-founder of our former funding collaborative, the Community Development Support Collaborative.

WRAG’s president, Tamara Copeland, says of Julie:

Our philanthropic community is fortunate to be filled with bold leaders who are wisely and generously guiding their foundations to improve the lives of our region’s residents. Julie is unquestionably among the best of these leaders. But more than that, her career is distinguished by the ways in which she has permanently transformed our region’s philanthropic culture to be more collaborative, connected, and intentional. That’s a truly impressive legacy.

Channing Wickham, executive director of the Washington AIDS Partnership, reflects:

When the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our region is written, Julie Rogers will stand out as a visionary and a hero. She pioneered the idea of local funders pooling their resources to maximize impact by starting the Washington AIDS Partnership. Without her leadership and the Meyer Foundation’s support, our region simply could not have made the huge progress that we have in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

– The Post’s article on Julie features praise from many local funders. (WaPo, 6/12)

– In celebration of WRAG’s 20th anniversary last year, Julie shared memories about WRAG and WAP’s founding.

– Here’s the official announcement from Meyer’s Board Chair, Joshua Bernstein.

HEALTH | The Affordable Care Act is a couple of thousand pages long. Obviously Members of Congress read the entire thing before voting on it, but a law that long is sure to be confusing for the rest of the country.

Fortunately, The Commonwealth Fund has published an excellent primer on what the law means for the average citizen – particularly with regards to the “medical homes” concept. (CW, 6/12)

– Though the reasons behind it are unclear, here’s an alarming fact: 86 percent of students who attend closing DCPS schools haven’t re-enrolled in the system. (Examiner, 6/12)

D.C. superintendent resigns, cites husband’s health (Examiner, 6/12)

– I have no idea where The Atlantic gets it story ideas, but the diversity is really great. Here’s one about how better ventilation in classrooms could reduce student absences. (Atlantic, 6/12)

– A new poll finds that Americans “overwhelmingly oppose” affirmative action. (WaPo, 6/12)

HOUSING | On the other hand, racism is alive and well in the housing market. (Atlantic, 6/12)

DEMOGRAPHICS | City Paper’s Aaron Wiener looks at data on D.C.’s demographics and finds that despite a steady decrease, the city is still majority-black. (CP, 6/12)

LOCAL | According to the Post, a “sweeping federal investigation” is aiming at corruption among elected officials in the District. (WaPo, 6/12) This is unsurprising, considering this.

Do you want to dazzle your friends, family, and colleagues with magic ice tricks? Then watch this chilling video (sorry) about how you can freeze water on command. It’s pretty darn cool! (Sorry again.)

If you perfect this and you happen to be a man, then maybe you can RSVP to your next party by saying, “Yes, I will cometh.” Just don’t freeze up when somebody asks you to demonstrate. (Really, really sorry.)

Remembering Mr. Richard England

We’re truly sad to report that Mr. Richard England passed away yesterday at the age of 93. Mr. England was one of our region’s philanthropic cornerstones. He and his wife of 67 years, Lois, began their philanthropic work in 1948 and founded the Lois and Richard England Foundation in 1990. Mr. England served on the board of more than 30 nonprofits.

What made him especially noteworthy in our community was his hands-on approach. For Veteran’s Day 2011, we interviewed him about both his service in World War II and his philanthropic philosophy. Of the latter, he said:

I am Jewish. The part of the religion which excites me is Tikkun Olam – the Hebrew phrase which means ‘fixing the world.’ I really enjoy helping people who are less fortunate.

He went on to describe how he determined what parts of our local world needed the most fixing:

Read the Washington Post to learn where the problems are. Drive around the city to get acquainted.

Mr. England also had a profound effect on the people around him. These are a few reflections from members of the WRAG community:

Tamara Copeland, President of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers:

I always admired Mr. England, not just as a well-respected community leader and philanthropist, but also as a model for aging. In his 90s, Mr. England was always an expected attendee at WRAG events – a lifetime learner, not only listening in the audience, but a participant asking probing questions to further his knowledge and that of his colleagues. He was always clear about his needs – urging a presenter to speak up or coming to the podium to adjust his microphone so he could better hear the remarks.

Mr. England stood tall, not just because of his military experience in World War II. He stood tall because he knew the needs of this community, knew that he had the capacity to address some of those needs and rose up elegantly, purposefully, albeit quietly, to respond to those needs. He was a leader. I will miss him, but I am so glad that I had the opportunity to know him. He will always be a beacon guiding the work of those whose lives he touched. A life well lived.

Terri Freeman, WRAG Board Chair, President of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region:

[Mr. England] was extremely committed to this community and his support of the sector was unwavering. He was a life-long learner as demonstrated by his participation in so many meetings and forums. We can only hope that younger generations of corporate leaders will be as committed as Mr. England.

Julie Rogers, former WRAG Board Chair, President of The Meyer Foundation:

Dick England was an activist philanthropist. His passion for our city’s young people and his matchless fundraising style created opportunities for so many – through chess, the wonderful campus for Bell MultiCultural and so much more. Dick set an example for us all by his integrity, inquiry and generosity, and I was honored to know him.

George Vradenburg, former WRAG Board member, President of The Vradenburg Foundation

I loved the birthday party for him AND Lois for their joint (like) 180th birthday. Richard told this hilarious story of his going upstairs in his house, getting to the top of the stairs and forgetting why he was going upstairs, turning around and starting downstairs and halfway down forgetting why he was going downstairs, so he ended up sitting on the landing on the steps between upstairs and downstairs until he could figure out where he should go. He told it with such genuineness and honesty that the entire audience was in stitches – obviously recognizing something very human and very shared.

He called me several times a year – for the Federation, for chess, for schools – always a good cause. I always, always returned his calls even when I knew I had to say ‘no’, because he was so committed to our kids, our community, our city. He was a good one, one of the best.

This is a sad day – even though he lived a long and fruitful life – sad nonetheless. I will miss him.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to Mrs. England and the entire England family. A memorial service will be held this Thursday, April 4th, at 11 am, at Washington Hebrew Congregation – 3935 Macomb St., NW, Washington, DC. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his name to Chess Challenge in DC, MCIP (Bell High School in DC), or Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.

Washingtonian recognizes WRAG members in list of powerful women…Survey: Ten percent of D.C. 8th graders attempt suicide…District short on doctors [News, 9.28.11]

COMMUNITY | In its October issue, the Washingtonian features its annual list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the region. We’re excited to see some of our members recognized for their leadership. Congratulations Rose Ann, Carol, Terri, Nicky, Julie, and Vicki! From the print edition:

Rose Ann Cleveland, executive director, Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, and chair, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers. Cafritz keeps many local arts and humanities groups alive.

Carol Thompson Cole, president and CEO, Venture Philanthropy Partners. Her community and government experience and her interpersonal skills make Cole the ideal go-between for the hard-charging entrepreneurial funders of VPP and the nonprofits that receive VPP investment funds.

Terri Lee Freeman, president of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, inspires local philanthropists to put their money where the needs are. [Terri is also the vice-chair of the WRAG board.]

Nicky Goren, president of the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, is a catalyst for increasing local philanthropy by and for local women.

Julie Rogers, president of the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, does more than give away money – she has taught grantsmanship and fostered collaboration among local nonprofit leaders as a way of helping their organizations survive.

Victoria P. Sant, president of the board of trustees of the National Gallery of Art, is a major philanthropic force in the area, involved in Vital Voices, the Community Foundation, and the Summit Foundation.

MENTAL HEALTH | This is completely unacceptable. A CDC survey of 1,186 District middle-schoolers finds that ten percent of eighth-grade students said they had attempted suicide in the past year. The same survey also found 30 percent claiming to have had sexual intercourse and 15 percent of sixth through eighth graders saying they belong to a gang (Examiner, 9/28).

“Children are the canaries in the coal mine, and middle schoolers are often the canaries for children’s issues — it’s a very vulnerable time,” said Judith Sandalow, executive director of the Children’s Law Center, which represents at-risk children. “A third of all students in the District live in poverty, so the number of those children who have witnessed violence in their homes or communities or schools is extremely high, and as a community, we don’t offer significant assistance.”

WRAG’s Health Working Group and Children, Youth, and Families Working Group have both identified mental health as priorities (CYF’s next meeting is about school-aged mental health), but this conversation needs to expand well beyond philanthropy or school advocates immediately.

YOUTH | New D.C. center to serve disabled youths, vets (WaPo, 9/28) The National Youth Transitions Center will be “a one-stop shop with a variety of services aimed at people with disabilities and injured veterans, ages 14 to 26.”

EDUCATION | Here’s a debate among leaders in education, including Geoffrey Canada (who spoke at WRAG’s annual meeting in 2007) about whether the school day should be longer. (NYTimes, 9/26) I emphatically say, maybe!

AGING | Quick Action Saves Food Programs For Low-Income DC Seniors (Poverty and Polcy, 9/27)

D.C. has fewer than 3,000 active doctors, report says (WaPo, 9/28)

Health Insurance Costs Rising Sharply This Year, Study Shows (NYTimes, 9/28)

FACTOID | We’re halfway through the week, so let’s celebrate with a Philanthropy Factoid! Today’s looks at how the intersection of marketing and pop culture can break down barriers. (WG Daily, 9/28)

RIP | The wonderfully talented Jessy Dixon, who worked with Paul Simon to make gospel music popular, passed away at 73 this week. (WaPo, 9/28) Here’s a video of Dixon performing Simon’s Gone at Last at the Warner Theatre a few years ago (honestly one of the best concerts I’ve seen).

Does anyone know if the sun still exists? I think we need to laugh a little today, so here’s something great – bad lip reading of famous people. Here’s one of Rick Perry, which I think you’ll enjoy regardless of political inclination. It’s the concept rather than character that is funny, though Perry’s southern drawl does add some depth to the humor. Ice cream.

Baker distinguishes himself from predecessor, improves county’s relationship with funders…Lots of appointments and promotions…Redefining ‘affordable housing’ [News, 9.22.11]

PRINCE GEORGE’S | The Post’s Robert McCartney says that the result of yesterday’s primary election for the Prince George’s County Council demonstrates that “reform-minded” executive Rushern Baker’s “political organization, which aided Davis’s campaign, continues to get stronger.” One particular area of strength is Baker’s relationship with funders:

Amina Anderson, senior program officer at the Community Foundation for Prince George’s County, said philanthropic leaders have been impressed that the Baker administration has consulted with them and streamlined procedures for obtaining grants.

“He and members of his staff really spent a lot of time listening to folks in the county in the nonprofit sector about what their concerns were, what their needs were, how the county should be responding,” she said. The new grant process “is modeled on some of the best practices” in the field, she said.

NONPROFITS | The Meyer Foundation’s Rick Moyers has a new post up at his Against the Grain blog- Five Ways Foundations Can Strengthen Nonprofit Boards (Chronicle, 9/22)

HOUSING | New Study Redefines Affordable Housing (WAMU, 9/22) A D.C. Office of Planning study that says mortgage companies should look at more than just payments, insurance, and taxes.

Education finance commission finally forming (WaPo, 9/22)

Obama prepares to revamp ‘No Child Left Behind’ (WaPo, 9/22)

COMMUNITY | Lots of announcements from the WRAG community:

Big news from the Consumer Health Foundation (WRAG’s neighbors down the hall). After more than 12 years, Julie Farkas will be leaving the foundation. Fun fact – she was the first program office hired by the foundation! Rachel Wick has been promoted from program officer to Director of Policy, Planning and Special Projects. Nivo Razafindratsitohaina has been promoted to Executive Assistant to Margaret O’Bryon. And, Ria Pugeda, formerly of the Public Welfare Foundation, has joined CHF as a program officer. Congratulations to all, and we’ll miss you Julie!

– The Washington Area Women’s Foundation has named four new members to its board of directors, including Julie Rogers, president and CEO of the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation. The other new members are Audrey Bracey Deegan, managing director of OMG Center for Collaborative Learning; Alex Orfinger, publisher of the Washington Business Journal, and Sonal Shah, former director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.

Crystal Townsend is the new president of the Healthcare Initiative Foundation. Welcome to the WRAG community, Crystal!

VOLUNTEERING | New data shows that states in which there is a high rate of volunteerism and civic participation have had better joblessness rates during the economic downturn. (Chronicle, 9/22) But the study doesn’t seem to point out why this is the case. Curiouser and curiouser.

MENTAL HEALTH | Mental health study tries Capital Bikeshare as therapy (WaPo, 9/22) Not to sound like a broken record, but Capital Bikeshare is awesome.

REGION | Business Week ranks Arlington and D.C. as two of the best cities in the country. (WaPo, 9/22)

METRO | This isn’t news, but I snapped this picture at a farecard machine at Capitol South last night. I’m glad they tried to clarify things with a marker.

Is there anyone funnier than Steve Martin? Eddie Murphy has been announced as the host of  the next Oscars, so Martin – who has hosted the ceremony before – wrote Murphy a letter. It starts off, “I heard you’re hosting this year’s Oscars. First of all, CONGRATS. Even though you didn’t ask for my advice and specifically said, ‘please, no advice,’ here are a few tips!” It only gets better.

Hope you all enjoy the last weekend of September (how did that happen?) – Rebekah has the Daily covered tomorrow.

– Christian