Tag: Julie Wagner

Friday roundup – June 13 through June 17, 2016

THIS WEEK AT WRAG
– The Diane and Norman Bernstein Foundation has made a $500,000 investment in Our Region, Your Investment. (Daily, 6/16)

– The Putting Racism on the Table learning series may be over, but the lessons will endure. In this blog post, Julie Wagner of CareFirst and Terri Copeland of PNC shared some of their deepest insights and major takeaways from the series. (Daily, 6/13)

THIS WEEK IN EDUCATION
– Natalie Wexler, trustee of the Omega Foundation, explained how schools can better teach kids to read. (Hint: it’s not by teaching reading comprehensive strategies.) (Daily, 6/14)

– Some Alexandria City Public School students are alleging  “excessive, discriminatory and reckless approach[es] to discipline” from the school system. The Kojo Nnamdi Show explores those claims and the supporting research behind the students’ argument. (WaPo, 6/3 and WAMU, 6/16)

THIS WEEK IN LGBT NEWS/THIS WEEK IN THE WRAG COMMUNITY
– The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers will be co-hosting a national teleconference for funders on Wednesday, June 22 at 11:00 am ET, for funders concerned about the Orlando tragedy and how best they may respond. Register for the call co-hosted by ABFE, Funders for LGBTQ Issues, Change Philanthropy, AAPIP, and Hispanics in Philanthropy.

– WRAG’s colleague organization, the Florida Philanthropic Network, posted a list of resources for those who want to provide financial assistance to those affected by the mass shooting in Orlando.

Wells Fargo announced a donation of $300,000 toward victims and community recovery through the OneOrlando fund, set up by the City of Orlando and administered by the Central Florida Foundation.

– The Council on Foundations shared a resource guide created by Funders for LGBTQ Issues featuring Orlando’s local LGBTQ social profit organizations and fundraising efforts for victims.

– The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region has also shared resources for those who want to help.


JOBS

Senior Manager, Programs | Grantmakers for Effective Organizations | Deadline: 06/17/2016
Program Officer | Washington Area Women’s Foundation | Deadline: 06/19/2016
Associate | Innovation Network, Inc. | Deadline: 07/01/2016
Research Assistant | Innovation Network, Inc. | Deadline: 07/01/2016
Philanthropic Services Associate | The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region
Grants Manager | The Norman & Ruth Rales Foundation
Community Impact Director | Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing
Senior Communication Consultant | Kaiser Permanente
Part Time Bookkeeper/Accountant | ACT for Alexandria
Associate Director | Arabella Advisors
Director, Corporate Philanthropy | Council on Foundations
D.C. PrEP for Women Project Coordinator | Washington AIDS Partnership
Visit WRAG’s Job Board for the latest job openings in the region’s social sector.

WRAG’S COMMUNITY CALENDAR

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.


This just may be the sweetest Internet search ever conducted.

– Ciara

Six policy recommendations to preserve affordable housing in the District

HOUSING
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s “Housing Preservation Strike Force” has released six new recommendations for preserving affordable housing units in the city to keep them accessible for lower-income residents (WCP, 6/13):

According to the mayor’s office, the strike force’s six recommendations are:

  • Establishing a preservation unit within a D.C. agency to identify specific affordable-housing opportunities, and to create a database of affordable-housing units
  • Funding a “public-private preservation fund” to “facilitate early investments in preservation deals”
  • Launching a program to renovate affordable housing in “small properties” of between five and 50 units
  • Drafting additional regulations for the District Opportunity to Purchase Act, which allows D.C. to purchase properties that risk losing their affordable-housing subsidies
  • Incentivizing residents and developers to take advantage of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act through “predevelopment activities, legal services, third-party reports, acquisition bridge financing,” and data-collection
  • Creating programs designed to benefit seniors, such as “tenant-based vouchers or other rental assistance”

– The D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development has launched a new pilot program to preserve affordable housing in ward 8, as neighborhoods east-of-the river expect economic development over the next several years. (WCP, 6/10)

PUTTING RACISM ON THE TABLE | While the Putting Racism on the Table learning series has drawn to a close, the lessons learned will linger on in the minds of the attendees. In this blog post, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland asks Julie Wagner of CareFirst and Terri Copeland of PNC to share their deepest insights and major takeaways from the full series. (Daily, 6/13)

EQUITY
– DC Fiscal Policy Institute discusses the importance of approving the Improving Access to Identity Documents Act that would allow District residents with incomes below 200 percent of poverty to obtain birth certificates, driver’s licenses, or ID cards at no charge. (DCFPI, 6/10)

– The Hell of Applying for Government Benefits (Atlantic, 6/12)

LGBT/DISCRIMINATION | In light of Sunday morning’s mass shooting in Orlando, The Atlantic takes a look at how, despite the advances in LGBT rights throughout the years, many still find themselves subject to violence at alarming rates. (Atlantic, 6/13)

PHILANTHROPY 
– Nonprofit Quarterly presents a two-part series authored by president of the F.B. Heron Foundation, Clara Miller, in which she discusses how they’ve worked to build a foundation that continues to evolve and engage with the larger economy. Check out part 1 and part 2. (NPQ, 6/8 and 6/9)

– Funding Infrastructure: A Smart Investment for All (SSIR, 6/10)

ECONOMYWhich U.S. Cities Suffer the Most During a Recession? (City Lab, 6/9)


Tonight is Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Which team are you rooting for? Can it be the Cavs? Please!?

– Ciara

Putting Racism on the Table: How I was affected

After each session in the Putting Racism on the Table series, I asked a participant (or sometimes two) to reflect on the session and its more personal meaning for them. This time, I wanted two folks – one white, one African American – to reflect on the overall series. While no one person can speak for the entire group, I thought it would be illustrative to know if both people felt like they benefited from attending. Did they both have “aha” moments, moments in which they had greater clarity, or did they gain a totally new perspective?  Will this have lasting benefit for the attendees? I appreciate Julie Wagner of CareFirst and Terri Copeland of PNC sharing their views below.

– Tamara Lucas Copeland


by Julie Wagner
Vice President, Community Affairs
CareFirst

Could there have been a better time for WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table series? With tragic events across the country highlighting racial bias and injustice, and national political discourse rife with bigoted remarks – it’s clear that conversations about racism and how to address it must continue at every level.

I appreciate this opportunity to thank and congratulate Tamara Lucas Copeland and the dedicated foundation and corporate leaders who developed the series. As Tamara reminded the group at each session, “the first step of leadership is understanding.” The series ended this month with an inspiring presentation by Dr. Gail Christopher of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Dr. Christopher’s presentation on the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation work she leads was the perfect ending for the series, and a natural pivot to take attendees from learning to action.

On a personal level, I feel fortunate to have been able to attend all six sessions. I have always considered myself a progressive woman, but the series made me reconsider whether the glasses through which I view some important issues are, in fact, a little more rose-colored than I thought. Many issues were elevated, including the racial bias and devastating affects behind mass incarceration: one out of three black men will face incarceration in their lifetime. Wow. While I wasn’t naive to bias and injustice in the criminal justice system, James Bell’s presentation gave me a much clearer view. The importance of feeling a sense of belonging to achieve success was also brought up. What makes someone successful? I thought I understood. I believed that if a student went to a good school, they would thrive with the right supports. But as Professor john a. powell noted in a University of Texas at Austin example, graduation rates were low when students felt that they were the “other” and did not belong, and they dramatically increased when the school addressed these issues. While I had “aha” moments, I recognize that these were “of course” moments to many series participants. For example, I didn’t appreciate how rarely children of color have teachers that look like them. During our discussions, fellow attendees noted high school and college as the first time they had a teacher of their same race. I was also struck by the blatant media images that reinforce the “white as the ideal” narrative discussed by Dr. Robin DiAngelo. A poignant example included a print ad for a line of handbags that both literally and figuratively placed minority women in the background.

The gatherings spurred conversations at work, and with my family and friends. I find myself scrutinizing advertising, television, news, and my initial interpretation of events and the interactions of others more closely and with a more informed interpretation. So, I think the view through my rose-colored glasses is in a little better focus. I am still optimistic, but that optimism is informed by a clearer view of the systemic barriers which our grantees face in their work to eliminate health disparities.


by Terri Copeland
Senior Vice President and Territory Executive
Community Development Banking, East
PNC Bank

WRAG’s six-part series, Putting Racism on the Table, has sought to shine a light on the key elements of racism – including the unconscious biases and structural nature of racism that can often be found deeply embedded in individuals, companies, the justice system, and governments at every level. The series has  made me focus more intensely on both the far-reaching intended and unintended consequences of racism. Putting Racism on the Table has also made me think more deeply about the role that I play.

The series has not only given me a new lens with which to view the world as it pertains to my work, it has also impacted me personally. A few weeks ago, I had an unexpected overwhelming experience as I sat in the Pittsburgh airport waiting for my flight to depart. I’d purchased the book, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, figuring I’d use the time to catch up on some reading. I was not prepared for the emotional response it produced, as I read the author’s account of how he dealt with his son’s pain when the verdict came back not guilty in the Michael Brown case. I cried uncontrollably at that young boy’s pain and, more importantly, his sudden disillusionment.

I think I was just reacting to all of the pent up emotion that has come to the surface with the multiple police incidents that have occurred across America, and also due to the laser focus that the Putting Racism on the Table series presented on topics that have been hidden and unexplored for so long. A friend recently described her own anxiety as she watched her 7-year-old nephew running, as most children at this age are prone to do. She began raising her nephew a year or so ago, and she experienced firsthand what most African American mothers and fathers all over the country live with on a daily basis – the fear that his actions could someday be misinterpreted  by law enforcement – an instance of running- while-black, perhaps. She talked about the pain of knowing she will soon have to explain to him why he must stop immediately if ever confronted by the police. He’s seven. Is this the America we want to live in?

Still, I can’t let go of the notion of a world in which all men and women are created equal. My soul cries out for a different America. While I know this vision will take time, I know there is a role for me to take on in bringing it to life. As a crusader. As an advocate. As one who will talk about the racism that affects our region and country, and take part in addressing it. I’m glad that so many of my counterparts in the region have also taken on this role. Putting racism on the table is only the beginning.


Although the learning series has ended, let’s keep the conversation going. Please tweet me @WRAGPrez if you have thoughts on how to broaden the learning and build on the momentum. Stay tuned for the release of the remaining videos in the series.

Corporate grantmakers gather to learn about local needs and opportunities for investment

By Shira Broms
Philanthropy Fellow
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Often, when we think of corporate philanthropy, we tend to think BIG dollars. And, while many companies invest significantly in their communities, they often do so with very small (but mighty!) teams.  Unlike some larger private and independent foundations, corporate giving programs often do not have issue-specific program officers. Instead, corporate philanthropy professionals tend to be savvy generalists with a strong background in business, a knack for building strategic long-term partnerships, and the ability to stay on top of emerging trends to ensure their companies are doing the most good for the communities they serve.

Last week, WRAG hosted our first Corporate Philanthropy Affinity Group of the year to assist companies with staying up-to-date on the needs and trends in our region. Six issue area experts provided an overview of some of the top giving priorities in the DMV and offered a few key investment opportunities that companies might consider. Here are the highlights from each of our panelists:

(Click the image below)

WRAG members continue to streamline

By Rebekah Seder, Program Manager

Back in 2010, WRAG convened our members to look at ways funders can adjust their application and reporting processes to reduce the administrative burden on grantseekers. This sector-wide effort, called Project Streamline, is intended to help funders right-size their applications and reports. This way nonprofits don’t have to spend an inordinate amount of staff time and resources applying for and reporting on grants relative to the size of the actual grant. Over the past three years, we’ve heard from a number of members about changes, big and small, that Project Streamline has inspired them to implement. Here’s one member’s story.

Julie Wagner, grants program manager at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, attended the streamlining program. The message resonated with her and her colleagues, who were already thinking about ways to streamline their processes due to the sheer volume of funding requests they receive each year.

With the Project Streamline recommendations in mind, CareFirst brought in a consultant to help the staff analyze their reporting process and determine how best to improve it. Up until this point, CareFirst left their reporting requirements somewhat open-ended. Consequently, from some grantees they would receive 100 page reports, and from others, just a few short paragraphs. Wading through long reports and following up on too-short ones took up a lot of staff time, and the lack of clear guidelines didn’t help the grantees reflect on their successes or challenges.

CareFirst developed a one-page form that meets their due diligence needs and makes the process simpler and more straight forward for grantees. The form asks for the purpose of the original grant, the specific objectives, and how the organization did in achieving those objectives. In addition, CareFirst implemented a tiered reporting structure in which large grants are reported on quarterly, medium grants semi-annually, and small grants annually.

Similarly, CareFirst went from having monthly phone calls with groups who receive large grants to having quarterly calls. Not only has this lessened the burden on both CareFirst and their grantees, it just makes more sense. Due to the nature of their work, some of the programs that CareFirst funds experience monthly fluctuations that belie a true understanding of progress toward the grant objectives. Positive change is much easier to show over a longer period of time.

CareFirst has committed to making the application and reporting process for their grantees as manageable as possible, and improving their procedures is a continual process. Here is another way funders have streamlined their grants processes. Have you implemented any of the Project Streamline recommendations? Let us know!