Tag: Michael Smith

School-based health centers emerging in D.C. schools

A growing number of schools around the country are offering school-based health centers that provide a broad range of medical services to their student body. By offering healthcare services that may have once caused a student to miss school, and being a trusted source for students’ most confidential concerns, school-based health centers are also working to keep students in school. (Elevation DC, 10/20)

These centers, in several D.C. public high schools, provide a full range of health services from treatments for the common cold, headaches and asthma, administer vision and hearing screenings, and help students stay up to date on immunizations and physicals. Some centers even have full dental laboratories.


In addition to keeping students’ health intact, the most fundamental aspect of the centers is their ability to keep students’ heads in the books.

COMMUNITY | Social Innovation Fund leader, Michael Smith, has been named as director of the “My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.” (Chronicle, 10/21)

A big part of his job, Mr. Smith says, will be to “expand the tent” and attract more foundations and corporations to support education and job-training programs and efforts to keep young minority males from being incarcerated.

– Yesterday,officials in D.C. opened a new facility called the Youth Reengagement Center, specifically geared toward reconnecting individuals who have dropped out of school with centralized services to keep them from falling into poverty. (WaPo, 10/20)

Unlocking Opportunities: Using Schools as Community Hubs for Students and Families (DCFPI, 10/21)

PHILANTHROPY | The Center for Effective Philanthropy recently released their report, “Hearing from Those We Seek to Help: Nonprofit Practices and Perspectives in Beneficiary Feedback.” One interesting trend that emerged in the data is that many nonprofit leaders believed that most funders did not have a deep understanding of their intended beneficiaries’ needs which is often reflected in their funding priorities and programmatic strategies. (CEP, 10/2014)

ARTS | Smithsonian Aims to Raise $1.5B to improve museums (NBC Washington, 10/21)

NONPROFITS | C. Fox Communications, a strategic communications company, is accepting applications for the fifth installment of theiinspired thought (or it, for short) Award–worth up to $50,000 in pro bono communications services for eligible nonprofits. Nonprofit organizations can apply for themselves, or nominate a worthy organization. Find out more here.   

Marketers use a lot of tools to get you to buy things, including using zip codes to discover demographic trends and figure out who you are as a person. See what your zip code says about you.

– Ciara

Judge orders D.C. to relocate homeless families

HOMELESSNESS | A judge ordered D.C. officials to move families out of recreation centers and into private rooms, arguing that the experience of staying at the rec centers with little to no privacy was potentially traumatizing for children (WaPo, 3/7)

A class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 50 families placed in the two makeshift shelters since late January said children, parents and sometimes grandparents had been unable to shower for days and got only cots in big, noisy rooms, illuminated all night. Flimsy partitions exposed unrelated families to one another.

“The court finds that they, particularly the children, incur increased risk of communicable disease, are denied adequate privacy and physical security, are likely to experience emotional trauma and stress, hence are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a restraining order,” [Judge Robert S.] Tignor wrote.

Reminder for WRAG members: Tomorrow we’re hosting a brown bag discussion at noon for WRAG members on homelessness in the region. It’s not too late to register.

– The Peterson Family Foundation has pledged $1 million to Teach for America to expand their program in Prince George’s County public schools. As the article notes, this announcement follows a pledge from Venture Philanthropy Partners to invest up to $1.95 million in a program that works with young people in the county at risk of dropping out of high school. (WaPo, 3/10)

New superintendent outlines plans for Alexandria schools (WaPo, 3/7)

NONPROFITS | Between 2001 and 2011, the nonprofit sector grew much faster than the business sector, according to data from the Urban Institute. (NY Times, 3/8)

Why have nonprofits multiplied faster than for-profit businesses? One reason is that as the population ages, greater demand for health care services drives growth in hospitals and health care organizations, many of which are nonprofits. Another factor is that charities focused on the needs of poorer Americans have experienced higher demand after the Great Recession. In addition, family foundations have grown in popularity, providing a convenient repository for untaxed wealth that often remains under the control of the donor.

WRAG | Last week Michael Smith, director of the Social Innovation Fund, met with CEOs of WRAG member organizations to update them on the Fund. Here’s a re-cap from Tamara. (Daily, 3/10)

– D.C. leads the country in the number of students receiving free breakfast at school. (WaPo, 3/6)

– The recently passed farm bill increased support for organic farmers, fruit and vegetable growers, and programs to support the growth of organic farming, reflecting the growing interest in healthy eating and farm-to-table initiatives across the country. (NY Times, 3/8)

Related: These topics are of growing interest among local philanthropy as well. Last week WRAG released What Funders Need to Know: The Food System to share funders’ learnings about our region’s food system and ways to improve it.

MENTAL HEALTH | Mental-health advocates fear fundamental problems in Virginia have been left to fester (WaPo, 3/9)

HIV/AIDS | Women focus of Virginia AIDs campaign (WTOP, 3/10)

Jeffrey Thompson, alleged ‘shadow campaign’ funder, is charged in federal court (WaPo, 3/10)

– D.C. is one of only a handful of major cities that still have partisan, winner-take-all primaries. The result is that the mayoral election could be determined by a very small number of residents. (AP, 3/9)

In honor of International Women’s Day, which was Saturday, here’s a lovely portrait series of mothers and daughters from all over the world.

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Wednesday.

– Rebekah

Government + Philanthropy + Nonprofits = Social Innovation

By Tamara Copeland, President

The often contentious relationship between the President and Congress seems to have found a solid place of coexistence in support of the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a public-private partnership that takes community-based solutions to scale. Launched by President Obama less than five years ago, Congress increased its allocation to SIF this year by 40 percent, raising its budget to $70 million. In an era of budget slashing, I don’t need to tell you that that is no small feat.

While the government investment is important and significant, one of the key elements of the program is the 1:1 match of government funds with private investment. SIF grants funds to what are called intermediary organizations, typically foundations, which then raise the matching funds from other foundations and donors to invest in local nonprofit organizations.

Last week, Michael Smith, Director of the Social Innovation Fund, joined a group of WRAG CEOs to discuss the Fund.

Since its establishment in 2010, 20 intermediary organizations across the country have supported 218 nonprofit organizations whose work has benefitted over 200,000 people. In our own backyard, Venture Philanthropy Partners is an intermediary working with six local nonprofits to provide education and employment services to 20,000 low-income youth in our region through their youthCONNECT initiative.

With an investment of $1 million to $10 million per intermediary, the Social Innovation Fund is a powerful means of taking evidenced-based solutions to scale. But, as several of the WRAG CEO attendees noted, coming up with that match can be hard for many communities, including the Greater Washington region. Michael Smith agreed that the 1:1 match model may not work for every community. As SIF continues to grow, perhaps this conversation will be the seed of an innovation for the Social Innovation Fund. We’ll see.

For more info about SIF (which just announced its latest grant competition), check out this fact sheet and read Michael’s recent Stanford Social Innovation Review article, “Innovation to Impact: Obama’s Social Innovation Fund at Four.”

Michael Smith announced that this year, the Social Innovation Fund will utilize $14 million to explore pay-for-success models, or what are sometimes referred to as “social impact bonds.” This strategy will be the topic of the next CEO Coffee & Conversation on March 25. More information is available here.

Case Foundation’s Michael Smith to head the Social Innovation Fund

PHILANTHROPY | The White House has chosen Michael Smith, a senior vice president at The Case Foundation, to be the new head of the Social Innovation Fund. Smith is an influential voice in the philanthropic sector, championing the power of social media to maximize impact. Jean Case had this to say about Smith’s new opportunity:

As Michael came forward to seek encouragement to pursue the opportunity presented to him, my first reaction was one of slight panic, and yet I had to remind myself that what the public sector needs most greatly is talent. It was one of those moments – was I going to act in manner that was consistent with what I’ve been preaching about the need for talent in the social sector, or would I try to talk Michael out of it and let the self-interested side win the day? Thankfully, the better angels won the day.

Related: In 2011, Michael Smith talked to WRAG members about using social media to advance their missions. (Daily, June 2011)

WRAG | Can you guess where WRAG’s 2013 Annual Meeting is going to be? Click the picture below to find out and mark your calendars for November 21, 2013!


COMMUNITY | The Washington Area Women’s Foundation has named Carolyn Berkowitz of Capital One as its new board chair following a unanimous election from the board. The foundation also added Fannie Mae’s Rosie Allen-Herring to the board. Carolyn and Rosie are dedicated members of both WRAG and our region’s philanthropic community. The Women’s Foundation made two great choices!

EDUCATION | In response to Council member David Catania’s proposed education legislation, Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson has expressed doubt that the new policies will help the school system. She also raises questions about the role of legislators in education reform. (WaPo, 6/5)

NONPROFITS | Writing about the IRS scandal, the Independent Sector’s Diana Aviv defends the privacy rights of donors and says the erosion of these rights is dangerous (USAToday, 6/3):

Undermining two centuries of free speech rights would have a chilling effect on the work of public charities and most certainly result in lost financial support for these essential organizations.

Related: Nonprofits Fight Overhaul of Government’s Charity Drive (Chronicle, 6/4)

RACE | ACLU: D.C. Leads Nation in Marijuana Arrests Per Capita and Arrests Eight Times as Many Blacks as Whites (DCist, 6/5)

TRANSIT | Greater Greater Washington takes a look at which parts of the Metro train system have been most disrupted on weekends over the last year. The graphic is a little misleading though since the entire system has been consistently disrupted with single tracking, station closures, and mechanical failures. (GGW, 6/5)

What’s alarming to me is that Metro seems to be getting progressively worse in spite of its alleged improvements.

What a beautiful day! It feels like perfect weather for some Sweet Soul Music.

You know what really stinks though? Walking through a lovely park and stepping in dog doo. To fight back against lazy and inconsiderate dog owners who fail to clean up, a town in Spain has teamed with an ad agency for a truly brilliant campaign.