Tag: National Museum of African American History and Culture

“One Very Powerful Episode”

By Tamara Lucas Copeland
President, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

When Lonnie Bunch, director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, spoke to the philanthropic community as part of WRAG’s 2013 Brightest Minds series, he said, “The March on Washington was just one, very powerful, episode in a struggle that has gone on for centuries.”

With this past weekend’s opening of the much-awaited National Museum of African American History and Culture, we have one more powerful episode, but there is an important, noteworthy difference. This isn’t a one-time episode, but a perpetual and evolving chronicle and celebration of the contributions of African-Americans to America.

I don’t know how many people were on the Mall on Saturday or Sunday, but people looked different and I heard different languages. People smiled and clenched fists, not in anger, but in solidarity, as representatives from the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of our government acknowledged the vital importance of this new museum.

When Lonnie Bunch closed his remarks to the WRAG community in October 2013, he told us that helping the public understand the rich history of the black experience in America and how it informs today’s society is an important function not just of the NMAAHC, but of philanthropy as well. We heard his charge. Thank you, Mr. Bunch. Your presentation was one very powerful episode that put WRAG on the road to Putting Racism on the Table.

New report closely examines racial and ethnic incarceration disparities in each state

A new report examines the rates of incarceration for whites, African Americans, and Hispanics state-by-state, finds three contributing factors to the racial and ethnic disparities in those rates, and makes some recommendations for reform. (Sentencing Project, 6/14)

Truly meaningful reforms to the criminal justice system cannot be accomplished without acknowledgement of racial and ethnic disparities in the prison system, and focused attention on reduction of disparities. Since the majority of people in prison are sentenced at the state level rather than the federal level, it is critical to understand the variation in racial and ethnic composition across states, and the policies and the day-to-day practices that contribute to this variance. Incarceration creates a host of collateral consequences that include restricted employment prospects, housing instability, family disruption, stigma, and disenfranchisement.

Related: In the most recently released video of WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table series, James Bell, J.D., founder and executive director of the W. Haywood Burns Institute, discussed mass incarceration and how structural racism, white privilege, and implicit bias collide within the criminal justice system.

OUR REGION, YOUR INVESTMENT | Our Region, Your Investment is gaining traction with local investors, with a recent $500,000 investment from the Diane and Norman Bernstein Foundation. Says Joshua Bernstein, president of the foundation (Daily, 6/16):

The Diane and Norman Bernstein Foundation is working to address the deficit in housing affordability in the D.C. area. An investment in the Enterprise Community Impact Note aligns our investment strategy with our mission and leverages our impact.  We are grateful for the opportunity that Our Region, Your Investment has created to invest funds in ways that promote additional investment in housing solutions.

COMMUNITY/LGBT/PHILANTHROPY | Following the recent tragedy in Orlando, a number of WRAG members have organized efforts to provide support to victims and their families or share valuable resources with those serving LGBT communities. Wells Fargo has 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 has shared a resource guide created by Funders for LGBTQ Issues featuring Orlando’s local LGBTQ social profit organizations and fundraising efforts for the victims, and the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region has also shared resources for those who want to help.

EDUCATION/DISCRIMINATION/VIRGINIA | Students at Alexandria’s public schools are bringing to light what they describe as “excessive, discriminatory and reckless approach[es] to discipline” from the school system. Today, The Kojo Nnamdi Show explores those claims and the research that supports their argument. (WaPo, 6/3 and WAMU, 6/16)

Related: On Thursday, July 7, the third installment of WRAG’s Public Education Speaker Series (supported by The Omega Foundation and the Tiger Woods Foundation) tackles the topic of racial and gender disparities in school discipline, with Professor Anne Gregory of Rutgers University. WRAG members can click here to register.

ARTS/CULTURE African American Museum prepares for ‘a mini-inauguration’ (WaPo, 6/15)

PUBLIC HEALTHGun Violence ‘A Public Health Crisis,’ American Medical Association Says (NPR, 6/14)

Going back to school is tough at any age, but imagine going back to the 10th grade at age 68! This grandfather shows us it’s never too late.

– Ciara

Nationally, rates of disconnected youth vary widely

A new Brookings Institution analysis examines data on unemployment among teens and young adults across the U.S. Many of America’s youth remain “disconnected” – not working and not in school. (Brookings, 5/24)

Nationally, an estimated 3 million young people aged 16–24 (7.6 percent) are disconnected. The majority of these young people are between 20 and 24 years old, suggesting that the problem becomes more acute after young people are of an age to have graduated high school. They are disproportionately people of color. Rates of disconnection vary widely by metropolitan area, and in some places, young blacks and Latinos are up to 3-to-6 times more likely to be disconnected than young whites.


Some of the metro areas with the highest employment rates among prime-age adults did not have particularly high rates among teens and young adults, including Washington, D.C.; Hartford, Conn.; Raleigh, N.C.; Albany, N.Y.; and Austin, Tex. These places all have relatively highly educated populations, and the disproportionately high employment rate among adults aged 25–54 relative to younger workers probably reflects that these metros import workers from other places.

– With an estimated two-thirds of all venture capital money finding its way into just six major U.S. metro areas, according to a new study, are America’s rural towns and smaller areas being completely left behind in the economy – further contributing to the problems of income and geographic inequality? (City Lab, 5/24 and WaPo, 5/23)

– America’s Road to Economic Opportunity Is Paved With Infrastructure Jobs (City Lab, 5/18)

WRAG/SOCIAL PROFITS | Booz Allen Hamilton‘s Laura Dempsey and WRAG’s Katy Moore share how the upcoming Nonprofit Summer Learning Series came to be, and why those looking to build solid relationships with the local funding community should sign up to attend. (Daily, 5/24)

PUBLIC HEALTH | Brian Castrucci, Chief Program and Strategy Officer of the de Beaumont Foundation, discusses the importance of holistic approaches and multisectoral collaboration in effectively facing complicated health challenges. (HuffPo, 5/18)

HOMELESSNESS/DISTRICT | DC Fiscal Policy Institute looks into the progress the District has made in lowering the numbers of homeless families, while examining the work that still lies ahead. (DCFPI, 5/24)

PHILANTHROPYAfrican American museum’s fundraising touches deep history among donors (WaPo, 5/24)

POVERTY | A small new study takes the research behind the ways in which one’s neighborhood can shape their level of future economic mobility a step even further and finds links between one’s city block and successful outcomes. (Atlantic, 5/23)

CSR | The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is accepting nominations for their 17th annual Corporate Citizenship Awards, recognizing the most accomplished social and community initiatives within the business community.

HOUSINGWashington’s Supply of Entry-Level Homes Is Shrinking (Washingtonian, 5/24)

Here’s one way to deal with train delays.

– Ciara

A look at income segregation and children

While many education advocates have long argued for breaking up highly segregated neighborhoods in order to create more integrated schools to the benefit of lower-income and minority students, a new study suggests that perhaps the key lies in doing the reverse (WaPo, 5/10):

If we found ways to integrate schools […] that might take some of the exclusivity out of certain neighborhoods. School quality is capitalized into housing prices, making those neighborhoods unaffordable to many families. Imagine, for instance, if all the public schools in the District or the Washington region were integrated and of comparable quality. Families might pay more to live in Northwest to be near Rock Creek Park. But you’d see fewer home-bidding wars there just to access scarce school quality. More to the point, homes families already paid handsomely to buy might lose some of their value.

– Despite figures that show that non-white students comprise the majority of the student body at U.S. public schools since 2014, children of color – particularly boys – are still falling behind their white counterparts. A Harvard University economist shares highlights from a new study on the matter. (NPR, 5/11)

WORKFORCE/ECONOMY | For many high school graduates that have not pursued higher education, economic recovery has come much more slowly than for those who have graduated college. With an estimated 3.2 million disadvantaged youths between 16 and 24 who are not in school and are not working, companies like JPMorgan Chase have made it a priority to offer career-focused education in high schools and community colleges. (NYT, 5/10)

– Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has signed a bill that is expected to provide “the most comprehensive insurance coverage for contraception in the country.” (WaPo, 5/10)

– According to the most recent federal data, the life-expectancy gap among white Americans and African Americans – once seven years – is now at its lowest point in history at 3.4 years. The shrinking gap is reportedly due in part to lower rates of homicide and violence. (NYT, 5/8)

PHILANTHROPY/ENVIRONMENT | Corporate Branding of National Parks: The Disturbing Link between Philanthropy and Privatization (NPQ, 5/11)

Related: Are you familiar with the National Parks found here in the Greater Washington region?

FOOD | A Rallying Cry for Ugly Vegetables (Atlantic, 5/9)

ARTS/DISTRICTA first look inside the Smithsonian’s African American museum: Stunning views, grand scale (WaPo, 5/10)

Oh, moms…you worry too much. Sometimes, it’s funny, though

– Ciara

Friday roundup – February 8 through 12, 2016

The Daily WRAG will return on Tuesday, February 16.

– WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland shared why WRAG is pursuing a culture of evaluation and will use your feedback to continue providing quality programming that enhances philanthropy and improves the region. (Daily, 2/11)

THIS WEEK IN PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: It’s Not Foundation Money, But Culture and Talent That Can Change The World (Chronicle, 2/10)

– Officials of D.C. Public Schools announced an overhaul of the district’s teacher training and evaluation system. The changes will take begin this fall. (WaPo, 2/10)

– A growing number of residents in the area are finding housing to be so expensive that they’re considering a move to the Baltimore area – even with long commuting times into the District for work. (WAMU, 2/9) Audio

– You can take a sneak peek inside the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Renwick Gallery has reopened to a big audience and even bigger digital success. (Washingtonian, 2/5)

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.

A simple guide to Valentine’s Day chocolate-buying.

– Ciara

A study on associations of violence and young black males

A new study finds that young black males are associated with stereotypes of violence at as early as five-years-old. Researchers conducted a series of implicit-bias tests in order to reach their results. (Atlantic, 2/8)

The four experiments provided converging evidence that brief presentations of Black male faces—whether of adults or children—primed the detection of threatening objects (i.e., guns) and increased accessibility of threat-related words. Furthermore, these racial biases were driven entirely by differences in automatic processing; indeed, we found no differences in estimates of controlled processing. The collective findings, therefore, support the hypothesis that youth sustains, rather than attenuates, race-based threat associations.

Opinion: The 1980s crack epidemic that had a stronghold on the nation’s perception of drug users is often discussed in the media and handled by law enforcement in a different way than the heroin epidemic currently spreading across the country. One writer explores how racial differences have played into the media hysteria and public perception around the “faces” of certain drug addictions. (NYT, 2/9)

There’s been a big decline in the black incarceration rate, and almost nobody’s paying attention (WaPo, 2/10)

HOUSING | For many, housing in the region has become so expensive that a growing number of people are considering a move to the Baltimore area, despite long commuting times into the D.C. for work. (WAMU, 2/9) Audio

ARTS | Now you can get a sneak peek inside the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

EDUCATION | D.C. Public Schools to overhaul teacher training and evaluation (WaPo, 2/10)

PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: It’s Not Foundation Money, But Culture and Talent That Can Change The World (Chronicle, 2/10)

Planning a trip to Chicago soon? You could stay in a life-size replica of a Van Gogh painting.

– Ciara

Opening date set for D.C.’s latest landmark museum

The  Smithsonian Institution has announced that the highly-anticipated National Museum of African American History and Culture is slated to open September 24, 2016. A week-long celebration will also coincide with the opening of the new landmark museum. (WBJ, 2/2)

The National Museum of African American History and Culture has amassed a collection of 11 exhibits to trace the history of slavery, segregation and civil rights. Some of the collections will also illustrate African-Americans’ achievements in the arts, entertainment, sports, the military and the wider culture.

Related: In 2013, Dr. Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, spoke to our community about the enduring relevance of history to social change efforts today. (Daily, October, 2013)

– Who Should Pay for the Arts in America? (Atlantic, 1/31)

REGION/ECONOMY | The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments recently released their 2016 State of the Region: Economic Competitiveness report. The report  measures a wide range of indicators – from graduation rates to Gross Regional Product and poverty levels to parks – to assess the region’s current and future economic health. (MWCOG, 1/13)

Angela Jones Hackley has been named the interim Executive Director of DC Trust. Previously, she served as the former Vice President of Philanthropic Services and interim president of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region.

– Local social profit leader Amanda Andere has been selected as CEO to lead Funders Together to End Homelessness, a national funder coalition focused on ending homelessness in America.

– The Fauquier Health Foundation recently announced a new name, new look, and more than $2.5 million in grant funding for small and large community projects in 2016. Fauquier Health Foundation will now be known as the PATH Foundation, which stands for Piedmont Action to Health.

– Following the tragic loss of her grandson due to alleged child abuse, a grandmother is advocating for reform to boost mental health services in Maryland that she believes could save other families from going through what hers did. (WaPo, 2/1)

Why Are So Many Middle-Aged White Americans Dying? (Atlantic, 1/29)

NATION/ECONOMY | Why Some Still Can’t Find Jobs As The Economy Nears ‘Full Employment’ (WAMU, 1/31)

We’re counting on you, Potomac Phil.

– Ciara

A year later, seeking a solution to growing homelessness in the District

A year after the disappearance of Relisha Rudd from the shelter at the former D.C. General Hospital uncovered a number of problems at the facility, the city is finding that the continuing growth of homeless families in the area has no simple solution. (WaPo, 3/8)

More recently, city officials have said some changes have been made at D.C. General, such as additional case managers, extra police patrols, a new playground and improved building maintenance.

In addition, some are concerned that the city is creating a new D.C. General as it deals with a surge in homelessness this winter by sheltering several hundred families at hotels on a run-down strip of New York Avenue in Northeast Washington with little support or oversight. Another Relisha [Rudd], they say, could easily fall through the cracks.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | David Bowers of Enterprise Community Partners spoke on the WPFW’s Business Matters show this morning on the housing affordability crisis affecting the city. You can listen to the audio from the interview here. (WPFW, 3/9 [at the 4:30 minute mark])

ARTS & HUMANITIES | Although construction is behind schedule, supporters remain optimistic about the forthcoming National Museum of African American History and Culture that will be the Smithsonian Institution’s 19th museum. (WaPo, 3/6)

Related: In 2013, Dr. Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, spoke to our community about the enduring relevance of history to social change efforts today. (Daily, October, 2013)

Related: WRAG president Tamara Copeland also recently touched on the importance of understanding black history to move toward social justice in today’s society. (Daily, 2/2)

PHILANTHROPY | In a newly-released report on the compensation and demographics of foundation staff, the Council on Foundations found that salary increases for program officers and chief executives slightly outpaced inflation since the recession. The study also found that, with more than 40 percent of foundation employees over the age of 50, significant changes in leadership may soon be on the horizon. (Chronicle, 3/5)

TRANSIT | Transportation chief asks if troubled District streetcar system can be saved (WaPo, 3/8)

– Montgomery County leads the country’s large urban school districts in graduation rates for black male students. According to reports, in 2012 three out of every four black male students in the district had earned a high school diploma. (Gazette, 3/4)

– A new report finds that more than half of the District’s high school students were considered chronically truant during the 2013-2014 academic year. A student must accumulate 10 or more unexcused absences in order to be found chronically truant. (WaPo, 3/9)

Opinion: Don’t trust complaints that schools are too rigorous for low-income students (WaPo, 3/8)

DISTRICT | D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser discusses her plans and goals for expanding and supporting the District’s middle-class residents amid a rising wealth gap. (WBJ, 3/5)

WORKFORCE | What 27 Weeks of Unemployment Does to the American Worker (Atlantic, 3/6)

Hopefully, the brutal winter weather is long gone….but, while it’s still fresh in our memories, this must be addressed! Where do you stand?

– Ciara