There is no post racial America. Does philanthropy know?

As we celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this week, it’s easy to think of the country as a dramatically different place than it was in the 1960s. In an op-ed in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Tamara Lucas Copeland challenges the notion of a postracial America and explains why WRAG is working to foster a better understanding among funders about the dynamics of racism. (Chronicle, 1/21)

[P]hilanthropy’s commitment to aiding the poor continues today, through efforts to improve access to quality education, health care, and housing. Many donors and foundations consider work on such programs vital to attacking the root causes of inequity in America. They believe that if we keep focusing on financing ideas we know work, soon we will reduce the problems for both blacks and whites and eliminate all disparities.

But a growing number of grant makers in Washington have decided it’s important to challenge this notion, to recognize that the distinct, negative treatment of a group of people based solely on race is a major contributor to poverty and inequality in America. We believe that racism is rarely acknowledged or discussed by members of the public or within philanthropy. And we believe that until that silence ends, our region, and our country, won’t be able to take the steps needed to end racial inequities.

To learn more about Putting Racism on the Table, WRAG’s learning series for philanthropic CEOs and trustees, click here.

– The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP)  is taking nominations for foundations for their 2016 NCRP Impact Awards. You can nominate up to 10 foundations that demonstrate exemplary grantmaking, leadership in funding social change strategies, and commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity.

HEALTH/FOOD | Grantmakers in Health shares policy options and recommendations that recently came out of a meeting of experts, funders, and health practitioners on the ways to support healthier eating policies – particularly around sugar-sweetened beverages that are disproportionately consumed by low-income individuals and ethnic minorities. (GIH, 1/19)

EDUCATION | According to new data, Maryland saw a record high of close to 880,000 students this school year – a 5,000 student increase from the previous school year. Most of the surge has taken place in Montgomery, Howard, Baltimore, Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties. (WaPo, 1/ 20)

ARTS | With government-commissioned street art being a relatively new thing in the District, Washingtonian offers a glimpse at five D.C. street artists whose work has popped up throughout the area. (Washingtonian, 1/19) Some readers might recognize the work of Kelly Towles, the artist who created the centerpieces for WRAG’s 2011 annual meeting.

TRANSIT/INEQUALITY | Yet More Evidence That Bike-Share Isn’t Reaching the Poor (City Lab, 1/19)

Have you experienced a void in your life ever since the popular television series ‘Friends’ went off the air? Someone developed a computer program that can write new episodes…for better or for worse.

– Ciara

A regional approach to end homelessness

In a landmark agreement, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III, and Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, signed a joint charter to end homelessness in the Washington region. A strategic plan will be aimed at the estimated 12,000 individuals and families in the area who often cross jurisdictions in search of assistance and shelter. (WaPo, 3/17)

The three area officials believe that their jurisdictions can be more effective by sharing casework information and tracking homeless people with more cohesion. Another goal is sharing more information about available housing and employment opportunities.


Although homelessness decreased by almost 4 percent nationally between 2012 and 2013, it increased by 3.5 percent during that period in the Washington region.

WRAG vice president and Affordable Housing Action Team member Gretchen Greiner-Lott,  had this to say of the agreement:

“The Charter to End Homelessness that was signed at yesterday’s regional summit on homelessness states, “we can effectively end homelessness by regional collaboration.” In fact, regional collaboration needs to be an integral part of any effort to combat issues that plague our region. That’s why I am pleased that the Affordable Housing Action Team is working on a regional level, and I look forward to working with the new regional coordinating council on homelessness as they have identified affordable housing as one of four “integrally linked contributing factors to eliminating homelessness.”

FOOD | In the follow-up to her post on a recent gathering of food advocates in D.C. to discuss ways to protect federal nutrition programs of local significance, Washington Regional Food Funders consultant Lindsay Smith discusses how funders can support emergency food service providers in the region and why that need is so urgent. (Daily, 3/10 and 3/18)

RACIAL EQUITY/PHILANTHROPY | Lisa Ranghelli of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy explains why foundations serving traditionally marginalized communities should put an explicit focus on equity. (NPQ, 3/17)

DISTRICT | Bowser Defies Predecessor, Backs Budget Autonomy (DCist, 3/17)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | Opinion: A writer takes a hard look at the liberal approach many cities have taken to address affordable housing and gentrification. (The Week, 3/17)

EDUCATION | The D.C. Office of Revenue Analysis has released some graphics showing a school-by-school breakdown of DCPS high school graduation rates. (GGW, 3/18)

ECONOMY | The most unequal cities in the United States (WaPo, 3/17)

CORRECTION | Yesterday’s guest post on the Daily included a link to panelist highlights from the Corporate Philanthropy Affinity Group’s first meeting of the year. Tobi Printz-Platnick of The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation spoke on education and mentioned the ways in which companies may consider working with schools through intermediary organizations, such as the New Schools Venture Fund and the Early Care & Education Funders Collaborative (ECEFC), established by the Washington Area Women’s Foundation. The Boeing Company and PNC are among key partners in the efforts of the ECEFC. This information has now been accurately reflected in the summary from this exciting gathering.

In this debate, thought leaders ponder…who should replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill

– Ciara

New report: Does nonprofit advocacy pay off? [News, 1.19.12]

ADVOCACY | A burning question in philanthropy: does funding advocacy actually pay off? A new study from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy says yes, it definitively does.

Advocacy by 110 nonprofit organizations over a five-year period has brought more than $26.6 billion in benefits to low-wage workers, communities of color, rural residents and other marginalized groups…

The report titled “Leveraging Limited Dollars: How Grantmakers Achieve Tangible Benefits by Funding Policy and Community Engagement,” found that every dollar grantmakers and other donors invested in policy and civic engagement provided a return of $115 in benefit.

Read: Full Report.

GIVING | The Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein, who recently donated more than $17 million to the National Zoo and the Archives, has announced that he’ll donate $7.5 million to help fix the Washington Monument’s earthquake damage. (WaPo, 1/19)

WORKFORCE | Following up on yesterday’s article about job training funding, WAMU says that the city has frequently offered training for industries that don’t have a high rate of hiring. The city is now working to focus its training opportunities in “high-growth, high-demand” industries. (WAMU, 1/19) There goes my hope of being trained as a private eye for animals.

COMMUNITY | Rebekah attended the Consumer Health Foundation’s annual meeting last week, and says that keynote speaker Angela Glover Blackwell gave a powerful talk about the need for an equity-driven model of growth in our region and across the country. Here’s her recap of the event. (WG Daily, 1/19)

– Junior Achievement of Greater Washington announced that it has opened the brand new College and Career Center at its Finance Park thanks to sponsorship from Deloitte. Read more about the new center and the Finance Park – which teaches students critical financial skills. (Junior Achievement, Jan ’12)

Fairfax Starts Domestic Violence Support Group For Children (WAMU, 1/19)

TRANSIT | Three Metro stories today:
Metro may install shields on buses to keep drivers safe (WaPo, 1/19) And what about the passengers? If somebody bothers me on the bus, I just make really loud noises and wave my arms around in kung fu motions. It usually scares people away, although sometimes I just end up fitting in with the other people on the bus.

– Metro’s Silver Line to Dulles might not go to Dulles anymore. (Examiner, 1/19)

– Two Metro employees have been arrested for stealing thousands of dollars in coins. (Examiner, 1/19) To make up for the lost revenue, Metro has proposed another fare increase. No, just kidding! Not yet, anyway…

LOCAL | The Post’s Robert McCartney tackles a pressing regional controversy and has a wise answer. (WaPo, 1/19)

Ever wonder what Abraham Lincoln really looked like…in color? Here’s a cool photo gallery where artist Sanna Dullaway adds vibrant color to iconic black-and-white photos.

On a related note, here’s a picture of (brilliant) actor Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln for Steven Spielberg’s now-shooting biopic. Day Lewis is known for staying in character for the duration of every movie shoot.

Hitachi Foundation celebrates young entrepreneurs…Educating senior citizens on HIV/AIDS…Survey finds nonprofit employees largely dissatisfied [News, 10.25.11]

GIVING | For the Council on Foundation’s blog, The Hitachi Foundation’s Barbara Dyer talks about the foundation’s Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneurs Program and how the entrepreneurial spirit is essential for tackling our country’s problems. (RE:Philanthropy, 10/24)

ARTS | The National Center for Responsive Philanthropy recently found that arts funding disproportionately supports whiter and wealthier audiences. Responding to the report, the Kennedy Center’s Michael Kaiser warns that increasing foundation support to diverse arts organizations is not the right reaction (HuffPo, 10/25):

[A]s a proportion of their funding, arts organizations receive too much from foundations. These important institutions are overly reliant on foundation and government support. Their bigger weakness is in raising funds from individual donors.

AGING/HIV-AIDS | District Councilmember David Catania, who chairs the Committee on Health, writes about proposed legislation aimed at the city’s senior citizens. According to data, the national percentage of new HIV cases in adults over 50 has been increasing significantly – partly due to the fact that “only about a third of older men and just a fifth of older women surveyed had discussed sex with a doctor since the age of 50.” (HuffPo, 10/25)

JUVENILE JUSTICE | An escapee from the District’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services has been accused of murder – the latest in a series of fatal incidents involving wards of the agency. (Examiner, 10/25)

NONPROFITS | New reports based on surveys of 3,500 nonprofit employees in the Greater Washington region and metropolitan New York show that a whopping 70 percent find their jobs to be “disappointing or only somewhat fulfilling.” The reasons include bad pay, lack of appreciation for hard work, poor management from employers, and disillusionment with organizational mission. (Chronicle, 10/25)

HOUSING | Obama Touts Plan to ‘Help Responsible Homeowners Refinance’ (WSJ, 10/25) “Mr. Obama also called for lawmakers to pass “Project Rebuild,” a $15 billion fund to get construction workers to rehab vacant and foreclosed homes and businesses.”

SPOOKTACULAR | WTOP’s staffers pick their favorite scary movies. I agree with the morning anchors – it doesn’t get scarier than The Exorcist. (WTOP, 10/25) What movie scares you the most? Comment below!

For our email subscribers, tomorrow’s edition of the Daily will go out a little bit later – check your inboxes around 3pm. If you need something to do as you anxiously wait, try wrapping your mind around the paradox of a hotel with infinite rooms. Infinity hurts my noggin.