Tag: Our Region Your Investment

Moving on too soon?

In part two of their in-depth series on housing for HIV-positive residents in D.C., Washington City Paper explores how, after years of major federal and philanthropic funding to support successful initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS in the District, many of those sources are beginning to move toward funding other urgent causes with the false belief that the problem has been solved (WCP, 3/4):

Altogether, the slowed trickle of public and private funds out of the city has spurred concern among advocates and city officials alike. They worry that decreasing funds for HIV initiatives will sacrifice the progress that’s already been made, and that the cuts will take effect just as D.C. hits its stride in patient care.

Channing Wickham, executive director of Washington AIDS Partnership (WAP), who is quoted throughout the article due to WAP’s continued leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the District, had this to say:

I look forward to the day when the Washington AIDS Partnership can close its doors and declare victory. Until then, I appreciate the local and national funders who participate in our funding collaborative, and encourage funders who haven’t gotten involved or who have moved on to join in our life-saving work.”

– In her latest blog post, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland further explores the challenges many social profit organizations face when funders decrease giving in a particular issue area. (Daily, 3/7)

HOUSING | The Region Forward Coalition shares details of their first meeting of the year, at which WRAG vice president Gretchen Greiner-Lott presented Our Region, Your Investment, alongside Enterprise Community Loan Fund, as a part of the solution to the Greater Washington region’s affordable housing crisis. (Region Forward, 3/2)

FOOD/ENVIRONMENT | On Saturday, March 19 at American University, Farming for the Future will debut new films at this year’s D.C. Environmental Film Festival. Three of the films were done by the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University, with grant support from the D.C. office of Prince Charitable Trusts. The films include the premiere of The Culture of Collards, featuring culinary historian Michael Twitty; Gail Taylor, owner of Three Part Harmony Farm in Northeast D.C.; and Lola Bloom, Rebecca Lemos, and young people from City Blossoms, an urban farm/youth agricultural program in D.C. Reservations are requested to this popular event. Click here for additional information and to RSVP.

EDUCATION | A new documentary debuting this month, Southeast 67, follows the stories of 67 students from the District’s Anacostia neighborhood who were offered free college tuition as seventh-graders in 1988. Stewart Bainum, Sr.  and Eugene Lang (trustee of the Eugene M. Lang Foundation) were instrumental in establishing the program, as part of the I Have a Dream Foundation. (WaPo, 3/6)

HOMELESSNESS/DISTRICT | In Georgetown, the homeless can be hidden amid the million-dollar homes (WaPo, 3/6)

TRANSIT/MARYLAND | Here’s a look at what may be in store for the forthcoming Purple Line. (WTOP, 3/4)

ARTS | Before Smithsonian’s opening, smaller African American museums grapple with a behemoth in D.C. (WaPo, 3/2)

– The Coalition for Smarter Growth has an opening for a Development Manager.

– Flamboyan Foundation is seeking a Program Assistant.

A reporter once declared this the worst place to live in America. Now, he’s moving there.

– Ciara

Why We’re Investing in “Our Region, Your Investment”

by Mary Bruce Batte and Wilton Corkern

We are retired. We consider ourselves financially secure, but not wealthy. We are “rich,” however, in many ways. Among the things that have enriched our lives has been our involvement in various social profit and philanthropic endeavors over the past four and a half decades. Affordable housing has always been an important component of that work. For example, Mary Bruce served on the board of ALIVE, an organization that provides food, early childhood education, and transitional housing to people in Alexandria. In addition, she spent much of her career in housing finance, including a brief stint in the 1970s at the Federal Housing Administration under Housing and Urban Development Secretary Patricia Harris. Wilton serves on the boards of the Corina Higginson Trust, the Washington AIDS Partnership, and WRAG.

When we learned about Our Region, Your Investment – an impact investing effort to address the affordable housing crisis in the Greater Washington region – we knew we wanted to invest some of our own funds to support this cause. We discussed it with our financial advisor and made the decision to participate. An Impact Note investment pays a return that is similar to a certificate of deposit, and it can bring about a significant positive impact on the availability of affordable housing in our community.

Ours is not a huge investment, but for us, it means a great deal to be part of a larger effort that pools funds from a variety of investors – philanthropies, businesses, and individuals like us – to achieve a goal that will benefit all of us in the region.

Our Region, Your Investment is an initiative of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) and Enterprise Community Loan Fund (Enterprise). For more information, go to: www.ImpactNote.com.

Leading a New Network for Philanthropy

by David Biemesderfer
President & CEO
Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers

Earlier this month, I moved from Florida to Washington, D.C. to take on a new role as president and CEO of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. A number of my friends and colleagues have teasingly questioned the wisdom of my decision to move north – particularly during the winter and particularly after the blizzard we just endured. But I am incredibly excited to be a new resident of our nation’s capital city, not just because it’s such a vibrant and growing metropolitan region, but because I have an opportunity to lead a vibrant and growing organization.

The Forum is the largest network serving philanthropy in America, consisting of 33 regional philanthropy associations – including the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) – with more than 5,500 participating organizations. The Forum Network’s greatest strength is that we bring together the dual assets of deep regional roots and a broad nationwide reach. No other organization in philanthropy brings these assets to the table in the way that we do.

The Forum supports and advances the work of WRAG and its regional association colleagues in many ways. We offer staff professional development and peer-to-peer networking opportunities to help people be effective in their regional association work. We strengthen philanthropy’s voice in public policy by building regional associations’ capacity to engage in policy work. We provide an effective vehicle to allow regional associations to share data, information, and resources. And we help regional associations pool their resources and expertise to better serve their members.

The Forum operates as a true network that relies on the contributions of all of its regional association members, and WRAG is an active contributor to the network. Some of WRAG’s recent work – like its “Our Region, Your Investment” affordable housing initiative and its “Putting Racism on the Table” lecture series – are shining examples of how regional associations can play an impactful leadership role in their regions, and Forum members will continue to learn a great deal from WRAG’s leadership efforts.

Over the next two years, the Forum will begin implementing a new vision. We plan to broaden our network to bring together the assets of the Forum with the assets of national philanthropy-serving organizations – specifically national issue-based, identity-based, and practice-based affinity groups – to create a “one-stop shop” for philanthropies to find and engage others with similar interests, share knowledge, and advance policy. We will put our new vision into action through an inclusive, collaborative, iterative, and co-designed process with current and new partners, guided by a design team comprised equally of representatives of regional associations and national affinity groups.

I’m honored to be taking over the helm of the Forum at this pivotal moment for the organization and for the philanthropy field, and look forward to being an active member of the Washington, D.C. community (weather challenges aside). Working with wonderful members and partners like our neighbor, the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, I am committed to making significant progress in how we support, connect and advance philanthropy in our country.

Note: WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland served on the Forum’s Board of Directors from 2009 to 2015.


How will philanthropy respond to the Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy?

By Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers


It was just last January that WRAG said “count us in” to Bob Buchanan and Stephen Fuller as the 2030 Group joined with the Center for Regional Analysis to develop a roadmap for the region’s future economy. Today, that roadmap was released.

It identifies seven industrial clusters in which Fuller and his team believe our region has a competitive advantage:

  • Advocacy
  • Information and communications technology
  • Science and security technology
  • Biological and health technology
  • Business and financial services
  • Media and information
  • Business and leisure travel

It is on these industries that he recommends we focus our economic development efforts. But before we do that, the regional leaders who Buchanan and Fuller convened over the last year cautioned that we must address three regional deficits: 1) transportation and housing affordability; 2) the lack of a shared regional brand; and 3) insufficient collaboration between the academic and business communities to foster an entrepreneurial culture.

Philanthropy is already making progress on housing affordability. Just last week, WRAG announced a major philanthropy-led initiative, Our Region, Your Investment, to address the housing affordability challenges in our region. And following the presentation by Jennifer Bradley, co-author of The Metropolitan Revolution, at WRAG’s 2015 annual meeting, philanthropists in the region are ready to learn more about what their colleagues did in Northeast Ohio when that region suffered a devastating loss of manufacturing jobs.

Locally, philanthropic leaders have been primed for this conversation for some time. They recognize that they must continue their efforts on workforce development, but it seems that philanthropic leaders are now ready to go deeper into economic development than ever before. Why? Because they know that the stakes are very high when you consider what contributes to the vitality of our region.

Perhaps Stephen Fuller’s presentation at WRAG’s 2012 annual meeting was a turning point. He cautioned his audience of philanthropists that declining federal procurement spending in our region needed to be acknowledged and addressed. Then in 2013, that admonition became very clear as local social profit organizations[i] and their clients struggled with the impact of sequestration and the 16-day shutdown of the federal government. People whose incomes were tied to the federal government were without wages, and as more people live paycheck-to-paycheck, the impact of that revenue loss was immediate. Social profit organizations were doubly affected. The demand for their services was increasing at the same time that they were laying off their own staff because they, too, were reliant on the federal government through federal grants. This was no longer theoretical. This was real.

Now, we have a plan and the work of philanthropists in Northeast Ohio may be a model. To Fuller and Buchanan, I say maybe the third deficit should note “insufficient collaboration between the academic, philanthropic, and business communities to foster an entrepreneurial culture.” The philanthropic community is ready to roll up its sleeves and be an engaged partner in broadly shifting the economic reality of our region. So, once again I say, “Count us in.”

[i] Just a reminder that I try to use the term “social profit organization” instead of “nonprofit” to celebrate the fact that these organizations provide value to society, turning this into a positive term.

Friday roundup – January 4 through January 8, 2016

– WRAG and Enterprise Community Loan Fund made a major announcement about a new impact investing initiative to support affordable housing here in our region. Click here to read more about Our Region, Your Investment.

– For many millennial workers homeownership in the Greater Washington region is simply out of reach. (WaPo, 1/4)

– Ed Davies, Executive Director of the DC Trust, has announced that he will be stepping down from his post in order to pursue a new opportunity and continue working on behalf of children, youth, and families.

– The Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation has announced two new staff members, along with some other changes to their team. Julian A. Haynes and Amy Nakamoto will join Meyer as program officers on January 19.  Karen FitzGerald has been promoted from senior program officer to program director, and Maegan Scott has been promoted to serve as program officer for Meyer’s new Organizational Effectiveness Program and other capacity-building work.

The Rise of Urban Public Boarding Schools (Atlantic, 12/2015)

The Chronicle of Philanthropy released this year’s list of 40 leaders under 40 who are working to solve entrenched problems with innovative solutions. (Chronicle, 1/5)

– A  first-of-its-kind philanthropy almanac, offering an abundance of data and facts about the field, is now available. (Chronicle, 1/6)

– As millennial philanthropy grows, how can arts and cultural social profit organizations be sure they are attracting this next generation of donors? (Seattle Times, 12/2015)

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.

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It may be too cold to visit the beach these days, but next time you go, you’ll know exactly what’s across the ocean from you in the horizon.

– Ciara

Impact Investing Campaign “Our Region, Your Investment” Launches to Address Local Housing Crisis

We are excited to announce the launch of Our Region, Your Investment  – an initiative to address the Greater Washington region’s affordable housing crisis.

Over the past years, WRAG has worked alongside its membership, local stakeholders, and regional leaders to identify and implement new ways to address the affordable housing need in our region. Now we have teamed up with Enterprise Community Loan Fund to develop Our Region, Your Investment as an opportunity for local stakeholders to be a part of the solution to the affordable housing crisis through impact investing.

More than 150,000 families in the Greater Washington region are currently in need of affordable homes, a number that is expected to double in less than 10 years. When people spend too much on housing, they are less likely to be able to cover basic needs. That instability can lead to negative health outcomes for residents, poor educational outcomes for their children, and an increased risk of homelessness.

Additional capital resources are required to create and preserve the affordable homes needed in the region over the next decade. Learn about how you can be a part of the solution at www.impactnote.com/ourregion.

Read the press release from WRAG and Enterprise Community Loan Fund, and check out the brochure to learn more about the campaign.

For more information on the affordable housing need in the Greater Washington region, read Call The Question: Will the Greater Washington Region Collaborate and Invest to Solve Its Affordable Housing Shortage?

Disclosure: The Enterprise Community Impact Note is offered by Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation. It is guaranteed by Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation. The Enterprise Community Impact Note is not FDIC or SIPC insured and is only available in states where authorized. This brochure is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation of an offer to buy these securities. The offering is made only by the prospectus, which can only be delivered by eligible employees of Enterprise Community Loan Fund, and should be read before investing. WRAG is not affiliated with Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Inc. or Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. WRAG is not offering to sell nor soliciting an offer to buy these securities. WRAG is not providing advice, receiving compensation, or making any suitability determinations in respect to you.