Tag: prince george’s county

Continued hope for growth in Prince George’s County

In Prince George’s County, residents are hoping for a major federal government office project that could provide a long-awaited economic boost to neighborhoods along Metro’s Green Line. (WaPo, 2/7)

From Naylor Road to the final stop at Branch Avenue, the corridor is an aging but civically active community that has been planning and pining for one project, one little spark to trigger its long-awaited economic revitalization.

The past two decades have brought mostly disappointment. But two bids to build an office complex for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have renewed hopes that the economic renaissance the District is experiencing could spill over the border.

COMMUNITY/HOUSING/WRAG | Leadership Greater Washington (LGW) and WRAG recently teamed up on a discussion of housing affordability in the region as part of a session during their 18-month Thought Leadership Series. Check out some important topics that were raised at the event.

HOMELESSNESS/DISTRICT | D.C. has a long history of housing homeless families in motels (WaPo, 2/6)

IMMIGRATION/MARYLAND | Montgomery County, Maryland has welcomed more asylum-seeking individuals than most jurisdictions in the state over the past several years. Now, refugee assistance groups are asking for greater support in helping those individuals establish stable lives in their new place of residence, as meeting the high costs of living in the area prove to be challenging. (Bethesda Beat, 2/5)

– The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) recently launched its DC Heritage Grant Program. The program replaces the Grants-in-Aid general operating support program and provides funding solely to social profit arts, humanities, and arts education organizations that have provided at least seven years of programs and activities in D.C. Click here for further application information. The deadline for application submission is February 26, 2016.

– The recently reopened Renwick Gallery has attracted a wide audience and has proven to be a digital success. (Washingtonian, 2/5)

EDUCATION | Fixing Schools Outside of Schools (Atlantic, 2/4)

JOBS | The Weissberg Foundation is seeking an Executive Director.

There was a big televised mini-concert yesterday, accompanied by a football game. Here’s a brief, visual history of those mini concerts throughout the years.

– Ciara

Friday roundup – January 19 through 22, 2016

In an op-ed in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Tamara Lucas Copeland challenged the notion of a postracial America and explained why WRAG is working to foster a better understanding among funders about the dynamics of racism. (Chronicle, 1/21)

– The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy partnered to release the Disaster Philanthropy Playbook, a comprehensive resource to help philanthropy respond to future disasters.

– 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 in student enrollment was in Montgomery, Howard, Baltimore, Prince George’s, and Anne Arundel counties. (WaPo, 1/ 20)

 Recommendations to close or consolidate several schools in Prince George’s County have brought members of the community together to oppose the possible changes. (WaPo, 1/17)

Do you want to celebrate the fact that you are already a part of the “IN” crowd and encourage others, too? You’re already a change agent in the region, right? Now let’s celebrate that. In keeping with the theme of WRAG’s 2015 Annual Meeting, “Philanthropy All In,” where we shared the ways we sought to INfluence, INnovate, and INspire in 2015, we’d like to see how you plan to carry on that theme in the new year and beyond. Take a selfie, group photo, or get creative showing off the buttons we gave out at the annual meeting. Be sure to share where you wore it and how others reacted. Tweet us @WRAGtweets and use the hashtag #theINcrowd to join us in celebrating each other’s work! Check out how WRAG’s staff is already getting IN on the action:

Don’t have a button, but want to get INvolved? Ask for one the next time you see a member of WRAG’s staff at a meeting or event!


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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Bei Bei recently made his first public appearance. See how much you know about pandas in honor of the occasion.

– Ciara

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

D.C. expands outreach efforts to homeless adults

Washington City Paper explores the District’s efforts to conduct outreach to and provide services for homeless adult residents in the city who live in encampments as the temperatures fall. (WCP, 1/15)

As the weather turns dangerous for people sleeping on the streets or in makeshift shelters, the work of these outreach teams becomes even more urgent. But as encampment cleanups for the first time ever continue into hypothermia season—when homeless citizens have a right to shelter—advocates worry that people unwilling or unable to go inside will be left without lifesaving protections.

Ward 3 Without Cold-Weather Shelter For Men (WCP, 1/18)

PHILANTHROPY | The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy have partnered to release the Disaster Philanthropy Playbook, a comprehensive resource to help philanthropy respond to future disasters.

EDUCATION/MARYLAND | Recommendations to close or consolidate a number of schools in Prince George’s County have brought members of the community together to oppose the possible changes. (WaPo, 1/17)

GENDER/INEQUALITY | How to Bridge That Stubborn Pay Gap (NYT, 1/15)

– A new report finds that the average age of first-time mothers continues to climb in the U.S. Researchers contribute the rise in the average age to a decline in the number of teenage pregnancies. (NPR, 1/14)

– According to data, there are correlations between several measures of economic development – such as income, education, and occupation –  and one’s level of fitness. (City Lab, 1/11)

The role of photography in the Civil Rights Movement.

– Ciara

Videos from WRAG’s 2015 Annual Meeting now available

Did you miss WRAG’s 2015 Annual Meeting, “Philanthropy All In,” or just want to relive some of the highlights? Videos from the meeting are now available! You can watch Dr. David Williams’s keynote speech on racism, followed by Holly Bass’s powerful performance piece; Jennifer Bradley’s presentation on the “metropolitan revolution,” followed by a panel of regional respondents; and WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland’s update to the membership.

VETERANS/MARYLAND | The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services announced that the county has reached what is known as “functional zero” in its number of homeless veterans. This indicates that the county has enough funding and supportive resources in place for veterans who may become homeless in the future. (Bethesda Magazine, 12/16)

–  In Prince George’s County, officials are hoping that integrating more literacy instruction in subjects like math and science will help to better prepare students for college. (WaPo, 12/14)

– New federal data finds that the national high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high with 82 percent of students finishing on time in 2013-2014. You can also see how the region compares to the rest of the country (WaPo, 12/15):

Locally, Maryland (86.4 percent) and Virginia (85.3 percent) were above average. The District had a graduation rate below the national average, at 61.4 percent.

HOUSING/DISTRICT | New study shows how costly D.C. apartments are (WaPo, 12/16)

SOCIAL CHANGE | Working Narratives has released a new storytelling strategy guide for individuals and organizations seeking to create progressive change on important causes. The guide includes ideas on how to use fiction, humor, and history in social change stories to reach new audiences and evaluate impact. You can check out the guide here.

Related: You might remember that Paul VanDeCarr from Working Narratives spoke to local funders and social profit organizations last year as part of our Brightest Minds series. He shared some tips on the Daily WRAG for “breaking through the clutter” to reach people with a great story. (Daily, June 2014)

POVERTY/MASS INCARCERATION | How mass incarceration is spreading to rural counties and the suburbs (WaPo, 12/15)

Bei Bei says hello!

– Ciara

Hurdles in getting jobs for the unemployed in the District

Disagreements, allegations of mismanagement, and underspending of federal funds have led the U.S. Labor Department to label D.C. as a “high-risk” partner in job training and employment programs. D.C. is currently the only jurisdiction to be labeled as such. (WaPo, 12/12)

The designation, which the District has had since 2012, places the city under increased federal oversight and means it risks suffering a slowdown in federal grants totaling $24 million a year for job training.


About 60,000 District adults lack a high-school diploma or its equivalent, and 30,000 or more have such a degree but aren’t reading at an eighth grade level, officials said. About 25,000 District residents are unemployed.

WRAG | WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland presents her fourth quarterly report to the community, along with some highlights on how WRAG stayed true to its mission of promoting increased, effective and responsible philanthropy to improve the health and vitality of the region and all who live here in 2015. (Daily, 12/14)

HIV/HOMELESSNESS | In part one of their series on housing for D.C. residents living with HIV, Washington City Paper looks at how housing resources for homeless, HIV-positive individuals can be extremely scarce. (WCP, 12/14)

– In Prince George’s County, the CEO of their Economic Development Corporation is in the midst of a vigorous campaign to get more businesses to relocate to the county and bring about a long-hoped-for revival. (WaPo, 12/13)

– It’s no secret that, like many other major U.S. cities, getting by in D.C. is challenging for the middle class. An architect breaks down how increasingly difficult it can be for some to call the District home. (WaPo, 12/11)

Maryland county wants to ease the burden of student debt for its residents (WaPo, 12/14)

The Tipping Point: Most Americans No Longer Are Middle Class (NPR, 12/10)

EDUCATION/VIRGINIA | Urban Coalition Presses Virginia Lawmakers to ‘Meaningfully Increase’ Education Funding (WAMU, 12/14)

When is it acceptable to tell a lie? According to an author, there are at least 10 scenarios where he would lie. Would you agree?

– Ciara

The up and downs of D.C.’s health report

The United Health Foundation’s new annual health rankings report finds good news for the District as the city is below the national average on rates of obesity, excessive drinking, and poor physical health. However, a number of other areas still show room for significant improvement (WCP, 12/10):

Specifically, the report finds that 21.7 percent of D.C. residents are obese as compared with 29.6 percent nationally; 16.4 percent smoke as compared with 18.1 percent nationally; and 20.8 percent are physically inactive as compared with 22.6 nationally. Still, the report notes that D.C.’s “high violent crime rate, low rate of high school graduation, [and] high prevalence of low birth rate” may be causes for concern; additionally, D.C. records 14.9 drug deaths per 100,000 people versus 13.5 across the country, and 7.3 deaths per 1,000 live births versus 6 across the country. (Hawaii was ranked as the healthiest state in the report; the District wasn’t ranked because it’s disproportionately urban.)

Maryland came in at number 18 and Virginia came in at number 21 in the rankings.

When food stamp benefits are running low near the end of the month, the lack of assistance can leave families with more than just empty stomachs. Studies have shown that there are possible links between running out of food stamps and things like more hospital admissions for hypoglycemia, poor student behavior, and lower test scores. (WaPo, 12/9)

How to Market Healthy Food in a Rural Town (City Lab, 12/9)

PHILANTHROPY | Philanthropy wonk Lucy Bernholz’s seventh annual forecast for philanthropy and the social economy is out. Check out the Blueprint for 2016 here. (GrantCraft, 12/7)

– The Senate this week approved new education legislation known as the Every Student Succeeds Act – a move that ends No Child Left Behind and gives states and local school districts more power over judging the quality of their schools. (WaPo, 12/9)

After low test scores, Prince George’s schools CEO to unveil new spending plan (WTOP 12/10)

DISTRICT | D.C.’s $75 Million Problem (DCFPI, 12/10)

When climate change and art collide, you end up with glaciers in unlikely places.

– Ciara 

Friday roundup – November 9 through November 13, 2015

– Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and head faculty member for the Institute for CSR, shared how his organization supports the Veterans Empowerment Movement. (American Express, 11/9)

– Schools in the region, particularly in Prince George’s County, are getting their hands dirty by taking the classroom experience outdoors in learning gardens. (WTOP, 11/10)

– Though research has often suggested that most low-income individuals find it difficult to maintain healthy nutritional habits because of food deserts, recent studies say poor eating habits have less to do with proximity and much more to do with income. (Atlantic, 11/9)

– The Nonprofit Finance Fund released two reports – one for grantmakers and another for arts organizations – summarizing lessons learned about capitalization in the arts sector. (NFF, 10/2015)

– Nonprofit theaters are attracting more donors, but audiences keep shrinking, report says (LA Times, 11/5)

 Harvard Medical School joins an emerging trend among institutions encouraging their students to take part in arts and humanities courses in order to improve their skills in empathy and observation. (Boston Globe, 11/2)

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.

Rejoice, cat owners! As it turns out, your cat is unlikely sitting at home plotting your demise – research be darned.

– Ciara

How the region and the U.S. fare on premature birth rates

In their most recent report grading the rates of premature births in states/localities in the U.S., March of Dimes gave the District a “C.” Meanwhile, Virginia and Maryland received a “B” and “C,” respectively. The U.S. overall received a “C”. (DCist, 11/9)

Premature birth is the leading cause of infant death and the number one killer of babies in the United States, according to the nonprofit March of Dimes. In a report released last week, the organization graded D.C.’s premature birth rate a “C” in comparison to the 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Grades for states were assigned by comparing the 2014 preterm birth rate in a state or locality to the March of Dimes’ goal of 8.1 percent by 2020. D.C.’s rate was 9.6 percent, placing it among 18 states with a mid-level score and matching the United States’ average.

America’s Pregnancy-Care Paradox: Paying Ever More For the Same Bad Results (Atlantic, 11/10)

– As part of #NewEconomy Week, administrative and communications assistant at Consumer Health Foundation Kendra Allen candidly shares her experience as a millennial person of color, along with some advice for the key elements that should be a part of a revamped, equitable system. (CHF, 11/10)

Why Poor Boys Who Move to Rich Neighborhoods Still Face Risks (CityLab, 11/9)

CSR/VETERANS | As Veteran’s Day approaches, Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and head faculty member for the Institute for CSR, shares how his organization shows its support for the Veterans Empowerment Movement. (American Express, 11/9)

DISTRICT | DC Fiscal Policy Institute reflects on the significance of the City First Foundation’s recent conference on “Equitable Economic Development East of the River,” and shares why follow-through in this part of the city is so necessary. (DCFPI, 11/10)

FOOD/EDUCATION | A  growing number of schools in the region are taking the classroom experience outdoors with learning gardens, particularly in Prince George’s County. (WTOP, 11/10)

VIRGINIA | Move over, “Corner.” It’s all about “Tyson’s” right now. (WTOP 11/9)

Apparently, I only know one thing about the sport of basketball. See if you can beat me at this quiz!

– Ciara


Join us for WRAG’s 2015 Annual Meeting: Philanthropy All In | Thursday, November 19

It’s that time of year again! WRAG’S 2015 Annual Meeting will take place on Thursday, November 19 at the National Press Club.

WRAG members will hear from Jennifer Bradley, author of The Metropolitan Revolution, as well as a panel of regional leaders about how philanthropy, government, and business can work together to position our region for prosperity.

At the luncheon (open to the community), keynote speaker Harvard’s David Williams will discuss the ways that racism and discrimination continue to impact individuals and communities. Click here to register for Philanthropy All In.

– Capital One, Junior Achievement of Greater Washington, and Prince George’s Public Schools have teamed up to open a JA Finance Park on the campus of G. James Gholson Middle School and Cora L. Rice Elementary School in Landover, Maryland. This 13,500-square-foot experiential financial literacy supercenter is the second in the region and the first in Maryland. It will serve 9,000 Prince George’s County Public School students each year. Another center will open in Montgomery County in 2017. (WaPo, 10/27)

– This year, Virginia schools saw significant improvements with eight in 10 schools meeting state benchmarks for standardized tests. (WaPo, 10/27)

– In Maryland, state-level results on national reading and math tests saw one of the most significant declines in the country in 2015. On the bright side, officials note that the state remains above the national average in some areas, and has also become more inclusive in its testing of students.  (WaPo, 10/28)

One in 10 D.C. students score ‘college ready’ on new high school math test (WaPo, 10/27)

DISTRICT | On the heels of the recent announcement of the Wizards’ practice facility coming to D.C.’s ward 8, residents express their concerns over what it could mean in the long run. (WCP, 10/27)

HEALTHCARE | When hospital patients don’t have the ability to make decisions regarding their own care and have no family to step in and help, hospitals are often overwhelmed with the loss of resources and money.  Some hospitals in D.C. facing similar issues have banned together to create a task force to take a further look at the problem. (WBJ, 10/27)

FOOD/POVERTY | Study: Food stamps do much more to fight poverty than we thought (Vox, 10/27)

When art gets mistaken for trash who’s to blame?

– Ciara