Tag: public art

The everlasting effects of housing discrimination

Historically, racial covenants were put in place to prevent people of color from buying homes in certain neighborhoods, and D.C. was no exception. Restrictions like these from the past still work against many Americans today. (GGW, 5/5)

While this legal tactic is long gone, its effects remain. […] young black people are far less likely than their white and Hispanic peers to get help from their parents to afford the down payment on a home. Each generation invests in real estate and gains wealth in doing so, which it then uses to help the next generation – except if, a few generations ago, residents and the government stopped your ancestors from getting some wealth in the first place.

– How videos of police shooting unarmed black men changes those who watch them (WaPo, 5/8)

YOUTH/DISTRICT | DCAYA Senior Policy Analyst Joseph Gavrilovich examines a possible path forward for afterschool and summer youth programming in D.C. in advance of the shuttering of the DC Trust. (DCFPI, 5/9)

ARTS | The D.C. Office of Planning recently announced a public art initiative called Crossing the StreetBuilding DC’s Inclusive Future through Creative Placemaking, that will place 15 pop-up art projects throughout each of the District’s eight wards. (DCist, 5/5)

AudioHow Residents Feel About The Urbanization Of Maryland Suburbs (WAMU, 5/9)

– At a recent economic development summit in Loudoun County, officials shared the ways in which they envision creating a more diverse economy with “endless possibilities.” (Loudoun Times, 5/5)

MENTAL HEALTHLoudoun libraries host programs on mental health awareness (Loudoun Times, 5/7)

ENVIRONMENT/POVERTY | In light of New York City’s recent adoption of a five-cent bag fee, here’s a look at how D.C.’s own fee for shopping bags has worked for low-income residents and the environment. (City Lab, 5/5)

CSR | Audio: Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation and head faculty member for the Institute for CSR, along with Charles Schwab Foundation President Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, discuss how their companies choose the causes they support. (Chronicle, 5/6)

COMMUNITY | A new project by the Walker’s Legacy Foundation (WLF), with funding support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, aims to address the challenges that low-income, single-parent, and working-mother led households often face in pursuing entrepreneurship through the development of a financial literacy app, cohort structures, mentorship, and programming. WLF is a project of WRAG’s fiscal sponsorship service.

Related: WRAG offers fiscal sponsorship as a valuable, cost-effective service to organizations and projects that could use back-office support, are looking for human resources, financial, or administrative help, or need 501(c)(3) status. Learn more here.

Are you working on learning a second (or third, or fourth) language? A lot of people are. Here are the languages everyone else is trying to learn.

– Ciara

Assessing a $15 minimum wage

A new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute explores what a $15 minimum wage could mean to workers in the District. A number of local groups remain divided over the long-term impact of raising the minimum wage (WAMU, 5/4):

The organization’s assessment buttresses the arguments made by groups and elected officials pushing the $15 minimum wage: In an area that’s growing increasingly expensive and unequal, giving low-wage workers a pay raise is a needed step towards helping them stay afloat.

But it also marks the start of what is likely to be a spirited debate over the merits of raising the minimum wage, with local business groups standing at the ready to unveil their own studies arguing that while a higher wage may help workers get by, it will also mean that employers either create fewer jobs or [move] to jurisdictions — like Virginia — where the minimum wage remains much lower, at $7.25.

JOBS | WRAG is pleased to announced the launch of our new and improved job board! This service is available to the region’s philanthropic and nonprofit community. Job postings are free for WRAG members and $60 for non-members. As a benefit for using WRAG’s job board, each posting will be included in a weekly roundup of job opportunities right here in the Daily WRAG. For any questions about using the job board, contact Rebekah Seder, seder@washingtongrantmakers.org.

– In their Matters@Hand thought leadership series sponsored by Enterprise Community Partners, HAND looks at some of the emerging innovations surrounding the creation of local funding resources for affordable housing in the region, including one that WRAG is involved in (Helping Hands Blog, 5/4):

In our region, the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers has teamed up with Enterprise Community Partners to develop a new approach to generating resources to invest in local affordable housing.  Individuals and organizations can invest in the Enterprise Community Impact Note and those investments will be used to help finance the creation of affordable housing. Investors will receive a fixed-rate of return and will also receive regular statements about the social impact of their investments.  The goal of the new fund is to raise at least $5 million to help build affordable housing throughout the region, and will reflect a truly innovative way of raising capital.

Washington City Paper offers a glimpse into D.C.’s low-rent units, where many tenants live in constant fear of losing their homes and must deal with unresponsive landlords who neglect properties. (WCP, 4/29)

– D.C. At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds has introduced a bill aimed at landlords who “purposely neglect their buildings and put their tenants’ health and safety at risk.” (WCP, 5/3)

– Local Initiatives Support Corporation has made a $50 million commitment toward ensuring that residents living in the area surrounding the highly-anticipated 11th Street Bridge Park will not be displaced once it opens. (WaPo, 5/3)

–  Opinion5 Issues Foundations Must Confront to Stay Relevant (Chronicle, 5/3)

– Close Up Shop and Go Elsewhere? A Case Study for Philanthropy on What to Do When We Win (NPQ, 4/29)

– The Initiative for Public Art Reston (IPAR) plans to display bike rack designs as public works of art later this year. IPAR issued a call for artists from the region to submit their designs that reflect five sites in the surrounding area. (Reston Now, 5/2)

Anyone know the number to a really fancy plumber?

– Ciara

Another year of decline in domestic migration

A new report from George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis looks at the migration trends of the region’s population. According to the report, the region experienced its second straight year of decline in domestic migration. (WBJ, 3/28)

Domestic migration was responsible for a loss of 25,200 people from 2013 to 2014, according to the report. The last time the region had positive domestic migration was from 2013 to 2014, when 25,200 moved here.


People are leaving the region for a combination of factors that also includes overall affordability — child care and housing are the biggest — and the growth and opportunities in other areas of the country. Some U.S. regions had sluggish economies themselves right after the Great Recession but have recently seen stronger growth.

Center director Terry Clower also cites research from The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy for its recommendations on ways the economy can improve.

Related: Last year, the 2030 Group’s Bob Buchanan and the Center for Regional Analysis’s Stephen Fuller undertook an extensive research project called, The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy, to recommend ways the region can reposition itself to remain competitive in the global economy. WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland also shared how philanthropy in the region might respond and collaborate with other sectors to meet challenges facing our communities. (Daily 1/15)

– Both D.C. and Montgomery County are eyeing a minimum wage increase to $15. (WAMU, 3/25)

– In their latest blog post, the D.C. Office of Revenue Analysis explores how rents in the city are so high despite many residences being subject to rent control. (District, Measured, 3/23)

NPR takes a glimpse into the courtrooms of D.C.’s Landlord and Tenant Branch where mostly low-income renters and their landlords squabble over issues of rent payments and substandard living conditions. (NPR, 3/28)

– In Reston, officials are revisiting the allocation of funds for public art. (Reston Now, 3/25)

– D.C.’s Fillmore Arts Center will be saved for another year (WaPo, 3/25)

A recent survey looks at the philanthropic activity predictions of 400 leading private bankers and wealth advisors who manage around $500 billion in assets for ultra-high net worth individuals. (NPQ, 3/24)

– Have a look at Fortune‘s 2016 list of the World’s Greatest Leaders in philanthropy, arts, business, government and more. (Fortune, 3/2016)

CSR/SOCIAL PROFITS | Audio: How Nonprofits and Corporations Can Join Forces (Chronicle, 3/25)

EDUCATIONHow to Graduate More Black Students (Atlantic, 3/23)

Do you live in a paper napkin, cloth napkin, or paper towel household?

– Ciara

A shrinking middle class in the District

D.C. residents have experienced a growing income divide with a declining middle class since 2000, which begs the question – “What happens to a city when its middle class disappears?” (GGW, 3/17)

DC has become a textbook example of a place with a missing middle class.

The number of households making between $25,000 and $74,999 has gone down, and there are far less of them than both high-income ($150,000+) and low-income (less than $25,000) households. There has also been a big uptick in households making $100,000 or more.

Who Pays The Price When Child Care Subsidies Are Too Low? (DCFPI, 3/21)

HEALTH | Brian Castrucci, Chief Program and Strategy Officer of the de Beaumont Foundation discusses the need for better collaboration between health care and public health in a recent blog post. (HuffPo, 3/10)

HOMELESSNESS | Take another look at last year’s figures on homelessness in the region based on statistics compiled by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. (Washington Times, 3/17)

EDUCATION/VIRGINIASeparate but equal? Wealthy county’s plan would concentrate low-income, Hispanic students (WaPo, 3/20)

ARTS | S&R Foundation has announced the launch of their new pilot Studios Program at the Fillmore School. The program offers six months of free studio space to local D.C.-based artists working in a variety of disciplines, who will have the opportunity take part in a public exhibition if accepted into the program. The deadline for applications is April 6.

Today is one busy day! If you haven’t planted a tree by now, you’re already behind!

– Ciara

A conundrum for low-income parents returning to school

For low-income parents who have not completed high school, pursuing a GED can be challenging beyond getting reacquainted with the classroom experience or missing work; many parents must also deal with missing class to care for children on the road to creating a better economic future for their families. (Atlantic, 2/19)

About one in 10 low-income parents participate in education and training courses, according to a 2014 report by the Urban Institute. About half of those parents work while enrolled, creating a need for childcare.


Working parents often take classes in the evenings but childcare centers generally close before 6 p.m., leaving parents to find informal options, such as asking a family member to come over or dropping a child off with a neighbor.

Opinion: Economists have reported a rising rate in the deaths of white, less-educated Americans, along with a number of theories on the reasons behind the trend. A sociologist shares his own take on what may be contributing to the shift. (NYT, 2/22)

Strokes on the Rise Among Younger Adults (NPR, 2/22)

Event: In recent years, several studies have examined inequities in funding for arts organizations of color, and have offered different recommendations. On Friday, February 26, American University will hold a public colloquium on this issue and will connect recent reports to current practice and experience of cultural managers and artists. Learn more here.

Related: Last month, we highlighted a few of the big ideas from a recent convening of arts funders at WRAG to discuss strategies for advancing equity and diversity in the arts. (Daily, 1/11)

– Have you seen any of the eye-catching artwork at the McLean Metro Station? You can read up on the artist’s process for what is among the first of several public artworks that will go up along the Silver Line stations. (Fairfax Times, 2/18)

– New data from the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis finds that arts and cultural production contributed $704.2 billion to the U.S. economy in 2013 – a 32.5 percent boost since 1998. (National Endowment for the Arts, 2/16)

PHILANTHROPY | Use an Abundance Mentality to Streamline Foundation Processes (PhilanthroFiles, 2/19)

SOCIAL PROFITS | How can board chairs better impact the organizations they serve? Check out ten helpful, practical tips for board chairs to inspire and lead. (CompassPoint, 2/12)

Have you ever visited this nearby park? A surprising number of people in the region have not.

– Ciara


Expanding opportunities necessary to growth in Fairfax County

A recent analysis by PolicyLink and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity finds that inequities in income, employment, education and opportunity, are a hindrance to economic growth in Fairfax County. Though the county maintains its status as one of the most prosperous local jurisdictions, the report found that eliminating disparities will be necessary for continued economic growth – especially as demographics shift in the area. Patricia Mathews, WRAG board chair and president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Health Foundation, shared her thoughts on the study (NVHF, 8/10):

“If we don’t focus our attention on educating young people of color and making sure they are healthy, how will they thrive? How will they become the next wave of IT workers, public school teachers, and pharmacists?  And where will we be without that strong workforce?” said Patricia Mathews, President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Health Foundation (NVHF), which is partnering with a number of Fairfax County stakeholders to help bring attention to the report.


“Fairfax County is not alone—demographic shifts are taking place all across Northern Virginia,” said Ms. Mathews. “We hope this report spurs conversations and action across all sectors—from government officials and advocates to employers, city planners, nonprofits, and others. Making sure everyone has a chance at success is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” she added.

You can access the full report, “Equitable Growth Profile of Fairfax County,” here.

HOMELESSNESS/REGION | After a few delays a new homeless-services center is slated to open in Arlington County in late September. The center is expected to provide a number of offerings (InsideNoVa, 8/10):

The new facility “will be the first of its kind in the D.C. area, and is more than just a shelter – it will allow us to offer all our services under one roof, year-round, like meals, medical services, shelter and job training and, most importantly, will help us to move someone from homelessness to a home quickly,” Sibert said.

A January 2015 count of homeless across the region, conducted by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), found 239 in Arlington – both those living on the streets and those in shelters. The number was down 18 percent from a year before, the largest percentage decline among the nine jurisdictions taking part in the count.

Since 2011, the COG count of homeless has seen a 48-percent decline in Arlington, compared to a 2.2-percent decrease regionwide.

CSR | Are you a nonprofit with a great corporate partner? Or a business who is dedicated to improving the communities where you work? Nominations for the Washington Business Journal’s annual Corporate Citizenship Awards are due by Friday, September 11, 2015.

FOOD | Locally and nationwide, school gardens are teaching students not only how to eat healthy, but also some math, science, and business skills, too. (NPR, 8/10)

EDUCATION/YOUTH | An analysis by the Brookings Institution and data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that many of the states that have the fastest-growing youth populations are also producing some of the weakest outcomes for those youth. Maryland and Virginia were found to be among the 15 states producing the best outcomes for kids. (Atlantic, 8/9)

ARTS/DISTRICT | The District will be getting some new public art soon. Check out one location’s possible new mural designs. (WCP 8/10)

Watch how these artists turn trash from the ocean into impressive works of art.


Affordable housing crisis in every county in America

A new report from the Urban Institute finds that the amount of extremely low-income households has grown nationwide since 2000, while federal housing-assistance programs have not kept up with the need. In fact, according to the study, there is no county within the United States that currently has enough affordable housing for families in extreme poverty. (City Lab, 6/18)

New research from the Urban Institute shows that the supply of housing for extremely low-income families, which was already in short supply, is only declining. In 2013, just 28 of every 100 extremely low-income families could afford their rental homes. [That] figure is down from 37 of 100 in 2000 – a 25 percent decline over a little more than a decade.

Using data from the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, researchers built an interactive map to illustrate the nationwide reach of the problem. In no county in the U.S. does the supply of affordable housing meet the demand among extremely low-income households. (Families who made no more than 30 percent of an area’s median household income were considered “extremely low income.”)

You can find the interactive map from the Urban Institute here.

– Tomorrow morning, at the 2015 Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND) Annual Meeting, The Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group (GWHLG) will host a plenary session entitled Regional Strategies to Increase Affordable Housing Development and Preservation in the Greater Washington Area. GWHLG is comprised of nonprofit, public, philanthropic, and business leaders, and is convened by WRAG. You can follow the conversation tomorrow on Twitter using the hashtag #HANDAM2015. The event will also coincide with the release of a new report on how to collaborate and invest to solve the region’s affordable housing shortage by Rick Cohen, sponsored by Enterprise, Citi Foundation, and WRAG.

FINANCE/FOUNDATIONS | WRAG’s Director of Corporate Strategy, Katy Moore, discusses the two surprising things all foundation staff should know when it comes to excise tax rules – the topic of last week’s Foundation Finance Affinity Group meeting. (Daily, 6/22)

– Congratulations to WRAG members Capital One (#1) and MedImmune (#20) for being named top places to work in the DC region by The Washington Post!  (WaPo, 6/19)

– On July 23 at 8:00 am, the United Way of the National Capital Area (UWNCA) will hold their 2015 Annual Community Meeting and Nonprofit Expo at Catholic University of America. Anyone interested in learning about UWNCA, the nonprofit sector, or opportunities to learn and share with community networks should register here.

PHILANTHROPY | New Blog Examines Today’s Philanthropy by Comparing It With The Past (Chronicle, 6/19)

– D.C. has four new public art pieces to check out around the city. (WCP, 6/19)

Working Smarter – not Harder – when Advocating for the Arts (Artsblog, 6/18)

REGION | Higher Unemployment in Virginia (WBJ, 6/19)

The time a cat won an award for being a “Hero Dog.”

– Ciara

Improving our region through public art

– Yesterday, the Kojo Nnamdi Show featured a wide-ranging conversation on local public art and creative placemaking efforts, and how collaboration between government, artists, and community members is enhancing the quality of life in the region. (WAMU, 9/26)

– A National Endowment for the Arts survey released yesterday showed that arts participation among American adults has declined since 2008, particularly theater attendance.  (NY Times, 9/26) The article isn’t as bleak as the headline would suggest, however. Arts participation among Hispanics and African Americans has increased, and, while attendance at live performances may be declining, new technologies are allowing people to engage with art in new ways.

– The AARP Foundation has named Lisa Marsh Ryerson as its next president. She succeeds outgoing president, Jo Ann Jenkins. (AARP, 9/25) Congratulations, Lisa!

– The Washington Area Women’s Foundation has announced a new funding strategy and RFP focused on middle-school aged girls, which expands their work to improve the economic security of women and girls. More information available here. (WAWF, 9/26)

VETERANS | An area company has created an interactive video designed to help veterans learn how to better market their skill sets to make them more attractive to civilian employers. (WAMU, 9/20)

Related: A group of WRAG members recently met with an expert to learn more about the challenges that veterans sometimes face when transitioning from the military to civilian employment. Here’s what they learned. (Daily, 9/19)

– The print edition of the Post today has a special section on childhood obesity and various efforts around the country to address the issue:

What should doctors do to combat childhood obesity? (9/27)
Fighting obesity, one child at a time (9/27)
School cafeterias, vending machines trading sugar, fat for more healthful fare (9/27)

– Because of the high rates of heart disease and high blood pressure among county residents, a Prince George’s County Council member is proposing legislation that would require fast food restaurants to post the sodium content of their food. (WaPo, 9/27)

EDUCATION | D.C. education officials defend test-scoring decision (WaPo, 9/27)

THIS AGAIN?! | Surrounding jurisdictions develop shutdown game plans (WaPo, 9/27) If I were a federal employee, my game plan would include a lot of Scrabble.

There’s almost an endless number of examples of public art in this area, and a lot of it is really cool. But I certainly haven’t seen anything this cool yet.

– Rebekah