Tag: public schools

New report examines Northern Virginia’s disparities in life expectancies

A new report from the Northern Virginia Health Foundation and the Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Society and Health looks at the disparities in life expectancy among Northern Virginia’s richest and poorest residents. While the area often tops rankings for happiness, health, etc, many residents are falling behind based on factors like education, income, and race. (WaPo, 6/7)

In Fairfax County alone, life expectancy ranges by as much as 10 years between western Lorton and eastern Lorton census tracts separated by four miles. In western Lorton, where the median household income is $133,413 and 12 percent of the population is black, the life expectancy is 89. In eastern Lorton, where the median income is $77,901 and 37 percent of residents are black, life expectancy drops to 79, according to the report.


“It’s about city planning, zoning and transportation issues,” said Patricia Mathews, the president of the health foundation.

Read the full report, A Study in Contrasts: Why Life Expectancy Varies in Northern Virginia.

HOUSING | In their Matters@Hand thought leadership series sponsored by Enterprise Community Partners, HAND shines a spotlight on the Roadmap for the Region’s Future Economy and efforts toward regional collaboration on affordable housing. (Helping Hands Blog, 6/6)

– The U.S. Education Department has released the latest data from the Civil Rights Data Collection survey covering the 2013-2014 school year for more than 95,000 public schools. Check here for a quick glance at the numbers. (NPR, 6/7)

Related:  This data reveals deep racial inequities in the education system, including in how discipline is administered (for instance, that black preschoolers are 3.6 times more likely to be suspended than white preschoolers). Education funders are invited to join us for the next session in our Public Education Speaker Series on July 7, which will focus specifically on racial and gender disparities in school discipline and strategies for addressing them. More information can be found here.

Opinion: Two experts discuss how constant stress placed on children in poverty can take a toll on their mental and physical health, creating a need for better collaboration between schools and health providers. (WaPo, 6/6)

–  Homework Inequality: The Value of Having a Parent Around After School (Atlantic, 6/6)

WORKFORCE/LGBT | With more than 90 percent of transgender people experiencing some form of harassment in the workplace, the D.C. Office of Human Rights and the National LGBTQ Task Force have created a first-of-its-kind guide for employers for making work environments more accommodating. (WCP, 6/6)

SOCIAL PROFITS | The Center for Nonprofit Advancement is accepting nominations for the Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman 2016 EXCEL Award until Friday, July 15, at 5:00 pm. The award recognizes outstanding leadership among Washington-area social profit organization chief executives.

Quiz time! How much do  you know about Africa?

– Ciara

Report explores growth in women’s giving

The Daily will return on Tuesday, May 31. Enjoy the long weekend.

A new report by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) explores the growth in women’s giving, along with trends in the demographics and motivations of those who give. (Inside Philanthropy, 5/24)

WPI has released a study showing for the first time that women are motivated by personal experience to give to causes that benefit women and girls specifically.

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Well, it’s actually significant, useful information. Women’s tendency to donate money to specific causes based on experiences like having a child or discrimination suggests that philanthropy might take off in new directions as women become primary asset-holders in society and further increase their giving.

Inside Philanthropy recently highlighted the tremendous work and evolution of the Washington Area Women’s Foundation as they strive to improve the lives of women and girls in the Washington region. (Inside Philanthropy, 4/28)

– Report: The Tipped-Minimum Wage Leaves D.C. Women Behind (WCP, 5/24)

RACIAL EQUITY/YOUTH | In a follow up to their cover story investigating the views of American teenagers fifty years ago, Newsweek is back with another extensive look at the major social concerns of U.S. teens in 2016. According to their survey, “the most compelling findings show that race and discrimination are crucial issues for teens today.” (Newsweek, 5/2016)

HEALTHWhere Is All the Autism Funding? (Atlantic, 5/26)

TRANSIT | A major lack of investment in infrastructure is apparent in many ways lately – particularly in relation to aging public transit systems. Areas of the northeast continue to struggle with finding the resources to keep this vital component of many people’s lives efficient and safe. (NYT, 5/2016)

ARTS/EDUCATION | A growing number of educators in the District are looking toward integrating more of an arts focus in lessons in an effort to close the ongoing achievement gap among public schools. (USA Today, 5/25)

POVERTYHidden Camera Reveals How Little People Really Know About Poverty (HuffPo, 5/24)

Let’s say you really want to go to a museum, but you really don’t have the time to do that. Just look at these things and walk past everything else.

– 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

High cost of living biggest challenge facing millennials in the region today

A new report from American University explores some of the biggest challenges facing millennials in the region and how the area currently stacks up in tackling those issues. (WBJ, 1/13)

The “Greater Washington Index: Millennials” is not supposed to serve as a comprehensive survey but as business intelligence to craft policies and programs geared toward the millennial generation. Respondents were asked questions about the D.C. area related to transportation, crime, employment and nightlife, among other topics.

Overall, the report shows that D.C.-area millennials seem to be just as traffic-hating, salary-conscious, cost-of-living aware as any other generation. Just 9 percent of millennials surveyed described the area as an affordable place to live.

Click here to access the report, Greater Washington Index: Millennials.

IMMIGRATION | Amid recent news that the Department of Homeland Security would be ramping up deportation raids, advocates for undocumented immigrants and some local government officials are looking to ease fears of those who may be impacted. (DCist, 1/13)

HOUSING | Maryland’s foreclosure rate was among the highest in the U.S. in 2015 (WBJ, 1/14)

HOMELESSNESS/DISTRICT/LGBT | D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced $45,000 to Wanda Halston House and Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders to invest in the fight against LGBTQ youth homelessness. In the District, more than 300 people under the age of 24 are thought to be homeless, with 43 percent self-identifying as LGBTQ, according to census data from last summer. (WCP, 1/13)

ARTS | Grantmakers in the Arts discusses how funders can and should support ALAANA (African, Latino(a), Asian, Arab and Native American) organizations and artists, and critiques a few of the recommendations from the recent DeVos Institute of Arts Management report on diversity in the arts. (GIA, 1/13)

– Anacostia High School plans to open a new public safety academy this fall in a partnership with the Metropolitan Police Department and the DC Police Foundation. (ABC 7, 1/12)

–  Montgomery County Wants to Provide All Public School Students With Library Cards (Bethesda Magazine, 1/14)

Take a look at what is possibly the first-ever photograph of the White House taken 170 years ago.

– Ciara

When small debts become big problems

For an alarming number of African American families, debts – even relatively small debts – can trickle into an insurmountable problem that further contributes to a widening racial wealth gap. (PS Mag, 1/4)

The most recent federal survey in 2013 put the difference in net worth between the typical white and black family at $131,000. That’s a big number, but here’s an even more troubling statistic: About one-quarter of African-American families had less than $5 in reserve. Low-income whites had about $375.

Meet the new principal of D.C.’s first public all-boys high school in Deanwood, part of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Empowering Males of Color Initiative. (DCist, 1/5)

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

Survey: 11 of Loudoun’s 15 public high schools among state’s top 100 (Loudoun Times, 1/4)

VIRGINIA | A historic win for a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors may also be a sign of the continually changing generational and racial makeup of residents in one of the nation’s fastest growing counties. (Washingtonian, 1/4)

The Chronicle of Philanthropy introduces their list of 40 people under 40 you should be paying attention to as they spearhead innovative ways to solve problems. (Chronicle, 1/5) Congratulations to Trista Harris, president of WRAG’s colleague organization Minnesota Council on Foundations, for making the list!

– On Philanthropy: All investing is impact investing (News & Observer, 1/4)

– Despite significant advances in the treatment of HIV-positive people, activists and physicians still face struggles in addressing the social and economic challenges of more vulnerable individuals living with the virus. (Atlantic, 12/2015)

Even Insured Can Face Crushing Medical Debt, Study Finds (NYT, 1/5)

The fascinating science behind beards.

– Ciara


The numbers (and morals) behind developing affordable housing

new interactive tool available online shows how developers can, in fact, generate a profit by building affordable housing almost anywhere despite the commonly-held belief that this is not possible. Jennifer Bradley, founding director of the Center for Urban Innovation at the Aspen Institute (and WRAG’s business meeting speaker at our upcoming 2015 Annual Meeting) was a panelist at a recent summit that examined assumptions like this around affordable housing. (City Lab, 10/19)

It can feel like a mantra among private developers: Requirements by municipal governments to include affordable units in market-rate housing developments make those developments unprofitable, even unfeasible. It may be one of the most frequently repeated claims about housing in general. Can it possibly be right?

That’s the question that Jennifer Bradley, founding director of the Center for Urban Innovation at the Aspen Institute, posed during an afternoon session Monday at The Atlantic’s CityLab 2015 summit in London. As it turns out, it’s not a rhetorical question. Affordable housing isn’t a profit proposition. It’s a question of morals.

DC’s affordable housing might be saved through collaboration (Elevation DC, 10/20)

COMMUNITY/EVENTS | WRAG’s colleague organization, the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, has generously invited WRAG member funders to participate in their upcoming program, Vulnerable Immigrants in Maryland: Responding to Unaccompanied Children and Undocumented Adults on Tuesday, October 27 at 2:00 pm. Click here for details on how to attend in person or register to join remotely.

ENVIRONMENTBig Solar Plans for Montgomery County (WBJ, 10/20)

– Newly-released numbers point to a four percent increase in graduation rates for D.C. public school students who graduated within four years, up from the 2013-14 school year. (DCist, 10/19)

– In a new study measuring the efforts of high schools across the U.S. in teaching financial literacy, Virginia was named one of only five states to receive an “A” grade. Maryland received a “B”, while D.C. came away with an “F”.  (WBJ, 10/20)

WORKFORCE | Survey: Half Of Food Workers Go To Work Sick Because They Have To (NPR, 10/19)

SOCIAL PROFITS | The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation invites proposals from youth-serving social profit organizations in the Greater Washington region for its Good Neighbor Grant program, which offers one-time grants of $10,000 to $35,000. The application deadline is December 3, 2015. Click here for more information.

ECONOMY/VIRGINIA | Check out which Virginia county is becoming a hub for startups. (Inc., 10/15)

When you come across an old-timey photo at a garage sale or junk store, you buy it!

– Ciara

New study a ‘wake up call’ for funders of black and Latino arts groups

The University of Maryland’s DeVos Institute of Arts Management has released a new national study on funding for African American and Latino arts groups. The report, with its controversial findings, may serve as a ‘wake up call’ to some arts funders (LA Times, 10/12):

Sending “a wake-up call” to arts donors, a new national study paints a bleak economic picture of African American and Latino nonprofit museums and performing arts companies and suggests that donors may have to let weaker organizations wither so that the strongest ones can grow.

Funders may need to support “a limited number of organizations,” says the report by the University of Maryland’s DeVos Institute of Arts Management, “with larger grants to a smaller cohort that can manage themselves effectively, make the best art, and have the biggest impact on their communities.”

– Take a glimpse at the highly anticipated expansion of the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Center – also known as THEARC – scheduled to break ground later this month. Big plans are in place for the facility. (WBJ, 10/6)

Arlington County proposes speeding up its exit from the Artisphere (WBJ, 10/12)

–  CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has announced that it will award $3 million to social profit organizations and government organizations in the region to develop new, innovative telemedicine programs that improve access to healthcare. (WBJ, 10/12)

– Grantmakers for Effective Organizations has released a new publication, The Source Codes of Foundation Culture, a resource exploring the organizational culture of foundations and what it takes to modify the values and practices deeply ingrained in their work. (GEO, 10/8)

– The Foley Hoag Foundation is now accepting applications from qualified social profit organizations located in Washington, D.C. through an invitation-only process. The foundation seeks help in identifying those organizations who may be a good fit. Guidelines focus on eliminating inequality in all forms and on small grassroots organizations. You can find more information on the guidelines  here.

– A study commissioned by the Montgomery County Board of Education examines how the county’s school system has served students with specials needs and their parents. According to the report, further staff training, more psychologists, and greater efforts to educate parents on complex processes will be necessary to bring the high-performing schools to where they need to be. (WaPo, 10/9)

– In the District, a growing number of parents are opting out of traditional schooling in favor of home-schooling, with the number of registered home-schooling families up by a third over the past two years. (WaPo, 10/10)

A Discouraging Portrait of America’s Urban Public Schools (City Lab, 10/9)

SOCIAL INNOVATION | Read how financial institution Goldman Sachs saw success while dabbling in social impact bonds with an investment in 100 Utah preschoolers. (NYT, 10/7)

All aboard!

– Ciara 

A first-ever count of homeless D.C. youth

In an effort to better serve the city’s full homeless population, the District is conducting its first-ever count of homeless youth. The city currently has a goal of ending youth homelessness by the year 2020. (WAMU, 8/18)

The week-long census kicked off Monday and runs through Aug. 25. Service providers, city agencies and even some businesses are taking part in the count, which city officials say will help bring to light a population that isn’t often included in other homeless counts.


The District already takes part in an annual count of its homeless population. In May, the count revealed that on any given night, over 7,200 residents live on the street or in shelters throughout the city.

– A number of school districts in Maryland expect to see record spikes in public school enrollment this year. Montgomery County, in particular, is preparing for the surge in students (WaPo, 8/18):

In Montgomery, the state’s fastest-growing school system, the total increase in students since 2007 would be more than 18,700 if this year’s projections bear out. Last school year, the county’s enrollment climbed by 2,563 students.

Singe Moms and Welfare Woes: A Higher-Education Dilemma (Atlantic, 8/18)

ECONOMY/HOUSING | The District May Be Heading Towards Record High Residential Construction (District Measured, 8/18)

POVERTY | Stories about the struggles of being poor often go viral or are included in the opinion pages of major news outlets, but very few of them are written by individuals who have actually experienced poverty firsthand. Recently, a famed author took a look at just why these pieces typically come from more affluent writers. (HuffPo, 8/17)

Can you find these lesser-known monuments on a map?

– Ciara

D.C.’s new housing chief discusses homelessness strategy

Family homelessness has persisted as a major issue in the District. Washington City Paper recently sat down with Polly Donaldson, newly appointed head of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), to discuss how the agency plans to take a leading role in housing the homeless (WCP, 5/15):

[…] Polly Donaldson, tapped to head the Department of Housing and Community Development, most recently led the nonprofit Transitional Housing Corporation, which provides housing and services to hundreds of homeless families each year.

DHCD isn’t directly responsible for serving homeless residents. But with its affordable-housing duties and Donaldson’s homeless-services background, the agency is clearly orienting itself toward tackling the homeless crisis.


“The only way out of a shelter-based system that says shelter is where you’re going to be, is to create other housing opportunities. And we’ve got to be part of the solution.”

– DC Fiscal Policy Institute points to Medicaid as one way to boost permanent supportive housing in the District. (DCFPI, 5/15)

FOOD | Low-income neighborhoods across America are often home to food desserts. Though many stores that offer healthy foods struggle to stay open in hard-hit communities, some stores have found that a more inclusive approach has helped them stay afloat. (NPR, 5/14)

ENVIRONMENT | Could a new FBI headquarters in Greenbelt actually help the Anacostia River? (WaPo, 5/14)

EDUCATION | The Stark Inequality of U.S. Public Schools, Mapped (City Lab, 5/14)

For some odd reason my vacation photos never turn out this good

– Ciara