Tag: quarterly report

Friday roundup – December 14 through December 18, 2015

The Daily WRAG will return on Monday, January 4. We hope you enjoy the holiday season!

– WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland presented her fourth quarterly report to the community, and shared 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)

– Videos from WRAG’s 2015 Annual Meeting, “Philanthropy All In,” 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.

– Mayor names Busboys and Poets owner Andy Shallal to key jobs post (WaPo, 12/14)

– In the first part of their series on housing for D.C. residents living with HIV, Washington City Paper explored how housing resources for homeless, HIV-positive individuals can be scarce. (WCP, 12/14)

Opinion: Why Are So Many Black Women Dying of AIDS? (NYT, 12/11)

– A new Census report looked at the demographics of Metro-accessible neighborhoods in the Greater Washington region and found that those who live near stations are more likely to be educated, young, and white. (WaPo, 12/17)


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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How much do you know about Star Wars?

– Ciara

Making a Difference | A Fourth Quarter Report to the Community

by Tamara Lucas Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

In my third quarter report to the community, I referenced our mission statement. I’d like to do that again: “The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers promotes increased, effective and responsible philanthropy to improve the health and vitality of the region and all who live here.” Certainly, it’s an appropriate and laudable mission statement. But, at the end of the day, how do we know we’re succeeding? This quarter, our work focused on outcomes and our impact in the community.

Taproot Foundation – Earlier this year, WRAG applied for a Taproot Foundation grant because we wanted to know if we were making a difference. Were we living up to our mission statement? If you don’t know the Taproot Foundation, it is an entity that utilizes coordinated, pro bono services from the local corporate community to address the needs of the social profit sector. Via a comprehensive, six-month assessment, Taproot determined that the answer is “yes.”  WRAG’s value and impact rests in what Taproot calls our “pillars of value and impact:” 1) WRAG as a convener; 2) WRAG as a source of knowledge and information; 3) WRAG as the voice of philanthropy in the region; and, 4) WRAG as a promoter of collaboration and relationships.

Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility – This quarter, the second class graduated from our joint program with Johns Hopkins University. While already effective in their corporate responsibility work, the graduates acknowledged that participation in this year-long course made them even stronger in their positions. That’s exactly what we hoped would happen. Good news for anyone in the corporate community looking to  improve their work in CSR: there is still space in the 2016 class.

Get on the Map –Through a partnership between the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and the Foundation Center, WRAG is now able to map the philanthropic investments of our membership. Launched this quarter, this mapping tool enables WRAG members to know who else is investing in a certain issue, in a certain geographic area, or to a certain social profit organization. Better information will lead to better coordinated investments. Just an FYI: this tool is available on our website only to WRAG members.

WRAG’s 2015 Annual Meeting – “Philanthropy All In” was the theme for this year’s annual meeting. The immediate feedback suggests that the business meeting session on The Metropolitan Revolution and regional cooperation, followed by the luncheon presentation, “The House that Racism Built,” gave the sold-out audience lots of food for thought. If you weren’t able to attend, video from the sessions will be available soon. After you watch Dr. David Williams’ presentation on racism, look out for an artistic element that powerfully underscores his message.

Is WRAG making a difference in the community? We think so, and hope you do, too.


Addressing some of the real issues that plague our region | A third quarter report to the community

by Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

WRAG’s mission statement reads, “The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers promotes increased, effective and responsible philanthropy to improve the health and vitality of the region and all who live here.” In other words, we utilize the tool of philanthropy to make our region better. There are multiple challenges that plague our region, multiple areas on which we might focus. WRAG has made the decision to focus on housing, education, and employment, and now we are adding the overarching issue of racism and racial equity to this listing.

Affordable housing – In 2011, the WRAG Board of Directors voted unanimously to concentrate a large segment of our work on this issue. Without question, there is a momentum building in our region – as evidenced by the powerful panel of leaders that convened in June to discuss this topic at the annual conference of the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers. This session was coordinated by the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group, a collective that WRAG was instrumental in establishing. And just last month, Leadership Greater Washington announced that affordable housing will be its priority in 2015-2016. We believe that WRAG’s voice has been important in moving this conversation and soon, we will announce a new initiative that we anticipate will have even greater impact.

Racism/Racial Equity – Since the death of Michael Brown in August 2014, the country has been challenged to look at the issues of racism/racial equity.  Not just in other parts of the country, but also in our region, the impact of racial inequity and racism surround us in ways that are sometimes open and easily seen, and at other times are invisible to many. We believe that philanthropy must elevate a conversation on this topic. A group of WRAG members is currently discussing how to move forward on this important topic. But for now, as part of that elevation, Dr. David Williams will speak on ”The House that Racism Built” on  November 19th at WRAG’s Annual Meeting. More exciting announcements on this work will be forthcoming later this year.

Education – Several years ago, the longstanding WRAG Public Education Working Group ended due to a lack of funding. I am delighted that Natalie Wexler of the Omega Foundation has expressed interest in rekindling this group. This month, a very preliminary meeting was held with a small group of interested WRAG members. Next month, that group will grow and a learning agenda for education funders will be developed to be launched in 2016.

Disadvantaged Youth – In September, Dr. Karl Alexander was WRAG’s Brightest Minds presenter. A Johns Hopkins sociologist, he studied almost 800 disadvantaged youth in Baltimore over 25 years. His research, presented in his book, The Long Shadow, is sobering with its message that, essentially, where we start in life is where we’ll finish.  To change that, he urged the philanthropic community to focus its investments on early education, summer learning programs, and keeping kids in school.

Employment/Economic Empowerment – Finally, WRAG was a part of a group that hosted a briefing on the Community Wealth Building Initiative in the spring. Since that conversation, interest is evolving around ways to grow and invest in the first business, the Clean Water Management Group. Also other ideas are emerging to morph the project in directions that respect both its core of employee ownership and its attachment to an anchor institution, while still looking at the work with new eyes.


P.S. WRAG’s third quarter report would not be complete without acknowledging that the 2015-2016 cohort of Philanthropy Fellows began their fellowships with WRAG members this month!

You can catch up on the first and second quarter reports here.

Promoting effective philanthropy for Greater Washington | A second quarter report to the community

By Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

A few years ago, there was a lot of talk in the social profit sector about moving from good to great. Some in that sector may be surprised to learn that folks in philanthropy have been having a similar conversation. What does it take to ensure effective philanthropy? How can we ensure that funds are being invested in the best way to truly improve the region?

So, for the second quarter of 2015, WRAG took “promoting effective philanthropy” as our focus:

WRAG’s “Fundamentals of CSR” seminar, held in April, aimed to promote effective partnerships between corporate funders and the region’s social profit community. Our belief was that corporate philanthropy’s impact would be strengthened by having community partners who better understood the unique philanthropic perspective of corporations. Over 50 members of the local social profit community participated in this very well-received workshop and told us that their knowledge about CSR improved from an average of 4.8 on a 1-10 scale before the seminar, to 7.9 by the end of the two-day seminar. Great. Now, we have to wait a bit to see if that knowledge gain makes a difference.

In May, Community Wealth Building took front and center as we hosted – along with the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, the Consumer Health Foundation, and City First Enterprises – the first community update on this initiative. The standing-room-only audience was eager to learn the status of the first business launched under the community wealth building umbrella, and to consider if they saw a place for themselves in this initiative. Many did! So, after several years of planning, community wealth building is taking off in our region. Great? I sure think so.

Next, affordable housing. We all know the current state of this as a crisis in our region. In May, WRAG and Enterprise Community Partners collaborated to present to the Federal City Council on a new funding pool that we are establishing for developers of affordable housing units. It will provide these developers with access to low interest bridge loans. This is exciting and innovative work for WRAG, and is creating buzz as we move into the impact investing arena. Stay tuned for an announcement next month about how you can be involved in this effort, too. It’s not just for institutional philanthropists. We can all play a role in enabling affordable housing in our region. Definitely a move from good (info gathering) –> to great (taking action and making a difference).

And, last, but definitely not least, what will it take to move the social profit sector in Loudoun County from good to great? More communication across sectors and more targeted and increased philanthropic investments. To get there, WRAG hosted our first philanthropy conference in Loudoun County. Over 100 people attended, including 40 funders, along with representatives of social profit organizations and local government. Now that interest in the county has been kindled, the next step is a meeting this summer to really talk about how to move from interest to action.

There will be no lazy, hazy days of summer at WRAG. Moving from good to great takes time, energy, and focus. We’re glad to play a part with philanthropy in our region. Happy summer everyone!

You can read Tamara’s first quarter report to the community about growing philanthropy in our region here

Growing philanthropy in our region | A first quarter report to the community

by Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

“Why aren’t there more national funders investing in our region?”

“Who else is funding XXX?  I need to know so we can coordinate better.”

“I can’t be the primary funder forever.  YYY needs more funding partners.”

At WRAG, we hear these comments and others like them all of the time from our members. This quarter “growing philanthropy in the region” has become our focus.

Most of the time, at WRAG, we wear the hat of the convener, or the voice of philanthropy, or the information aggregator.  For the first quarter of 2015, we have elevated another aspect of our work – fund developer. I know that this isn’t a descriptor that you typically associate with WRAG, but it is central to our role. Even our mission statement says that in addition to promoting effective and responsible philanthropy, we are “to increase philanthropy in the region.”   So, we’ve taken a number of new steps this quarter to do just that.

In January, Dr. Sherece West-Scantlebury, CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation in Arkansas, spoke at WRAG’s CEO Coffee and Conversation series.  Why?  Because Sherece had done a phenomenal job of bringing national funders into Arkansas, a state that, like the Greater Washington region, was rarely the pilot site of any major national initiatives.  We wanted to learn how she and her colleagues had managed to bring in millions in new revenue to social profits located in Arkansas in a relatively short period of time.  We heard her message of bold, coordinated action. Now a group of WRAG members is exploring how we might move forward in a similar way in our backyard.

In February, we launched the Get on the Map campaign, an effort to gather data on who is giving to which social profits in our region. Why? On the surface, this may appear to be a simple data mapping project.  It is that, of course, but it is also a means of assessing where investments are not being made in the region, and of providing a platform that might lead to better coordination of giving — a service that the WRAG community has wanted for years.

This month, we announced a new WRAG initiative, a two-day workshop on the Fundamentals of Corporate Social Responsibility.  Why?  Because we know that every funder and every social profit organization – both grantor and grantee – wants to expand the funding pool.  Through this workshop, we hope to help the local social profit sector better understand the constraints and opportunities that rest in the corporate community.  This knowledge will lead to more focused, appropriate proposals and to better partnerships to address the overall needs of the region.

And, it doesn’t stop there. In May, WRAG will be shining a spotlight on the needs of Loudoun County, just as we did years ago on Prince George’s County. Why? To showcase a part of our region that needs  greater philanthropic investment.  Many believe that WRAG’s role made a difference in Prince George’s. Now we hope to do the same thing in Loudoun.

It’s springtime. The seeds are being planted.  You’ll know when they bear fruit!