Tag: Rachel Tappis

Friday roundup – Feb. 16 through Feb. 20, 2015

– Rachel Tappis, the associate director of community impact for The Advisory Board Company, gave us some insight into what she has learned so far as a participant in the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility, and why she can’t wait for the next session. (Daily, 2/19)

– The Washington Business Journal features a profile of each of this year’s Minority Business Leader Awards honorees. Congratulations to Rosie Allen-Herring of United Way of the National Capital Area, Terri Copeland of PNC, and WRAG Board member, Debbi Jarvis of Pepco, on a well-deserved honor! (WBJ, 2/20)

– In her latest post, WRAG president Tamara Copeland shared some great news concerning the Community Wealth Building Initiative (Daily, 2/18)

High-poverty schools need better teachers, but getting them there won’t be easy (GGW, 2/20)

– A new map was released showing the changes in reading proficiency for third graders in the District from 2007-2014 (WCP, 2/19)

– Upon his departure from Montgomery County Public Schools, former Superintendent Joshua Starr gave his thoughts on his time with the district in this exit interview. (WAMU, 2/15)

Metro failed to notify fire officials that radio alarms weren’t working (WaPo, 2/19)

– A government advisory committee has developed new recommendations for American diets that includes eating less processed and red meats to reduce the negative impact on the environment. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Agriculture Department may use the recommendations to inform the next version of their Dietary Guidelines later in the year. (WaPo, 2/19)

Maryland Environmentalists Want to Get Serious About Rising Sea Levels (WAMU, 2/19)

Brown Bag Discussion: Financial Capability, Financial Literacy, and Economic Asset Building (WRAG members)
Monday, February 23, 2015  12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Funders’ Roundtable of Montgomery County: Investing in Our Neighbors With Special Needs from Cradle to Career (The Funders’ Roundtable is a networking group exclusively for donors, foundations, and companies interested in giving in Montgomery County, MD)
Thursday, February 26, 2015  12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Find out who police in one city have issued a warrant for in connection with the cold weather. 

– Ciara


Disparities follow many into retirement

We hear a lot of talk about racial wealth disparities among America’s current workforce, but another, less-buzzed about piece of the puzzle is the racial retirement savings gap that is leaving many aging Americans without a safety net. (WaPo, 2/18)

White families had over $100,000 more in average liquid retirement savings in 2013 than African American and Hispanic families, according to an analysis done by the Urban Institute, which released a series of charts illustrating wealth inequality in America. That difference has quadrupled since 1989, when white families had $25,000 more in average retirement savings than minorities.

In terms of ratios, white families went from having five times the average savings held by minorities, to having between seven and 11 times the average amount.

CSR | Rachel Tappis, associate director of community impact at The Advisory Board Company and current Institute of CSR participant, shares why she is already excited for session two in March! (Daily, 2/19)

HOMELESSNESS | Opinion: The New York Times feature, “Room for Debate,” examines multiple approaches to tackling the issue of homelessness through the eyes of leaders and researchers in the field. Here, you can read the perspectives of each debater on how best to approach homeless services. (NYT, 2/19)

More cities have adopted a homeless policy which might seem like common sense – give homeless people housing. Proponents say it saves money over time and is more humane. Opponents call it a naive approach to a complicated problem, which also costs too much.

Is giving homeless people homes more effective and sensible than making them stay in shelters or on the street?

– The Montgomery County Planning Board unanimously voted to bring a 21-unit transitional housing project to Silver Spring, MD. (Gazette, 2/19)

– The District’s Office of GLBT Affairs (newly retitled as the Office of LGBT Affairs), the D.C. Department of Health, along with the help of a private research organization, are joining forces to conduct a comprehensive health survey that seeks to inform health advocacy initiatives geared toward the LBGT community. For the first time, data will also be collected on transgender individuals. (Daily, 1/23 and Washington Blade, 2/18)

Why LGBTQ Seniors Need a Housing Strategy of Their Own (CityLab, 2/18)

– The end of third grade is an integral benchmark for future student success in math and reading. For that reason, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and DC Action for Children’s DC KIDS COUNT project takes a look at the District’s neighborhoods where third graders made the largest gains in reading between 2007 and 2014, and the areas that saw the largest decline. (WCP, 2/19)

– Nation’s high school graduation rate ticks up for second year in a row (WaPo, 2/12) You can also see the 2012 graduation rates for the region.

PHILANTHROPY/NONPROFITS | Grantmakers for Effective Organizations has released their new digital publication, Strengthening Nonprofit Capacity, with guidance for funders on how to design an impactful approach customized to their grantees. (GEO, 2/5)

The Academy Awards are coming up! Someone has sifted through each of this year’s nominations to find out what’s worth watching so you don’t have to. Or maybe you should just watch them all. It’ll be far too cold to go outside anytime soon anyway!

– Ciara

Exploring the Business of Corporate Social Responsibility

by Rachel Tappis
Associate Director of Community Impact
The Advisory Board Company

When I received my acceptance to the 2015 class of the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility, I was thrilled. Incredible guest speakers, classmates from well-known companies, compelling and substantial subject matter, all led by highly-respected faculty members? Sign me up!

CSR program managers often work in small teams, and it’s rare that fellow employees outside of our departments truly understand the challenges we’re charged with in our roles. The opportunity to spend eight full days over a year immersed in the theory behind what we do, and to come away with practical, applicable steps to heighten our impact, is a luxury I was eagerly anticipating.

We began our year of learning in January with “The Business of CSR,” led by the incredible Tim McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. It’s difficult to adequately sum up the value we derived from our first session, but below are the major takeaways that – one month removed – I can say have truly impacted the way I approach my daily work and the broader strategy behind our program direction:

  • Remember the why: Lead faculty member Tim McClimon’s review of the evolution of CSR, as well as the major trends in the field over the past several years, allowed our class to revisit the foundation on which our programs are built and re-center ourselves in the goal of what we do and the potential for what we can accomplish.
  • Go after your greatest challenge: CSR practitioners – especially those who work in small teams – may not always have the opportunity to brainstorm creative solutions to problems with colleagues who hold different perspectives and experiences. The opportunity to do this with our CSR Institute peers was tremendously helpful in the moment, and comforting because we were beginning to establish a terrific network of smart, passionate colleagues from whom we could seek advice and feedback in the future.
  • Take risks: Michael Smith, special assistant to the president on the My Brothers’ Keeper Initiative, visited from the White House and encouraged us to “Be Fearless” in our approach to generating social impact. The underlying theme amongst the five tenets he shared – make big bets, experiment early and often, make failure matter, reach beyond your bubble, and let urgency conquer fear – is that sticking with the status quo won’t move the needle to the magnitude needed.
  • Make a compelling business case: Rose Kirk, president of the Verizon Foundation gave great insight on building the business case for CSR, hitting specifically on how to engender critical leadership buy-in and how to evaluate the integration of CSR focus along various business lines. Dane Smith, managing director of FSG also reviewed the concept of shared value, which allowed all of us to examine our program interventions under the lens of how they further the business aims of our organizations alongside social impact.
  • Build mutually beneficial partnerships: Evan Hochberg, chief strategy officer from United Way Worldwide, delved into nonprofit relationships and revealed his secret sauce for building impactful partnerships that last – building the foundation on shared goals, creating an equal interest in assets, and ensuring transparency and effective account management.
  • Learn from past successes: Reviewing case studies of successful CSR and shared value integration helped to put the principles we discussed into a day-to-day context that, while different from those we each operate in, gave further depth to the types of challenges we’ve each faced from a logistical and management perspective, and demonstrated that they are not insurmountable.

Between the immense value I derived from the first session and the extent to which I’ve enjoyed keeping up with my classmates over the past month, it goes without saying that I can’t wait for our second session in March!