Tag: Smithsonian

Friday roundup – May 9 through May 13, 2016

– In a letter to the editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland called on organizations to talk about racism, and reflected on how the topic of diversity is sometimes used to deflect deeper conversations about race and racism in society. (Chronicle, 5/12).

 DCAYA Senior Policy Analyst Joseph Gavrilovich discussed 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)

– The D.C. Office of Planning recently announced a public art initiative called Crossingthe 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)

– A first look inside the Smithsonian’s African American museum: Stunning views, grand scale (WaPo, 5/10)

Associate Director | Arabella Advisors

Director, Corporate Philanthropy | Council on Foundations
Summer Internship | Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
Associate | Innovation Network, Inc.
Research Assistant | Innovation Network, Inc.
D.C. PrEP for Women Project Coordinator | Washington AIDS Partnership
Communications and Development Associate | Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing

Visit WRAG’s Job Board for more of the latest job openings in the region’s social sector.

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 colors can make us better readers.

– Ciara

Moving on too soon?

In part two of their in-depth series on housing for HIV-positive residents in D.C., Washington City Paper explores how, after years of major federal and philanthropic funding to support successful initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS in the District, many of those sources are beginning to move toward funding other urgent causes with the false belief that the problem has been solved (WCP, 3/4):

Altogether, the slowed trickle of public and private funds out of the city has spurred concern among advocates and city officials alike. They worry that decreasing funds for HIV initiatives will sacrifice the progress that’s already been made, and that the cuts will take effect just as D.C. hits its stride in patient care.

Channing Wickham, executive director of Washington AIDS Partnership (WAP), who is quoted throughout the article due to WAP’s continued leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the District, had this to say:

I look forward to the day when the Washington AIDS Partnership can close its doors and declare victory. Until then, I appreciate the local and national funders who participate in our funding collaborative, and encourage funders who haven’t gotten involved or who have moved on to join in our life-saving work.”

– In her latest blog post, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland further explores the challenges many social profit organizations face when funders decrease giving in a particular issue area. (Daily, 3/7)

HOUSING | The Region Forward Coalition shares details of their first meeting of the year, at which WRAG vice president Gretchen Greiner-Lott presented Our Region, Your Investment, alongside Enterprise Community Loan Fund, as a part of the solution to the Greater Washington region’s affordable housing crisis. (Region Forward, 3/2)

FOOD/ENVIRONMENT | On Saturday, March 19 at American University, Farming for the Future will debut new films at this year’s D.C. Environmental Film Festival. Three of the films were done by the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University, with grant support from the D.C. office of Prince Charitable Trusts. The films include the premiere of The Culture of Collards, featuring culinary historian Michael Twitty; Gail Taylor, owner of Three Part Harmony Farm in Northeast D.C.; and Lola Bloom, Rebecca Lemos, and young people from City Blossoms, an urban farm/youth agricultural program in D.C. Reservations are requested to this popular event. Click here for additional information and to RSVP.

EDUCATION | A new documentary debuting this month, Southeast 67, follows the stories of 67 students from the District’s Anacostia neighborhood who were offered free college tuition as seventh-graders in 1988. Stewart Bainum, Sr.  and Eugene Lang (trustee of the Eugene M. Lang Foundation) were instrumental in establishing the program, as part of the I Have a Dream Foundation. (WaPo, 3/6)

HOMELESSNESS/DISTRICT | In Georgetown, the homeless can be hidden amid the million-dollar homes (WaPo, 3/6)

TRANSIT/MARYLAND | Here’s a look at what may be in store for the forthcoming Purple Line. (WTOP, 3/4)

ARTS | Before Smithsonian’s opening, smaller African American museums grapple with a behemoth in D.C. (WaPo, 3/2)

– The Coalition for Smarter Growth has an opening for a Development Manager.

– Flamboyan Foundation is seeking a Program Assistant.

A reporter once declared this the worst place to live in America. Now, he’s moving there.

– Ciara

A quarter of D.C. students ‘on track’ for college and careers

According to newly-released results from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams in English and math administered last spring, just a quarter of D.C. public and charter schools’ third-eighth graders are considered “on track” for college and careers. The results confirm an achievement gap that persists well into high school and beyond. (WaPo, 11/30)

White students had a proficiency rate of 79 percent in English and 70 percent in math. For Hispanic students, the proficiency rate was 21 percent in English and 22 percent in math. Black students had a 17 percent proficiency rate in both English and math.


The achievement gap also was stark in high school, with 52 percent of white students scoring proficient or better on the geometry test, compared with 8 percent of Hispanic students and 4 percent of black students. Eighty-two percent of white students met the college-ready target in English, compared with 25 percent of Hispanic students and 20 percent of black students.

When school, county officials meet in Fairfax, talk is all about budget cuts (WaPo, 11/24)

– The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has announced a new, long-term Philanthropy Initiative and display titled “Giving In America,” providing a look at how philanthropy has shaped American culture throughout the years. The announcement was made during the Smithsonian’s first annual philanthropy symposium, and coincides with today’s international day of giving, known as #GivingTuesday. (PR Newswire, 12/1)

– Opinion: As climate change continues to be a hot-button issue in the U.S. and worldwide, some foundations like the MacArthur Foundation and the Robertson Foundation are ramping up efforts to support a national climate and clean energy plan, and are urging other organizations to do the same. (Chronicle, 11/30) *Warning: This post contains a graphic image.

ARTS & HUMANITIES | Ever wonder what it might be like to play alongside the Philadelphia Orchestra? Thanks to the Google Cultural Institute and participating arts organizations, experiences like these are available to a broad audience through 360-degree videos that place you right in the midst of stunning performing and visual arts. (NYT, 12/1)

– In honor of #WorldAIDSDay, here are 7 facts about where the world stands on HIV/AIDS today. (USA Today, 12/1)

– New Diabetes Cases, at Long Last, Begin to Fall in the United States (NYT, 12/1)

Get out of here, Daylight Savings Time. Or maybe we should all just head to Hawaii?

– Ciara


A year later, seeking a solution to growing homelessness in the District

A year after the disappearance of Relisha Rudd from the shelter at the former D.C. General Hospital uncovered a number of problems at the facility, the city is finding that the continuing growth of homeless families in the area has no simple solution. (WaPo, 3/8)

More recently, city officials have said some changes have been made at D.C. General, such as additional case managers, extra police patrols, a new playground and improved building maintenance.

In addition, some are concerned that the city is creating a new D.C. General as it deals with a surge in homelessness this winter by sheltering several hundred families at hotels on a run-down strip of New York Avenue in Northeast Washington with little support or oversight. Another Relisha [Rudd], they say, could easily fall through the cracks.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | David Bowers of Enterprise Community Partners spoke on the WPFW’s Business Matters show this morning on the housing affordability crisis affecting the city. You can listen to the audio from the interview here. (WPFW, 3/9 [at the 4:30 minute mark])

ARTS & HUMANITIES | Although construction is behind schedule, supporters remain optimistic about the forthcoming National Museum of African American History and Culture that will be the Smithsonian Institution’s 19th museum. (WaPo, 3/6)

Related: In 2013, Dr. Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, spoke to our community about the enduring relevance of history to social change efforts today. (Daily, October, 2013)

Related: WRAG president Tamara Copeland also recently touched on the importance of understanding black history to move toward social justice in today’s society. (Daily, 2/2)

PHILANTHROPY | In a newly-released report on the compensation and demographics of foundation staff, the Council on Foundations found that salary increases for program officers and chief executives slightly outpaced inflation since the recession. The study also found that, with more than 40 percent of foundation employees over the age of 50, significant changes in leadership may soon be on the horizon. (Chronicle, 3/5)

TRANSIT | Transportation chief asks if troubled District streetcar system can be saved (WaPo, 3/8)

– Montgomery County leads the country’s large urban school districts in graduation rates for black male students. According to reports, in 2012 three out of every four black male students in the district had earned a high school diploma. (Gazette, 3/4)

– A new report finds that more than half of the District’s high school students were considered chronically truant during the 2013-2014 academic year. A student must accumulate 10 or more unexcused absences in order to be found chronically truant. (WaPo, 3/9)

Opinion: Don’t trust complaints that schools are too rigorous for low-income students (WaPo, 3/8)

DISTRICT | D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser discusses her plans and goals for expanding and supporting the District’s middle-class residents amid a rising wealth gap. (WBJ, 3/5)

WORKFORCE | What 27 Weeks of Unemployment Does to the American Worker (Atlantic, 3/6)

Hopefully, the brutal winter weather is long gone….but, while it’s still fresh in our memories, this must be addressed! Where do you stand?

– Ciara

School-based health centers emerging in D.C. schools

A growing number of schools around the country are offering school-based health centers that provide a broad range of medical services to their student body. By offering healthcare services that may have once caused a student to miss school, and being a trusted source for students’ most confidential concerns, school-based health centers are also working to keep students in school. (Elevation DC, 10/20)

These centers, in several D.C. public high schools, provide a full range of health services from treatments for the common cold, headaches and asthma, administer vision and hearing screenings, and help students stay up to date on immunizations and physicals. Some centers even have full dental laboratories.


In addition to keeping students’ health intact, the most fundamental aspect of the centers is their ability to keep students’ heads in the books.

COMMUNITY | Social Innovation Fund leader, Michael Smith, has been named as director of the “My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.” (Chronicle, 10/21)

A big part of his job, Mr. Smith says, will be to “expand the tent” and attract more foundations and corporations to support education and job-training programs and efforts to keep young minority males from being incarcerated.

– Yesterday,officials in D.C. opened a new facility called the Youth Reengagement Center, specifically geared toward reconnecting individuals who have dropped out of school with centralized services to keep them from falling into poverty. (WaPo, 10/20)

Unlocking Opportunities: Using Schools as Community Hubs for Students and Families (DCFPI, 10/21)

PHILANTHROPY | The Center for Effective Philanthropy recently released their report, “Hearing from Those We Seek to Help: Nonprofit Practices and Perspectives in Beneficiary Feedback.” One interesting trend that emerged in the data is that many nonprofit leaders believed that most funders did not have a deep understanding of their intended beneficiaries’ needs which is often reflected in their funding priorities and programmatic strategies. (CEP, 10/2014)

ARTS | Smithsonian Aims to Raise $1.5B to improve museums (NBC Washington, 10/21)

NONPROFITS | C. Fox Communications, a strategic communications company, is accepting applications for the fifth installment of theiinspired thought (or it, for short) Award–worth up to $50,000 in pro bono communications services for eligible nonprofits. Nonprofit organizations can apply for themselves, or nominate a worthy organization. Find out more here.   

Marketers use a lot of tools to get you to buy things, including using zip codes to discover demographic trends and figure out who you are as a person. See what your zip code says about you.

– Ciara

Why history matters

By Rebekah Seder, Program Manager

History probably isn’t a topic that immediately comes to mind when thinking about philanthropy. But, funders, activists, and others working toward social justice often frame their efforts in terms of addressing the “root causes” that have led to the conditions we seek to remedy today. This summer’s events in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington offered an opportunity to reflect on the long history of the fight for racial equity, from slavery and the Civil War, Reconstruction and segregation, to the civil rights movement and the debates around equity that continue today.

At WRAG’s final Brightest Minds program of the year, Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), discussed this history and its relevance to today’s society. To Mr. Bunch, whose day job is all about helping people understand and feel connected to the past, “history is as much about today and tomorrow as it is about yesterday.”

According to Mr. Bunch, the March on Washington offers two key lessons that continue to inform social change efforts. First, it is a reminder that change does happen, but that it is fragile, it ebbs and flows and is not inevitable. The original March on Washington was a landmark event. But, as Mr. Bunch noted, while Dr. King’s speech was a resounding high point in the civil rights movement, just a few weeks later four young girls were killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham. Reconstruction after the Civil War led to Jim Crow laws. And, the Voting Rights Act and other achievements of the 1960s are still grounds of contention today. The March on Washington was just one, very powerful, episode in a struggle that has gone on for centuries.

Secondly, the March on Washington – both the 1963 and the 2013 versions – underscores the importance of collaboration. The original March on Washington and the civil rights movement more broadly brought together civil rights activists with labor, Catholic, Jewish, and other groups. The success of the movement led to expectations of fairness and equality across racial lines, which can be seen in advancements in support of rights for gays, farm workers, Latinos, people with disabilities, and native peoples, to name a few. Anyone who participated in the events in August could see this reflected in the many groups marching in support of economic and social justice for all.

The idea of the enduring relevance of history is especially powerful right here in D.C., a city that holds such a prominent place in African American history and culture. At the same time, the social and economic disparities in this city are a stark reminder of, in Mr. Bunch’s words, “the unfinished business of the March on Washington.” For Mr. Bunch, helping the public understand the rich history of the black experience in America and how it informs today’s society is an important function not just of the NMAAHC, but of philanthropy as well. An understanding of historical forces is necessary to develop effective strategies to bring about positive social change today. Indeed, false notions of history all too often inform decision making at even the highest levels of government. Grantmakers can play a role in engaging the public and ensuring that everyone, especially young people, learn about, and feel a connection to, the past.