Tag: Tamara

Six policy recommendations to preserve affordable housing in the District

HOUSING
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s “Housing Preservation Strike Force” has released six new recommendations for preserving affordable housing units in the city to keep them accessible for lower-income residents (WCP, 6/13):

According to the mayor’s office, the strike force’s six recommendations are:

  • Establishing a preservation unit within a D.C. agency to identify specific affordable-housing opportunities, and to create a database of affordable-housing units
  • Funding a “public-private preservation fund” to “facilitate early investments in preservation deals”
  • Launching a program to renovate affordable housing in “small properties” of between five and 50 units
  • Drafting additional regulations for the District Opportunity to Purchase Act, which allows D.C. to purchase properties that risk losing their affordable-housing subsidies
  • Incentivizing residents and developers to take advantage of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act through “predevelopment activities, legal services, third-party reports, acquisition bridge financing,” and data-collection
  • Creating programs designed to benefit seniors, such as “tenant-based vouchers or other rental assistance”

– The D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development has launched a new pilot program to preserve affordable housing in ward 8, as neighborhoods east-of-the river expect economic development over the next several years. (WCP, 6/10)

PUTTING RACISM ON THE TABLE | While the Putting Racism on the Table learning series has drawn to a close, the lessons learned will linger on in the minds of the attendees. In this blog post, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland asks Julie Wagner of CareFirst and Terri Copeland of PNC to share their deepest insights and major takeaways from the full series. (Daily, 6/13)

EQUITY
– DC Fiscal Policy Institute discusses the importance of approving the Improving Access to Identity Documents Act that would allow District residents with incomes below 200 percent of poverty to obtain birth certificates, driver’s licenses, or ID cards at no charge. (DCFPI, 6/10)

– The Hell of Applying for Government Benefits (Atlantic, 6/12)

LGBT/DISCRIMINATION | In light of Sunday morning’s mass shooting in Orlando, The Atlantic takes a look at how, despite the advances in LGBT rights throughout the years, many still find themselves subject to violence at alarming rates. (Atlantic, 6/13)

PHILANTHROPY 
– Nonprofit Quarterly presents a two-part series authored by president of the F.B. Heron Foundation, Clara Miller, in which she discusses how they’ve worked to build a foundation that continues to evolve and engage with the larger economy. Check out part 1 and part 2. (NPQ, 6/8 and 6/9)

– Funding Infrastructure: A Smart Investment for All (SSIR, 6/10)

ECONOMYWhich U.S. Cities Suffer the Most During a Recession? (City Lab, 6/9)


Tonight is Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Which team are you rooting for? Can it be the Cavs? Please!?

– Ciara

Watch Putting Racism on the Table | A Case Study: Mass Incarceration

PUTTING RACISM ON THE TABLE/WRAG
The fourth video in the Putting Racism on the Table series is now live! The video features James Bell, J.D., founder and executive director of the W. Haywood Burns Institute, discussing mass incarceration and how structural racism, white privilege, and implicit bias coalesce in the criminal justice system. After you’ve had a chance to view the video, we encourage you to share your thoughts via Twitter using the hashtag #PuttingRacismOnTheTable, or by commenting on WRAG’s Facebook page. We also suggest checking out the viewing guide and discussion guide to be used with the video. Both can be found on our website.

HOUSING/PHILANTHROPY | Noting the perceived roadblocks to affordable home ownership for low-income residents, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland calls for philanthropy to seed an X Prize to spur innovation in the housing field. (Daily, 6/1)

HOMELESSNESS/DISTRICT | The D.C. Council has unanimously passed a revised version of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s homeless shelter plan. (WCP, 5/31)

HEALTH
– One paragraph that puts the white-black life expectancy gap in (horrifying) context (Vox, 5/31)

Related: Dr. David Williams, quoted in the above article, provided the keynote speech at WRAG’s 2015 Annual Meeting in a presentation titled, “The House that Racism Built.” You can view his presentation here.

– Preliminary numbers compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 2015 show a reversal in a years-long decline in American death rates. A rise in deaths from Alzheimer’s disease, drug use, firearms, hypertension and stroke, injuries, and suicides are among reasons for the uptick. (WaPo, 6/1)

EDUCATION/EQUITY Reports: Homeless, foster kids face enormous hurdles in trying to get to college (WaPo, 6/1)


Could you have taken home the top prize in the recent National Geographic Bee’s final round? 

-Ciara

Do we need an X Prize to address affording housing in high-cost areas? Yes!

by Tamara Copeland
President
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

My father owned a small real estate business. He used to say that real estate was the best investment because you could live in it, borrow against it, or rent it out. I learned this lesson about asset building as a child. And still today, home ownership continues to be the largest investment that most people make. The asset of a home is one of the enduring symbols of having achieved the American dream. Those who own a home are rewarded through tax credits unavailable to non-home owners. The owned home is the source of funds that allows many people to send their children to college, and while all the votes aren’t in yet regarding the pros and cons of reverse mortgages, the home seems to be how some will support their retirement.

Yet far too many people are financially unable to purchase a home – this core to asset building. So, I am a bit surprised when those of us committed to social justice reform aren’t focused more on home ownership. I wanted to find out why. I talked with bankers, developers, and housing advocates. “The federal government used to subsidize the development of affordable houses,” one banker told me. “When they stopped, building these properties wasn’t practical.”  “What about condos?” I asked when a developer told me that land was just too expensive in our region. “We can’t depend on lower-income people being able to pay the condo fee,” was his response. No matter where I asked, roadblocks were the answer.

I refuse to believe that the American ingenuity that led to inventing the automobile, putting the first human on the moon, and building the internet can’t solve this problem. It just takes smart people focused on smart new solutions. What would happen if experts on land use joined with architects and builders, housing policy wonks, financiers, and community organizers to figure out how to produce affordable houses for low-income people in the Greater Washington region? What would it take to get people from various disciplines to actually come together? It has to be more than the basic principle of creating diverse housing stock to meet the housing needs of diverse income brackets. That reason hasn’t worked so far. What would catalyze such a conversation?

I think it would take an X Prize.

I believe that the simple act of enabling affordable home ownership in the Greater Washington region has to be seen as a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal, and that a large sum of money has to be put on the table for an innovative team to solve it. We like to celebrate the number of people with advanced degrees who live in our region. We talk a lot about our knowledge economy. Nineteen institutions of higher learning are located here. And, I recently attended a meeting at which this region was touted as being more entrepreneurial than Silicon Valley based on the number of new ventures birthed here. We have the knowledge and we have the need. We can be a model for the country. Our problem is not unique.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that this need rests within a larger sphere of need for affordable housing, including more affordable rental units. In fact, WRAG is already working to try to address it. But even housing advocates, were stunned to learn from an Urban Institute study last year that “not a single county in the United States has enough affordable housing for all of its extremely low-income renters.” Here in the Greater Washington region, where rental costs are soaring, we knew this reality. But certainly, we thought, someone, somewhere, had figured this out. No one has.

What a tremendous boost for the country it would be for the affordable housing challenge, both home ownership and the production and preservation of affordable rental units, to be solved right here in the nation’s capital.

Who will incentivize this work? Who can fund an X Prize? Philanthropy can.

Six-figure salary needed to rent a two-bedroom apartment

AFFORDABLE HOUSING/DISTRICT
Yet another study confirms the significant housing burden placed on families in the District, projecting that a household would need to bring in more than $119,000 in order to rent a two-bedroom apartment. (DCist, 5/17)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recommends that households spend 30 percent or less of their income on rent. To meet that requirement, families must earn an annual income of $119,271 to afford a two-bedroom apartment here, according to a study from SmartAsset.

The median household income in the city was $71,648 in 2014 (numbers for 2015 won’t be released until September).

PHILANTHROPY/SOCIAL JUSTICE/RACISM
– Caitlyn Duffy, project associate for Philamplify at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, discusses why she is challenging philanthropy and other sectoral organizations to talk more explicitly about structural racism, citing WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table series as one such example of how that is currently taking place (NCRP, 5/18):

[..] there are a number of affinity groups that have chosen to address race explicitly – going beyond coded language such as “inequality” or “lack of diversity.” For example, the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) is hosting Putting Racism on the Table, a learning series that I have attended on behalf of the Diverse City Fund. WRAG’s president, Tamara Copeland, recently shared why Nonprofits Need to Talk About Race, Not Just Diversity in The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

HEALTH CARE
– With their Patient-Centered Medical Home program, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield is working to help improve care coordination among primary care providers and specialists in order to reign in health costs. (WBJ, 5/17)

Video: Children’s Health Care Expands in Southeast DC (WUSA, 5/16)

More Low-Income Kids Now Have Health Coverage (NPR, 5/13)

EDUCATION/POVERTY | VideoNine facts about attending college when you are poor (WaPo, 5/17)

FOOD | As part of the Feed the 5,000 campaign – an initiative to shed light on the issue of global food waste – 5,000 people in the District can receive free meals today, featuring recovered produce that would have otherwise been discarded. (WaPo, 5/16)

WORKFORCEMillions To Be Eligible For Overtime Under New Obama Administration Rule (NPR, 5/17)

HOMELESSNESS | In San Francisco, a number of media outlets have pledged to unite and dedicate coverage to homelessness in the city on June 29. Participants hope the project will not only turn more attention to the issue, but also inspire government agencies to set aside their own differences around the matter. (GOOD, 5/17)


A growing number of new parents are naming their babies after a major sports channel…and it actually does have a nice ring to it!

– Ciara

Rebranding the region

REGION
As part of the Roadmap effort, the 2030 Group has announced the hiring of global brand consultant Interbrand to develop a marketing campaign for the region that is expected to launch in early 2017 with the help of a rebranding working group (WBJ, 5/12):

The marketing campaign is part of a larger effort by the 2030 Group to identify weaknesses in the region’s economy and come up with ways to boost growth in a time of federal austerity. The organization has spearheaded working groups to explore affordable housing and how area colleges and universities can work more closely with the business community. A working group exploring a regional transportation authority has been suspended as Metro embarks on its yearlong effort to fix major problems, [2030 Group’s Bob] Buchanan said, although he still hopes to restart that conversation in the future.

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)

COMMUNITY
– In light of the coming dissolution of the DC Trust, WRAG has submitted a letter on behalf of the region’s philanthropic community to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, calling on the Council to maintain funding for out-of-school and summer programming for D.C.’s  children and youth in the FY17 budget. Funders and advocates for children and youth will be watching closely as the DC Council votes on the proposed budget this month.

– BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) recently named Consumer Health Foundation president and WRAG board member Yanique Redwood as one of 36 leaders in their 2016 BALLE Local Economy Fellowship. In this blog post, she discusses why she looks forward to working with other members of her cohort and continuing along a path toward community transformation. (Be a Localist, 5/12)

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has announced plans to create a $500,000 endowment for its Innovation Fund, following a $250,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor. They’ve also announced the launch of a new online-fundraising platform, Granted. (WBJ, 5/13)

FOOD 
– Prince Charitable Trusts presents a short film in their series about farming and food, titled The Culture of Collards, which recently  premiered at the DC Environmental Film Festival. The film traces the cultural heritage of collard greens from Portugal, to Africa, to the American south during the slave trade, up to their current state as a popular staple in many kitchens today. The 9-minute film features culinary historian Michael Twitty; owner of Three Part Harmony Farm in Northeast D.C. Gail Taylor; and City Blossoms co-founders Rebecca Lemos and Lola Bloom.

Related: In 2014, Michael Twitty kicked off WRAG’s Brightest Minds series with a discussion about building a more inclusive food movement. Check out this post that followed his talk, then take a look at the exciting lineup for WRAG’s Brightest Minds programs for the rest of the year. Brightest Minds programs are open to the public.

– The Ongoing Need for Healthy Food in Corner Stores (City Lab, 5/12)

EDUCATION
– As the acknowledgment of the importance of quality pre-k education in a student’s future success picks up steam across the country, some states continue to struggle with making these programs accessible to millions of children. Locally, D.C. made progress by serving more 3- and 4-year-olds than ever during the 2014-2015 school year. (WaPo, 5/12)

– The troubling shortage of Latino and black teachers — and what to do about it (WaPo, 5/15)


Which of the seven deadly sins do some of the most popular social networks represent? Pinterest is spot-on!

– Ciara

Homelessness rises unevenly across the region

HOMELESSNESS/REGION
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments recently shared the results of the Annual Point-in-Time Count of Persons Experiencing Homelessness. Overall in the region, the homeless population rose by five percent from 2015 to 2016, though not spread evenly across the area. The report urges more aggressive action to bring affordable housing to families in Greater Washington. (WAMU, 5/11)

According to the Annual Point-in-Time Count of Persons Experiencing Homelessness […] there were 12,215 people who were homeless across the nine local jurisdictions that participate in the yearly census, which took place on Jan. 28.

That’s up from the 11,623 homeless people in the region at the same time last year.

[…]

In D.C., the number of homeless people increased by 14 percent, while it went up by 12 percent in Frederick County. Things went in the opposite direction for the rest of the region, though. In Arlington County, Loudoun County and the City of Alexandria, the number of homeless people decreased by 27, 20 and 16 percent, respectively.

The full report can be accessed here.

– The number of homeless families in D.C. has risen by more than 30 percent in comparison with a year ago. Further, the District’s homeless children and their parents outnumbered homeless single adults for the first time since the annual census began in 2001. (WaPo, 5/11)

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

– In his most recent blog post adapted from a panel presentation at last week’s GEO conference, Rick Moyers, vice president for programs and communications at the Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, summarizes Meyer’s experience with the 28 organizations they’ve supported in implementing the Benevon Model for increasing individual giving. His take away? “I wish we’d known at the outset that the goal was to change organizational culture.” (Meyer, 5/11)

Related: Rick is the first speaker in WRAG’s Nonprofit Summer Learning Series. Catch him on June 23 addressing The Dos & Don’ts of Working with Grantmakers!

ECONOMY/REGION | Region’s innovation economy needs boost or risks being ‘laggards’ (WBJ, 5/12)

MARYLAND | Study: Gaithersburg Is The Most Diverse City In America (DCist, 5/11)

HEALTH | A new study finds a 44 percent increase in hospitalizations for ischemic (the most common type) strokes among people ages 25 to 44, despite a 20 percent overall drop among all Americans. (WaPo, 5/11)


Conference calls, you’re the worst! Well…maybe not the worst, but honestly, does anyone actually enjoy them?

– Ciara

Friday roundup – April 18 through April 22, 2016

THIS WEEK AT WRAG
 In her latest blog post, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland discussed the progression of the Putting Racism on the Table series and how it’s about more than just learning. (Daily,4/21)

– Jessica Finkel, Philanthropy Fellow at Kaiser Permanente, shared how her experience working with the organization’s Community Benefit department helped her discover a passion for policy and public health. (Daily, 3/20)

THIS WEEK IN THE WRAG COMMUNITY
Consumer Health Foundation president and WRAG board member Yanique Redwood discussed how marijuana-related incarcerations have devastated communities of color for years, citing points from WRAG’s recent Putting Racism on the Table session on mass incarceration, featuring speaker James Bell, J.D. of the W. Haywood Burns Institute. (CHF, 4/20)

Inter-American Development Bank launched a newly-revamped Improving Lives grants program, open to nonprofit organizations serving low-income Latin American and Caribbean communities in the Washington metropolitan area. The program will combine five grants of up to $50,000 each with skills-based volunteering, and is aimed at promoting innovative projects involving community and economic development, health and well-being, education or the arts. Eligible organizations in the region may apply for grants by submitting proposals before 6 pm (EST) May 19, 2016. For more information, please read the requirements or write to idbcommunityrelations@iadb.org.

THIS WEEK IN THE REGION/ECONOMY
– Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker spoke on his vision for making the jurisdiction a high-demand area for business in his recent State of the Economy address. (WBJ, 4/13)

– While Arlington County’s population continues to grow, the number of jobs continues to decline, according to recent data. (ARLnow, 4/20)

THIS WEEK IN THE WORKFORCE
Here are three key tools organizations in the social sector can use to build more diverse workplaces and address persistent institutional biases. (SSIR, 4/14)

 Lack of Training for Young Nonprofit Workers Means Too Few Potential Leaders (Chronicle, 4/19) Subscription required


WRAG’S COMMUNITY CALENDAR
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.


Calendar won’t display? Click here.


Can you remember these viral dance moves from the past ten years?

– Ciara

Committing to change

WRAG/PHILANTHROPY
In her latest blog post, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland discusses the progression of the Putting Racism on the Table series. It’s more than just learning. (Daily, 4/21)

I am proud of the commitment that philanthropy has made to this learning journey. People who felt that they were sensitive to and understood racism have learned that it is far more nuanced, unconscious, and institutionalized than many would think. We have achieved the goal of knowledge gain. But, this isn’t learning just for the sake of learning.

Philanthropy has been referred to as society’s passing gear. Its position provides a platform for societal change that goes well beyond dollars.

COMMUNITY | The JP Morgan Chase Institute recently released a study tracking and evaluating the spending and saving patterns of millions of their banking customers in 15 metro areas in order to show important trends in how spending has changed due to temporary and more permanent income changes. The data offer important insights to companies, governments, and social profit organizations on the actual economic status of a community. (USCCF, 4/8)

VIRGINIA/ECONOMY | According to new county data, while Arlington’s population continues to grow, the number of jobs continues to decline. (ARLnow, 4/20)

MASS INCARCERATION/SOCIAL JUSTICE | OpinionWhy Mass Incarceration Doesn’t Pay (NYT, 4/21)

SOCIAL PROFITS | Compass, a provider of pro bono consulting services to social profit organizations that benefit the Greater Washington community, has opened their 2016-2017 client application. Each client will receive approximately $150,000 of strategic consulting services free of charge. This year, Compass expects to select 20-25 nonprofits. Click here to learn more.


A brief history of the “romantic” things that people have done in movies that you absolutely, positively should not do in real life.

– Ciara

Is the power of philanthropy enough to move the needle on racism? Yes, it already is.

by Tamara Lucas Copeland
President
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

In January, the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) started an intensive exploration of racism called Putting Racism on the Table. Each month, for three hours, grantmakers have been immersed in a topic. Structural racism in January, white privilege in February, implicit bias in March, and this month the focus was on mass incarceration as a case study on how all three factors are operationalized in one system of government, the criminal justice system.

I think that several factors are remarkable about this work. First, eleven major funders in the Greater Washington region came together and said, “We aren’t ready to act. We want to learn.” This was powerful. It has seemed like a societal taboo to talk about the 800-pound gorilla of racism that sits in the middle of the room when discussing housing needs, educational needs, health care, or any of the multitude of community needs that philanthropy seeks to address. But these grantmakers were ready for the talk. Eighty percent of the attendees have come to two or more of the sessions. They have recognized that racism cannot be explored in sound bites. There is a depth and breadth to the topic that requires that you listen, reflect, talk with others, and then sit with the information for a while to make it your own. They are doing the hard work of truly understanding racism. After the sessions, many have been candid in revealing, despite their education and commitment to social justice, just how lacking their knowledge truly was about how pervasive and entrenched racism is in our society. Here’s an illustrative sampling of comments:

“After the session on structural racism, I realized how little I know about racism.”

“The systemic nature of racism is more pervasive than I had previously understood.”

“I think there are situations where white privilege is so ingrained that I am not even aware of the impact I am having just by being present or in casual conversation.”

“Having been through the session on implicit bias, I better understand the very strong and powerful way our subconscious influences our thinking and actions. What can we do?”

I am proud of the commitment that philanthropy has made to this learning journey. People who felt that they were sensitive to and understood racism have learned that it is far more nuanced, unconscious, and institutionalized than many would think. We have achieved the goal of knowledge gain. But, this isn’t learning just for the sake of learning.

Philanthropy has been referred to as society’s passing gear. Its position provides a platform for societal change that goes well beyond dollars. Consider the impact of the national Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on smoking reduction or that of the local Summit Fund on teenage pregnancy prevention. They both felt that they could make a difference and with a laser focus that commitment has led to deep and lasting improvements.

I have heard foundation CEOs talk about how this work is already translating into changes at their foundations. I have heard trustees who are business leaders share the impact that it is having on their thinking and on their actions. And, I have heard colleagues in other states discuss how WRAG’s work has opened the door for a discussion that they didn’t think they could have with funders. The needle is moving – slowly perhaps – but moving, and the momentum is building. Stay tuned.

New video is live – Putting Racism on the Table: White Privilege

PUTTING RACISM ON THE TABLE/WRAG
The second video in the “Putting Racism on the Table” series is now live! The video features Dr. Robin DiAngelo, former professor of education and author of What Does It Mean to be White?, speaking on white privilege. After you’ve had a chance to view the video, we encourage you to share your thoughts on the series or on the specific topic via Twitter using the hashtag #PuttingRacismOnTheTable, or by commenting on WRAG’s Facebook page. We also suggest checking out the viewing guide and discussion guide to be used with the video. Both can be found on our website.

WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland said of the video release:

I am so pleased to share the next installment of the Putting Racism on the Table video series. Dr. Robin DiAngelo provided a thought-provoking and memorable session on a topic that is an integral piece of the puzzle surrounding the various aspects of race and racism. In this video, Dr. DiAngelo takes viewers on an exploration of white privilege and how it works to perpetuate an inequitable society.

HOUSING/ARTS | You can take a glimpse inside The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation‘s Art Place at Fort Totten, a new development coming in mid-2017 to include more than 900 apartments, a new children’s museum, and retail. (WBJ, 4/11)

EDUCATION/NATIONAL | New data show that, in 23 states, the annual cost of educating a 4-year old at a full-time day care center exceeds the average cost of in-state tuition at a four-year institution. Maryland is one of those states. (WSJ, 4/11)

SOCIAL EQUITY
– A new study suggests that when an individual has just a brief, in-person empathetic encounter with another individual who identifies with a group they hold prejudice against, their views can be  dramatically changed. (City Lab, 4/8)

AudioBlind Hiring, While Well Meaning, May Create Unintended Consequences (NPR, 4/12)

PHILANTHROPY | OpinionPhilanthropic Leadership Shouldn’t Still Look Like the Country-Club Set (Chronicle, 4/11) Subscription required.

DISTRICT| Editorial: The Washington Post takes a look at recent violent crime occurring in the District’s wards 7 and 8 over the past several days, and why it remains so important to tackle social issues that are often factors in crime. (WaPo, 4/11)


Go, Twiggy, go!

– Ciara