Getting TANF recipients into good jobs

– With an October 2017 deadline approaching for many DC families who have received TANF benefits for five years, the city is working to get more individuals into job training and placement programs, and recruiting private companies to participate in a paid internship program (CP, 7/28):

The District…requires most TANF recipients to participate in job training or placement programs… But in fiscal year 2015, 56 percent of people assigned to one did not complete their required hours.

The barriers to compliance are numerous and complex (child care, mental health needs, problems with a vendor, etc.) And even those who find a job may not be in it for long: A D.C. Auditor analysis found that, of the more than 6,000 TANF recipients placed in jobs between February 2012 and October 2014, just 770 were still in those positions after six months. Low wages and part-time hours are also an issue: The companies that employ the most TANF recipients, the auditor found, are AlliedBarton Security Services, McDonald’s, Walmart, and grocery stores.

– The Washington Area Women’s Foundation digs into the data and finds that the poverty rate among women in the Greater Washington region is on the rise. (WAWF, 7/21)

HOUSING | A new housing development aims to provide affordable apartments for DC teachers, in an effort to ensure that teachers can actually afford to live in the city where they teach. (WaPo, 7/27)

VIRGINIA/EQUITY | ‘Why don’t they want us to vote?’ Ex-felons cope with losing voting rights twice in Virginia. (WaPo, 7/27)

IMMIGRATION | Halt On Juvenile Immigrant Visa Leaves Thousands In Limbo (NPR, 7/28)

PHILANTHROPY/EQUITY | Sometimes, the strategies funders use to include the voices and perspectives of grantees in their work can inadvertently perpetuate inequities they are trying to address in the first place. (SSIR, 7/28) This article is part of a series produced with Grantmakers for Effective Organizations about the role of grantee inclusion in effective philanthropy.

Program Assistant | The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
Administrative Assistant | Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (that’s us!)
Philanthropic Services Associate | The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region
Grants Manager | The Norman & Ruth Rales Foundation

Hiring? Post your job on WRAG’s job board and get it included in the Daily! Free for members; $60/60 days for non-members. Details here.

Looking to promote your nonprofit organization’s upcoming event? Email Rebekah Seder to include it in WRAG’s Community Calendar.

Art emojis: I’m not sure if I love these or hate them.

– Rebekah

Do More 24 in full swing!

Today marks the United Way of the National Capital Area‘s annual Do More 24 event – a 24-hour online giving campaign that kicked off at midnight and will end at 11:59 pm. Local, regional, and national social profit organizations with a presence in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area are participating in the focused day of giving to create maximum impact as a community. The award winners will be announced tomorrow. Click here to remain up-to-date on the total raised – and to give!

– The Chronicle of Philanthropy presents a special report and interactive database on giving from America’s biggest companies. Bank of America, Citi, Capital OneJPMorgan Chase, PNC, and Wells Fargo are among the companies highlighted for their corporate giving and social good efforts. (Chronicle, 6/1) Subscription required

– Socially Responsible Companies Are Big Draw for Workers, Study Says (Chronicle, 6/1) Subscription required

Exponent Philanthropy has launched a new blog series in honor of their 20th anniversary that will focus on reflections of founders, early board members, and others with extensive careers in the field of philanthropy. In this blog post, Exponent Philanthropy founding member, former board chair, and executive director of The Americana Foundation Marty Fluharty discusses why it is so imperative for foundations to break down silos. (PhilanthroFiles, 6/2)

– Demanding That Nonprofits Not Pay For Overhead Is Preventing Them From Doing Good (Co.Exist, 6/1)

– The D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development has announced the launch of a new initiative, the “June Housing Bloom,” aimed at increasing the number of affordable housing units in the city (WCP, 6/1):

The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is […] putting out solicitations for the development of 25 District-owned properties in Wards 4, 5, 7, and 8 to get the month-long initiative started. The offerings are part of a five-pronged strategy to reduce neighborhood blight, according to DHCD: producing affordable housing, preserving affordable housing, boosting homeownership, ending homelessness, and making use of currently vacant properties. DHCD will hold an informational meeting about the sites at its HQ on June 22, with a proposal deadline of Sept. 1.

– In Search of TANF Reform (CHF, 5/27)

VIRGINIA | VideoWhy Virginia’s Restoration of Voting Rights Matters (Atlantic, 5/31)

MENTAL HEALTH/IMPLICIT BIAS | For many people of color struggling with their mental health and seeking the aid of psychotherapy, roadblocks to access can often prevent them from getting much-needed help. A new study suggests that implicit bias on the part of psychologists’ offices may be the main barrier to some people receiving proper mental healthcare. (Atlantic, 6/1)

Do you have any strange reading habits? You are not alone in the Greater Washington region.

– Ciara

D.C. Council eyes overhaul of shelter plan

A supermajority of the D.C. Council announced plans to overhaul Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposed shelter plan, citing “a waste of tax dollars” as a primary reason. The Council shared details of their own proposal (WaPo, 5/16):

Instead, the city would build five shelters on public land and empower Bowser (D) to purchase property or use eminent domain to take control of two others. The city would save about $165 million compared with the mayor’s plan, [Council Chairman Phil] Mendelson said.


Mendelson said the council’s plan would locate more families closer to Metro and other transit options, and streamline zoning approvals so the city’s dilapidated shelter at D.C. General might be able to close in two years. Most important, taxpayers would realize significant savings, he said.

D.C. is Reaching Hundreds of Families Before They Become Homeless (WCP, 5/16)

PHILANTHROPY | Exponent Philanthropy shares this open letter to foundations stressing the importance of nonprofit infrastructure organizations. (PhilanthroFiles, 5/17)

POVERTYConsumer Health Foundation‘s Kendra Allen discusses updates to D.C.’s looming TANF cliff with D.C. Department of Human Services Director Laura Zeilinger. (CHF, 5/16)

TRANSIT/REGIONA higher tax for Metro? Regionwide campaign to back dedicated funding expected in the fall (WBJ, 5/16)

YOUTH/CRIMINAL JUSTICE | Children’s Law Center recently sat down with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss the District’s changing landscape for young people and his thoughts on how the D.C. justice system has improved for them over the years. (Children’s Law Center, 5/16)

Are you a picky eater? It’s not your fault. You can blame science for that.

– Ciara

Friday roundup – March 21 through March 25, 2016

Reflections on implicit bias were shared by Board Chair Missy Young and lead staffer Dara Johnson from the Horning Family Fund. (Daily 3/24)

– The Consumer Health Foundation‘s Kendra Allen interviewed Sequnely Gray, Community Engagement Coordinator for So Others Might Eat and a TANF recipient, about her experience advocating for families on TANF and the impact of benefit time limits. (CHF, 3/21)

– A new report found significant racial disparities in the acceptance rates among selective academic programs at public schools in Montgomery County. (WaPo, 3/22)

 In Loudoun County, a proposal that would concentrate mostly low-income, majority Hispanic students into two schools is evoking memories of “separate but equal” policies of the past. (WaPo, 3/20) 

–  Grantmakers in Health, with support from the Aetna Foundation, released a supplement on health equity innovations, published with the spring 2016 edition of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. The supplement highlights promising strategies and emerging approaches for building healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities. (SSIR, spring 2016)

–  OpinionThe color of heroin addiction — why war then, treatment now? (WaPo, 3/23)

 The deadline to apply for the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards is Friday, April 1. Hint for Nonprofits: Nominating your corporate partners is a great way to show your appreciation and deepen your relationship!

Related: Interested in learning how to build new, stronger, and more mutually beneficial corporate partnerships? Join WRAG and more than 20 CSR professionals from some of the region’s top companies for the 2016 Fundamentals of CSR workshop on April 14-15.

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.

Are you #TeamPancakes or #TeamWaffles? Personally, I found both to be far too filling.

– Ciara

New report on the early care and education economy in the District

A new report from DC Appleseed and the DC Fiscal Policy Institute explores the costs of delivering child care for infants and toddlers, and the experiences of early care and education providers in the District (DCFPI, 3/10):

Until now, no one has assessed how much it costs early care and education (ECE) providers to meet the level of quality that the District requires, or how providers are able to maintain quality while serving families who depend on child care subsidy payments from the government. DC Appleseed and the DC Fiscal Policy Institute have collaborated to produce a study to better understand these realities.

The full report is titled, “Solid Footing: Reinforcing the Early Care and Education Economy for Infants and Toddlers in DC.”

WRAG/PHILANTHROPY | Catherine Oidtman, Philanthropy Fellow at the Healthcare Initiative Foundation, reflects on what she’s learned about going “beyond dollars” in philanthropy. (Daily, 3/14)

Related for WRAG Members: We are now accepting applications from WRAG members interested in hosting Philanthropy Fellows this fall. For more information about this program and how to apply, click here.

COMMUNITY | Congratulations to Lynne and Joe Horning and the Horning Family Fund, housed at The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, for being honored with the 2016 Civic Spirit Award! The Horning Family Fund will be honored this evening at the 2016 Annual Celebration of Philanthropy.

– Opinion: Judith Sandalow of The Children’s Law Center offers her thoughts on why the District’s safety net program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), is so vital to low-income children and their families. (WaPo, 3/11)

Related: Ed Lazere, executive director of the DCFPI, recently shared with Daily WRAG readers what legislation to extend TANF could mean to so many households in the District. (Daily, 3/3)

– A pair of economists have found that students in poverty growing up in areas of high income inequality are shown to be much more likely to drop out of high school than students growing up in areas with less inequality. The results were found to be especially true for young boys living in high-inequality states. (WSJ, 3/10)

– Following their recent survey on Americans’ perceptions of race and opportunity in the U.S., The Atlantic breaks down some of the stark differences in opinion. (Atlantic, 3/10)

HOUSING/VIRGINIA | Contentious Ramsey property site in Alexandria clears another hurdle (WTOP 3/13)

AGING | Aging-in-place options most popular with baby boomers (WaPo, 3/14)

JOBS | The National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers is hiring a Project Director to help increase their size, scope and national impact. This is a virtual opportunity. For more information or to apply, click here.

Happy Pi Day – a great excuse to indulge in pizzas and/or pies, and more.

– Ciara

Protecting TANF as a lifeline

by Ed Lazere
DC Fiscal Policy Institute

This spring, D.C.’s leaders will face what I believe is the single most important social policy issue in my 15 years at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute: how to modify the city’s rigid Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) time limit. Under current law, the time limit will cut 13,000 children off from assistance this fall, regardless of their family’s circumstances. Yet cutting families off who are not ready will simply push children deeper into poverty and distress, worsening D.C.’s homelessness crisis, reducing children’s success in school, and increasing the chance that children will end up in foster care.

By contrast, a TANF program focused on protecting children, with a time limit that recognizes that some families need more time, can help put D.C.’s poorest families on a path to success. That’s why the DC Fiscal Policy Institute and a number of organizations support legislation introduced last December to extend assistance to families under certain conditions, and to follow the lead of many states that never cut children off from aid.

D.C.’s TANF program ensures that our children can have their most basic needs met despite the economic hardships their parents face. Protecting families is not only the right thing to do; it also helps children go to school ready to learn and improves their chances of future success.

Now, this lifeline for D.C.’s children is at risk. Under current law, D.C. is poised to drop 6,500 families who have reached the 60-month time limit from TANF – including more than 13,000 children – this October. We know that even with the best TANF services, some families face barriers, like domestic violence or a disability, that get in the way of finding or holding a job. Equally important, D.C.’s economy is not working well for low-income residents. Wages have fallen for residents with less than a college degree, and unemployment remains high years after the Great Recession. The income of the poorest D.C. families has fallen to just $9,300 – a $1,500 drop over the last decade.

The reality is, if families are kicked out of TANF without being ready, they will end up straining other costly programs.

• Half of the families trying to move out of homelessness through rapid rehousing are TANF recipients at the 60-month point.

• When TANF benefits are cut off from mothers of preschoolers, their children are three times more likely to have serious behavior problems than other young children.

• When parents are cut off of TANF without a secure job, their children are more likely to be abused or neglected and end up in foster care.

This is our chance to strengthen TANF so D.C. families and children facing the greatest odds have the support they need to get on a path to greater independence.

Organizations that want to sign on to support legislation to extend assistance to families under certain conditions, or who want to learn more about the legislation, should visit www.TANFisalifeline.org.

Competing visions for future transportation in the region

As the region works toward improving mobility and, therefore, bringing about greater development possibilities and growth, transportation officials grapple with competing views for the future. (WAMU, 2/17)

The region’s transportation planners are juggling bus lanes, bike lanes, and major highway and rail expansions in an effort to tackle the Washington metropolitan area’s notorious mobility problems. The proposed projects are tossed up in the air by the District and the suburbs and they land in a stack at the Transportation Planning Board, where they get in line for the federal dollars necessary for construction.

But instead of solely producing a regional vision for improving mobility and concentrating development around transit hubs or new interchanges, critics contend the projects represent narrow interests pitting cities against suburbs and transit-oriented communities against car-centered lifestyles.

HOUSING/WRAG | WRAG board member and trustee of the Corina Higginson Trust Wilton Corkern and wife Mary Bruce Batte share why they are investing in Our Region, Your Investment in order to create positive impact and grow the availability of affordable housing in the region. (Daily WRAG, 2/18)

– Washington City Paper checks in with D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities executive director Arturo Espinoza, Jr., three months into his tenure, on his plans to enhance the local arts community months after taking the reins of the organization. (WCP, 2/17)

Related: On March 1, WRAG and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities are co-sponsoring a briefing on the State of Arts Education in DC. This briefing is open to arts funders only.

– Here’s a very quick sneak peek at Dupont Underground’s first art installation. (Borderstan, 2/17)

DISTRICT | In the first of a series of blog posts on D.C.’s TANF (Temporary Assistance for Need Families) program, Consumer Health Foundation‘s Kendra Allen discusses just why these programs are so vital to working-class families in the area. (CHF, 2/5)

– Opinion: Tonya Allen, head of the Skillman Foundation, and Robert Ross, head of the California Endowment (both co-chairs of the Executive’s Alliance on Boys & Young Men of Color), offer nine ways that other foundations can aid men and boys of color in today’s difficult social climate. (Chronicle, 2/18) Subscription required

Want Our Expertise? Pay Us, Grass-Roots Groups Say (Chronicle, 2/16) Subscription required

ENVIRONMENT | Website tracks progress of Chesapeake Bay restoration (WTOP, 2/17)

Working in the social profit sector can have many long-term (but entertaining) effects.

– Ciara 

Mixed reactions to new homeless shelter sites in D.C.

In D.C., residents react to Mayor Bowser’s newly-released plans for homeless shelter sites across the city. (WaPo, 2/15)

Despite widespread public support for closing [D.C. General], Bowser last week incited palpable opposition among those who would be neighbors of the smaller replacement shelters. She says residents may tinker with aesthetics and landscaping, but not the locations.

Some residents have filed public-records requests to force the mayor’s administration to release e-mails and documents about how her team selected the sites — first steps, they said, to what could become lawsuits and protracted battles.

A Case for Homeless Shelter Networks as Basic Infrastructure (City Lab, 2/12)

DISTRICT/POVERTY | The DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI) explores why the District should reconsider the TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) time limit that may go into effect later this year, even as research shows that increasing a family’s income by just a small margin does much to improve a child’s outcomes. (DCFPI, 2/11)

Related: On Wednesday, February 17 at 9:00 am, WRAG and DCFPI will host a funder briefing on the impact of the proposed TANF changes on families in the District. Panelists include Samantha Davis of So Others Might Eat, LaDonna Pavetti of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Kimberly Waller of the Children’s Law Center. This event is open only to WRAG members.

– Trista Harris, president of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, shares her three-step process for philanthropic leaders to better prepare for the future of our communities. (CEP, 2/11)

– What makes a relationship between a funder and the funded just…work? Here’s a look at how CoBank and DC Central Kitchen have formed a powerful partnership. (BisNow, 2/11)

Lincoln Memorial, nearing 100, to get multi-million dollar overhaul (WaPo, 2/15)

– You can read about Pyramid Atlantic’s move from Silver Spring to Hyattsville here. (WAMU, 2/11)

The Connection Between the Arts and Neighborhood Diversity (City Lab, 2/11)

HOUSING | Recently-released data from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office finds that low-income neighborhoods with more new housing construction see half as much displacement than low-income neighborhoods that have not added as much new private construction. The idea is that all of the current luxury housing supply will eventually add to a more affordable supply – something that will take years to happen. (WaPo, 2/12)

If you must participate in a Facebook argument and care at all about winning that argument, you must be willing to learn the science behind doing so.

– Ciara

A deeper look into the District’s 2016 budget

The DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI) has released a Budget Toolkit full of resources that provide an in-depth analysis of the 2016 budget proposed by Mayor Bowser. You can access the toolkit here. (DCFPI, 4/21)

While the budget provides a record level to build affordable housing, it offers a much more modest increase to help families pay rent, yet rental assistance is key to making housing affordable to very low-income families. In addition, a one-year plan to keep families from being cut off the TANF welfare-to-work program gives the new mayor time to repair a flawed system, but leaves vulnerable families with too little to make ends meet, about $156 a month for a family of three. And the budget reduces some key programs, such as job training for adults. These programs face administrative and implementation problems that have kept them from fully spending available funds – and thus the reductions may make sense – but this highlights the urgency of strengthening programs critical to helping all residents thrive. These challenges could be addressed by the DC Council as it takes up the budget, or they will need to be addressed in future years.

The mayor’s budget shows that building a city where everyone can succeed requires substantial new commitments to housing, jobs, and other needs. In that light, the proposed revenue increases – which equal less than half of one percent of the budget – stand out as modest. Moreover, the revenue increases will fall on all residents instead of asking well-off residents to contribute more to building a stronger city. Given DC’s substantial income inequality – and the fact that taxes on DC residents are the lowest in region – raising additional revenues from residents most able to pay is a key to expanding economic opportunity to all residents.

Related: Last week, Ed Lazere of DCFPI clued us in to what funders should know about the District’s 2016 budget here. (Daily, 4/15)

– The Washington Area Women’s Foundation has released a new issue brief on the economic security of girls within the Washington region. Exploring demographic trends, the issue brief examines the challenges and opportunities girls in the region face as they move toward economic security as adults. The full issue brief can be found here. (WAWF, 4/21)

The New York Times takes a look at the “Missing Black Men” phenomenon in America, in which 1.5 million African American men are “missing,” due to early death or incarceration. (NYT, 4/20)

Opinion: What’s one good way to expand the tax base in Prince George’s County in order to boost the economy and fund public schools? Some say developing the underdeveloped areas surrounding the Metro stations in the area is a great place to start. (GGW, 4/21)

– The Washington region is the world’s 77th largest urban area (GGW, 4/20)

What’s it take to be wealthy in D.C.? Apparently a net worth of $1.25 million. (WaPo, 4/21)

Have you ever come across another person who looks a lot like you? Some people are taking to social media to find their doppelganger

– Ciara 


What you need to know: A look at Mayor Bowser’s 2016 District budget

*Editor’s Note: This week, The Daily WRAG is excited to bring you commentary on the recently released 2016 federal and state budgets from leading fiscal policy experts. What issues should you be concerned about in your jurisdiction? How might the proposed budgets affect your grantmaking priorities? Check in this week for an overview of the federal, District, Maryland, and Virginia budgets, and their implications for some of the most pressing social issues affecting our region.

Next up, Ed Lazere, executive director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, shares his take on Mayor Bowser’s first budget:

by Ed Lazere
DC Fiscal Policy Institute

Mayor Bowser’s first budget invests heavily in affordable housing, in efforts to address rising homelessness and to protect thousands of families with children from losing basic income support. She accomplished this despite facing a shortfall between revenues and the costs of maintaining city services. To fund these important investments while still balancing the budget, the mayor proposed a number of reductions and modest tax increases, including a sales tax change that will add 25 cents to a $100 purchase.

  • Building Affordable Housing: Mayor Bowser committed $100 million to the Housing Production Trust Fund to build and renovate housing. This doubles the Trust Fund’s resources.
  • Helping More Families Pay Rent: The budget expands rental assistance (D.C.’s Local Rent Supplement Program) to make 200 homes affordable to very low-income households and to aid families needing help after short term “rapid rehousing” subsidies end.
  • Protecting Families with Children: Mayor Bowser extended income and employment assistance for one year to 6,000 families facing the loss of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits. This will prevent 13,000 children from falling deeper into poverty and will give the mayor’s new human services leadership a year to address a TANF program that has not always served families well.

Despite these gains, large gaps remain to creating “pathways to the middle class,” Mayor Bowser’s stated goal. While the budget provides a record level to build affordable housing, it offers a much more modest increase to help families pay rent, yet rental assistance is key to making housing affordable to very low-income families. In addition, a one-year plan to keep families from being cut off the TANF welfare-to-work program gives time to repair a flawed system, but leaves vulnerable families with too little to make ends meet – $156 a month for a family of three.

Here are areas the DC Council should prioritize as it considers adding resources to the mayor’s spending plan.

  • Add Support to Families with Children on TANF: TANF should provide financial stability while helping parents move to greater self-sufficiency. Even with the extension of benefits for a year, the very low levels of assistance do not support family stability.
  • Expand Rental Assistance: There is virtually no affordable private-market housing in the District, which means that families with low wages or living on fixed incomes will struggle with housing cost burdens without additional assistance. Expanding rental assistance is a way to create affordable housing quickly and for the lowest-income families.
  • Increase Resources for At-Risk Students: The current funding devoted to helping low-income and other at-risk students in DCPS and public charter schools is well below the level recommended by a D.C.-commissioned study. Increasing the “at-risk weight” would allow high-poverty schools to take the steps needed to help low-income students succeed.

You can check DCFPI’s full take here for the key changes in Mayor Bowser’s budget.

Ed Lazere, the executive director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, has led the organization since its inception in 2001. Under his leadership, DCFPI has become the primary source of independent information on the DC budget and one of the most influential policy organizations focused on the District. Mr. Lazere is recognized as a leading expert on the District’s budget and tax system, and he is looked to as a resource on a number of policy issues such as affordable housing and welfare-to-work programs.