Tag: urban farming

D.C.’s baby boom means new challenges

As the population of young children in the District surges, challenges in the availability of affordable, quality child care arise.  (WaPo, 11/14)

Infants and toddlers are the fastest-growing age group in the city, with 26,500 children younger than 3 in 2013, up 26 percent from 2010.


The cost of child care is a major concern for low-income families who must rely on government subsidies that many providers said do not cover the costs of quality programs. About a quarter of infants and toddlers in the District come from families with incomes below the federal poverty line.

– In her latest blog post, WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland recounts how a tense exchange she observed on her neighborhood listerv showcased the difficulty surrounding discussions of race, and shares the opportunities that can arise out of these misunderstandings with a major announcement for the WRAG community for 2016. (Daily, 11/16)

– A recent debate over proposed bike lanes among longtime, largely African American residents in the District, and more recent primarily white transplants to the city, reveals some tensions around gentrification in the area. (WaPo, 11/12)

Your School Shapes How You Think About Inequality (NPR, 11/14)

– Yanique Redwood, president and CEO of the Consumer Health Foundation, discusses the ways in which the Greater Washington region can work to reshape the current economy in 2016 in order to create a more equitable workforce system. (CHF, 11/10)

FOOD | A site near the D.C./Maryland border will soon be the region’s largest urban farm. Organizers hope the farm will present a viable solution to the food desert problem that has persisted in areas of ward 7. (WAMU, 11/13)

HOMELESSNESS/HOUSING | The Washington Post looks at how permanent supportive housing has worked for a small group of women in the District. (WaPo, 11/15)

COMMUNITYMany Hands is accepting Letters of Inquiry from organizations interested in applying for a grant byNovember 30. Qualified 501(c)(3) organizations will be referred to one of four focus area committees – Education, Health, Housing and Job Readiness – for further consideration for grants, with the largest totaling $100,000. Click here and here for more information about the process, or visit manyhandsdc.org.

Does family makeup determine family giving? A new study says, “yes.”

– Ciara

Regional population growth sees decline

New census figures indicate that population growth (excluding births) in the Washington region is slowing down dramatically. Federal spending cuts and suburban decline are among a number of possible causes for the slow down in migration to the area. (WaPo, 4/16)

After decades of expansion, new census numbers show that population growth in the Washington region has slowed dramatically, with Fairfax County, Arlington County and Alexandria seeing more people move out of those communities than move in over the past year.


Even in the District, a city of about 650,000 residents where condos are popping up across the skyline and newly fashionable neighborhoods are quickly becoming unaffordable for longtime residents, net migration went down last year — from about 10,000 in 2013 to half that.

AARP has released a new online tool that ranks U.S. neighborhoods on their livability for older Americans. The tool weighs a number of significant factors to determine the probability of  successfully aging-in-place on a scale of 0-100. (WaPo, 4/20)

– Do the unfortunate realities of inequality suddenly dissolve when one becomes a senior citizen and experiences the same changes a person from any economic background would – less dependence, lack of mobility, inability to work? Sadly, no. The Atlantic takes a look at how disparities often persist for many Americans throughout a lifetime. (Atlantic, 4/20)

MARYLAND/TRANSIT | A new report estimates the economic benefits for Maryland suburbs if the Purple Line project is given the go ahead. (WaPo, 4/20)

INEQUALITY | This chart explains everything you need to know about inequality (WaPo, 4/20)

– With exorbitant prices for often low-quality land for agricultural use, many farmers in the District are looking toward new legislation to make urban agricultural growth easier and more economical. (WAMU, 4/17)

Opinion:  Many celebrities and public figures have signed on to participate in food stamp challenges in recent years. One writer questions if a recent challenge gone wrong has actually done more harm than good in raising the awareness of the plight of poverty. (WaPo, 4/18)

Wait a minute…is that Yoda in that 14th century manuscript?

– Ciara

Advancing corporate support for arts and culture

ARTS/CSR | A new report from Americans for the Arts details how companies engage arts and culture to advance their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate community involvement (CCI) goals. Kaiser Permanente‘s Educational Theatre Program and Boeing‘s innovative work in Seattle are named as leading examples of these efforts. (Animating Democracy, 3/2015)

To what extent have corporations engaged and supported arts and culture toward their CSR/CCI goals? A scan of recent reports on corporate funding patterns and trends, as well as observations from field leaders and interviewees, suggest a challenging corporate funding terrain for the arts and culture sector even though arts and culture appear to be well positioned to serve both philanthropic goals and business objectives. As the slow economic recovery continues to dampen corporate profits, more corporations are shifting their traditional and purely philanthropic charitable giving programs to focus more strategically and specifically on issues that align with their business interests and have a positive social impact—whether national or global—on their consumers or the communities in which they do business.

PHILANTHROPY | More and more grantmakers are committing to “get on the map.” Find out why the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region is excited about the interactive mapping tool and sharing their grants data with colleagues. (Daily, 3/16)

– Opinion: In the wake of a growing number of tragic events that question the notion of racial justice in America, many foundation leaders wonder what they can do to promote greater equity. Citing examples from the Association of Black Foundation Executives and the Hill-Snowdon Foundation, Aaron Dorfman of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy provides a few recommendations for a good starting place. (Chronicle, 3/13)

– Dr. Gail Christopher, Vice President for Program Strategy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, shares how popular culture can reflect reality and propel it forward, including some story lines from some of the most addicting television shows today. (HuffPo, 3/15)

– On Saturday, March 28 at 6:00 PM, Prince Charitable Trusts, in collaboration with the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University, will hold a screening of four short films on the ways in which communities and farmers expand practices and traditions to preserve farmland and meet demands for sustainable, locally-grown food while also ensuring their career remains profitable. The session, titled Farming for the Future – Enduring Traditions, Innovative Practices, features two films – Farming for the Future and 50 Years of Farming: For Love & Vegetables – that were supported by grants from Prince Charitable Trusts and filmed in Northern Virginia by the Center for Environmental Filmmaking. Growing Legacy features the Maryland Agricultural Reserve in Montgomery County. A panel discussion will follow the screenings.

The ‘greenest’ school building in the world is in Washington (WaPo, 3/12)

– Take note, D.C. In Jackson, Wyoming a small piece of land next to a vacant parking lot will be transformed into one of the world’s only vertical farms. (Fast Company, 2/23)

MENTAL HEALTH | Booz Allen Hamilton is leading the charge to change how mental health, illness, and wellness are viewed in America. As a founding member of the national initiative The Campaign to Change Direction, Booz Allen will educate 11,000 employees over the next five years on the signs and symptoms of emotional health issues. (Booz Allen Hamilton, 3/4)

HOMELESSNESS | The District anticipated a 16 percent rise in homeless families seeking shelter this winter, up 840 from 723 during the 2013-2014 season. The number this year, however, rose to an estimated 897 families who sought shelter this winter. (WCP, 3/12)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | A big boom in the development of high-end apartments in the region has made the market more favorable for renters. While the surplus has meant lower rents and greater perks for more affluent renters, the benefits have not yet trickled down to lower-income renters. (WaPo, 3/15)

 Businesses don’t just want you to see their marketing efforts…they want you to smell them, too.

– Ciara

Another view of the affordable housing crisis

While there are many ways to view affordable housing in D.C. and other major cities, two major themes tend to emerge. An author discusses why we may all be wrong about the way we view solutions to affordable housing – and the very problem itself. (GGW, 3/4)

Whenever we discuss housing affordability, we usually hear two major opposing beliefs. Both are well-honed, clear arguments. And both are wrong—or at least, not completely right.

Some say that new development only provides high-end housing which doesn’t do anything to help those who really need it. Therefore, they oppose new market-rate development.

Others say the problem is we don’t have enough development. Regulations constrict supply and drive up costs. Get rid of regulations and the free market will build housing for everyone.

– For low-income residents, finding affordable rental units in the District is no easy task. That’s why D.C. councilmembers are working to introduce a bill that would offer more information to residents on the city’s rent-controlled housing stock in the form of a central database. Though helpful if implemented, most residents would find the listed units were still out of reach. (WCP, 3/3)

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT | Today, Supreme Court justices began hearing arguments in a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act. A decision is not likely to be made until June in the case that threatens the tax credits for individuals in some states who meet certain income requirements. You can also read a nice breakdown of the case here. (Atlantic, 3/4 and WaPo, 3/3)

ENVIRONMENT | Prince George’s ranks near top in state for recycling, diverting waste (Gazette, 3/3)

Opinion: D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson discusses what she thinks has led to the fast growth of D.C. students – real respect for those who teach. (NYT, 3/3)

– Montgomery County Public Schools have released their 2014 Annual Report to the Community. The interactive, multi-media report can be accessed here. (MCPS, 3/4)

The Annual Report to the Community for the 2013-2014 school year tells the story of MCPS—the factors that are driving change in our district; the strategies we are using to close the achievement gap and prepare our students for success in the 21st century; and the operational and student performance data we use to monitor our progress.

Kids living in the toughest circumstances are less likely to go to charter schools (GGW, 3/3)

HOMELESSNESS | “Housing first” approach works for homeless, study says (WaPo, 3/4)

FOOD | The University of the District of Columbia is the country’s only land grant university with a specifically urban focus that was created to provide agricultural training to the public. This distinction has made the institution a leading resource for urban farmers. (Elevation, 3/3)

PHILANTHROPY | The Top Five Most Promising Trends in Philanthropy (Forbes, 3/2)

TRANSIT | In Seattle, a program that charges transit riders based on their income is taking off in direct response to the displacement of lower-income riders to the suburbs after the technology boom there. Other cities may soon take note. (BBC, 3/2)

Welcome to “Cat Island,” a place that is just as terrifying as it sounds…unless you really, really like cats.


More vacant lots could turn into urban farms with D.C. bill

In an effort to increase the availability of fresh, healthy food while transforming vacant urban lots into safer places, D.C. is considering a bill known as the “D.C. Urban Farming and Food Security Act.” Currently, when private land owners (such as nonprofit groups) lease land for commercial use, they can risk losing tax exemptions; however, if the new bill is passed, private land owners would see a 50 percent tax deduction if they lease their land for farming. (WaPo, 9/19)

The bill outlines a plan to connect publicly and privately owned vacant land with urban farming ventures in an effort to provide more sustainable and healthy food options for surrounding communities and to transform unused and sometimes unsafe areas into productive green spaces.


The bill also encourages the farms to donate to District food banks or shelters by creating a “farm to food donations” tax credit.

Related: Earlier this year, we published What Funders Need to Know: The Food System, providing an overview of the different activities that comprise the food system,  local examples of these activities, and recommendations for ways to invest for multiple, integrated impacts in the region. (Daily, 3/2014)

New effort to get more students in Maryland eating breakfast (WaPo, 9/19)

EQUALITY | Opinion: Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat, President and CEO at Washington Area Women’s Foundation shares her thoughts on the dangers in ignoring the less headline-grabbing discrimination many women still face on a daily basis. (WBJ – subscription required, 9/19)

When discrimination is blatant, it needs to be addressed, corrected and rooted out. But we must all stand guard against discrimination in disguise, the kind that lives in our choice of words, our selection of job candidates and our daily interactions.

– In Arlington County, residents are finding housing costs to be too high, with 2 in 5 saying they are likely to move out of the county within the next five years in response to rising rents and stagnant salaries. The findings come from part of a three-year study on affordable housing in Arlington. (WaPo, 9/19)

Is housing assistance a safety net or a springboard? (MetroTrends, 9/22)

DISTRICT | Today, Mayor Vincent Gray spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting on new efforts in D.C. to decrease rates of infant mortality. The city’s rates are well above the national average. However, officials hope that new initiatives in the District can provide an example to other cities. (DC.gov, 9/22)

PHILANTHROPY | The Rockefeller Brothers Fund has joined the increasingly mainstream movement of divestment in fossil fuel companies, and will increase investment into cleaner alternatives. According to Arabella Advisors – which has consulted with a number of philanthropists and investors to move them toward using resources for social good – a number of groups have pledged to divest assets tied to fossil fuel companies worth more than $50 billion from portfolios, and more than $1 billion for individuals. (NYT, 9/21)

ARTS | The 5 x 5 Project, put on by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, includes a unique piece that speaks to present racial turmoil in America through an iconic gesture from the past. (Forbes, 9/16)

It’s the most wonderful time of year! Tonight, we’ll welcome the autumnal equinox.

– Ciara