Tag: Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

New data show how life expectancy varies across the region

HEALTH/EQUITY | The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center on Society and Health have released a new map showing wide variations in life expectancy for babies born in different areas of the Greater Washington region. The map shows that opportunities to be as healthy as possible vary by neighborhood.

The aim of these maps is to serve as a resource—raising awareness of factors that shape health and spurring discussion and action on a complex web of factors that influence health. In this case, the average life expectancy in the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County is 78 years – 8 years shorter than for babies born in either Arlington or Fairfax Counties.

Related: Next month, Dr. Steven Woolf, head of the Center on Society and Health at VCU, will present as part of WRAG’s 2016 Brightest Minds series. Join us to learn more about the social and economic factors that influence health and contribute to wide disparities in life expectancy across our region. This event is open to the public. Find out more and register here.

COMMUNITY | The University of Maryland has announced a $75 million initiative to support student philanthropy work called the “Do Good Institute”, which will build on the work of formerly named UMD’s Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership and be run through the public policy school.  The goal of this new effort is to establish the University of Maryland as a global leader in advancing social change, philanthropy and nonprofit leadership. (WaPo, 9/22) UMD’s Do Good Institute is WRAG’s long-time partner on the Philanthropy Fellows program, through which over 50 students have gained experience in philanthropy and learned about the region at over 30 WRAG member organizations.

Related: WRAG is excited to welcome the 2016-2017 Philanthropy Fellows! Six students from the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute are working with five WRAG members this year, on a variety of projects from grants administration and communications, to development and public policy initiatives. (Daily, 9/26)

– DC has finalized the second annual youth homeless census, a nine-day push to count residents under 25 who don’t have permanent housing. (City Paper, 9/23)

 – D.C. Kicks Off $13 Million Affordable Housing Renovation in Ward 4 (City Paper, 9/23)

EDUCATION | As kindergarten ratchets up academics, parents feel the stress (WaPo, 9/25)

PHILANTHROPYPutting Data About Nonprofits to Work for Good (Chronicle, 9/23)

As we gear up for the first Presidential Debate tonight, it’s worth noting that Americans are quick to ask if candidates are giving enough, but they don’t follow up on how the money is being used – Buffy


DC’s Affordable Housing Crisis a Focus for Mayor Bowser

HOUSING | The lack of affordable housing in Washington, DC is affecting people at almost every income level. It is no longer considered a “poor people’s issue” – it’s a middle-class, senior citizen, young-worker, and family issue – and Mayor Muriel Bowser has focused her economic agenda on solving it(WaPo, 9/16):

Bowser is betting hundreds of millions of dollars and her entire economic agenda on the idea that her government can supply so many housing units sheltered from market forces that residents’ fear of being priced out will subside. During her campaign, Bowser made a commitment to put $100 million into the city’s affordable-housing fund every year. What does $100 million a year get you? For the five-year period through 2017, the year before Bowser goes up for reelection, the District is on pace to in total spend nearly $1 billion on an array of affordability initiatives. […]

At a citywide town hall meeting residents raised housing costs as their No. 1 concern – topping schools and crime. “That really was an inflection point,” said David Bowers, vice president of Enterprise Community Partners, [and WRAG board member]… “There were a lot of [advocates] that had been going for years asking for more money for housing. Then, at that point, people realized it really was a citywide concern.”

Related: Housing affordability in the Greater Washington region is a major priority of WRAG’s. WRAG is a co-convener of the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group, a collection of more than a dozen public and private sector regional leaders (including David Bowers, quoted in the story above) that is working to elevate the visibility of, and broaden support for bold, thoughtful, and collaborative solutions for the housing affordability challenge. And, in case you missed it, WRAG and Enterprise Community Loan Fund just passed the initial goal for Our Region, Your Investment, a unique impact investing initiative, with $7 million already raised to help preserve and produce affordable housing in the region.

– Sometimes, advocates are warned to be cautious about causing “racism fatigue.”  In her latest column, WRAG’s president Tamara Copeland turns that idea on its head. (Daily, 9/20)

– DC’s Racial Inequality Continues to Widen, Even as the City Sees Substantial Economic Growth (DCFPI, 9/15)

HEALTH/EQUITY | Until recently, researchers haven’t included African Americans as much as Caucasian or European descent populations in studies on diseases and medical trials. (NPR, 6/16)

  Join the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers for the upcoming Census 2020: Why Philanthropy Counts webinar on  October 18, 2016, 2:00 – 3:00 PM, for a conversation about why the census matters and the role that philanthropy can play in ensuring a fair and accurate count.

– WRAG Members: WRAG is an official partner for the 2016 Independent Sector conference here in DC this November 16-18. Register by September 22 to save an extra $500. Email Rebekah Seder for the discount code.

– The Center for Nonprofit Advancement’s 2016 #EXCELAward finalists have been announced, including WRAG’s own Tamara Copeland! Learn more about the finalists.

– Congratulations to Tobi Printz-Platnick, senior program officer at the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, as well as WRAG’s own Gretchen Greiner-Lott for being accepted into Leadership Greater Washington’s Class of 2017!

Noooooo …. creepy clowns have now been spotted in Annapolis. – Buffy

Hispanics in Philanthropy Embracing Technology to Get Out the Vote

PHILANTHROPY/ELECTIONS | Citing immigration, health care and climate change as some of the many reasons to mobilize the Latino vote this election season, Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) is partnering with numerous groups and embracing technology to engage voters – particularly millennials.

To create a future that’s equitable for their families and communities, Latinos need to engage in the democratic process and voice their opinions and needs. And, in this ever-more-digital world, and with so many millennial Latinos eligible to vote, it means that the nonprofits working to get out the vote need to use innovative strategies to engage voters in ways we’ve never done before.

Learn more about how HIP is embracing the digital age with an Hispanic Heritage campaign called #LatinosGiveTheirVote and the millennial focused crowdfunding platform, HIPGive.org. (NP Quarterly, 9/7)

– WRAG and the Enterprise Community Loan Fund share a very exciting announcement about Our Region, Your Investment, the impact investing initiative to address the housing crisis in our region. (Daily, 9/7)

– See all of DC’s new affordable housing in one map (GGW, 9/6)

WORKFORCE | Once a magnet for young professionals, the DC area is now attracting job seekers at a much slower pace. (WaPo, 9/5)

– The Long-Term Consequences of Missing School (Atlantic, 9/6)

– A panel of education experts discuss evaluation and accountability in schools. This is the seventh, and last, installment in this series about school in a perfect world. Read previous entries on calendars, content, homework, teachers, classrooms, and classifications. (Atlantic, 9/4)

RACEThe Internet May Be as Segregated as a City (Atlantic, 9/6)

NONPROFITSShould Board Members of Large Nonprofits Be Paid? (NP Quarterly, 9/6)

Goodbye final weeks of summer … I already miss the fireflies – Buffy

How Foundations Can Help Stop Predatory Lending

JUSTICE | Foundations and nonprofits have an important role to play in helping to stop predatory lending practices.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has finally proposed a new rule that will curb the payday lending industry’s ability to prey on low-income members of our communities. Comments on the proposed rule are due October 7, 2016, and they represent an opportunity for foundations that prioritize economic justice to weigh in on the side of their constituents.

Within the next three months, there are three specific things foundations can do to help. (NP Quarterly, 8/31)

CIVIL RIGHTSVirginia Republicans go back to court to fight governor on felon voting rights (WaPo, 9/1)

HOUSING | DC officials work to balance the needs of DC residents with the promises of developers to build affordable housing in DC. David Bowers of Enterprise Community Partners weighs in: “to the extent we can, when we think about housing and connecting people to greater opportunity and amenities it really does behoove us as often as we can to make sure the affordability is on site.” (WaPo, 8/26)

EDUCATION Book Details Foundation Influence on Obama Education Policy (CP, 8/26)

IMMIGRATION | Under Trump’s latest plan, more than six million immigrants could be deported (WaPo, 9/1)

EQUALITYInequality is a choice: Rewriting the rules of the American economy (Equals Change Blog, 8/16)

– The “September Shock” is real, and it’s happening this month. Traffic in DC is about to get much worse. (dcist, 8/31)

– DC has almost no white residents without college degrees. (It’s a different story for black residents) (GGW, 8/29)

 Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Signs Executive Order to Start School after Labor Day  (Balt Sun, 8/31)

– A new four year study by the Maryland Transportation Authority will explore where to place, and how to fund a new Chesapeake Bay crossing. (WaPo, 8/30)

VIRGINIA | Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said funding for education and road projects in the Northern part of the state won’t be used to close the $1.5 billion budget shortfall. (WTOP, 8/31)

ARTSCreative Sponsorship Use by Local Nonprofits Opens Arts Patronage to Nearly Anyone (NP Quarterly, 8/28)

RELIGION | Churches are forming “Racists Anonymous” 12-step groups to help people become more aware of, and change their behavior. (WaPo, 8/31)

PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: How Grant Makers Can Improve Their Aid After Disaster Strikes. Co-written by Nina Stack, CEO of WRAG colleague organization the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, this opinion piece highlights the new Disaster Philanthropy Playbook, a comprehensive online resource for grantmakers, nonprofits, governments, and donors. (CP, 8/31)


Education Finance and Policy Analyst | DC Fiscal Policy Institute
Communications Director | Grantmakers In Health
Program Director | Grantmakers In Health

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.

Community Calendar – September 2016
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 seder@washingtongrantmakers.org.

As we head into the final, unofficial weekend of summer, we learn that edible sunscreens are all the rage – yum? Hope the tropical storm passes us by. Enjoy! – Buffy

The (almost) Daily will be back on Tuesday!


Gentrification in DC Pushes Some Families Out

HOUSING | Large families with limited income are finding it challenging to obtain affordable housing in sections of DC experiencing redevelopment.

In a city with a critical shortage of affordable housing, the massive redevelopment off Rhode Island Avenue NE has become for some a symbol of the problems faced by those of modest means who are fearful of being displaced by monied newcomers in the District’s hot real estate market. Such fears are especially acute for large families that are overrepresented among the city’s poor.

Tenants’ advocates just filed a housing discrimination lawsuit at Brookland Manor. (WaPo, 8/30)

Related: Tamara Copeland’s blog yesterday discussing how structural racism may be playing out in the housing arena in DC, and that there are two sides to every story. (Daily, 8/29)

– Education experts weigh in on the school calendar, and how best to “fix” it. (Atlantic, 8/29)

– Maryland Gov. Hogan will hold a press conference on Wednesday to discuss the school calendar and start dates for Maryland schools and potentially advocating they start after Labor Day. (WTOP, 8/30)

– Maryland and DC colleges get a nod for being some of the best colleges for adult learners.  (WaPo, 8/30)

DISTRICT | DC residents are not alone in their unsuccessful attempts for statehood. (Washingtonian, 8/26)

ENVIRONMENTMaryland fines coal power plants $1 million for polluting Potomac, Patuxent rivers (Baltimore Sun, 8/29)

– Better economy, cheaper gas = increase in traffic deaths (WaPo, 8/29)

– Japan will give $2 million for a high-speed train feasibility study that will connect Washington and Baltimore. (WBJ, 8/25)

CIVIL RIGHTSJustice Dept. focuses on police treatment of mentally ill (WTOP, 8/29)

PHILANTHROPY | DC invests $1 million in new charity start-up focused on allowing people to donate online in new and more convenient ways. (WBJ, 8/29)

NONPROFITSThe New Overtime Rules Spotlight a Systemic Problem for Nonprofits (NP Quarterly, 8/29)

“Time is a precious thing. Never waste it.” RIP Gene Wilder – Buffy

Huge Response to New National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC

CULTURE | There’s an overwhelming demand for tickets to visit the new National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall which opens on September 24. All 28,500 opening weekend tickets were gone within an hour after they became available this past Saturday. The only tickets now available to reserve are for weekdays in October.

Twelve exhibitions with nearly 3,000 items will be available to view in the 85,000-square-foot space that tells the story of African American life, history and culture. (WaPo, 8/28)

To make the museum possible, more than $273 million was contributed from private donors, including the foundations of Oprah Winfrey, Bill and Melinda Gates, Shonda Rhimes, BET founder Robert L. Johnson and Michael Jordan.

POVERTY | I Am: The Strength, Value and Resilience of TANF Families is a new video made by TANF advocates and families in DC and supported by the Consumer Health Foundation.

Related: Protecting TANF as a lifeline (Daily, 3/16)

– WRAG’s Tamara Copeland stresses that every family deserves quality housing that they can afford as she highlights how structural racism may be playing out out in the housing arena in DC, and that there are two sides to every story. (Daily, 8/29)

 The biggest beneficiaries of housing subsidies? The wealthy. (GGW, 8/26)

– School starts today in Montgomery County, which has seen huge growth in student enrollment the last eight years. (WaPo, 8/29)

– The Head Start program in Prince George’s County will now be run by a group based in Denver. (WTOP, 8/29)

ECONOMY | The Urban Institute provides an overview on how state economic agencies operate. (Urban Institute, 7/27)

RACE | The social network Next Door, used around the country, is facing criticism for posts that border on racial profiling. (WaPo, 8/29)

MILLENNIALSCorporate Ethics In The Era Of Millennials (NPR, 8/24)

The Plight of the Overworked Nonprofit Employee (The Atlantic, 8/24)

– Studies Examine Why People Give Differently Than They Invest (CP, 8/23)

Interesting … who knew you could remove all political posts from your Facebook feed? – Buffy

WRAG Members Among 50 Corporate Leaders “Changing the World”

CORPORATE GIVING | Fortune just released its 2016 Change the World” roster of 50 companies addressing social and environmental challenges through their core business, which includes WRAG Members Bank of America and IBM. Fortune bases the rankings on how companies focus their philanthropy on  “scalable positive change”. (Fortune, 8/18)

Each year at this time, we set out to identify 50 companies across the globe that are tackling major societal problems—reducing damage to the environment, strengthening communities, serving the underserved, and significantly improving lives as a function of their business model—and whose good works contribute to their bottom lines.

Related: Fortune also looks at how corporate managers and boards are aligning their missions with their impact on communities and social issues. (Fortune, 8/18)

If you want to learn more about WRAG’s Corporate Affinity Group bookmark this page.

EDUCATION | As another school year begins in our region, an ongoing question remains:  should school start later each morning? (The Atlantic, 8/17)

HOUSING | Affordable housing and new neighborhood connections plan to meet up with an important bike trail in DC’s Edgewood neighborhood. (GGW, 8/19)

AGING | Opinion: Are aging and the economic slowdown linked? (WaPo, 8/21)

– Although the goals were admirable, twenty years after President Clinton overhauled the welfare system, the results are mixed. (NPR, 8/22)

– The Salvation Army and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy recently developed the Human Needs Index, a multidimensional measure of poverty.

– Given our region’s traffic issues, could we use art to address traffic fatalities? (NP Quarterly, (8/16)

– Perspective is everything in art. A new U Street exhibit explores how the places we live end up shaping us, and vice versa. (GGW, 8/18)

PHILANTHROPY | Joint Affinity Groups (JAG) has transformed into CHANGE Philanthropy, a coalition of philanthropic networks working together to strengthen bridges across funders and communities.

Who knew you could love crabs and win $1,000? Crossing my Old Bay covered fingers – Buffy

Meet the 2015-2016 Philanthropy Fellows

(Back row: Catherine Oidtman, Rebecca Kates, Sarah Gordon; Front row: Hannah Davis, Dominique Covelli, Jessica Finkel)

The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers is excited to welcome the 2015-2016 Philanthropy Fellows! Nine students from the University of Maryland’s Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership are working at WRAG member organizations this year:

  • Alex Gabriel is undertaking research for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy’s foundation assessment initiative, Philamplify, with Lisa Ranghelli.
  • Catherine Oidtman is working with Crystal Townsend of the Healthcare Initiative Foundation, assisting with grants administration and the implementation of the HIF Scholars professional mentoring program.
  • Dominique Covelli is strengthening Grantmakers in Health’s communications and marketing efforts with Leila Polintan.
  • Hannah Davis is supporting the development and administration of WRAG’s Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility with Katy Moore.
  • Jessica Finkel is assisting with the design of Kaiser Permanente’s philanthropic strategy, working with Tanya Edelin.
  • Mary Kolar is supporting the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region’s Safety Net Initiative and Philanthropic Services grantmaking programs with Silvana Straw.
  • Rebecca Kates is supporting grantmaking, communications, and donor services with Amina Anderson at the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region.
  • Sarah Gordon is working with Phyllis Kaye and WRAG’s Healthy Communities Working Group on developing effective communications about the social determinants of health to reach a wider funder audience.
  • Shaundra Patterson is researching potential national funding partners with Nicky Goren in support of the Meyer Foundation’s new strategic plan.

These students are gaining valuable professional experience in philanthropy, making new connections in the community, and bringing fresh ideas and energy to their host organizations. To learn more about each fellow, click here. Check out our website to learn more about WRAG’s Philanthropy Fellows program.

Why I’m asking WRAG members to Get on the Map

By Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

In the eight years that I have been at WRAG, there has been one resounding refrain from our members: we need to know who is funding what, we need the information to be easily accessible, and we need it to be up-to-date. And, for the last eight years, we’ve told you that we didn’t have the tools to provide that data. Instead, we made phone calls, hosted meetings, sent emails, convened brown bag lunches, and compiled survey results. All valuable methods of connecting you to information, but not the most efficient or comprehensive ways of giving you what you really wanted: data.

Now, we have a real solution: Foundation Maps, an interactive, searchable mapping platform from the Foundation Center that will visualize members’ grantmaking in the Greater Washington region. Participating in this effort by sharing your current grantmaking data is easy and painless (you can learn more about the process here).

WRAG’s most basic function is to connect funders so that they can do their work more efficiently and effectively. WRAG’s new Foundation Map will be fundamental to this mission and will allow us to better serve our members.

More importantly, WRAG’s Foundation Map will help inform your work – as foundation CEOs, CSR professionals, program officers, or grants managers. With a few clicks, you will be able to scan the local philanthropic landscape for detailed information about who else in the WRAG community is funding your grantees or prospective grantees. You will be able to find out who else is funding in a similar issue area or targeting a particular population, and what other nonprofits are working in the same space. You will be able to identify funding gaps, trends, and new opportunities for collaboration or funding alignment. The Foundation Map will serve as the information backbone to this community.

“Data” is a buzzword of the day and many increasingly question, rightly, whether data-driven decision-making leads us to undervalue experience, relationships, and qualitative knowledge. WRAG’s Foundation Map won’t replace the convening, information sharing, or networking aspects of WRAG. But, it will help us take these activities to the next level by collecting the available data and making it easily and quickly accessible to the funding community. It won’t do this, however, without a majority of members taking steps to share data.

This is the tool that we have been waiting for. Now, let’s make it as powerful as it can be. Can we count on you to Get on the Map?

WRAG Members: Click here to learn more about the Foundation Maps platform and how to contribute your data. Questions? Contact Rebekah Seder.

Despite major changes, 2013 giving remained strong in the Greater Washington region

2013 was a time of change in this region’s philanthropic community. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ended their philanthropic giving. The Freddie Mac Foundation began winding down its grantmaking in 2013, and disbursed their final grants this year. And looking ahead, two longtime local funders will soon be sunsetting their grantmaking .

But, our outlook is by no means bleak. In the latest edition of Our Region, Our Giving, we dig into data on giving, assets, funding practices, and trends in the sector that we collected from our member foundations and corporate giving programs earlier this year. The data tell a positive story about philanthropy in our region.

Highlights from this year’s report include:

  • Total local giving in 2013 – that is, giving toward nonprofit organizations that primarily serve residents in the Greater Washington region – was $227,878,806. 60% of funders’ local giving increased over 2012.
  • Health and education were the most highly supported issue areas in 2013, totaling $112,265,052 in philanthropic investment.
  • 76% of funders reported providing general operating support, and 48% reported making multi-year grants, reflecting a dedication to flexible, long-term support so that grantees can work as effectively and efficiently as possible.
  • 74% of funders reported some kind of non-cash support to their grantees, proving that funders embrace the notion of going “beyond dollars” to impact our region.
  • Nearly 50% of funders anticipate being involved in some kind of collective impact initiative in the next year.
  • Grantmaking in our region will remain steady in 2015. 21% of funders reported that they plan to increase their giving; 72% plan to continue funding at their current level.

This community is responsive to new thinking about how its giving can best support the needs of our region.  For example, while funders have supported anti-hunger efforts for decades, they continue to do this while also thinking about other ways investing in food can benefit our region. For this reason, this edition features a special look at giving toward food and related issues in our region.

Food is a cross-cutting issue. Promoting access to healthy, nutritious food can impact individuals’ health and educational achievement. Supporting a healthy regional food system can improve the environment and strengthen community development efforts. More and more funders are making these connections. Between 2011 and 2013, giving toward food-related issues grew by 55% for a total of nearly $3.3 million in 2013.

While the funders in our community are incredibly diverse, targeting a variety of issues, employing different grantmaking strategies, and holding a vast range of resources dedicated to philanthropy, they are united in their common mission of improving the region and the lives of those who call it home. We hope this year’s edition of Our Region, Our Giving provides new insights into the priorities and practices of some of the most engaged and committed members of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, and their  impact on our region.

The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) is a network of funders dedicated to promoting increased, effective, and responsible philanthropy in the Greater Washington region.

Inquiries about Our Region, Our Giving may be directed to WRAG’s senior program manager, Rebekah Seder.

Inquiries about food-related funding may be directed to Lindsay Smith, consultant, Washington Regional Food Funders.

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