Tag: WRAG president

Position Announcement: President, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

By Yanique Redwood, PhD, MPH
Chair, Board of Directors, WRAG
President and CEO, Consumer Health Foundation

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to share the position announcement for the next president of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers. We have partnered with Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group to launch a national search that will end with a final selection by spring 2019. The next president will succeed current president Tamara Copeland, who announced in July that she will retire after 12 years of brilliant leadership. Ms. Copeland will continue serving in her role until the new president has been named.

Ms. Copeland leaves WRAG in a strong position both financially and programatically. We are seeking a new leader who will build on WRAG’s momentum as a leading voice in the Washington, DC region on issues such as racial equity and continue to galvanize our membership base of independent, family, corporate, and community foundations, CSR offices, donor advised funds, philanthropic advisors, and philanthropic support organizations.

The search committee is being led by Meyer Foundation President Nicky Goren and also includes WRAG board members Amy Owen (Community Foundation for Loudon and Northern Fauquier Counties) and Craig Pascal (BB&T) as well as Doug Duncan (Leadership Greater Washington) and Hanh Le (Weissberg Foundation). Please share the position with strong potential candidates or send nominations to WRAG-pres@nonprofitprofessionals.com.

If you have any questions about the search, please contact: Callie Carroll, ccarroll@nonprofitprofessionals.com or 202-265-0578.

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.

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

Friday roundup – May 9 through May 13, 2016

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

THIS WEEK IN YOUTH/DISTRICT
 DCAYA Senior Policy Analyst Joseph Gavrilovich discussed a possible path forward for afterschool and summer youth programming in D.C. in advance of the shuttering of the DC Trust. (DCFPI, 5/9)

THIS WEEK IN THE ARTS
– The D.C. Office of Planning recently announced a public art initiative called Crossingthe StreetBuilding DC’s Inclusive Future through Creative Placemaking, that will place 15 pop-up art projects throughout each of the District’s eight wards. (DCist, 5/5)

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


JOBS
Associate Director | Arabella Advisors

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

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


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.


How colors can make us better readers.

– 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

Nonprofits Need to Talk About Race, Not Just Diversity


At this year’s annual conference of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), a plenary session on race led to several impassioned exchanges, according to a May 5 article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy (“Discussions About Race Heat Up at Grant-Maker Conference”) that caught my attention and that of many of my colleagues. Something similar happened at a recent meeting on arts education convened by the National Endowment for the Arts.

These exchanges demonstrate the risks involved in trying to do the right thing by talking publicly and honestly about race. The conversations that ensue can quickly deteriorate into angry back-and-forth exchanges of grievance and incomprehension.

So what do we do? One thing we shouldn’t do is shy away from the topic, as has been our tendency. One participant at the GEO conference noted that when race comes up, there is an inclination to change the subject to deflect hard feelings.

The deflection du jour seems to be diversity in the workplace. I’m often surprised by the number of people who suggest that addressing diversity and inclusion is a means of confronting racism. In today’s world, few are likely to argue against the value of different perspectives from people with different life experiences who look different from each other. I’m with you there. But will a diverse work force fully mitigate implicit bias, correcting the perceptions that people hold based on a plethora of media images that cause us — all of us, of whatever race — to instantly think certain people are good and others are bad? Will it correct the intergenerational impact of housing segregation?

I am not minimizing the importance of diversity. I’m simply suggesting that if we don’t also dig deeper into the issues of race and racism and their impact on our day-to-day lives, we will have only touched the surface of the social and racial inequities that continue to plague this country. We will have added shellac to a wood floor that hasn’t been sanded smooth. The floor may shine from a distance, but close up we’ll see the roughness, and we will keep getting splinters when we walk across it.

We can’t do that anymore. Deflection isn’t working. Our communities are splintered by misunderstandings and actions that are grounded in race and racism — often unconscious, often hidden by institutional behavior that has had decades to become embedded.

We have to learn how to have constructive conversations about race, conversations that seriously explore the experience of pervasive, entrenched racism that is lived by people of color. These conversations don’t come easily or naturally. But they are essential.

At the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, we’re trying to cultivate those conversations in the philanthropic community in the Washington, D.C., area, and so far it’s working. These three ingredients seem to be key:

Start with a community that has established relationships. We are convening member CEOs and trustees to learn and talk openly about race and racism. It’s important to note that these gatherings are among leaders in only one field — philanthropy. Participants have a shared language and perspective. Our philanthropic community is relatively small, and we’ve been actively convening the leadership as a group for the last three years. Relationships have developed. We trust each other.

Explore the topic with depth and breadth, building the conversation over time. We planned a series of six monthly, topically discrete, three-hour sessions and asked that attendees try to attend most of them. We didn’t want them to hear about structural racism without understanding how white privilege undergirds it or to learn about implicit bias without seeing how these three phenomena interconnect in a specific case study (in our case, of mass incarceration). So far 72 percent of attendees are repeat participants. They have committed to this learning journey.

Choose speakers your audience will truly hear. Intentionally, we chose speakers who were grounded in data. Grant makers are committed to outcomes. Hard data resonates with our audience. We didn’t shy away from difficult topics, but we also chose speakers with an engaging style. Some messages may have been a bit uncomfortable, but they were never delivered in an abrasive or confrontational manner. As our first presenter, University of California Professor john a. powell (the lowercase spelling is his preference) noted, “Discussions about race are a bit like exercise. We want you to feel the burn, but we don’t want you to get hurt.”

So, to GEO and the National Endowment for the Arts, I say thank you. While your recent attempts may not have gone fully as you would have hoped, you were bold. You put racism on the table. Don’t stop. We all have a role to play in understanding and addressing race and racism in America. I’m glad that you’re working to be a part of the solution. I hope other organizations join us.

Ms. Copeland wrote about race, philanthropy, and her association’s speaker series in a January 21 opinion column for The Chronicle.

New video is live – Putting Racism on the Table: Implicit Bias

PUTTING RACISM ON THE TABLE/WRAG
The third video in the Putting Racism on the Table series is now live! The video features Julie Nelson, director of the Government Alliance on Race & Equity at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, speaking on implicit bias. 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 had this to say of the new release:

We are halfway through the video releases from WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table series! We appreciate you continuing to share your thoughts from the Professor john a. powell installment on structural racism, and the Dr. Robin DiAngelo installment on white privilege. We hope you’ll keep the conversation going with this latest release, as Julie Nelson highlights the ways in which bias and racism play out at the individual, institutional, and structural levels.

COMMUNITY
– The Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier CountiesGive Choose day, a 24-hour fundraising campaign for 60 area social profit organizations, is in full swing!

– The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is seeking advisory review panelists for its upcoming grant season. D.C residents can nominate themselves or their peers to serve. Find out more about the opportunity here.

– The Healthcare Initiative Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to Mobile Medical Care, Inc. (MobileMed) and Aspire Counseling to support a collaborative program providing integrated behavioral health services for underserved Montgomery County residents.

EDUCATION/POVERTY
A recent study by Stanford researchers finds that students in school districts with the highest concentrations of poverty score an average of four grade levels below their more affluent peers in the richest school districts. The study also finds large achievement gaps between white students and their African American and Hispanic classmates, especially in places where there are large economic disparities. (NYT, 4/29)

WORKFORCE/EQUITY
– AudioLocal D.C. STEM Careers Are Soaring – But For Whom? (WAMU, 5/3)

– A new report looks at the links between higher hourly wages and lower rates of crime. According to projections in the report, “raising the minimum wage to $12 by 2020 would result in a 3 to 5 percent crime decrease (250,000 to 510,000 crimes) and a societal benefit of $8 to $17 billion dollars.” (Atlantic, 5/3)


Want to learn how to prepare cuter, faster (and I do mean very cute and very fast)  meals? This is the cooking show for you.

– Ciara

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