05 Mar 13
Yesterday, in The Daily Wrag (Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers), President Tamara Copeland explored “What sequestration means for philanthropy:”
I want to focus on the hidden issues. Much of the impact connected to sequestration will be far less overt. The social worker in me says that as already stressed individuals deal with this reality, mental health-related incidents will also increase. There may be increased incidences of domestic violence, more emergency room visits and falling school performance as home environments become tense. Consider this article about the recession’s impact on our region’s mental health, written when our local economy was actually faring better than the rest of the country.
“The Recession’s ‘Silent Mental Health Epidemic,’ the October 2011 Business Insider article to which Copeland points, discusses a Rutgers University study of “the long-term unemployed,” which found that “32 percent were experiencing a good deal of stress” and “at least 11 percent reported seeking professional help for depression.” Moreover, many more did not have the insurance benefits or financial resources to seek such help, despite potentially needing it.
As Copeland suggests, while our region’s funders should of course ensure that basic needs are met, “it is critical that we keep in mind the less obvious needs [as] a failure to support those, particularly mental health care, can lead to dire consequences.” She also points out that, as much or more so than sequestration, tax reforms could have a critical and perhaps longer-term effect on the national and local nonprofit community.
What are your thoughts? What might be the more “hidden” effects of sequestration?
27 Feb 13
White House estimate spells out tough road for Washington region economy (Washington Post): “… the upcoming automatic spending cuts the Obama administration detailed Sunday would strike a tough blow, with nearly 150,000 civilian Defense Department employees facing furloughs and an estimated average loss of $7,500 in pay [...] funding for elementary and secondary education across the region would be slashed by $29 million.” Economist Anirban Basu (Sage Policy Group) points out that sequestration will have a deeper effect on this region than the nation as a whole, as DC, Maryland, and Virginia are “among the most reliant communities in the nation on federal spending.”
Nonprofit Branding 2013: What Has Changed? (Nonprofit Quarterly): “First, we needed to see information technology not as a peripheral function within our organization but central to our mission pursuits. Second, we needed to see our identity less as an extension of our mission statement, but more as a link between the public perception of the impact we create and our higher calling to strengthen communities.” Carlo Cuesta, founder of the Saint Paul-based firm Creation in Common, goes to point out that “We have access to the tools and resources needed to build meaningful relationships with our stakeholders, what we lack are the capabilities to do it in a way that advances authenticity and mobilizes the public will.” Do you agree?
Gray aims high with sustainability plan; can agencies deliver? (Greater Greater Washington): “Last week, the Gray administration unveiled its sustainability plan, which sets some very ambitious, yet very important objectives for 2032, like attracting 250,000 new residents and making 75% of trips happen by walking, biking, and transit.” GGW argues that “to achieve these goals, agencies will have to push forward not just on their existing laudable initiatives, but go beyond.” For example: “it would be better to focus more new housing near Metro stations, streetcars, and high-frequency bus corridors. To do that, though, some administration will have to modify the Comprehensive Plan and zoning to create denser areas somewhere.”
13 Feb 13
DC, advocates at odds over homeless families; 900 people still in shelter (Washington Post): “This winter, the District’s shelter for homeless families at DC General Hospital is crammed full — 372 adults and nearly 600 children [...] City officials say that hard times and the lack of affordable housing in poor neighborhoods are to blame for the continuing crisis of family homelessnes.” Last year, the number of homeless families in the District jumped by 18 percent and advocates argue that DC “is not doing nearly enough to help the neediest residents find permanent housing at a time of budget surplus.” Learn more about CFP’s homelessness and housing nonprofits right here.
Class-Divided Cities: Washington, DC Edition (The Atlantic): “More than any other metro we’ve covered, greater Washington, DC is a creative class region [...] These are high-skilled, highly-educated, and high-paying positions where workers average $90,442 in wages and salaries, fourth highest in the nation [...] Still, the class divide in the region is pronounced. The creative class is concentrated in the center of the metro, as the map shows.” A map charting the geography of class in the region shows a concentration of the creative class to the west and service to the east, yet almost no clusters of working class residents, implying that “Greater Washington is a fully post-industrial region.” Explore the interactive maps right here.
Tech’s new entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy (USA Today): “The intersection of technology and philanthropy is creating “philanthrocapitalism,” borrowing ideas from venture capitalism to fund non-profits.” For example, “NFS [Not For Sale], a model of [eBay founder Pierre] Omidyars’ brand of philanthropy, is based loosely on a venture-capital firm’s approach. And it is quickly becoming a powerful agent for social change, as eBay was for commerce.” Says Suzanne DiBianca, the co-founder and president of the Salesforce.com Foundation, “Companies are beginning to understand their power in leveraging their assets to non-profits [...] It’s not just throwing a check over a wall.”
12 Feb 13
On Sunday, the Washington Post inquired: “Can nonprofit organizations boost a regional economy?”
The impact of a nonprofit is frequently gauged by the reach and effectiveness of its services. But beyond their power to help and support a community, can these organizations provide fuel to rev a regional economy?
In Montgomery County, at least, a new report concludes that nonprofit groups have indeed played an important role in boosting the labor market and the broader economy [...] The report shows that nonprofit workers in Montgomery comprise 10 percent of the county’s labor force and earned a collective $2.2 billion in wages in 2011.
Funded by Nonprofit Montgomery, an affiliate of the Nonprofit Roundtable, the study also “found that the county’s nonprofits have $4 billion in purchasing power” and that they showed considerable resilience during the recession, posting an increase in sector employees from 2007 to 2011 — a period during which the overall number of employees in the county dropped.
Similarly, the study revealed that local nonprofits can fuel economic recovery indirectly as well. For example, adult literacy services enable residents to “qualify for a job, fill out an application or even simply navigate the bus system, all of which can boost one’s chances of earning wages.” And arts and culture nonprofits can direct consumers to nearby restaurants, retail stores, and even parking garages.
What are the other key byproducts of a healthy nonprofit sector? Share your thoughts with us.
06 Feb 13
In speech, DC mayor pledges investment in affordable housing, other city programs (Washington Post): “A ‘prosperity dividend’ from the District’s continued economic growth should be used to make investments in key city government programs, Mayor Vincent C. Gray said in his annual State of the District address Tuesday.” In the third year of his term, Gray has his first opportunity to “pursue significant new spending — starting with a $100 million commitment to affordable housing.” Additionally, the mayor’s upcoming budget proposal “will include a $15 million ‘investment fund’ for city nonprofits. The fund would make competitive grants to groups involved in arts, job training, the environment, health and other areas.”
A Million Strong: Helping Them Through (New York Times: Education): “As often as not, they float in and out of college like nomads, juggling deployments, families and jobs. If they are in service, they take classes at night or on weekends, studying between combat patrols and 12-hour duty schedules [...] Some have physical injuries or mental health issues that can strain their ability to study.” Thus the questions arise: are veterans given the information that they need to make the best enrollment decisions, and then provided with the resources to complete the degree requirements? To answer them, federal agencies are “creating new metrics that reflect military and veteran students’ tendencies to attend multiple colleges and to take more than four to six years to graduate.”
Three Key Takeaways from Nielsen’s 2012 Social Media Report (Nonprofit Quarterly): “Social media is here to stay, and even as others catch up, Facebook remains miles ahead of the pack [...] If you want to go where the growth is, go mobile. Mobile technology really took root in 2012 with a whopping 120 percent increase in mobile app usage.” And of those surveyed, more than 50% shared their positive and negative reactions about brands over social media — implying that organizations that are not on Facebook or Twitter “could be missing out on helping your stakeholders understand or resolve issues or concerns.”
05 Feb 13
From “In first annual report, Raise DC offers snapshot of DC youth” (Washington Post – Feb. 3):
Only four in 10 third-graders in the District can read proficiently, and only about four out of 10 young adults in the city have a full-time job.
Those sobering statistics are part of a snapshot of DC youths to be released Monday by Raise DC, a coalition of public, private and nonprofit groups Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) convened last year with the aim of improving the lives of the District?s neediest residents from birth through age 24.
Read all »
30 Jan 13
At rally, leaders promise action on affordable housing (Greater Greater Washington): “Over 300 people rallied for affordable housing this weekend with the Housing for All Campaign [...] The next few months will be critical for housing funding. The task force is scheduled to release its report in the next few weeks, and Mayor Gray will announce his housing plan.” Do you agree that affordable housing is poised to become “key political issue?”
Report: Current Approach To Strategic Philanthropy Is Limiting (The NonProfit Times): “The current top-down approach to strategic philanthropy limits its overall effectiveness,” according to a new study by the Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). Says NCRP Executive Director Aaron Dorfman, “All grantmakers want to maximize the impact of their grants [...] What they may not realize is that the missing piece in their grantmaking strategy is the social justice lens.” What do you think of the report’s central suggestions?
Free Tax Help Clinics Begin Friday (ARLnow): “Starting this Friday, Arlington County is holding free clinics to assist residents with tax preparation. The clinics are intended to serve residents with ‘low or moderate income.’” Several clinics list a maximum income for those interested in taking part; all clinics begin in February and run through April, with locations at public libraries, Department of Human Services, and ECDC Enterprise Development Group.
23 Jan 13
In Maryland, forecast calls for more hires (Gazette): “About 22 percent of companies in Maryland plan to hire more employees in the first quarter this year, up from 17 percent in 2012′s first quarter, according to a recent survey by employment services company Manpower Group.” Nationwide, that number is five percentage points lower and the best prospects, reportedly, are in professional and business services. One reason? Many “employers that have been piling up profitable quarters say factors such as the fiscal cliff and a lack of qualified employees put a damper on their hiring plans last year.”
Chancellor Kaya Henderson names 15 DC schools on closure list (Washington Post): “More than one in 10 DC public schools will close as part of a plan Chancellor Kaya Henderson put forth Thursday, a retrenchment amid budget pressures, low enrollment and growing competition from public charter schools [...] Closing half-empty schools will allow her to use resources more efficiently, she said, redirecting dollars from administration and maintenance to teaching and learning.” Community feedback persuaded the Chancellor to keep open five schools originally slated for closure. You can read the detailed Consolidation and Reorganization Plan on the DCPS website.
Graduation Rate Hits Record High For High School Students: Government Report (Huffington Post): “More US high school students than ever are graduating on time, according to new information released by the research arm of the US Education Department. The percentage of students who graduated from high school within four years of starting ninth grade in the 2006-2007 school year hit a record high.” In that year, 4 million students began high school and, four years later, just over 78% have graduated — a 2% increase overall. But while more students are completing high school, “fewer than half of those in the class of 2012 were “college ready” as determined by the College Board last fall.”
15 Jan 13
Last week, the City Paper “mapped out” the income of Washington DC’s “neighborhood incomes by census tract.” Earlier on, the Washington Post mapped the “percentage of homes in each ZIP code that have negative equity:”
Over the past year, DC-area housing prices experienced “solid gains” (4.4%); however, progress was not even across the metropolitan area. In particular, “many of the homeowners with mortgages higher than their home’s value were clustered in the eastern parts of the District and in Prince George’s County,” where prices have been slower to rise since the housing bust.
Says Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, “I have no doubt that we have turned the corner [...] What we can expect is to see modest price appreciation, something in the neighborhood of 4 percent for the next several years.”
Yesterday on Greater Greater Washington, David Alpert also points out that, as the map above reveals, “the economic recovery is not hitting all areas or all people equally. We need more jobs east of the river and in Prince George’s County.”
Share your thoughts on the housing market’s recovery — and its markedly uneven pace. What would provide the greatest catalyst for growth in the areas that need it?
10 Jan 13
by Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator
For the past decade or so, microlending and microfinance have been a hot topic in international aid and development — and through microlending organizations like Kiva, an easy way for concerned global citizens from higher income countries to offer a helping hand to their brethren in lower income countries. Kiva is one of many crowd-sourcing organizations that lets donors lend amounts as small as $25 to collectively support micro-entrepreneurs around the world, who pay back those funds (through Kiva) to the original lenders. Nowadays, small business creation and entrepreneurship are very much at the heart of the conversation about kick-starting the United States economy, and Kiva has responded with an interesting solution: bring the international microfinance model to American cities.
This week, Kiva City launched its DC program, in partnership with Capital One Bank and CFP-nonprofit Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC). Kiva City DC is a new online portal connecting small business owners in our nation’s capital with Kiva’s global network of over 870,000 lenders. By providing loans to these entrepreneurs, lenders can help them start, sustain and grow their businesses — and even create new jobs. Kiva City DC is the fourth Kiva City site across the country — along with Detroit, New Orleans, and Los Angeles.
Capital One is helping to provide financial heft for the project — matching all loans made to businesses posted by LEDC online through Kiva through 2013. LEDC provides the borrower base, bringing its expertise in financial and small business skill building to the table, as well as its connections to the Latino community in Washington, DC. LEDC’s Community Asset Fund for Entrepreneurs works to identify qualifying borrowers in the D.C. area, administers the loans and posts profiles of each small business owner online at kiva.org. According to the Kiva City DC website, “Kiva lenders’ funds are used to ease the loan requirements for borrowers, including decreasing collateral requirements, interest rates and fees associated with loan disbursement. With Kiva capital, LEDC will reach out to borrowers that may not have met all of LEDC’s existing criteria, allowing the organization to grow its lending program.”
For more information on borrowers currently seeking loans through Kiva and LEDC, check out borrower profiles online here, and for information on recommending the lending process to potential borrowers, check out LEDC’s online application here.