Bringing Community Voices to the Table

By Desiree Griffin-Moore, Executive Director, Prince George’s County

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Growing up in the DC area, I have seen the city transform from a small sleepy government town to become the principal city of a major metropolitan area comprised of more than 6 million people. As the seat of our nation’s government, this area has grown exponentially and is quickly being recognized as a bastion for economic growth by corporations and private markets.   

Throughout the city and its surrounding areas, new developments and increasing interest from corporations, including Amazon, are stimulating the region’s economic growth and prosperity and creating new jobs and new business endeavors for many. Still, questions arise such as: Who is benefiting from this growth? How do traditionally marginalized communities gain access to these opportunities? Can the field be leveled and if so, how?   

Our Voices of the Community survey of more than 3,400 local residents found that:

  • Nearly one in five residents has faced some form of housing or food insecurity in the past 12 months, and that increases to one in three people for our region’s black and Hispanic populations.

  • The cost of living, especially renting or owning a home, is one of the most challenging aspects of our region. Nearly a third of people knew someone in the region who had to move in the past two years for a reason other than their own choice, typically due to high housing costs or job loss.

  • Nearly a third of Prince George’s County and Montgomery County respondents rated access to education and training as a “major” barrier to finding a job.

The region’s explosive growth is now extending into Prince George’s County as corporations are seeing the County, its people and its land as valuable assets. As a native Washingtonian, and currently a Prince George’s County resident, I am seeing history repeating itself. While I am excited by the growth and celebrate the decisions of companies like MGM, National Harbor, Washington’s professional football team, and others, to relocate here, I also find myself worrying if the displacement of people that took place as a result of the growth in DC will now duplicate itself in Prince George’s County. Will families who have called Prince George’s County home for generations and contributed to its vitality suddenly find themselves fleeing because they can no longer afford to live here? Are there ways to thoughtfully encourage growth and, at the same time, ensure that the fabric of our communities remain intact? 

The racial and economic inequities that continue to plague our entire region could hinder our progress unless our area’s business, community and philanthropic leaders work together to address these challenges and advance racial equity and inclusion. 

The Greater Washington Community Foundation is tackling these issues by prioritizing strategic partnerships across sectors and developing new approaches to address the region’s most pressing challenges. With more than 45 years of community-based philanthropy experience, our knowledge of local needs and the most impactful nonprofits provides our corporate partners with important connections which are essential to their success. For example, you can read about how our partnership with MGM National Harbor expanded its ability to support and enhance the surrounding community in Prince George’s County.

We continue to play an important role by leveraging our relationships with businesses, nonprofits and local communities to help broker new partnerships that will ultimately provide necessary community input, diverse voices and broader perspectives as development continues to take place. In my years of service to this community and region, I have found that the relationships which emerge through these partnerships are essential .


Desiree Griffin-Moore joined The Community Foundation in September 1998 as executive director of The Community Foundation in Prince George’s County where she has provided leadership in strategic giving, development, and donor engagement activities. A committed advocate of civil rights and social justice, Desiree has extensive experience working with the nonprofit sector to advance low-income and marginalized communities.

2019 Montgomery County Philanthropist of the Year Nominations Now Open!

Nomination Guidelines

Purpose: To honor an individual who has made a positive impact in our community through giving, and whose philanthropic leadership sets an inspiring example for us all. 

Nomination Process:

Complete the official nomination form and a letter explaining why your nominee should be selected as the Montgomery County Philanthropist of the Year. 

Please note that the cover form must be completed in its entirety in order for the nomination to be eligible. The Awards Committee will not accept nominations which rely solely on resumes, newspaper articles, annual reports or the like in substitution for concise responses to the criteria outlined below. Pending review by the Philanthropist of the Year Selection Committee, The Community Foundation staff may contact you for additional information. 

For inspiration, look no further than our past honorees.

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Our 2018 Montgomery County Philanthropist of the Year, Linda Youngentob, and her family at the Celebration of Giving on November 1, 2018.


Eligibility Criteria: 

All nominees must…

  • Be a resident of Montgomery County

  • Have a demonstrated track record of charitable giving to one or more nonprofit organizations based in and working in Montgomery County

  • Have made a positive impact in the lives of county residents through their giving

  • Encourage/motivate others to become philanthropic

Note: The level of charitable dollars given is secondary to its impact and potential to inspire others to follow suit. Creative approaches to philanthropy are welcome!  Nominees may be of any age.

In exceptional circumstances, the Award Committee may consider a former resident, a family unit, or a philanthropist who is deceased. 

Deadline: March 8, 2019

The nomination form and letter must be postmarked or emailed by close of business on Friday, March 8, 2019 to:

The Community Foundation in Montgomery County

Attn: Kevin Donnelly

8720 Georgia Avenue, Suite 202

Silver Spring, MD 20910

kdonnelly@thecommunityfoundation.org

The Community Foundation in Montgomery County will contact the selected awardee and her/his nominator by the end of May. All other nominations will remain confidential.

Questions: Contact Kevin Donnelly at kdonnelly@thecommunityfoundation.org or 301-495-3036 x162.

Apply to Perform or Exhibit at the 2019 Celebration of Philanthropy

We are currently accepting proposal submissions for performance opportunities at The Community Foundation’s 2019 Celebration of Philanthropy. The event will take place Monday, March 25, from 6:00-9:00 pm at Arena Stage. The annual Celebration brings together about 800 local philanthropists, nonprofits, business and community leaders to honor their individual and collective contributions to ensuring our region is a more equitable, vibrant and inclusive place to live. This is the largest annual celebration of local philanthropy in our region, providing an opportunity to celebrate The Community Foundation’s impact and legacy of bringing people and resources together for community change.

The Celebration of Philanthropy is a unique experience — it is structured like a community arts festival featuring performances and exhibits showcasing some of the region's most exciting artists and nonprofit arts organizations supported by The Community Foundation and its community of givers. Performances are staggered throughout the evening and across all three levels of Arena Stage, allowing guests to experience the region’s vibrant local arts community while enjoying delicious food, an open bar, and networking opportunities with friends and colleagues.

We are specifically looking for:

  • Performance art — Live music, theater, dance, poetry/spoken word, or other performances (individuals or groups of artists of all disciplines and ages) that run for about 10-15 minutes. Performances do NOT take place on stages or in theaters, so submissions must be conducive to an open but limited performance space.

  • Visual art — Interactive and participatory exhibits or roving experience/activities that engage the audience as individuals or a group. Stations may run throughout the evening on various levels of the event space.

Please note: The Celebration offers guests a very festive party atmosphere. It is a standing and roving reception and, because the space is very open, the noise level can conflict with performance audio.

Eligibility Requirements

We will consider applications from artists and nonprofit organizations which are:

  • located in and/or serving residents of the Greater Washington region, including DC, Montgomery County, Northern Virginia, and Prince George’s County;

  • current or past grantees of The Community Foundation and/or its component funds;

  • available the evening of Monday, March 25, 2019, from roughly 4:00-9:00 pm, and for a pre-scheduled walk through and rehearsal prior to the event.

You may submit as many ideas as you’d like for consideration. Applications are due, via the online form below, no later than 5:00 pm on December 21, 2018.

Individuals and organizations selected for performance opportunities will be notified in mid-January 2019. Selected individuals/organizations will receive a $500 honorarium (one per performance) and up to two tickets for staff or guests to attend the event. Please send your questions to marketing@thecommunityfoundation.org.

Fill out my online form.

Save the Date for the 2019 Celebration of Philanthropy

 
 

It's time to celebrate! You’re invited to the 2019 Celebration of Philanthropy on March 25, 2019! This is the largest annual celebration of local philanthropy in our region. It is a true celebration of what makes our community remarkable—including the individuals and organizations who dedicate their time and resources to public service, philanthropy, and nonprofits to drive the area’s tremendous giving spirit and make our region a more vibrant, equitable and inclusive place to live. This is also an opportunity to celebrate The Community Foundation’s impact in our region and reflect on our legacy of bringing people and resources together for community change.

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At the Celebration, we will present the 2019 Civic Spirit Award to former Mayor Anthony Williams. Anthony Williams is a long-time champion for a thriving DC, having served as CFO, Mayor, and now as CEO of the Federal City Council. During more than a decade of service in local government, he is widely credited with leading the City out of bankruptcy and for initiating a period of sustained economic growth leading DC to the economically vibrant place it is today. He has continued his civic contribution and leadership at the Federal City Council, engaging the business community in investments in infrastructure and more equitable development, most recently with the launch of the Washington Housing Initiative. 

Attending the Celebration of Philanthropy is an experience unlike any other! You’ll take part in a cocktail reception and community festival featuring live music, theater, poetry, and dance performances from some of the region's most exciting nonprofits and local artists who are supported by The Community Foundation and our community of givers. These showcases are staggered throughout the evening and across the venue, allowing you to choose from a line-up of incredible acts while enjoying delicious food, an open bar, and networking with friends and colleagues. 

 
 

When you purchase a ticket or sponsorship for this event, you are also giving back to your community by supporting our efforts to build thriving communities throughout the region. Proceeds benefit The Community Foundation's Fund for Greater Washington, enabling us to make grants to effective nonprofits, incubate new ideas, convene partners to address community issues, and conduct programmatic initiatives and advocacy. Through this Fund, The Community Foundation invests in effective solutions to help our marginalized neighbors find pathways out of poverty, create diverse and inclusive spaces to deepen human connection, and prepare workers to succeed in our region’s changing economy.

Sponsorship Packages

We have a variety of sponsorship opportunities for organizations of all sizes and for individuals who want to celebrate with us and share their great work with an audience of 700+ community, philanthropic, local government, and business leaders— contact Emily Davis for more details.

We hope you will join us on March 25! This is truly a special celebration that you will not want to miss!


WHEN

Monday, March 25, 2019
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

WHERE

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater
1101 Sixth Street SW | Washington, DC 20024

TICKETS

Ticket sales will open in January 2019

Business Attire

FiscalNote Announces Wendy Martinez Legacy Project

View RollCall’s coverage of FiscalNote’s announcement of $500,000 in seed funding and stock shares to establish The Wendy Martinez Legacy Project, which will support advancing women in tech and programs that empower women and promote community through running.


Make a Contribution

 
Fill out my online form.
 

The Resilience Fund Combats Hate and Intolerance in the Greater Washington Region

Announces New Grants to Local Nonprofits Serving Immigrant and Muslim Communities

The Resilience Fund has announced $200,000 in grants to seven nonprofits supporting our neighbors experiencing hardship as a result of shifting federal policies and growing anti-other sentiment. The grant awards will enable these organizations to provide legal or medical services, conduct advocacy, and help protect the civil rights of immigrants, refugees, Muslims and other vulnerable communities in our region. 

“In light of recent tragedies from Pittsburgh to Louisville, we are reminded of both the strength and the vulnerability of our communities, including in the Greater Washington region,” said Tonia Wellons, VP of community investment for the Greater Washington Community Foundation, and Terri D. Wright, VP for program and community for the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, who co-chair the Fund’s Steering Committee. “The Resilience Fund is one tool to help stem the rising tide of intolerance, fear, bigotry, hate and anti-other sentiments that impact us locally. These grants will support the critical work of nonprofits responding to community needs to ensure our neighborhoods remain resilient, thriving, and more equitable and inclusive places to live.”

Grant Awards

The Resilience Fund’s latest grants will support:

  • DC Law Students in Court to expand immigration representation by leveraging hundreds of pro bono hours from student attorneys who will represent clients seeking release on bond before the Arlington Immigration Court. This will be the first legal clinical program of its kind in DC.

  • Identity, Inc. to help mitigate the negative consequences of new MCPS policies and practices on immigrant students and their families, including the visitor ID policy, Free and Reduced-Price Meals paper application, and high school athletics registration. Identity will advocate for policies that reduce barriers to equitable participation.

  • Jews United for Justice to conduct advocacy around the Montgomery County Trust Act, which would formalize rules preventing police and other local emergency services from cooperating with ICE; and the statewide Trust Act which will amend the Maryland Dream Act, so all young people have equal in-state tuition regardless of DACA status.

  • Justice for Muslims Collective to organize and empower Muslim communities to challenge federal anti-Muslim policies and societal bigotry. JMC will host community-building events, complete a DMV assessment on the needs of Muslim communities, organize rapid response mobilizations, and host community defense and wellness workshops.

  • League of Women Voters of Virginia to conduct voter services and voter education programs in Northern Virginia, specifically Arlington County, Fairfax area, Loudoun County, and Prince William area.

  • Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care to provide medical, dental, and behavioral health services to undocumented children separated from their parents at the border and receiving shelter in the region. Mary’s Center will provide behavioral health care in its School Based Mental Health program at 18 public schools, and wraparound care at its health centers.

  • The Fuller Project for International Reporting to counter hatred and intolerance by expanding its reporting, training, and raising awareness about the issues facing immigrant women, children, and their families.

About the Resilience Fund

The Resilience Fund was created in early 2017 as a collaborative partnership of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, and other foundation and individual contributors. It supports the critical needs of nonprofits who are responding to changes in federal policy and budget priorities, as well as the climate of intolerance and hate, both of which are disproportionately impacting local people of color, and immigrant and refugee communities. 

Since the Fund’s inception, it has raised and leveraged more than $1 million and granted out $550,000 to organizations supporting our neighbors affected by changes to immigration and deportation policies, as well as efforts to build community cohesion and combat anti-other sentiment. Grants have supported immigrant-serving organizations providing advocacy, legal representation, medical services, training on legal and civil rights, and assistance with reuniting families separated at the border and detained in Maryland or Virginia. The Fund has also responded to increases in incidents of hate and intolerance in the region by supporting grassroots community engagement, voter education services, and the expansion of educational programs in local schools that teach news literacy as well as tolerance, respect and inclusion. 

Call for Proposals

The Resilience Fund is interested in identifying community-based solutions which respond to federal policy shifts impacting our region. Organizations located in or serving the Greater Washington region may submit a letter of inquiry for a rapid response grant to address current or emerging issues affecting our neighbors and communities. We will entertain inquiries linked to immigration, justice reform and civil rights roll-backs, and efforts that expand access to citizenship and democracy including voter registration and participation efforts (GOTV). New proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by the Resilience Fund Steering Committee in 2019. 

Grants may support special projects, programs, or include general operating support. Grant awards may range from $10,000-$30,000. For more details on proposal submission guidelines, click here. Letters of inquiry may be submitted through our online application system. Contact Melen Hagos with questions at mhagos@thecommunityfoundation.org.

Join Us!

If you share our commitment to ensuring our communities are strong and resilient, we invite you to stand with us by contributing to the Resilience Fund.

Preparing Our Region for the Future of Work

By Benton Murphy, Senior Director of Community Investment at The Community Foundation

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As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative, I am reminded of how The Collaborative was established at a time when our region was gripped by the Great Recession, with unemployment spiking to more than 7 percent and many of our neighbors unable to meet basic needs for food, shelter and healthcare. The Greater Washington Community Foundation helped mobilize and direct the local philanthropic response with major investments in homelessness, hunger, and education. The Collaborative was an opportunity to bring local philanthropists and businesses together to support both immediate and long-term solutions by investing in job training in fields from green construction to healthcare to help more of our neighbors get good, living wage jobs.

Ten years later, unemployment in our region is down (currently at 3.5 percent) and conditions have improved for many of our neighbors. Yet economic insecurity still remains a major challenge for many residents, especially people of color, and the Workforce Collaborative’s work is even more relevant today than when it was founded. Our recent VoicesDMV community engagement initiative surveyed more than 3,000 local residents on their experience in their communities and their overall quality of life. When asked what would happen if they lost their current sources of income, one in three people said they would not have enough money to continue to live as they do today for more than two months. This share rose to nearly half of people without a bachelor’s degree and more than half of people with household incomes below $50,000.

Our low unemployment rate masks deep issues of income inequality in our region. Black workers make just 47 percent of what whites make in Washington, DC alone, according to Census data. Since the Great Recession our local job market has become even more competitive, with a greater and greater share of job openings requiring some form of post-secondary education. Many jobs that once were the mainstay of the middle class—from bank tellers to librarians to cashiers at your local grocery store—are disappearing due to automation.

The impact on our workforce is clear—today average firms employ fewer workers and offer fewer opportunities for workers with no postsecondary education or training. The result is a widening gap between rich and poor that is keeping many un- or under-employed stagnating in low-wage work or struggling to meet the demands of multiple part-time positions. Yet access to job training programs is a challenge for many in our region, with nearly a third of Prince George’s County and Montgomery County  residents rating access to education and training as a “major” barrier to finding a job, according to VoicesDMV.

It is with this reality in mind that The Community Foundation has refreshed our workforce development strategy to orient toward the Future of Work. We will continue our work to eliminate income gaps, especially those based on race or ethnicity, but with a specific focus on connecting workers to quality job opportunities in the occupations of tomorrow to help them enter and advance in their careers, build skills, and increase wages. We will also make investments in small businesses and local entrepreneurs that make up an increasing share of our local economy.

Enter into this new economic reality the potential for Amazon HQ2, with an estimated 50,000 new high-paying jobs. HQ2 presents a tremendous opportunity to spur our region’s growth, but what will it do to our relative prosperity? A recent op-ed by our CEO Bruce McNamer and Sarah Rosen Wartell from Urban Institute pointed out how racial and economic inequities that have long plagued our region could prevent many residents from having equal access to these new jobs, modern housing and other amenities that growth brings. 

I interviewed some of our region’s workforce development system and policy leaders to hear their thoughts. Will these new jobs be offered to local residents rather than importing workers from across the country to fill these high-skill, high-wage jobs? Local leaders are hopeful that at least 50 percent of Amazon’s new workforce will be local, and yet they are also concerned that many in our region do not have the skills or experience to compete effectively against imported workers from other regions. Amazon’s recent partnership with Northern Virginia Community College— to provide a specialized Cloud Computing credential for its Amazon Web Services operation in Northern Virginia— has made local leaders hopeful that Amazon will think locally to meet its talent pipeline needs and provide opportunities for local residents to land fulfilling careers at Amazon.

As we consider the Future of Work in our region, we will look to continue to find ways to help employers—like Amazon—get connected to the right workers with the right skills. We will also work to examine closely how our region can offset the negative consequences that economic development on the scale that HQ2 can bring. From massive pressures to our transportation infrastructure, local schools, and, perhaps most worryingly, an increase in the upward pressure on housing prices and exacerbate our region’s existing housing affordability crisis, Amazon’s presence is a double-edged sword. The Community Foundation, through the Collaborative and our other Future of Work investments—can be a place where philanthropy can support efforts to ensure that all our region’s residents can benefit from the prosperity that Amazon may bring to the region.

If you’re interested in learning more about our focus on the future of work, I encourage you to take advantage of the following resources:

 

Investing in Root Cause Solutions to Addressing Poverty

The Green Clean Coop, photo courtesy of Impact Silver Spring

The Green Clean Coop, photo courtesy of Impact Silver Spring

Starting a business can be challenging under any circumstances, but especially when you are committed to doing it cooperatively. That was the challenge—and opportunity—when five Montgomery County residents came together under the auspices of the nonprofit IMPACT Silver Spring to start a worker-owned environmentally-friendly cleaning service. Cooperative members pooled their savings for start-up equipment and supplies while graphic design and marketing help were provided by connections made through the IMPACT network. The result: The Green Clean Cooperative.   

IMPACT also helped birth a financial lending cooperative, among other ventures. It’s an entrepreneurial model that attracted the attention of the Greater Washington Community Foundation and led to a grant from the Catalyst Fund. The new fund is focused on community-based efforts to support small business, mirco-enterprise development and entrepreneurship. In addition to IMPACT Silver Spring, grants ranging from $50,000 to $75,000 were awarded to CASA, Crossroads Community Food Network and Life Asset. Read more about these grants from the Catalyst Fund.

“The Catalyst Fund grants underscore the importance of investing in wealth-building and entrepreneurship and signal a need for more philanthropists and funders to invest in preparing workers for The Future of Work,” said Tonia Wellons, The Community Foundation’s Vice President of Community Investment. “The Community Foundation is making this one of the hallmarks of its strategy to disrupt poverty and build thriving communities across the Greater Washington region.”

According to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, the median net worth of business owners is almost 2.5 times higher than non-business owners. For people of color, the distinction is even greater. Just ask Amilcar Pena. As a worker-owner of the Green Clean Cooperative, he is taking home around $20 an hour, compared to the $10 to $12 he would earn working for a private company, he says.

“It’s heartening to see The Community Foundation investing in innovative strategies that go beyond managing symptoms to root cause solutions,” said IMPACT Silver Spring Executive Director Jayne Park. “While jobs can help people get out of poverty, they need assets to stay out of poverty.” 

The Catalyst Fund grew out of The Community Foundation’s long history of supporting job training and workforce development solutions, including through leading the Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative for the last decade. It was created after an anonymous donor passed away in 2016, leaving a $6 million bequest for an endowed fund. His wish was to see the gift benefit the Greater Washington region—a place he called home for 50 years.

In his later years, the donor discussed with his financial advisor, Nicholas Durso of Sun Trust Bank, how best to create a lasting legacy. “He was a good man who wanted to help people who wanted to help themselves,” says Durso. The Community Foundation offered the perfect vehicle: a field of interest fund that allows donors to support organizations working within a specific geographic region toward a specific purpose.

“The Community Foundation offered the infrastructure and expertise and has been the perfect partner,” said Durso, who works closely with the staff. “In recommending grantees, they’ll say, ‘you knew the donor best, what are your thoughts?’ It’s a collaborative relationship.” The Catalyst Fund “is a reminder of what a great man he was,” says Durso of his client. 

The anonymous donor would undoubtedly be pleased to know that 10 months after the Green Clean Cooperative was launched, it already has 19 clients and is providing steady income for the worker-owners who share in profits and continue to put money back into the business every month.

 

Establishing a legacy fund with the Greater Washington Community Foundation is an excellent way to create a lasting impact. To learn more, please contact Director of Development Joanne Pipkin at 202-263-4781 or jpipkin@thecommunityfoundation.org.