2017

DMV Residents Reveal a Tale of Two Regions in New Report

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The Greater Washington Community Foundation is pleased to release the findings from Voices of the Community: DC, Maryland, Virginia (VoicesDMV). This new community engagement initiative, conducted in partnership with the Urban Institute, is lifting up residents’ stories and perceptions of the quality of life in the Greater Washington region to accelerate effective community-driven improvement.

The Community Foundation created VoicesDMV to serve as a catalyst for community investments that will ensure a more equitable, just, and thriving region for all residents. The initiative specifically seeks to shed light on the region’s challenges and opportunities related to housing, transportation, safety, economic security, race relations and community well-being. 

While the Greater Washington region is undeniably prosperous, the VoicesDMV findings show that the region’s economic growth and prosperity are not evenly distributed:

  • The survey found that 18 percent of respondents did not have enough money for either food or housing at some point in the past 12 months. Even further, 29 percent of respondents said they knew someone in the region who was forced to leave their jurisdiction in the past two years for a reason other than their own choice. High housing costs (58 percent) and job loss (23 percent) were the most common reasons for moving.
  • Despite the sense that the DMV is more inclusive than other places, one in four people surveyed said they had felt discriminated against in the region in the past year, and 82 percent of these individuals felt discriminated against because of their race or ethnicity.
  • Residents have clear priorities for their local governments, such as protecting people from crime, making sure children get a quality education and maintaining local infrastructure; and the majority of residents trust their elected leaders. But 79 percent of respondents felt they had “little” or “no” influence over local government decisionmaking.

To capture the experiences and sentiments of community members from all walks of life, The Community Foundation and the Urban Institute conducted an extensive survey of more than 3,000 residents; held focus groups with Spanish-speaking immigrants, disconnected youth (youth not connected to either school or work), middle-class individuals, Muslims, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and members of the LGBTQ community; and engaged residents through community conversations in Prince George’s County, Northern Virginia, Montgomery County, and DC.

The result is a collection of rich, local data that provide a roadmap to inform and inspire local government, philanthropy, businesses, and community-based organizations to develop responsive strategies and make more strategic investments that better serve the needs of our communities.

The full report is available at https://www.thecommunityfoundation.org/voicesdmv, along with interactive data tables and jurisdiction-focused two-pagers that allow for deeper engagement with the data.

Sasha Bruce Youthwork: Helping Youth Transition Successfully to Adulthood

For the past 43 years, Sasha Bruce has helped homeless youth find safe shelter, strengthened family ties and prepared youth for post-secondary education and careers. These services are available to the 1,500 youth and 5,000 family members who reside in Sasha Bruce’s transitional living facility or receive services via their Homeless Youth Drop-In Center each year.

Our Sharing DC Advisory Committee members and The Community Foundation donors and staff visited the Teen Drop-In Center to learn more about the work of Sasha Bruce, including its 18-year-old workforce development program. The program includes mentoring services that are geared toward the development of post-secondary plans for homeless youth and helping them access skills training certifications which can lead to immediate career tracks.

On the day of our visit, the drop-in center, which opens from 8:00 am-6:00 pm daily, was in full swing. The lounge, kitchen, and computer lab were all filled with teens. Some were studying for their GED exam or fixing lunch and others were applying for jobs or just taking a break from the chaos of life on the streets.

Executive Director, Deborah Shore, graciously escorted our group through the facility while sharing how the organization has evolved and expanded over the years. We paused periodically to meet with key staff and chat with clients. Most of the teens who participate in Sasha Bruce’s programs are grappling with very difficult circumstances. Despite their challenges, case managers shared numerous success stories of students obtaining jobs in construction or retail, entering transitional housing, or attending college.

With so much of their lives in flux, achieving any of these milestones is a major victory. Sasha Bruce often serves as a stabilizing force for youth. It provides ongoing support and a mentoring relationship that often extends for years. Its presence helps to ensure the successful transition to adulthood for DC area youth.
 

Sharing DC

Sharing DC, a donor led grantmaking initiative of The Community Foundation, focused on youth access to and success in post-secondary education this year. By 2018, 71% of all jobs in DC will require a post-secondary degree or certificate. However, only 72% of DC Public and Charter School students will graduate high school, and of those, just 19% will earn post-secondary degrees.

To learn more about Sharing DC or join us for future visits, please contact Gisela Shanfeld at gshanfeld@thecommunityfoundation.org

 

 

Year-End Grantmaking and Giving

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The Greater Washington Community Foundation would like to acknowledge the generosity exhibited by our donors in 2017.  Throughout the year you’ve continued to demonstrate a strong philanthropic spirit - maintaining and establishing new funds, and recommending thousands of grants to local and national nonprofit organizations.

In an effort to assist you with carrying out your end-of-year philanthropic goals, please see below for The Community Foundation’s deadlines regarding year-end giving and grantmaking activities:

RECOMMENDING GRANTS FROM YOUR DONOR-ADVISED FUND

Grant recommendations submitted by December 15 will be processed by December 31, provided the organization meets The Community Foundation’s due diligence requirements. Due to increased volume, grant recommendations submitted after December 15 may not be processed and mailed in 2017.

PLEASE NOTE: Grants submitted prior to December 15, 2017 must also be approved (meeting The Community Foundation’s due diligence requirements) to be processed and mailed by December 31, 2017.

Grant recommendations should be submitted through your Donor Central account.  Questions regarding Donor Central can be forwarded to Emily Davis (202-973-2501, edavis@thecommunityfoundation.org).

MAKING GIFTS TO THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

Stock and cash gifts (check, wire, online) submitted to The Community Foundation by December 31st will be earmarked as a 2017 contribution. 

Gifts made via check can be sent to:          

Attn: Finance Department
Greater Washington Community Foundation
1325 G Street NW
Suite 480
Washington, DC 20005

*Please include the name of the fund in the memo line of the check. 

**Checks sent by US Postal Service mail can be earmarked as a 2017 contribution if postmarked by the US Postal Service for December 31.

Gifts made online:

Gifts can be made online at www.thecommunityfoundation.org. 

Gifts of cash or securities made via wire transfer:

Please see the instructions for making gifts of cash or securities by wire transfer.  Please contact the Finance Department at 202-955-5890 if there are any questions. Monies must be in The Community Foundation’s account by December 31, to be earmarked as a 2017 contribution.

Save the Date for our 2018 Celebration of Philanthropy!

In 1973, a group of now legendary Washington-area leaders – Katharine Graham, Robert Linowes, and Hank Strong among them – formed the Greater Washington Community Foundation to mobilize the generosity of individuals and organizations wanting to make a difference in their communities around the causes that matter most to them. Today, The Community Foundation continues this legacy by providing critical leadership on issues affecting our community and encouraging and supporting effective giving. We are now the largest funder of nonprofit organizations in the region and continue to manage hundreds of charitable funds for individuals and families, corporations, and civic leaders.

You’re invited to celebrate the 45th anniversary of The Community Foundation and our community of givers! In the spirit of our founders, we will mark this special occasion with a true celebration of our community – the nonprofits, donors, and community members that work tirelessly to make our region a more vibrant and inclusive place to live. This is also an opportunity to celebrate our region’s unique history and cultural heritage, and reflect on our legacy of bringing people and resources together for community change.

There is no better way to celebrate the history and resilience of our region than to honor Carol Thompson Cole with our 2018 Civic Spirit Award. This award recognizes her exceptional contributions to the region throughout her long career in local government, the private sector, and now as President and CEO of Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP). Under Cole’s leadership for the past 10 years, VPP is making the future brighter for young people living in Greater Washington by helping them succeed in school and gain the skills and confidence to attend college or start their career.

Attending the Celebration of Philanthropy is an experience unlike any other! You’ll take part in a community festival featuring live music, theatre, poetry, and dance performances from some of the region's most exciting nonprofits and local artists. 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 your ticket or sponsorship for this event, you are also giving back to your community by supporting our efforts to strengthen the region. Proceeds benefit The Community Foundation's Fund for Greater Washington, enabling us to make grants to effective nonprofits, to incubate new ideas, and to support our programmatic initiatives, operations, and advocacy. Through this Fund, The Community Foundation invests in effective safety net, education, and workforce development programs to help our most vulnerable neighbors achieve economic security.

We hope you will join us on March 12! This is truly a special celebration that you will not want to miss!

 

 
 

WHEN

Monday, March 12, 2018
6:00pm to 9:00pm

WHERE

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

 

TICKETS

$90 - Emerging Philanthropist (Nonprofit Affiliation/Young Professional)
$150 – Friend/General Admission

 

 

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.

Local Youth Team Up with Law Enforcement & Build Bonds Through Athletics

“Building big league people, not just big league athletes.”
— Cal Ripken, Sr.

The Site Visit

The Community Foundation in Prince George’s County witnessed the great work that both the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and the Police Athletic League are doing for some of our most vulnerable youth.  Students, donors and other participants had a great time getting to know each other through fun introductions, team building exercises and trainings! The PAL Program uses mentoring, education, recreation and athletic activities to build bonds between youth and law enforcement. They have went from serving 15 to over 400 students in just 5 years.


Getting to Know the Team

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Randy Acosta (far right), Senior Director of Development & National Corporate Partnerships, Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. “I grew up going to the Boys and Girls Club. The opportunity to serve and give back to these same types of organizations is my greatest accomplishment.”

Joe Rossow (far left), Executive Vice President of Operations, Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. “We are always looking to learn from the work of other foundations and in the process, form lasting partnerships.”

Corporal Kurt Schnitzenbaumer (middle), Executive Director, Prince George’s County Police Athletic League (PAL). “PAL wants to create a space for kids to call home. We want our kids to feel a sense of ownership and connectivity.”


Meet Taylor!

Taylor is a student participant from Fairmont Heights High School. “Here, we have so many different ways to express ourselves… Fairmont Heights is the hidden secret of Prince Georges. There is so much talent at my school. I’m glad that when the police came to our building, it wasn’t bad. They recognized our talent and gave us resources to achieve our goals. I have really seen the police force and my peers changing for the better.”


Meet our 2017 Montgomery County Philanthropist of the Year

Cliff White was a founding partner of N.E.W. Customer Service Companies Inc., the nation’s leading provider of extended service plans and buyer protection programs for consumer products. Wanting to focus on philanthropy after leaving N.E.W., Cliff and his wife, Debbie, opened their family fund at the Greater Washington Community Foundation. Right away, Cliff joined the foundation’s Sharing Montgomery Grants committee to learn more about the needs of his home community and explore how he could make a difference.

In 2008, Cliff was especially concerned about Montgomery County’s most vulnerable residents who were being hit hardest by the economic downturn. “I was at a grants committee meeting in the fall of 2008 when someone mentioned that Manna Food Center in Rockville was experiencing a 40% increase in requests for food,” he recalls. “That was at the beginning of the economic downturn. It was clear then that things were going to get worse. I’m not sure any of us knew how much worse.” By the end of that year, people who previously had been donors to Manna’s food pantry had become clients.

It was then that he realized how those of us who are in a position to give have a tremendous responsibility to make a difference. “Many of us have a financial cushion and are able to weather an economic storm of this magnitude. And for those of us who are, we need to give more than ever.”

Believing that people would step up if they were aware of the growing needs, Cliff helped lead the creation of our Neighbors in Need Montgomery Fund to bolster support for the county’s safety-net providers. To date, Neighbors in Need Montgomery has galvanized over $1.5 million to support our lowest income neighbors. According to Cliff, "Giving to The Neighbors in Need Fund ensures your money will be spent wisely and efficiently and will go to a select list of worthy organizations.”

 
My parents taught us to look out for our neighbors,” White adds. “That’s something that’s always been important to me.
— Cliff White
 

Hope for the Girl in the Twirling Skirt

By Andrea Powell, Founder and Executive Director, FAIR Girls

Chloe* isn’t even 12 yet, but she has run away from home more than 13 times.  She likes to draw with glitter pens and is obsessed with my pink cell phone cover. She’s a child.  Lost in her own world, she twirled around in circles in her floral skirt through the halls of the “J level” DC Superior Court, while a judge eventually ruled to have her removed from her parent’s custody. 

At 23, I founded FAIR Girls to help provide long-term therapeutic interventions, including safe housing, for exploited and trafficked young women and girls. After working with more than 1,000 girls, I have learned that many sex trafficking situations of American girls like Chloe start within 48 hours of being on the streets. In the past year, with the support of the City Fund administered by the Greater Washington Community Foundation, FAIR Girls has hired a youth case manager whose full-time job is to serve trafficked and exploited children in the nation’s capital.

Chloe continued to run away several times after I first met her that day at court. Fortunately, I was able to connect her with a dedicated FAIR Girls case manager and our partners at Sasha Bruce, a homeless shelter and safe haven for disconnected youth who are unable to return home.

Drawing by 13 year old survivor of sex trafficking in a FAIR Girls workshop

Drawing by 13 year old survivor of sex trafficking in a FAIR Girls workshop

In March, a media outcry over the thousands of missing girls of color in DC put the District under the national spotlight. Town hall meetings were filled with the heated questions of women of color demanding to know why their daughters are not being referred to as “critical missing” but rather being labeled as “runaways,” a stigmatizing term that could result in some minors over the age of 12 not being actively searched for as aggressively by law enforcement.   

Six months later, direct service providers like FAIR Girls are working alongside city agencies including the Child and Family Services and DC Courts to implement a citywide strategy that is part of the outcome of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Task Force on Missing and Runaway Youth. This includes the implementation of the District’s citywide plan to pull missing girls and boys back into their homes and communities, including the newly opened STEP shelter managed by Sasha Bruce.

To understand what has been done and where we go from here, we need to be willing to ensure solutions are rooted in the lived experiences of girls like Chloe, whose support systems are shattered with unforeseen and unpredictable acts of life. Chloe’s father died months earlier, she was in a schoolyard fight that led to months of out-of-school suspensions, and her mother was overwhelmed with grief and loss. While on the streets, she met an older boy who gave her expensive gifts. She was flattered with the attention but still too young to understand the price of accepting these gifts. When I met her, I was determined to make sure she didn’t have to learn.

As heartbreaking as her story is, many missing girls are not as lucky as Chloe. In looking at the photos of missing girls in DC, I see the familiar faces of girls who have since been confirmed as child victims of sex trafficking.

Many people believe that sex trafficking happens in faraway countries, but more than 90% of the girls we serve are American girls of color. On average, they are 14 to 15 years old when first sold into sex trafficking and their abuse continues for four years before they receive help. Approximately 60% of the 125 to 150 young girls we serve annually are from the D.C. metropolitan area. As a repeat “runaway,” Chloe was at risk of being one of them.

Since the media storm, FAIR Girls receives an average of one to two new referrals a week of exploited and trafficked girls. While the numbers here are alarming, this is progress. Law enforcement’s focus on missing and exploited youth has resulted in girls who have been missing anywhere from two days to two years being found and connected to the care they need to recover. 

Drawing of what human trafficking looks like, as drawn by teen girl in DC schools

Drawing of what human trafficking looks like, as drawn by teen girl in DC schools

However, there is more to be done before we can say that we are meeting needs of sexually trafficked and exploited teens in DC. A critical gap remains that there is no secure therapeutic housing program specifically for child survivors of human trafficking in the nation’s capital. This must be our next step in truly creating a safe haven for missing and exploited youth in the nation’s capital.

Chloe’s story is one of a child being pushed away by adults and institutions, time and time again. To refer to her as a “runaway” is to miss the point. In fact, the very term, “runaway,” implies blame and stigma that does not belong to Chloe or any child who finds themselves on the streets. Chloe’s leaving home was the attempt of a scared and disconnected child at regaining control of her life. Chloe wasn’t a “runaway.” She was “pushed away.”   

Our conversation must shift from “why are they running away?” to “how is our community pushing these vulnerable young girls out into the margins of society and into the hands of pimps?”

Pulling in Chloe and the thousands of other “pushed away” girls and boys of color is a critical mission for FAIR Girls and the District of Columbia.

Andrea Powell is the founder and Executive Director of FAIR Girls. To learn more, visit www.fairgirls.org, email info@fairgirls.org, or follow @FAIR_Girls.

*Names of youth in this post have been changed to protect their identity.  All facts are accurately portrayed.

What I Learned about Social Justice Philanthropy from the Diverse City Fund

By Nancy Withbroe

Diverse City Fund is a grassroots activist grant maker we can count on to support the work of justice. There is nothing like it in our capital city. As a donor, I am more committed than ever to keeping the funds flowing to and through D.C. Fund.
— Donald Temple

One warm evening this summer, several colleagues and I had the joy of attending a reception for the Diverse City Fund, a component fund of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, at the home of Andy and Marjan Shallal. The event raised more than $25,000 in fresh commitments, which doubles to $50,000 based on a match from a major donor.

The fund works to nurture community leaders of color and grassroots projects that are acting to transform the District of Columbia into a more just, vibrant place to live. One of the event co-hosts, Medea Benjamin, celebrated these efforts: “In these times, I am most energized by joining hearts, minds, and resources for racial justice. Bringing people together to contribute to the Diverse City Fund is one way I know that my giving is relevant and powerful." The small projects supported by the fund — often volunteer-powered — have few options for funding, but it is often these very projects that work to build institutions by and for communities with the least access to resources. Those were boosted considerably by the success of this event.

Attending the reception gave me the opportunity to learn more about the innovative social justice-oriented philanthropic model practiced by the volunteers involved with the Diverse City Fund. The Fund is led by a group of volunteers who call themselves the “Board of Instigators.” Because they want to center social changemakers of color in their grantmaking process, they recruit a separate Grantmaking Team composed of activists of color who are rooted in D.C. and its social justice work.

I encourage other donors who want to empower and build the capacity of community-led social change leaders to consider what they might learn from them.

The recent resurgence of hate crimes and racist acts like the violent march in Charlottesville remind us all that, now more than ever, it’s imperative that the people of color who are building innovative programs to support community-building and resist displacement have a say in how philanthropic resources are deployed in the District. This fund has organized itself to fulfill that mission through its resident-led decision-making and micro-grants, which recently grew to total $150,000 for 2017.

The event hosted by the Shallals helped to foster community among grantees, donors, and supporters of the Fund, and put a spotlight on less visible community-level projects. An attendee, Laurie Emrich, declared, “Justice won't wait. It is the work of a lifetime and it takes all of us. I was thrilled to invite new donors to the Diverse City Fund to be a part of resourcing movements here where local, national and global arenas all intersect. I look forward to more activists and allies joining this important work."

The Greater Washington Community Foundation is proud to house the Diverse City Fund and many other initiatives that donors create to realize their philanthropic and social change dreams. If you would like to learn more about ways to leverage your philanthropy strategically, please reach out to me at nwithbroe@thecommunityfoundation.org.