Surprising Stats from VoicesDMV

As a community foundation, your perspectives – the voices of our community – are key to our work. We are committed to responding to our community’s needs through responsive grantmaking and by amplifying local voices in public and private sector conversations. To best speak in partnership with our community, we have to listen. We have to connect directly with the people and communities we serve and understand our neighbors’ experiences in their neighborhoods, jobs, schools, with local government, and with each other — and to identify the role philanthropy can play in enhancing or improving those experiences.

About a year ago, the Greater Washington Community Foundation proudly announced the release of Voices of the Community: DC, Maryland, Virginia. Designed to amplify the voice of the people—those who live and work in our region—VoicesDMV included a survey of more than 3,000 of our regional neighbors as well as community conversations with hundreds of stakeholders across the region. This allowed The Community Foundation to hear directly from locals about the region’s strengths, challenges, and overall quality of life.

We saw this as a way to better understand the story of our region. We launched this initiative recognizing that although our region is data rich, few efforts systematically capture the voices, experiences, attitudes, and perceptions of people who live here, especially across jurisdictions.

VoicesDMV was envisioned as a north star for The Community Foundation – a way for us to ensure our grantmaking and community leadership efforts are aligned to the needs most strongly felt by our neighbors. We have also offered the data collected through this initiative as a public good, available to anyone seeking to do good in our region. And we made a commitment to revisit this survey every two years to keep our finger on the pulse of our region.

Our efforts have paid tremendous dividends. Through VoicesDMV we learned so much more about our region, especially our neighbors experiences in their communities and the role philanthropy can play in enhancing or improving those experiences.

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A community member speaks at a community conversation in Northern Virginia.

Photo by AOTA Creative Group.

VoicesDMV revealed that even as our region continues to prosper, deep disparities in income, education and opportunity persist and the gap continues to widen:

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

  • One in three people would not have enough savings to continue to live as they do today for more than two months if they lost current income sources.

  • The cost of living, especially renting or owning a home, was raised as one of the most challenging aspects of our region.

  • 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.

  • One in four people were discriminated against in the region in the past year, and the majority said it was because of their race or ethnicity.

VoicesDMV has influenced The Community Foundation at its very core. These findings drove the development of our new Building Thriving Communities framework, which underscores the importance of our continued focus on affordable housing in our region and led us to explore new opportunities to support entrepreneurship and prepare for the Future of Work.

And while we have put so much new work into practice as a result of VoicesDMV, our work to stay in touch with the community is not over. In the nearly two years since we initiated our first VoicesDMV survey, we have seen the birth of the #MeToo movement, new administrations taking the reins of power throughout our region, and Amazon deciding to set up shop.

With so much change happening, we are excited by the opportunity to circle back to the community for our second VoicesDMV survey, this time with a few new bells and whistles and plenty of opportunities to engage with us on the results. Stay tuned for more from The Community Foundation on ways that you can be engaged with VoicesDMV!

If you’d like to sign up for news and more information about our VoicesDMV initiative, please contact Benton Murphy at bmurphy@thecommunityfoundation.org

 

Six Things The Community Needs You To Know About The Shutdown

Editor’s Note: Though the federal government has reopened for the next three weeks, we recognize that contractors, childcare providers and many other parties that Tonia Wellons highlights in this blog post may never receive backpay, and certainly still suffer from the consequences of the shutdown. In addition, if no budget is reached by February 15, the partial federal shutdown may resume. In light of these ongoing concerns, Wellons’ reminders and recommendations for ways to help still remain deeply relevant to our community.


By Tonia Wellons, Vice President, Community Investment

It has been one month since the partial Federal Government shutdown began and our neighbors in the Greater Washington region, especially in Prince George’s County, continue to be impacted. Most of you have heard the news stories, may be experiencing this first hand, or you have seen the long lines of working families in search of food and other forms of assistance.

We all know that when shocks like this hit the country, they hit communities of color the hardest. With incomes typically lower, personal savings often thinner, and access to networks with deep pockets limited, communities of color suffer the most and often have the longest recovery time. 

In my role at the Greater Washington Community Foundation, I have had the opportunity to work closely with nonprofits and funders who have organized very quickly to respond. Here’s a summary of what we have learned and how you might be able to help:

  • While federal workers are directly impacted, we must not forget that contractors, small business owners, and child care facilities are also affected. We should also be mindful that offices like child support enforcement can’t disburse what they can’t collect.

  • Local food pantries and food banks need to be replenished. The demographic impacted is unaccustomed to navigating human and social service systems. The response from local grocers, restaurants, and food markets has been welcomed. 

  • Prince George’s County Public Schools has received as many as 500 new applications for free and reduced lunch because of the federal shutdown.

  • There is an increase in concern about eviction prevention, particularly as we move into proximity of a second missed pay cycle. 

  • Child care is an expense that families are most likely to cut first since they are home. There is a ripple effect on child care providers, children, and workers; and it is often difficult for families to return once they leave.

  • Families need food and cash assistance to cover the cost of everyday household expenses and medicine.

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A community member sorts produce at a local food center.

This week as we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is only fitting that we look to his words to guide our steps. His life and his legacy represent the importance of pressing forward to change and challenge federal policies that impact the poor, working class, and especially people of color. His life and legacy is one of vision, advocacy, and action. In his honor, I invite you each to consider several ways that we can support our neighbors affected by the shutdown.

“The time is always right to do the right thing.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

How You Can Help Our Neighbors During and After the Shutdown

1.       Ask your friends and neighbors what they need. Reach out to people you know who work for the Federal Government and ask them what they need. Now is the time to get to know your neighbors, to reach out to your friends, and make yourselves available to them. Invite them over for dinner or offer to pay for their children’s school lunch.

2.       Donate food and cash to help families meet immediate needs. You can make a donation to your local foodbank, church or school pantry, or school lunch fund. Several of our nonprofit partners throughout the region have mobilized to offer pop-up markets, hand out food or gift cards, and provide support for household essentials and other resources. We have compiled a list of resources to help furloughed federal employees and contractors in need of assistance – and local governments in DC,  Montgomery County and Prince George’s County have released resource lists.

3.       Encourage those impacted to reach out to their creditors to defer payments. Local banks, utility companies and several other institutions have offered to work with customers to offer loans, flexible payments, and more. The United Way of the National Capital Area has opened four Financial Empowerment Centers located throughout the region, offering direct access to high-quality financial services and guidance at no cost to the client. Check our list of resources for more details.

4.       Consider supporting nonprofits addressing the long-term challenges facing our communities. Even after the shutdown ends, the long-term effects will continue to impact our community. Local nonprofits throughout the region will continue their work to support families in need and find solutions for disparities in income, access and opportunity in our communities. The Community Foundation can help you identify nonprofits working to alleviate poverty and hunger, expand access to a quality education, provide training to obtain a living wage job, and improve the quality of life for our region’s most vulnerable residents. Contact us to discuss.

If you are in a position to help our neighbors who may struggle to meet critical needs for food or other financial assistance during this period of uncertainty, please consider giving to our Resilience Fund. Established by individual and institutional donors in March 2017, and housed at Greater Washington Community Foundation, the Resilience Fund’s mission is to respond to changes in federal policy that negatively impact the most vulnerable in our communities. The Fund has set aside $50,000 to help local nonprofits address the most critical needs. With your support, these organizations can increase capacity to do more during this time of uncertainty for our friends, families, and neighbors. Contributions to this fund will support our neighbors now and in the future.


Tonia Wellons leads the Greater Washington Community Foundation’s Community Investment function, which includes competitive and discretionary grant-making, community engagement efforts, and strategic partnerships. She has over 20 years of experience spanning senior leadership roles at the Peace Corps and the World Bank Group to social entrepreneurship for a community-based fund that she founded. In 2016, Tonia was named one of NBC’s Women of Washington.

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.

Thank you and happy new year!

Greetings!

Reflecting on 2018, I am so thankful for the generosity of our donors and the commitment of our nonprofit partners who make our community development work possible. Together, we are contributing to a more vibrant, equitable, and inclusive community for all who call the Greater Washington region home.

From our work on various community impact initiatives focusing on education, homelessness, and workforce development, The Community Foundation is dedicated to partnering with you to continue as caretakers of our community. And, I am so proud of what we have accomplished together over the last year alone – here are a few highlights:

  • Did you know that we have granted out more than $1.2 billion in our 45-year history? In FY18, we administered 8,450 grants worth more than $96 million in total, making us the largest local funder of nonprofits in the Greater Washington region. We are proud to have partnered with and provided funding to more than 2,600 nonprofits through our community grants. The majority of these grants support nonprofits who share our mission for Building Thriving Communities in DC, Montgomery County, Northern Virginia, and Prince George’s County.

  • Data from our VoicesDMV community engagement initiative, which surveyed more than 3,400 local residents on their experiences in their communities, guided a refresh of our strategic approach and the launch of our Building Thriving Communities framework. This refresh allows us to deepen and expand existing work and more fully captures the range of efforts The Community Foundation, our donors and partners collectively undertake across the region to address poverty, deepen culture and human connection, and prepare for the future of work.

  • As we are preparing to launch new community impact initiatives throughout the region, we have started building a public-private partnership focused on ending homelessness in DC. On any given night, nearly 7,000 people in DC sleep outside or in shelters, including 2,000 children. We believe that homelessness is a complex issue that is solvable, but it requires businesses, individuals, local government, and nonprofits working together to find solutions. You can learn more about these efforts in an article I authored for the Washington Business Journal’s annual Giving Guide. Please contact Angela Willingham if you are interested in learning more about or supporting the Partnership to End Homelessness.

  • We were pleased to renew our accreditation with the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations, a voluntary and rigorous program administered by the Council on Foundations to represent the highest standards of operational excellence and integrity in community philanthropy. We are among 500 of the nation’s largest community foundations who participate and meet the benchmarks for quality in operations, accountability and impact.

Now as we enter 2019, I am hopeful and filled with excitement for the possibilities of what we can do together. With your support, we can build thriving communities that are ripe with opportunity for everyone—good schools and enrichment programs for our kids, a sense of safety and security in our neighborhoods, well-paying jobs, affordable housing, vibrant cultural options, and a sense of fairness and justice for all.

Cheers to a happy and healthy new year!

Bruce McNamer,

President & CEO

Leapfrogging Inequity in Montgomery County

Guest post by Kimberly Rusnak, Project Director for the Children's Opportunity Fund

What is leapfrogging in education? The concept was explored with a group of Community Foundation donors at our most recent President’s Forum in Montgomery County. It is the ability to jump ahead or disrupt existing paradigms to make rapid and non-linear progress. It is the possibility to transform what and how children learn so that young people can develop a broad set of skills needed to thrive. The concept is discussed by Rebecca Winthrop, a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institute, in her new book, Leapfrogging Inequality: Remaking Education to Help Young People Thrive

The first major point covered during the talk sought to answer a critical question: What is the goal of education? Though it seems like such a simple question, the answers in the room were vastly different. Some of the answers were: the goal is to teach basic skills of reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. This was countered with the goal to ensure sustainable employment. Or is the goal to provide young people with the tools for a fulfilling life and to encourage active civic participation? Or all of the above?

The answer posed to the group by Ms. Winthrop was called, “Academic +,” also known as The Breadth-of-Skills-Movement. While an education system must prioritize knowledge acquisition, there must also be a strong emphasis on developing skills needed to use that knowledge in different settings overtime. This includes academic subjects, plus globally relevant topics, communication skills, problem solving skills; and trying to prepare students for the future. It’s a tough job—and no single approach is the perfect solution because learning happens everywhere—at home, at school, in the community. 

In an average year, an elementary school student only spends 14% of their time in school (based on a 7-hour school day, 180 days  per year). Roughly 33% of a student’s time is spent sleeping, and 53% of their time is spent awake and out of school. If the majority (53%) of learning happens at home, in the community and among peers, think about what that means. 

For many families that cannot afford quality early learning and pre-K access, fee-based out of school programs, private tutoring and costly summer camps, the opportunities and exposure to academic and non-academic skills and knowledge are very different compared to affluent families who can. The families who cannot afford expensive out-of-school supports are often immigrants and people of color; which is why the opportunity gap and racial inequity exists in almost every county and city in the United States.  Race and poverty are not the same thing, but there are strong correlations in the world of education.  As Kevin Beverly, a Trustee of The Community Foundation reflected:

“Encouraging educators to open the aperture and look beyond the standard approaches is a key to helping our at-risk youth excel.” 

In order to make major strides and changes in education, we must take big leaps and major calculated risks to achieve greater change for children and address this inequity. We must do our work differently so that we can achieve different results. Incremental change is not enough; we must find ways to leapfrog. As Shirley Brandman, an Education Advocate in Montgomery County reflected:

“Our commitment to equity will only become real when we can invest in tangible strategies that catch students up and keep them on track academically.  Making more than a year's worth of progress in a year of schooling is key and the insights shared about how we can harness innovation to leapfrog or accelerate learning should inspire us to rededicate our efforts.” 

There were several examples of this idea shared at the President’s Forum last week.  An initiative called, LEMA (Literacy and Math Education Labs) has created board games that teach literacy, numeracy, teamwork and collaboration at the same time. Another example was Wonderschool in California who works with families, educators and childcare providers to helps individuals start their own businesses by assisting with licensing, marketing and everything in between. 

I have spent my entire career working in education and the field of out of school time.  I am excited for the opportunity to take my experiences and knowledge and put them to work in Montgomery County through the Children’s Opportunity Fund. It is our goal to help every child succeed.  The Fund focuses on supporting and scaling evidence-based initiatives that are meeting gaps in Montgomery County. 

Thank you to Rebecca Winthrop for sharing her knowledge and expertise.  Our community will use these learnings and others to help investigate opportunities to innovate and address inequity in education in Montgomery County, and across the region. 


Kimberly joined The Community Foundation in the summer of 2018.  Through her previous experience as a Program Officer with the Social Innovation Fund, she oversaw a portfolio of innovative interventions ranging from cradle to career.  Kimberly came to The Community Foundation well-versed in program development, nonprofit management and community development.  She is a passionate advocate for young people and believes it is critical that we provide equal opportunities to all. 

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