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Catalogue Blog

From the Field: Thrive DC

By Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator
& Sherika Brooks, Executive Assistant

This Saturday, the Catalogue team in DC (Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator, and Sherika Brooks, Executive Assistant) spent the afternoon volunteering at Day of Nurture, an event organized by In One Day and supported by Catalogue nonprofit Thrive DC. For the second month in a row, Day of Nurture has provided meals to the homeless in Franklin Square, as well as information about services that Thrive DC offers for individuals experiencing homelessness.

Along with a great crew of volunteers from and DC Volunteers, Sherika and I pitched in to provide a healthy meal of donated food, drinks, and even popsicles to a group of over 100 individuals who either spend time in the park regularly or were informed about the event during canvassing the week before. Both Sherika and I felt lucky to experience the work of a Catalogue nonprofit first hand, and look forward to spending more time volunteering with Catalogue nonprofits over the coming months.

Thankfully for In One Day, Washington DC is one city that still allows the provision of outdoor public meals for the homeless at a time when many cities are pushing to ban the practice. The Huffington Post recently wrote about the city of Philadelphia’s ban on feeding the homeless outdoors, following the lead of other major cities including Atlanta, San Diego and Los Angeles. Over 50 cities across the country have enacted anti-camping or anti-food-sharing laws. Public officials who support this legislation argue that the laws prevent the spread of illness, direct the homeless to other services, and protect local parks from damage. However, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty reports that the same cities that have enacted such laws “have recently seen an increase in overall homelessness and family homelessness.” We hope that DC continues to allow direct service and meal provision to individuals experiencing homelessness throughout the city and hope to contribute further to efforts such as Day of Nurture in the future!

For more information about additional Catalogue nonprofits offering services to Greater Washington’s homeless population, check out Catalogue’s Human Services nonprofits here.

Thy Comrade

[...] I’ve watched thee every hour;
I know my mighty sway:
I know my magic power
To drive thy griefs away.

Few hearts to mortals given,
On earth so wildly pine;
Yet few would ask a heaven
More like this earth than thine.

Then let my winds caress thee;
Thy comrade let me be:
Since nought beside can bless thee,
Return — and dwell with me.

– English writer Emily Bronte, born today in 1848

Today is a good time to learn more about The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, which nourishes writers of all ages, from youngsters who are just learning to tell their stories, to emerging writers eager to hone their skills.

Around Town: July 27-29

Have a great final weekend of July, Greater Washington!

And best wishes to all those taking part in the Smith Center’s July Week-long Cancer Retreat in Comus, Maryland. Learn more about retreats here and other Smith Center programs right here.

Olympics of the Mind at Higher Achievement (Alexandria, VA)

500 scholars from the DC region come together for a day of friendly academic and physical competition — and the exciting conclusion to Summer Academy — this Friday. Check out this video about the event!

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Summer Hunger

Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator

“Summertime, and the living is easy.” But not for everyone. For many children across the country, summer is a time when free or reduced school meals stop and kids struggle to maintain consistent nourishment. According to Share Our Strength, although more than 21 million US students receive free or reduced lunches at school, only 3 million kids receive free meals during the summer. National organizations like Share Our Strength, which is committed to eradicating childhood hunger in America, and Feeding America, a national food bank network, coordinate programs across the country to mitigate child hunger and provide summer meals.

Nationwide, DC stands out in terms of the services that it provides to low-income students during summer vacation. The Washington Post published an article this week, detailing programs offered by several District offices that address both the lack of affordable meals and educational programming that many students face in the summer. The DC Public Library, DDC Hunger Solutions, and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) have teamed up to “sponsor free meals at 11 public libraries this summer to encourage reading.” Thanks to programs like these, the Food and Research Action Center (FRAC) “ranks the District as the top jurisdiction in the country for serving summer meals to low income children, with the city reaching 73.5 percent of those eligible for such meals.”

Several Catalogue for Philanthropy nonprofits are also part of the movement, providing additional services to students over the summer. One such organization is a new 2012-13 Catalogue nonprofit, Horizons Greater Washington, which focuses on “mitigating the summer decline in students’ academic achievement” by offering summer programs to boost interest in learning and improve children’s scholastic achievement during the entire year. Higher Achievement’s programming includes a Summer Academy for students to keep up their coursework; and Horton’s Kids “provides literacy programming to prevent the ‘summer slide’ and to prepare children for the coming school year.”

Does your nonprofit or foundation support additional summer programming for kids to provide for their nutritional and/or educational needs? Share your comments and experiences with us!

In The News …

Hospital Team Works To Keep Kids With HIV Healthy (WAMU): “In 2005, 6% of all babies in the United States born with HIV were from Washington, DC. But there’s been some progress; there hasn’t been a baby born with HIV in the District since 2009 because of better screening and medical advances. That’s because if a mother who’s HIV positive takes her medications regularly, there’s a less than 1% chance of the virus being transmitted. But it isn’t easy taking several pills every day, even as an adult.” As Dr. Lawrence D’Angelo reports, “… we have a lot of young people will end up succumbing to this illness, if not during their teenage years, certainly during their adult years, unless we can get them to be adherent to medications.” Similarly, educating at-risk teens about the transmission of HIV, and all sexually transmitted diseases, is both critical and challenging.

Baker moves to take a more active role in Prince George’s schools (Washington Post: Local): “With the 123,000-student system in search of a superintendent and a majority of seats on the school board up for election in the fall, Baker is positioning himself to take a greater role in county schools [...] Baker, who realizes that good schools are key to the county?s prosperity, has staked a lot on improving the school system, telling residents to “judge this administration” on what happens with the schools.” In general, the county executive has relatively little non-financial control over his region’s system — when compared, say, to the mayors of DC or Philadelphia — and not all constituents agree with his particular approach. For Baker, “improving schools a key component of his economic development and overall agenda.”

What could DC do to encourage diversity in schools? (Greater Greater Washington): “If diversity is a worthwhile goal for DC schools, but the numbers are moving in the opposite direction, what could DC do?” In his final element of a four-part series, David Alpert (founder of GGW) argues that “there are essentially 2 ways to include out-of-boundary, poorer children in the most exclusive public schools: make the schools bigger, and entice some in-boundary families to go elsewhere.” For example, many of the cities most desirable magnet programs are located in the same geographical areas as those more exclusive schools — so could some of those programs be moved eastward? To repeat Alpert’s final question, “what steps do you think DC could take to foster diversity while also maintaining and even increasing the educational quality of its schools?” Start with part of the series here.

A Challenge To Others

No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.

Please know that I am aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others.

American aviator Amelia Earhart, born today in 1897

Turning The Tide

Yesterday, the 2012 International AIDS Conference (“Turning the Tide Together”) began here in DC. According to the International AIDS Society, the Conference is:

… the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policy makers, persons living with HIV and other individuals committed to ending the pandemic. It is a chance to assess where we are, evaluate recent scientific developments and lessons learnt, and collectively chart a course forward. [...]

By acting decisively on recent scientific advances in HIV treatment and biomedical prevention, the momentum for a cure, and the continuing evidence of the ability to scale-up key interventions in the most-needed settings, we now have the potential to end the HIV epidemic.

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Around Town: July 21-22

Have a great weekend, Greater Washington! Plus we have plenty of places to spend it, such as …

Accokeek Foundation (3400 Bryan Point Road, Accokeek, MD)

Green Thumbs volunteers look into the history of heirloom vegetables and the practices behind organic gardening, from planting and harvesting to managing weeds and pests, on Saturday from 9:00 AM to noon. Learn more right here!

Alexandria Seaport Foundation (Duke Street Boat Shop, 2 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA)

Join in ASF’s 30th anniversary celebration and dory boat christening this Saturday at 10:00 AM, food and refreshment included. Check it out right here.

Volunteer Fairfax (Rock Bottom Ballston, 4238 Wilson Boulevard Suite 1256, Arlington, VA)

At VolunTrivia on Saturday at 1:00 PM, teams of up to 6 players will compete for a chance to win the $200 1st place prize as well as over $300 in other prizes. Register your team online this way.

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Impact Investing

By Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator

This week, the Nonprofit Quarterly published an article about the Council on Foundations’ new CEO, Vikki Spruill, and her official introduction to the organization. NPQ’s Rick Cohen discusses a few key points of Spruill’s statement, including her “upbeat perspective on the societal significance of philanthropic innovation” and the need for philanthropy to assess its own value in the large society. However, Cohen also points out that “she and her colleagues have to remember that the vehicle for the delivery of philanthropy’s collective value is the nonprofit sector.”

How do the philanthropy and nonprofit sectors work collaboratively to achieve the goals mentioned by Spruill, and act as “investors, innovators, leaders, and partners” in society? As a bridge between these communities, the Catalogue for Philanthropy aims to increase the connections between (primarily) individual philanthropists in the Washington area and the regional nonprofits that most need their support. We use the moniker Catalogue for Philanthropy, but our main ‘clients’ are nonprofits. We recognize that small nonprofits in the area often do the most innovative, important, and thankless work, and yet also have a difficult time connecting with individuals who share their vision.

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Teaming Up: Black Benefactors & the Catalogue (Part II)

By Tracey Webb, Founder, The Black Benefactors

In January, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation published the report, “Cultures of Giving: Energizing and Expanding Philanthropy by and for Communities of Color,” which confirmed something that I already knew: African Americans are more inclined to give than other races. I know this because philanthropy and charitable giving have been mainstays of the African American community for centuries.

In my previous GoodWorks post, I shared how my giving circle, The Black Benefactors, used the Catalogue to identify a grantee for our Black History Month grant awards. In doing so, I learned that we were in the minority. Although many of the nonprofits featured in the Catalogue serve low-income and under-represented communities — often which include African Americans — the majority of donors who use the Catalogue to identify nonprofits to support in the DC region are white. With the help of The Black Benefactors, I hope this will change.

Now that we know African Americans are more likely to give, there are two issues that are essential: ensuring that our giving is strategic to achieve maximum impact, and making sure that we’re represented as volunteers and board members with nonprofits that serve communities of color. It’s important that the clientele served by nonprofits see staff, volunteers, and board members who look like them. The Catalogue is an ideal vehicle to address these issues.

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