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Catalogue Blog

Around Town: December 1-3

Good morning! We’re looking forward to seeing you this coming Monday at Inspiration to Action. We’ve also got some great events coming up this weekend at our nonprofits …

Pueblo a Pueblo (at Takoma Park Presbyterian Church, 310 Tulip Avenue, Takoma Park, MD)

Shop for the holidays and support a good cause at the Takoma Park Alternative Gift Fair this Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM; and be sure to visit Pueblo a Pueblo!

Computer CORE (3846 King Street, Alexandria, VA)

On Saturday at 1:30 PM, “Customer Focus: Changing How You Do Things!” will cover first impressions, timely responses, active listening and more. Call (703) 931-7346 to learn more.

Washington Bach Consort (at National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Avenue NW, Washington, DC)

On Saturday at 5:00 PM, enjoy “Great Glad Tidings,” an all-Bach program of cantatas composed for Advent and the Christmas season; nab tickets right here.

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From the Field: Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop

By Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator

Many great individuals have written about the power of a free mind — authors, scientists, philosophers, musicians. Perhaps none have written quite as eloquently as the young poets who work with . Free Minds, a Catalogue nonprofit for the past five years, “serves 16 and 17 year old youths who have been charged and incarcerated as adults at the DC Jail. Free Minds uses books and creative writing to empower young inmates to transform their lives.”

This week, I had the privilege of reading and commenting on poems written by Free Minds poets at Volunteer Write Night — a monthly event in which Free Minds staff, members, and volunteers meet to mingle, read inmates’ poetry and offer their own personal feedback. The poems, with comments, are then mailed back to their authors, and provide a bright spot of both artistic feedback and communication with the outside world for those who are currently removed from it.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but was blown away by the maturity, honesty, and emotional depth expressed in Free Minds’ poetry. The poems touched on every range of emotions related to their experience in the system — from missing a girlfriend or family members, to the hurt, frustration, and loneliness that comes with time spent in jail. While I cannot relate to all of the poets’ experiences, I can relate to their responses — after all, who hasn’t experienced pain, hurt, or despair at one time in their life?

Overall, I found many poems to be incredibly uplifting and inspirational. The young poets’ words expressed how they became adults in such a short time and learned life lessons the hard way, but have become better people because of it. Bridging the divides of race, class, gender, or legal status and connecting with another person through art — this is a crucial aspect of Free Minds’ program, and Write Night is an incredible volunteer opportunity that fosters those connections.

For those interested in volunteering, Write Night is held on the fourth Tuesday of every month. You can also read poetry written by incarcerated members of Free Minds online at their .




Photos courtesy of Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop

In The News …

Maryland behind 11 states, tied with five others on graduation rates (Gazette): “The US Department of Education released statistics Monday ranking states by high school graduation rates, reflecting new data reported consistently nationwide [...] The new, uniform methods are the result of 2008 federal regulation. Beginning with data from 2011-2012, graduation rates will be used to hold states accountable for school performance.” With an 83% graduate rate, Maryland ties for the twelfth spot on the list (along with five other school systems); Virginia comes in just behind at 82%, while DC’s rate is 59% based on 2010/2011 school year data. The complete list is available here.

‘Giving Tuesday’: The Start Of A Holiday Tradition? (WAMU): “First, there was the post-Thanksgiving sales spectacle Black Friday and then the online version, Cyber Monday. Now, charitable groups want to start a new holiday tradition — it’s called Giving Tuesday. It may seem a little surprising that no one came up with the idea before of designating a specific day to help launch the holiday charitable giving season.” What do think of the new tradition? Did you give on Tuesday, or do you plan to give closer to the end of the year? Time of year aside, remember to check out Washington City Paper’s 2012 Donation Guide for ideas!

On ‘Giving Tuesday,’ big donors shed light on why, when and how they give (Washington Post): “Why, when, how and to whom do wealthy people give? It’s a core question for charitable organizations confronted with an uncertain economic climate [...] A new video series produced by the nonprofit consulting firm Bridgespan Group offers some answers.” On Tuesday, Bridgespan launched the video series “Conversations with Remarkable Givers,” which features interviews with some of the country’s most prominent philanthropists. “The site,, features the roughly 400 video clips — a database that is expected to expand to roughly 1,200 over the next several months.”

Catalogue Milestones: 2012

By Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator

After looking back over the past ten years, the Catalogue is excited to reflect on our last year (2012!) and the exciting accomplishments that we’ve seen in the past twelve months.

In 2012, the Catalogue counted over 100 individuals and 20 corporations as supporters of the Catalogue initiative — partners invested in our mission of connecting caring citizens with worthy community causes across the Greater Washington region. Among these were two new corporate portal partners, including our first university partner.

The Catalogue expanded its full-time staff in 2012, to include a Community Partnerships Coordinator, in addition to the Executive Assistant to the President, who started in 2011. The team of four (plus a webmaster and part-time social media coordinator) works closely together to spread the word about Catalogue nonprofits and strength the Catalogue nonprofit community.

Finally, in 2012 the Catalogue passed the $19 million mark for total dollars raised for Catalogue nonprofits since 2002. This is a significant milestone for us, and we’re looking forward to celebrating ten years of the Catalogue’s success at our annual event — Inspiration to Action — next week. While we’re proud of the accomplishments behind us, we hope to increase those successes exponentially in the decade to come. We hope you’ll join us in the effort.

Give It Up, DC!

We couldn’t be more jazzed about the second year of our partnership with Washington City Paper — the result of which is the 2012 Charitable Donation Guide in last week’s edition, featuring our new class of nonprofits:

[...] But if Thanksgiving is the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season, it can also be the kickoff to some holiday-minded generosity, which is where this week’s Washington City Paper comes in. For the second year in what we intend to become an annual tradition, City Paper has worked with the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington to produce Give It Up, DC, our guide to local nonprofits that need — and deserve — your support.

Thanks to a handy “Donate” button, you can support any of these great community-based nonprofits directly from the City Paper’s site. So learn more about them right this way!

Day of Giving

Happy Thanksgiving week! If you’re looking to support or volunteer with a nearby nonprofit, we have the list for you. Check out what’s needed and what you can do at some of Catalogue’s human service organization (And we’ll be back to our regular GoodWorks programming on Monday)

ALIVE! — Alexandria, VA: Volunteers needed at 8AM on Thursday for the Turkey Trot at George Washington Middle School; learn more here.

Carpenter’s Shelter — Alexandria, VA: Check out the “How Can I Help This Holiday?” page; you can take part in pantry clean-up and at the Winter Shelter or volunteer as a group.

FACETS– Fairfax, VA: Executive Director Amanda Andere writes about “Holiday Hunger: A Recipe for Change” on Huffington Post; you can read about FACET’s supply drives here.

Food For Others — Fairfax, VA: Food For Others provides Thanksgiving groceries annually to those in need; here is a list of key items that you can donate.

Manna Food Center — Gaithersburg, MD: Email to receive a simple how-to guide and food drive list.

Our Daily Bread — Fairfax, VA: Check out the immediate volunteer needs right here, including food collection and delivery and a Fall Food Drive this coming Saturday.

Western Fairfax Christian Ministries — Chantilly, VA: Learn more about donating food to the pantry or organizing a drive for WFCM right here.

* And remember: when looking for volunteer opportunities, be sure to visit Greater DC Cares and Volunteer Fairfax!

Catalogue Milestones: 2011

As we approach our celebration of the 10th Catalogue for Philanthropy, we look back to see how the Catalogue has grown and evolved.

Just one more year and then … we’re at this one! Let’s look at what was new in 2011:

- The Catalogue’s corporate portal, Community Connections, launched with five beta partners — bringing giving and volunteering into the workplace every day of the year. Community Connections offers an interactive medium that facilitates engagement for employees who want to attend events, volunteer, donate, or get more deeply involved in philanthropic activities. Learn more right this way.

- Speaking of connections, the Washington City Paper teamed up for the first time with Catalogue for a December Giving Guide (“Give it Up, DC!“) that reached 72,000 people. The partnership will continue in 2012 and we’re looking forward to the second issue. Keep an eye out!

And remember: our tenth anniversary celebration and Catalogue launch is coming soon …

Around Town: November 16-18

Have a good weekend, Greater Washington! And check out what’s happening at our nonprofits …

Educational Theatre Company (McKinley Elementary, 1030 N. McKinley Road, Arlington, VA)

ETCs Main Stage Residency Program, with McKinley Elementary School, presents Robin Hood — an original musical production created and performed by children in grades 2-5 — on Friday & Saturday.

Anacostia Watershed Society (Malcolm X Avenue & 2nd Street SE)

Volunteers will work to restore the natural splendor of one of DC’s most neglected wooded areas on Saturday at 9:00 AM; gloves, bags, and lunch will be provided. RSVP right here.

Horizons Greater Washington (Politics and Prose, 5051 Connecticut Avenue NW)

Stop by and choose a book for you or your child, or select from one of the Wish List Books for the Horizons program, this Saturday from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM. At the register, remember to mention Horizons and Politics and Prose will donate 20% of the the proceeds.

We Are Family Senior Outreach Network (Metropolitan Community Church, 474 Ridge Street NW)

On Saturday at 10:00 AM, deliver Thanksgiving baskets to over 250 low-income seniors in the North Capitol and Shaw neighborhoods with the We Are Family team. Sign up here!

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In The News …

By Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator

20 DC schools targeted for closure (Washington Post) “One in six traditional DC public schools is targeted for closure under a plan put forth Tuesday by Chancellor Kaya Henderson, the latest sign of a system facing budget pressures and increased competition from fast-growing charter schools. The 20 schools marked for closure are spread across six city wards but are concentrated in Northeast Washington and east of the Anacostia River. The chancellor said her plan would shift resources from maintaining under-enrolled schools to focus on improving academic programs,” Find a list of all proposed public school changes here.

Partnership Leads to New Beginning for Homeless Veterans (Huffington Post: DC Impact) “Across the country, men and women who served in the armed forces are becoming homeless at a rate that is higher than the civilian population. Sadly, this is consistent with a history of overrepresentation of veterans in the homeless population. This year, Veteran’s Day marks a new beginning for many homeless veterans in the District who are benefiting from an innovative housing program and critical community partnerships. Our organizations — Pathways to Housing DC and Miriam’s Kitchen — are working together to identify chronically homeless veterans with mental illness and/or disabling medical conditions in the District who are eligible to move into their own apartments as part of a pilot project sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Housing and Urban Development.”

Region leaders hoping for federal spending cuts compromise (Washington Examiner) “The region’s leaders say they’ve prepped their 2013 budgets for what will be hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue if federal spending cuts start in January. But they are also holding out hope those cuts — and the devastation they say it would bring to the region — never come. ‘It’s like Hurricane Sandy — there’s only so much you can do with powers beyond your control,’ said Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. at a Greater Washington Board of Trade panel discussion Thursday.” How is your organization preparing for possible cuts and sequestration?

Guest Post: Empowered Women International

Empowered Women International creates entrepreneurs and community leaders through women’s empowerment. Marga C. Fripp, the Founder and President, shares Three Reasons to Mentor a Woman, while EWI’s Media and Outreach Intern Jeremy Brandt-Vorel shares the stories of two women active in EWI’s programs. Both articles were originally published on EWI’s blog.

Why mentor a woman? Well, there are many reasons, but I want to share 3 compelling aspects that move most of our mentors.

Passion is infectious.

I often hear our mentors and even donors finding EWI’s passion for social change real and infectious. It’s true that once you meet our women entrepreneurs and experience the passion behind their work, you too will catch the bug and be transformed. We’re in the business of changing lives, but doing this without passion we wouldn’t be the same organization.

Once empowered, women give back.

It’s truly remarkable to see our immigrant or low-income women students struggling to recover from difficult life circumstances, yet working on business models that aim at social change. Income or profit is important for women. But what is most important is the change these women want to see in their communities. And their business enables them to do just that.

Mentoring is inspiring and rewarding.

We all want to feel good about being of help to someone in need. We love to support and invest in people who passionately believe in what they do. We love champions, and being part of their journeys is as rewarding as seeing them reaching the final destination.

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