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Using Your Influence

Earlier this month, TEDxChange 2013 took place in Seattle, Washington. TED talks and TEDx events have gone viral over the past few years, taking place in cities and communities across the globe. TEDxChange 2013 focused on the theme of “positive disruption” and featured a speaker from our own community here in Greater Washington. Julie Dixon, Deputy Director of the Georgetown Center for Social Impact Communication (CSIC) and a friend of the Catalogue, was one of the six speakers at TEDxChange 2013, talking about social change and the currency of influence.

At Georgetown, Julie considers the intersection of digital media and social good, and presented the idea in her TED talk that social influence is perhaps the most valuable resource that each of us possess today. In the nonprofit and philanthropy sectors, the focus is often on mobilizing money from donors, time and skills from volunteers, but few organizations actively ask for supporters to use their influence on behalf of the common good. Julie posed the audience with a question — do likes on Facebook and retweets on Twitter really matter? — and definitively answered it with a yes. A well-crafted tweet or Facebook comment has the potential to find a kidney donor, raise money for the victim of bullying, or gain attention for local, state, or national legislation.

In Washington, influence is the currency of the day in for-profit and government circles. Isn’t it time that the not-for-profit sectors start using for social benefit as well?

Julie Dixon – Using Your Social Currency to Support Global Causes | TEDxChange: Positive Disruption

Unhindered Expression

Put it this way: Jazz is a good barometer of freedom…In its beginnings, the United States of America spawned certain ideals of freedom and independence through which, eventually, jazz was evolved, and the music is so free that many people say it is the only unhampered, unhindered expression of complete freedom yet produced in this country.

- American jazz musician, Duke Ellington, born today in 1899 in Washington, D.C. Playing over 20,000 performances worldwide, Ellington made an indelible mark on jazz history and transcended racial boundaries to share his music.

Around Town: April 27-28

Looking for a great way to spend your weekend? Catalogue nonprofits have great events that you can not only attend, but volunteer at as well!! If you go to an event, tweet about it using hashtag #CatalogueCheers!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Race to End Poverty

A Wider Circle
Featuring a 4K run/walk and a tot trot! In 2012, A Wider Circle furnished 3,650 homes. This year, we hope to furnish 4,000 homes – 4K! Run or walk on April 27 and help us accomplish a 4K in service! Enter as an individual, as a team, or join the Bed Brigade.
When: Saturday April 27, 2013 (09:00 AM)
Where: Meadowbrook Park, 7901 Meadowbrook Lane, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Fee? yes $33 for individual 4K entries; $20 for ages 11 – 20; free for 10 and under 4K participants and Tot Trot participants free; $33 for the Bed Brigade
Contact: Ann Marie Schaeffing, (301) 608-3504
For more information: click here

Living Well With Cancer One-Day Retreat For Caregivers

Smith Center for Healing and the Arts
One-day Caregiver Retreats aim to help strengthen innate healing mechanisms through group support, yoga and stress reduction, creativity, and nutrition.
When: Saturday April 27, 2013 (09:00 AM – 4:00 PM)
Where: Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, 1632 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
Fee? yes $40 per person
Contact: Smith Center, (202) 483-8600
For more information: click here

Grocery Deliveries to Low-Income Seniors in Columbia Heights

We Are Family Senior Outreach Network
We Are Family will be delivering free grocery bags to over 250 low-income seniors in the Columbia Heights, Petworth, and Adams Morgan neighborhoods.
When: Saturday April 27, 2013 (10:00 AM – 1:00 PM)
Where: Kelsey Apartments, 3322 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20010
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: Volunteers will help assemble and deliver grocery bags. Although a car is not needed, it is helpful. Some of our delivery routes can be done on foot, while others require a car.
Contact: Mark Andersen, (202) 487-8698
For more information: click here

REVISION dance company

Dance Place
In JUST BE, Artistic Director Shannon Quinn leads REVISION dance company in exploring the raw emotions and personal experiences of working with people with disabilities. The evening length modern dance work invites the audience and dancers to focus on the abilities of individuals, instead of the challenges and stereotypes associated with disabilities.
When: Saturday April 27, 2013 (8:00 PM)
Where: Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017
Fee? yes $22 General Admission; $17 Members, Seniors, Teachers and Artists; $10 College Students; $8 Children (17 and under)
Contact: Carolyn Kamrath, (202) 269-1608
For more information: click here

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mass in B Minor featuring Agnes Zsigovics

Washington Bach Consort
Johann Sebastian Bach Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 We end our 35th Season with the monumental Mass in B Minor, a work Bach returned to again and again during his life. Although it draws upon Lutheran and Catholic traditions the B Minor Mass holds deep significance for people of all religious and cultural origins. Bach scholar Christoph Wolff describes the B Minor Mass as a summary of his writing for voice, not only in its variety of styles, compositional devices, and range of sonorities, but also in its high level of technical polish … Bach’s mighty setting preserved the musical and artistic creed of its creator for posterity. Pre-Concert Lecture: 2:00pm, Talking Bach is a series of free pre-concert lectures by noted Bach scholars one hour before performances at National Presbyterian Church. The lectures focus not only on the musical elements of the work that will be performed, but also on the historical context in which the music was created. Talks are designed to enhance the concertgoers’ appreciation and enjoyment of the music they are about to hear. The series is open to all ticket holders.
When: Sunday April 28, 2013 (3:00 PM)
Where: National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
Fee? yes Tickets $23-$65, Students 18 and younger $10, Pay Your Age 18-38
Volunteer Info: Usher, Sell Tickets, Direct Patrons, Clean up after Reception
Contact: Washington Bach Consort, (202) 429-2121
For more information: click here


What are the most compelling trends in workplace giving today? Will the traditional pledge-card campaigns of old still cut it with today’s millennials, who already make up 25% of the workforce and are estimated to comprise 50% within seven years? The answer, according to America’s Charities CEO Steve Delfin, and panelists at a half-day conference on Wednesday, was a resounding no. (Check out the name of the conference, with the hashtag title #givingundertheinfluence: I suppose this was meant to suggest a good kind of “under the influence” as opposed to the bad kind with which we are familiar, much as the charitable giving day, #givingtuesday, is the good twin of the shop-for-yourself day known as Black Friday. And take a look at the report issued by America’s Charities here.)

Instead of traditional campaigns that generate funds for causes selected in the C-suite or in the office of the campaign sponsor, the panelists contended that the new giving model emphasizes total choice indeed that choice is transforming workplace giving. After all, the argument goes, today’s employees often bring their causes with them to work, and they want giving options that center around what matters to them – all of them – not to their supervisor or boss; they want opportunities to engage their networks, share the stories of organizations that move them, take existing campaigns and take them over; and they want to do this in and on their own time, not in one day or month of the year. The dominant opinion among the speakers was that companies are, largely, losing control over workplace giving as individuals shape their giving as they choose moving right around or through what the company may be promoting. Creativity may drive a campaign and make it successful, but control will not.

There is no doubt in my mind that millennials will have a significant influence on the way we do philanthropy, that social media is here to stay, and that not using it is not an option. I am also confident that the old model no longer works. But I am still a bit suspicious about generational paradigms: are all baby boomers or gen-xers the same? Will all millennials be so? I doubt it. So while companies may indeed be losing control over workplace giving (it is the multiplicity of all those “I”s that makes for the loss of coherence), and while millennials typically have skills that their elders lack, it isn’t clear to me that all of the participants come to their philanthropy with a clear sense of direction. I still think there is much for everyone to learn.

Here at the Catalogue we have always believed in choice – not the limitless choice that leaves most people bewildered, but informed choice that invites participants to explore their own passions, find nonprofits that fit those passions, and give thoughtfully. Sharing the news with friends has always been and continues to be an option on our site, campaign pages are part of the arsenal that we provide to nonprofits in our network, and our workplace giving portal – in use at a number of companies around the region – offers a combination of interactivity and choice. But our assumption is that even those who have the philanthropic gene often lack the time to identify effective charities doing work that resonates for them. We don’t all come equipped with favorite charities. Some of us are still finding them.

Marrying what the Catalogue can do (create the opportunity for meaningful exploration) with what social media can do (share awareness and build real support for worthy organizations whenever and wherever people live and work and play) makes for an extremely powerful combination. I hope we will see that combination play itself out in many realized, and as yet unrealized, opportunities in the months and years ahead.

Stimulating Change: LearnServe International’s 4th Annual Panels and Venture Fair

The Figuring Out College Success team after their big win at LearnServe's 4th Annual Panels and Venture Fair

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

This past Thursday, I had the pleasure of being a judge at LearnServe International’s 4th Annual Panels and Venture Fair at the School Without Walls. LearnServe International empowers high-school students from around the DC area who have the motivation (but perhaps not the means) to make a difference. Through their Fellows Program, LearnServe helps guide students through the creation of their own “social venture.” This year’s Venture Fair featured 60 young entrepreneurs who represented 30 high schools in 4 different counties. What do all of these young entrepreneurial minds have in common? They all helped to design 45 different social ventures with the goal of serving their schools and their communities.

In the cafeteria of the School Without Walls, LearnServe fellows set up their presentation boards and prepared to discuss their ideas with leaders from both the business and community worlds. Students were split into 4 groups: DC Public and Charter Schools/PG County Public Schools, Montgomery County Public Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools, and Independent Schools. Students were judged based on three different categories: innovative ideas, presentation boards, and their venture pitch. Awards were presented to the one group from each category that received the overall high score from the judges. Winners won a certificate, a book, and a pro-bono consulting service session with business leaders from different companies in the area.

As a judge, I reviewed five different ventures, each one as impressive as the next. It was extremely inspiring to see high school students who were all so motivated to make changes within their communities and beyond. Of all the ventures, one group that I judged not only caught my eye, but had the highest score in their geographic region, and therefore, won. Figuring Out College Success (FOCS) is a venture started by Nancy, Zora, Yousef, and Spencer, all sophomore students, with a goal of making the college preparation and application process easier for students. Whether they are students from international backgrounds, working class families, or first-generation college goers, the mission of FOCS is to help effectively transform the frustration and discouragement of the unknown into motivation to pursue the college path. As four young students who have not yet been through the college preparation or application process yet, their goals proved to be one of the most impressive portions of their venture proposal.

  • increase enrollment in Honors, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes by 10%
  • ensure participants, by mid freshman year, have a developed relationship with their counselor and have a plethora of extracurricular activities under their belt
  • have participants by mid sophomore year create a pool of teachers for recommendations
  • have junior year participants who by their second semester have a full resume and have visited multiple 4-year institutions up the East Coast
  • ensure that by senior year participants have applied to multiple colleges and have set up permanent financial plans for the school they’ll be attending

As a first time judge for the LearnServe Venture Fair, I was blown away by the original and transformative ideas that these young people had come up with. It’s refreshing to see so many young people willing (and able) to change the world, and LearnServe provides them with a great platform to do so. Congratulations to all of the winners, the participants, and everyone at LearnServe who helped to put on an extremely stimulating event. To learn more about LearnServe International and all of the programs that they provide, click here.

Around Town: April 20-21

Catalogue nonprofits have some great things going on this weekend. Check them out and maybe find a great new nonprofit to support!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

2nd Annual Chess Challenge in DC Citywide Elementary and Middle School Chess Tournament

Chess Challenge in DC
Chess Challenge in DC Is proud to present the 2nd Annual Citywide Elementary and Middle School Chess Tournament. This exciting event features a four round tournament with a blitz playoff. Trophies for the top three finishers and prizes for all. Registration is FREE and includes a t-shirt, wristband, lunch, prizes and raffle tickets. To register go to
When: Saturday April 20, 2013 (08:30 AM – 4:00 PM)
Where: Woodrow Wilson High School, 3950 Chesapeake Street, NW, Washington, DC 20016
Fee: no
Volunteer Info: Volunteers are needed to help with set-up and clean-up, registration, lunch and other jobs throughout the day. No chess experience necessary. Please contact
Contact: Shana Rosenblatt, (202) 579-5551
For more information: click here

Annual Earth Day Cleanup and Celebration

Anacostia Watershed Society
Join AWS for our 24th annual Earth Day Cleanup and Celebration of the Anacostia River. More than 20 different cleanup sites throughout the area will be available to choose from by the end of February. All volunteers are invited to join us for the celebration that follows at Bladensburg Waterfront Park. There will be free food and drink, live music, exhibitors and speakers! Registration is required, contact Maddie below.
When: Saturday April 20, 2013 (09:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
Fee: no
Volunteer Info: Trash and debris cleanup
Contact: Madeline Koenig, (301) 699-6204 ext 109

Grocery Deliveries to Low-Income Seniors in North Capitol/Shaw

We Are Family Senior Outreach Network
We Are Family will be delivering groceries to over 250 low-income seniors in the North Capitol and Shaw neighborhoods.
When: Saturday April 20, 2013 (10:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
Where: Metropolitan Community Church, 474 Ridge St. NW, Washington, DC 20001
Fee: no
Volunteer Info: Volunteers will help assemble and deliver grocery bags to low-income seniors. Although a car is not needed, it is helpful.
Contact: Mark Andersen, (202) 487-8698

Karen Sherman

Dance Place
In One with Others, Minneapolis-based artist Karen Sherman re-purposes dance, words, and scrap lumber to consider biography, personal mythology and social legacy. Using choreography both desperate and delicate, the piece grapples with desire, communication, humiliation and destiny. Funded in part by the NEA and the NPN.
When: Saturday April 20, 2013 (8:00 PM)
Where: Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017
Fee: yes $22 General Admission; $17 Members, Seniors, Teachers and Artists; $10 College Students; $8 Children (17 and under)
Contact:Carolyn Kamrath, (202) 269-1608

The One Fund Boston –

By Catalogue President, Barbara Harman:

As some of you may know, I am a Bostonian who shares her time between two homes — one in Massachusetts and one in DC. Like many people here, I am still reeling from Monday’s events, and experiencing for the first time what it’s like to see devastation on the streets of my own city, a city I love. There is something quite unreal about it: familiar stores and restaurants, places I have walked with family and friends, the site of the finish line at the Marathon’s end — all of these familiar sites are now a crime scene. I will never forget the sound, the images of smoke billowing in the air, the runner who faltered near the end of the race blown back by the force of the first explosion, and the stories and pictures that chronicle the terrible loss of life and devastating injuries of those who survived but whose lives will never be the same.

There truly is a sense of coming together, of strength in community here, and one if its expressions is the creation of a fund to help the families devastated by loss. As one man so poignantly put it (he survived with lacerations to his face while his friends, standing on the other side of an adjacent mailbox, have all lost limbs) — the cost will be enormous, not just the medical and psychological costs, though these will be significant, but the cost in lost wages and even lost careers for goodness knows how long: maybe, for some, forever. Here at the Catalogue we rarely invite contributions to causes outside the DC region, but for those who are feeling, as many have said, that right now we are all Bostonians, please consider a contribution to whose purpose is to help the individuals and families whose lives have been irrevocably altered by this senseless act of cruelty and violence.

Positive, Sustainable, Change

by Eleanor Aldous, Catalogue Intern

This year, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) awarded Catalogue nonprofit Pueblo a Pueblo the prestigious 2013 Sustainability Award for their Organic School Garden Project. Created in 2003, this award is bestowed on organizations, individuals, and businesses who dedicate their efforts to innovative, sustainable practices. Pueblo a Pueblo’s Organic School Garden Project goes above and beyond such criteria through their implementation of sustainable gardens that serve thousands of community members in Guatemala. The Project was created in 2010 as a way to ensure the nourishment and health of children living in rural villages near Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. Funded by the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, the Organic School Garden Project provides hands-on experience in garden-growing and teaches Guatemalan students and teachers how their choices affect their health, communities, and environment. The project diversifies the local diet of these rural, coffee-growing communities while simultaneously providing an opportunity to learn how to independently flourish in the future. Only three years after its creation, the Organic School Garden Project now serves over 1,000 Guatemalan teachers and school children and thrives in six different Guatemalan primary schools.

Pueblo a Pueblo’s Executive Director, Rosemary Trent, elaborates on the issues facing these communities:

In a region of the country where the production of coffee has become an increasingly important income generating crop and means for families to earn a livelihood, food security has become increasingly challenging…Coffee growing families are often unable to buy the daily staples they need for a healthy and nutritious diet. The impact of the lack of resources is severely felt in the rural areas of Guatemala, where chronic malnutrition is widespread. Local families commonly consume only staple grains like rice and maize. Good health depends on dietary diversity having access to nutrients like protein, as well as vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables. Food insecurity worsens during the ‘thin months’ los meses flacos, when money earned during the coffee harvest runs out, work is scarce and families can’t afford food.

As the Organic School Garden Project primarily operates in areas heavily dependent on coffee production, the SCAA Achievement Award is more than fitting. Established in 1982, SCAA is now the world’s leading coffee trade association, having contributed to the expansion and success of the coffee industry for over 25 years. The SCAA values innovation among other organizations where the production of coffee greatly influences their work; Pueblo a Pueblo demonstrates this through its program with rural, coffee-growing communities in Guatemala and their commitment to sustainability.

Founded in 2001, Pueblo a Pueblo formulates and establishes long-term solutions and projects dedicated to child education, health and nutrition in Latin America, with specific emphasis on Guatemala. Pueblo a Pueblo believes that meaningful and lasting change occurs through the direct involvement of those communities benefiting from such change. This belief allows these Guatemalan communities to provide a brighter future for generations to come independently and proudly after Pueblo a Pueblo’s initial helping hand. For more information on Pueblo a Pueblo, check out their Catalogue page here, and learn more about other Catalogue nonprofits working to improve the relationship between people and their environments here.

DC One City Fund Makes Its Entrance

Yesterday, DC Mayor Vincent Gray held a briefing at the Wilson Building about the One City Fund, a new initiative led by the DC Mayor’s Office, in partnership with many key nonprofit sector actors in the Washington area. The One City Fund is a new nonprofit funding mechanism in the FY2014 budget, and the briefing introduced the fund to the general public and nonprofit community. The current proposal makes available $15 million for nonprofits serving DC residents, through a competitive application process facilitated by the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region. The Fund will stand independent from government funding through other city departments, and aims to eliminate and replace earmarked nonprofit funding. (An important caveat: all information on the Fund is still preliminary, as the DC City Council has yet to approve it.)

Funding priorities for the One City Fund align with key goals of the DC One City Action Plan: growing and diversifying the DC economy; educating and preparing residents for the emerging new economy; improving the quality of life for DC residents; and increasing the city’s sustainability. Aside from these goals, priority funding areas for the Fund will include education, job training, homelessness, health, services for seniors, arts, public safety, and the environment. Obviously, most nonprofits in the District will meet those criteria in the broad sense, so keep this in mind too — Mayor Gray emphasized throughout the briefing that the application and selection process will prioritize innovation and new investments that will eventually become self-sustaining. Each grant cannot exceed $100,000 per year, though some projects may be renewed for up to three years.

What nonprofits need to know: The application requirements are still very preliminary, so expect more details over the summer (assuming that all goes to plan). The main take-away for potential applicants at this point is that the DC Government is looking for new nonprofit partners for government funding, and wants to help spark the innovation that will start to move the needle on key issue areas in the city. One other requirement – all funding must serve DC residents. Nonprofits operating in Maryland and/or Virginia as well as Washington must show through their proposals how any One City Fund monies will exclusively serve DC residents.

A comforting note for the smaller nonprofits in the Catalogue community: many questions were asked pertaining to the unique characteristics of small nonprofits during the briefing. The answers given by Mayor Gray and CFNCR President Terri Lee Freeman indicate that the application process will be flexible enough to accommodate smaller nonprofits (like those in the Catalogue), who do great work, have the potential to innovate, and can make a deep impact on their communities in DC.

For the community at large, the potential benefits of the One City Fund are substantial. The Mayor reiterated that an open, transparent, and competitive grant-making process is a step in the right direction for DC Government, and will allow more nonprofits to be part of that process. While, again, the Fund itself is in the planning stages, both Mayor Gray and Freeman spoke of several potential methods for using the grants to increase community knowledge and awareness of best practices in nonprofit work. This could include presentations by grantees on their work throughout the grant process; other collaboration/networking opportunities for grantees within the priority areas; and evaluations of the fund itself and its progress on moving the needle for areas like unemployment, workforce development, graduation rates, and environmental protection.

Next steps for those interested in One City Fund grants: On Thursday April 18th, the Committee of the Whole will hold a hearing on the One City Fund at the Wilson Building. Members of the nonprofit committee are encouraged to sign up to testify on behalf of the fund. More information will likely be made available by the Mayor’s Office and the Community Foundation after the One City Fund receives the green-light from the City Council – keep an eye on their websites over the summer for details on how and when to apply.