Skip to main navigation

Catalogue Blog

Around Town: June 29-30

Looking for a show to head to on this rainy (yet hot) weekend? Dance Place has just the ticket for you (well, you need to buy one, but you catch my drift).

Saturday, June 29, 2013

alight dance theater featuring Wayles Haynes & Angella Foster

Dance Place
A fusion of dance, shadow play and live music, artistic director Angella Foster’s Stargazing tells the story of the starry night from the spectacular death of a star to the backyard splendor of Bee Branch, Arkansas. Resident Artist Wayles Haynes weaves together family lore, fashion and mid-century Americana in The 50s Front. Artist co-presentation.
When: Saturday, June 29, 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, June 30, 2013

alight dance theater featuring Wayles Haynes & Angella Foster

Dance Place
A fusion of dance, shadow play and live music, artistic director Angella Foster’s Stargazing tells the story of the starry night from the spectacular death of a star to the backyard splendor of Bee Branch, Arkansas. Resident Artist Wayles Haynes weaves together family lore, fashion and mid-century Americana in The 50s Front. Artist co-presentation.
When: Sunday, June 30, 2013 (7:00 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

In The News…

Charters not outperforming nation’s traditional public schools, report says (Washington Post) A recent report released by the Stanford University Center for Research on Education Outcomes shows divergent success rates for charter schools, compared with traditional public schools, across the nation. In the aggregated results, charter schools nationwide didn’t show significantly better results than public schools 56% of the time for reading and 40% of the time for math. However, in the District of Columbia, charter schools showed much more impressive academic results in both subjects – outperforming traditional public schools. This is seen as a major win for the D.C. Public Charter School Board, as two new charter schools are set to open next year and over 40% of DC students attend charters.

Latest Projections Show Increase in DC FY14 Surplus (DC Fiscal Policy Institute) The latest revenue forecast for the District of Columbia shows a substantial surplus for both the FY13 and FY 14 years: an additional $86 million in revenue for fiscal year 2013 (the current fiscal year), and $92 million for fiscal year 2014. The DC Fiscal Policy Institue (DCatalogueI) argues that these funds should be spent to keep economic growth strong, while supporting struggling residents. Programs could include increased investments in adult literacy, child care, job training, and housing. The Washington Business Journal reports that Mayor Vincent Gray would like to see increases in spending for pre-school, mental health programs, and the arts — among other areas that overlap with DCatalogueI’s priorities.

Volunteers More Likely to Land Jobs, Study Finds (Corporation for National & Community Service) We always knew that volunteering was an intrinsically good thing to do, but the Corporation for National and Community’s Service (CNCS) recent report on volunteerism and employment makes a different case for it. The report finds that unemployed individuals who volunteer over the next year have 27 % higher odds of being employed at the end of the year than non volunteers. “This research has far-reaching implications for the volunteer sector, for workforce agencies, for policymakers, and for those who are out of work,” Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS, said. “We encourage nonprofits across the country to engage out-of-work Americans as volunteers, and to help them develop skills and contacts and take on leadership roles.”

And finally, the US Supreme Court issued rulings in four high profile cases this week — avoiding a major ruling on affirmative action in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, invalidating part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, and supporting the right of gays to marry and receive federal protection in Windsor v. United States and Hollingsworth v. Perry.

7 Questions with Mark Robbins, Executive Director of the Yellow Ribbon Fund

Today we welcome Mark Robbins, Executive Director of the Yellow Ribbon Fund, to answer 7 Questions! Mark E. Robbins, CAE, has been executive director of the Yellow Ribbon Fund since 2008. Prior to that he held positions with several trade associations with a focus on membership, communications, development and chapter relations. These organizations included the Career College Association, Community Associations Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, American Subcontractors Association and the American Society for Information Science. Earlier in his career he worked as an admissions officer for Marymount University (Va.) and Marian University (Ind.). Mark earned his B.A. in political science from Penn State University and has received the designation of Certified Association Executive (CAE) from the American Society of Association Executives.

1.What motivated you to begin working with this organization? What need does it fulfill and how is your organization working towards meeting it?

I came to the Yellow Ribbon Fund after a former boss of mine, who was volunteering with the group at the time, told me they were looking for an executive director. After meeting with the chairman and several board members, I was offered the job. My favorite jobs were always ones that had a cause, someplace where my work made a difference. At the Yellow Ribbon Fund, we make a huge difference for many injured service members and their families. We provide practical assistance that the government cannot. There is a special pride in helping these brave men and women and their families.

2.What was your most interesting recent development, update, project, event, or partnership?

This spring we’ve dramatically expanded our support for the family caregivers of injured service members, who are often overlooked. We were one of the first to recognize their sacrifices — mostly moms and young wives who drop everything to help their injured loved one recover. To help them do that, we’ve been providing them with free therapeutic massages and caregiver outings for mutual support. We just launched our first Caregiver Resource Fair at Walter Reed, our first Caregiver Retreat, and collaborated with University of Maryland University College and The Blewitt Foundation to offer one-of-a-kind caregiver scholarships.

The Pillars of Strength scholarships are full-ride scholarships to UMUC that make it possible for caregivers to prepare for their changed circumstances. After helping their service member recover, they often have a years-long gap in their resumes, and may also have to become the primary breadwinner.

For the Caregiver Retreat, we took 10 caregivers on a three-day/two night respite retreat in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Many of them had never spent a day away from their injured son or husband since the injury happened. We gave them the opportunity to nap, read, do crafts together, go out for a relaxing walking tour and gourmet meals, or just eat in bed if that?s what they wanted. Mostly, they got to spend time with others who understand what it means to care for their loved one every day.

3.What other projects are you up to?

Through our Ambassador Program, we’re growing a nationwide network of volunteers so we can continue to provide hands-on support to injured service members and their families after they go home. They’re scattered in communities across the country, and while some do just fine, others need help reintegrating. To keep them from falling through the cracks, as a nation we have to weave a safety net of support, and we’re at the forefront of making that happen. Our volunteer ambassadors, more than 100 of them now, are doing everything from providing rides to the VA to helping with job hunts and home renovations to just being a listening ear.

4.Who inspires you? Do you have a hero?

Our donors inspire me. It is always rewarding to see a donation come in. Sometimes it is from our own hard work; other times the donation seems to comes in from out of nowhere, like the anonymous donor who recently sent us $250,000. Or the envelope I just opened today with a $5,000 check and a note that said, “Keep up the good work!” It’s a humbling reminder that each time we hold an event, or post on our Web site or Facebook page, or speak to a group, people are listening. Large or small, all of our donors are heroic to me.

5.What is the single greatest challenge that your organization faces, and how are you working towards combating this issue?

Our greatest challenge will be educating people that the needs won?t end when the war does. Troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, which means there will be fewer injured service members — thankfully! But while our current mission focuses on the injured while they?re being treated at Walter Reed and Ft. Belvoir, the young men and women who have lost limbs and suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will be challenged by these issues for years to come. Going forward, our mission will shift more and more toward outreach, staying in touch with the injured after they return to their hometowns through our Ambassador Program. Our staff and volunteers are already making a difference to returning veterans all across the country.

6. What advice do you have for other people in your position?

My best advice is to stay honest, open and transparent when talking about your nonprofit. Credibility is everything and you never want to do anything to compromise it.

7.What’s next for your organization, both in the short term and long term?

We will continue to focus on the injured as they come to the hospital, take care of their family members, and let them know we won’t forget about the sacrifice they made.

The Frontiers of Knowledge

The frontiers of knowledge in the various fields of our subject are expanding at such a rate that, work as hard as one can, one finds oneself further and further away from an understanding of the whole.

- James Meade, Nobel-winning British economist, author, and professor, who was born June 23, 1907. He dedicated his life to developing theories of international economics, particularly those that confront issues of unemployment. He worked for Oxford, Cambridge, the London School of Economics, and the League of Nations during his prolific career. An advocate for higher learning, his models are still widely learned and practiced today.

Guest Post: Language ETC

Language ETC , a Catalogue nonprofit that will be re-featured in the 2013-14 Catalogue for Philanthropy, shares this guest post from their award-winning LETC Teachers’ Corner blog. Since 1993, Language, Education, and Technology Center (Language ETC), a community-based program, has offered English and literacy training to low-income adult immigrants in the greater Washington area using volunteer teachers and tutors.

Tea and Sympathy: Building Community in the Adult ESL Classroom

By Cathy Sunshine, LETC Volunteer

Don’t tell anyone, but we’ve been having tea in the classroom at break time lately. Sometimes cupcakes too.

It started as a way to keep warm. The heat in the church has been iffy over the last two months. Puffy coats and woolly scarves have been a popular fashion statement in our classroom. One of our students is an avid baker, and he sometimes brings in goodies. Then one evening another student brought a thermos of piping hot tea to share.

It made for a cozy atmosphere. That got me thinking about the importance of warmth in the classroom, not just the kind from the furnace – which seems to be functioning better lately – but also the social kind. What motivates students to leave their homes on cold, dark winter nights and trek to class, four nights a week for 12 weeks? Or give up their weekends? English, yes, but it’s got to be more than that.

I think the answer is the community they find here. For recent immigrants, LETC is a welcoming place in a society that at times may seem indifferent or hostile. For some of our students, school is the principal, if not the only, place where they can make friends with native English speakers and with immigrants from countries other than their own.

Why is this important? Gretchen Bitterlin, an ESL teacher trainer in San Diego, notes that a sense of community in the classroom favors student persistence – that is, it keeps students coming regularly. She wrote on the Ventures e-newsletter:

One day, I walked into my family literacy ESL class, and it was quieter than usual. Delia, who had almost never missed a class, was absent. After I asked if anyone had any problems over the weekend, the students reported that Delia’s 5-year-old daughter had fallen and suffered a brain injury and was in intensive care at the hospital. Within minutes, the students took up a collection to help Delia in the weeks ahead, since she would not be able to work. I was overwhelmed by the generosity of the students and their networking to help out a fellow student. The incident exemplified the strong sense of community that existed in that class. This provided an atmosphere that facilitated learning and persistence at a higher level than I had seen in previous classes. When students get to know each other like a family, they depend on each other for moral support and continue to come to school, even when times are difficult.

How, then, to achieve this kind of fellowship in class? One problem is that while a feeling of community encourages regular attendance, regular attendance is needed to build community. Classes can’t bond when students show up irregularly, as happens often in adult ESL. Classes may fill slowly, as people trickle in over the first couple of weeks, and they may also dwindle as the term wears on. Lucy Hamachek, who teaches the Advanced Workplace class, notes that building community is hard without that critical mass.

Some of this is beyond our control as teachers. But there are definitely things we can do. Mary Janice Dicello teaches Basic A at Language ETC, for students who are complete beginners in English. She likes to set a positive tone early:

The first few Basic classes always begin with introductions, including first and last names and countries. We play memory games to encourage all our students to learn the names of their classmates and use desk cards with first names on them. We count the students from each country and cheer for the country with the most students, and laugh with and show sympathy for the student who has no one from his country. We use country flags, and students learn to say the colors of their flags. They enjoy finding their own countries on a world map. We use a magnifying glass to find tiny El Salvador, the country that usually has the largest number of students in our class.

As teachers, we try to set an atmosphere of respect and patience, laced with good humor – sometimes silliness – that serves as a model for how we expect our students to behave toward one another. It really works. The quick ones help the struggling ones, and students seem to incorporate everyone into their break-time groups. And finally we take a group photo that they all treasure as a memory of their first English class in America and the friends they made.



You can read the full post on LETC’s blog here. To learn more about Language ETC, and other Catalogue nonprofits that provide adult education, check out our online catalogue and volunteer opportunities!

In The News…

Arts Nonprofit Launches Crowdfunding Website For Local Projects (Bethesda Now) – The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) launched a Kickstarter-like crowdfunding platform last Wednesday in a campaign to gain more donors who will actively be able to see the difference that they are making. The site, called, features 21 community-based programs that are seeking up to $7,000 in funding. “This is an opportunity for us to find people who really can’t give that much,” said Erin Gifford, an Imagination Stage marketing associate. “This is a very big thing on social media and we find there’s a lot of younger people on social media who probably don’t have as much accessible income to give us.” With this effort, every dollars counts, and like Kickstarter, donors can enjoy certain prizes and benefits based on the amount of their gift.

The Overhead Myth (The Nonprofit Quarterly) – A recently published letter by Art Taylor of BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Jacob Harold of GuideStar, and Ken Berger of Charity Navigator is drawing a lot of attention in the philanthropic community. Entitled “The Overhead Myth,” the letter urges donors to not just analyze a nonprofit’s “overhead”- or charity expenses that go to administrative and fundraising costs- when deciding where to donate. The letter argues that while for some organizations, this ratio of donations to administrative costs can be used as reasoning to not donate (the recent Susan G. Komen scandal comes to mind), for most charities, these overhead costs are crucial to nonprofit improvement, advancement, and sustainability. The Nonprofit Quarterly, one of the many philanthropic journals featuring the letter, said in an editor’s note, “The NPQ is proud to highlight this important letter from GuideStar, Charity Navigator and the Wise Giving Alliance calling for an end to the obsession many have had with nonprofit overhead costs as a proxy for measuring effectiveness BUT for the letter to be effective it is important that people share it in every way they can.”

Fannie Mae’s Rosie Allen-Herring tapped to lead United Way of the National Capital Area (Washington Business Journal) Rosie Allen-Herring, Fannie Mae veteran employee, has recently been selected to lead the UWNCA with the upcoming retirement of Bill Hanbury, current CEO. Ted Davies, incoming Chair of the United Way of the National Capital Area Board of Directors, said the Allen-Herring was “extremely passionate about the success of the organization, but in a confident, humble way.” This news comes the same week that Diana Leon Taylor, founder of SageGroup-DC Consulting, LLC and special adviser on Haitian affairs to the State Department and White House, was selected out a national search to become the new president and CEO of the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington. Both women bring with them business savvy and commitment to the local community. This could be the beginning of a new trend in the nonprofit sphere according to a report by the Nonprofit Center; while more than 70% of nonprofit employees are women, a majority of men still hold leadership positions.

The Quest That’s Just Begun

The battle was first waged over the right of the Negro to be classed as a human being with a soul; later, as to whether he had sufficient intellect to master even the rudiments of learning; and today it is being fought out over his social recognition [...] You are young, gifted, and Black. We must begin to tell our young, “There’s a world waiting for you.” Yours is the quest that’s just begun.

-James Weldon Johnson, an American author, lawyer, and politician, first African-American secretary of the NAACP, who was born today in Florida in 1871. An active member of the public sector, Johnson worked as an educator, political adviser, ambassador, lawyer, and Harlem Renaissance poet before joining and finally leading the NAACP. He crusaded for equal rights through peaceful protest and inspired generations to come with his calm refusal to accept social injustice. Happy Birthday, Mr. Johnson!

Around Town: June 15-16

We have two great nonprofits with fun ways for you to celebrate dad this weekend! Join Academy of Hope for a fun field day or Dance Place for their Father’s Day special. No matter what event you decide to attend, be sure to let us know on Twitter (@cataloguedc) or Facebook and Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Academy of Hope Field Day

Academy of Hope
Come join Academy of Hope Board of Directors, students and volunteers for a great day of fun and games! Field day games include Frisbee Toss, Tug of War, Potato Sack Races, and other kid-appropriate activities.
When: Sat Jun 15 2013 (10:00 AM – 12:30 PM)
Where: Upper Field of Trinity Washington University, 125 Michigan Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20017
Fee? yes $20 individual adult; $60 family pass; $100 field day team (up to 7 members)
Contact: Krystal Ramseur, (202) 369-6623 ext 123
For more information: click here

SpeakeasyDC’s Father’s Day Special

Dance Place
Join SpeakeasyDC on Father’s Day weekend for a night of true stories told by and for dads, proving that father doesn’t always know best; he just thinks he does. Artist co-presentation.
When: Sat Jun 15 2013 (8:00 PM)
Where: Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017
Fee? yes $22 General Admission
Contact: Carolyn Kamrath, (202) 269-1608
For more information: click here

7 Questions with Eloise Russo, Executive Director of City Kids Wilderness Project

Today for 7 Questions we welcome Eloise Russo, Executive Director of City Kids Wilderness Project! Eloise has been with the organization since January 2011. Prior to City Kids, Eloise worked with Institute for Non-Profit Management and Leadership in Boston, MA, and with Kaplan K-12 Learning Services, managing after-school and summer school programs for 800 under-served DC youth. Eloise earned her BA from Tufts University in Peace and Justice Studies, and her MBA from Boston University’s Public and Non-Profit Management Program. Most recently, Eloise was selected as a member of the 2012 class of the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington’s Future Executive Directors Fellowship.

1. Welcome Eloise! What motivated you to begin working with City Kids? What need does it fulfill and how is your organization working towards meeting this need?

I started with City Kids Wilderness Project (City Kids) shortly after graduating from business school. I grew up in DC, attended public school K-12, and wanted to join an organization doing community building and youth development work with DC youth. In addition, summer camp and wilderness experiences through Outward Bound were critical in helping shape my view of the world and my abilities and confidence as a leader. Joining the City Kids team allowed me to combine my passions for youth development and wilderness programming with my background in program management and organizational development.

2. What was your most interesting recent development?

City Kids works closely with many other nonprofits and social service organizations in order to open doors for our youth. For many years, we have had a strong partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), through which many of our youth have received scholarships to attend NOLS wilderness courses. One of our youth, Tyrhee Moore, successfully completed two NOLS courses and is now being sponsored to climb Denali in Alaska as a part of Expedition Denali. This is an all African American climb designed to help inspire youth of color to get outside, get active, and become stewards of our wild places. Tyrhee grew up as a part of the City Kids program, is now a student at West Virginia University, and is a mentor and role model for our younger youth.

3. What other projects are you up to?

We just moved out to Jackson, WY for the summer, where we run programming for our DC youth. We’ll have three sessions of summer camp where campers will go horseback riding, canoeing, swimming, and white water rafting. Camp is a fun-filled time for our youth and includes camping trips to National Forests and National Parks including Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.

4. Who inspires you (in the philanthropy world or otherwise)?

My biggest inspiration is our kids and seeing them grow and challenge themselves through the City Kids program. Our kids consistently step outside of their comfort zones to try new things, be it rock climbing, jumping off a ledge as a part of a high ropes course, or applying for and participating in their first internship or job experience. Being a part of an organization where trying new things is built into the structure of our work, encourages all of us, staff and kids alike, to take on big challenges and to not be afraid to fail.

5. What is the single greatest challenge that your organization faces, and how are you working towards combating this issue?

We’re growing! City Kids started as a summer camp for DC youth in 1996, and in the past several years, we have expanded to become a year-round program. We now have a four day per week after-school program for our middle school youth, weekend outdoor adventure programming, and leadership development, job training, and post-secondary educational and career support for our older youth. As we grow our programs and the length of time that we work with each child enrolled in the program, we need to work hard to ensure that our focus on program quality continues to be high and that we continue to be able to provide individualized support to our youth. In addition, as our programs grow, we have also needed to focus on growing our organizational capacity in order to support our increased efforts. To support this growth, we applied and were recently selected for a Fair Chance capacity building partnership. We are excited about what this year will bring and look forward to building the strength of the organization so that we can continue to provide high quality programming for under-resourced DC youth for years to come.

6. What’s your biggest take-away lesson you would tell others that you have gleaned from your experiences?

Build and nurture your network! I recently participated in the Nonprofit Roundtable’s Future Executive Director Fellowship and have been blown away by the support of my peers through this fellowship. Having a strong network of people to go to for support, to bounce ideas off of, and to share resources with makes the role much more manageable and makes your potential impact that much greater.

My biggest lesson that I learned is that it really helps to absolutely love what you’re doing. Being an ED is a demanding role, but when you love what you’re doing, it can also be a really fun role. On any given day I can have a funding meeting, conversations with a parent, a meeting with our accounting team, a conference call with board members, a program site visit or even be directly involved in leading our youth programming. Having a strong belief in the mission, and an innate enthusiasm for the role, helps to make the breadth of the responsibilities of the ED role more personally fulfilling and ultimately helps make me a better leader and advocate for the organization.

7. What’s next for your organization, both in the short term and long term?

In the short term, we’re focused on revamping our evaluation system. Working with kids for 6+ years includes many important milestones and being able to track our participants’ growth over time and their ability to meet goals is crucial. In the long term, we’re focused on creating a sustainable organizational structure. This involves formalizing many of our program and organizational systems as well as being really thoughtful about our growth, financial model, and community of supporters.

In The News…

Frager’s Moves To Eastern Market As Rebuilding Begins After Fire (WAMU) Frager’s Hardware, a Capitol Hill neighborhood store recently hit with a devastating four-alarm fire, is set to reopen in a different location – an empty lot and former temporary Eastern Market location – this weekend. “Frager’s Hardware is one of the most beloved businesses in the District, and none of us can imagine the Capitol Hill community without Frager’s,” said Mayor Vince Gray in a recent statement. The new location will be selling plants and gardening supplies while rebuilding and repairing the beloved spot.

Montgomery County Announces Capital Bikeshare Expansion Plans (WAMU) Capital Bikeshare has over 1500 bikes at 175 stations across Virginia and the District, but none in Maryland. Under a new plan, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation has announced that it will expand Capital Bikeshare to various Maryland sites by this summer, including Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Rockville, Shady Grove, Silver Spring, and Takoma Park. This plan includes 500 new bikes at 55 different stations, focused along Metro lines to the north of DC. This plan is part of a pilot effort to see how the bikeshare program could positively affect low-income workers in suburban areas.

From a Nonprofit, Advice on Reaching Millennials (The New York Times) Do Something, a national nonprofit that seeks to match millennials with different campaigns and causes, has started a new division in researching consumer data. This division of the nonprofit, called TMI (just like the acronym, Too Much Information), tries to identify successful platforms to reach and interest Americans ages 13-25, from social media to website design; last year, Do Something had over 2.4 million participants, a number the organization is trying to even further increase this year. Using this information, the division will work with both nonprofit and for-profit organizations and marketing agencies to better reach young Americans with an interest in philanthropy and community service. The division has also stated that this division could one day segue into a for-profit venture, based on their future success.