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Back-to-School Spotlight: Adopt a Classroom, Change 18 Lives

This month the Catalogue is highlighting various school supply drives around our region. More than 30 nonprofits in our network are in need of supplies for the upcoming 2016-17 school year. Below is a blog post from our friends at The Child and Family Network Centers (CFNC) in Alexandria, Virginia, with details about their Adopt-A-Classroom initiative.

“Look what I got!” exclaimed The Child and Family Network Centers’ (CFNC) preschooler Yorleny, as she opened her new backpack stuffed with school supplies, a book and a toy.


You can help a child or even a whole classroom of children experience this same joy.

CFNC, a nonprofit provider of early education for children of the working poor, is offering eight corporate partners the opportunity to Adopt – A – Classroom for the 2016-2017 school year.

Classroom sponsorships will help fund the supplies needed for each of CFNC’s classrooms to provide high-quality education and meet the needs of vulnerable children. Your sponsorship will change the lives of 18 preschoolers this year! Because of sponsorships, CFNC is able to provide key materials and tools for 8 classrooms that enable the teachers to maximize their efforts in teaching 138 students what they need to learn in order to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.

cfnc2By the age of 5, a child’s brain is already 90% formed. Yet, many children living in poverty are less likely to attend preschool and often live in households where early learning activities are few and far between. CFNC’s free bilingual early education program gives these children the opportunity to learn and grow early on and gives them the foundation of English language and literacy skills so they can enter school ready to succeed. By the time these children leave CFNC, many of them are reading and writing in English, understanding the language, and have gained the developmental, social and emotional skills they need to enter kindergarten alongside their peers. Thanks to the education that they receive and because of their amazing donors and sponsors, CFNC has the means and ability to change these children’s lives.

cfnc3“From the first time we walked into a classroom to volunteer at CFNC we knew it was a very special place. It was a wonderful, positive experience working with the children and they were so appreciative and engaging. Since that time we have been fortunate enough to work with them through reading and volunteer programs, providing school supplies and assisting with their annual coat, hat and mitten drives. We believe that CFNC makes a significant difference in getting these children ready for kindergarten and focusing on providing whole family engagement,” said Linda Abravanel, Wells Fargo employee and volunteer at CFNC.

cfnc4Adopt-a-Classroom sponsors will get the opportunity to meet the children and the teachers in their sponsored classroom and participate in four classroom engagement opportunities throughout the year with the kids. Quarterly reports and photos from CFNC keep you up-to-date on the progress of each child. In addition, each sponsor receives 26 unique marketing opportunities.

For more information on CFNC’s Adopt-a-Classroom program go to or email Jessica Hallstrom at or call her at 703-836-0214.

#GivingTuesday is here! How will you make an impact in your community today?

Since Thanksgiving, retailers have been promoting incredible steals and deals to help you complete your holiday shopping. What if you could turn the pennies you saved from those deals into pennies given to our Catalogue for Philanthropy charities?

The Catalogue’s #APennySaved campaign, in partnership with #GivingTuesday, combines the thrill of saving with the thrill of giving. We encourage you to turn your holiday savings into tangible good in the community through your support of our 350+ vetted charities.

After you give, don’t forget to tell us about it on social media! Use the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #APennySaved to tell us about how you’re supporting our community with the money you saved. Together we can make this a season of getting AND a season of giving.

Looking for ideas on ways to give? Think about how you saved, and use the wish lists below to guide your giving! Remember, this is only a small sample of our network of 350+ charities. Go to to learn more about them.

Saved $10 on a gift for your sibling? Use that $10 for:

Saved $25 on a gift for mom or dad? Use that $25 for:

And for the really savvy shoppers out there…Did you save $50 on a holiday gift?Use that $50 for:

Happy Giving!!


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.

In The News …

How to Help Families Affected by Newtown School Shooting (Newtown Patch): “In the wake of the unimaginable tragedy at Sandy Hook School Friday people from all over the world — in Connecticut, California, Canada and much farther away in Australia and India — sent an outpouring of support and want to know how they can help.” Newtown Patch has compiled a list of ways to support individual families, the community, and local resources; instate residents can call 211 “for information about how individuals or businesses can support the victims and their families.” The article also invited readers to post “I want to help” in the comment section if they wished to receive updates on what they could do. Currently, over 1350 comments have appeared. The Chronicle of Philanthropy also reports that “more than $1-million has poured into a fund to help Newtown.”

New Maryland system measures school progress (Washington Post: Education): “The Howard and Frederick county school systems scored slightly higher than Montgomery County under a new Maryland accountability system that [...] takes into account each school’s benchmarks on overall student performance, student growth, closing the achievement gap and preparing students for college and careers.” This new state data, which was released this past Monday, “comes from the School Progress Index, which is permitted under new federal rules that allow states to create their own ways to measure progress in public schools.” Maryland and Virginia, along with 34 other states and the District, have received waivers from the 2002 No Child Left Behind provisions.

‘Hugely complex’ work for philanthropy in the next decade (Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers): “The rise of a wide variety of strategies for mobilizing private resources to address common societal problems is now, and will increasingly in the future, blur the lines between what we call philanthropy and commerce,” writes Susan Raymond, Executive Vice President of Changing Our World, Inc. “That makes for exciting times. It also makes for challenges. Not the least of these challenges for the formal philanthropic sector — for foundations and corporate giving — is how to partner with these new resource strategies.” What new strategy, do you think, is having the greatest impact on philanthropy today?

2012 Corporate Philanthropy Awards

By Marie LeBlanc, Catalogue Community Partnerships Coordinator

Every year, the Washington Business Journal honors the top corporate philanthropists in greater Washington. Last Friday May 11, the 2012 Corporate Philanthropy Awards breakfast recognized the area’s top ten corporate donors, as well as a handful of other corporations for the time and money they dedicated to social causes in 2011. Two Catalogue for Philanthropy partners were among those acknowledged at the event.

Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH) was recognized as one of the top ten Corporate Philanthropists, donating $3.49 million locally in 2011. BAH sponsors the Nonprofit Conference on Fundraising and Development speaker series, and the Catalogue for Philanthropy serves on the planning committee for these events. BAH also cultivates a strong culture of employee giving, pro bono work, and volunteerism.

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In The News …

Social Ethics: A Peek Into 2012 (Huffington Post): “Business as usual is changing. Or at least the way business leaders think about philanthropy is changing. In an era of global connectivity and instant media, companies increasingly view philanthropic campaigns as an intrinsic component of a successful business strategy, rather than an external obligation [...] The field is growing and changing so rapidly that its boundaries are still being drawn.” The article also cites a 2011 report from the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy finds that corporate giving is on the rise again and that 53% of companies gave more in 2010 than they did prior to the recession.

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In The News …

Montgomery tries to spur affordable housing (Washington Post): “Over the next few months, county planning and housing officials will propose broad policy changes intended to improve the local housing market [...] Yet the county, which has seen year after year of budget shortfalls, also must deal with less funding. The housing department budget for the current fiscal year is 50 percent of what it was two years ago [...] The shift in county demographics, as well as the nationwide foreclosure crisis a few years ago, has led to increased demand for affordable housing, county officials said.” You can learn more about Catalogue nonprofits focused on housing and homelessness in Maryland right here.

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Whoa. That was some weekend. For those still without power — “more than 30,000 customers in the District [...] 150,000 in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties and 100,000 in Anne Arundel County” as of last night — we are hoping that it returns quickly and lastingly.

You can find out about the Red Cross’ relief operation here; the storm also “caused the cancellation of more than 50 blood drives, adding up to a loss of approximately 1,500 blood donations. If you would like to sign up to donate, you can call 1-800-RED CROSS. Washington Post Local also has a list of emergency contact numbers, including Prince George’s County’s non-emergency hotline, which should stay active until the afternoon. You also should check out the Post’s list of (safe) clean-up tips here.

Most DC Public Schools will be open tomorrow, as will the Montgomery County schools with electricity. Just as a reminder, now is a great time to support one (or more) of our non-profits as they ensure that all area students have what they need for a strong and healthy start to the school year. Check out the Wish List right here. And if you happen to do some shopping at DC metro area Staples in the coming week, you can take part in the Staples for Students: Do Something for Kids in Need national school supply drive, which will benefit Catalogue non-profit Neediest Kids.

Have a good and safe week, Washington!

Back to School Wish List

And … we’re back! School started up for DCPS students this past Tuesday; students in Montgomery County will return on Monday and Fairfax County schools open their doors in early September. While the start of September certainly can be invigorating, getting ready for that first day of school can be a real challenge for low-income students and their families.

Ready to help a student in your neighborhood with their back-to-school shopping? Check out just a few of our non-profits who are working to ensure that all kids are ready for class — with books, backpacks, and warm coats. Simply click “DONATE” on the organization’s page to help fund a Wish List item:

Greenbrier Learning Center (Arlington, VA)

$100: 1 year of school supplies for a child

serves low-income, immigrant children, 66% of whom qualify for special services as English language learners or because of learning or behavioral concerns

Neediest Kids (McLean, VA)

$100: backpacks & school supplies for 5 students; $500: eye exams & glasses for 5 students

donates thousands of dollars in clothing, services, and direct payments to meet the urgent requirements of over 12,000 of the region’s neediest, at-risk school-children

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In The News …

How to make a musical (Washington Post): “The 46 kids with parts in the show (another 16 work backstage or on costumes and lighting) auditioned in April. But rehearsals didn’t begin until the performers arrived at a summer camp that runs every afternoon for six weeks — and requires a lot of hard work [...] But opening night, Robinson said, is very special, and gives all the kids an incredible sense of accomplishment.” Do read the full piece to learn more about Catalogue non-profit Sitar Arts Center’s production of Bye Bye Birdie, which will open this coming weekend in Adam Morgan. All the shows are sold out, but you can arrive one hour before curtain and jump on the waitlist.

First charter school approved in Montgomery County?(Gazette.Net): “Charter schools usually don’t appeal to Montgomery County Board of Education President Christopher S.

Barclay. But Monday night, he supported Community Montessori Public Charter School’s application, because he believes it might help the school system consider education from a holistic perspective. Community Montessori, which will serve students in pre-kindergarten through the third grade in Kensington, was approved in a 6-2 vote Monday evening by the Board of Education [...] The school will be run by Crossway Community, a nonprofit organization that serves low-income women and children and already operates a Montessori school for children.” Continue reading