Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
No huge takeaway—just that sometimes stuff doesn't happen the way it's supposed to and that fixing the problem was important. I want information people have and the only way to get it is to have a functioning tool. What I remembered, learned long ago, is that there had to be a work-around. I didn't want to spend a lot of time looking for a new widget when I knew I could just do a survey if all else failed.
This also applies to policy and advocacy. Not everything works the way you want it to no matter how hard you work, no matter how much time you put in, no matter what commitments are made by elected and appointed leaders. The key to being effective is to figure out other ways to get what you want, often over time. This is, in large part, why I've been as effective as I have doing this work since 1996.
You too can learn the art of making work-arounds work for you. It just takes creativity and practice. I think the results are worth it.
Designed to help families plan and save for an affordable college education for their children, 529 plans inherently help middle- and upper-income families more than they help low-income families unless local jurisdictions modify local policies. The local policy solution is to make the 529 tax deduction refundable thereby accruing benefits to those most in need of an affordable post-secondary education.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
- June 30, 10:00 am: Title I and IV: Youth Behavioral Health Epidemiology and Truancy Prevention
- July 7, 10:00 am: Titles II and III: Early Childhood Behavioral Health Services/School-Based Behavioral Health Services
- July 15, 10:00 am: Title V and VI: Family Resources and Behavioral Health Infrastructure
More information about the public meetings is available by calling the Committee on Health, 724-8170. The legislation and information such as a detailed timeline are online at southcapitolact.com/.
The Committee of the Whole held a public hearing on the legislation. Witnesses discussed a range of issues and it can be expected that the COW and Committee on Health staff will integrate at least some of the recommendations. At the hearing, I talked about the need for a robust and accurate social service referral platform; my prepared statement is here. Deputy Mayor BB Otero testified, both supporting and opposing some of the provisions. Her testimony is here.
Monday, June 27, 2011
- Using Better Data and Information: Bringing the Best Information About What Works Into the Decision-Making Process, June 28
- New community association forming in Ward 8, June 28
- Brown bag lunch discussion: The basics of social media—using it effectively in your organization, July 14
- Creating Great Charts, Graphs and Maps on a Budget, July 14
If your organization has a learning or advocacy event coming up, let me know and I will add to the calendar.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
- Local dignitaries talk summer fun and good health June 23: Mayor Gray and a gazillion representatives from government and the private sector will gather June 23 from 10:00 – 11:00 am at Columbia Heights Community Center (1480 Girard St NW) for the One City Summer Fun Be Healthy THIS Summer press event.
In addition to the presentation to the city of grant awards, Mayor Gray will promote the adoption of healthy and active lifestyles for District residents. More on One City summer events and emphases in this release from the mayor (PDF).
- Where are China and Jesse? At OSSE!
Senior Advisor on Intergovernmental Affairs
Office of the State Superintendent of Education
441 4th Street, NW, WDC 20001
(202) 415-2916 cell
Director of Policy and Public Affairs
Office of the State Superintendent of Education
810 First Street, NE, 9th floor, WDC 20002
- Ward 4 summer kickoff for youth, June 30: Ward 4 CM Muriel Bowser and Fiesta DC 2011 are hosting the Youth Summer Kickoff Block Party June 30 from 3:00 to 8:00 pm in the park at 14th and Quincy Sts NW. There will be live music and performances, a moon bounce, face painting, BBQ, and much more. Additional information is available from Brandon Todd, 724-8052 or via email.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
It only costs $25 to attend and registration information is here on Helping Others Better.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
- Ward 8 Community Summit, July 9: The purpose of this interactive work session is to understand the current and planned growth in Ward 8, the change that occurs as a result and the ways the community can benefit from the changes. Attendees will also create economic development priorities for Ward 8.
Join Mayor Gray, Councilmember Marion Barry and DC government agencies July 9 from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm at Savoy and Thurgood Marshall Academy Sports and Learning Center (2427 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave SE ).
- Public discussion about changes to TANF: The Department of Human Services Income Maintenance Administration is having this meeting June 22 from 1:30-2:30 pm at Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library (1630 7th St NW). Attendees will learn about the Universal Services Delivery Model starting in FY 2012.
- DOH's Tobacco Control Program is on Twitter, @DCDOHSMOKEFREE: The program works to provide cessation, prevention and education services that will empower residents and visitors to the District of Columbia to tobacco free. More information about the services available to combat smoking are on the DOH website.
- Reading and learning the thing to do this summer: Mayor Gray and education leaders launched "READ and LEARN this Summer" June 16. This is part of "One City Summer Fun … Something for Everyone." The purpose is to encourage children, youth and adults to partake in educational programs ranging from summer reading for children to adult literacy. To learn more about reading and learning and the city's broader plans for summer, go to http://onecitysummer.dc.gov or call 311.
- The latest news from CM Catania: Check out the June 17 edition of News from DC Councilmember David A. Catania.
- Kids know best?: Ed Bruske serves up some disappointing news that Council Chairman Kwame Brown wants chocolate milk back in schools because a first grade student has research to support chocolate milk over unflavored sugary milk.
- Provide input on the development of the District's Health Insurance Exchange: Join members of the Mayor’s Health Reform Implementation Committee (HRIC) and the public June 21 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm at Cleveland Park Library (3310 Connecticut Ave NW) to discuss the governance of the exchange. The HRIC is meeting again June 29 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm; the topic is about small business and the Exchange. Meetings will continue in July and the schedule will be finalized by June 24.
More information is available online or from Brendan Rose, Health Policy Analyst at the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (202-442-7811, Brendan.Rose@dc.gov) or Dorinda White with the Department of Health Care Financing (202-442-8992, email@example.com).
Monday, June 20, 2011
- Strengthening Ward One Together meets June 24: SWOT—a collaborative effort of Ward 1 nonprofits, government agencies, businesses, elected officials, and residents—will meet next June 24 from 9:00 – 11:00 am at Columbia Heights Community Center (corner of 15th and Girard Sts NW). One item on the agenda is a discussion about crime and violence in Ward 1. More information is in this flier (PDF).
- Keith Andrew Perry is new ED of College & Career Connections: Perry joined this DC nonprofit earlier this month. His contact information is
4620 Alabama Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20019
You can follow CCC on Twitter, @CollegeCareerDC.
- What are the important justice-system issues facing our courts and community that you would like to see resolved?: The Council for Court Excellence is asking the community for advice about major issues the organization should pursue over the next five years. Those interested in offering advice and feedback on the work they've done over the past five years should take this short (3-4 minute) survey.
- AnacostiaRiver receives failing grades for cleanliness and other indicators: Anacostia Riverkeeper and Anacostia Watershed Society have issued a report card on the Anacostia River, State of the Anacostia River 2010 (PDF).
- Martha's Outfitters undergoes some major cosmetic and tech changes: Martha's Outfitters—the community free store and thrift shop at 2114 14th St NW—is celebrating their myriad improvements (including the new store logo) with a happy hour June 27 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Cork Wine Bar (1720 14th St NW). Tickets are $45 ($20 for students). More information about the event is online here.
Other events in July, listed on the Advocacy and Learning Calendar, include:
- The Promise and Challenge of Evidence-Based Policy and Practice, July 6
- Brown bag lunch discussion: The basics of social media—using it effectively in your organization on July 14 for only $15. The event will combine a short presentation with a participant-driven discussion. The presentation will focus on putting the "social" in social media, using it to engage stakeholders and the wider community and meeting your organization’s goals.
- Creating Great Charts, Graphs and Maps on a Budget, July 14
- Hunt Place Health Fair, July 16
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Some of the goodies you can include to personalize these bars are: nuts, raisins, dried fruit (blueberries, strawberries, cherries), chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, and coconut. You can also use honey or maple syrup as one of the liquids.
If you are looking for other new things to make, I've found some great ones on Smitten Kitchen.
Friday, June 17, 2011
- Amendments from the dais June 14: CMs introduced multiple amendments (PDF) from the dais during the second reading of the budget support act (Word, .doc).
- Final version of budget support act: We will likely have the enrolled version of the budget support act next week; the timing depends on the staff having the time to make all the changes and address any outstanding technical issues.
- Media coverage: The media was all over the second vote on the BSA on June 14; some reports are found in the June 15 edition of DeMorning DeBonis. DCFPI also summarized the second vote.
Panelists include will be Maudine Cooper, president and CEO of Greater Washington Urban League, Inc.; Jeff Franco, executive director of City Year Washington, DC; Nikita Stewart, a Washington Post politics and government reporter; and former mayor Anthony Williams.
To read about our previous town hall, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/behindtheheadlines (linke updated June 22, 6:30 pm). To follow the town hall on June 22, use #BehindTheHeadlines on Twitter.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
- Hub DC Citizen Circle Summer Kick-Off, June 16
- Putting the Community in Community Benefits Agreements Rally, June 22
- 2011 Safe Summer and Crime Prevention Initiative, June 22
- Coffee and Conversation with Dr. Rob Sheehan, author, Mission Impact: Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, June 29
- Brown bag lunch discussion: The basics of social media—using it effectively in your organization, July 14
- DCPS Beautification Day, August 20
If you have items you think should be included in the calendar, email the information to me at least three weeks before the event is to take place. If the event requires registration and more lead time, send the information to me accordingly. I prefer to link to fliers on your website or blog, but am happy to post if such links are not possible.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Can't make the workshop or just need the list? You can buy the list--which includes more than 400 reporters, editors and other decision-makers in local media (radio, television and print; few non-English outlets are included)-- for $25. It will be emailed within one business day upon payment with a credit card.
The briefing is open to the public but only the media may ask questions. The presser streams live on Channel 16.
Photo from mayor's photo gallery.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
DC Alliance of Youth Advocates (DCAYA) and the Department of Parks and Recreation are trying to provide the answers. DCAYA is collecting basic program information so that the OneCity Summer Fun website includes all the programs hosted by nonprofit organizations in the District this summer.
If your organization is providing programming for children and youth this summer, email DCAYA the following information:
- Program name
- Program hours
- Ages served
- Category (DPR has distinguished between Education, Recreation, Job Training/Workforce Development and also a more general category that lists things like free festivals or concerts)
Programs/organizations don't have to be a member of DCAYA to be included in the OneCity Summer program database.
- Revised amendment in the nature of a substitute (ANS): The ANS to be voted on today is here in Word (.doc). Changes from June 10 iteration include the removal of the bad TANF provision about parents and parent-teacher conferences.
- Cheh amendment on increasing tax rate on high-income residents: Ward 3 CM Mary Cheh plans to introduce an amendment (Word, .doc) from the dais at the second vote of the budget support act according to a letter to her colleagues (Word, .doc).
- Evans amendment on bond tax: Ward 2 CM Jack Evans is offering an amendment "to grandfather in existing holdings of out-of-state municipal bonds as an exemption from the proposal to tax interest earned on these bonds." Read the memo to colleagues (Word, .doc) and the amendment (Word, .doc).
- Budget vote takes place at 1:00 pm in Council Chamber: The Chairman has called this additional Legislative Meeting of the Council to take action on a number of items including the BSA. The agenda is here.
- Watch the leg meeting today: Watch the leg meeting via the City Council website or on Channel 13 via OCT.
CFSA encourages all organizations in the city engaging in the prevention of child maltreatment to take a brief online survey.
The inventory will allow CFSA and others to identify service gaps and prevent the duplication of efforts by future initiatives. This is particularly important since CFSA is working to integrate prevention efforts into a long-term strategy to promote healthier child development and stronger families, thereby reducing the risk and incidence of child maltreatment.
Please take the survey today and encourage others to do the same. The kids are counting on you.
Monday, June 13, 2011
The new BSA is an amendment in the nature of a substitute (Word, .doc). The June 10 iteration has new provisions, including one that would require parents on TANF to commit to attending at least 50% of parent-teacher conferences. This provision is similar to that proposed by Chairman Kwame Brown during CP 18; the earlier legislative proposal died. It's now back with no public notice or public debate. Also circulated late Friday is a piece of emergency legislation creating the Department of General Services. This, too, has not been available to the public before.
The budget office knew there would be significant changes in the BSA and notified (Word, .doc) CMs June 9. The Chairman's office made no effort to share this important information with the public.
- The Council's budget office has released the engrossed version of the FY 2012 budget support act (Word, .doc). This is the legislation the City Council will be voting on when the COW meets June 14.
- The Council's budget office is not anticipating any unexpected amendments to the BSA on June 14.
- Join the SHARC Attack June 13: Homeless residents, advocates, providers, and others will walk from the Community for Creative Non-Violence to the John A. Wilson Building June 14 to impress upon the Council to provide sufficient funding for DC residents. People who DEMAND "Shelter, Housing And Real Change" will meet at the CCNV Shelter (425 2nd St NW) a little before 11:00 am, walk to JAWB and arrive by 11:30 am and speak to CMs and staff until 12:30 pm. More information is available from Eric Jonathan Sheptock by calling (240) 305-5255.
What's in the Free Store? That depends on what people donate and donations of books, clothes (washed and in good condition) and music are being accepted now. To schedule a donation drop off at Fort Fringe (607 New York Ave NW), email Lida the intern.
The Free Store will be open from July 7 to 24 at The Apothecary (a Fringe venue, 1013 7th St NW). Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 5:00 - 8:00 pm; Saturday, 1:00 - 8:00 pm; and Sunday, 1:00 - 5:00 pm.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Up-to-date and complete information is a vital part of the caseworker toolkit. Social and human services program information is hard to find in one place in the District of Columbia. 211 Answers, Please! is supposed to have it but the source is unreliable according to the majority of respondents to a recent survey about the utility of 211 Answers, Please!
The majority of the 22 survey takers expressed negative experiences with 211 Answers, Please!, such as that the information is incorrect, more information is needed and there are technical problems. Caseworkers need more detailed information about program eligibility, the intake process and times and specific information about services to better match clients. Several responded that they were unaware of 211 Answers, Please!
Organizational resource directories were common among the respondents. In fact, 16 of the 22 survey takers report creating organizational resource directories. The utility of these organizational resource directories varies widely; some are updated regularly while others are updated every other year or only when interns are available. It is not surprising, then, that all of the survey takers reported using other resource directories or other sources of information to meet client needs. Examples of directories created by others include:
- DC Food Finder
- The DASH housing guide
- The BRIDGE Project by GW students
- The The InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington Emergency Directory
Survey takers also report using other sources to find social service resources for clients and constituents. These include Internet searches, networking and word of mouth and current and former clients.
Survey respondent – nonprofit
Anyone who has done case management or constituent services—or even answered the phone and been asked for a referral—knows the challenges associated with linking clients to appropriate resources. A fully functional community resource portal would be a boon to social service organizations and anyone else who makes referrals, a "God-send", in fact, according to one nonprofit respondent. But beyond the use directly for clients, such a portal would allow organizations to spend time with clients rather than on directories, identify gaps in services by type and location and facilitate provider connections and collaboration.
That the survey was not scientific in no way invalidates the responses or the need for a functional community resource portal. There is plenty of work to be done to ensure the District has a tool that meets the needs of providers and residents alike. If you are interested in joining the ad hoc group or have suggestions about who should be at the table, leave the information at the DC Community Resource Portal wiki or email Bread for the City's Greg Bloom.
If you have ideas about what tools or information should be included in such a portal, leave a comment on the Bread for the City blog post about 211.
Finally, if you are interested in taking a look at the survey results, they are online. You can review the raw data and the summaries.
Friday, June 10, 2011
The presentation will focus on putting the "social" in social media, using it to engage stakeholders and the wider community and meeting your organization’s goals. A participant-driven discussion will follow the brief presentation.
The event is taking place July 14 from 11:30 am - 1:00 pm. More information is on the Helping Others Better blog.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
- June 14: Additional Legislative Meeting for the 2nd Reading on Budget (500)
- June 21: COW (500)
- June 22: Council/Mayor Breakfast (502 – Alexander hosting breakfast)
- July 12: Regular Legislative Meeting (500 – Barry hosting breakfast)
- July 15: Recess
The schedule is subject to change.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
- Second vote on FY 2012 budget support act, June 14: The City Council will vote on the BSA for the second time June 14 at 10:00 am in the Council Chamber.
- Final committee reports: The City Council's budget office has posted the final committee reports.
- Safety Net Superheroes needed to race around the Wilson Building June 10: In anticipation of the second vote on the FY 2012 budget support act on June 14, Safe Our Safety Net intends to shore up support for progressive revenue among members of the City Council. The shoring up takes place June 10 from 10:00 – 11:00 am. More information is in this flier (PDF).
- Email your CM – tell them to preserve the safety net: Save Our Safety Net is encouraging safety net supporters to take a minute to email their Councilmember. The message? It's okay to let the restorations stay.
- Fair Budget Coalition Council visits: Members of FBC will visit CM offices June 8, 9 and 10 from 10:00 – 11:30 am. Fair Budget will be asking Councilmembers to maintain their support of the priority list as it stands and not to remove the Out of State Bonds’ tax on existing holders. More information is available from Kristi Matthews at 328-1262.
A group of residents, advocates, social services providers, and government folk are working to reinvigorate the District's resource and referral system known as Answers, Please! and 211.
I am part of that group. I am doing a survey to determine the successes and challenges organizations have 1) using Answers, Please!/211 and 2) generally finding programs to which to refer constituents.
Please take a few minutes to provide some important information; click here to take the survey.
If you work for the City Council, there is a special survey for you; click here.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
From the media advisory:
BACKGROUND From the beginning of his administration, Mayor Gray outlined his four major priorities: 1) fiscal stability, 2) quality education, 3) jobs and economic development and 4) safe communities. Over the past several months during the budget process, the Mayor worked to produce a structurally balanced budget for the first time in four years, and to eliminate a $322 million deficit.
In his continuing effort to build a strong financial platform to restore fiscal stability and public trust, Mayor Gray will engage the government in a bottom-up performance review to identify, organize, and monitor a range of potential savings, efficiencies, and improved citizen services across the District. Simply put, he will manage the government by concentrating, District-wide, on delivering efficient operations and enhanced service delivery within budget.
Kate Masur’s new book about DC emancipation struggles over a century ago speaks directly to DC today. In her book, Masur examines the revolutionary changes in politics and society in DC allowed by the 1861 secession of eleven slaveholding states and the ensuing Civil War. According to Masur, Lincoln’s Republican Party and African American activism made DC into a laboratory for egalitarian policy and "An Example for All the Land." This revolutionary period continued up until 1874 when, in response to these policies, conservative business elites dismantled elected government altogether for all DC residents and presented DC as a failure, a different kind of example for the country. It would take 99 years, until Christmas Eve 1973, for DC residents to regain self-rule. The struggles by DC residents and others to end slavery and realize equality, in the words of Masur, "resonate into the present, as do the strategies of those who ultimately defeated them" (p. 12). I highly recommend this book because Masur provides us a wonderfully well-documented and fascinating history of our city with lessons for today. While reading the book, I suggest keeping close at hand Wikipedia and other useful websites, such as the DC Council’s history of self-rule, in order to look up dates and terms. The book is a dense read with great benefits to those who take up the challenge.
During the Civil War, DC quickly became a model for emancipation. While DC had elected city officials, the Congress had ultimate authority over the area. In 1862, the Congress abolished slavery in DC, which later happened in the rebelling states in 1863 and for the entire United States with the end of the Civil War in 1865. In this revolutionary period up to 1874, the populace had to consider what abolishing slavery required. In Masur’s words, "It was relatively straightforward to decree that human beings could no longer be considered property and that no one could enjoy the benefits of others’ uncompensated labor," but extensive discrimination continued in the law, public life, and private life. In addition to abolishing slavery, the Congress established public schools for African American children, separate from white public schools, and, even more importantly, overturned the discriminatory "black codes." These black codes were laws that specifically applied to African Americans, such as the requirement that free blacks purchase $50 certificates vouching for their free status, which they had to carry with them at all times. Once these codes were overturned, all DC residents were then subject to the same laws: "black people could not be tried for different crimes, or subjected to different punishments, than white people" (p. 27). Yet, some in DC did not welcome such changes: "white Washingtonians proved increasingly inclined to smash church windows, set fire to buildings, and attack African Americans on the streets" (p. 41).
The list (in Excel, .xls) costs $25 and will be emailed within one business day upon payment with a credit card.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Residents, providers and advocates interested in issues impacting children and youth should pay attention to these boundary changes. With the changes will come new people and may affect how systems deal with issues important to you. So go to a meeting, learn more about the details of the PSA boundary shifts that matter to you and be prepared to comment to the City Council when it reviews the plan.
To: All Councilmembers
From: Chairman Kwame R. Brown
Date: June 6, 2011
Subject: Notice of Additional Committee of the Whole Meeting on June 7, 2011
Per Committee of the Whole Rule 302, this memorandum serves as notice that there will be an Additional Committee of the Whole Meeting on Tuesday, June 7, 2011, at 1:00 P.M. in the Council Chamber of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20004.
The agenda will consist of the following measures for consideration by the Committee of the Whole:
- Bill 19-219, the “Ward Redistricting Amendment Act of 2011.”
Thank you for your attention to this matter. Should you have any questions, please contact Megan S. Vahey, Director of the Committee of the Whole, at (202) 724-8792.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
The event is taking place July 14 from 11:30 am - 1:00 pm. More information is on the Helping Others Better blog. (UPDATE: Link fixed 6/6/11 Noon)
Thursday, June 2, 2011
- 899 N. Capital – OSSE, Health Care Finance, DOH
- 810 First Street, NE – Dept. Insurance, Securities and Banking
- 1133 N. Capital – DC Housing Authority
- 1300 First Street, NE
- 1200 First Street, NE - DDOE, DCPS
- 33 N Street, NE – DHS
More about the legislation, including a summary and timeline, are on CM Catania's website