Thursday, May 31, 2012

BSA amendments from May 15

Thanks to an unnamed source in the Wilson Building, we have all the BSA amendments--one call, one email with attachments.   Here are the amendments (PDF).

A resource for advocates, organizers, and activists

The Washington Peace Center has identified companies from which groups can rent vans.   The van rental list is here.

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The Collaborative Council has space!

A big ol' shout out to the Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaborative Council for entering their free space into the this online resource.   Will you join them in adding your free space to the list?

Nonprofits spend a lot of time, too much time, looking for free and affordable space for meetings, events, and more.   In a 2009 survey, respondents agreed that an online resource listing free and affordable space would be useful.

Entering information into the this online resource is easy.   Just provide the basis about your organization, the contact person, and the free space.

Please encourage your colleagues, neighbors, board members, and neighborhood organizations to enter their space info into the database.

HSEMA has a new director

On May 24, Mayor Vince Gray announced his nomination of Christopher Geldart as the director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA).   Geldart nomination is subject to approval by the DC Council.   Details about Geldart's background and experience is in the Mayor's May 24 announcement.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Workers caricatured in Dumbo

Imagine my surprise when I learned from Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO's May 29 edition of Union City! that Dumbo, beloved Dumbo, was featured in a strike in 1941:
Animators working for Walt Disney begin what was to become a successful five-week strike for recognition of their union, the Screen Cartoonists' Guild. The animated feature "Dumbo" was being created at the time and, according to Wikipedia, a number of strikers are caricatured in the feature as clowns who go to "hit the big boss for a raise" (1941).
According to Lisa Johnson,
On May 28th, 1941, seventeen artists were escorted out of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. They were fired for pro-union activity. Later that evening, fellow outraged employees gathered and made stirring speeches in support of their colleagues and urged for swift action. Three-hundred workers went on strike the next day.


Hit the Big Boss (For a Raise)
Oh were gonna hit the big boss for a raise!
Yes were gonna hit the big boss for a raise!
Oh were gonna make some money, cause we know that were funny
Were gonna hit the big boss for a raise!
Dumbo was not the only Disney character featured by animators and others during the various strike actions, as shown in the photo above.   The Big Bad Wolf, Daffy Duck, and naturally Mickey Mouse figured prominently on signs, notices, and posters.

Want to learn more about the strike?   Take a look at 1941: Disney cartoonists strike, The Disney Strike of 1941: How It Changed Animation & Comics, and Disney Strike of 1941.

Mayor’s biweekly press briefing, May 30

Mayor Vince Gray's biweekly presser takes place May 30 from 10:00 – 11:00 am at KIPP DC College Preparatory Academy (Douglass Campus) in the gym (2600 Douglass Rd SE).   At the briefing, the mayor will make an announcement about the D.C. State Athletic Association.

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CM-elect McDuffie update

CM-elect McDuffie's office in the John A. Wilson Building is Suite 410.   The office phone is 724-8028 and the fax is 724-8076.   While the CM's email address has not yet been created (it will be created once he takes the oath of office), the council secretary expects it to be kmcduffie@dccouncil.us.

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Ward 8 Community Summit, June 9

Saturday, June 9
9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Malcolm X. Elementary School (1351 Alabama Ave SE) (Metro: Congress Heights, Green Line)

Summit attendees will actively participate, offering input and guidance to the Gray Administration about the implementation of Ward 8 Pilot Programs funded in Mayor Gray’s FY 2013 budget.   Attendees will also hear about the progress made as a result of community input from the Ward 8 Summits in July and September 2011.

Click here to find out more and register online.

More information is available from Stephen Rice, East of the River Planner in the Office of Planning; call (202) 442-8816.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

CM-elect McDuffie update

Ward 5 Councilmember-elect Kenyan McDuffie will be sworn in May 30 from 4:00 – 5:00 pm in the Council Chamber at the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW).   Mayor Vince Gray will attend.

Advocacy and Learning Calendar updated

A number of events have been added to the Advocacy and Learning Calender; items include:
  • Community screening of "Cafeteria Man", May 30
  • Jews United for Justice community meeting, June 4
  • Knowledge and Governance in American Democracy: The Legacy of James Q. Wilson, June 7
  • The Food Safety Net During the Great Recession: Growth, Gains, Gaps, June 7

There are many more events listed on the calendar so be sure to take a look.

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Wild Apricot's free nonprofit webinars for June 2012

Here is Wild Apricot's round-up of free webinars for non-profits and membership organizations for June 2012.   The list includes more than 24 webinars on such topics as email marketing best practices, nonprofit sustainability, social networking, and grants.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dear DC Council: Check out the dynamics of poverty

Last year I shared this this list of conditions children in poverty will likely experience (Word, .doc).   As the DC Council prepares for the final budget vote on the FY 2013 budget (June 5), I wanted to share what kids in poverty deal with.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

News from At-large CM Phil Mendelson

CM Mendelson's office has just released the May 22 newsletter (PDF) and the Committee on the Judiciary, which Mendelson chairs, has posted the latest committee update (PDF).   To receive committee updates, email Brian Moore.

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CM McDuffie update


This means that CM Orange (At-large) will be in Suite 107 and CM-elect McDuffie (Ward 5) will be in Suite 410.

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Turning up the Sound on Science, May 24



Add this to your calendar NOW!   The Turning up the Sound on Science event, May 24 at 4:00 pm at Carnegie Institution for Science (1530 P St NW).

What is Turning up the Sound on Science?   It is the culmination of hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning for children and youth across the city.   The kids have learned about science concepts in practical ways—experiments.   The project participants will showcase what they've learned through their various experiments and projects.

Additional information is in the event invitation (PDF).

Share your free space!

Nonprofits spend a lot of time, too much time, looking for free and affordable space for meetings, events, and more.   In a 2009 survey, respondents agreed that an online resource listing free and affordable space would be useful.

And so (finally), this online resource.   You'll see it's currently empty.   For it to be successful, owners of space will have to populate this list.   So please share far and wide.   And be sure to provide info for your free/affordable space.

Supporting young farmers in the region

The Young Farmers Brigade, a new alliance of farmers and farming supporters, has come together to network, share knowledge/skills/tools, and strengthen opportunities for young farmers in the metro region.

More information about the brigade is on the group's Facebook page.   Those interested in participating in this new endeavor can join the Google group.

News on McDuffie joining the DC Council

The DC Board of Elections and Ethics is holding a special board meeting May 30 at 10:30 am to certify the May 15 special election results.   BOEE will declare the winner at the meeting.   Barring, well, everything, Kenyan McDuffie is the expected winner.

Nyasha Smith, Secretary of the DC Council, reports that the plan is to swear McDuffie in May 30.   Smith also reports that the Ward 5 office location and opening are being worked out now.

Map by: Dcmacnut (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Presentation about Child/Youth Community Services Reviews, May 25

The Department of Mental Health is reporting the preliminary data from the recent Child/Youth Community Services Reviews May 25 at 8:30 am at DMH (609 H St NE, 5th Floor Conference Room #528).   Dr. Ivor Groves from Human Systems and Outcome will present the data.   The public is invited to attend.   Direct questions to Patricia Thompson via email or Andrew Pollock via email.

Let's take Joe Smith's advice and shake 12 times

I don't know about you, but I don't much think about paper towels other than I try to use them sparingly.

Joe Smith, on the other hand, has spent a great deal of time thinking about them.   And he's teaching people how to use paper towels to dry their hands the right way.   Yes, the right way.   Which implies there is a wrong way.

Check out this funny talk at TEDxConcordiaUPortland in which Joe Smith reveals the trick to perfect paper towel technique.



According to Better Life's How to break the paper towel habit,
  • As many as 51,000 trees per day are required to replace the number of paper towels that are discarded every day.
  • 40% of U.S. landfill trash is paper products.
  • The paper industry is the third largest contributor to global warming.
  • The average American discards of 700 pounds or more of paper each year.
  • If every household in the U.S. used just one less 70-sheet roll of virgin fiber paper towels, that would save 544,000 trees each year. Change that to using three less rolls per U.S. household per year, and that would save 120,000 tons of waste and $4.1 million in landfill dumping fees.

News about TheFightBack

If you're new to TheFightBack, you should check them out.   Independent journalist Pete Tucker reports "from the streets of DC" about "what's happening on the streets of D.C. and the surrounding area."   You can learn more about TheFightBack on their website, thefightback.org, Facebook, and Twitter, @FightBackRadio.

News from TheFightBack is that Tucker will be hosting The Taxi Link Saturdays from 7:30 - 8:30 pm on WUST 1120 AM.   The program is sponsored by the Small Business Association of DC Taxicab Drivers.

To sign up for TheFightBack's email updates, email Tucker.

Advocacy and Learning Calendar--new items added!

A number of events have been added to the Advocacy and Learning Calender; items include:
  • What Are the Limits of Charity?, May 26
  • Advocacy 101: Advocating to End Child and Family Homelessness, June 7
  • Working with the Media to End Child Sexual Abuse, June 7
  • Children’s Environmental Health Forum , June 9

There are many more events listed on the calendar so be sure to take a look.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

"The basics of social media for advocacy", May 24

There's still time to register for the May 24 "The basics of social media for advocacy" workshop.   On the agenda:
  • understanding that the best way to use social media is to integrate it into your communications/advocacy plan and organization
  • understanding social media channels are tools to achieve your goals
  • understanding that "social" is the fundamental principal of social media
  • thinking about how your organization can engage stakeholders

Register for this and the other workshops on the Helping Others Better blog.

Other workshops are:

  • Making the most of public hearings (May 31, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • Advocacy communications beyond testimony (June 7, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • Who does what in the legislative and executive branches? (June 14, 10:00 am - Noon)

Details about the workshops are on the blog here, in the flier, and below.

Get your skill on! workshops, Spring 2012

CBOs, there's still time to enter your summer info into One City Summer database!

Community-based organizations offering summer programs for children and youth are encouraged to add their program info to the One City Summer database.   I's quick and easy; what are you waiting for?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Advocacy highlights of FY 2013 budget season

While there is still work to be done by the DC Council on the FY 2013 budget, this seems like a good time to share some of the highlights of this budget season.   As you'll see below, video was big this year.

Italian Cream Cake

To celebrate Mother's Day with my mother-in-law, I made her an Italian Cream Cake.   My first ever.   Was a little worried but it turned out better than imagined and exactly as I remember.   You, too, can make this wonderful cake for someone you love.   The recipe is on Mom's Mutterings.

Goodwill's Young Professionals Happy Hour & Fundraising event, May 24

Goodwill's May 24 Networking Happy Hour Fundraiser is a great way for young adults in the DC region to make a difference in the lives of less fortunate.   And, of course, to have fun over appetizers and drinks at Top of the Hill Banquet & Conference Center!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A tip for reading the blog

Have you ever found yourself at the bottom of the blog and want to return to the top without hitting "Page Up" repeatedly?    Then use the little up arrow that hangs out on the lower right-hand side of the screen.

Not sure what's more inspiring than this

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Take the GGW reader survey

Do you read Greater Greater Washington (Update: link fixed 5/16 9:20a), the blog
devoted to improving the vitality of Washington, DC and the walkable cities and neighborhoods in the Washington metropolitan area, such as Alexandria, Arlington, Bethesda, College Park, Rockville, Silver Spring, Tysons Corner, and others.

GGW is doing a reader survey and I encourage you to partcipate.

Mayor's cabinet online

How cool is this:   The mayor's cabinet list online (screen shot below) and you can organize by name, agency, address, and more!   And, you can print the entire list in two ways.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

CM Catania's intro to Alliance amendment from dais

While I don't have the actual amendment At-large CM Catania made about the Alliance, his staff (shout out to Brendan Williams-Kief) shared his introductory remarks which summarize the agreement reached with Mayor Gray.
As many of you already know, in the past 24 hours Mayor Gray, Chairman Brown, and I have reached an agreement to fully fund the D.C. Healthcare Alliance Program.

The agreement preserves the full range of services currently offered under the Alliance program, including hospitalization and directs the Department of Health Care Finance to ensure hospitals are able to obtain emergency Medicaid reimbursement for such hospital-based services.

Based on information provided by DHCF on May 15, 2012, $13 million in additional local funds beyond the Mayor’s proposed budget are required to maintain hospital-based services as part of the Alliance for FY13 with a carve-out for emergency Medicaid:
To reach that $13 million sum, the Committee has identified the following funds:

  • Use $3.0 million in previously unanticipated savings from managed care drug rebates to support the local fund.
  • Generate $1.4 million in revenue in FY 2013 by rebasing provider fees for nursing homes, a portion of which is dedicated to the Nursing Home Quality of Care Fund.
  • Use $1.8 million by reducing the Department of Healthcare Finance cost settlements budget or FY13.
  • $252,000 in personnel savings from within the Department of Health Care Finance through the personnel vacancy savings (the local share of 6 vacant FTEs)
  • $103,000 in personnel savings within the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services through the elimination of 1 FTE.
  • Generate $2.6 million in savings by moving the effective date of the hospital Diagnostic Related Groups (DRG) rate changes as included in the proposed FY13 budget for the Department of Health Care Finance to October 1, 2012 instead of January 1, 2013.
  • Use $5.3M in FY12 additional revenue for its share of Medicaid rebasing funds that were associated with District nursing home activities at VMT and Stoddard.

Given this revised information provided by DHCF and the extensive work of the Chairman and myself, the Council has been able to preserve hospital-based services for Alliance enrollees, as well as:
  • Protect the ability of individuals to access both of the District’s Home and Community Based Waiver programs without lowering the enrollment caps.
  • Invest an additional $1,000,000 for the implementation of the South Capitol Street Memorial Amendment Act in FY13.
  • Invest $495,000 in tobacco control programs within the Department of Health.

I thank the Chairman and the Mayor for working to preserve this program in its entirety for the 19,000 District residents who rely upon it. Today’s agreement ensures that all low-income District residents are treated equally and afforded the dignity of comprehensive, high-quality health care.

Pre-May 15 budget vote commentary and intel Storified

Don't understand why this is in BSA

Not sure why DC Council Chairman Kwame Brown included this provision in BSA when it's not budget related.

I have a feeling there are a number of these non-budget related provisions.

Not sure why this is in BSA

My understanding is that only budget-related items can be included in the BSA.   And while you can make the case that this is a budget item as the background checks cost, it seems to me this is a policy decision and not a budget decision.   More importantly, this provision deserves public debate particularly in light of the myriad alleged and proven impropriety of members and staff.

And let's not even consider the law that requires background checks for those staff and volunteers working with young people.   This BSA provision says an awful lot about what the DC Council thinks about child maltreatment...

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Some Ward 7 residents oppose early liquor sales

Tune in to We ACT radio, 1480 AM today, May 15, at 11:00 am to hear Ward 7 candidate Ron Moten, community activist Sylvia Brown, Dr. Rose Merchant, and other concerned residents discuss the problems associated with 7:00 am liquor store sales.

A Moten press announcement said this:

Ward 7 Council Candidate denounces DC City Council Human Services Committee for approving liquor stores to sell alcohol at 7am while children are en route to school

The DC City Council Human Services Committee agreed to allow Class A and Class B carryout liquor stores to open at 7am, except on Sundays. It is well known that DC has not been able to enforce laws to keep alcohol and other products like k12, cigarettes, from being sold to children. We ask that the Human Services Committee members reconsider their vote, as the residents of ward7 clearly are against liquor stores being open at 7am while children go to school.

Ronald Moten stated "the children of ward7 and DC will be put in grave danger by allowing stores to sell alcohol at 7am. While I am against the over regulation of small businesses, this is a clear danger to our community and shouldn't be allowed to occur."

DC already has the one of the highest rates of alcohol abuse in the country, but the amount of available treatment is not commensurate to provide needed services or treatment. Listen to Ron Moten, on We ACT radio 1480 AM or weactradio.com or TuneInApp on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 11 AM as they discuss the topic further.

Note: I'm not endorsing, just sharing.

Chatter about the DC Council's take on the FY 2013 budget

WaPo's Tim Craig did some early analysis of the DC Council's—well, really, Chairman Kwame Brown's take on the FY 2013 budget: D.C. Council chief’s budget: Higher taxes and fees out, housing and school needs in.   The Post's Mike DeBonis shared budget highlights via Twitter and those will be collected in another post so be sure to check the blog later this morning.   In the meantime, here is DeBonis's first tweet:

Budget update, May 15

Today the DC Council takes the first and only vote on the budget request act and the first of two votes on the budget support act.   The council's budget office has circulated two documents related to the BRA vote: the BRA committee report (PDF) and the draft BRA committee print ((the legislation) (PDF).

There are three documents related to the FY 2013 BSA: Chairman Kwame Brown's transmittal letter to the council (PDF), BSA committee report (PDF), and the draft BSA committee print (the legislation) (PDF).

Chairman Brown's letter to colleagues is also here:

Dear Colleagues:

With this circulation of the Committee of the Whole’s Report and Recommendations on the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget and Financial Plan, we have neared the end of a long and arduous process of review and analysis. I want to extend my thanks to all of you and your staff for your many hours of hard work on the Council’s budget.

The Council took what the Mayor presented as a $119 million dollar Contingent Revenue List and stretched existing resources to cover half—nearly $60 million dollars— without raising taxes or fees.

Through our combined efforts, we have created a budget proposal that funds important initiatives that strengthens our education system; increases the production of affordable housing so that families can afford to live in the District; protects vital safety net services that serve thousands of disadvantaged men, women, and children; cares for our seniors, who have spent their lives living and working in the District; enhances economic development to ensure our city’s fiscal stability and a bright financial future; prioritizes a family-friendly investments in the District and promotes vibrant neighborhoods; and presents a strong case for District autonomy.

The Council’s budget recommendations on the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Request Act and Budget Support Act demonstrate our support for our children by fully funding the Raising the Expectations for Education Outcomes Omnibus Act; funding 2 new middle schools in Ward 5; directing funds sufficient to fully modernize Johnson Middle School in Ward 8; and mandating that UDC develop a right-sizing plan to bring the University’s costs, staff, and faculty size in line with comparable institutions.

To promote our common goal of increasing access to affordable housing, this proposal identifies and directs an additional $18 million to the Housing Production Trust Fund; increases the Local Rent Supplement Program by $4 million to ensure that homeless families can transition from motels and emergency shelters into stable housing; provides a significant boost of $2.5 million to the Home Purchase Assistance Program to further expand access to homeownership; and funds a permanent real property tax and deed transfer and recordation tax exemption for non-profit developers who use low income housing tax credits (LIHTC) to build low-income affordable housing.

We worked collaboratively with Councilmember David Catania and Mayor Vincent Gray to find a responsible way to fund the continuation of the DC Healthcare Alliance, which provides free or reduced-cost medical and hospital care to our residents who are most in need. We also restored $2.1 million of cuts to the Office of Victim Services to allow it to continue its vital work to combat the effects of domestic violence. Our drive to extend a helping hand to vulnerable residents also led us to fund important programs for our seniors, including the In-Home and Continuing Care Program and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

Recognizing the need to continue to invest in the economic growth of the District, we found a way to fund the Small Business Technical Assistance Program; transferred $3 million to support the tourism industry, a major pillar of the District’s economy; created the first Retail Priority TIF Area for Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast to catalyze the development that is sorely lacking in this neighborhood; and funded the creation of the Eckington Small Area Plan as well as the capital improvements recommended by the Rhode Island Small Area Plan.

We have worked hard to prioritize a family-oriented, family-supportive budget, by investing $2.1 million in our libraries’ circulation fund and $6.8 million in the arts, and by funding the renovation of over 20 neighborhood playgrounds across all 8 Wards and, for good measure, a dog park.

We have included language in the Budget Request Act, based on the Lieberman-Collins-Akaka Budget Autonomy bill, currently under consideration in the Senate, which authorizes DC to change its fiscal year and allows adoption of local budget and supplements by Act of the Council. Our recommendations changes the budget review period from 56 days to 70 days; clarifies that only a single vote is needed on Budget Act; clarifies that only 30 calendar days, not session days, are needed for Congressional review; and includes anti-shutdown and anti-deficiency provisions, which will allow the District government to continue to function in the event of a federal government shutdown.

Additionally, the Council’s FY2013 budget proposal offers a compromise on the proposed extended bar and alcohol sales hours included in the Mayor’s budget proposal, as well as the proposed excise. The compromise extends alcohol sales hours at bars and restaurants for only a handful of weekends and holidays throughout the year. This plan is a balanced approach which provides the necessary revenues while respecting the serious policy concerns that were raised.

Again, thank you for your work on the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget and Financial Plan. I believe that we have crafted a plan that truly funds the priorities of our residents.

Sincerely,

Kwame R. Brown
Chairman

Emergency management twitter chat May 15

Emergencies and disasters matter to children and youth.   Youth and the old are the most vulerable.   That's why you should participate in the May 15, Noon - 1:00 pm DC Homeland Security & Emergency Management Agency Twitter chat.   HSEMA wants to know what hazards and vulnerabilities concern you have; share them during the chat using the hashtag #DCHVA.

You may remember the blog post "How safe will the District's children be when disaster strikes?"   This post highlighted the finding of the Save the Children's A National Report Card on Protecting Children During Disasters (PDF) that the District of Columbia was one of 12 states of 51 counted (the 50 states plus DC) achieving three of the four criteria for disaster preparedness for children.   The four criteria were:

  • having a plan for evacuating children in early learning (child development, child care)
  • reunifying families after a disaster
  • having a plan for evacuating children with special needs from early learning settings
  • having an evacuation plan for schools.

The 2010 blog post raised numerous concerns deserving attention.   I would suggest that the follow questions be asked during the chat and in the future:

  • What is the quality of the emergency preparedness plans of early learning facilities and out-of-school time programs?
  • Are child- and youth-serving programs required to register for emergency updates (such as by email and text)?   If so, how many programs are compliant?
  • Does HSEMA have plans to approve all disaster/emergency preparedness plans of all programs serving children and youth by a date certain?
  • What are the requirements for public charter schools?
  • Has the December 2008 District of Columbia District Response Plan been updated?   If not, what are plans to update it?

Remember the easiest way to follow the chat is to use a tool like TweetChat: #DCHVA.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Budget update, May 14

The Committee of the Whole is meeting May 15 at 10:00 am in the Council Chamber.   Details, including the agenda, are on the COW event page.

The excitement begins at the legislative meeting which starts immediately following the COW.   The council will consider the budget request act and the budget support act.   More information, including the agenda, are on the leg meeting event page.

The DC Council votes only once on the budget request act.   The council will vote twice on the budget support act, the first time May 15.

As of this posting, there is no BRA or BSA ANS (amendment in the nature of a substitute).

Helping 57 young people beat the odds

Fifty-seven.   That's the number of young people scheduled to age out of DC foster care by August 31, 2012.

Another 113 youth have a permanency plan of aging out.

To help these youth get a good start into adulthood, Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA), is holding the first-ever one-day JumpStart Fair May 17.   Youth who will age out of foster care by the end of August will be able to connect with the resources they need to succeed on their own.   Participating local public and private organizations will meet with, present options to, coach, and assist the youth participating in the fair, providing a one-stop location where young people can make the connections they need to jump start a smooth transition out of care and into a promising future.

The event is taking place at CFSA's Youth Empowerment Center (3700 10th St NW).

The event is being held in partnership with Casey Family Programs, a national leader on child welfare practice improvement, as part of Casey’s 2020 Vision for America’s Children.

The background:
Research shows (Update: Link fixed 5/14 2p) (PDF) that children who spend more time in foster care face bigger challenges and poorer outcomes as adults than their peers who have short stays or are never in foster care.   Examples including being more likely to struggle in school, less likely to graduate from college, more likely to end up in jail, more likely to become homeless, and more likely to become pregnant as a teenager.   Casey, the nation’s largest operating foundation focused entirely on foster care and improving the child welfare system, chose the District as one of the first locations in the nation to receive support for innovative community-oriented work such as the JumpStart Fair, a program designed to help these kids beat the odds.

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Register today for the May 17 "Getting the word out" workshop

There's still time to register for the May 17 "Getting the word out" workshop.   During the session we will talk about outreach mechanisms including community electronic discussion groups and social media, the steps involved with effective outreach; the best way to format materials; and developing good lists.   Participants will learn tips and tricks, receive links to make effective outreach easier, and leave with a check-list that makes outreach decision making manageable.

Register for this and the other workshops on the Helping Others Better blog.

Anyone individual registering for all five workshops receives a 15% discount!

Other workshops are:

  • Getting the word out (May 17, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • The basics of social media for advocacy (May 24, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • Making the most of public hearings (May 31, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • Advocacy communications beyond testimony (June 7, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • Who does what in the legislative and executive branches? (June 14, 10:00 am - Noon)

Details about the workshops are on the blog here, in the flier, and below.

Get your skill on! workshops, Spring 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Budget update, May 11

You can rewatch the May 9 DC Council FY 2013 budget work session in this video.   And be sure to read the DC Council May 9 work session presentation.

Coconut Sour Cream Cake recipe

Taking a break from policy land yesterday I modified a recipe and voila!   We have the Coconut Sour Cream Cake recipe.   This is an easy cake and you should add it to your repertoire.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's Children's Book Week!!!

To learn more about this celebration of children's books, visit Children's Book Week online.   And be sure to learn more about poster designer David Wiesner.   Can you identify all the kid lit characters?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Budget update, May 9

  • DC Council budget work session May 9:   The council will meet May 9 from 1:00 - 5:00 pm in Room 502 at JAWB to review committee reports and identify potential savings.   The meeting is open to the public but there is limited space; you can watch online via the council website or OCT's Channel 13 link.

    Depending on the progress made at this session, the council may hold a work session May 10 from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm.

    To augment the work session experience, be sure to follow #dcfy13.

    Mike DeBonis provides background and is worth reading before the work session starts.

  • Budget vote:   There is talk that the May 15 budget vote may be delayed.   No confirmation but council sources say an announcement would happen during today's council work session.

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Workshop date change

"Who does what in the legislative and executive branches?", originally scheduled for May 10, has been rescheduled to June 14 from 10:00 am – Noon.   The updated workshop schedule is:
  • Getting the word out (May 17, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • The basics of social media for advocacy (May 24, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • Making the most of public hearings (May 31, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • Advocacy communications beyond testimony (June 7, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • Who does what in the legislative and executive branches? (June 14, 10:00 am - Noon)

Anyone individual registering for all five workshops receives a 15% discount!

Details about the workshops are on the blog here, in the flier, and below.

Get your skill on! workshops, Spring 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Reducing health disparities in maternal and child health populations

The Department of Health's Community Health Administration is sponsoring a maternal and child health community meeting, "Efforts within DOH administrations to improve health disparities in the MCH population", May 24 from 5:00 - 8:00 pm at DOH (899 North Capitol St NE, 4th Floor).

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss DOH programs for this population, the MCH block grant (more here on the block grant), and solutions to the gaps in current services.

The closest Metro Rail station is Union Station.   Light food will be provided.   RSVP: Mary Frances Kornak (202) 442-9167 or via email.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Affordable skill-building workshops start this week!

The new series of advocacy-related workshops for nonprofits starts May 10 with "Who does what in the legislative and executive branches?"   The workshops are:
  • Who does what in the legislative and executive branches? (May 10, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • Getting the word out (May 17, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • The basics of social media for advocacy (May 24, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • Making the most of public hearings (May 31, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • Advocacy communications beyond testimony (June 7, 10:00 am - Noon)

Anyone individual registering for all five workshops receives a 15% discount!

Details about the workshops are on the Helping Others Better blog, in the flier (PDF), and below.   Register here.

Chuck Thies offers campaign advice. Too bad it's not for nonprofits.

We Love DC covered politico Chuck Thies' Twitter campaign primer earlier this month.   The post, a combination of Thies' tweets Storified and an interview of Thies, offers a practical guide to the basics of campaigning, from raising money to getting media coverage to developing and sharing campaign materials.

We Love DC introduced the primer with this:

The world of city politics in the District is often murky, and as of late, ridden with scandals. On Sunday afternoon, local political consultant and commentator Chuck Thies put on a little lecture on what it takes to be a candidate, and how important it can be to plan ahead. The tweets seemed to come out of left field, though, but when I talked with Thies (via Twitter, naturally) he pointed at the editorial from the Post today on Instant Runoff Voting.

"[It was] a few things. 1) I was wholly unimpressed with the challengers’ campaigns this cycle; 2) the WaPo editorial on IRV is not the answer," Thies said. He continued, "IRV is roulette where the weak can prevail." For Thies, the biggest issue is not just the quality of candidate stock, but rather the conditions we’re operating in: "[the] biggest impediment [is] the state of our politics. Very few people in their right mind would willfully wade into a sewer."

...

Thies also had a set of remarks for local organizers: Start building. "[T]he reform-minded activists and residents need to get organized. They need a political boss who has fortitude, knowledge, guts and soldiers. Build a machine. [T]oo often, liberals and progressives eschew the concept of political bosses and arm-twisting. [I]n politics the strong survive."

What struck me as interesting was the timing of Thies' tweets and the We Love DC follow-up.   Throughout the latest campaign season, comprised of the April 3 primary and the to-be-held May 15 Ward 5 special election, nonprofits have been notably absent (exception: SOME).   There are a lot of legal activities in which nonprofits can engage during campaign season.   Nonprofit VOTE for example, reports that nonprofits can engage in get out the vote efforts, voter engagement, organizing a candidate forum, and voter registration activities.

So while Thies and others are engaged in campaign work, for candidates or as observers, nonprofits seems to be avoiding even the sidelines.   I'd love to hear that my assessment of the situation is wrong, that nonprofits are playing a role this election year.   If your organization has done something, please comment.

Want to leave a comment?   Click the title of the blog post.

National Bike to School Day May 9

The first National Bike to School Day is being held Wednesday, May 9 and there is a pit stop at Lincoln Park from 7:30 - 8:30 am.

What you should do:   Ride to Lincoln Park wearing your school t-shirt, sign in, get a medallion from the National Safe Routes to School team and stickers from DDOT, and join a bicycle train to your school.   Trains leave at 7:45 am, 8:00 am, and 8:15 am.   The DC school with the highest participation will get to proudly display the DDOT "Golden Bicycle" at their school!   The Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization (CHPSPO) has organized the pit stop with partners Ward 6 CM Tommy Wells, National Safe Routes to School, and DDOT.

Can't make it to Lincoln Park?   Bike to school anyway and make sure your school is registered and recruit a volunteer to count riders.

At 9:30 am at 2nd and C St NE, members of Congress, leaders of bicycle advocacy organizations, and a CHPSPO representative will speak at a press conference to announce new survey data about Americans’ attitudes towards federal funding for biking and walking.   (The press release is here.)

Contact Sandra Moscoso via email to volunteer (counting riders at Lincoln Park or at your school).

The event flier is here.

Friday, May 4, 2012

How available and fast is broadband in DC?

The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) is researching broadband adoption and usage within the District.   One important part of this research is data collection from individuals, government agencies, non-profits, corporations, and community institutions.   You can you help by taking the District of Columbia’s Broadband Use Survey and Speed Test.

Visit Connect.DC to learn more about the District’s work to advance citywide broadband access.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Minty chocolate cookies

Need to make cookies in a hurry?   Check out this Minty Chocolate Cookies recipe.   It's made with a chocolate cake mix and has four ingredients.   They are yummy!

Solutions to FY 2012 spending pressures

On April 30, CFO Natwar Gandhi certified the current FY 2012 spending pressures and other challenges and sent a letter detailing the solutions to Mayor Gray and DC Council Chairman Kwame Brown.

OCFOFY12SuppCert043012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Additional COW May 1

DC Council Chairman Kwame Brown has scheduled an additional Committee of the Whole meeting May 1 10:00 am, prior to the regularly scheduled leg meeting, to consider B19-11, "Youth Bullying Prevention Act of 2012".   The notice of the additional COW is here (PDF).

Get you skill on! Affordable workshops for nonprofits starting in May

The new series of advocacy-related workshops for nonprofits starts May 10 with "Who does what in the legislative and executive branches?"   The workshops are:
  • Who does what in the legislative and executive branches? (May 10, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • Getting the word out (May 17, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • The basics of social media for advocacy (May 24, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • Making the most of public hearings (May 31, 10:00 am - Noon)
  • Advocacy communications beyond testimony (June 7, 10:00 am - Noon)

Anyone individual registering for all five workshops receives a 15% discount!

Details about the workshops are on the Helping Others Better blog, in the flier (PDF), and below.   Register here.

Wild Apricot's free webinars in May

Check out the list of free webinars identified by Wild Apricot.   The list includes events on the subjects of volunteer management, social media use, grantseeking, and organizational management.