The Combined Federal Campaign is facing many proposed changes for next year. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that because donations to the federal workplace giving campaign have dropped considerably, the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the program, is considering two actions: charging its first ever application fee for charities or taking a processing fee out of each donation.
These proposed changes could have disasterous implications for the nonprofit community. Rick Cohen suggests that charging charities an application fee may result in a drop in both giving and participation. America's Charities, says that the changes, "would dramatically reduce giving and participation and remove the local heart and soul from the CFC."
When: Wednesday May 29, 11:00am-12:00pm Phone: 1-866-740-1260, access code 4382348*
Have a say in these new regulations. Submit your comments through the Federal Rulemaking Portal by clicking the blue "Comment Now!" button on the right side. The deadline for comments is June 7th.
In addition, the OPM is refusing to post the comments for the public to read. So the Federal Times has decided to compile comments- if you wish your comment to be publically posted, please send you comments Staff Writer Sean Reilly at
“Well, it is a day when I think about all the guys that were killed in war.”
Simple, right? And likely a question my grandfather, a World War II veteran who served in the Pacific Theater, didn’t expect when I called late on a Monday night. It might have been the first time I had really ever heard my usually unfiltered grandfather pause to think about an answer, after which he changed the subject. This was the same man who, when asked by his 14-year-old granddaughter what he did in World War II said, “What do you think I did?” as sharp as only he could be on the subject. Fourteen years later, he still has not answered my question.
Memorial Day means different things to different Americans. For many it is the hallmark of the start of the summer season, but for many more it is a time to remember those, who throughout our nation’s history, fought in battle and made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives. Memorial Day’s first official observance dates back to 1868, according to the Library of Congress, when it was known as Decoration Day because of the adornment of soldier’s graves with flowers. In 1971 the last Monday in May became the official Memorial Day holiday, as we know it today.
As the Project Director for Serving Together, a project of Mental Health Association of Montgomery County, I try to spend my time working and talking with people about how we can come together to be a welcoming home for those who have served our country and their families. This time of the year, in the weeks leading up to Memorial Day, I find people are naturally talking more about this important work. In 2012, Serving Together passed out hundreds of red poppy flowers to colleagues and partners in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of the meaning behind Memorial Day and to take some time, even a moment, to use it as a Day of Remembrance. Lately, my Serving Together colleagues and I have had several people share the traditions of their families and how together they observed Memorial Day or about family members who served in the military.
I challenge you this Memorial Day to honor and celebrate those who have Fallen in sacrifice to our country, whether they are longtime traditions you are keeping or new traditions you are creating. Find a local parade, visit a memorial in your town, or just have a moment of silence in remembrance. Memorial Day means different things to different Americans but what does it mean to you?
If you or someone you know is a military member, veteran or family member seeking resources in Montgomery County, guidance to information and services is just a click or phone call away - www.ServingTogetherProject.org or (301) 738-7176.
For more information on local Memorial Day observances in and around Montgomery County, Maryland and Washington, D.C go to www.servingtogetherproject.org for a up to date listing.
Jessica Fuchs is the wife of a U.S. Marine and the Project Director for Serving Together. Find them on Twitter and Facebook.
No other county in the Washington region, including the District of Columbia, experienced increases in poverty of the same magnitude duringthe late 2000s.
New book lays out challenges and opportunities to combat suburban poverty
The poor population in America’s suburbs is growing faster than anywhere else in the country, surging 64 percent in the past decade and growing at more than twice the rate of the urban poor population. In a newly released book, Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube of The Brookings Institution explore this new reality - suburbia is now home to more poor residents than central cities, and over a third of the nation’s total poor population. Yet as a nation, we are still implementing policies conceived during LBJ’s War on Poverty in the 1960s, using an antipoverty program infrastructure that no longer fits.
Kneebone and Berube highlight the case of Montgomery County, MD which consistently ranks among the country’s wealthiest counties. Yet in recent years, this jurisdiction has grown increasingly demographically and economically diverse, changing the scope and scale of need among the county’s residents.
The 2000s, were a period of marked transformation in the county. Early in the decade, more jobs and people came to the county and the number of residents living in poverty dropped. However, the Great Recession more than erased those gains. As the county faced unprecedented economic challenges, it also experienced a rapid demographic transformation. The 2010 census revealed that non-Hispanic whites constituted 49 percent of the county’s residents, down from 73 percent two decades earlier. And while immigrants accounted for fewer than one in five residents in 1990, in 2010 they represented almost one-third of the population and almost 40 percent of poor residents.
Rapid increases in poverty, coupled with the shifting demographics, often left Montgomery County communities like Silver Spring, Gaithersburg and Rockville struggling to find the resources and develop programs to meet the growing and changing needs of residents.
In one response - Montgomery County’s Neighborhood Opportunity Network - local government and nonprofits have come together to make sure diverse communities in need do not miss out on critical safety net services because of lack of information or cultural barriers.
Kneebone and Berube, nationally known experts, offer a series of recommendations for public, private, and nonprofit leaders seeking new strategies to modernize poverty alleviation and community development strategies and connect suburban residents with economic opportunity. Nonprofit Montgomery, is at work already – our new initiative, Moving Montgomery Forward, is organizing leaders from the philanthropic, business, nonprofit, government and education sectors to work together to appropriately train and match more county residents with the good jobs of the future so that more residents achieve self-sufficiency, more businesses find qualified workers and everyone can contribute to community-wide prosperity.
if you want to join the conversation and action.
Everyone can agree that nonprofits do great work. They are business minded, they create jobs, and they help our communities every day. But it’s a tough world out there. Funding for social programs has taken a nosedive, and people, as well as nonprofits, are facing tough times.
But despite all that, our community continues to step up to the plate, work together, and create amazing things.
Goodwill has spent this week promoting #blog4good. It’s a week-long event asking local bloggers and nonprofits to write something about the great work Goodwill is doing, with statistics like:
Last year, Goodwill directly affected the lives of more than 3,200 people.
They diverted over 20 millions of trash from local landfills through their donation program in 2012
They create 25-30 new jobs with each new store they open.
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has been a longtime corporate member of the Nonprofit Roundtable, and we were proud to partner with them for our 10th Anniversary event. But when I saw the posting for their April 30th event about their donation of $240,000 supporting five Virginia health centers, I truly realized how integral they are to our community. I wanted to learn more about their process- what initiatives they support, what their corporate social responsibility values were- so I contacted Scott Graham, Manager of Media Relations & Associate Communications. He sent me the following:
As part of our mission, CareFirst funds innovative community initiatives and programs throughout our service area to improve the region’s health care delivery systems, identify and seek to promote change on broader health initiatives, and, ultimately, to affect the long-term health of our community. CareFirst focuses its giving on five key areas:
· Improving maternal and child health; · Battling the obesity epidemic; · Empowering the region’s safety net clinics; · Addressing the region’s shortage of nurses; and, · Expanding the Patient-Centered Medical Home model.
In fact, the $240,000 in funding will help five Virginia nonprofit health centers provide primary and specialized care to more than 7,000 uninsured and medically underserved children and adults. At their April 30 event celebrating the grantees, they featured the faces of these nonprofits in a moving program about the importance of community-based organizations and announced that they would contribute $10,000 to the Northern Virginia Health Services Coalition, a group of 35 health clinics in the region.
Amanda Andere, Roundtable board member and ED of FACETS, attended the event, saying, “The best part of the CareFirst reception was seeing the diverse nonprofits they support; and their ability to engage business leaders and elected officials in their commitment to give back to the community. The Youth of the Year from the Boys and Girls Club spoke so eloquently about how the volunteers and staff allowed him to realize the American Dream and achieve higher education, and now he is committed to doing the same for others.”
Why do we support the $15 million One City Fund? Watch Allison Carney's testimony here to find out.
"The Fund is designed to create positiveimpacts for all DC residents, now and in the future. It addresses all sides of community development, and both entrusts and expects local nonprofits to do what they do best: leverage resources, expertise, and knowledge of our communities to develop long-term solutions"
Remember when the economy was tanking and Congress and the Administration moved quickly to rescue the big banks because they were too big to fail? The public and private sector rallied for the government to step up and protect the economy- knowing that big banks were central to the strength and confidence of our nation.
Now we have our own looming crisis in the nonprofit sector through severe and potentially disastrous cuts in funding to provide critical and vital life-saving services to millions of people across the country because of sequestration. This happened because Congress and the Administration failed to do their jobs and, most sadly, failed the American people.
The effects of this dis-investment hit all members of our community, from the poorest who are in desperate circumstances, to the middle class who lost homes, jobs and dignity, to white collar workers who are tapping into their retirement savings to pay basic bills. Communities across our country are experiencing increased demand for basic quality of life services and this demand has strained an already overwhelmed service-delivery system provided by local nonprofits.
People are hurting and are looking for our government to help, yet their calls go unheard and ignored. Our federal, state and local governments have come to rely on the nonprofit sector to serve as the delivery system for safety net services, making nonprofits the last lifeline for people in need, making nonprofits too essential to fail.
So what do we do now? You can't use a band-aid to stop a hemorrhage, which seems to best reflect how the legislative response has been developed. Immediate triage is required to examine the most pressing problems in our communities, apply immediate assistance to stop the bleeding, and then work collaboratively and seriously across the three sectors to develop long-term solutions.
Nonprofit leaders have invaluable knowledge and expertise to lend to this conversation and develop concrete action plans, such as Moving Montgomery Forward and Region Forward. We urge members of the three sectors to reach outside of their organization, and find collaborative solutions to save programs that are too essential to fail.
If I learned one thing from Keynote speaker Xiaonan Zhao at the 2013 Media Summit, it was that the future is Mobile, Connected, Embedded, and Youth-Driven. As I sat down with Michael Altman, Acting Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications for United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA), I struggled to figure out how they fit into this future.
Workplace giving- giving your money to a third party who then disperses it as they see fit- does not match up with any of those qualifiers. Some donation vehicles like Kickstarter and See Your Impact have bridged that gap, and allow donors to fund exactly what they want- which opens the door for them to develop a one-to-one relationship with the recipient and see the outcome of their donation (whether it be $20 or $20,000).
So where does that leave workplace giving?
United Way NCA, an organization most notably linked to the traditional donation strategy, responded to this change not by sticking their heads in the sand, but by adapting. Setting aside their core revenue generator, the $36 million organization is becoming more personal- and their big kickoff is Do More 24, a community day of giving.
"It's powered by United Way, but it's owned by the community," began Altman. "It's about mobilizing the people in the DC metro area to give where they live."
The event is a perfect segue into the future of philanthropy. It's local, mobile-optimized, and focused on the next generation of donors. With events happening online, at nonprofits, and on the streets, June 6th is sure to be a powerhouse day of giving.
"On that day, donors will see their commitment in action. They'll be able to track their donation, see who else is on-board, and as part of an innovative live video feed, experience something they've never seen before: real people feeling the impact of their donation in real time," said Altman.
Donors will be able to search through an online database of local nonprofits and donate to their favorites. Each nonprofit will retain the donor info, enabling them to develop long-term relationships with first-time donors who are dedicated to their community. All regional nonprofits who serve Greater Washington residents are invited to participate, and over 600 already have already signed up. The Nonprofit Roundtable is one of them- and we encourage our allies to join the movement and make this event as successful as possible. We're stronger together, aren't we?
United Way NCA may be known for workplace giving- and that will continue to be a part of their business plan. But as the organization moves forward, I'm excited to see other innovative ways they will encourage philanthropy in our community.
On Thursday, I spent about four hours sitting in DC City Council budget hearings. I listened to streetlight contracts and heard about firefighter retirement funds, and only after my second hour did we start talking about the One City Fund.
We heard first from Allen Lew, the City Administrator for DC, and then came Terri Lee Freeman* of the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region, the foundation set to be the distributor of the fund. After their testimony was complete, we moved on to the list of over 30 nonprofits testifying for the One City Fund. Among them were BUILD Metro DC, CentroNia, Southeast Children's Fund, A Wider Circle, Byte Back, Dress for Success, and the Center for Nonprofit Advancement. Oh, and did I mention we were going to be there?
Please, please forgive the terrible scarf. It looked better earlier in the day.
*As an aside, let me just say that I don't want anyone else but Terri Freeman to represent the professionalism, eloquence, and passion of the sector. Chairman Mendelson was grilling her about the grant time restrictions, administrative fees, and more or less everything else, but she stayed completely poised. She is truly an inspiration to me as a young, female, nonprofit professional.
Tomorrow morning, DC City Council will be hearing testimony from the public on whether or not they should approve Mayor Gray's recommendation to create a One City Fund.
This Fund is an unparalleled opportunity for our sector to collaborate with government to create lasting impact on our community.
The Nonprofit Roundtable will be representing our members at the budget hearing, but we urge our members to join us at 10:00am tomorrow. You can read our testimony that I will be giving in front of the Committee on the Whole.
Here's an excerpt from our testimony:
[The fund] will act as a fresh perspective on how the District supports its nonprofits and provides a backbone to important work that is already being done in our community - like education, job training, health, services for seniors, arts, public safety and the environment - which elevates our communities, lives, and futures.
Many of our member nonprofits, and others, provide essential services within the four priorities of the Fund. They enroll adult learners in job training, research new, green energy for DC to use, and provide a thriving arts community that keeps our culture vibrant.
We, nonprofits and government, all have the same goal - to make the District a better place for us all.
Click here to sign up to testify. Type "One City Fund" in the last field.
When: TOMORROW 10:00am-End Where: Wilson Building Room 412, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC
Want more information on the fund? See the Mayor's presentation here.