Spotlight on Poverty's Weekly Roundup

The latest news, analysis and opinion on the state of low-income women and their families from Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity. For the week ending 12/17/2010: A look at a job-readiness program for homeless women.  And Jane Fonda pushes for teen pregnancy programs to address poverty and education .

Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, a national foundation-led initiative, is excited to collaborate with the Women’s Foundation to bring you the latest news and analysis on women and poverty. Spotlight is the go-to site for news and ideas about fighting poverty.

Here’s this week’s news:

•    Hundreds of low-income women will no longer receive pre-natal care in northern New Jersey and thousands more patients across the state will be turned away for family planning, gynecological care, and sexually transmitted disease testing in 2011, according to The Record.

•   The Sacramento Bee interviews graduates from Women’s Empowerment, a nonprofit Sacramento program that offers an eight-week job-readiness program for homeless women, many of whom are victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse and struggle with substance abuse.

•    In an opinion piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jane Fonda argues that teen pregnancy programs must address the poverty and education issues that young teenagers face.

To learn more about Spotlight visit www.spotlightonpoverty.org

To sign up for our weekly updates with the latest news, opinion and research from around the country, click here.

The Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity team

The Daily Rundown — The Latest News Affecting Women & Girls in Our Region

In today’s rundown: The expanding income gap in D.C. | Economic insecurity may be affecting a majority of Americans. | And tea time provides valuable lessons for local teen girls.

— Washington, DC is one of the national leaders in income growth, reports The New York Times. But the economic boom is leaving a gaping disparity in income with “unemployment for residents with only a high school diploma more than” doubling to 19 percent, the highest in 30 years.  The article cites information from the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, a Women’s Foundation Grantee Partner.

— “For most Americans, economic insecurity seems to be the rule rather than the exception,” according to Philanthropy News Digest. The information comes from a new report that takes a look at how economic insecurity affects the well-being of Americans.

The Washington Post reports on the High Tea Society, a group that teaches teen girls in D.C. responsibility, finance and cultural awareness.  The girls in the program hope to start a tea catering company.

My 5 Favorite Empowering Videos of 2010

This time last year, Washington Area Women’s Foundation was promoting “Be That Woman,” an animated video that illustrated the work we do.  That short video showed why it’s important to invest in women and demonstrated the power of images and sound.  Since then, I’ve been keeping an eye out for other videos that show the impact that women and girls have on our society.  In no particular order, here’s a look at some of my favorites from 2010:

“In Your Face With Mark Lewis and Friends” was created by the Name It Change It campaign, a project created to fight sexism in the media against women political candidates.  “In Your Face…” takes a tongue-in-cheek look at how the media treats women who are running for office.  Many of the ridiculous sounding statements in this video clip were actually said or written by journalists.  This video contains some adult language.

Lorraine Fells spoke at The Women’s Foundation’s 2010 Leadership Luncheon.  While it may seem self-serving to put one of our own videos in this list, I’m doing it without reservation because Lorraine’s bravery and dedication to her community never cease to amaze me.  She boldly got on stage in front of 1,100 people and frankly talked about overcoming addiction, losing her daughters, and how Goodwill of Greater Washington helped her turn her life around.

“Who’s Your Feminist Pop Culture Icon?” SPARK Summit asked that question and got answers that were both conventional and surprising.  That might be the only question in which answers can include “Wonder Woman,” “Lady Gaga,” and “Christie Love.”

“The Girl Effect: The Clock is Ticking” is a follow-up to 2008’s “The Girl Effect” video.  “The Clock is Ticking” is an urgent push to help lift girls out of poverty.  This video focuses on helping 12-year-old girls internationally; but what struck me was the fact that, except for early marriage, all of the barriers faced by girls in other countries are faced by girls in the D.C. metro region, too.

Honorable video mentions also go to: “The Power of Madonna” episode of Glee and Willow Smith’s “I Whip My Hair.”

Are there any videos that moved you this year?  And I’d love to know — who’s your feminist pop culture icon??

The Daily Rundown — The Latest News Affecting Women & Girls in Our Region

Today’s rundown is all about breaking through the glass ceiling… Plus, the homeless man who is an activist for the homeless.

— Today, Good Morning America aired a segment on why women are having trouble breaking through the “glass ceiling.”  The answer — according to GMA — is that women need more mentors or professional sponsors.  Here’s the video explaining why mentors could make a $10,000 difference in salary:

— And The George Washington University’s Kathy Korman Frey explains why you should have a very specific number of mentors on the Hot Mommas blog.

— Women’s Foundation Grantee Partner Thrive DC is mentioned in this Washington Post article about a homeless man who is reaching out to thousands and advocating for the homeless via social media.

Best Blog Posts of 2010

our voices speak box2010 was an exciting year for The Women’s Foundation’s blog as we worked to establish Our Voices as one of the go-to sources for information about, by and for the women and girls of the D.C. metro area.  We added new features, encouraged conversation, and added an increasingly diverse number of topics and voices to the blog.  We’ve accomplished a lot, but we still have a long, long way to go; it takes time and commitment to establish a voice in the community, and we have plenty of both!  As we look ahead to 2011, we hope that our readers will take an even greater role in helping us carve out our niche in the D.C. metro area by adding their voices to the conversation.  Your commentary is critical to any conversation we might have as we all work toward moving forward as a region.

Here are the 10 most read Our Voices blog posts of 2010:

#10: As the Recession Continues, More D.C. Area Residents Go Hungry This post came courtesy of one of our Grantee Partners.  Alexandra Ashbrook is the executive director of D.C. Hunger Solutions.  In this post, she explains why food might be the first cutback in many economically strained households.  She also takes a look at what happens when families go hungry.

#9: A New Year’s Wish List for Economic Justice Program Officer Gwen Rubinstein kicked off the year with a list of 9 things the community could do to ensure economic justice for women.  Take a look and let us know if you think that we, as a community, came close to any of Gwen’s goals.

#8: Unemployment Rate for Single Moms Reaches 25 Year High Gwen was on a roll in January!  In this post, she explained that Bureau of Labor statistics showed that the economic downturn was not a “man-cession” and asked that public benefit programs and policies take the facts into account.

#7: A Conversation About Bullies, the Bullied & LGBTQ Teens In this follow-up post, Philanthropic Education Officer Nicole Cozier wrote about the varied reactions she’d received to an earlier post about instances when bullying and cyberbulling led to suicide.  Nicole’s original post is further down on this list.

#6: No Suffering in D.C.?  Wake Up, Congress! I have to admit — I was pretty angry when I wrote this post responding to a comment made by U.S. Representative-elect Allen West on Meet the Press.  West’s comments that no one in the District of Columbia is suffering from the recession seemed like an insult to the people who are working so hard to get by.

#5: A Day in the Life of a Fundraiser Guest contributor Karen Paul-Stern was inspired to write this post after attending our annual Leadership Luncheon in October.  She says that was the day she realized that she could be a philanthropist.

#4: How Women Can Achieve Economic Security This post was really a call for submissions for our Stepping Stones Research Briefing, which focused on research relevant to issues facing low-income, women-headed families and those working to assist them.  The final product of that call for submissions can be found by clicking here.

#3: AIDS Case Rate of Women in D.C. Nearly 12 Times Higher Than National Rate On World AIDS Day, The Women’s Foundation issued a press release on the blog and to the media highlighting data from Portrait Project 2010 (a new report from the Foundation) that showed that the AIDS case rate for women in D.C. was 90 per 100,000 — nearly 12 times the national rate.  The release also called for this health crisis to remain in the conversation as the District dealt with budget cuts.

#2: Growing Up in an Age of Enlightenment & Ignorance Philanthropic Education Officer Nicole Cozier was moved to write this post after reading about Tyler Clementi, a college student who committed suicide after his roommate allegedly filmed an encounter between Tyler and another man and streamed the video online.  “[F]or every young person that has felt so powerless and without options that they believed the only way out was taking their own life, my heart breaks again and again” writes Nicole.

#1: Teen Unemployment: Opportunities Plummet for Youngest Workers As laid-off employees turned to jobs for which they were overqualified, our area’s young residents found themselves with more ambition than opportunity.  Last year, Washington D.C. had a 53 percent teen unemployment rate — the highest in the country.

I’d also like to mention Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity’s weekly news round-up which takes a look at the most interesting stories about poverty around the country every week.  The round-up is one of the blog’s most popular features and is always worth the weekly read!

If you’d like to write for the blog, we’re always taking submissions!  For details, contact me at mcraven@wawf.org or 202-347-7737, ext. 207.


Spotlight on Poverty's Weekly Roundup

The latest news, analysis and opinion on the state of low-income women and their families from Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity. For the week ending 12/3/2010: A profile of a program that helps low-income single mothers with scholarships, health care and other services.  Plus, a health program that will benefit 300,000 low-income women.

Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, a national foundation-led initiative, is excited to collaborate with the Women’s Foundation to bring you the latest news and analysis on women and poverty. Spotlight is the go-to site for news and ideas about fighting poverty.

Here’s this week’s news:

•    The Sacramento Bee reports that as many as 300,000 low-income women are expected to benefit in 2011 when the California Department of Public Health reopens a health program that was shut down earlier this year due to a shortfall in state funding.

•   The Arizona Republic highlights the work of Helping Hands for Single Moms, a program that has provided scholarships, computer and auto repair, health care, and other services to low-income single mothers since 2001 .

•    Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence announced that it was awarded a $250,000, three-year grant by the federal Office on Violence Against Women to pay for additional transitional housing for homeless domestic violence survivors in Boulder County, according to the Daily Camera.

To learn more about Spotlight visit www.spotlightonpoverty.org

To sign up for our weekly updates with the latest news, opinion and research from around the country, click here.

The Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity team

The Daily Rundown — The Latest News Affecting Women & Girls in Our Region

In today’s rundown: Cuts to a D.C. program that helps out grandparents who are raising their children’s children won’t be as deep as first proposed. | Changes could be coming to the way the District aids homeless families. | Listen to WAMU today for a discussion on the challenges faced by local LGBT youth. | A follow-up to yesterday’s story about a unique job training program.

— A D.C. subsidy program for residents who are raising their grandchildren has not been cut as deeply as first proposed, reports The Washington Examiner. Mayor Adrian Fenty originally proposed cutting funding for the program by half, or nearly $2.7 million.  However Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells was able to find $900,000 in the city’s Child and Family Services Agency budget and the cut was reduced.

— “The D.C. Council is moving forward with plans to make homeless families prove they live in the District before they can receive shelter, a stance that one council member called ‘cruel,'” reports The Washington Post. The bill, which was approved 8 to 3 in a preliminary vote, would also change the city’s obligation to homeless adults with children.

— Today on WAMU’s “The Kojo Nnamdi Show,” the conversation will focus on LGBT youth and the challenges they face in the community.  One of the guests will be Andrew Barnett, executive director of the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL), a Women’s Foundation Grantee Partner.

The Washington Post follows up yesterday’s story about the Project Empowerment job training program with a story today that focuses on what happens to students after graduation.

The Daily Rundown — The Latest News Affecting Women & Girls in Our Region

DC Flag

In today’s rundown: The D.C. Council relies on cuts to welfare programs to close a budget gap. | A look at a program that helps difficult-to-employ residents find jobs. | Young journalists investigate child trafficking. | Remembering Elizabeth Edwards.

— The D.C. Council has approved a spending plan that includes controversial changes to welfare programs but avoids higher taxes, reports The Washington Post. The welfare changes include cutting off direct assistance after five years.

The Post also takes an in-depth look at a program that helps the District’s hardest to employ residents prepare for jobs.  For six months The Post followed participants in the Project Empowerment program, D.C.’s most expensive job training program with a 7,000 name waiting list.

— Youth Radio has teamed up with NPR to produce a series of investigations into child sex trafficking in the United States.  The pieces focus on Oakland, CA and use “interviews, eyewitness reporting and city records to piece together what life is like for girls when they become trapped by pimps — and how law enforcement continues to criminalize girls the state legally defines as sexually exploited victims.”

— The world is remembering Elizabeth Edwards as a woman “shaped by a life of losses.” Edwards died yesterday after a six-year battle with breast cancer.

The Daily Rundown — The Latest News Affecting Women & Girls in Our Region

In today’s rundown: The D.C. Council looks to close a multi-million dollar budget gap. | A bill before the council today could add a residency requirement to local homeless shelters. | And Pepco users can expect to see an increase in their electricity bills.

— Today, the D.C. Council will tackle a $188 million gap in this year’s budget.  They’ll be voting on a proposal by Mayor Adrian Fenty that includes program cuts and tax increases.  The Washington Post reports that a tax increase probably won’t be approved today.

— Advocates for the homeless are asking Mayor-elect Vincent Gray to vote against a bill before the city council today that would include a residency requirement at D.C. shelters.  Washington City Paper has the details.

— Pepco customers will see an increase in their electricity bills.  WAMU reports that Pepco bills will increase about $1 per month for the typical customer as the company invests in its infrastructure over the next five years.

The Daily Rundown — The Latest News Affecting Women & Girls in Our Region

In today’s rundown: A new study finds that gay and lesbian teens face harsher discipline. | And hundreds protest outside a Montgomery County health clinic.

— A new study shows that gay and lesbian teens are disciplined more harshly by schools, police and courts, The Washington Post reports. Lesbian and bisexual girls were two to three times as likely as straight girls to be punished, according to the study.  Women’s Foundation Grantee Partner SMYAL was mentioned in the article.

— Hundreds of people showed up to protest outside a Montgomery County clinic where a doctor has started performing late-term abortions.  Leroy Carhart is one of the few doctors in the country that does the procedure.  Organizers of today’s protest say they’ll perform regular protests outside the clinic, reports The Washington Post.