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The Disaster Fund
May 28, 2013

The Disaster Fund

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The people who run community foundations across the US are a close knit group. So when Terri Lee Freeman heard about the deadly tornadoes in Moore, Okla., she knew what she had to do.

terri lee freeman
The president of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region sent an email to all its donors and supporters asking for donations to the Oklahoma City Tornado Recovery Fund. It's a pot of money for long-term recovery efforts established by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. It plans to donate all of its gifts to help people impacted by the tornadoes. But for Terri, the gesture was a little more personal
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When 9/11 hit the Washington region, Terri sought the guidance of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation in setting up a fund to help victims with long-term needs. It had successfully set up a similar survivors fund after the 1995 bombings at the Murrah building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people. Terri says president Nancy Anthony guided her through the process of establishing the Survivors' Fund, which was designed as a case management system and gave her tips on how people might seek help. One helpful hint was that first responders are not typically the first to seek help. "We always felt indebted to Oklahoma City for the support they provided us," says Terri.

Same Mission, New Tactics

smarth growth-ilana
Smart Growth America's mission is simple: advocate for people who want to live and work in great neighborhoods. And the nonprofit has been doing that for exactly 10 years. But VP and chief of staff Ilana Preuss says the organization is now evolving as it looks at the next decade from an outreach and education think tank to one that can provide technical assistance and advocacy. The DC-based group is putting more focus on federal policy change and offering hands on technical help to communities going through their evolution.

mixed use-clarendon
So what's the biggest thing causing communities to change? The Millennials. It's the generation more focused on urban living, which doesn't always mean living in the heart of a major city. (Think mixed-use development projects in suburbs like Clarendon in Arlington, Va.) It's a major shift from 40 to 50 years ago where people lived in the suburbs separated by big yards and communities that weren't very walkable. Ilana says local elected officials are finally seeing the market shift and realizing that businesses benefit from being in walkable communities. The challenge though is making sure communities are investing in meeting everyone's needs, especially the people who have been in those communities since the beginning. 

indy skyline
The organization doesn't take a position on specific development projects but Ilana says DC is often viewed as a model for smart growth. Indianapolis is also an example of strategic public transit where people have lots of different ways to get around. Lincoln, Neb., is also held up as a model. Ilana says the organization is thinking of itself as an AARP for people who have chosen the smart growth lifestyle. (Unlike AARP, you can't say you like smart growth just for the discounts.) If you're a resident who wants strategic growth, the nonprofit is looking to partner with you.

Real Estate Strategies for Associations

nat rest assoc-condo purchase
The National Restaurant Association made its purchase earlier this year of 61k square feet at 2055 L St., NW look so easy. But one of the most daunting decisions an association can make is whether to invest in real estate. Or is leasing better? Is it even time for a move? Answers will be sought at Bisnow's Real Estate Strategies for Associations & Law Firms event on June 11 at the elegant Willard in Washington. Real estate and design experts will shed light on these most head-spinning decisions. Sign up so you don't make the wrong move.

One City Fund Intact

mayor-vincent gray
Photo credit: Andrew Bossi
The DC City Council voted to keep a proposal from Mayor Vincent Gray to create One City Fund, a $15M pot of money for nonprofits to compete for grants of up to $100k. The only thing that changed was its name to the Innovation Fund. (Let's hope technology startups don't get confused and think it's for them.) Now the final vote on the FY14 Budget Support Act, which includes the fund, will be on June 18. The Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington launched an aggressive campaign asking nonprofits to send e-mails, make phone calls, and testify on behalf of the fund.

Good Shepherd Gets Management Award

nonprofit award winner
Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services won this year's Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management. The Alexandria, Va.-based organization, which works to reduce homelessness, was recognized for several measures, including effective risk management in support of day-to-day operations and active engagement of board and staff during budget creation and approval. On hand to celebrate at a reception in DC last week were Center for Nonprofit Advancement board chair George Jones and CEO Glen O'Gilvie who flank The Washington Post president and GM Steve Hills, Good Shepherd Housing executive director Shannon Steene, Good Shepherd Housing board president Cheryl Ellsworth, and 2013 Selection Committee chair Marshall Ginn

What's your organization's best management trait? Tell Bisnow's Tania Anderson.

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