Monday, April 11, 2016

Regarding DCCAH's FY17 Budget

A #DCArts PSA:

Today is the DC Council's FY17 Budget Hearing for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

The numbers again (becase as of this post, it's still not updated on the DC Advocates for the Arts website)?

FY15 Actual - $14,555,386
FY16 Approved - $15,955,248
FY17 Proposed - $15,534,436

From Part 1, beginning on page 336 or B-85, here:

Of particular note regarding increases and decreases in the agency's submitted budget, and enhancements and reductions in the Mayor's proposed budget, are the following excerpts:

*Agency Budget Submission*
Increase: The budget proposal in Local funds reflects a net increase of $672,375 and 8.0 FTEs across
multiple programs. This adjustment redirects funding from budget allocations for contractual services as
DCCAH transfers certain operational responsibilities that are currently carried out by contractors to
agency employees. Additional funding is also proposed in Local funds in support of DCCAH’s
sponsorship and marketing activities, and this accounts for an increase of $257,619.
In Federal Grant funds, an increase of $7,500 aligns budget with projected grant awards from the Arts
in Underserved Communities and Arts Education grants. This adjustment supports DCCAH’s operations
in the Arts Learning and Outreach and Arts Building Communities programs. In Intra-District funds, the
proposed budget includes an increase of $93,000 to the Arts Learning and Outreach and Arts Building
Communities programs. This adjustment is based on a Memorandum of Understanding agreement with
the Department of Employment Services in support of the Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment
Decrease: The budget in Local funds is proposed for a decrease of $108,561, based on DCCAH’s plan to
move certain contractual services in-house, thereby eliminating the associated contractor service fees. A
decrease of $897,116 across multiple programs in Local funds accounts for reduced funding allocations
for DCCAH’s diverse range of sub-granting activities that support practicing artists, arts organizations
and community groups.
In Special Purpose Revenue Funds, the proposed budget is reduced by $300,000 to align funding with
projected revenue.

*Mayor’s Proposed Budget*
Enhance: DCCAH’s proposed budget in Local funds reflects an increase of $91,301 in funding to the
Agency Management program to support an additional 1.0 FTE that enables the agency to establish a
General Counsel position to meet its increased legal services volume.
Reduce: The budget in Local funds is decreased by $312,613 from the Arts Building Communities and
Arts Learning and Outreach Programs to account for projected programmatic cost savings in nonpersonal

If you can't make it, you can still tune in and watch live here:

Saturday, April 09, 2016

On Street Harrasment and Speaking Up

This is reposted from a Facebook post.

Facebook: What's on your mind?

Me: Glad you asked. If you've seen either of my last two videos, street harrassment and a culture of consent (thank you Burning Man Global Leadership Conference) are top of mind right now.

Let me just say that I personally think that we do have a right to say hello to each other in public spaces.  I'd say where the line was drawn last night is that we do NOT have the right to expect and receive a response.

Last night a gentleman didn't receive one after multiple attempts to engage a woman waiting for a cab. So I spoke up, and not for her, but as witness to her and the situation. I know women can speak up for themselves. At the same time, I can only imagine how hard it is to want to say No but not, because even THAT is a response that can actually encourage further harassment, so the safest thing to do might be to do and say nothing.

And I certainly appreciate the expression of concern from friends, and am seriously thinking about taking self-defense classes. But my concern for the lady simply feeling safe and knowing she wasn't alone trumped my own feeling of safety, not that I ever felt unsafe. We were right in front of a bar we had just exited, and staff was right inside still closing and cleaning up.

I will say while I've been accused of not being a native Washingtonian, I've never been called a "leader of gentrification" or "the biggest contributor to black-on-black crime", the latter of which I didn't even realize was potentially a veiled threat until friends asked me to simply be safe. But those and other attempted insults, including calling out my perceived sexuality, only reinforced how absurd this conversation was in the first place.

On the latter though, I found it ironic that in saying women felt safer around gay men, he implied that straight men by nature are predatory and/or don't make women feel safe...not helping his point at all.

I guess my only thought is that while silence on her part was an attempt to not engage, does silence on the part of people nearby condone the behavior, at least when in public spaces? I understand the concern for personal safety, but again, if that's what we feel as a passerby, what must the person who's the object of that attention feel. Not saying there's a right answer, but I can't stop asking the question.

Anyway, personally I will be looking more into the work of Collective Action for Safe Spaces. If you haven't heard of them, it's an organization "working to empower people in the DC metropolitan area to build a community free from public sexual harassment and assault."

And if you have your own story to share, maybe we should make a night of it, to raise awareness and keep the conversation going.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Why educating youth is NOT a waste of time

Responding on Facebook to an interview with RuPaul. Wanted to share.

So...I liked and/or loved about 97% of this. The part I didn't? His answer to: "Do you think it's important for the...
Posted by JR Nexus Russ on Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Let me know what you think.

- JR / Nexus

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

"Art, Money and the Renaissance" from Burning Man's blog

Check this out, a video that was posted as part of Burning Man's latest blog, Art, Money, and the Renaissance: Re-Imagining the Relationship.

One of my favorite quotes from the blog itself is:
So we’ve gone from a period where artists were hyper-aware of money, and open about it, to a period where artists talking about money endangers their status as “artists.” This would be understandable, even laudable, if artists were actually less worried about money, but since they’re not — since in fact we live in a time of profound economic uncertainty about artists and arts funding — this just won’t do.
Anyway, check it out. Would love to hear what folks think,

Nexus aka JR

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

It's freak-out-o-clock with nonprofit leadership

"Leaders don’t have time to do their jobs: A huge weakness of our sector is that we are turning brilliant leaders into brilliant fundraisers. Development is an essential element of our work, and some of the smartest and most talented professionals in our sector are fundraisers, but the balance is off. All of us are spending more and more of our time and energy freaking out about money instead of working with our teams to think about systemic issues and collaborating."

That's just one of a number of great points made by Vu Le, blogger behind Nonprofit with Balls. Read the full piece here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Some #GivingTuesday Online Resources

With #GivingTuesday being a little less than three weeks away, thought I'd share some of the helpful resources that I've come across.

Here are some highlights from their website's Tools page:

  • Logos - This actually includes not just logos, but "save the date"s, like the image above.
  • Toolkits - A social media toolkit, a PR toolkit, and more
  • Ideas - Ideas for Nonprofits, ideas for businesses, you get the...idea. ;-)
One thing with the logo, they have one labeled as a customizable profile image, which (in a program as simple as Paint), I was able to do this with the logo of the nonprofit I work at, taking our original logo:

 And did this:

Sorry for the resolution. The original was better, but that's on the work computer.

Anyway, here are just a few other resources.

Blackbaud's Giving Tuesday page on their website is pretty good. Their main offers are a webinar series which has recordings up, and #GivingTuesday trends report going back to 2012. Part of the quality of their knowledge is because they are a founding partner with the #GivingTuesday global movement.

Network for Good also provides free #GivingTuesday resources. These, they provide straight to your inbox, once you sign up. They say you will "Get eGuides, checklists, and webinar invites sent straight to your inbox and you'll be ready for the biggest giving day of the year."

And on Razoo's #GivingTuesday resources page, even though their primary pitch is to use their platform on this giving day, steps 4 & 5 has some great guids and tips you can use, even if you don't participate in #GivingTuesday through them.

My own personal tips, based on my own homework so far?

  • Set a goal for your effort this day.
  • Make it modest and achievable.
  • Use it to kick off your whole end-of-year fundraising efforts.

That's it, hope this was helpful. Leave any tips or resources you've found helpful yourself in the comments. As well as whatever organization you might be fundraising for, that day,


P.S. Just wanted to embed a great Twitter chat #GivingTuesday had yesterday, with the #MyGivingStory hashtag. There were a lot of great nuggets shared in it.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Take the Giving 15 challenge with me

Hey there,

So as I'm getting ready for end-of-year giving on the fundraising side, I was thinking of ways to ramp up my own personal philanthropy, which is where the Giving 15 challenge came to be.

The actual challenge is Giving 15/15/15/, which is giving $15 in '15 to 15 organizations, beginning on #GivingTuesday, through the end of year. And #GivingTuesday is December 1, which means spreading out $225 of giving over the 31 days of the last month of the year.

This is a little over $7.25 per day, or just about $15 every 2 days.

I don't have much disposable income, but I know I can budget at least that much.

So, the first step is identifying the 15 organizations you'd like to support. Here are mine, a collection of organizations I'm professionally affiliated with to ones I just personally love, in no particular order.

1) DC Alliance of Youth Advocates [I work here]
The DC Alliance of Youth Advocates (DCAYA) is a coalition of youth-engaged organizations, youth and concerned residents formed to ensure that all children and youth in the District of Columbia have access to high-quality and affordable developmental opportunities. We accomplish this mission by crafting policy recommendations, providing structured advocacy opportunities for our members and allies, networking and empowering youth.
Donate to DCAYA here.

2) Story District [I'm on the board]

Story District's mission is to turn good stories into great performances, to be a platform for diverse perspectives, and to serve as a pipeline and training ground for new voices and talent in storytelling. Named the "gold standard" in storytelling by the Washington Post and nominated for the 2012 DC Mayor's Arts Awards for Innovation in the Arts, Story District reaches an audience of more than 10,000 annually through the production of more than 25 performances, ongoing adult education classes, and custom trainings and performances for businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies. We value storytelling as a space for people to listen and be heard, connect with others, embrace different perspectives, examine their own lives, and explore what it means to be human.
Donate to Story District here.

3) dog & pony dc [I'm working on a project with them]
dog & pony dc is an ensemble of artists who devise innovative performances that incorporate new ways for audiences to experience theatre.
Donate to dog & pony dc here.

4) Capital Fringe
Capital Fringe’s mission is to present the work of innovative performing artists; energize and expand audiences through dynamic accessible programming; serve DC-area artists by providing career-building opportunities; and create sustaining year-round outlets for experimental performance in the Nations Capital.
Donate to Capital Fringe here.

5) Whitman-Walker Health
Whitman-Walker Health's mission is to be the highest quality, culturally competent community health center serving greater Washington’s diverse urban community, including individuals who face barriers to accessing care, and with a special expertise in LGBT and HIV care.
Donate to Whitma-Walker Health here.

6) Atlas Performing Arts Center
The Atlas Performing Arts Center is home for adventurous audiences, artists and ideas — presenting contemporary music, film, dance, theatre and performing arts unlike anywhere in the city. An artistic anchor in Washington, DC’s historic H Street NE corridor, the Atlas is committed to its neighborhood and the arts community.
Donate to the Atlas Performing Arts Centere here.

7) Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Woolly's mission is to ignite an explosive engagement between theatre artists and the community by developing, producing, and promoting new plays that explore the edges of theatrical style and human experience, and by implementing new ways to use the artistry of theatre to serve the people of Greater Washington, DC.
Donate to Woolly Mammoth here.

8) Dance Place
Founded in 1980, Dance Place builds a community of artists, audiences, and students through high quality performances, commissions, training and educational programs. We are committed to enriching the field of dance locally, nationally and internationally. Our thriving arts campus serves as an anchor in the development of our Brookland/Edgewood neighborhood in Washington, DC.
Donate to Dance Place here.
9) Synetic Theater
Synetic redefines theatre by blending innovative techniques and movement, investing in artists’ growth, and creating unforgettable visceral experiences for every audience.
Donate to Synetic Theater here.

10) Casa Ruby

Casa Ruby's mission is to create success life stories among Transgender, Gender Queer  and Gender Non-conforming Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual people. Casa Ruby's vision is to create a world where Transgender, Gender Queer, and Gender Non-conforming people pursue their dreams and achieve success in their lives without fear of discrimination, harassment, or violence due to their sexual orientation and or Gender Identity/Gender Expression.
Donate to Casa Ruby here.

11) Catalogue for Philanthropy

The Catalogue for Philanthropy is Greater Washington’s trusted guide to local giving. Our mission is to create strong and vibrant communities by connecting caring citizens with worthy community causes.

Donate to the Catalogue here.

12) DanceSafe
DanceSafe is a 501(c)(3) public health organization promoting health and safety within the nightlife and electronic music community. Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998 by Emanuel Sferios, DanceSafe quickly grew into a national organization with chapters in cities across North America.
Donate to DanceSafe here.

13) Fractured Atlas
Fractured Atlas empowers artists, arts organizations, and other cultural sector stakeholders by eliminating practical barriers to artistic expression, so as to foster a more agile and resilient cultural ecosystem.
Donate to Fractured Atlas here.

14) Burning Man
Once a year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. In this crucible of creativity, all are welcome. The mission of the Burning Man organization is to facilitate and extend the culture that has issued from the Burning Man event into the larger world.
Donate to Burning Man here.

15) Foundation Center
Foundation Center's mission is to strengthen the social sector by advancing knowledge about philanthropy in the U.S. and around the world.
Donate to Foundation Center here.

So that's it. And even if you might not be able to give $15 to all 15 organizations, how much do you think you CAN give? $10? Maybe just $5? Maybe all you can do is spread the word among your own networks, throughout December.

Whatever you do, just do something. And I would encourage you to start by looking at 15 organizations that are a part of your own life, that you believe in and support.

In case you didn't know:
  • 30% of all giving occurs in December.
  • 12% of all giving happens in the last three days of the year.
Just some fun nuggets of info from this blog post at Network for Good.

And that's why I wanted to try and do something a bit special this year, not just to support the organizations I love, but to encourage my friends and family to support them to. Because you never know if that one email, tweet, or Facebook post might be the one that encourages someone to support an org that might have already been thinking of it, or might not have even know about it but fits with their own values perfectly.

Some might ask, why not just support one organization with the entire $225. Personally, the first reason that comes to mind is because my life is too multi-faceted to be able to pick one singular thing that is THAT much more important than the others. Another reason is I'd like to believe that spreading it out AND spreading the word will have more of a multiplier effect among my own community and network, because different friends of mine will have affinities for different organizations.

So will you join me? Which 15 organizations will you support in '15 with $15 each? Let me know in the comments.