Founded in 1992, the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers is a nonprofit membership association comprised of over 100 of the most well-respected foundations and corporate giving programs in the Greater Washington, D.C. region. Dedicated to improving the health and vitality of the region and all who live here, the WRAG network provides a robust arena for grantmakers to network, learn, problem-solve, and develop collaborative solutions to achieve greater impact with limited philanthropic dollars.
We embrace the vision of an equitable region in which all can participate and prosper.
The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers promotes increased, effective and responsible philanthropy to improve the health and vitality of the region and all who live here.
Our Commitment to Racial Equity
In 2018, WRAG’s Board of Directors voted to elevate the pursuit of racial equity to an ongoing organizational commitment. Like many in our community and across the country, WRAG has been on a journey to understand the depth, breadth, and impact of structural racism and implicit bias. That journey has made clear to us the urgency with which the philanthropic sector must leverage all of its resources to dismantle structural racism, examine implicit biases within the sector, and commit to creating a racially equitable and just society. We believe that it is the role of WRAG to encourage and enable members that are also committed to this work. To have this level of commitment, WRAG is working to embed racial equity into all that we do as an organization, both internally and externally. Read more about our commitment to racial equity here.
Through convenings, thought leadership, and facilitated networking, WRAG enables effective, strategic, and responsible philanthropy. By strengthening Greater Washington's philanthropic community, we are strengthening communities across the region.
Here are a few of our major recent accomplishments
Educating philanthropy on the complexity of racism
In 2016, WRAG launched Putting Racism on the Table, a learning series to educate funders about the breadth, depth, and impact of structural racism, implicit bias, and white privilege. In 2018, WRAG expanded the series to include other local civic leaders by partnering with Leadership Greater Washington on Expanding the Table for Racial Equity. Since this work began, a Racial Equity Working Group launched under the WRAG umbrella, and many funders are increasingly focusing on how they can advance racial equity in the region (see page 5 of WRAG's annual report, Our Region, Our Giving, for the latest data).
Advancing the field of corporate social responsibility
WRAG’s Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility, offered in partnership with Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Corporate Citizenship Center, is a professional certificate program designed by and for corporate social responsibility professionals. Through the Institute, CSR practitioners grow their skills and build their network of CSR colleagues.
Spurring cross-sector collaboration for change
Since 2014, WRAG and several members - Enterprise Community Partners, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Citi, and the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region - have convened the Housing Leaders Group of Greater Washington, a collection of more than a dozen public and private sector leaders concerned about housing affordability. The group has been examining the nature of the affordable housing shortage in the Greater Washington region; the relationship of housing affordability to economic growth; and strategies to increase affordable housing in the region.
Creating a pipeline of future philanthropy professionals
Through our Philanthropy Fellows program with the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute, WRAG connects students in philanthropy and nonprofit management programs to fellowship positions with our member organizations. Since 2011, over 50 students have gained in-depth experience in philanthropy with over 30 funders, leading to a number of fellows taking on full-time positions in philanthropy upon graduation.
Increasing investments in underserved jurisdictions
In 2015, WRAG hosted the first-ever Loudoun County Philanthropy Conference to introduce the region’s philanthropic community to the specific needs and opportunities in Loudoun County, Virginia, provide a venue for collectively exploring strategies for addressing those needs, and, ultimately, to encourage increased and more effective philanthropic investments in the county. The conference launched an ongoing cross-sector effort to advance equity and build opportunity for this often over-looked corner of our region.
Connecting funders and other community leaders with national thought leaders
If knowledge is power, WRAG’s efforts to expose our region’s philanthropic and social profit leaders to critical new thinking has contributed to organizational strength and to new approaches.
The WRAG CEO Coffee & Conversation series has featured thought leaders as diverse as Peter Murray exploring rapid experimentation and the value of failure, to Sherece West-Scantlebury discussing her efforts to promote national funding commitments in an underserved part of the country, and local business leader Bob Buchanan discussing the importance of the business community and philanthropy being more aligned.
The Brightest Minds lecture series has featured Jeff Edmonson discussing collective impact, Henry Cisneros exploring the multiplicity of ways that adequate housing supports healthy families, Michael Twitty introducing the concept of culinary justice, and many, many more.
Providing impactful learning and networking opportunities
Through our working and affinity groups, issue briefings, and brown bag lunches, our members gain the connections and information they need to develop informed and effective funding strategies. Over the past few years, discussions around our conference room table have sparked new initiatives and collaborations, including launching a funder group focused on building a more equitable food system, the expansion of a successful model for serving veterans and their families to northern Virginia, the launch of the D.C. Cultural Data Project, to name just a few.