I met Brian Rubin on twitter nearly two years ago. He happened upon PGCSIF and reached out to me to learn more about what we were up to. He was based in New Jersey at the time and like me wanted to pursue social entrepreneurship, but with two cute kids and an amazing wife, he had to think twice about making the leap.
Then I met Pickett Harrington who had recently started Joltage Innovation. Pickett is a community leader from the mid-West and had recently relocated to the DMV for his wife’s new job. A friend of mine somehow saw his resume and sent it to me. After talking a bit with Pickett, I thought, “Wow, he and Brian have a lot in common – I should introduce them”. I made the introduction at a ‘start-up’ meeting that PCGSIF hosted in March of this year.
Several months later, Brian found a job in DC and settled in temporarily with family friends who also lead a church in Hyattsville – Triumphant Church. Brian knew that I was interested in creating a co-working space for social entrepreneurs so that people like ‘us’ would have a place to collaborate, work, and grow. Perrin Rogers, who co-leads Triumphant Church with his father, was also interested in making his ministry more community-oriented. Brian introduced Pickett and I to Perrin.
On the premises of Triumphant Church at 6521 Riggs Road is a restaurant with a commercial kitchen and about 600 square feet of unoccupied space. The church was no longer using the space and Perrin with Brian’s urging thought “maybe we can use this to pilot a co-working site in partnership with PGCSIF”. And so, for the last couple months we have been meeting and planning and meeting and planning. We have been slowly growing a community of like-minded people who want to affect change, strengthen the local economy, increase civic engagement, and build community cooperatively.
On November 2, 2013 from 1 PM – 3 PM, we will open a modest co-working space in what use to be a church restaurant. In my opinion, there’s no better example of how social innovation works! Reserve here or just drop in.
To learn more about our co-working community, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Considering public schools – K through 6 – typically close at 2 PM, providing students with quality after school programs that not only provide essential care but also round out the learning they receive during the regular school day is critical. “Parents depend on after school programs to provide transportation from school to a convenient and safe location, to provide a healthy snack, help with homework, and offer enrichment activities so that they can work and provide for their families”, says Shakir McDonald of the BEE Academy.
The after school infrastructure in Prince George’s County is expansive, but mostly disconnected from public school curricula and outcomes. There are approximately 60,000 children in K through 6 in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) and an estimated 60% of them participate in organized after school care or enrichment programs almost every day. This dynamic is unique to Prince George’s County because of the daily outward commute of most parents for employment purposes. “Given the need and desire to improve the performance of our students and our schools, the opportunity to strengthen this after school infrastructure and establish a more qualitative link between public school standards and after school programming is a common sense approach to supporting our pursuit of educational excellence”, notes Tonia Wellons – Founder of the Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund.
The pilot ‘2 to 6 Initiative’ initiative is launched in partnership with The BEE Academy in Landover, SHABACH Christian Academy in Landover, Ideal Childcare Center in District Heights, the Cultural Academy for Excellence in Mount Rainier, and Redeem Christian Academy in Temple Hills. The initiative is supported with partial funding from Prince George’s County Government and the World Bank Group Community Connections Fund. The Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce has also been a supportive partner in the effort.
With high hopes on the potential of the pilot initiative, PGCSIF is looking to scale this effort countywide in partnership with after school providers, PGCPS, the private sector, and philanthropy. Learn more about this initiative at www.innovateprincegeorges.org/education.
Simply Delightful Soul Food of Suitland (5685 Suitland Rd, Suitland, MD 20746, (301) 735-7467) is on the road and serving up the masses. I am so excited that he was successful in the licensing process. Simply Delightful Soul Food has been nominated for Steve Harvey’s Neighborhood Award for best soul food restaurant. From the looks of the pics, I need to fast a couple of days and then head down there. (Source via PGC Blog Food News)
Oct. 16, 2013 - WASHINGTON, D.C. – After serving a 7-month post as Acting Music Director at Washington’s Trinity Episcopal Church, Petersburg native and VSU alumnus Patrick D. McCoy was installed as the church’s Minister of Music in a formal service on Sunday, September 15, 2013. In the presence of the congregation and a host of family and friends, McCoy also entered into covenant with the members of the Trinity Chancel Choir, who were commissioned for music minstry.
The service was led by The Rev’d Canon John T. W. Harmon, the church’s pastor and rector. Canon Harmon is formerly the rector of Saint Stephen’s church in Petersburg, relocating to Washington in 2000.
“I used to play occasionally for Father Harmon when he was at Saint Stephen’s, so to now have the opportunity to service in ministry with him in D.C. is indeed an honor. I am especially grateful to the many members of Unity Baptist Church (where my mom is a faithful member) who expressed their love financially to this new season of ministry.” McCoy said.During the service of installation, the various symbols of music ministry were presented by members of the choir. The organist/choirmaster surplice bestowed upon Patrick by his mother Velma McCoy-Pulley and choir member Sondra Legall, hymnals by Caroline Edwards, The Psalter by Carolyn Bryant, Oxford Book of Anthems by Carver King and Letter of Agreement by Dr. Vincent Adams The culmination of the installation was the presentation of the Conductor’s Baton by Canon Harmon.
Several family friends and special guests were in attendance, including Mrs. Shelia Spikes, Mr. James E. Parrish, Mr. Brian Richardson, Dr. Scott Jackson Dantley, Dr. Michael Fain, Mr. Isaac K. Thweatt, Mr. Terrence Bradford Tarver, Ms. Lolinda K. Mosely, Ms. Dana Kristina-Joi Morgan, Washington Performing Arts Society President Jenny Bilfield with daughter Hallie Friedman, Terri Allen-Executive Director of the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts and members of the Takoma Park Baptist Church music ministry.
Following a six year tenure as Director of Music and Organist at Covenant Presbyterian Church, McCoy moved to Washington, D.C. in 2006, where he recently served as Minister of Music at Takoma Park Baptist Church for six years. Named among the Forty Under 40 for Prince George’s County for his contributions to the arts, he is the performing arts columnist for Washington Life Magazine. He is a newly appointed member of the Shenandoah University Alumni Board of Directors.
(source via the examiner.com)
The Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund (PGCSIF) is pleased to announce the call for nominations for Forty UNDER 40 Prince George’s 2014. Forty UNDER 40 recognizes county residents, under the age of 40, who best exemplify the leadership and talent that exists in Prince George’s County. This is the third year of the prestigious award, which promotes the corollary goal to more actively engage the County’s 21- 39 year old demographic in civic and socially oriented ventures through advisory, board service, and advocacy opportunities. After two successful years of recognizing a total of 80 honorees, nearly 20% have joined non-profit boards and advisory committees throughout the County. Past honorees have also engaged in policy discussions with the Prince George’s County Executive and his leadership team and the leadership at the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce on issues ranging from public education to economic development and residency preferences for employment and contracting.
Nominations for the 2014 Cohort are accepted through October 31, 2013. To qualify, nominees must reside in Prince George’s County, Maryland and be under 40 years of age (as of December 31, 2013). These individuals will have demonstrated success in Arts and Humanities, Business, Education, Health, Public Service, and Science and Engineering. Nominees must demonstrate achievement, commitment, and persistence in their respective professions and/or community involvement. Award recipients will be announced in late-November and recognized in January. We encourage nominations from individuals and organizations. Self-nominations are also welcomed.
FOOD TRUCKS… Prince George’s County is ripe to benefit from the food truck craze. The local restaurant options leave quite a bit to be desired, the USDA recently designated certain portions of our County as a ‘food desert’, and County residents are looking for a quick fix (we drive out of the County every single day for them). The possibility to integrate food trucks with our expansive and beautiful parks system is gold mine waiting to be discovered. The regulatory environment does not prohibit food trucks on Park and Planning sites – we did the research to prove it! We really want to see this happen – quickly!
RESIDENCY PREFERENCES…. How do you reverse the outward commute, increase daytime spending, and potentially expand the commercial tax base? One consideration is to create residency preferences for employment and business contracting (including contracting with local artists in local venues). Residents want a piece of the pie (refer back to Food Trucks), and they’d like to eat it in Prince George’s County during daytime hours.
What do you say? Tell us below, leave a reply:
The following scenarios reflect reality as faced by many Prince George’s County-based artists and arts service providers, hereafter referred to as the “creative economy”:
Featured in Paris art galleries, a Hyattsville photographer whose images depict the lives of local residents, struggles to secure a point of sale for his work in the new arts district.
A youth theater company, which doubles as an afterschool program for children in Forestville, rehearses in the basement of a church and is forced to relocate or cancel rehearsals to accommodate church events.
Though she has yet to utter a note for audiences at Harmony Hall or the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, a Bowie singer performs regularly for sold-out audiences in South Africa and Japan.
Art is serious business. According to the numbers, Prince George’s County residents prefer the exotic to the native – as if art created within county lines has less significance than artwork created across country borders.
Research by Americans for the Arts reveals the local economic impact of the Arts. In the Greater Washington, DC region, spending by local, non-profit arts organizations and their audiences totaled $1.51 billion during fiscal year 2010 and amounted to $61.1 billion across the United States. Cultural tourists spent more than local residents on admission prices, meals before and after events, lodging, etc.
In 2010 Prince George’s County residents spent almost $13 million outside of the County, at museums, galleries, and education outreach programs. The direct result is that members of our creative economy are professional nomads crossing time zones to find career-sustaining opportunities and ideal working conditions.
The artistic “brain drain” is real, and the Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund wants to find the leak. We seek to augment the economic impact of the arts in the County by connecting local venues and opportunities to local artists with proven skill and an established customer base.
To join the discussion, send contact information (name, e-mail address, social-media handles, websites, etc.) to email@example.com.
Recently I had the absolute privilege to hear the First Lady of the United States of America—Michelle Obama—deliver the address for Bowie State University’s 2013 Commencement. It was a moment I soaked up; one I will have for the rest of my life. Sitting there with my friends, who like me are alums of the university, as well as two of our mothers our eyes filled with tears. As we watched…heard…listened to a woman who exemplifies that things we did not believe were possible—are.
All the better that what she said struck such a cord. As she spoke, she invoked the legacy of which we once were proud, but now too few seem to recognize at all. One where, as Bowie State University was founded in 1865, blacks were provided one of the rights of freedom that can never be taken away—an education. Of course, there are many who value it, who earn multiple degrees, and go into debt for it. But, there are also far too many of us that take this opportunity for granted.
And this has been my concern with respect to how to improve the Prince George’s County Public School System. I matriculated through the public schools in the county. Attended the University of Maryland and earned a degree from Bowie State University. I remember being appalled when a student at Bowie State asked me “why would you transfer from Maryland to Bowie?” Because my answer was one of audacity that had not occurred to her: “I can go to school anywhere.” I was prepared. And I would do the work—no matter where I went to college—to be whatever my dream dictated.
I learned this audacity at home. Where education was a core part of our value system. My Mother, when I once later thought I would travel the world instead of going to college quoted to me the United Negro College Fund slogan “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.” And she was right. So I pushed on. Where would I be today if I had not? And if not for my Father and for my Grandparents. The people I saw whose deep roots in a very racist south taught them and me that they were doing what they hoped I would not later have to. That their tireless work would open a door of opportunity for me to do and to be more.
So when Mrs. Obama got a little emotional speaking about her Dad and how he soldiered daily to get up for work to pay what he could towards her college tuition despite his illness, I knew of the sacrifice of which she spoke. As well as the imprint it left on her mind of what was truly important. I sometimes wonder how many of my fellow Prince Georgians feel the same.
There was a time, as Mrs. Obama said, that we were “hungry to learn.” Where it was against the law for black Americans to learn to read. Yet many, right here in our county, sought their freedom through the power of knowledge. Where has this gone? Have we gotten to the middle-class and moved so far up that we have lost much of what got us here? In a county that so many look to as a beacon of success, I’ve been disappointed to hear from my friends with kids in the school system the things that are happening there. Not everywhere of course, but in enough classrooms. But when I’ve had the opportunity to interact with young people, as I often do in my work, I’m even more disappointed when too many of them tell me what they experience; not only in the classroom and community, but in their homes. From a village and a generation before them that seems to have provided much material wealth yet has fallen short in offering some basic guidance.
I’m not sure where I net out in this discussion of changes to the school board, but what I do know is this—it’s not so much about who is in power—but who is empowered. There are people from all across the globe that come to the United States from some of the poorest communities in the world and succeed in college and in life. Not because they came from the school system that spent the most money—but because they want it.
Prince George’s County has the highest obesity rate in the state of Maryland. We’re hungry for something…but just what is it?
The city of Bowie is actively considering the addition of an indoor sports facility for residents in the coming years, and it couldn’t come at a better time. With the recent publication of the 2013 County Health Rankings by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, health data indicates that we still have a long way to go towards improving the physical health of Prince George’s County residents.
The adult obesity rate within the county is one of the highest in the state, with 34% of all county residents having a bit more meat on their bones then necessary. Perhaps it’s because we have every fast food option imaginable? Seventy-two percent of all food establishments within the county belong to a fast-food chain, making that a whopping 681 fast food restaurants in total, the most of any Maryland county.
Yet, our fate may not be as grim after all. The premature death rate of all county residents has been reduced from 8,258 years of potential life lost before the age of seventy-five to 7,720 years of life lost. The county’s physical environment rating increased by two and was also given the number two position for creating open access to its many parks. Given this information, the health of the county is improving incrementally, but could benefit from increased physical activity and better nutrition options. Residents can become more acquainted with local parks as well as keep active by creating walking or fitness groups. Residents should also push for policy changes to increase nutritional options. For instance, legislation could mandate grocery stores or farmers markets for a specified number of fast food restaurants within any one area. How else can we better utilize available resources, such as parks, recreational facilities, and even our neighborhoods and homes to improve our health? What are some secrets and suggestions for maintaining health and wellness within Prince George’s County?