The Washington, DC region is great >> and it can be greater.

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Want to write great blog posts? We'll teach you how!

Blogging is a powerful way to share what you know. On Thursday, June 23rd at 2001 L Street NW, we'll train you to write blog posts that effectively and persuasively share your ideas with the world.

The session is from 6:30-8:30, in room 222. The goal is to help you expand your writing skills by teaching you what works and what doesn't in blogging! Here's some of what we'll cover:

  • Three fundamentals that any blog post should have
  • How to pick a topic and write an introduction that will grab readers' attention
  • The strengths and weaknesses of a sample GGWash post
We'll also have plenty of time to answer your questions.

If you want to attend, please let us know via this form.

We plan to host more of these sessions all around the region, so don't worry if you can't make it to this one. Also, let us know if you'd like to host a session; we'd love to come to your neighborhood or group!

Meta


Corporate sponsorships: How Greater Greater Washington does (and doesn't) work with businesses

For lots of nonprofits, corporate sponsorships play a big role in keeping the lights on. Here at Greater Greater Washington, we've talked internally about how we would and wouldn't work with corporate sponsors, and in keeping with our commitment to transparency, wanted to share that with you. The bottom line: we will take sponsorships, but we're not going to publish any sponsored content, period.

Corporate sponsorships make up a small piece (4.2%) of our projected revenue pie for 2016. Sponsorships usually revolve around an event where the sponsor provides GGWash money in exchange for marketing visibility.

For example, we received $3,500 and donations of products around our birthday party in March 2016. As a benefit of making these donations, we publicized the sponsors on our blog and gave them a shout out during the party.

This arrangement is mutually beneficial. We get funding that supports the blog and our housing program, and the sponsor gets a chance to show readers that their business cares about the things that GGWash writes about and supports.

Both parties benefit, and GGWash maintains its editorial freedom.


Trivia prizes made possible by sponsors. Photo by Aimee Custis.

How we won't work with companies

Editorial integrity is one of our a core values, so we've set a firm policy against any kind of sponsored content at this time.

However, sometimes a sponsor is going to be working on something that we might write about anyway. We support building more housing, and maybe a developer is also building some housing. Or, maybe a transportation consultant is working on a project for a bike lane or street redesign, which we might support anyway. We certainly don't want the fact that we got a sponsorship to suddenly mean we can't write about that company's project.

But what we don't want to happen is for someone to sponsor us with the expectation it will lead to a favorable article. We won't do that.

To help ensure that we do not let relationships with corporate partners influence our content, GGWash's volunteer Editorial Board will review any posts a contributor or editor might write about a sponsor's activities. Our staff won't write any posts about them. Members of the Editorial Board (see a list on our About page) aren't getting paid by GGWash, and won't benefit personally from any sponsorships we get. Therefore, their only interest is in maintaining our integrity, quality, and organizational effectiveness.

How we'll stay transparent

As we fundraise to support this site and our organization, we are committed to maintaining the flexibility to say whatever we want, and being open with readers about the sources of our funding.

Once per quarter, we will publish a post thanking our sponsors. We offer this as a benefit to our corporate partners, but this practice also helps provide transparency around the corporate sponsorships Greater Greater Washington has received.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about supporting Greater Greater Washington through a corporate sponsorship, let us know! Shoot us an email at info@ggwash.org!

Meta


Here's our new logo. Thank you for your help.

We need a new logo. Actually, we kind of need a logo, period—there's not really a logo on our website, just our name in some fonts, and a totally different icon on Twitter. We need something unifying. Here's what we've picked:

Many of you voted in our survey of eight options. The concept that turned into this got the best ratings, and we liked it too.

The double G reflects our name, of course, and the icon looks a little like a transit map (and uses a green close to the one for the Metro Green Line).

The tail is shaped somewhat like the District of Columbia, but it was important to us that the logo not be just something inside a DC outline, because we're explicitly about Greater Washington, not just DC. Here, the curve of the G sweeps beyond DC. The tail also suggests the Potomac and Anacostia rivers as well as "greater than" symbols.

We picked two tones of green and gray (a greenish gray). Green reflects growth and motion, like a traffic light. It's also the color for one line of the Metro system, one that spans a lot of different types of neighborhoods.

Finally, green is not the red of the DC flag, blue of Virginia, or gold and black of Maryland; we didn't want to favor one such entity over another, and using all three would be too busy and look too much like some nations' flags.

Gray is part of the site's current aesthetic, such as the sidebars. (You could also say it evokes the built environment, though honestly, we just picked it because it looks good with the green.)

The text is a font called Whitney Condensed, a sans serif with some playful features like the ends of some of the lines (see the top left of the W, the bottom right of the A, or the top right of the T). We want to provide you with solid information, but also don't want to be too square or stodgy about it, and this font fits that.

The tagline includes the double chevron "greater greater" which we also liked in the logo discussion. Many of you liked that symbol, but it didn't really work on its own. Here, as a secondary element, people can get the math joke, or not. That symbol also connotes motion, and the similarity to sharrows ties in bicycling.

We hope you like it. For sure, some of you will hate it; any logo change engenders some strong opinions. But we like it.

We may try to work in the logo here and there soon. More significantly, this is one step in redesigning our website, for which this logo will be a cornerstone. Stay tuned for more on that.

Thanks very much to Peter Dovak, who created the double G shape, and Derek Hogue, who is doing our website redesign and worked with us on colors, fonts, and text.

Meta


Did you know Greater Greater Washington has a home base?

Until the end of last year, Greater Greater Washington operated out of coffee shops and David Alpert's basement office. As the staff grew, so did the need for more permanent space. We moved into one in November!


1100 Connecticut Avenue NW.

With a small budget of $1,800 a month, we set out to find bright, centrally-located space in DC that could accommodate four people, and offered access to conference space. After looking at a half dozen potential options including co-working spaces, private spaces, and shared office space, we found what we were looking for.

Since November, we've called suite 810 at 1100 Connecticut Avenue NW home.

Here's a tour of our offices

We rent two offices and share the use of a small and large conference room with our suite mate, Olender Reporting.


Floor plan of our office suite.

Jonathan Neeley, our staff editor, and David Whitehead, our housing program organizer, share one office.


David (L) and Jonathan (R).

On any given day, you'll find Jonathan busy at his DIY sit-stand desk editing contributors' posts. David on the other hand, is in and out of the office, often meeting with people who want to help Greater Greater Washington support more attainable housing for more people in DC and the region.

David Alpert and I share the other office.


Sarah Guidi and David Alpert.

You'll find David here on Wednesdays and Fridays, meeting with staff about the blog, our housing program, and strategic directions of the organization. During the rest of the week, David is engaging in a research sabbatical of sorts: he's taking a deep dive into the economics of housing, development, and growth to better understand the forces that shape housing costs and identify the most promising solutions for making housing more abundant and attainable.

I am here in the office most days and spend my time supporting staff and volunteers, fundraising to keep the blog and our growing housing program going strong, and keeping track of our finances.

Meet our interns

Having dedicated space also meant that we could welcome two interns from Arizona State University!


Skyler Daviss (L) and Megan Kelly (R)

Skyler Daviss and Megan Kelly set out to do a semester in DC to learn about international development and advocacy. When their original placement fell through in March, we made a quick decision to welcome them for their final five weeks. They've been a great addition to the team these past few weeks and we'll miss them when they wrap up their internship this week. Thanks, Skyler and Megan!

And our neighbor


Corey Nichols of Olender Reporting.

Olender Reporting's Corey Nichols occupies the other office in our suite. We've piqued his interest in urbanism, and he even joined us at the Nationals game a few weeks ago and met some of our contributors.

Come visit!

Now that you've seen where we work, let us know if you want to come visit! Whether you're a contributor who needs some space to work on a post, or a reader who has a great idea you'd like to tell us about, come on over.

Events


Watch our editor play ultimate and have fun with your fellow GGWash readers!

Jonathan Neeley isn't just our editor. He's also a top ultimate Frisbee player and a member of the DC Breeze, a team in the professional American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). We're going to their next home game, on Saturday, May 7 against New York. Join us!


Photo by Kevin Wolf.

The Breeze play at Gallaudet University's Hotchkiss Field, their football stadium. The game starts at 6:30. Gates open at 5:15, and our Managing Director, Sarah Guidi, will be there to give you your tickets. We'll all be sitting in a block, so you can meet other GGWash readers, commenters, contributors, and editors while enjoying what should be a very fun game.

We've gotten a group rate for tickets, which are usually $12.50. Thanks to Don and Kellen with the Breeze for making the group discount available to GGWash. If you want to come support Jonathan in his game and also in a tiny way help us pay his salary, you can pay the same $12.50 for your ticket and some of that will go to our organization to fund him. Or, you can buy a ticket alone for $7.50.

To participate, you need to buy your ticket by 4 pm on Friday, May 6. You can get it by clicking the button below:

(Contributions to Greater Greater Washington are not tax deductible.)

Once you buy a ticket, look for an email from Sarah on Friday evening with details on where and how to meet her to get your tickets.

Aside from a chance to watch some very talented athletes, games are a great way to spend time outside and enjoy the community. You can buy both beer and food there (and for cheap!), and there's a live band that starts playing soon after the gates open. Kids 12 and under get in free, and there's also a free clinic to teach kids to play that runs from 5-6 pm.

The field is about a 15-minute walk from NoMa Metro. The 90s buses run past the campus along Florida Avenue, and the D4 and D8 just to the east, and the university runs a shuttle from Metro. There is a Capital Bikeshare station right on Gallaudet's campus, near the field, and drivers can buy daily parking passes.

Hope to see you there!

Development


Want to write about housing? We'll teach you how!

From bike lanes to Metro, Greater Greater Washington helps drive the conversation about transportation in our region. We could be saying more about housing, and you can help make it happen.


There's lots to say about all kinds of types of housing all over DC. Can you help us say it? Photo by Matt B on Flickr.

When I first heard about Greater Greater Washington, it was because of one our major political wins: the day thousands of readers saved the streetcar. There have been many others, all possible because we've built a platform and place to educate residents around issues that affect the places we live. This blog has become a powerful tool for information, argument, and action.

Our blog is growing in many ways, and one place we can afford to grow substantially right now is our focus on housing and development. What role can we play in shaping the conversation around housing in our region? What are the questions we want answered, the issues we want explored?

Write about housing for us

I'm constantly meeting with people across this city to discuss housing, and all the time, they say something like, "You know what I would love to read about? ______."

My answer is always the same: "Sounds like a great GGWash post! When can you write a draft?"

We have staff now at Greater Greater Washington, but we don't have staff writers! Our blog is sustained through the volunteers who recognize a story worth telling, and write it down. In the last quarter of this year alone we had 76 unique contributors help us build an archive of arguments, stories and issues that affect our region.

This upcoming Thursday, April 28th, from 6:30-8:30 we are hosting a workshop to help boost our coverage on housing. It will be our first in-person chance to explain a little of our thinking about what Greater Greater Washington can do about housing in the region, as well as a training for individuals and organizations who have similar visions and want to better engage our blog space with their ideas and stories.

Please fill out this form if you're interested in coming! We'll be in basement room A-9 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library.

Meta


We'll be redoing our website. Give us your input!

What do you think is great about the Greater Greater Washington website, and what could be greater? Give us your input on this survey!


The site in 2013.

Why do we have to make a change at all? A few reasons.

First, Greater Greater Washington runs on code I wrote myself and which has built up more and more complexity over the years. I'm the only one who can maintain it, and that's not a responsible way to run a larger organization. We should be on a widely-used Content Management System (CMS) that many people can code on.

While we're moving the site over, it's a good time to refresh the look. The layout dates to 2009. It was a great design and Joey Katzen did a fantastic job, and we don't want to change just for the sake of change.

However, it's been seven years and a lot has changed on the web with things like readability on various devices. And there are a few specific ways the user experience doesn't work for some groups of readers. I don't want to go into a lot of detail about what exactly I think most needs to change to avoid biasing your survey responses, but I'll follow up with more posts after the survey.

I know that many of you think the site shouldn't change. We don't want to mess with things that you really like, so part of the survey is a chance to tell us what specific elements you really don't want to change as well as what you do.

Regular comments will be closed on this post to encourage you to fill out the survey. Thanks!

Meta


Please welcome our new Housing Program Organizer, David Whitehead!

Hello Greater Greater Washington community! My name is David Whitehead, and as GGWash's Housing Program Organizer, I'm the latest addition to the organization's growing staff.

What's the housing program?, you may ask. That's a good question, and one we'll be asking ourselves continuously over the next couple months. But here is what I can tell you so far:

1. Housing is unaffordable for too many in this city

I moved here from Chicago, my first home as an adult after growing up split between the small town of Niwot, CO, and the hill country outside of San Antonio, Texas. In Chicago, I rented a nice 1-bedroom apartment that was twice as big as what I live in here in DC… and I paid exactly half the price.

I spend well over 30% of my income on housing, and I know there are plenty of others in the region who do the same. The reality is that there are many more with far less than I, whose struggles are far more intense. Part of our mission here at GGWash is to help shape a more livable, walkable, and inclusive DC area, and I think housing is the place to start.

2. Sometimes blogging is not enough

Greater Greater Washington has been instrumental and powerful in shaping much of the discussion and policy of our city, especially in regards to transportation. As a former high school math teacher, I truly appreciate the power of knowledge and its ability to change not only us, but the space we live in. During the five years I taught in Chicago, Costa Rica, and here in DC, I relished the moments when my kids not only finally "got" something, but also when they were able to use that information to engage and push back on the world around them.

But as I've transitioned to become a community organizer, I've learned that even the best-armed arguments and the most convincing and well-supported ideas all too often don't materialize into policy and public reality. It was partly this frustration—that knowledge wasn't enough to change the trajectory for some of my students—that led me step out of the classroom and into the public space.

Sometimes we just have to advocate and organize to win the kind of changes we want to see.

3. I can't do this by myself

I'm incredibly excited to meet the army of contributors, commenters, and volunteers that is Greater Greater Washington. My experiencing organizing with citizens and homeless families over the last year has taught me that the right ideas and the right leaders are often right here with us already. I hope I can help GGWash provide a platform for those ideas to shine and for leaders to step into the public arena and act with the support of this strong community behind them.

Our collective of writings and discussions have already shaped DC in many ways, and I can't wait to see what will happen when we combine those forces with our collective action. See you all soon.

Meta


Thank you for a great 8th birthday party!

Thanks to all of you—our readers, friends, and donors—who celebrated our 8th birthday last week!


Our 8th birthday bash crowd interacting with founder David Alpert and managing director Sarah Guidi as they say "thanks" to everyone at the party. All photos by Aimee Custis unless otherwise noted.

More than 100 of us gathered last Tuesday evening at Vendetta Bocce Bar and Tavern on H Street NE for cake, drinks, trivia and mingling.


Randall Keith Benjamin and Aimee Custis.

We were so excited that the streetcar opened in time for our party! Many of our guests arrived in streetcar style.


The only possible way to roll to a @ggwash meetup on H Street: @DCStreetcar, preceded by @bikeshare.—<wbr>Rob Pegoraro (@robpegoraro)

Thanks to all the local elected officials, agency heads, and planners who came out to support Greater Greater Washington, including DC councilmembers Elissa Silverman, Brianne Nadeau, and Charles Allen, DDOT director Leif Dormsjo, and WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld!


Lynn Bowersox, David Alpert, Paul Wiedefeld, and Dan Stessel.


Shaun Courtney, Jess Zimbabwe, and Karina Ricks.

While the party was on H Street in DC, we had representatives from across the region, like some of our Montgomery County friends including Planning Board chairman Casey Anderson.


Pete Tomao, Casey Anderson, and Joe Fox.

About 20 people participated in trivia. Winners went home with Capital Bikeshare memberships, smart growth books, as well as transit-themed books and mugs. Thank you to all of our sponsors who donated these prizes and made contributions to help keep Greater Greater Washington going strong this year.


Trivia winners went home with awesome prizes generously provided by goDCgo and Capital Bikeshare, Island Press, and Transit Oriented.

If you weren't able to join us for this year's party, we hope you can join us at an upcoming Greater Greater happy hour. In the meantime, thank you for being a part of our eight years (and counting)!

Meta


Keep Breakfast Links awesome! Be the next links editor.

Do you look forward to Breakfast Links every day? Would you be really sad if they weren't there one day? Apply to be the next Breakfast Links Editor to keep the daily links going strong!


Photo by Darrol on Flickr.

Why do we need a new links editor?

Over the years, many talented volunteers have put in hundreds of hours to write and edit the daily Breakfast Links. These people are so awesome that they get promoted at work or find themselves with greater responsibility in other parts of their lives. We celebrate along with our volunteers when things like this happen, but it does mean that we have to find new people to fill their roles.

Our terrific Breakfast Links editor, Abigail Zenner, just got a job at the Transportation Planning Board. That's super exciting for her and the TPB, but unfortunately means she has to stop editing the links. So, we need you to fill her spot!

What does being a links editor involve?

Being Breakfast Links editor means editing the daily Breakfast Links two days a week. Editing includes checking for stylistic, grammatical, and factual accuracy, and adding content (i.e., links) as needed.

The editor must be available to start editing at 7:30 am sharp on the designated days and finish by between 8:30 and 9:00. The editor will also provide regular feedback to his/her Breakfast Links post curators, and will help train new curators.

In order to be an effective editor, we feel it's important to know what it's like to write the links. So to start, you will be a curator, and write the links yourself. Our current links editors will edit them and give you feedback about what they edited and why. This is effectively Breakfast Links Editor training 101. After a month or two, when you feel comfortable, you'll step into the editing role.

Being a links editor also means that you'll become part of the Editorial Board. The Editorial Board is responsible for guiding the direction of the blog. Mostly this means participating in a weekly conference call and contributing to email discussions about pitches and posts.

Who would make a good Links Editor?

This is a great opportunity for an aspiring writer or editor, or anyone who wants to improve their writing and editing skills. Candidates should also have the flexibility to dedicate 1-2 hours in the morning, twice a week to this role.

To apply, fill out this form and complete a short assignment by 5:00pm on Tuesday, March 22.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask them in the comments or reach out to me directly: sguidi@ggwash.org.

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