Celebrating the Power of Our Community

This has been a challenging year, but our community stepped up in amazing, awe-inspiring ways. Our community came together to celebrate these efforts at the Power of Our Community, Montgomery County and Power of Our Community, Prince George’s County, two virtual convenings that applauded the cooperative spirit of these communities and the collective impact of our work.

If you missed these inspiring events, read on to access each event recording, our key take-aways and our Montgomery County and Prince George’s County impact reports.

Recap: Power of Our Community, Montgomery County

On December 8, a panel of philanthropic leaders—known for thinking creatively and working in close partnership with the communities they serve—discussed giving and leading boldly, creating a culture of “yes,” and how to embed a framework of social justice in philanthropy to create deeper change.

For a preview of the event, check out our short Montgomery County impact video.

  • “I think we have to be less afraid of failure,” said Mieka Wick, executive director of The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation. “There’s a lot of learning in failure. And if we’re not ever failing as funders, we aren’t being brave and bold enough.”

  • Crystal Carr Townsend, president and CEO of Healthcare Initiative Foundation, encouraged donors to be humble and flexible while working with communities to change systemic inequities. “If we’re going to change the future, we need to get to the root causes and invest in innovative approaches that align with other sectors and other funders to ensure holistic approaches that engage the community.”

  • Alise Marshall, director of strategy and new ventures at the Public Welfare Foundation stressed the importance of self-reflection for funders. “The call to action is work inside out. Really examine your internal practices, your hiring practices, the contractors you work with. Look within your organization and be super intentional about the work you’re doing.”

Recap: Power of Our Community, Prince George’s County

Hosted on December 10, Power of Our Community, Prince George’s County welcomed a panel of government, education and philanthropic leaders who discussed the importance of eliminating silos and embracing partnerships, going beyond what’s required to what is expected to get the job done, and the need for restoration so we can bring our best selves to our work.

For a preview of the event, check out our short Prince George’s County impact video.

  • Diana Léon-Brown, director of strategic partnerships for Prince George’s County, outlined the County's emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing food, medical care and supplies to frontline workers and raising $4 million from their partners. “This community has really come together. And I think crisis, as difficult as it can be, can also bring out the best in people. We had to really think about long-term impact and sustainability”

  • Dr. Falecia Williams, president of Prince George’s Community College, encouraged us all to NOT “stay in our lanes.” “What I’ve seen in this community is a willingness to redefine the boundaries, as we think about how to build communities through partnership.”

  • This event helped us focus not on the negative, but, rather, the power of our community. “It is moments like this where it’s often the case that, not only do we see the worst of what humanity can be, but we also see the best of it,” said Ronnie Galvin, The Community Foundation’s new managing director of community investment and moderator of the Prince George’s County panel.

Burness and Business Leaders Fighting Hunger Launch $100,000 Food for Montgomery Challenge Match

With 1 in 10 Montgomery County residents at risk of going to bed hungry, it’s not just governments and individuals who are stepping up to help feed our neighbors in need due to the pandemic. With a $100,000 challenge match grant focused on corporations, Burness and Business Leaders Fighting Hunger aim to inspire businesses to help meet the challenge of providing food to 114,000 food insecure residents in Montgomery County.

Andy Burness, a longtime Community Foundation donor said

“This innovative coalition of businesses is taking on hunger in the time of Covid to help raise $5 million, but we were dedicated to fighting hunger before the pandemic. Everyone has to step up – nonprofits do the work on ground, and government certainly has a large role to play, but businesses need to step up and make a real, significant contribution to help alleviate this unprecedented level of hunger.”

Volunteers prepare boxes of food to distribute in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Volunteers prepare boxes of food to distribute in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Each contribution will be matched, dollar for dollar, for Food for Montgomery, a coordinated public-private partnership between the Greater Washington Community Foundation, Montgomery County government, and more than 125 nonprofits, faith communities, small businesses, and farmers working to address the rise in food insecurity.  The Food for Montgomery Fund is raising $5 million to meet the staggering increase in food insecure Montgomery County residents today and ensure the county’s food relief system is ready for the future. 

Already the Food for Montgomery fund has raised more than $1 million to meet the urgent need for food now, support our small businesses and farmers, and strengthen our hunger relief system to meet today’s challenges and tomorrow’s crises. Since the start of the pandemic, Food for Montgomery has:

  • Supported local restaurants which prepared thousands of culturally-appropriate meals to deliver to home-bound seniors 

  • Purchased produce from local farmers that food providers distributed 

  • Stocked food providers’ shelves with nutritious food

  • Built capacity with grants to food providers for refrigerators, trucks, and other essential items

  • Helped more people sign up for food benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 

  • Leveraged technology to efficiently scale services, intake, and food delivery 

  • Expanded the number of food distribution sites and hubs to reach every part of the county

Yet because of COVID-19, the number of people wondering where their next meal will come from continues to grow; only with the support of the community will every Montgomery County resident have the nutritious food they need to work, learn, and live.

If you’d like to learn more about the Burness Challenge Match or Food for Montgomery, contact Anna Hargrave at ahargrave@thecommunityfoundation.org.

about burness

Burness is a mission-driven communications firm based in Montgomery County, Maryland. For the past 35 years, Burness has helped promote ideas that inspire and drive social change worldwide.


Co-founded by Sodexo and Burness, Business Leaders Fighting Hunger is a coalition of Montgomery County employers committed to doing their part to reduce hunger. Its strategic giving and leadership have been essential to strengthening Montgomery County’s food security system in recent years. To learn more, check out the Business Leaders Fighting Hunger 2020 Progress Report to read about the businesses behind this effort and how their philanthropic investments enabled partners to respond quickly when the pandemic struck Montgomery County.

Community Foundation Welcomes ‘Community Builder’ to Leadership Team, Celebrates New Staff and Staff Promotions


We are thrilled to welcome Ronnie Galvin as our new Managing Director for Community Investment. Ronnie oversees The Community Foundation team responsible for community leadership and discretionary funding programs, leading with his experience in and passion for racial equity and reparative justice. Below, hear from Ronnie on his dedication to community building and inspiration for joining The Community Foundation.

I am a community builder. This is the case in my personal and professional life. This essential part of my identity emerges from growing up in a tightly knit, self-determined, mutually supportive and accountable Black community in Miami, Florida. It was a place where elders were revered; every child was cherished; there was no such thing as hunger or homelessness; and every Black life not only mattered, but was celebrated and exalted.

I was birthed and raised in a Black working class family. My father professionally served 22 years as an enlisted airman in the United States Air Force. My mother was a domestic worker—herself coming from a long line of Black women deemed as the 'helping class.' They are now in the realm of the ancestors among many who provide counsel, inspiration, and protection for me as I come to this work. 

I do this work in a space that has already been opened by my partner, soulmate, and collaborator—Dr. Yanique Redwood, President and CEO of the Consumer Health Foundation. She is the fiercest, most tenacious, and consistent freedom fighter, lover of our people and lover of me that I know. We co-parent two young-adult children, Alana and Darren, who are both finding their way in the world.  

This feeling and experience of community is what inspires me.  It has enriched my life beyond my wildest dreams and deepest longings. I am compelled to build and share this same experience with the Greater Washington Community Foundation Family, across the DMV region, and wherever our work takes us in this country and on the planet.

New Operations and Accounting Staff

Over the past few months, we’ve welcomed several new staff members to The Community Foundation family! We are excited to work with…  

  • Marcus BraxtonManaging Director for Operations. Marcus joined the organization in December 2020, and leads The Community Foundation’s work to enhance its internal operations, systems, and processes to ensure the organization has the infrastructure needed to continue its success and impact. We’ll feature more on Marcus in the new year, so stay tuned!

  • Akista Haywood, Staff Accountant. Akista is responsible for the payroll and supporting the Accounting staff. She has over 20 years of Accounting and Payroll experience, coming to The Community Foundation from JSI where she was Payroll Manager. 

Celebrating New Staff Roles

Several Community Foundation staff have also been promoted to new roles in the organization! Please join us in congratulating:

  • Melen Hagos, Senior Manager for External Affairs. In her new role, Melen helps build partnerships in the community, leading a variety of initiatives, including programs and grantmaking initiatives, and identifying key community alliances that will move The Community Foundation's work forward. Melen joined The Community Foundation in 2017 as a Community Investment Associate where she coordinated all competitive and discretionary grantmaking across the region.

  • Kathy Matthews, Director, Grants Management. In her new role as Director, she oversees all financial and administrative operations and functions of grant awards–and is responsible for financial reporting, budget oversight and grants compliance. She has held several prior positions within The Community Foundation that include Receptionist, Grants Management Associate, and Grants Manager.

  • Benton Murphy, Senior Advisor for Impact. Previously as AVP for Community Investment, Benton led The Community Foundation’s VoicesDMV initiative and managed a set of endowed funds, including the Spring Creek Fund, Joshua Community Fund, Catalyst Fund and LGBTQ+ Fund for Philanthropy. With more than a dozen years of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, he also provides advisory services to donors and staff on effective grantmaking practices.

  •  Brittany Owens, Community Impact Associate. Brittany is the Technical Lead for grant applications, co-leads our racial equity and inclusion work, and provides support for fundraising with foundations. In previous roles, Brittany has gained experience lobbying and being a case manager with nonprofit organizations. 

  • Danielle Yates, Managing Director of Marketing and Communications. Danielle joined The Community Foundation in 2017 and brings more than 15 years experience leading marketing and communications programs for nonprofit associations. She leads the strategic vision and oversees tactical implementation of all communications and marketing programs across the organization. 

Learn more about our staff and their backgrounds here.

In this Together—In Any Season

By Rebecca Rothey, Vice President of Development and Senior Philanthropic Advisor

Rebecca Rothey

Rebecca Rothey

At this time of year, I am particularly grateful for my job. Philanthropy is my passion, and helping others discover opportunities to be philanthropic is a great joy. The Greater Washington Community Foundation provides the perfect context for this work, thanks to the collective knowledge of our donors, volunteers, and staff. That is knowledge not only of effective giving practices, but also of the issues affecting our region. 

This year, the killing of George Floyd, among far too many other Black men and women, led to widespread civil unrest and calls for racial and social justice as urgent issues for our community and our nation to take action on. Many community members—especially our Black and brown neighbors—were struggling before this pandemic and now find themselves standing in line for boxes of food or eking out their savings to make the rent or mortgage payment. On top of that, nonprofit organizations across the region, many of whom endeavor to help our lowest-income neighbors, are facing sudden losses of expected revenue, and increased but unfunded operational costs. Many have already folded. 

The Community Foundation has closely tracked regional needs throughout this year of turmoil and served as our region’s philanthropic first responder. Since the start of this crisis, our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund has addressed the public health and economic needs of our communities, with a particular focus on those disproportionately affected—typically low-income households and communities of color. 

Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of individuals, as well as corporate and foundation donors, we have been able to distribute over $10 million to meet the extraordinary needs of our community. And, with 50% of COVID-19 nonprofit partners led by people of color, we’ve continued to prioritize racial equity in our grantmaking.   

And the work is not over yet. 

Each year, particularly during this season, donors turn to The Community Foundation to help them identify where their philanthropy will have the greatest impact. In a year like 2020, this can be particularly crucial. We stand ready to listen to your particular interests and concerns—whether those be in environmental justice, human services, or elsewhere—and offer guidance or support. 

Rufus Lusk, III and Jessica Damen

Rufus Lusk, III and Jessica Damen

Let me tell you about a couple who are very clear about their priorities and have partnered with The Community Foundation for over 15 years to maximize their impact. Social justice is at the core of Rufus Lusk, III. and Jessica Damen’s giving. “Everything has a social justice component to it. There’s not a single charity we contribute to that doesn’t have this factor,” said Rufus.

Through their donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation, Rufus and Jessica support a wide range of social justice-focused organizations, including The Sierra Club, American Friends Service Committee, Doctors Without Borders, Southern Poverty Law Center, and many others. 

They are committed to advancing equity—especially at the local level, in the Prince George’s County community. The couple credits The Community Foundation with connecting them to local organizations that are committed to social and racial justice, and advising them about giving  opportunities like the Legacy Fund, established by The Community Foundation to provide relief to small Prince George’s County businesses suffering as a result of COVID-19.  

“Giving to small businesses—especially minority-owned—is absolutely crucial,” said Jessica. “They’re the backbone of our economy.” Rufus agreed, and added, “To develop greater social equity, you need strong organizations. And you need local strong organizations. That’s what The Community Foundation is all about.”

I started this blog post by saying that philanthropy is my passion. I’m dedicated to working with donors to invest in organizations fostering real change in our society—and helping people discover their passions along the way. I’d be delighted to partner with you in this process and help to further develop your giving priorities.   

One easy place to start is this Washington Post piece, featuring giving tips from our Montgomery County office Executive Director Anna Hargrave. Some other resources I recommend include:

  • Bethesda Magazine’s annual Guide To Giving, to which we contribute, with a vetted list of nonprofit partners in Montgomery County addressing a range of issues.

  • The Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington, which we mail to all of our donors in November. This year, it features 80+ nonprofit partners focused on COVID-19 response work.

  • Our own list of more than 200 nonprofits selected over the past six months to receive grants from our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund—all worthy of consideration for additional gifts. 

  • Become a Community Champion with a contribution to the Fund for Greater Washington, and help us provide vital resources to civic and community organizations, incubate new ideas, and remain flexible and vigilant in leading the response to today’s needs and tomorrow’s challenges. 

“We’re all in this together” is a familiar refrain in this pandemic. But it could be the motto of The Community Foundation in any year. We’re glad to have you with us.

The Children’s Opportunity Fund Awards up to $100,000 to Literacy-Focused Montgomery County Nonprofits

Nonprofits Selected Through A Participatory Grantmaking Process

The Children’s Opportunity Fund (COF), a community impact initiative of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, is pleased to announce up to $100,000 in grants to 4 nonprofit organizations working to improve educational outcomes for Montgomery County’s children, youth, and families.

Each organization will receive funding up to $25,000 for project/program support providing direct service, advocating for, or researching literacy skills for children ages birth to 8 and their families.

 The Community Foundation recognizes that now, more than ever, it is critical to engage with and empower community voices to advance more equitable solutions. In particular, those that often remain unheard are our Black, brown, and low-income neighbors—and they need a platform to share their views. 

 To that end, the Children’s Opportunity Fund used a participatory grantmaking framework for its grant review process. Participatory grantmaking drastically alters the traditional funding model by ceding decision-making power over funding to local community members. 

Our Participatory Grants Committee included Montgomery County community members, educators, students and parents. This offered a diverse mixture of perspectives and experience, which we hope will promote more equitable decision-making. The review process began with several group discussions on the importance of equity in education, and the opportunity and achievement gaps present in Montgomery County. Committee members then focused on these issues, and insights from their group discussions, when reviewing applications and making final funding recommendations.  

Below, meet our new COF grantees and learn how their projects will support and empower students and families in Montgomery County. 

Advancing Black Lives in Education 

Advancing Black Lives in Education (ABLE) will use this funding to address learning loss for Black students by providing tutoring services, family support, critical learning tools and educational supplies.

 “The philosophy behind this impact initiative matches our vision: to provide support to Black children who attend Montgomery County Public Schools in grades pre-K through 5. We’ve seen many parents in the Black community request academic support for their children, as well as assistance in understanding the recovery plan and making informed decisions about their children's return to school. 

It is widely known that Black families are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus, economically and with respect to education. This work is important because our children and families need additional support from the community to thrive in the virtual learning environment and after they return to school.” -Natalie Thomas, President

ABLE expects to see a positive impact on children's academic achievement and families' social-emotional stability. ABLE hopes that, by reaching Black parents and providing them with a voice, they will become more actively engaged with their childrens’ school and related activities, such as PTA and school reform. 

Story Tapestries 

This grant will help fund Story Tapestries’ Discover the Power of the Written Word (DPWW) program, which offers high-impact literacy programs to 1300+ economically disadvantaged youth, educators and caregivers in Montgomery County. This includes professional development for educators, family supports through interactive events, and monthly arts and literacy kits for families. 

“Young children in Montgomery County are struggling to adapt to health and safety measures required in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The hardest hit are those who were already experiencing economic hardship. Many of those children were already behind their peers in learning how to read and write. 

Story Tapestries has the tools and community connections to reach these children, their educators and their families - online - with a unique set of resources and services that boost their learning, overcoming barriers such as language, while also increasing an important ingredient in their daily lives - JOY!” -Arianna Ross, Executive Director

Story Tapestries will help bridge the learning gap for children who are behind their peers in learning targets, and generate a feeling of connectedness in 5 school communities, helping promote joy and hope. They will help reconnect educators with their passion for teaching by connect them with Teaching Artist mentors. And, they will help mentor parents on how to support their children more effectively from home.

GapBuster, Inc.

This grant will allow GapBuster, Inc., to offer a Cross-Tutorial Mentoring program to address the widening academic gap for students that have been impacted by COVID-19. It will also help students continue to move from in-person instruction to a virtual learning environment.

“Studies have reported that the digital divide disproportionately impacts students living in poverty and students of color--and COVID-19 has only magnified this problem. Right now communities are suffering, requiring innovative, creative, and aggressive programs that can lead to positive outcomes.” -Yvette Butler-Yeboah, MD, Executive Director 

GapBuster, Inc. hopes to positively impact students with our one-on-one and group Cross-Tutorial Mentoring program, resulting in at least 75% of participants improving at least one grade level in math and ELA by June 30, 2020; and, at least 75% of participants reporting reduced stress as it relates to COVID-19

Loud Voices Together 

Loud Voices Together will use this grant to fund the Harriet Tubman Scholars program, which supports Black and brown students in Montgomery County, MD, in the areas of literacy and math.

“Loud Voices Together was inspired to apply for this grant because of our commitment to equity and education for all students. We are particularly focused on Black and brown students with disabilities, due to the disparities and inequities experienced historically by this community. This funding opportunity will provide these students with the same opportunities as their economically advantaged peers who can secure literacy and numeracy direct services privately.” -Ronnetta Stanley, M.Ed., Executive Director

Loud Voices Together endeavors to help all students develop adequate reading and math skills, to support their long-term academic and professional success. The hope is that all students will make measurable growth in literacy and numeracy skills through this project. 

About the Children’s Opportunity Fund

The Children’s Opportunity Fund is a public-private partnership funded jointly by the Montgomery County Government and Public Schools to leverage public funds to attract private investment. COF champions, plans, and funds strategic investments that improve the lives of low-income children and families in the county. With a focus on innovative, evidence-informed efforts targeted at closing the opportunity gap, COF identifies priority areas for investment based on unmet need, aligns resources toward effective multi-sector collaborations serving the county’s most vulnerable youth and their families, and seeks new funding sources. COF has invested $2 million to expand opportunities for out of school time programs, internships and career prep programs, and early childhood care and education for low-income families. 

Fund for Children, Youth And Families Awards $1.99 Million to Greater Washington Region Nonprofits

The Fund for Children, Youth, and Families (FFCYF) at the Greater Washington Community Foundation is pleased to announce $1.99 million in grants to 49 nonprofit organizations serving disadvantaged children, youth, and families across the Greater Washington region. The organizations will receive grants of up to $50,000 for project/program support or general operating support.

These grants support organizations that are:

  • Helping families experiencing homelessness, and those participating in housing-based service programs

  • Closing the achievement gap for students from various racial and ethnic backgrounds

  • Closing the achievement gap between low-income and high-income families by investing in early childhood education, academic achievement for school-aged children, and college preparation and career training

  • Supporting children in the foster care system by promoting permanency and helping youth leaving the system achieve self-sufficiency

Watch coverage of our FFCYF grants in this Local WDVM segment

Watch coverage of our FFCYF grants in this Local WDVM segment


Take the Wesley Housing Development Corporation, for instance, awarded funding to help low-income households avoid eviction. The grant will help 139 households in DC to maintain their housing. Of these households, nearly 50 residents will participate in one-on-one career coaching to attain unemployment benefits or re-enter the workforce. And, they will receive material assistance, such as grocery store gift cards, hygiene items, and youth “Study & Snack Packs,” at no additional cost.

Or, CollegeTracks, a Montgomery County nonprofit that that helps prepare high school students for higher education. Our grant will help fund their College Access Program, focusing on college admissions and counseling. Of the 784 students who were enrolled in the program in Spring 2020, nearly 630 will enroll in college within a year of their high school graduation.

Our grant to Prince George’s Child Resource Center will provide child development and parent/child learning activities for 95 participants, with the goal of improved language and cognitive abilities. Within one year, we also anticipate participating parents to demonstrate an improved understanding of nurturing parenting techniques.

These are just a couple organizations and projects that we’re proud to support. Below, read on for a full list of our FFCYF grantees and their projects.

  • Adoption Together
    To host informational meetings on foster care and adoption with 250 prospective families

  • AHC, Inc.
    To support the development of literacy and social engagement skills for 112 students in its afterschool program

  • Aspire Afterschool Learning
    To support 80 children in its LearningROCKS! afterschool program

  • Center for Adoption Support and Education
    To provide therapy sessions for 33 children who are moving from the foster care system into permanent, loving families

  • Central American Resource Center
    To provide housing counseling services to help 50 participants maintain stable housing

  • Children’s Law Center
    To provide legal support and other service to help children grow up in permanent, stable, loving families

  • Collaborative Solutions for Communities
    To help 12 families transition to permanent housing

  • CollegeTracks
    To help almost 800 high school seniors enroll in college or vocational programs

  • Community of Hope
    To help 14 families in remain stably housed or transition to another positive housing situation

  • Cornerstones
    To help 25 families move into stable, permanent housing

  • Court Appointed Special Advocate - Montgomery County, MD
    To recruit and train 100 additional CASA volunteers

  • Court Appointed Special Advocate - Prince George's County, MD
    To increase capacity for its Transitioning Youth program

  • Court Appointed Special Advocates – Fairfax County, VA
    To provide the services of a CASA volunteer to 292 children

  • DC Bilingual Public Charter School
    To enroll 34 children in PK-3

  • DC Volunteer Lawyers Project
    To train 38 volunteer lawyers to offer 140 victims legal and/or advocacy assistance

  • District Alliance for Safe Housing
    To assist families through its Cornerstone Program, Empowerment Project and Survivor Resilience Fund

  • District of Columbia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
    To improve the capacity of the District's 2,300 early childhood educators to identify children at risk for developmental disabilities

  • Doorways for Women & Families
    To provide safe housing, life skills and employment services to 30 households experiencing homelessness

  • Edgewood Brookland Family Support Collaborative
    To help 80 families and individuals obtain or retain stable housing

  • Family and Youth Initiative
    To match four teens with an adoptive family

  • Friends of the National Arboretum
    To provide career awareness workshops to youth from low-income communities

  • Generation Hope
    To offer college readiness workshops, application and enrollment services, and ongoing support throughout college for 170 teen parents

  • Good Shepherd Housing & Family Services, Inc.
    To place 90 vulnerable and homeless participant families in affordable housing

  • Healthy Babies Project
    To help pregnant/parenting youth find stable housing and create educational or job readiness plans

  • Homeless Children's Playtime Project
    To increase the number of advocacy coalition partners and expand support services for children in families experiencing homelessness

  • Homestretch
    To provide debt and financial services and help four homeless adults transition to stable housing

  • Hope House
    To provide college preparation services to high school students and ongoing support to students while in college

  • Housing Up
    To help 686 families obtain and/or maintain stable housing

  • Identity, Inc.
    To help 50 students demonstrate improvement or achieve their grade-level target in key literacy skills

  • International Rescue Committee
    To help 70 refugees increase their incomes through public benefits and securing entry-level jobs

  • Legal Aid Justice Center
    To provide housing-related legal services to more than 300 households

  • Main Street Child Development Center
    To help children achieve or make progress toward school readiness goals

  • Mental Health Association of Frederick County
    To close 15 cases and place foster children in permanent homes

  • Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless
    To help 126 families maintain stable, permanent housing through its Partnership for Permanent Housing (PPH) program

  • Neighborhood Legal Services Program of The District of Columbia
    To provide low-income DC residents and homeless families with legal and housing services

  • Northern Virginia Family Service
    To help 130 households transition from homelessness into temporary housing or from temporary into permanent housing

  • Prince George's Child Resource Center
    To provide child development and parent/child learning activities that improve language and cognitive abilities for 95 participants

  • Reach Education
    To help high school and elementary students develop and grow their literacy skills

  • Rising for Justice
    To help 1,500 tenants and their families avoid eviction

  • Sasha Bruce Youthwork
    To support homeless youth and runaways with housing and family strengthening services

  • Stop Child Abuse Now of Northern Virginia
    To help 75 children served by the CASA program achieve permanency in their family placements

  • Shelter House
    To help 19 families achieve housing, public benefits and income stability through its RISE program

  • Stepping Stones Shelter
    To help 30 families move into stable housing and increase their income

  • Survivors and Advocates for Empowerment (DC SAFE)
    To assist 300 participants in successfully moving to safe transitional or permanent housing

  • The Arc Prince George's County
    To support more than 40 participants with training and employment services through its Project SEARCH and Ready@21 programs

  • The Barker Adoption Foundation
    To provide clients with lifelong services and advocate for ethical, respectful and child-centered adoption practices

  • The Platform of Hope
    To help 60 low-income families develop life goals, increase their resource networks and participate in programs that help achieve their goals

  • Voices for Virginia's Children
    To collect and distribute data-driven information to policy makers and support 1,000 children in the foster care system

  • Wesley Housing Development Corporation
    To help 139 low-income households avoid eviction and maintain housing

About the Fund for Children, Youth And Families

The Fund for Children, Youth and Families (FFCYF) was established to invest in the betterment of underserved children, youth, and families across the greater Washington region - specifically, to invest in organizations achieving significant impact providing services and programming across the following program areas: Stable Homes Stable Families, Foster Care and Adoption, and Academic and Career Success. Through its grantmaking, the fund supports effective organizations working to make the community healthy and stable. Please visit www.fund4cyf.org for more information.

Deciding which charity to support doesn’t have to be hard. These tips will help.

Giving Tuesday is a global movement that’s more important now than ever - and every act of generosity counts.

Not sure where to begin? In her interview with The Washington Post, Anna Hargrave, Executive Director for our Montgomery County office, offers giving tips to get you started - beginning with what moves you.

#MakeADifference Monday: Medical Care

These past several months, while exceptionally challenging at times, have also been inspiring. We’ve seen our community come together to care for our neighbors in need, springing into action to support those most adversely affected by the pandemic.

Through our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, were able to invest $10 million to support low-wage workers who have been laid off, expand access to medical care, provide shelter and services to people experiencing homelessness, increase food access, and so much more. This would not be possible without our compassionate donors – a diverse group of individuals and businesses who helped us mobilize $10 million for coordinated relief and recovery efforts. Thank you for standing with us to make a difference.

You can read about our impact here – and, below, learn more about how our nonprofit partners helped create this impact. Their stories of kindness and courage are truly inspiring.

Care for Your Health, Inc.

Care for Your Health believes that every single patient who receives adequate medical care is a win for the whole community.

As the pandemic grew and Care for Your Health staff began working remotely, the organization knew it was critical to support its staff with high-speed Internet, since most activities were pivoting to telemedicine. As a COVID-19 Response Fund grantee, they also received funding for office supplies, stamps and other essential items needed to serve the low-income and uninsured communities of Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.

We have effectively taken care of our clients’ primary care medical problems, either via telemedicine or with visits from the nurse practitioner and the physician. In relation to the 80 new patients incorporated into our practice during the pandemic, we have tested them for COVID-19, attended to their medical problems, and referred them to other health providers and social workers when appropriate.

CCI Health & Wellness Services

Personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 test kits are a key component of fighting COVID-19—as well as software that allows telehealth visits. As CCI Health & Wellness pivoted to better serve its community during the early stages of the pandemic, our COVID-19 Response grant allowed them to focus on shoring up equipment, processes and guidelines. Notable milestones include:

  • Establishing workflows and designating separate space for persons under investigation and those testing positive for COVID-19

  • Installing sneeze safety guards that form a dividing wall to better separate symptomatic and non-symptomatic patients

  • Implementing routine deep cleaning at all health centers on a weekly basis and on demand in response to virus outbreaks in staff areas

  • Placing respiratory hygiene stations in all health center waiting rooms

  • Purchasing PPE for health center personnel

  • Testing for COVID-19 at three health center locations and securing all supplies necessary to stand up temporary testing sites at four health center locations

Montgomery Hospice, Inc.

Providing quality, compassionate end-of-life care is critical. Hundreds of individuals in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties are coping with terminal illnesses and require specialized care—and the COVID-19 pandemic presents many challenges in doing so.

Montgomery Hospice, Inc. used its Emergency Response Fund grant to provide quality care for terminally ill coronavirus-positive patients at Casey House, an inpatient facility.


During the grant period, patients received comprehensive, compassionate care, and they and their families were protected from infection. Furthermore, our services reduce patients’ use of other healthcare resources, especially hospitals, that are strained by the pandemic.

Total Family Care Coalition

Total Family Care Coalition aims to help keep families together for a better and safer community.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted life as we know it, particularly when caring for loved ones. Families are experiencing stress and exacerbated mental health challenges as a result of unemployment and financial instability. Youth are experiencing increased exposure to poor parenting, domestic violence, and child abuse and neglect.

[The Community Foundation’s] funds made a huge difference to the community. Children could eat. Parents were able to reduce anxiety and increase self-care techniques such as mindfulness to increase positive parenting.

With funding from the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, Total Family Care Coalition:

  • Served more than 275 individuals including 112 children, 85 adults and 80 families

  • Kept its doors open and responded immediately to families’ needs

  • Helped parents receive appropriate mental health medication they could help their small children

  • Kept one single, young mom from taking her own life by consistently reaching out and letting her know that she and her baby are loved

Tonia Wellons Named Nonprofit Leader of the Year by Washington Business Journal

Dear Friends of The Community Foundation,

Photo by EMAN MOHAMMED/WBJ Courtesy of Washington Business Journal

Courtesy of Washington Business Journal

What a year it has been! In light of the ongoing crisis and continuing cycle of bad news, I wanted to share the exciting news that Tonia Wellons, our fearless CEO, has been named Nonprofit Leader of the Year by The Washington Business Journal.

Tonia could not have taken over as The Community Foundation's permanent President and CEO at a tougher time. Tonia has proven to be the exact right leader for this moment and for our community. Under Tonia’s leadership and with the tireless work of our amazing staff, together with the generosity of all of you and many others in our community, we have raised over $10 million to date for our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.

As we continue to respond to the ongoing crisis and move forward with other critical initiatives, I hope you will join me in congratulating Tonia by making a gift to support The Community Foundation's work.

Congratulations to Tonia for this well-deserved recognition of your hard work!

Katharine Weymouth
Chair, Board of Trustees
Greater Washington Community Foundation

Community Foundation Awards $1 million in Relief Funds to Prince George’s County Small Businesses

The small business sector is a key economic driver in Prince George’s County; it makes up 95% of all businesses in the County. Unfortunately, Prince George’s County was hit hard by the pandemic.

50% of the jobs created over the past five years were lost in the first two weeks of COVID-19.

Many businesses have shuttered and far too many have closed for good, taking the jobs they’ve created with them. These losses have left individuals, families and communities struggling to survive and gain an economic foothold.

Helping residents improve their social and economic status is an important yet complex goal—and that’s exactly what the Greater Washington Community Foundation is doing as part of its new focus on equity and economic mobility in Prince George’s County.

The Legacy Fund, seeded with a $1 million gift directed by Sam Brin and a $10,000 gift from Meridiam, provides critically needed access to capital for small businesses in Prince George’s County. It provides direct relief to small businesses in Prince George’s County impacted by COVID-19 to help minimize vulnerability to closure and to enable small businesses thrive.

The Legacy Fund is helping blunt the impact of business closure and job loss with grants ranging from $2,000-$10,000 to 173 small businesses. These investments resulted in the retention of more than 650 full time jobs and provided the funding that businesses need for technology and other business enhancements. Additionally, through our partnership with FSC First, these companies can access technical assistance to help them better navigate new business and economic realities and ensure long-term development.

Grants were awarded to companies in all nine Councilmanic Districts in the County and across multiple industries including retail, IT, business services, restaurants, and health, beauty and fitness. While each of the companies we’ve invested in supply critical goods and services, they’re also community gathering spaces and are important institutions in the County.

Below are a few examples of small businesses that received grants and how they play a critical role in our community.

Spiritual Essence Yoga, in Upper Marlboro, has supported the mental, physical, and emotional health of the Prince George's County community since 2008. While the stress of the pandemic has increased the community’s need for these services, the company was required to close for several months. This grant helped them reopen and begin offering virtual and in-person classes.

BLE Executive and Virtual Office Suites, in Largo, provides individual offices and virtual services to hundreds of entrepreneurs and small businesses in the County through a flexible office space business model. With more people working from home, and in-person meetings no longer an option, BLE has had to contend with reduced demand for its services. This grant will enable BLE to maintain critical staffing levels and continue to provide the high quality business to business services that are important for the growth and sustainability of small businesses and entrepreneurship.

Minimizing business closure and reducing job loss are important goals of the Legacy Fund, but we also recognize that in order to work families need childcare. The staff at Loving Hands Enrichment Center, a childcare facility in Clinton have cared for children in the community for 14 years. Like most companies, they’ve been forced to scale back due to the pandemic. Funding is helping the center retain staff and improve their operating systems. They are, once again, providing a strong educational and nurturing environment for child development in Prince George’s.

2020 Legacy Fund Grant Awardees

21st Century Expo Group

4EVER 2012 Corporation

Acbles Adrian Wilcox Agency, Inc.

Adventure Tours Aga Group

Aggie Family Child Care

Airport Metro Connection Inc.

Angarai Management Services

Appreciation Moments

Around the Clark Trucking

Ayers Natural Aztlan, Inc.

BC Tours & Travel, Inc.

Bea's Hive Assisted Living

Behind The Scenes Production

Belmont Executives, Inc.

Beltway Trophy Co.

Best Sweet Frog

Biruk Chewaka

BizyBee Professional Staffing & Biz'Ness Solutions

BLE Executive & Virtual Office Suites

Bright Horizon Ventures

Bruce T. Blake Insurance Agency, Inc.

Cameau Enterpises dba Camp Space

Centered Support

Charlene Mitchell

Cheerful Speech Therapy

Choice Clinical Services

Chung & Oh

Cipher Logix, Inc.

Clearview Optics dba Sterling Optical

CN Accounting & Management Consulting

College Park Yoga dba Numi Yoga

Colors by Tangie

Corporate Wheels

C-Pup Pet Walks

Cursor Logistics

Custom Plumbing and HVAC

Cuts Unlimited, Inc.

Cybersoft Technologies Corporation

Cynthia Cephas Photography

DAPO Group

DC Vegan

DCG Construction

Deanna Robinson Fitness

Defined by Design Events

Dickey & Associates

DMV Healthy Insurance

DNA Fitness, Inc. dba Curves of Glenn Dale

DSSP Consulting, Inc.

DXT Therapeutic Services

DY Food Wholesalers

Dynamic 3, Inc.

Dynamic Technical Solutions One

Eby Health Services, Inc.

Elites Care

Emmanuel Management Enterprise, Inc.

Envisage Management Solutions

Eric Kruszewski

Essentially Everything Events

Exact Financial Services

Executive Electrolysis, Inc.

Expressions of Faith

Extra Mile Logistics

Felicia C. Everett Insurance Company, Inc.

Femsterimages Productions

First Lady

Fitness Martial Arts

Flavors Culinary Group

Forty Winks

Front Street Management

G&D Construction

Garcia's Investments

Goins Worldwide, Inc.

Goldleaf Academy

Green Ivy, Benefit

Greenbelt Barber and Beauty Shop

Greenbelt Foods

GS Consulting and Communications, Inc.

Hair + Space Blowdry and Beauty Company

Harbor Wines

Hawkeye Medical

Higher Ground Transportation Services, Inc.

Hutchinson Design Group

Innovations 2000

Intuitive Group

Iwynn Productions

J and A Transport

J.D Clark Professional Services

Jiivana-LIFE Yoga & Wellness LLC dba Spiritual Essence Yoga

K&W Plumbing

KBM Realtors

KC Enterprise

Kery's dba Christina O Salon & Spa

KIK, Inc.

Kimi Nails & Spa

Kinetic Solutions

Klub Kid

Lamaha Hospitality

Laugh House

Law Offices of Sharon Theodore-Lewis & Associates

Legacy Partners Distribution

LG Total Fitness/Triple Delight Aquatics

LLF Handyman Services

Lord & Mitchell, Inc.

Lovi Family Daycare, Inc.

Loving Hands Enrichment Daycare

Maryland Carpet Repair & Cleaning

Maryland Physical Therapy and Wellness Center

Melton Digital

MF Communications Trade, Inc.

Min Wireless, Inc.

Mixin' Mimi Mixology

My Wealth Store

Neshama, Inc.


N'Style Hair Grooming Barber and Salon

Old Town Hospitality

Oni Family Day Care

Own Your Own DMV

PG Family Dentistry

Physical and Sports Rahab, Inc.

Premier Eye Care Center

Prince of Peace Homes for Seniors, Inc.

Printing Express & Designs

Pro Spex, Inc.

Prominent Solutions, Inc.

Quality Time

QW, Inc.

R.A. Investments

Regina Robinson Enterprises

Rickenbacker's Preparation Services

Roman Mechanical

Salon 809

Seeram Enterprises

SELA Hair and Nails

Shan's Jumping Gymnasium

Sidnea Global Enterprises, Inc.

Silver Canady & Associates

Sky Nails


SNR Holdings dba Misfit Winery

Something Vintage Rentals

SRC Eldercare Services

Sutter Design, Inc.

Tajick Dental Clinic PC

TCH Enterprize

Team Power Linx

TechOpps, Inc.

Temple Hills Swim Club, Inc.

The Face Paint Ladyn Inc.

The Groom Room

The Joseph Company

The Mercy Law Firm

The Mobile Experience

The SEMCAS Group

The WaterHole

Total Interior

Toth Distribution Service, Inc.

Transcend Solutions

Tucker Moor Law Group

Turning Point Solutions

University for Tots-Suitland Child Care Center, Inc.

viaJ Entertainment Services

Vino 301 Wine Concierge

VIP Financial Services

Visage Dermatology and Aesthetic Center

Way To Live Initiative

Wills Trucking & Excavating, Inc.

World View Early Learning Center, Inc.

Youth Avenue Solutions

About the Legacy Fund

The Legacy Fund made a big difference for 173 businesses on the brink of closure. It’s a key part of our effort to build thriving communities and help individuals and families in Prince George’s County build wealth and leave a legacy for generations to come.

For more information about our work in Prince George’s County, visit www.thecommunityfoundation.org/princegeorges.

Continue the Workforce Justice Conversation

Since the pandemic hit, Greater Washington’s unemployment rate has grown from 3.5% in to 8.5%. Our Black and brown neighbors have been amongst the hardest hit, especially immigrant workers and women of color. These populations are also disproportionately employed in low-wage, essential jobs, exposing them to COVID-19 at much higher rates than those working at home.

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve stayed in conversation with our community about how we can care for our region’s workforce in the short-term—and how we can create greater equity in the long-term.

Tune in below for several recent events we hosted or participated in, which examine urgent workforce justice issues in our region.

VoicesDMV Social Justice Town Hall

Ensuring Equity for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

In our recent VoicesDMV Community Insights survey, we found that more than 1 in 6 of our Black and African American neighbors rated the availability of good jobs in the area where they live as poor. As part of our VoicesDMV Social Justice Town Hall series, we invited local thought leaders to discuss how small business and entrepreneurship can be tools for addressing unemployment and ensuring economic equity.

The Urban Institute’s Evidence to Action Series

Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis: Providing Direct Cash Assistance to DC Residents

In this Urban Institute virtual event, our President and CEO Tonia Wellons joined a panel of Urban Institute and local nonprofit experts to discuss the THRIVE East of the River program. THRIVE provides direct cash and food assistance to help DC residents weather the pandemic.

This conversation explored what people living on low incomes in Ward 8 are experiencing amid the pandemic, and provided context for those experiences, especially the history of structural racism and segregation in Washington, DC.

WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show

Low wage workers: the pandemic’s forgotten

Our local economy depends on thousands of low-wage workers, but many lost their job when the coronavirus pandemic shut the region down, and they were unable to pay their rent. Rent protection has expired in Virginia, and it is set to expire in D.C. and Maryland.

Are we at the cusp of seeing a massive increase in evictions and homelessness, and food insecurity for low-wage workers?

Join Kojo Nnamdi, along with our President and CEO Tonia Wellons; Radha Muthiah, President and CEO of Capital Area food Bank; Dipti Pidikiti-Smith, Deputy Director of Advocacy, Legal Services of Northern Virginia; and William “Sandy” Darity, Samuel DuBois Cook Distinguished Professor of Public Policy, Duke University to discuss.

Magnifying Our Power for Change

By Karla Bruce, Chief Equity Officer for Fairfax County

Nationally and locally, there has been a growing understanding of the role of federal, state, and local government in creating and maintaining inequity—specifically racial inequity—through policy and practice. While overtly discriminatory acts based on race are now illegal, the effects of policies from previous generations, often considered “race neutral,” that regulated features of communities, including who could live where and how wealth could be built, still linger. 

Reports from the Urban Institute, and the Northern Virginia Health Foundation have documented this variance in opportunity and vulnerability within Fairfax County and across the region. The Equitable Growth Profile, produced for Fairfax County by PolicyLink in 2015, established that people of color are driving Fairfax County’s population growth, and their ability to participate and thrive is central to the county’s continued economic success. 

Adopting an Equity Lens

Fairfax County, as a local government and a community of committed service providers, has exerted considerable effort and resources to meet the basic needs of our most vulnerable residents, yet our work has not produced improvements in life outcomes at the scale desired.  The efforts, while well-intended, have focused primarily on the delivery of programs and services to individuals and families, often missing the root causes of these differences in outcomes.  

Through an “equity lens” however, the focus is shifting from centering on addressing perceived "lack” in people, to tackling the situations and conditions that are driving the inequities people face.

One Fairfax

November 2020 marks three years since the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and School Board adopted the One Fairfax Policy, committing the county government and Fairfax County Public Schools to intentionally consider equity when making policies and delivering programs and services.

We are now gaining a better understanding of how opportunity varies, depending on who you are and where you live in the county. Our Countywide Strategic Plan is connecting our jurisdiction’s success to our ability to address the structural barriers to opportunity that exist—and build the productive capacities of all neighborhoods and residents. The plan is grounded in the concepts of Targeted Universalism and building Communities of Opportunity, which abandon a one-size-fits-all policy formula, in favor of an approach that is more place and population focused. 

Ultimately, inequities must be challenged and dismantled through the collective action of government and all aspects of community. The transformative institutional work happening inside government is informed, enhanced, and emboldened by the outside work happening with residents, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, business, and philanthropy.

Inclusive Prosperity  

The cornerstone of Fairfax County’s approach to advancing equity is addressing the wide gaps in income, employment, entrepreneurship, and other wealth-building opportunities by race and geography. With the Greater Washington Workforce Collaborative (an initiative of the Greater Washington Community Foundation) and support from Capital One, we are working with an expanding group of stakeholders, representing county agencies and nonprofits, to align efforts and fill gaps through the formation of an Inclusive Prosperity Network.  

This network will align, leverage, and develop strategies to create an ecosystem that will support the full integration of people of color into the economy, putting more residents on the path toward reaching their full potential. Initially focused on the Richmond Highway Corridor, but with a goal of applying successes and lessons learned to other lower opportunity areas across the county, the Inclusive Prosperity Network is positioned to inform the county’s future economic growth. And now, in the context of COVID-19, the Network is also positioned to foster sustained economic prosperity in Fairfax County in the county’s equitable recovery.

I appreciate having The Greater Washington Workforce Collaborative as a partner in the work of becoming One Fairfax.  

When we come together as institutions, government and philanthropy, and live into our unique roles, we are able to magnify our power to disrupt the status quo and dismantle the deeply rooted inequities that plague us and hinder our community’s progress.  Working together, we can bolster connections to the region’s assets and resources and facilitate full participation in and contribution to the region’s economic and social vitality and readiness for the future.

About Karla Bruce

Karla Bruce - Headshot.jpg

Karla Bruce has over 20 years of local government management experience and is known as a driver of innovation in public service delivery, bridging the efforts of local government with the collective action of residents and broad networks of partners to strategically address issues facing vulnerable populations and neighborhoods.  Karla currently serves as the Chief Equity Officer for Fairfax County, Virginia where she successfully championed the adoption of the One Fairfax Racial and Social Equity Resolution and Policy and provides overall management of the One Fairfax strategic framework, advising and supporting the Board of Supervisors and Executive Leadership in shaping and directing policy and practice to foster equitable opportunity for all Fairfax County residents.

#MakeADifference Monday: Workforce Development

These past several months, while exceptionally challenging at times, have also been inspiring. We’ve seen our community come together to care for our neighbors in need, springing into action to support those most adversely affected by the pandemic.

Through our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, were able to invest $10 million to support low-wage workers who have been laid off, expand access to medical care, provide shelter and services to people experiencing homelessness, increase food access, and so much more. This would not be possible without our compassionate donors – a diverse group of individuals and businesses who helped us mobilize $10 million for coordinated relief and recovery efforts. Thank you for standing with us to make a difference.

You can read about our impact here – and, below, learn more about how our nonprofit partners helped create this impact. Their stories of kindness and courage are truly inspiring.


With funding received from the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, CareerCatchers hired additional staff and part-time contractors so that the organization could expand its reach and serve more clients during the pandemic.

Notable milestones include:

  • Working with 355 clients to help them with upward mobility and stable employment

  • Increasing the number of clients participating in work skills and trainings programs by 200 percent

  • Helping more than 100 clients with unemployment insurance claims—through both one-on-one support and Zoom workshops

  • Acting as a processing agency for Montgomery County Government’s Emergency Assistance Relief Payment (EARP) program, providing immediate financial assistance to households not eligible for federal or state COVID-19 aid

CareerCatchers will continue to fulfill its critical mission—providing personalized and individualized career counseling for survivors of domestic violence, people experiencing homelessness, immigrants, people with disabilities, returning citizens, youth aging out of foster care, and disconnected youth.

Future Harvest

Future Harvest advances agriculture that sustains farmers, communities, and the environment through mini-cash grants to farmer entrepreneurs who do not qualify for federal stimulus programs.

Future Harvest combined its Greater Washington Community Foundation grant funds with other sources to create the “Feed the Need” Fund, which awarded more than $60,000 to 22 small-to mid-sized, financially struggling family farm operations—14 of whom were BIPOC farmers.

One grant recipient, Owl’s Nest Farm in Upper Marlboro, MD, grows a diverse array of vegetables on 4 ½ acres of land. “Last year, we made a commitment to see how we can share our produce with people who otherwise couldn't afford it.” Each week, Owl’s Nest Farm provides CSA shares to families at the Richardson Dwellings public housing complex.

Funding from the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund will allow Future Harvest to continue advancing agriculture that sustains farmers, communities, and the environment.

New Futures

New Futures supports under-resourced young people who are pursuing community college as the launching point to further education and rewarding careers—young people who also provide in some way for their families or are their household’s primary financial provider.

In the earliest weeks of the COVID-19 crisis, many were laid off suddenly from part- or full-time jobs in the most vulnerable industries of food service, hospitality and retail, among others.

New Futures established a Scholar Emergency Fund to play a role in preventing Scholars’ sudden, short-term financial disruptions from cascading to devastating challenges that impacted their ability to persist in and complete their credentials. This fund is saving lives and preventing financial disaster.

“My family is so happy because of this support. Please, let all the New Futures personnel know that we are so grateful with this unconditional love and support.”

People for Change Coalition

Small businesses have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and pivoting business strategies has proven critical to staying afloat.

That’s why People for Change Coalition used its funding to create a COVID-19 Small Business Rescue (SBR) program—a program that ultimately helped 10 Prince George’s County small businesses and entrepreneurs develop a digital strategy to adjust to the new norms caused by Covid-19.

“Businesses were caught unexpectedly by Covid-19 and needed a rescue plan to keep their doors open, retain existing customers and clients, as well as secure new ones.”

The businesses who participated in SBR are using their new brand, look, and marketing materials to promote their business, get new clients and contracts, and increase their sales.

Forging Workforce Equity and Inclusive Prosperity during COVID-19

Dawnn Leary

Dawnn Leary

By Dawnn Leary, Senior Community Investment Officer

COVID-19 has disrupted how we work, play, and connect with one another. It has challenged both our view of work and how we value and support the individuals who make up our workforce, especially our frontline essential workers. The pandemic has worsened community members’ ability to find sustainable work, whether at former jobs or in new jobs, pushing more people into the informal and “gig” economy which will have implications for our region’s health and prosperity. 

In seven short months, our region’s unemployment rate has more than doubled, growing from 3.5% in February 2020, to today’s 8.5%. This has not been experienced evenly, however, as COVID-19 has alsoelevated long-standing, structural racial inequities for our black and brown neighbors. As stated in Policy Link and Burning Glass Technologies’ report Race, Risk and Workforce Equity in the Coronavirus Economy: 

“While the pain (of the pandemic) has been widespread, it has not been equally shared: workers of color and immigrant workers, especially women, are being hardest hit by the loss of jobs and income and are disproportionately employed in the lowest-wage, essential jobs that place them at risk of contracting the virus.”

 The challenges in the world of work are many and require multifaceted solutions, handled with patience, persistence, and intention. We need the leadership of residents with lived experiences working in partnership with nonprofit organizations, government agencies, grantmaking institutions, philanthropists and business owners to develop, test, and implement solutions.  

Investing in the Future of Work

In 2008, the Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative was born as a philanthropic response to the Great Recession. For more than a decade, The Collaborative has pooled resources from individuals and institutions to support both innovative job training approaches, such as career pathways and sector partnerships, and critical advocacy and organizing efforts for quality legislation, centering on policies such as paid family leave. There was an early recognition that philanthropy needed to invest in more than just job training. We needed to invest in systems change—efforts that address the root causes, components and structures, which prevent our neighbors from realizing economic security and mobility. 

Now, in the face of the current economic crisis brought on by COVID-19, the Collaborative is exploring how we, as investors in systems change, engage in the fight for an equitable and comprehensive recovery and reconstruction in the world of work, in partnership with our black and brown workers. This moment is calling us to adapt again—to listen to new voices, learn about different approaches, cultivate new partnerships, and then invest in those new approaches and efforts. 

An Equitable Road Ahead

The Collaborative seeks to expand its investments this year and support efforts that center those with lived experience and engages them as leaders in both discussing our current challenges and creating and implementing the solutions.

“These voices (those with lived experience) are a critical missing piece of the puzzle, and listening to their perspectives should be a key part of unlocking solutions for the present and future of work.” -New America’s report Worker Voices: A Guide to Solutions

As a starting point, with a group of our partners, (DC Jobs with Justice, Many Languages One Voice, One DC, Restaurant Opportunities Center-DC and Movement Matters) the Collaborative is supporting a community participatory research action project that seeks to engage community about their work-related experiences since the beginning of COVID-19. Workers themselves will be engaged in developing the research questions, paid a living wage as researchers, and will help analyze the results of that research to develop solutions.   

In Fairfax County, the Collaborative has developed a new partnership with the Fairfax County government’s One Fairfax Office. We’re working with them to develop approaches, alongside residents, to help residents living in the route one corridor build assets that enable them to support their basic needs, invest in themselves and their families and contribute to a strong and growing economy.

Reconstruction will not be easy nor quick. It requires us to listen to new voices, learn about different approaches, cultivate new partnerships and invest in new efforts. The future of work depends on it. We hope you will join us in this fight.

Washington Business Journal Recognizes Community Foundation with 2020 Citizenship Award

We are proud to share that the Greater Washington Community Foundation and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield are recipients of the 2020 Citizenship Award, part of the Washington Business Journal's annual Philanthropy Awards program. The award recognizes our partnership on the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield PPE Response Fund to distribute thousands of PPE units to frontline workers at health clinics across the region.

Pathways to Housing staff receive a shipment of PPE

Pathways to Housing staff receive a shipment of PPE

mission of mercy2.jpg
Mission of Mercy provided free medical and dental care during COVID-19 using the gift of PPE from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield PPE Response Fund.

Mission of Mercy provided free medical and dental care during COVID-19 using the gift of PPE from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield PPE Response Fund.

COVID-19 Response Fund Issues Over $10 Million in Emergency Grants

300+ Critical Nonprofits Across the Region Received Support to Weather Pandemic

The Greater Washington Community Foundation today announced an additional $2.04 million in phase three grants from the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, reaching a combined total of more than $10 million in emergency support distributed to address the public health and economic crisis. The Fund’s rapid response grantmaking helped local nonprofits to expand critical services, ensure continuity of operations, transition to virtual service delivery, and counteract lost revenue due to closures or event cancellations. 

In total, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund’s impact includes: 

  • Over $10 million raised and invested in regional response efforts

  • 300+ social service and health nonprofits funded

  • Grants range from $1,000 to $250,000

  • 50% of nonprofit partners led by people of color

Phase three funding was spurred in part by a $1 million dollar commitment from IKEA to support COVID-19 relief efforts in Maryland where some of its facilities are located. IKEA calculated unemployment claims submitted by its employees and donated that money back to the state through a partnership with the Greater Washington Community Foundation to disperse the resources to communities in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. 

Phase 3 Grant Highlights

Improving Food Security

$250,000 to Capital Area Food Bank and its partners to address the dramatic increase in food insecurity among Northern Virginia residents in Fairfax, Arlington, and Loudoun counties and the City of Alexandria. CAFB’s goal is to provide an additional 9 million pounds of food in these areas, including to many disproportionately impacted communities of color.

A $200,000 investment in Dreaming Out Loud to address DC’s food security crisis by connecting fresh and nutritious food offerings from local Black-owned farms in our region to food insecure residents, including 1,300 weekly CSA shares and 150,000 prepared meals.

$188,000 allocated to help Food for Montgomery meet the urgent need for food, support restaurants and farmers by purchasing meals and fresh produce, and to strengthen our hunger relief system.

$200,000 to help resource Get Shift Done for DMV operations through the end of the year. The initiative is paying displaced hospitality workers to help local nonprofit providers prepare food and meals for neighbors facing hardship due to COVID-19.

$214,000 to support food assistance providers in Prince George’s County to make and/or deliver prepared meals, produce, and shelf-stable foods, and to connect food insecure households to additional food resources.

Support for Childcare

$188,000 allocated to the Children’s Opportunity Fund to expand affordable childcare and distance learning support options for up to 1,000 low-income families in Montgomery County.

$150,000 allocated to the D.C. Childcare Reopening Fund, in partnership with Mary’s Center, to invest in a network of local family childcare providers to ensure that low-income children and youth remain in licensed childcare programs that support healthy and safe development.

$50,000 investment in the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative, led by the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, supporting advocacy efforts to improve early childhood systems infrastructure, expand access to high quality early education programs, and help early educators effectively meet the needs of all children.

$100,000 invested alongside the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia to support local family-based early care providers through the Infant Toddler Family Day Care, a high-impact local provider that will directly support 85 Northern Virginia-based family childcare providers, all of which are led by women of color.

$50,000 to Prince George’s Child Resource Center to provide support and technical assistance to childcare providers to ensure their sustainability and ability to create healthy and nurturing environments for children by helping families and educating caregivers.

Expanding Employment Opportunities

$300,000 allocated to the Equity Fund in Prince George’s County to support programs selected through an open call for applications that are preparing workers for meaningful employment and ensuring that people facing barriers to employment can access high-quality education and job opportunities which pay a family-sustaining wage.

Eviction Prevention and Housing Stability

$150,000 allocated to The Partnership to End Homelessness for work with DC Bar Foundation and other funders to prevent evictions and help low-income residents maintain stable housing. Initial investments will focus on building the capacity of the system to make sure tenants are aware of their rights and can access the rental assistance and other resources that are available.

Previous Funding and Priorities

The COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund was established on March 12, 2020 and administered by the Greater Washington Community Foundation, which also was a donor to the effort. Community Foundation staff in collaboration with a steering committee and working groups, comprised of regional philanthropic leaders, subject matter experts, and local government advisors, met regularly to discuss needs, vet proposals, and coordinate efforts.

The Fund received contributions from nearly 800 foundations, corporations, and individuals. A list of the major contributors to the Fund can be found here.  

More than 1,600 nonprofits across the region applied for approximately $60 million in grants. Priority was given to direct service providers with deep roots in the community and the ability to both address urgent needs and reach historically underserved populations.

Phases 1 and 2 (March-August) investments were made across five issue areas:

  • To provide cash assistance to impacted workers, including hourly and gig economy workers, contractors, and workers excluded from unemployment or stimulus funds.

  • To bridge the digital divide and expand resources for low-income families, youth disconnected from school or work, and students with special education needs. 

  • To provide PPE and other equipment for frontline workers, expand medical care for marginalized communities, and increase access to mental health support services.

  • To support individuals, families, and youth experiencing homelessness by expanding access to housing/shelter, health care, and other emergency services.

  • To help stabilize nonprofits, expand emergency food assistance, address the uptick in domestic violence, and support the civil legal aid needs of individuals and families.

Phase two investments also included funding for advocacy and community organizing projects focused on improving systems for food security, violence prevention, medical care access, affordable housing, childcare, and more.

A full list of the Fund’s grantees can be found here. To learn more about the unique stories of the organizations supported by the Fund, click here for impact videos.

#MakeADifference Monday: Housing and Homelessness

These past several months, while exceptionally challenging at times, have also been inspiring. We’ve seen our community come together to care for our neighbors in need, springing into action to support those most adversely affected by the pandemic.

Through our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, were able to invest $10 million to support low-wage workers who have been laid off, expand access to medical care, provide shelter and services to people experiencing homelessness, increase food access, and so much more. This would not be possible without our compassionate donors – a diverse group of individuals and businesses who helped us mobilize $10 million for coordinated relief and recovery efforts. Thank you for standing with us to make a difference.

You can read about our impact here – and, below, learn more about how our nonprofit partners helped create this impact. Their stories of kindness and courage are truly inspiring.


Bethesda Cares

Bethesda Cares aims to prevent, ease and end homelessness in our community. Throughout the pandemic, Bethesda Cares has rapidly responded to individuals experiencing homelessness by pivoting its case management and counseling services to virtual “house visits.”

And, it has focused on decreasing homelessness as a further way to help clients self-isolate and reduce community spread of COVID-19.

As a COVID-19 Response Fund partner, notable milestones include:

  • Helping 20 clients safely isolate in hotels and moving 9 individuals into permanent supportive housing. In addition to these programs, Bethesda Cares also helps individuals who have transitioned to permanent housing. 

  • Providing hot meals to over 30 individuals daily that experience homelessness and food insecurity.

Mi Casa, Inc.


The economic impact of COVID-19 is unmistakable—lost jobs, leading to decreased and eliminated wages, leading to housing insecurity issues. This has made more urgent
Mi Casa’s mission to provide affordable housing in the Washington, DC, area in order to foster healthy, diverse, and thriving neighborhoods.

With the funding received from the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, Mi Casa has provided long-term support to more than 40 DC households, helping mitigate the impact of reduced wages or lost work.

Through its Emergency Rental Assistance and Tenant-Based Rental Assistance programs, it also helped more than 15 residents access critical housing resources. More than 400 households received virtual trainings around financial education, food banks, unemployment benefits, and the financial effects of the pandemic.

The Church of the Epiphany

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, The Church of Epiphany has partnered with Street Sense Media to expand their reach and serve more individuals. Grants from the emergency response fund have helped provide cleaning products, hot meals, clothing, and information about COVID-19 to individuals experiencing homelessness.

“We’ve been able to serve an additional 50 people with breakfast and other regular meals, we’ve utilized the church building to house homeless individuals. And through it all we have remained COVID-19 free and not seen any community transmission among those served.”

These funds allow The Church of the Epiphany to continue to feed the hungry, build diverse and inclusive community, worship as one, and give and receive the love of Christ.

FAIR Girls


FAIR Girls focuses on ending human trafficking through trauma and survivor-informed services, prevention, and advocacy. Through their COVID-19 grant award, FAIR Girls was able to address survivors needing housing during the pandemic by partnering with local hospitality partners to help them self-quarantine in hotels for two weeks before transitioning to their Vida Home.

This assistance was especially impactful for Tiffany (name changed):

Tiffany was being stalked by her trafficker. After ensuring Tiffany’s immediate safety, FAIR Girls was able to support Tiffany by providing her with temporary housing at a local hotel and through Vida Home, and ultimately enter a program farther away where she can begin a new chapter. Tiffany remains in contact with her FAIR Girls coordinator as she awaits out-of-state housing.

FAIR Girls continues to expand its services by increasing its crisis intervention hotline operating hours to 24/7, as well as creating Webinar Wednesdays, a tool that provides virtual trainings about human trafficking, that has reached more than 1,000 people since March.

Quarterly Community Update

Dear Community Foundation fundholder,

I hope this note finds you enjoying a happy and healthy start to your holiday season. Thanks to your continued care for our community, last quarter our community of givers awarded more than $17.6 million in grants to organizations serving our region and beyond.

At The Community Foundation, we remain focused on meeting our community’s evolving needs through the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. Last quarter, our work coordinating the region’s philanthropic response to this ongoing crisis included:

  • Joining The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation and eight other funders to launch the Arts Forward Fund, providing $1 million in relief to arts and culture organizations across the region.

  • Distributing more than $2 million from the DC Education Equity Fund to ensure students have the resources and materials they need to continue their education.

  • Raising over $500,000 through the Children’s Opportunity Fund to support learning hub scholarships for low-income students in Montgomery County to receive supervision and help with remote learning.

  • Partnering with FSC First and a generous donor to launch a $1 million grants program to provide emergency relief to small businesses in Prince George’s County.

  • Partnering with Ikea to distribute over $1 million in funding to address childcare, unemployment, and food security in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

As our community continues to recover from this crisis, our goal is to work together to build a more equitable future for our region. We are approaching this work by listening to and learning from our community.

This summer, through our VoicesDMV initiative, we released new data from our Community Insights survey of residents conducted by Gallup, and launched a series of Social Justice Town Halls to unpack findings related to inequities in housing, education, employment, food access, and entrepreneurship. Earlier this month, we brought together residents from across the region for On the Table conversations to discuss and reimagine the future of our communities. Now, we are offering Community Action Awards – small grants to help individuals and nonprofits implement ideas to improve their neighborhoods.

In September, we partnered on the national launch of the Black Voices for Black Justice Fund. This innovative new fund is supporting Black leaders on the frontlines of shaping the urgent movement to build a fair, equitable, and anti-racist America. As a local partner to this national philanthropic initiative, we are proud to provide support for local Black leaders who are grassroots advocates, organizers, and emerging voices in the Greater Washington region.

With the end of year approaching, our staff can assist you with carrying out your philanthropic goals for 2020. Please be mindful of our December 18 deadline for your year-end grantmaking activities to ensure your recommended grantees receive their funds by December 31.

Your continued partnership and support are crucial as we seek to build thriving communities now and for generations to come. Thank you for standing with us!

Tonia Wellons,
President and CEO

P.S. In case you missed our 2020 Annual Meeting or the release of our 2020 Annual Report, you can find the recording and resources here.


A commitment to support the activists, artists, and organizers working locally to build an anti-racist America

Washington, D.C. -- The Greater Washington Community Foundation today announced the launch of The Black Voices for Black Justice Fund DMV and has partnered with the DC-based nonprofit, GOODProjects, to bring its mission to life with the Black Justice Fellowship. Ten Black Leaders representing the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia will be selected to receive monetary and meaningful support to scale their activism. They will each receive a personal grant of $30,000 to support their work and living expenses for a year. Nominations for the first cohort can be submitted via an online form at www.blackjusticefellows.org.

Led by visionary committee leaders Angela Rye, Linda Wilson, Tonia Wellons, Cherrelle Swain, and Darius Baxter, The Black Justice Fellows is redefining the way philanthropy identifies and invests in Black leaders.

“Black Leaders have been actively working for years to create a more just America, yet too many are underestimated, underfunded, and underrepresented,” says fund co-chair Baxter. “We declare the success of Black Leaders will not be determined by how much they can fundraise or their proximity to whiteness.”

The Racial Equity in Philanthropy Report states that white-led organizations had budgets that were 24 percent larger than those led by people of color. It also found that groups led by Black Women received less money than those led by Black Men or White Women. Further, disparities by the race of the leader repeatedly persist even when taking into account factors like issue area and education levels.

Co-Chair Tonia Wellons explains, “Historically, we know that there has been an underinvestment in Black leaders who are on the frontlines of fighting for justice and equality. We are excited to help scale the work of emerging leaders in the Greater Washington region by providing financial support so they can continue to live while they lead. This initiative will help elevate the voices of Black leaders and invest in solutions led by Black leaders to fuel their efforts to address structural and systemic racism.”

The Black Voices for Black Justice Fund (DMV) was seeded by the Bridge Alliance Education Fund and Greater Washington Community Foundation. This local initiative stemmed from the national Black Voices for Black Justice Fund which was launched from a partnership between many philanthropic organizations across the country.

"We are pleased to support communities and leaders in the Washington, DC area by partnering with the Greater Washington Community Foundation to provide resources to Black leaders at the forefront of community work that is strengthening our communities and our nation,” says David Nevins, Chairman of the Board of Bridge Alliance Education Fund.

For more information or to nominate a local leader for the fellowship, please visit www.blackjusticefellows.org or @blackjusticefellows on all social media platforms.

Why Black Voices Matter

By Darius Baxter, Chief Engagement Officer at GOODProjects, Co-Chair, Black Justice Fellows (DMV)

My generation has been influenced by Barack Obama’s historic inauguration in 2008, as much as we were by the police killing of twelve-year-old Tamir Rice while he innocently played in a park. Our hope and righteous anger are fueling our moral courage to fight day after day in cities across America.

In June my team embarked on the Purpose Tour, traveling to 15 cities, from Washington, DC, to Oakland, California, to engage with Black leaders on the ground. We protested beside them. We listened to them. We danced with them. Our big finding: Black Leaders have been actively working for years to create a more just America, yet too many are underestimated, underfunded, and underrepresented.

We plan to change that. This is why we are working in partnership with the Greater Washington Community Foundation to launch an effort to support Black Leaders. I am privileged to Co-Chair The Black Justice Fellows DMV alongside two visionary Black Women: Tonia Wellons and Cherrelle Swain, as well as Angela Rye and Linda Wilson who are serving on the selection committee. Their leadership is truly defining the way philanthropy and activism will look in the future.

The Black Justice Fellows is committed to supporting the activists, artists, and organizers that are defining the way Black leaders are respected, protected, and treated with dignity in America. We are investing in innovation for liberation. I believe that it is critical that we provide a generation of Black Leaders the opportunities, access, and platforms they deserve to lead their communities. 

Ten Black Leaders representing the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia will be selected to receive support, training, and the networks necessary to scale their activism. They will also receive a personal grant of $30,000 to support their work and living expenses for one year. Nominations for this cohort are now open. 

We are all impacted, in one way or another, by racism, inequality, and systemic oppression. Philanthropy is not exempt from this effect. The Black Justice Fellows is an opportunity to change what activism and philanthropy look like. I believe to truly make sustainable change we must get from a place of being reactive and go on the offensive for the protection of Black lives. In order to do that we have to empower Black leaders who are on the front lines of community change. 

The Black Justice Fellows DMV will help eliminate the economic hurdles Black Leaders face in today’s uncertain climate. Together, we are working towards community-led, people-focused models that identify and support those on the ground doing the real work towards racial justice.

If you know of an inspiring Black leader in your community, we want to hear from you. Nominations can be submitted directly on the Black Justice Felows (DMV) website.