Introducing the Black Voices for Black Justice DMV Fellows

Meet our Black Justice Fellows: ten local Black leaders fighting for racial justice in our region, and beyond. These 10 visionary leaders were selected from 4,334 nominations representing 362 Black leaders, as the inaugural Fellowship cohort of the Black Voices for Black Justice Fund DMV. Launched fall 2020 in partnership with Bridge Alliance Education Fund and the DC-based nonprofit GOODProjects, the Black Voices for Black Justice Fund DMV supports activists, organizers, and leaders who are on the front lines of advancing social justice and racial equity.  

Each Fellow will receive a personal grant of $30,000 to support their work and living expenses for a year, in support of their racial justice work that is shaping and driving this powerful movement to build a fair, equitable community. 

Read on to meet (and congratulate!) these 10 inspiring Fellows—and learn what values drive them to continue pushing for change.  

Reginald Black: People for Fairness Coalition


“My personal brand is giving the city everything it needs.”

Reginald Black is an advocacy director at People for Fairness Coalition, an organization aiming to empower people to end housing instability in the DC metro area using advocacy, outreach and peer mentoring. Their vision is to use practical and educational processes to get residents from poverty to self-sufficiency. In his spare time, Black serves as an artist and vendor for Street Sense Media.

Xavier Brown: Soilful City


“I am rooted deeply in nature and the community. I’m focused on creating more leaders by working with people to find the power already within them. My personal brand is about building community connections, networks, and community power based on the wisdom of nature.”

Xavier Brown is a native Washingtonian and founder of Soilful City, an organization building bridges between urban agriculture, environmental sustainability and people of the African diaspora. Their work is part educational and part collaboration with fellow Black farmers. Brown sees nature as a way to uplift and heal stressed communities. He is considered the face of DC Black farmers. 

Aalayah Eastmond: Team Enough and Concerned Citizens DC


“I am focused on uplifting the voices of Black youth and families—as well as the most marginalized groups, such as transgender Black women. These values are based on addressing the intersections of gun violence, the leading cause of death for Black youth, with racial equity/justice and police violence.”

Aalayah Eastmond is the co-founder and finances and operations director of Concerned Citizens DC, an organization aiming to improve the quality of life for Black people in DC and improve policing practices. As a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Eastmond experienced an attack by a gunman that resulted in 17 deaths among students and staff. Since, she has advocated against gun violence, in particular the chronic gun violence affecting Black communities daily. Eastmond serves as an executive council member for Team Enough, a youth-led organization working to end gun violence. She’s spoken about her experiences and mission at the 2018 March for Our Lives, the 2020 March on Washington and before Senate and House judiciary committees. Eastmond is also a BLM supporter who’s spent time at protest frontlines in DC.

Jawanna Hardy: Guns Down Friday


“Our main value [at Guns Down Friday] is integrity: doing the right thing when no one is watching. Other values are commitment and consistency. We’re loved by the community, because we never gave up.”

Jawanna Hardy is the founder of Guns Down Friday, an outreach program that provides resources to communities affected by youth homicide, suicide and mental health illnesses. Hardy is a US Air Force veteran who recognized that DC streets were worse than the warzone. Guns Down Friday was founded in 2018 in collaboration with Hardy’s daughter Dnayjah Joseph. The organization provides services such as the mobile trauma unit emergency response, therapy, books, food and clothes giveaways and violence intervention.

Liz Jones: Greenwithin


“My personal brand is being honest about your contribution to the earth and even more honest about how you care for yourself. Adopting eating habits that are best for yourself and the Earth. Having genuine connections and engagement with your community. An easily achievable plant-based diet. Simple sustainability practices.”

Liz Jones is the founder of Greenwithin, an organization creating sustainable food opportunities for underserved DC residents through local organic agriculture, plant based food and nutrition education. Jones hopes to refamiliarize her community with unprocessed, whole foods and to provide resources that lead to sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyles. She calls this her life’s work and family legacy.

Myron Long: The Social Justice School


“My brand is love, learning, and liberation, and my values are community, family, justice, service, and spirituality. I am and have a reputation of being authentic because my professional persona matches my personal and spiritual identity. Who I am as an educator and entrepreneur is who I am as a community activist, husband, and father.”

Myron Long is the founder and executive director of The Social Justice School, a revolutionary DC charter school that educates with social justice and design thinking at its core. Long has served the DC community as a veteran teacher and a principal. He hopes the school, which will eventually expand to accommodate 5th through 8th graders, will develop students academically and produce social justice advocates with skills to interpret and dismantle systems of oppression.

Ashley McSwain: Community Family Life Services

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“My personal brand is relentless and unapologetic advocacy for justice-involved women.” 

Ashley McSwain is the Executive Director at Community Family Life Services, a nonprofit serving re-entry women and families by providing wrap around support as they move towards self-sufficiency. McSwain is a licensed social worker in Maryland and a certified domestic violence counselor. She has worked in the human services field for over 25 years and is a recognized expert in women’s reentry. 

Ty Hobson-Powell: Concerned Citizens DC 


“My personal brand is radical love. I believe that the world only seems as careless as it does because we care less about each other than we should. The problem is that for so long there are many of us who’ve felt like we’ve had to do it all ourselves.”

Ty Hobson-Powell is the founder and Director of Policy of Concerned Citizens DC, an organization aiming to improve the quality of life for Black people in DC and improve policing practices. He has led protests in Washington, DC streets to bring awareness and dialogue to critical issues. Hobson-Powell is a child prodigy who graduated high school at 13 years old and earned his master’s in human services by 17 years old.

NeeNee Tay: Black Lives Matter DC (BLM DC)


“I am seeking to solve a better education system for our children. To have health care and housing for all of our people. To dismantle systems that contribute to state sanction and inter community violence. To defund the police and re-invest funds into programs and resources that will empower marginalized people and communities.”

NeeNee Tay is an Activist and Core Organizer for Black Lives Matter DC, is a member-based abolitionist organization centering Black people most at risk for state violence in DC, creating the conditions for Black Liberation through the abolition of systems and institutions of white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy, and colonialism. Tay’s current focus is on criminal justice reform, displacement and youth in the DMV area. Tay describes her activism as walking “in the spirit of Harriet Tubman.”

Bethelehem (Beth) Yirga: The Palm Collective


“I am a single mom who values collective action, education and authenticity. The vision of a future deserving of my daughter is what keeps me fighting for racial justice. I have no choice but to use my power to prepare our emerging generation of leaders in DC, and beyond, through cultivating spaces of learning, collaboration and standing in your power.”

Bethelehem Yirga is the co-founder, chief strategist and lead organizer of The Palm Collective, a Black-led organization connecting individuals, networks and grassroots organizations working to end systemic racism in DC. Their goal is to create powerful communities through Collective Action. Yirga has over 10 years of experience as an educator. She believes in inclusivity, collaboration, collective action and fighting for Black, Brown and BIPOC people to matter.

About the Black Voices for Black Justice Fund (DMV)

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.

‘Investing in Our City’s Future:' New Board Members Reflect on Service

Over the past several months, The Community Foundation has welcomed several new members to our board, with expertise ranging from arts management, to civil law. We’re thrilled to work with these inspiring leaders—and excited to introduce them to you! Read on to learn about their backgrounds and what they’re most excited about in joining The Community Foundation family. 


Rachel goslins

With over 25 years’ experience in the cultural sector, creative industries, social impact and law, Rachel Goslins is the Director of the Arts & Industries Building at the Smithsonian Institution. In that capacity she is responsible for all aspects of developing and implementing plans to reopen the building, closed to the public for over a decade, as a space to explore creativity, innovation and the future. Prior to that, she served as Executive Director of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, an advisory committee to President Obama on cultural policy, from 2009 until late 2015.

“I am so thrilled and honored to join The Community Foundation board—especially in this moment of inflection for the organization. With Tonia and Katherine at the helm, coming out of a robust strategic planning process and the lessons of a tumultuous year, which reinforced our mission and value to the communities we serve, we are poised to do even greater things. I am committed to do whatever I can to help build and grow the legacy of this dynamic foundation.”


Ronald Machen

Ronald Machen is a partner at the law firm of WilmerHale. He serves on the firm’s Global Management Committee and is Co-Chair of the firm’s Investigations and Criminal Litigation Group. He is an experienced litigator, having tried more than 35 cases to verdict, who specializes in complex criminal and civil actions. He also routinely helps clients navigate high-stakes, crisis situations that garner the attention of multiple regulators, Congress and private litigants.

“Having spent a large portion of my career devoted to improving public safety, I am very excited about becoming a board member of The Community Foundation and serving my community in a different capacity. There are so many pressing challenges our society faces today—homelessness, income and racial inequality, job preparedness, lack of educational opportunities for our youth, just to name a few.  I look forward to working with my fellow board members of the foundation to attack these and other issues in order to  improve the quality of life for all residents of the greater Washington region.” 


Catherine Pino

Catherine M. Pino is Founder and CEO of D&P Creative Strategies, a certified Latinx, LGBTQ, Veteran and Women’s business enterprise she and her wife, Ingrid Duran, created in 2004. Catherine’s aim is to advance corporate, philanthropic and legislative efforts that mirror her deep passion and commitment to social justice and civil rights issues. Catherine has extensive experience working in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, where she developed an expertise for designing and evaluating programs that target underserved populations

“I am so honored to join The Community Foundation familia, and to be part of this incredible organization that does vital work in our community. I am especially looking forward to working with the board under our President’s leadership to guide the staff on the implementation of The Community Foundation’s new, thoughtful, and very bold strategic plan. I am excited to see the fruits of its success as we lead with racial equity and inclusion to strengthen our most vulnerable communities in the area, particularly our immigrant community.”


Archie Smart, Founder, DKR Insights

Archie has counseled political campaigns, global corporations, NGOs, and trade associations to use technology to solve modern communications challenges. A veteran of Madison Avenue, political campaigns, and tech startups, Archie builds offensive and defensive narrative strategies to enhance reputations and influence audiences using data, analytics, and advertising technologies.

Before founding DKR Insights, Smart was an Executive Vice President at MSL / Publicis Groupe, where he was responsible for managing global client engagements.

“Washington, DC is a beacon of hope, freedom, and opportunity for people everywhere, yet many living in the shadow of the Capitol dome struggle for genuine equality. When I joined the board of The Community Foundation, I committed to helping our community achieve the ideals our city represents to the world. I am looking forward to learning from the staff as we make investments in our city’s future.”

Community Foundation to Honor Community Champions

Hundreds will gather virtually to celebrate the individual and collective efforts to address the most pressing needs of our community

In celebration of what makes the Greater Washington region truly remarkable, the Greater Washington Community Foundation has announced the honorees for its upcoming Celebration of Community Champions on Thursday, May 20, 2021. 

The virtual Celebration will uplift and honor several local Heroes for their exceptional efforts to help our community navigate the pandemic and economic crisis.

CareFirst workers delivering PPE.

CareFirst workers delivering PPE.

  • Corporate Hero: CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
    For committing to distributing 1.6 million units of PPE at no-cost to nonprofit health centers and independent providers on the frontlines of the pandemic.

  • Community Hero: Feed the Fight
    A community-driven, volunteer effort with a dual mission to support local restaurants and provide meals to healthcare and frontline workers.

Food for Montgomery volunteers distributing food at a food distribution site.

Food for Montgomery volunteers distributing food at a food distribution site.

  • Collaborative Hero: Food for Montgomery
    A public-private effort to coordinate and expand food distributions, support local farmers and small businesses, and improve food systems to combat food insecurity in Montgomery County.

  • Civic Heroes
    For demonstrating outstanding civic leadership and service dedicated to improving the lives of Prince George’s County residents.

    • Dr. Monica Goldson, CEO, Prince George’s County Public Schools

    • Steve Proctor, President and CEO, G.S. Proctor & Associates, Inc.

    • Dr. Alvin Thornton, former chairman, Prince George’s County Board of Education

    • Senator Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., in memoriam

While 2020 was an incredibly challenging year, the generosity and commitment of our community has been nothing short of incredible. Since the early days of this crisis, our community has stepped up to provide much needed support and resources to help our neighbors facing hardship due to COVID-19. 

The Community Foundation was proud to partner with and serve this community during its time of need. Since March 2020, The Community Foundation has mobilized over $10.5 million in community support to help families put food on the table, keep a roof over their heads, access medical care, find or maintain a job, and fully participate in remote learning.

The Celebration of Community Champions will honor the generosity of our community and help The Community Foundation continue to raise vital support to respond to this ongoing crisis and work toward an equitable recovery for our region.   

“Small actions can add up to make our community a better place,” said Tonia Wellons, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “Over the past year, our community has come together to respond to the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic, economic crisis, and racial reckoning. This virtual Celebration will recognize and honor the people and partners who stepped up to meet these challenges with equally unprecedented generosity, creativity, and compassion.”

 The Celebration will feature special performances from local artists and arts organizations supported by the Arts Forward Fund and representing a range of creative expression including music, theater, visual arts, and dance. The Arts Forward Fund is a funder collaborative at The Community Foundation which provided $1 million in emergency support to help struggling arts organizations, especially nonprofits led by and serving BIPOC communities in our region. 

Apply Today For The 2021 LEARN Scholarship

The Landover Educational Athletic Recreational Nonprofit (LEARN) was established in 1996 to support education programs for Prince George's County youth residing in the vicinity of FedEx Field stadium. Since its inception, the LEARN Foundation has awarded close to $1 million in scholarships and grants to Prince George’s County students and community organizations.  Embedded in the foundation’s mission is the belief that the future is now, and that through partnerships and collaboration young people residing in the targeted areas can benefit through post-secondary education opportunities. 

In 2002, the LEARN Foundation became a component fund of the Greater Washington Community Foundation. Since that time, hundreds of students have benefited from scholarship awards toward college and other career preparation opportunities.The fund is now accepting applications for 2020 awards. Interested high school seniors must apply by Saturday, April 24, 2021.

For more information please contact The LEARN Foundation at learnfoundation18@gmail.com.

On National Service Recognition Day, Two AmeriCorps VISTA Members Share Their Passion for Service

We are excited to celebrate National Service Recognition Day at The Community Foundation!

This annual day recognizes thousands of AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers across the country, issuing official proclamations and taking to social media in a nationwide show of appreciation. AmeriCorps, a US civil society program, pairs individuals in volunteer service positions at organizations throughout the country. 

This year, The Community Foundation is a proud host to two AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members. Below, meet our AmeriCorps staff-ers and learn what national service means to them.

 ‘Making a Difference When it Matters’ 

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Toro Olatidoye, AmeriCorps Vista Member, is currently serving as Data and Research Specialist with the Children's Opportunity Fund, an initiative of The Community Foundation. She is an advocate of children’s rights, with particular focus on educational development and the rights of the most vulnerable.

As a graduate of International Human Rights Law with a focus on children’s rights, Toro believes that  service offers a platform to fulfill her dream of ensuring all children receive equal opportunity in the pursuit of knowledge. She hopes to leverage this dream to transform communities--in this case, Montgomery County, Maryland. 

In honor of National Service Recognition Day, we asked Toro to reflect on what, in this moment, being an AmeriCorps member means to her - and how this shapes her work at The Community Foundation, and beyond.

“Being an AmeriCorps member at this moment in time means making a difference, when it matters. I am humbled to be serving in an organization that is focused on positively impacting the  lives of our youngest learners in Montgomery County. Our children deserve an opportunity to achieve their potential in life and need help now more than ever in view of the pandemic. There is a need to make quality education accessible  to all of our children, irrespective of their color.

I want to help find  solutions that address this need, with hopes that it will bring about positive systemic change in my community. As a resident of Montgomery County, I realize the future of our children is really all of our responsibilities.  By empowering our youngest learners, we will give future innovators and solution-makers the opportunity to serve their communities. I believe, when you serve, you become a vehicle of change who inspire others to follow suit. The more people are working towards a common goal, the more positive influence and achievements you will see.”   

‘A Commitment to Coming together’ 


Jamie Miura joined The Community Foundation in July of 2020 as an AmeriCorps VISTA Member focused on funding and community organizing with the Children’s Opportunity Fund. He is a recent college graduate with diverse experiences in nonprofits and government in Canada, Japan, and the United States.

Jamie is passionate about working with mission driven organizations that are quick and nimble in responding to community needs and work to empower voices that often remain unheard. As a native of Montgomery County, Maryland, he feels that now, more than ever, it is important to be empathetic and supportive towards each other as we move forward together as a community.

In honor of National Service Recognition Day, we asked Jamie to reflect on what, in this moment, being an AmeriCorps member means to him- and how this shapes his work at The Community Foundation, and beyond.

“As we continue to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, we must recognize that our communities and people are hurting, none more than our youngest learners in Montgomery County, Maryland. As a recent graduate from a Canadian university, I was determined to return to the United States and tomy local community. That sentiment led me to AmeriCorps and its commitment to help Americans come together to help our country and our people prosper.

Montgomery County has been my home since I was born, and I am humbled to be in the position to come back and support our youngest learners. Working at the Children’s Opportunity Fund has been a great opportunity for me to give back to the community that raised me. I will never forget my year of service at The Community Foundation.”

About the Children’s Opportunity Fund

The Children's Opportunity Fund is an impact initiative of the Greater Washington Community Foundation which brings together top government leadership and community partners to plan, advocate for, and fund strategic investments that improve the lives of children and families in Montgomery County. The Children's Opportunity Funds invests in innovative, evidence-based efforts targeted at addressing the achievement gap.

Celebrating A Year of Leadership

On April 2, 2020—just one day after DC’s official COVID-19 stay-at-home orders were announced—Tonia Wellons was named President and CEO of The Community Foundation. This followed a half-year search during which she served as interim CEO of the organization. 

Today, on Tonia’s one year anniversary, we celebrate her steadfast leadership and vision. Throughout 2020, Tonia remained determined to care for our community with urgency and with care - and the community took notice. 

Through her many media features, awards and accolades this past year, we are so humbled and appreciative of all the positive support she’s received. Below, get to know Tonia better, and learn about some of this year’s top highlights. 

Introducing Tonia: ‘A Steadfast Vision Offering Us Hope’

Read about Tonia’s background and experience, and her vision for The Community Foundation. Hear what it was like starting as CEO during a pandemic and how she is shaping The Community Foundation’s priorities in response to the evolving crisis. 

Celebrating Her Leadership: ‘A Collaborator On The Journey Toward Solutions’

Learn about two significant awards Tonia received this year, which honored the incredible community leadership she’s provided amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

Thought Leadership in Action

Last summer, Tonia wrote a Washington Post op-ed with Ursual Wright, Managing Director for FSG, where she referred to the pandemic as a ‘trifecta of crisis:’ health, economic, and democratic. Read more about her views on this crisis - and her perspective from being on the frontlines of philanthropy.

A Call to Action to End Homelessness


Dear Mayor Bowser: 

We are writing on behalf of the Greater Washington Community Foundation and its Partnership to End Homelessness Leadership Council to thank you for your deep commitment to addressing homelessness in DC, and to offer our endorsement for bold action in the fiscal year 2022 budget to make substantial investments in ending homelessness and in affordable housing. As you know, the Partnership is a collective effort of business leaders, philanthropists, and national and local nonprofits working to ensure homelessness in DC is rare, brief, and non-recurring.

The pandemic and economic crisis have made it crystal clear that stable affordable housing is the foundation of healthy communities. Thousands of residents, nearly all of them Black or Brown, have faced the risks of COVID-19 without the dignity or safety of a home, and even more have lost jobs and are at risk of eviction and homelessness. The economic impacts of the pandemic affect all of us.

We believe that now is the time to make bold investments to alleviate the suffering and address the economic damage caused by the pandemic - and to take on the longstanding inequities that made the District and its residents vulnerable in the pandemic. The Community Foundation and The Partnership urge you to put forward a budget that assertively works to end chronic homelessness, protects our unsheltered neighbors, and that makes a significant investment in affordable housing for DC’s lowest-income households, which is the long-term solution to ending homelessness.

We acknowledge that the challenges of homelessness and affordable housing are great but also recognize that the District is a prosperous and caring city, with the resources and the leadership to be an example to the entire nation for racial justice and housing equity.

As leaders in the business, philanthropic, and nonprofit sectors, we write with both a moral call to action and a keen sense of what is best for the District’s future. Addressing homelessness and investing in deeply affordable housing is a matter of racial equity and social justice, and also a matter of efficient use of DC’s resources and building a healthy and growing city for all of us. As a result of decades of discrimination and systemic racism, nearly all of DC’s low-income renters with affordable housing needs are Black and Brown, as are nearly all DC residents facing homelessness. Addressing the housing needs of these residents is a key step to repairing the damage of systemic racism.

Our entire community and economy are stronger when everyone has stable, affordable, and decent housing. The strongest research shows that permanent supportive housing enables the most vulnerable residents experiencing homelessness to put their lives in order, and actually saves money by reducing reliance on costly emergency services. Affordable housing provides stability and security that contributes to better health, safety during pandemic, better nutrition, reduced stress and overall better mental health, workers who are able to get to their jobs, improved school outcomes for children, and more. 

The DC budget for Fiscal Year 2022 is perhaps the most consequential in our city’s history; the choices made will shape our recovery from the pandemic and have long-lasting impacts on the District’s vitality. 

We align with the recommendations of our advocacy partners in calling on the District to use the Fiscal Year 2022 budget for bold action on our deepest inequities, especially homelessness and affordable housing. 

End Homelessness

  • Invest $100 million to end chronic homelessness for 2,761 individuals and 432 families.

  • Grow Project Reconnect, the diversion program that helps individuals quickly exit from homelessness.

  • Ensure neighbors living outside are connected to crucial outreach services by funding at least at the FY 2021 level.

  • Continue to fund the Re-entry Housing Pilot for Returning Citizens at $1.8 million.

  • Ensure that every person who is at high risk of dying of COVID-19 is offered a placement in non-congregate shelter.

  • Provide Short-term Assistance to 1,820 individuals, including high-quality client-centered case management, rental, and other forms of financial assistance, and income supports and support with housing search.

Invest in Deeply Affordable Housing

  • Use federal stimulus funds to purchase hotels that can be used as non-congregate shelter during the pandemic and converted to Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) in the long term.

  • Expand Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to support tenants who have been unable to pay rent and may not qualify for other rental assistance to at least $100 million.

  • Invest $60 million in public housing repairs to adequately address the ongoing maintenance and repair.

  • Maintain stable funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund of at least $104 million.

  • Invest $4 million in the Affordable Housing Production Fund to preserve affordable housing throughout the District.

  • Invest $17.33 million to provide tenant vouchers to 800 families.

  • Maintain $5 million in investments in the project-based component of the Local Rent Supplement Program (LRSP), to ensure the Housing Production Trust Fund serves extremely low-income residents (those below 30 percent of Area Median Income). 

We believe everyone deserves the dignity and safety of a home that they can afford. We believe that together we truly can end homelessness, and that DC will be stronger and better when we all come together to achieve that. Thank you again for your leadership. We urge you to make 2022 the year that DC makes bold and significant investments to end chronic homelessness and to increase the supply of deeply affordable housing.


David Roodberg
CEO and President, Horning Brothers
Partnership to End Homelessness, Leadership Council Co-Chair

Tonia Wellons
President and CEO, Greater Washington Community Foundation
Partnership to End Homelessness, Leadership Council Co-Chair

2021 Montgomery County Philanthropist of the Year Award Nominations Now Open!

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Past Montgomery County Philanthropists of the Year, Andy Burness and Hope Gleicher at the 2019 Celebration of Giving.

Nomination Guidelines

Purpose: To honor an individual who has made a positive impact in our community through giving, and whose philanthropic leadership sets an inspiring example for us all. 

Nomination Process

Complete the official nomination form and submit a letter (2 pages max) explaining why your nominee should be selected as the Montgomery County Philanthropist of the Year. 

Please note: the cover form must be completed in its entirety. The 2-page letter must convey that the nominee meets all the eligibility criteria. Nominators are welcome to submit attachments that will help convey the impact of the nominee’s giving and philanthropic leadership. However, the Awards Committee will not accept nominations which rely solely on resumes, newspaper articles, annual reports, or the like in substitution for concise responses to the criteria outlined above.  

When feasible, nominators are welcome to team up with other organizations to submit a joint nomination that will more fully articulate the nominee’s philanthropic leadership and impact. 

Pending review by the Philanthropist of the Year Selection Committee, The Community Foundation staff may contact you for additional information. 

For inspiration, look no further than our past Philanthropist of the Year honorees.

Eligibility Criteria

All nominees must:

  • Be a resident of Montgomery County

  • Have a demonstrated track record of charitable giving to one or more nonprofit organizations based in and working in Montgomery County*

  • Have made a positive impact in the lives of county residents through their giving*

  • Encourage/motivate others to become philanthropic

Please note: We encourage nominators to give special emphasis to any extraordinary giving and/or leadership over the past year which helped your organization adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and/or advance work related to racial equity and inclusion.  Please know, the level of charitable dollars given is secondary to its impact and potential to inspire others to follow suit. Creative approaches to philanthropy are welcome! Nominees may be of any age.

In exceptional circumstances, the Selection Committee may consider a former resident, a family unit, or a philanthropist who is deceased. 

Deadline: Friday, April 30, 2021

The nomination form, letter, and any additional attachments must be submitted via email by close of business on Friday, April 30, 2021 to:

Kate Daniel
Donor Services Associate, Montgomery County

All nominators will receive confirmation that the nomination has been submitted within 24 hours of receipt. The Community Foundation in Montgomery County will contact the selected awardee(s) and their nominator by June. All other nominations will remain confidential.

Questions: Contact Kate Daniel at kdaniel@thecommunityfoundation.org or 301-495-3036 x169.

Speaking Out Against Anti-Asian Racism

To our neighbors, friends, and partners:

Embedded in our vision for a just and equitable Greater Washington region is a vision for a just and equitable world. The recent violence against our Asian American brothers and sisters is yet another indication of how far we have to go. The most recent tragedy is horrific. The notion of the perpetrator ‘having a bad day’ is unjust. The Greater Washington Community Foundation stands in solidarity with the Asian American community in adding our voice and resources to call for an end to anti-Asian hate and violence. As a society, we have to be unwavering in our commitment to eradicating homegrown terror that is rooted in hate, fear, and delusions of white supremacy. 

We will continue to partner with local organizations like the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle, which pools resources to support nonprofits serving local AAPI communities, and fund organizations leading anti-racism work as well as providing direct services, advocacy, historical and cultural preservation, and more. 

In light of recent conversations happening at The Community Foundation around advancing racial justice, equity, and inclusion, several colleagues shared their reflections on the recent attacks. 


Tonia Wellons
President and CEO

The system of white supremacy is inherently violent.  It is also the single biggest threat to our collective well-being and the stability of our democracy.  This truth is reinforced and made self-evident; this violence is further exemplified and embedded in our quality-of-life systems (healthcare, governing, education, economy, etc.) and their capacity to reproduce the social inequities that BIPOC communities experience daily. While these systems need to be challenged, dismantled, and transformed, in this moment our hearts and minds are drawn to the acute violence that Asian American communities have historically experienced—and the violence they are experiencing right now.

This week in Atlanta, Georgia, we witnessed yet another anti-Asian attack; women were particularly targeted.  In the wake of this violence, a narrative is emerging that attempts to gloss over the primary motivating factor for this attack. Our BIPOC brothers and sisters know better. Our allies know better. We have seen and experienced this kind of violence against our humanity. It has been relentless in its ability to traumatize and destroy BIPOC lives and communities. The moment and the scale of terror that we have experienced; the insidious and shape-shifting nature of the forces that seek to kill us, demands that we are incisive and clear when we name the enemy. Our willingness to do so will buttress our ability to defend ourselves and to build the kind of society where we can thrive. So, to be clear, the attacker (just like our systems) was primarily motivated by the lie of white supremacy. This is a truth that we cannot avoid.

To our Asian American brothers and sisters, we see you. We feel you. We mourn with you. We will heal with you. Your struggle is our struggle. Your pain is our pain. Your freedom is our freedom.

Sending you love and light, 

Ronnie Galvin, Managing Director, Community Investment
Melen Hagos, Senior Manager, External Affairs
Dawnn Leary, Senior Community Investment Officer
Russella Davis-Rogers, Director, Donor Services

First Ladies of The Community Foundation

This month, in honor of Women’s History month, we are celebrating the remarkable women of The Community Foundation who’ve helped shape our history. Many were First Ladies to the President of the United States—a special, historical relationship we’ve nurtured through the years. Here are a few of their stories.

Rosalynn Carter’s Precedent of Support


In 1978, First Lady Rosalynn Carter left Camp David during President Jimmy Carter’s 13-day peace summit, which helped to broker the first-ever peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Mrs. Carter went back to the White House to host a luncheon for business leaders to rally support for the Community Foundation of Greater Washington–then just five years old. She gained support of many corporate and philanthropic leaders, including the Ford Foundation, that set a precedent for our early organization to grow into a champion of thriving communities today. 

In 2019, Danielle Yates, our Managing Director of Marketing and Communications, got the chance to meet Mrs. Carter and former President Jimmy Carter at their church in Georgia (pictured left). 

Barbara Bush’s Literacy Legacy 


While former First Lady Barbara Bush had many passions, none was more personally identified with her than teaching children and their parents to read. Aware of The Community Foundation’s successful record of managing charitable funds for other national figures, in 1989, Mrs. Bush asked us to help establish her literacy organization.

The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy aimed to establish literacy as a value in every family in America; and, help families understand that the home is the child’s first school, with the parent as the child’s first teacher and reading as their first subject. In total, the Foundation awarded more than $40 million in grants to support the development and expansion of more than 900 literacy programs in 50 states and the District of Columbia.  

While The Community Foundation is no longer home to the Barbara Bush Foundation (the Fund closed in 2011), Mrs. Bush’s legacy lives on. You can find more information at www.barbarabushlegacy.org

The Laura Bush Foundation for American Libraries


In 2001, Laura Bush helped continue and expand the family’s literacy legacy by establishing the Laura Bush Foundation for American Libraries at The Community Foundation. A former teacher and librarian, Mrs. Bush has long championed the importance of reading as the foundation of all learning.

The Foundation helps students in our nation’s neediest schools by awarding grants to school libraries in an effort to improve student achievement. Funds support these libraries in extending, updating, and diversifying their book and print collections. 

The Laura Bush Foundation transitioned to Dallas, Texas in 2014, where it is now managed as a restricted fund of the George W. Bush Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.

In 2007, we celebrated Mrs. Bush as our Civic Spirit honoree, an award which recognizes a community member who embodies the spirit of philanthropy.

Equity Hubs Help MCPS Students Plug into Learning through Pandemic

Equity Hub students hard at work with their virtual studies.

Equity Hub students hard at work with their virtual studies.

When COVID-19 forced Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to close in March 2020, families found themselves struggling to adjust to remote learning. As a school district serving 160,000 students, MCPS is comprised of a diverse student body, with students from 164 countries speaking 184 languages. One-third of students benefit from Free and Reduced-Price Meals, and many receive English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) support and in-person special education courses -- all services that changed dramatically when schools closed. 

Due to the closures, students throughout Montgomery County lacked technical support, internet access, and daytime supervision. Students also had to adjust to distractions at home, as well as the social isolation from being away from peers and teachers. 

A Community Approach to Distance Learning

In fall 2020, certified childcare providers, The Black and Brown Coalition for Educational Equity and Excellence, MCPS, The Children’s Opportunity Fund at the Greater Washington Community Foundation, and community members came together to establish Educational Enrichment and Equity Hubs in Montgomery County. These enrichment centers, open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and located in schools throughout Montgomery County, served kindergarten through 8th grade students and offered a safe learning environment for young people from low-income households to receive one-on-one support. All providers followed strict health and safety guidelines, provided meals and exercise/play activities, and assigned two staff members for each group of 13 students.

The Equity Hubs were also active academic partners, monitoring and assisting with distance learning and working to ensure that students excelled. Before joining the Equity Hub, Eduardo, a first grader with community-based partner Kids Co., struggled with number and letter identification, making it difficult to complete homework assignments. 

“With help from staff, [Eduardo was] able to complete more assignments,” said Chantelle Miller, Director of Kids Co. “His teachers identified a new academic plan to measure his academic skills, specifically pertaining to math, and he seemed happier and more comfortable doing coursework.” 

Community partners—from parents to childcare providers—have said the social aspects of the Equity Hubs improved students’ engagement, social-emotional skills, and overall mental health. Social interaction also helped younger students develop their sense of self and reach developmental milestones. 

“All of our students [were] successful once they enrolled in our Hub,” said Jay Gerson, President of Kids Co. “They [were] coming every day and being consistent -- they [had] this fuel and motivation to go to school each day.” 

Enrollment Assistance for Equity Hub Students

Quickly working to support families during a crisis comes with a price. Equity Hub providers initially charged $1,200 per month per child to support technology, certified staff, transportation, meals and snacks, and other resources.  


The Greater Washington Community Foundation’s Children’s Opportunity Fund connected with concerned community partners and worked collectively to mobilize funds, raise awareness and began providing scholarships for students. In August and September 2020, the Children’s Opportunity Fund raised $500,000 in private philanthropy, allowing for the opening of four sites in September. In partnership with the Black and Brown Coalition for Educational Equity and Excellence, The Children’s Opportunity Fund began advocating to MCPS and the Montgomery County Council for additional funds to expand the Hubs to serve more students. Since September, an additional $550,000 in private philanthropy has been raised—leading to a total of over $1 million in private funds to support Equity Hubs. 

Pat Rupert, a Children’s Opportunity Fund donor and Montgomery County resident, said that she first considered supporting the Equity Hubs when she started watching her five grandchildren in spring 2020.

“I kept thinking to myself, what about working parents who don’t have the resources or support from family and friends?” Rupert said. “I reached out to The Children’s Opportunity Fund to figure out what was being done to support these families, and that’s when I learned about Equity Hubs and felt inspired to be a part of [their] crucial work.”

The Power of Collaboration

The Children’s Opportunity Fund coordinated the work of many community partners, which created a single point of entry for families to help them navigate finding an Equity Hub that was a good fit for each family and student. Participating Partners worked to spread the word about the Equity Hubs: sharing flyers in English and Spanish, setting up a hotline to receive phone calls, and bringing on family engagement specialists to help get students enrolled.

Also, in close collaboration with MCPS, Equity Hubs were able to enroll students who were struggling the most with distance learning. Collaboration and coordination enabled this effort to reach students who would benefit from the Equity Hubs the most. 

By blending public and private funds to complement efforts, The Children’s Opportunity Fund and its partners were able to utilize private funds to quickly pilot a new program and then acquire public funds to expand its reach to students throughout the community. In October 2020, the Montgomery County Council contributed $1.8 million to expand the Hubs throughout the County’s elementary schools, and MCPS committed another $1.8 million to support Equity Hubs.

The Children’s Opportunity Fund raised over $4.6 million to help the Equity Hubs enroll 1,500 students across 70 sites. In January 2021, MCPS and Montgomery County Council provided another $3.6 million to support them through March 2021, when in-person learning resumed.  

Dr. Daman Harris, Principal at Wheaton Woods, said the Equity Hubs produced numerous benefits for students and the community.

“Before The Children’s Opportunity Fund got involved and alleviated concerns about costs, there were eight children signed up for our hub,” Harris said. “By February 2021, there were over 50 students enrolled.”

This work is not new to The Children’s Opportunity Fund. Started in 2016 by the Montgomery County Council and then established as a funding initiative led by the Greater Washington Community Foundation, The Children’s Opportunity Fund aims to close the opportunity gap by addressing racial inequities and expanding opportunities for marginalized children and families. The Fund brings together community members and government leadership to plan with, advocate for, and fund strategic investments that improve the lives of children and families. 

Looking Toward the Future

The Equity Hubs successfully served thousands of students throughout the pandemic. Even as schools begin to reopen, the need to support our community’s children and families will continue, especially as the implications of the pandemic are more fully understood. The Children’s Opportunity Fund aims to continue working with the community and its partners to understand the evolving needs of the most vulnerable youth and families in order to close the steadily increasing opportunity gap in Montgomery County.  

The Children’s Opportunity Fund can only do this work with the help of cross-sector partners across Montgomery County. You can play an active role in ensuring that young people continue to have access to safe, quality learning opportunities and enrichments that support their academic and personal development, regardless of socio-economic status, race, or housing situation. Join us to ensure that all children have access to the essential services and growth opportunities they need to thrive.

A Reflection on a Year of COVID-19

By Tonia Wellons, President & CEO

In March 2020, our world shifted before us. COVID-19 had arrived—and with it, came an unprecedented health and economic crisis for our region, our country, and our world. 

As a regional Community Foundation, we were resolute in our duty to care for our community as quickly, and compassionately, as possible. On March 12, less than a week after the onset of the pandemic in our region, we established the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to deploy emergency assistance to those most adversely affected.

And today, to mark the one-year anniversary, I want to start off by acknowledging the families and people in our region who have experienced loss of life as a result of COVID-19; or during the pandemic period. Our work has targeted those living through the pandemic, but many didn’t make it. For those people and their families, we offer our respectful condolences and hope for brighter days. 

Since launching the Fund, we’ve been able to mobilize $10.5 million from more than 1,300 contributors including corporate partners, local foundations, and individual donors. We are so humbled by and proud of our network of partners and donors, who have stepped up in incredible ways to support our neighbors in need.

I am proud to share some key data points with you on our collective impact, which helps tell the story of our coordinated COVID-19 response. What we were able to accomplish together for our community is truly inspiring—and would not have been possible without our generous community partners. 

Here are a couple of stories that I found especially inspiring: 

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.

Sophie Felts, a Community Foundation donor and owner of Sophie Felts Floral Design, launched a flower drive to help fundraise for our COVID-19 Response Fund. All proceeds from her locally-grown flower arrangements supported our efforts, helping funnel additional funds into the community when it was needed most. 

Or, take the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield PPE Response Fund, one of our aligned COVID-19 response partnerships. Through this public-private endeavor, we partnered with CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield to establish a $5 million fund to procure and distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) at no-cost to healthcare and social service organizations on the front lines of the pandemic. 

This equated to 1.6 million units of PPE to local frontline health workers—one of our region's most impacted populations. In this way, we were able to not only recognize, but support, the frontline workers who helped our community through this pandemic.

We know that our pre-COVID world was one rife with deep inequities in housing, employment, and education, among many areas. As we work toward an equitable recovery, we know we cannot return to the status quo. At The Community Foundation, we are focused on emerging from this crisis as a stronger, more equitable, and resilient community that offers equal opportunity for all residents to thrive. 

Right now, we are working on this in several key ways. We are in the midst of retooling our strategic framework so that every aspect of our work is aligned with what our region needs to move forward as an equitable community. We will focus on building a community of support and accountability that will advance our region’s role as a champion for racial equity and justice.  

We believe that everyone has a role to play in shaping a “better normal” for the Greater Washington region—one where who you are, and where you were born, does not determine your success in life.  We look forward to continuing to explore ways we can engage community voices, and better support Black leaders and organizations led by, or serving BIPOC communities.

Together, with our community and  local government, we will continue to foster long-lasting change, especially for our region’s low-income families and communities of color. 

Thank you for partnering with us to pursue an equitable recovery strategy that lifts and prioritizes the needs of everyone in our region, but especially those who have been the most negatively affected in the Greater Washington Region.

Celebration of Community Champions

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On Thursday, May 20 at 6 p.m., join us for an hour of inspiration and celebration of our collective efforts and impact. As a champion for your community, we want to uplift you and the everyday heroes - including the donors, nonprofit partners, corporate supporters, and local government advisors - who stepped up to help our community navigate this crisis.

This virtual Celebration will share the incredible stories of neighbors helping neighbors that have continued to inspire us. You will also enjoy special performances from local artists and arts organizations, supported by the Arts Forward Fund, representing a range of creative expression including music, theater, visual arts, and dance.

Save the date for May 20 to recognize and honor our community of changemakers.

Registration opens in early April and is free to our community (though donations are appreciated!).

Children’s Opportunity Fund Hosts Read Across America Day in Montgomery County

By Jamie Miura, AmeriCorps member at The Community Foundation

On March 2, the Children’s Opportunity Fund hosted Read Across America Day in Montgomery County, a virtual panel that examined—and celebrated—the role that schools, the community, and families play in promoting the joy of reading. We welcomed a panel of community leaders, including Kareem Bernard, Craig Rice, Tanushree Dutta Issacmanand Jennifer Sloan McCombs, known for their contributions as authors, advocates, and researchers.

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Council Member Gabe Albornoz kicked the day off with a Read Aloud of Perro Grande... Perro Pequeño to students at an Educational Equity and Enrichment Hub. Following the reading, the group discussed the importance of incorporating diverse perspectives—and coming together to develop impactful solutions that advance early literacy in Montgomery County. 

 Here are a few other take-aways that we found particularly inspiring:

  • Kareem Bernard, author of the children's book series Billy's Adventures, highlighted the importance of leveraging community resources such as banks, barbershops, salons and libraries to create safe spaces for our youngest readers. “We have to create an environment where kids are constantly seeing words.”

  • Children's learning should be a family affair, and jurisdictions must continually focus on the needs of children, parents, and families. Jennifer Sloan McCombs, senior policy researcher at RAND Corporation, stressed this by stating we must "draw in communities by putting families and children at the center of what we are doing."

  • The panel also emphasized the importance of recognizing that “education equity is not an end outcome; it is a continuous process.” Tanushree Dutta Issacman, associate organizer at Action in Montgomery, encouraged us all to recognize that "we need to go back again and intentionally engage with Black, Brown and low-income parents and hear from them what their experiences has been, what are they up at night thinking about, and organize around their needs."

Council Member Craig Rice, Chair of the Education and Culture Committee, wrapped up the discussion by reading Kareem Bernard’s book The Peaceful Protest and acknowledging the value of our civil rights and that, ultimately, we are all one community. 

If you missed the event, or would like to watch again, we invite you to watch our video recording.

You can also continue the conversation on social media by posting or sharing a photo of your favorite book, or the Read Across America postcards that were sent to Equity Hub participants! Please tag us @communityfndn and use the hashtags #ReadMoCo and #ReadAcrossAmerica.

About the Children’s Opportunity Fund

The Children's Opportunity Fund is an impact initiative of the Greater Washington Community Foundation which brings together top government leadership and community partners to plan, advocate for, and fund strategic investments that improve the lives of children and families in Montgomery County. The Children's Opportunity Funds invests in innovative, evidence-based efforts targeted at addressing the achievement gap.

Advancing Housing Justice

Over the past year we have seen the impact of strong advocacy and organizing efforts, both here in DC, and across the country. In DC, undocumented workers who were left out of traditional unemployment insurance and other public aid, successfully advocated for financial assistance through the DC Cares Program, which has issued over $14 million in relief funding. Thanks to advocates here and across the country, we have also seen rental assistance and renter protections included in local and federal legislation.

Yet, as this crisis continues, we know there is still work to be done. In DC, many neighbors are behind on rent and people experiencing homelessness remain at high risk. A new study shows that housing for all and eviction moratoriums could have saved 164,000 lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. This evidence demonstrates what we already know: that housing is healthcare, and housing saves lives. As private philanthropy and as individuals, our resources are limited but by supporting advocacy and organizing, we can both leverage our investments and shift power to those closest to the work and best able to identify solutions.

Announcing New Grants to Nonprofits Advancing Housing Justice

This month, we are incredibly excited to announce $310,000 in grants awarded to 7 DC organizations that are working to increase resources to end homelessness and to advocate for policies and funding to increase the supply of deeply affordable housing in DC.

As a part of our commitment to racial equity and addressing racial disparities, we prioritized efforts developed and led by communities most impacted by homelessness and housing instability. We know that by supporting these efforts, we can continue to build power in these communities and move toward the transformational change needed to ensure everyone has housing they can afford.

Join Us to Stand for Change

In addition to our grantmaking, we will continue to advocate for the issues that impact our neighbors experiencing homelessness and housing instability. On March 17 at 12 noon, we are hosting a virtual panel, Standing for Change: Advocating for Housing Justice, a special conversation discussing how you can help advocate for housing justice. We’ll examine how we can work together to advocate for a more healthy and equitable community through stable housing.

Thank you for standing with us. We look forward to your continued partnership as we work to end homelessness in DC.

Down Payment Grants for a More Just Future

At The Community Foundation, we are proud to partner with Flock DC, a DC-based real estate firm, on the birdSEED Foundation, a new housing justice program offering targeted home-buying assistance to Black and Brown DC residents. BirdSEED is responding to a history where Black people have long been denied access to opportunities for homeownership and/or targeted by predatory lending practices. Learn more about the fund and how to apply on their website.

About the Partnership to End Homelessness

The Partnership to End Homelessness, led by the Greater Washington Community Foundation and the District Government’s Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH), brings together the public and private sectors to ensure homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring in DC. We believe that all DC residents deserve a safe, stable, and affordable place to call home.

By joining together, we will increase the supply of deeply affordable housing, help everyone find a home they can afford, and help more people access housing and exit homelessness more quickly.

Get Involved

Every action, whether large or small, can make a difference in ending homelessness. Visit EndHomelessnessDC.org and sign up to receive updates on ways to get involved.

Partnership to End Homelessness Awards $310,000 to Nonprofits Advancing Housing Justice

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The Partnership to End Homelessness (The Partnership) is pleased to announce $310,000 in grants awarded to 7 organizations leading advocacy and organizing efforts focused on DC. Selected nonprofits will receive up to $50,000 in funding to support work to end homelessness and increase the supply of deeply affordable housing for DC residents.

The Partnership prioritized efforts developed and led by people with lived experience and people most directly impacted, and collaborative efforts that coordinate strategies and messaging across organizations and issue areas. These grants were made possible thanks to generous partners and donors to the Grantmaking Fund

Learn more about how our partners are working to end homelessness and advancing housing justice. 

Ending Chronic Homelessness

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Currently, there are 2,761 individuals in DC who have experienced homelessness for over a year and are living with severe health issues. Miriam’s Kitchen received $50,000 to advocate for resources and policies to address these pressing issues. The grant will support the organization’s budget and policy advocacy, and work through The Way Home Campaign. We know that housing is healthcare and that housing saves lives – and are proud to support their housing justice efforts. Learn more and join their advocacy efforts.

“As an organization working to end chronic homelessness, we are grateful for the Partnership to End Homelessness’ support of our advocacy work. The causes of homelessness are systemic and so too must be the solutions. This support will help us to challenge the systems that have created DC’s homelessness crisis, dismantle barriers to exiting homelessness, secure life-saving housing resources, and ensure that those closest to the issue are at the forefront of our advocacy work.” -Lara Pukatch,  Director of Advocacy

Centering People Directly Impacted

Fair Budget Coalition (FBC) brings together advocates, service providers, and people directly affected by poverty and housing instability to advocate for budget and public policy initiatives that address poverty and human needs in DC. FBC received a $50,000 grant to support budget advocacy and organizing around homelessness, deeply affordable housing, and permanent supportive housing (PSH) in DC. We’re proud to support FBC as they fight for a fairer budget that is restorative and prioritizes racial justice.  Learn more about their current budget advocacy here

“As advocacy has transitioned to digital spaces, it is clear that the barriers to constituent engagement have increased. Through support from the Partnership to End Homelessness, we will be able to democratize access to budget information and budget spaces through our virtual popular education series, constituent stipends, and technology/tech support for constituents hoping to engage in budget advocacy. This is critical in ensuring that the people most directly impacted by housing policy are centered in the decision-making regarding funding and the future of housing in DC. " -Stephanie Sneed, Executive Director 

 Advocacy and Organizing Grantees

  • DC Action 

  • DC Jobs with Justice 

  • District Of Columbia Grassroots Empowerment Project Incorporated – Empower DC 

  • Fair Budget Coalition 

  • Miriam's Kitchen 

  • ONE DC: Organizing Neighborhood Equity 

  • The Washington Legal Clinic For The Homeless Inc 

About the Partnership to End Homelessness

The Partnership to End Homelessness in DC, led by the Greater Washington Community Foundation, is the first-of-its-kind initiative in the District to bring together the public and private sectors to ensure homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring. By joining together, we can increase the supply of deeply affordable housing, bolster our response system to help more people obtain and maintain stable housing, and ultimately end homelessness in DC.

Our New Partnership with SEI

The Greater Washington Community Foundation (The Community Foundation) is excited to announce a new strategic partnership with SEI, a leading asset manager with 450+ clients worldwide and $330 billion in assets under management. This includes partnerships with over 170 nonprofits, of which more than half have been working with SEI for more than 10 years. SEI works with 25 different community foundations across the country supporting their efforts to achieve their mission.

Under our partnership, SEI serves as The Community Foundation’s outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO). An emerging strategy among community foundations, this means that SEI serves as an extension of The Community Foundation staff, providing world-class investment expertise and constant focus on managing the charitable funds you have entrusted to us.

SEI is a large, global firm that makes significant annual investments in research tools and technology for investment and risk management. Because SEI has taken on full fiduciary accountability for the selection, oversight and replacement of money managers, The Community Foundation Investment Committee is able to focus more time on strategic initiatives, such as asset allocation and overall financial strength. The Community Foundation Board and Investment Committee believe this model will have great benefit in enabling us to best support our communities.

Who is SEI?

  • Global firm with U.S. headquarters in Oaks, PA

  • $89.7 billion in institutional assets under management (as of 9/30/2020)

  • 170-plus nonprofit clients worldwide, with 24 community foundation clients

  • 25-year track record in discretionary investment management designed to help improve efficiency and results

  • Significant infrastructure and resources with a dedicated group focused on understanding the needs of nonprofits

  • Named “Top OCIO Provider” at the Institutional Asset Management Awards two consecutive years

  • Named a leading outsourcer ranked by worldwide assets from 2011 through 2020 by Pensions & Investments

  • Ranked in the top 10% of money managers based on worldwide institutional client assets by Pensions & Investments

Greater Washington Community Foundation Announces Community Action Awards Winners

$100,000 in funds awarded to actionable ideas aimed to benefit Greater Washington neighborhoods and the public good

Washington, DC – February 11, 2021 – The Greater Washington Community Foundation is pleased to announce the full slate of community projects selected to receive Community Action Awards, presented by Comcast—cash awards up to $2,000 to help residents take action to make their communities safer, stronger, and more dynamic. In all, $100,000 was awarded to 50 projects working to make our region a more equitable and inclusive place for everyone to live, work, and thrive.

The Community Action Awards, presented by Comcast, are part of VoicesDMV, a powerful community engagement initiative launched in 2017 to explore the region’s challenges and opportunities related to housing, transportation, safety, economic security, race relations, and community well-being. VoicesDMV celebrates and intentionally listens to the voices of those in our community that often go unheard. To learn more about the initiative, visit voicesdmv.org. 

In 2020, VoicesDMV tapped into Community Insights through a regional survey captured in the weeks immediately preceding the COVID-19 crisis. Even before the pandemic, the survey found that our Black and African American neighbors were experiencing economic inequality and expressing deep concerns about access to quality education, jobs, and medical care. View the findings here.

On the Table then brought together thousands of DMV residents for virtual community conversations to engage in meaningful dialogue around the challenges presented by the survey findings, to work to develop solutions together, and to inspire action to make a difference in our communities.  

Finally, the Community Action Awards program, presented by Comcast, is providing support to help participants move ideas discussed at the table into action. These awards are intended to support neighborhood-based projects and individual leaders who may encounter challenges in accessing traditional foundation funding.

“VoicesDMV presents a powerful platform to engage residents to do good for their communities — in fact, 90 percent of On the Table survey respondents said they were likely to take action on an issue discussed at their conversation,” said Benton Murphy, Senior Advisor for Impact at the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “The Community Action Awards were designed to support these ideas and help community members to take action to better their communities. We are looking forward to seeing these projects come to life in communities across the region.”

Selected projects come from across the Washington, DC metro area – including DC, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, and Northern Virginia. The projects address a wide range of issues, including education and youth development, community engagement, health and wellness, arts and culture, food access and more. All projects receiving awards can be viewed here.

Over 200 individuals and nonprofit organizations submitted ideas through an online application with the option to share a two-minute video clip describing their project. A team of Community Foundation staff and individuals representing a variety of backgrounds, neighborhoods, and expertise evaluated the entries. Winners were selected based on creativity of idea, level of community engagement, and potential impact of the project. 

Community Action Award Winners

  • Action Research for Community Change, a partnership between American University’s Community-Based Research Scholars and E.L. Haynes Public Charter School to facilitate an Action Research 101 class for students and pilot a student-led action research project on a community issue important to them.

  • Advancing Equity and Inclusion through Entrepreneurship, SEEK SPOT’s 2-Day Launch Camp, to support 10 DC-area entrepreneurs to accelerate business ideas that solve local problems.

  • Kids in COVID Book Project, from Bee the Change, to support an opportunity for Montgomery Country children to reflect and write on their experience during the pandemic.

  • Baños de Bosque and Defensores de la Cuenca to engage Spanish-speaking immigrant communities in “forest bathing,” a form of therapy that uses nature to teach mindfulness.

  • Black on the Block, a collaboration between Creative Suitland Arts Center and Joe’s Movement Emporium, to support a Black wellness festival offering health and business booths, workshops, and performances by local artists.

  • Black Chamber Business Tour, an initiative of the PFC Black Chamber, to host a socially distant, caravan-style tour to provide exposure and increase visibility of 10 Black owned businesses in Prince George’s County.

  • The Book Club for Kids to support expansion of its podcast program into Anacostia schools.

  • Brighter Bites to purchase food for its produce boxes that help underserved families gain access to healthy foods.

  • Brightwood Park Unity Mural, a project commissioned by Uptown Main Street, to support creation of a mural that fosters unity, inclusion, neighborhood peace, and youth involvement in the Brightwood Park neighborhood of DC.

  • Briya Voices for All, a program of Briya Public Charter School, to support student-led advocacy efforts in 2021.

  • B-Roll Media & Arts to help transition its teaching model to online learning and virtual classes.

  • Helping Older Adults Weather the COVID Winter through Walking from Capitol Hill Village to create and promote a Year-Round Walking Program designed to bring neighbors together, reduce social isolation, increase social support, and encourage physical activity.

  • Civic Saturday Prince George’s County, part of Civic University, to create a program aimed to increase civic engagement in local communities.

  • The Coming Home Coop to offer stipends to local business owners for participation in its workshop program.

  • Dance Place Accessibility Project to expand Dance Place’s accessibility of its programming and facilities to people with disabilities.

  • DC South Asian Food Walking Tour, an initiative of South Asian Rapid Response Initiative (SARRI), to create a walking tour that highlights Asian immigrant restaurant owners.

  • DC KinCare Alliance Relative Caregiver Community Board Outreach and Education Project, a DC KinCare Alliance project, to develop an oral history video focused on the everyday life experiences of relative caregivers who’ve stepped up to raise DC's at-risk children in times of crisis.

  • Empowered Healing, an initiative of Support Hopeful Youth (SHY), to host three mental health workshops for unstably housed youth in DC.

  • Fill the Fridge to offer nutritious meals to underserved communities by purchasing, installing, and filling refrigerators in area schools, libraries, and departments of recreation.

  • FreeState to support the second edition of its Maryland LGBTQIA+ community needs assessment.

  • Fort Dupont Park Clean-Up Project, an initiative of Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena, to offer positive youth development opportunities during the pandemic.

  • Food Landscape Photovoice, a collaboration between Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) and the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (FEC), to capture personal stories from community members about their food environments to communicate their needs and potential solutions. 

  • Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild to purchase farming materials for its urban farm that grows and distributes fresh food to area food banks.

  • Got You Covered Diaper Bag Project, a program of Seed of Faith, to distribute diapers, clothing, and other essentials to economically disadvantaged new parents.

  • Health and Hope on Wheels, a program by Rainbow Community Development Center, to hire unemployed drivers to pick up donations for its partner agencies.

  • Impacto LGBT, a Spanish-language mental health program for persons living with HIV, to expand its bilingual services of LGBT Latinx gay men.

  • Invest in the Future, a program by Youth for You, to support a 12-month, academic and college and career readiness program for underserved students in the DC area.

  • Kinder(Garden), a program of the Community Educational Research Group, to purchase garden materials and supplies for a youth gardening project with instruction on healthy eating habits and environmental stewardship.

  • Live It Learn It to provide two 5th grade classes at Drew Elementary School with access to fun, engaging, hands-on lessons and experiences, such as Sheroes, a social studies lesson focused on women in history and activism.

  • Mamas Together Mutual Aid Community Survey Project, an initiative of Mothers Outreach Network, to conduct a digital survey to create awareness and measure the need for a food and supplies bank for the most marginalized moms of several neighborhoods in dire need.

  • Maple Avenue Parent Support Group, part of Community Health and Empowerment in the Takoma Park and Long Branch neighborhoods, to create a new weekly parent support group for immigrant families with elementary school age children.

  • Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a program of Just Neighbors, to provide stipends to former clients to continue engagement around discussing, advocating, and volunteering on issues that will help make their community a more welcoming place for immigrants.

  • No Safe Place to Call Home, a collaborative reporting project that would give one of Street Sense Media’s formerly homeless vendor-writers the chance to produce an investigative story about his experience in partnership with a seasoned professional journalist.

  • Overcoming Gentrification in Chinatown to support AALEAD's Youth Council, a group of high and middle-school AAPI youth who advocate for diversity and racial equity concerns in their own lives and their community, to raise awareness of gentrification concerns and give a voice to Chinese residents of DC’s Chinatown neighborhood.

  • Potomac Triangle Parks Project, part of the volunteer-run nonprofit Guerilla Gardeners of Washington, DC, to help the residents of Potomac Gardens and Hopkins to reclaim two adjacent public parks from disuse and neglect.

  • Raising Las Voces to involve Prince George's County Youth Poet Ambassadors in creating a series of posters to promote and foster awareness of various issues affecting the Latinx community and how to access related resources.

  • School Supplies for Students from the Sequoyah Elementary School PTA to prepare and distribute school supply boxes to support the physical, material, and social-emotional needs of students during distance learning.

  • Sewing Academy for Latina Women, a partnership between IMPACT Silver Spring and local Latina residents, to launch a 20-week sewing academy for 25 Latina women.

  • Sonn Cosita Seria’s Langley Park Project to support a collective music workshop program that teaches and promotes Son Jarocho music in the DC area.

  • Surviving a Global Pandemic: Recipes from ROC-DC to help print, publish, and distribute a cookbook that aims to build, strengthen, and maintain community across cultures and languages during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Takoma Education Campus Community Garden, led by the TEC Parent Teacher Organization, to rehabilitate and expand an unused garden space to bring freshly grown, nutritious vegetables to the local community.

  • Total Wellness to support its Bold Beautiful Brilliant Girls Empowerment Group by offering yoga supplies and online yoga classes that help middle school girls take better care of their minds and bodies.

  • Ward 3 Mutual Aid, a volunteer-run network of neighbors, to provide groceries, cleaning products and household supplies directly to neighbors affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Wellness Together project at Thomas G Pullen Creative Arts Academy to create a wellness initiative for students in grades 3-5 with a twice weekly virtual afterschool program including yoga, meditation, and art therapy.

  • Wheels for Women, a partnership between Lyft and the Brem Foundation, to offer cost-free ride-sharing service to breast screenings and diagnostic appointments for women in need.

  • Woks for Washington COVID-19 Meal Donation Project and Players Philanthropy Fund to purchase meals from local Asian restaurants and donate those meals to local homeless shelters and medical staff.

  • Young Royalty, a program of Royalty LLC, to offer daily and menstrual hygiene products and self-esteem workshops to young ladies 12-17 years of age.

  • Young, Black & Working from Home Community and Young, Black & Giving Back Institute to support an online community of Black nonprofit professionals to share ideas, network, dialogue, and have a space to experience Black joy despite current societal crises.

  • Youth in Support of Police Reform, a project of Prince George’s People’s Coalition, to educate high school youth on the Maryland state legislative process and support their advocacy efforts around police reform legislation.

  • ZOOM PALS to support greater social connection for those aging in place in Hyattsville, Maryland by offering technology training taught by youth and high school students.

'What Does Being African American Today Mean To You?' 3 New Board and Staff Members Share

We are excited to welcome several new staff and board members to The Community Foundation family! And, this month, we’re also excited to celebrate them for Black History Month.

Get to know some of our new Community Foundation community members members, and learn what, to them, being African American means in today’s current climate.


Denielle Pemberton-Heard

Denielle Pemberton-Heard, Community Foundation board member, is a seasoned executive search, talent development, and legal professional. She’s currently Chief Legal Officer and a shareholding Managing Director with Diversified Search Group, a woman-founded search firm that recruits leadership through a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) lens.

Denielle feels that now, more than ever, she has the opportunity to showcase overlooked leaders - and to improve opportunity and equity in the workforce.

In honor of Black History Month, we asked Denielle to reflect on what, in this moment, being African American means to her - and how this shapes her work at The Community Foundation, and beyond. 

“The Washington DC metro area is now my adopted home and I am honored to support organizations serving the people who are the heart and soul of this greater community. I never forget the enslaved people who were by law not permitted to learn to read or vote but nevertheless they are responsible for building by hand many of the landmarks we admire. We can’t forget them and that keeps me and my family focused on trying to do our best every day. “


Marcus Braxton

For Marcus Braxton, our new Managing Director of Operations, systems change is second nature. Marcus has over 15 years of experience helping nonprofits and philanthropic organizations enhance internal operations to elevate their success and impact. 

He’s passionate about using his operational skills to create fair and equitable internal systems, a mission he says “ultimately influences how organizations show up in society.” In honor of Black History Month, we asked Marcus to reflect on his work, at The Community Foundation, and beyond.

“I’m motivated by a desire to not only help others, but really to be of service to others, which I believe is more impactful than just seeking to ‘help.’ In doing so, I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of several high-impact organizations who have really worked to change systems that create inequities. I’m excited to bring that experience here to The Community Foundation to support the organization and community overall.”


Eliana Barnett

Eliana Barnett, Executive Assistant, joined The Community Foundation in December of 2020 to support President and CEO Tonia Wellons. She’s always been passionate about working with mission driven organizations, and hopes to continue serving those in need.

In honor of Black History Month, we asked Eliana to reflect on what, in this moment, being African American means to her - and how this shapes his work at The Community Foundation, and beyond.

“Being an African American in this moment means having to negotiate for our humanity. Although we’ve seen attacks against the African American community in the past, it’s blatantly being shown now. It’s been hard and demoralizing watching people who look like me constantly being attacked. 

Even with all of this going on, it has shown me just how strong the African American community is and I’m proud to be a part of it. Seeing a powerful and well respected woman of color lead The Community Foundation gives me hope that I too can have a seat at the table.”

Also Welcoming…

Rachel Goslins, Director of the Arts & Industries Building at the Smithsonian Institution; Catherine Pino, CEO of D&P Creative Strategies; and Archie Smart, Founder of DKR Insights. Keep a look out for some special spotlights on these other new board members coming up!

Equity Fund Awards $440,000 to Address Critical Needs in Prince George’s County

The Greater Washington Community Foundation is pleased to announce $440,000 in grants from the Equity Fund to 19 nonprofit organizations serving Prince George’s County, MD. Selected nonprofits will receive up to $25,000 in funding to support work to advance food security, affordable childcare, and workforce equity in Prince George’s County. These grants were made possible thanks to a generous gift from the Ikea U.S. Community Foundation. 

Nourishing A Community In Need


Senior citizens have been among our region’s most impacted populations—especially in terms of food security. Through our Equity Fund, we awarded $115,000 to six food assistance programs serving seniors and families in Prince George’s County. Thanks to these providers, families have access to healthy food through prepared food from local restaurants, fresh food from local farmers, and shelf-stable food.  

“This grant has helped Hyattsville Aging in Place (HAP) maintain and expand its services during the pandemic,” said Lisa Walker, Chair of the HAP Board of Directors. “As we struggled to provide services while guarding the health of our neighbors, the Greater Washington Community Foundation’s grant not only helped HAP deliver needed support and services to seniors in need, it also spurred HAP to build deeper connections with other programs in our community.”

Ensuring Affordable Childcare for Families


COVID-19 has devastated the childcare provider community, forcing the closure of 40% of childcare programs, and resulting in the loss of more than 8,000 childcare slots. The Prince George’s Child Resource Center received a $25,000 grant from the Equity Fund to help ensure the sustainability of childcare providers in the County.

"Through The Community Foundation's Equity Fund, we are able to provide advocacy and support for the childcare workforce. Ensuring strong, high quality childcare means employment for thousands in Prince George's County; children are in safe environments where they are learning; and parents can go back to work with confidence,” said Jennifer Iverson, Executive Director, Prince George’s Child Resource Center. “Access to childcare is essential for families seeking employment and absolutely critical for those still fortunate enough to have a job.”

Curbing the Impact of Unemployment


Fifty percent of the jobs created in Prince George’s County over the past five years were lost in the first two weeks of COVID. Through the Equity Fund, we awarded $300,000 to 14 organizations to help mitigate the impact of unemployment, reduced wages, and lost work. These grants will help prepare workers for meaningful employment and ensure that people facing barriers to employment can access high-quality education and job opportunities, which pay a family-sustaining wage. 

Kim Rhim, Executive Director of The Training Source, said:

“The Equity Fund grant was a life saver for us and so many already marginalized people who were further impacted by COVID-19. Many workers will never return to their jobs, and those who previously struggled to find work will find it much more difficult to secure employment. They will have to learn new skills and adapt to entirely new work environments, including the now vast telework environment. [This support from The Community Foundation] will help them do just that.” 

2020 Equity Fund Grantees

Asylum Seeker Assistance Project to provide wraparound employment services and support to asylum-seeking adults residing in Prince George’s County.

Community Outreach and Development CDC to purchase food and support food pantry operations including food deliveries and assisting persons to apply for SNAP food benefits. 

Community Support Systems, Inc. to support food pantries that benefit residents in Southern Prince George’s County. 

Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)/ Prince George's County, Inc. to help youth overcome the hurdles they face as a result of the traumas they endured as children by focusing on workforce readiness, education, and skills development.

Eckerd Youth Alternatives to mitigate barriers, attain critical workforce skills, and navigate a pathway to gainful employment for youth who are disconnected from employment or educational opportunities.

Food & Friends to provide health and nutrition education workshops, individualized assessments, and the preparation and delivery of medically tailored meals to individuals who are living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, or another critical illness, as well as children and caregivers. 

Hyattsville Aging in Place, Inc. (HAP) to help seniors by delivering food, providing transportation to food sources, and assisting with access to financial resources. 

Joe's Movement Emporium to create a pipeline of diverse, skilled workers by providing young adults with training in digital media and technical theatre, experience with regional employers, and one-on-one coaching and counseling.  

Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, Inc. to support households living at or below the poverty line that are working to increase their earnings and achieve economic mobility.

Life Asset, Inc. to create temporary and seasonal jobs by providing microloans coupled with ongoing business training to low-income entrepreneurs.

Mission of Love Charities, Inc. to help people become Water Treatment Technicians and Certified Nursing Assistants by providing requisite training and employability skills and job search assistance. 

Ourspace World, Inc. to recruit, train, and mentor young people to be competitive in the green jobs sector. 

Prince George's Child Resource Center, Inc. to provide support to family childcare providers to ensure the provision of a safe and nurturing environment for children and the sustainability of the childcare sector. 

Prince George's Community College to support curriculum design and digital literacy training for students and faculty.

Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland Inc. to provide consumer protections to help individuals avoid crippling judgments, wage garnishments, and impossible choices between rent, medical care, and food for their families.

Solutions In Hometown Connections Corp. to connect low-income refugee and immigrant women with critical services and resources that minimize barriers to self-sufficiency. 

Sowing Empowerment & Economic Development, Inc. (SEED) to serve as a food hub providing supplemental food to seven pantries in Prince George’s County.

The Training Source, Inc. to help residents secure and retain well-paying employment through comprehensive training, job readiness, and community supportive services.

TranZed Apprenticeship Ventures, LLC to secure new employer partnerships and placement in Prince George’s County for apprentices.

University of Maryland SAFE Center for Human Trafficking Survivors to initiate a “First Step into Employment” program that includes an hourly stipend for young adult trafficking survivors in need of meaningful employment experience, training, skills development, and a supportive mentor.                                                            

About The Equity Fund

The Greater Washington Community Foundation’s Equity Fund seeks to eliminate social and economic disparities in Prince George’s County by ensuring that every Prince Georgian is afforded the opportunities necessary to reach their full human potential. The focus areas for the 2020 grant round were food security, childcare, and workforce equity. Grants were awarded to high impact organizations and innovative programs working to create pathways to success for county residents.

Visit us at https://www.thecommunityfoundation.org/princegeorges to learn more about our impact and work in Prince George’s County