Emerging Leaders Impact Fund Brings Philanthropy to Life for Young Professionals

Current and Incoming ELIF Members at the 2022 ELIF Kickoff Event

“Excellence in Truth and Service”

The motto of Howard University. It’s also what Virgil Parker, a returning alumni of the Emerging Leaders Impact Fund (ELIF) told me when I asked him what philanthropy means to him.

“We all have a responsibility to create solutions to help people around you,” Virgil says. “We need to strive to be a man for others.”

His vision comes, in part, thanks to an act of individual philanthropy that changed the course of Virgil’s life.

Six and a half years ago, Virgil arrived in the DC area to study at Howard University. Raised primarily by his mother and maternal grandmother near Rochester, New York, Virgil balanced two jobs while studying so he could continue his education – but it still wasn’t enough to meet mounting financial costs. After just two years, Virgil was forced to drop out.

Virgil Parker was a member
of the inaugural 2020-2021 ELIF cohort

Determined to work his way back into school, Virgil picked up a third job – but he quickly realized that even with the added income, it would take months – maybe even years – before he had enough money to restart his academic career.

Then one day, his boss (a fellow HU alum) learned of Virgil’s financial struggles. In an act of unsolicited generosity, she made a payment of nearly $5,000 to the University on his behalf, no strings attached – just enough money for him to register for classes.

“She did not have to do that,” Virgil said. “But I’m glad she did. Because of her gift, I made a commitment with God that I was going to do all that I could to give back and do my best.”

Virgil returned to Howard University and was quickly drawn to the social impact space. He applied to an internship with the Aspen Institute’s Program of Philanthropy and Social Innovation. There he was introduced not only to the full breadth and scale of philanthropy – but also to a brand-new opportunity for young professionals in Prince George’s County.

“The Emerging Leaders Impact Fund is about the future,” ELIF Chair Davion Percy shares. “Not only the future of our community – here in Prince George’s County -- but it’s also about the future leaders of that community.”

Launched in 2020, ELIF’s goal is to help young professionals realize the positive impact that they can have in Prince George’s County, through a medium that many of their age group may not be super familiar with -- philanthropy.

ELIF Chair Davion Percy speaks to ELIF members at the 2022 ELIF Kick-off Event.

“A lot of young people don’t realize that philanthropy is one of the most sustainable ways to make a difference in your community,” Davion explains. “We can all do things like mentor or volunteer – but few things have as long-lasting an impact – or as much personal and professional fulfillment – as strategically investing through philanthropy.”

“ELIF is basically a behind-the-scenes course of philanthropy in action in Prince George’s County,” says Darcelle Wilson with the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “We take our members behind the scenes and guide them through every step of the philanthropic cycle.”

Over the course of the year, ELIF members learn about Prince George’s County and the challenges that community members face. Based on what they’ve learned, members collectively decide on a cause to invest in and get the unique opportunity to participate in each step of the grantmaking process – from requesting proposals to allocating funding.

“I’m excited to learn more about this world of philanthropy,” incoming ELIF member Kate Spanos shares.

Kate learned about ELIF through her Nonprofit Management & Leadership course at the University of Maryland in College Park. Like several of her classmates, Kate is eager to see how she can apply the principles she’s learning in the classroom to the work she does every day.

“My partner and I started EducArte (a nonprofit in Prince George’s County) at the outset of the pandemic,” Kate explains. “Being new to the nonprofit and philanthropy space, we’re still learning how things work. My hope is that through ELIF we can not only give back, but also better understand what the needs of the community are so we can align ourselves to meet them, as an organization.”

Current and Incoming ELIF Members at the 2022 ELIF Kickoff Event

Last year, the inaugural ELIF cohort -- which totaled 40 young professionals including Virgil-- chose to focus on addressing chronic absenteeism in Prince George’s County schools. The group awarded $11,500 in micro-grants to five different Prince George’s County nonprofits supporting youth and children’s learning.

“The idea of philanthropy is that it doesn’t take a whole lot to do a lot of good,” Virgil adds. “Anyone can participate; anyone can make a difference in their community. All they need to do is find the right avenue to use their given assets to help advance somebody else. For me, ELIF is one of those avenues.”

The Emerging Leaders Impact Fund (ELIF) is now enrolling members for the 2022 cohort. If you would like to give back to your community by becoming an ELIF member, visit www.thecommunityfoundation.org/elif

Summer 2021 Grant Round Now Open

As the region’s largest local funder, The Community Foundation is proud to partner with and support thousands of nonprofits working to make our communities more equitable, just, and thriving places to live and work. We are now accepting proposals for grant opportunities from the following funds at The Community Foundation:

Arts Forward Fund

Arts Forward Fund, a collaborative partnership between The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The Community Foundation, and several other individual and institutional contributors, aims to support arts and culture organizations as they stabilize, adapt, and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fund’s focus is on community-based organizations with annual revenue of $3 million or less. Arts Forward Fund will prioritize organizations that are BIPOC-led and BIPOC-serving. Typically grants will range from $5,000 to $25,000.

Deadline:
Friday, July 30

Webinar session I:
July 16 at 11 a.m.

Webinar session II:
July 20 at 11 a.m.


DIVAs Call for Ideas: Addressing Mental Health & Wellness through the Arts

The Donors InVesting in the Arts (DIVAs) Giving Circle is focused on providing Montgomery County youth with artistic experiences. The DIVAs would like to hear from arts-focused nonprofits as well as youth-focused organizations which provide highly engaging, top quality artistic programs promoting children’s mental health and well-being. All artistic mediums are welcome.

Deadline:
Friday, August 20 at 5 p.m.


Food for Montgomery: Resilience Building

Food for Montgomery is a public-private initiative created to address the alarming spike in food insecurity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This RFP is for nonprofit partners committed to building a more resilient, efficient, nimble, and equitable food security system across Montgomery County. Specifically, this Resilience Building grant opportunity will focus on helping partners pivot, collaborate, and/or innovate their food security work.

Grant awards for proposals benefiting a single organization will be capped at $75,000, while collaborative proposals will generally be considered for up to $150,000.

Deadline:
Tuesday, September 28 at 5 p.m.

Webinar session:
Monday, July 13 at 3 p.m.


Fund for Children, Youth, and Families

The Fund for Children, Youth, and Families invests in the betterment of underserved children, youth, and families across the Greater Washington region. This funding opportunity provides programmatic or general operating support for nonprofits offering housing services, permanency support, academic support, and early career development programs.

Grants of up to $100,000 are available. This will be a multi-year grant.

Deadline:
Tuesday, August 31 at 4 p.m.

Webinar session:
Monday, July 13 at 10:30 a.m.


Sharing Montgomery: Call for Ideas

This year, the Sharing Montgomery Fund will invest in organizations helping the people and areas within Montgomery County that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most grants will range from $5,000 to $10,000. A limited cohort of grantees will receive multi-year grant commitments.

Deadline:
Thursday, August 12 at 5 p.m.

Webinar session:
Wednesday, July 14 at 2 p.m.


Upcoming Grant Rounds

As a trusted steward of local charitable assets, The Community Foundation operates quarterly grant rounds for its competitive and discretionary funding opportunities. The next RFP open date will be October 2021*.

*Please note that dates are subject to change

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

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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 

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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

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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.

BLACK VOICES FOR BLACK JUSTICE FUND (DMV) TO INVEST IN TEN COMMUNITY CATALYSTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Black Voices Matter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VoicesDMV: Putting Your Ideas On the Table

By Benton Murphy, Associate Vice President for Community Investment

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On October 1, hundreds of residents from across the region came together for virtual or face-to-face small-group conversations on a single day to discuss and reimagine the future of our communities, through our VoicesDMV On the Table conversations.

We were so proud to be joined by a diverse group of community members to discuss issues ranging from how we can help support students to succeed in a remote learning environment to unpacking the impacts that hate, racism, and injustice have on our neighbors and communities. 

At The Community Foundation, we believe it is important to actively engage people and communities most impacted as we seek to develop solutions and identify investments to address community needs. In particular, our focus for the VoicesDMV initiative is to engage people who are often left out of these conversations to uplift and amplify the voices of communities who have been systematically unheard and silenced.

Created by The Chicago Community Trust in 2014, to date, the On the Table model has been adopted by more than 30 communities that have collectively engaged more than 300,000 people from coast to coast. Our Community Foundation chose to participate in the On the Table initiative with the knowledge that when we come together to talk with, listen to, and learn from each other, we have the power to improve the quality of life for everyone. 

Individuals, nonprofits, groups of neighbors, and major regional institutions all convened for our inaugural On the Table day of civic engagement and participation. We are so thankful for the partnership of organizations like American University, Leadership Greater Washington, Howard University, and Venture Philanthropy Partners, each hosted multiple tables for robust discussion across a diverse set of topics ranging from supporting educational outcomes in the early childhood space to boosting African American participation in COVID-19 clinical trials. 

On the Table was designed to bring diverse participants together to have a data-driven, action-oriented conversation on how to improve the lives of our neighbors in the DMV. Conversations were grounded in data that The Community Foundation gathered with survey partner Gallup earlier this year. Our Community Insights survey revealed a region characterized by deep inequity but also pride in our communities and deep values around topics like ensuring a quality education for young people. 

Stephanie Berkowitz, President and CEO of Northern Virginia Family Services, participated in a conversation on economic mobility, noted:

“The value of it was the diversity of the participation and the data-driven aspect of the conversation and the opportunity to get people in a room together that don’t naturally have opportunities to get together, especially in the middle of a pandemic.”

Carissma McGee, a student at Howard University, underscored the importance of channeling conversations into action:

“I think today really mobilized people to take action even after the conversation… instead of just looking back and saying oh there’s a problem in my community, its taking a step back and looking holistically at what people are facing and having empathy.”

 

This WDVM segment highlights how VoicesDMV On the Table conversations brought together residents throughout the DMV area both online and in small, face-to-face groups to talk about ideas for improving their communities.

 

Community Action Awards

We are excited that On the Table generated so much critical conversation and are looking forward to supporting these community leaders in taking action on the issues and challenges they discussed in their conversations. To ensure these conversations move from ideas to action, The Community Foundation is now offering Community Action Awards—grants of up to $2,000 to individuals and nonprofits working to make our region a more equitable and inclusive place for everyone to live, work, and thrive. 

Through the Community Action Awards, we are interested in supporting and advancing neighborhood-level projects that will engage diverse communities and help grassroots leaders to implement their ideas. We are especially interested in providing resources to enable ideas and activities that were generated through On the Table conversations.

The application process is easy, with just four questions to answer in an online application form. We also invite applicants to share a short video clip describing the change they are hoping to see for their community! 

We encourage anyone in the community who has an idea of how to make our region a better place to live and thrive to apply, and to share this opportunity with people who may also be interested in sparking positive change in their neighborhood.

New Grant Opportunities for Nonprofits Serving Greater Washington

The Greater Washington Community Foundation has opened its Fall 2020 Grant Round and is now accepting applications for Community Action Awards and grants from the Children's Opportunity Fund in Montgomery County and the Equity Fund in Prince George's County. 

VoicesDMV Community Action Awards

VoicesDMV is a three-part initiative that tapped into Community Insights through a regional survey, convened residents for On the Table conversations and Social Just Town Halls to discuss the issues that matter in our communities, and now will provide funding for Community Action Awards to help advance ideas sparked during these conversations.

The application is now open for small awards of up to $2,000 for individuals and nonprofits in Greater Washington working to make our region a more equitable place for everyone to live, work, and thrive. These microgrants are intended to support and advance neighborhood-level projects that will engage diverse communities and help grassroots leaders to implement their ideas. We are especially interested in providing resources to enable ideas and activities that were generated through On the Table conversations, held on or around October 1. The online application closes on Monday, November 2, 2020.


Children's Opportunity Fund

The Children’s Opportunity Fund is focused on funding innovation opportunities that close the achievement gap in Montgomery County, Maryland. As a member of the Campaign for Grade Level Reading network, the Children’s Opportunity Fund is using a participatory grantmaking process to fund organizations providing direct service, advocating for, or researching literacy skills with children ages birth to 8 and their families. The Children’s Opportunity Fund will provide grants up to $25,000 for organizations with a budget of less than $500,000, that are focusing on early literacy, family supports, and tutoring.

Applicants must submit a proposal via The Community’s Foundation’s online application system no later than 4:00 p.m. on Monday, October 26, 2020.


The Equity Fund

The Equity Fund supports nonprofit organizations working to eliminate social and economic disparities and create pathways to economic success for Prince George’s County residents. The focus area for the 2020 Equity Fund grant cycle is workforce equity and economic mobility for low-income people inclusive of people of color and other marginalized or under-represented groups. The Equity Funds seeks to support a diverse range of impactful programs to ensure that people who face social and economic barriers have access to high-quality education and jobs which pay family-sustaining wages.

Grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded for program support. Applicants must submit a proposal via The Community’s Foundation’s online application system no later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 13, 2020.

A New Generation of Philanthropists Respond to COVID-19

The Next Gen Giving Circle has a mission to cultivate the Greater Washington region’s next generation of philanthropists. Founded in 2019, Next Gen’s membership is comprised of more than 80 mid-career professionals whose donations range from $240 to $2,500. With the option of monthly donations, Next Gen’s multi-tiered approach encourages members to make meaningful stretch gifts that align with their personal capacity, with lower barriers to entry than a traditional giving circle.

Next Gen’s founders, Carlyn Madden and Peter Williamson, each had a passion for and background in philanthropy. They were introduced by a mutual friend, as both were looking for a different way to conduct their giving and make philanthropy more accessible to a new generation.

Once connected, the giving circle structure began taking shape. “Our basic premise was that with the DC region’s strong middle class, the earlier we can get people to understand their personal role and impact in philanthropy, the more likely they will be to make a lifelong commitment as they build wealth,” says Carlyn.

Carlyn and Peter decided to establish a giving circle at the Greater Washington Community Foundation to pool donations from members and others. They set a stretch goal for 50 members and offered members the opportunity to help build the structure as they went. They quickly exceeded their goal; the current count is more than 80 members.

In addition to pooling resources, pre-COVID, Next Gen also hosted service events, including a trash clean up at Rock Creek Park.

In addition to pooling resources, pre-COVID, Next Gen also hosted service events, including a trash clean up at Rock Creek Park.

“As our membership reached critical mass, people saw the group’s personal, professional, and community value. Ultimately, this felt like validation of our original concept: our peers are looking for accessible ways to connect and give back,” says Peter.  

Next Gen was up and running at the beginning of 2020—right as the pandemic hit. 

As COVID-19 accelerated across the region, a team of 15 Next Gen members quickly created a grants process, guidelines, and application to address the evolving concerns of the local nonprofit sector. With a dramatic rise in COVID-19 infections and a prolonged economic downturn, both with disproportionate impact on Black and brown communities, Next Gen plans to distribute up to $25,000 to community-led responses to the pandemic crisis through a racial equity lens. 

COVID-19 has reinforced how critical Next Gen members’ donations are in supporting urgent community needs. Members will learn about grassroots-led efforts and how to allocate their personal resources, keeping racial justice in mind. 

Next Gen just released a call for applications for small nonprofits and fiscally-sponsored community groups working on behalf of our neighbors across the region facing housing and food insecurity. Eligible programs include support for eviction prevention, legal aid, food pantries, urban farming, and others. By limiting criteria to budgets of less than $500,000 and giving priority to BIPOC-led organizations, Next Gen will help its members understand the value of supporting organizations often overlooked and marginalized by institutional funders and traditional philanthropists. 


About the Founders

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Carlyn Madden
Carlyn Madden is the CEO of Good Insight, an executive search firm and governance consultancy for small and mid-sized nonprofits. Prior to consulting, Carlyn spent close to a decade in grantmaking at a private foundation and a DC government agency. She is the co-founder of the Next Gen Giving Circle, former board chair of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, and an incoming member of the Leadership Greater Washington Class of 2021. A native of the DC region, she’s a committed supporter of local causes. 

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Peter Williamson
Peter Williamson is a professional golfer turned social entrepreneur who is passionate about leveraging the power of play to make philanthropy more accessible. Peter currently lives in the DC Metro area where he launched a creative agency called Game Genius, co-founded the Next Gen Giving Circle, and joined the Global Shapers community. He serves on two boards – Unfunded List, a philanthropy-focused nonprofit, and the Kettering Family Philanthropies.

Greater Washington Community Foundation and Cafritz Foundation Launch $1 million Arts Forward Fund

Grants Will Address Impact of COVID-19 on the DC Region’s Arts and Culture Sector

 
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Recognizing the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on arts and culture organizations throughout the region, the Greater Washington Community Foundation has joined with The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation and eight other grantmakers to launch the Arts Forward Fund, a million-dollar initiative to provide critical support to help arts and culture organizations in the DC region to stabilize, adapt, and thrive despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Arts Forward Fund will award grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 to help arts and culture organizations make the urgent changes needed to continue their work through the pandemic and beyond. The Arts Forward Fund also recognizes the need to address systemic inequities in arts and culture organizations and in our communities that have amplified the impact of the pandemic for Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color, and will prioritize support for organizations founded and led by people of color and organizations that primarily serve communities of color.

The Arts Forward Fund was launched in July with a lead grant of $500,000 from The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, with additional support from the Harman Family Foundation, Weissberg Foundation, Linowitz Family Fund, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, S & R Foundation, Diane & Norman Bernstein Foundation, Lois and Richard England Family Foundation, and Philip L. Graham Fund. The Fund will be housed at and administered by the Greater Washington Community Foundation.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has altered the programs and finances of the region’s nonprofit sector in ways that even the most forward-thinking organizations could not have anticipated,” says Cafritz Foundation President and CEO Calvin Cafritz. “In helping to launch the Arts Forward Fund, we want to ensure that arts and culture nonprofits continue to carry out their missions, serve their communities, and pursue new paths during this crisis. We are happy to work with the Greater Washington Community Foundation, the Harman Family and Weissberg foundations, and many of our colleagues, to help our local arts institutions continue their work and find opportunity in this moment.”

“The Greater Washington Community Foundation and our donors have a long history of investing across the arts ecosystem – from supporting anchor institutions to small theaters, visual arts programs, arts education, and individual artists. In order for our communities to truly thrive, we must continue to cultivate a broad-based arts sector where creativity can flourish and foster diverse and inclusive spaces for human connection and understanding,” says Tonia Wellons, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “We are proud to partner on the Arts Forward Fund to bring much needed relief to organizations that enrich our communities and touch our lives.”

According to a 2017 Americans for the Arts study (using 2015 data), the Greater Washington region’s arts and culture organizations contribute at least $3.75 billion in economic activity and nearly 60,000 jobs to the region’s economy on an annual basis.

Nationally, a white paper released in May by SMU DataArts estimated that the impact of COVID-19 on arts and culture organizations across the United States will be a net loss of $6.8 billion between February 2020 and March 2021—the equivalent of a 25 percent operating deficit for the average organization, even after significant reductions in expenses.

Interviews with dozens of small and mid-sized arts organizations in the DC region by the Cafritz Foundation in May found groups struggling with the financial and programmatic impact of shuttered facilities and the cancellation of performances and in-person fundraising events. More than a third had already laid off staff, with more layoffs anticipated as federal Payroll Protection Program funds run out.

All the organizations interviewed reported challenges with making the transition to online and digital programming. These challenges included production limitations that impact the artistic quality of online offerings, contractual and intellectual property barriers, and barriers to online participation as a result of inequitable access to the internet and technology -- particularly among youth-serving organizations. Generating revenue from online content is especially challenging.

Arts Forward Fund aims to help organizations address these challenges by providing grants to support short-term capacity-building, training, and innovation. Arts and culture organizations with annual revenue of less than $10 million in their most recently completed fiscal year are eligible to apply, provided they serve the District of Columbia, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, and Arlington and Fairfax counties and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, and Fairfax in Virginia. More details and the call for applications are available here.

Funders and individual donors interested in joining Arts Forward Fund should contact Rick Moyers.

Building Resilience in the Face of COVID-19

By Melen Hagos, Manager, Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships

We are incredibly grateful for this cash assistance that will benefit our ‘forgotten ones’ who are facing health problems, evictions, and hunger during this difficult time. –Maria Gomez, President & CEO, Mary’s Center

Since 2017, The Resilience Fund has been at the forefront of responding to the changing needs and priorities in our region. Following a brutal campaign season that contributed to a rise in instances of hate and intolerance, specifically towards immigrants and people of color, The Greater Washington Community Foundation and its partners came together to create a mechanism to ensure that our local communities were resilient and supported despite federal policy shifts that could adversely affect our neighbors.

Fast forward to 2020 and our world looks a bit different. We’re dealing with a global pandemic that has taken the lives of many individuals, most of which are people of color. And it’s no surprise that low-income communities and hourly wage workers, particularly people of color, have been disproportionately impacted through this crisis. While legislation has been passed to support our friends and neighbors in the region, undocumented immigrants have largely been left out of the conversation.

Staying True to Our Mission

Given our new reality, it is important to stay true to our mission. A key focus of the Resilience Fund has always been to support the critical needs of nonprofits responding to federal policy shifts on behalf of our most marginalized neighbors. Immigrant communities in particular have faced many hardships exacerbated by these changes, and the effects of COVID-19 are no different.

Due to the changing nature of our environment, we have decided to shift our strategy to reflect the current reality. We have decided to redirect the Resilience Fund’s remaining resources to make grants to nonprofit partners serving immigrant communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Following this final distribution of grants, we will shift our focus and efforts to COVID-19 response and prioritize meeting our community’s needs related to the pandemic through the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.

We have made 7 final grants totaling $340,000 to organizations responding to the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on immigrant communities:

  • African Communities Together: To engage in rapid response activities to support African immigrants.

  • Ayuda: To support low-income immigrant clients by providing the resources needed for food medical needs, and housing.  

  • CASA de Maryland:  To support immigrant communities in Montgomery and Prince George’s County, Maryland, whose immigration status puts them in danger of extreme economic hardship.

  • Mary’s Center: To provide health services to immigrant communities in DC and Maryland. 

  • National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC): For an emergency fund providing support to undocumented individuals or individuals in mixed status households, and other individuals expressly excluded from federal relief.

  • Northern Virginia Family Services:  To support the Immigration Legal Service (ILS) program and its impact on immigrant communities in Northern Virginia as it relates to the uptick in domestic violence and sexual assault during this pandemic.

  • Prince George’s Child Resource Center: To support Prince George’s Child Resource Center in their ability to provide guidance and assistance to the childcare provider community in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Grateful for the Past, Hopeful for our Future

We're very proud of the work we have been able to accomplish together with our nonprofit partners, which we could not have done without the help of our committed donors. Together, we’ve raised more than $1.3 million and made grants to 46 nonprofit organizations across the region since the Fund’s inception.

We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to the Steering Committee, which included the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, the Harman Family Foundation, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, June Linowitz, Elaine Reuben, Rob and Sheri Rosenfeld, Mauri Ziff, and Jeff Hamond

This core group of individual and institutional donors worked with us to advise grant decisions and future Fund priorities, ultimately providing us with the thought partnership and accountability needed to ensure the Fund was successful. 

I will miss being part of the Resilience Fund Steering Committee, where the members' experience and expertise were shared in service of local need. We learned from grantees, our consultants, The Community Foundation’s supportive staff, and each other. I believe it was truly a success. –Elaine Reuben, Steering Committee member since 2017

At a difficult time for our country and our community, I felt the Resilience Fund was doing important work to alleviate suffering and to combat negative trends. I was truly honored to be helping and, in a time, when it was easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated, it gave me a sense of purpose and agency.” –June Linowitz, Steering Committee member since 2017

As we begin to return to our daily routines, we know we won’t be returning to normal. In fact, I would encourage us to question if our “normal” was even good enough in the first place. The very same systems and structures that existed prior to the global pandemic have only been exacerbated during COVID-19. And, we anticipate the issues facing our most marginalized communities will only continue after we transition back to re-opening our country.  

COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

If you’d like to continue to support our region’s immigrant communities, The Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund is one way to help. The Fund helps mitigate the impact on disproportionately affected communities in our region—including many immigrant populations that the Resilience Fund previously served.

Join us and, together, we can continue to help and empower our most marginalized neighbors towards a tomorrow that is more resilient, equitable, and just.

RFP Re-Opens for COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund Grants

Over the past several weeks, we’ve watched our region’s needs evolve in response to COVID-19. As the community’s priorities have shifted, so have ours to match.

Since temporarily closing our RFP for the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, we have carefully re-evaluated our funding priorities and continued to review all submitted applications. We received 700+ proposals totaling more than $40 million in requests during phase I of our grantmaking. To date, we have awarded 95 grants totaling nearly $4 million.

Today, we have re-opened our Request for Proposals online application form for local nonprofits to apply for support through the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.

For this second phase of grantmaking, we are now accepting requests for advocacy efforts that seek to improve food security, domestic violence prevention, health care access, childcare systems, and more. We have refined our funding priorities to better support a set of target populations disproportionately impacted by the COVID pandemic.

You can read more about our updated priority issue areas and priority populations here.

Several additional, important points to note include: 

  • Eligible applicants may only submit ONE application for funding for this round

  • Organizations that did NOT receive funding in round I will be prioritized for funding in round 2

  • Nonprofits may apply for grants up to $50,000

  • At least 50% of the organizations selected for funding will have board and senior leadership of color

Applications will be accepted until May 29 at 5 p.m., with final funding decisions made in June 2020.

If you have any questions about how to apply, including what the fund will support, how your organization can apply, and what geographic regions will be considered, please read our FAQs.

For general inquiries, please contact Melen Hagos at mhagos@thecommunityfoundation.org

Thank you. We look forward to receiving your proposals and continuing to respond to our community's needs, together.

New Grant Opportunities for Nonprofits Serving Greater Washington

The Community Foundation has opened its Spring 2020 Grant Round and is now accepting proposals for grants from the Fund for Children, Youth, and Families; Spring Creek Environmental and Preservation Fund; and the David Bradt Nonprofit Education Fund's Nonprofit Leadership Award. Additionally, the Resilience Fund has opened a call for ideas and the Partnership to End Homelessness has released an RFI related to advocacy and public will building efforts focused on homelessness and affordable housing. 

2020 Count DMV In Census Project Offers Grant Opportunity

Please note these two updates to our grant opportunity as previously posted:

The review committee will now consider (on a case by case basis) larger grants for comprehensive coordinated proposals from applicants that seek to work in multiple jurisdictions.

Additionally, organizations may apply to the 2020 Census opportunity AND the Resilience Fund if they fit the eligibility criteria for both RFPs.


Currently we are less than one year from the commencement of the 2020 Census. Increased understanding of the importance of the census, how it is used, and the potential impact of a complete and accurate count, messaged for relevance, can inform regional awareness and inspire local action.

The 2020 Count DMV In Census Project will entertain applications from nonprofit organizations who will undertake activities that will focus on hard to count communities in the Washington, DC region. For information about the hard to count communities in our region, click here.

Funding will be provided for activities, including, but not limited to:

  1. Public education and information activities

  2. Outreach and mobilization

  3. Indirect assistance to individuals and families completing the 2020 Census Form

  4. Communications and media work

  5. Partnerships with community and nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and local governments to conduct public education and outreach

Grants Available

Grant awards will range between $5,000-$20,000 for program requests only.  General operating requests will not be accepted. The Review Committee will consider (on a case by case basis) larger grants for comprehensive coordinated proposals for applicants that seek to work in multiple jurisdictions.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Organizations must be 501(c)3 nonprofits or have partnerships that appoint a 501(c)3 nonprofit institution as their fiduciary agent.

  2. Organizations are required to operate in Washington, DC or the following counties: Montgomery and Prince George’s, MD; Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas, and Manassas Park in Virginia.

  3. Organizations that are valued by the community as a “trusted messenger” and resource as evidenced by extensive experience or a mission that includes providing direct services, outreach, and engagement of hard to count communities.

Application Process

Proposals must be submitted through our online grant application system, Gifts Online. No hard copy, email or faxed proposals will be accepted. Applications are due by 4:00 p.m. on Monday, July 29. Proposals will be reviewed in August 2019 and applicants will be notified if they have been selected for funding by September 2019.

Please note: Applicants must have a functioning Internet connection and one of the following browsers, with cookies enabled: Internet Explorer v7 or higher Firefox v3 or higher.

Questions

For any questions regarding this funding opportunity or technical assistance with the online application system, please reach out to Melen Hagos. No calls, please.

New Grant Opportunities from The Sharing Montgomery Fund

The Sharing Montgomery Fund provides grants to 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations with programs or services which directly serve low-income children, youth, adults, families, and/or seniors living in Montgomery County. Specifically, Sharing Montgomery has three priority focus-areas:

  • Safety-net. Emergency services which address the basic needs of low-income children, single adults, families, and seniors in crisis, and also prevention programs in health and human services which help residents as they work to lift themselves out of poverty.

  • Education. Academic and enrichment opportunities which empower youth from low-income families to make smart choices, discover their talents, succeed in school, and gain skills necessary for adulthood.

  • Workforce Development. Skill-building, professional accreditations, literacy, income generation, and other programs which enable unemployed and low-income individuals to achieve financial self-sufficiency.

Grants may support special projects, programs, or continuation funding, including general operating support. Grant awards may range from $5,000-$10,000.  The Community Foundation is now accepting Letters of Inquiry for the Sharing Montgomery Fund’s FY 2020 Grant Cycle by 4:00 p.m. on Monday, July 29, 2019. To apply, and to learn more about eligibility criteria, please follow the link below.

Please note: Applicants must have a functioning Internet connection and one of the following browsers, with cookies enabled: Internet Explorer v7 or higher Firefox v3 or higher.

Please contact Kevin Donnelly with questions: kdonnelly@thecommunityfoundation.org

Resilience Fund Offers New Grant Opportunity Addressing Federal Policy Impacts

The Resilience Fund was created in early 2017 as a collaborative partnership of philanthropies and individual donors led by the Greater Washington Community Foundation. It seeks to address the critical needs of nonprofits responding to changes in federal policy and budget priorities, as well as the climate of intolerance and hate, both of which are disproportionately impacting people of color, immigrant, and refugee communities. 

Since the Fund’s inception, it has raised and leveraged more than $1 million and made grants to organizations supporting our neighbors affected by changes to immigration and deportation policies, as well as efforts to build community cohesion and combat “anti-other” sentiment. Grants have supported immigrant-serving organizations providing advocacy, legal, or medical services; training on legal and civil rights; and, assistance with family reunification.

Grantmaking Opportunities

For our 2019 giving round, The Resilience Fund is accepting proposals from organizations who are responding to changes in federal policy and budget priorities impacting the Greater Washington region. Grant awards may range from $10,000-$30,000.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Organizations must be 501(c)3 nonprofits OR have partnerships that appoint a 501(c)3 nonprofit institution as their fiduciary agent.

  2. Organizations are required to operate in Washington, DC or the following counties: Montgomery and Prince George’s, MD; Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas, and Manassas Park in Virginia.

  3. Organizations must demonstrate that the proposed work is directly responding to changes in the federal policy landscape over the past two years.

Application Process

Proposals must be submitted through our online grant application system, Gifts Online. No hard copy, email or faxed proposals will be accepted. Applications are due by 4:00 p.m. on Monday, July 29. Proposals will be reviewed in July/August 2019 and applicants will be notified if they have been selected for funding by September 2019.

Please note: Applicants must have a functioning Internet connection and one of the following browsers, with cookies enabled: Internet Explorer v7 or higher Firefox v3 or higher.

Questions

For any questions regarding either funding opportunity or technical assistance with the online application system, please reach out to Melen Hagos. No calls, please.

Nominate an Executive for a David Bradt Nonprofit Leadership Award

 

David Bradt is a quietly effective leader for and champion of the Greater Washington region. In addition to serving as a Managing Director of Andersen Tax, he has invested considerable time and talent into numerous volunteer leadership roles, including the Chair and Member of the Greater Washington Community Foundation’s Board, Chairman and Board member of Greater D.C. Cares, member of the Board of Venture Philanthropy Partners, and a volunteer and fundraising dinner chair for Share Our Strength.

Seeking a meaningful way to salute his years of service, David’s friends and family surprised him by establishing the David Bradt Nonprofit Education Fund as a new fund at the Greater Washington Community Foundation. The fund’s purpose is to provide an annual award that will enable a nonprofit leader in the Greater Washington region to attend an intensive executive training program. Through investing in the leadership of the region’s most effective organizations, the David Bradt Nonprofit Education Fund will have a long-lasting, tangible impact on our community by enhancing the capacity and influence of those groups.

AWARD DETAILS

The David Bradt Nonprofit Leadership Award will grant up to $15,000 for leaders to participate in professional development programs that will enhance their leadership, creative thinking, strategy, and management skills.  The selection committee will prioritize applicants who wish to participate in cohort programs which will expand their professional networks while also deepening their skills.  (Click here to download a list of pre-vetted programs.) Other leadership programs will be given consideration on a case-by-case basis.

Awardees have up to two years to use the award. The award will be primarily applied to the tuition/fees of the selected program but a portion may be allotted for related travel expenses.

Once selected, the awardee must apply and be accepted to a leadership program.  The awardee then will update the Community Foundation on the cost of the program and related travel expenses as well as any other aid awarded by the program itself.  As a final step, the David Bradt Nonprofit Education Fund will make a grant to the awardee’s organization which will pay both the tuition and travel costs directly. 

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Eligible applicants must currently work in a senior leadership role at a nonprofit that directly serves the Greater Washington region. Priority will go to applicants with at least five years of senior leadership experience in the nonprofit sector or equivalent leadership experience from government/business sectors.

Ideal candidates should demonstrate: 

  • Dedication to making a positive impact

  • Passion and the ability to instill passion in the people with whom they work

  • A collaborative spirit when working with other people and organizations as well as across sectors

  • Drive to bring innovative ideas forward and to fruition

  • High integrity and ethical behavior

The selection committee will not consider applications from organizations with a national or international focus. i.e. organizations which are headquartered in the Greater Washington region but provide no direct service to local residents.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Understanding that there are many worthy leaders serving our region who may be interested in this opportunity, the selection committee will have a two-stage process to help streamline the time and effort required:

Stage 1:  Letter of Interest

Applicants may submit a brief (1-2 pages max) Letter of Interest explaining the mission and work of their nonprofit, their particular role in advancing their organization’s mission, the organization’s impact on people living in the Greater Washington region, and their professional development goals. Applicants should also submit a copy of their resume. If you have already identified specific professional development courses/programs you wish to attend, we encourage you to note them in the application.

Additionally, the selection committee will accept a nomination letter if a CEO/Executive Director would like to nominate someone from the organization’s senior leadership team.

All nominations and Letters of Interest must be submitted electronically by 5pm on Thursday, April 18th.

Stage 2:  Full Application

By early June 2019, the selection committee will identify finalists who will be invited to submit a more formal application which will include:

  • A personal statement which includes details about their goals and the professional development programs they would like to attend.

  • Overview of the organization (history, major accomplishments, descriptions of the programs managed by the applicant and outcomes achieved)

  • 2 letters of support 

The selection committee will conduct personal interviews in September before announcing the awardee(s) by early November 2019.

QUESTIONS:

Should you have any questions, contact Kevin Donnelly at kdonnelly@thecommunityfoundation.org. No phone calls, please.

APPLICATION FORM:

Please use the following form to submit your nomination or Letter of Interest by 5pm on Thursday, April 18th.  

 

New Grant Opportunities Available for Fall Round

The Community Foundation is now accepting proposals for grants from Sharing Prince George's; the Fund for Children, Youth, and Families; and the Resilience Fund.

Sharing Prince George's County

Sharing Prince George’s County is a strategic funding effort representing a collection of philanthropic resources, including the Prince George’s Neighbor to Neighbor Fund and the MGM National Harbor Fund established by The Community Foundation. Its aim is to increase economic security for residents of Prince George’s County by providing support for:

  • safety-net programs which help individuals in crisis to lift themselves out of poverty,

  • educational activities that prepare young people for a successful transition to adulthood, and

  • workforce development opportunities that will help residents earn a living-wage.

Grants of up to $20,000 will be awarded for program support addressing one program objective. The deadline to apply for grants through The Community Foundation’s online application system is Monday, September 10 at 4:00 pm.

Fund for Children, Youth, and Families

The purpose of the Fund for Children, Youth, and Families is to support organizations providing services and programs across the following focus areas: 

  • Stable Homes, Stable Families - Investments will target families who are homeless and those who are participating in housing-based service programs.

  • Foster Care and Adoption - Investments will support children in the foster care system in two critical areas: promoting permanency and helping youth leaving the system to achieve self-sufficiency.

  • Academic and Career Success - Investments will support the closing of academic achievement gaps that exist between students of color, low-income students, and their peers through investments in early childhood education, academic achievement for school-age children, and college preparation and career training.

Applicants may request between $5,000 - $50,000, for general operating or project/program support. Applicants must submit proposals via The Community Foundation’s online application system no later than 4:00 pm on Friday, September 21, 2018.

The Resilience Fund

The Resilience Fund is interested in identifying community-based solutions which respond to federal policy shifts impacting our region. Interested organizations located in or serving communities in the Greater Washington region may submit a letter of inquiry for a rapid response grant to address current or emerging issues. The Fund will entertain inquiries linked to immigration, other regulatory roll-backs, and efforts that expand access to citizenship and democracy. The Fund is also interested in work happening regionally that may have been impacted by the humanitarian crisis at the US border with Mexico, particularly work that centers around legal support for detained parents or children who have been separated and are now being held in the Greater Washington region. Grants may support special projects, programs, or include general operating support. Grant awards may range from $10,000-$50,000. 

Supporting communities through the Resilience Fund

The Community Foundation is proud to announce the establishment of the Resilience Fund. Formed in partnership with the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, the Resilience Fund has been established to fund the critical needs of nonprofits working to support our region’s vulnerable communities as a result of changes in federal policy.

Donors may contribute to the Fund and join with others who seek to ensure our region’s communities are resilient and supported in spite of federal policy shifts. Donors may elect to provide both general support and contributions designated for specific jurisdictions. Individuals or organizations that contribute $50,000 or more to the Fund are eligible to serve on a committee that will advise on grant decisions and future Fund priorities.

Initially, the Resilience Fund will accept grant requests by invitation only in response to urgent needs identified by the fund advisors, other contributors, and colleagues in the philanthropic community. The Fund is currently focused on changes in international travel, immigration, and deportation policies that have an impact on residents and families in the Greater Washington region. In the future, we anticipate supporting policy analysis and advocacy around federal budget proposals that would have an adverse impact on our region.

Contact us today to join other donors in the support of this important initiative!