Black-led organizations share impact of last year’s sustainability investments

For many nonprofit organizations in our region, the COVID-19 pandemic tested them in ways they had never imagined. Faced with the combined challenges of an uncertain environment, limited availability for volunteerism and an overwhelming demand for services, many organizations and their staff were pushed to the limit.

But perhaps none have been tested so severely as Black-led nonprofits.

Historically, philanthropy has woefully underinvested in Black-led organizations. A report by Echoing Green and The Bridgespan Group found that even in areas where work targeted Black communities, Black-led organizations had 45 percent less revenue and 91 percent less unrestricted net assets than white-led organizations.

With a mission to advance equity and prosperity, the Greater Washington Community Foundation is working to close the racial wealth gap and mindful of our obligation to change how we look at our approach to philanthropy.

So last year when Facebook approached us with a generous gift intended to support BIPOC communities, The Community Foundation was eager to invest it in Black-led nonprofit organizations working in the critical area of Systems Change, serving Greater Washington. Grants were awarded to address immediate infrastructure needs such as leadership development, human resources and technology – areas that are traditionally difficult to fundraise for, yet incredibly vital to the sustainability of an organization – especially during a pandemic.

Recently, we reached out to them to understand the impact this funding had on their organization. Here are quotes from a few of those sustainability grantees:

Mamatoto Village is a DC-based nonprofit devoted to serving Black womxn and providing perinatal support services

Mamatoto Village is a DC-based nonprofit devoted to serving Black womxn and providing perinatal support services

"Receiving the Sustainability of Black-led Organizations grant has helped Mamatoto Village bolster our data and social impact initiatives. With this grant funding, our organization was able to purchase the SoPact Impact Cloud–– an innovative resource that is helping our organization accurately describe the social impact of our services.”

“The Greater Washington Community Foundation grant funding was instrumental in bolstering our advocacy and organizing efforts by allowing us to train and pay community members who are interested in advocating for maternal health rights and equity.

The Community Foundation grant funding has helped our organization meet necessary infrastructure needs as we continue to serve womxn, families, and communities in the Greater Washington region."
-Jordan McRae, Grants Manager, Mamatoto Village

“Racial Justice NOW is grateful for the support we've received from the Greater Washington Community Foundation's sustainability fund. This support has helped us with our strategic planning efforts as we work to map out our work and desired impact over the next few years. Without this support, it would've been extremely difficult to move forward with this process. The work we do in Montgomery County is very important because we center Black people unapologetically, that's self-determination!”

Zakiya Sankara-Jabar, Co-Founder & Director, Racial Justice NOW!

"Facing the challenges of COVID, the Greater Washington Community Foundation grant allowed us to add a social media advisor to our team to help us expand our presence across the community.  With the funds, we established a virtual classroom to 1) support our middle student tutoring program, 2) produce a series of issue-focused public service announcements, and 3) deliver our monthly community forums to address critical issues facing our families. "

-- Jim Paige, Executive Director, Concerned Citizens Network of Alexandria

The Sustainability Grant allowed CCNA to bring on a social media advisor, who helped the organization to expand their community awareness, through social media graphics like this one.

2021 Sustainability of Black Led Organizations Grantees

  • African Communities Together

  • Bread for the City

  • Collective Action for Safe Spaces

  • Community Grocery Co-Op

  • Concerned Citizens Network of Alexandria

  • Critical Exposure

  • DC Justice Lab

  • Dreaming Out Loud

  • Harriet’s Wildest Dreams

  • Life After Release

  • Mamatoto Village

  • Many Languages One Voice

  • ONE DC

  • Progressive Maryland

  • Racial Justice NOW!

  • Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid

  • The National Reentry Network of Returning Citizens

Top 10 Milestones to Remember: 2021 in Review

Now that 2021 is over, we’re reflecting on and celebrating our most impactful stories from the past year – from releasing our new strategic vision, to historic investments in Black-led change, to a $1 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott that boosted our recovery work for local arts groups. Here are some of our most meaningful milestones from 2021. 

Together, We Prosper: Launching a New Strategic Vision for Closing Our Community’s Racial Wealth Gap

In October, we shared the culmination of months of deep heart work: our 10-year strategic vision to close our region’s racial wealth gap. First unveiled at our annual meeting, the vision centers on three core leadership pillars: leading with racial equity and inclusion, aligning business with values, and closing the racial wealth gap. We envision a future where all have the opportunity to prosper – and know together, we can realize this vision as reality.

Celebrating Our Community’s Champions

View a recording of our Celebration of Community Champions program.

In May, our virtual Celebration of Community Champions lifted up our collective COVID-19 response efforts and the everyday heroes – local individuals and companies – who stepped up for our region in exceptional ways. We were proud to highlight Feed the Fight as our Community Hero; Food for Montgomery as our Collaborative Hero; CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield as our Corporate Hero; and Dr. Monica Goldson, Senator Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. (in memoriam), Steve Proctor, and Dr. Alvin Thornton as our Civic Heroes. The evening also featured special performances from Arts on the Block, DC Jazz Festival, the Prince George’s County Youth Poet Laureate, and Synetic Theater.

Historic Investments in Black Leaders and Black-Led Nonprofits

Jawanna Hardy, a US Air Force veteran, leads an outreach program providing resources to communities affected by youth homicide, suicide, and mental health illnesses.

We were proud to make several historic investments in Black-led change impacting our region. Through our Black Voices for Black Justice Fellows, an initiative launched in 2020 with Bridge Alliance Education Fund and GOODProjects, we selected 10 inspiring Black leaders and activists on the frontlines of advancing racial equity and social justice. Additionally, a generous gift from Facebook enabled investments of nearly $1 million in 17 Black-led organizations leading systems change work. These awards supported the immediate infrastructure needs of grantees, including staffing, strategic planning, marketing and communications, professional development, and more. 

Direct Cash Transfer as a Vehicle for Speed, Inclusivity, and Equity

During the COVID-19 pandemic, The Community Foundation and many of our philanthropic partners embraced giving directly—transferring cash to people—as an effective and efficient means of providing relief to those hit hard by the sudden economic and health emergency. Since the onset of the pandemic and in partnership with donors, nonprofit organizations, and local government agencies, we facilitated the administration of approximately $26 million in funds, distributed in increments of $50 to $2,500 to approximately 60,000 residents across the Greater Washington region. Urban Institute published a report chronicling the goals, strategies, and short-term achievements of our effort to develop and implement cash transfer strategies at the height of the pandemic. 

Advancing Housing Justice and Preventing Evictions

Housing Counseling Services received a grant to help tenants apply for rental assistance by meeting them where they live, learn, pray, and play.

Our Partnership to End Homelessness continued its critical eviction prevention work in response to the pandemic and economic crisis. Its work to advance housing justice included more than $300,000 in grants to address our region’s housing crisis and inequalities by funding seven nonprofits leading advocacy and organizing efforts. Hear from our Community Investment Officer Jennifer Olney on the Partnership’s eviction prevention work and her explanation of common misperceptions about homelessness – and how you can get involved in helping more people obtain and maintain stable housing during a crisis and beyond.  

Improving Equity and Economic Mobility in Prince George’s County

Jacob’s Ladder was selected by ELIF members to receive a microgrant for its Academic Enrichment Program that provides tutoring, basic literacy skills, and mentoring to students.

Our Emerging Leaders Impact Fund (ELIF), a new giving circle for young professionals in Prince George’s County, announced its inaugural grants to five Prince George’s County nonprofits working to combat chronic absenteeism in County schools. ELIF is currently recruiting new members for 2022; Interested candidates can apply here. While our Equity Fund, which works to eliminate social and economic disparities in Prince George’s County, awarded $440,000 in grants to help 19 nonprofits advance food security, affordable childcare, and workforce equity. These grants were made possible thanks to a generous gift from the Ikea U.S. Community Foundation. 

Increasing Food Security and Educational Equity in Montgomery County

Food for Montgomery received our Collaborative Hero Award for its 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.

Our Children’s Opportunity Fund was recognized by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading as a 2021 Bright Spot community for its COVID-19 response work, including the launch of Educational Enrichment and Equity Hubs. Equity Hubs offered a safe place for low-income students to participate in remote learning during school closures, welcoming more than 1,400 students across 70 sites. Our Food for Montgomery initiative has marshaled the resources of nonprofits, faith communities, local businesses, farmers, and county agencies to increase food access and help families recover from crisis. It has raised and deployed over $2.1 million to double the number of food distribution sites, help sustain local farmers and small businesses, and improve the hunger relief system to meet today’s challenges and future crises. 

Gift From Mackenzie Scott Enables Additional Relief Funding For Local Arts Groups

Dance Institute of Washington received a grant to support its facility renovation and a program evaluation with a focus on racial equity.

Arts Forward Fund was established in partnership with The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation to help struggling arts and culture organizations to adapt their programming to survive and recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. In 2021, the initiative was recognized by philanthropist MacKenzie Scott with a $1 million gift as part of a cohort of equity-focused efforts. Thanks to Scott’s generosity, we were able to award a second round of grants in September 2021, investing in nearly 90 local arts groups. In total, the fund has made nearly $2.7 million in grants to 130+ organizations – 60% of which are BIPOC-led or BIPOC-serving.

Turning Ideas Into Action for Community Change

Learn about several of our Community Action Awards supported projects in this video produced by our partners at Comcast.

As the last step in our three-part VoicesDMV community engagement initiative, we awarded our inaugural Community Action Awards microgrants to 50 local activists, artists, and advocates leading neighborhood-based projects which advance equity and inclusion. Projects included public murals in Brookland, Forest Bathing in Maryland, yoga and dance accessibility, and more. In December, our former Senior Advisor for Impact Benton Murphy reported back how grantees are doing – and the collective impact of these projects - read his post for several inspiring videos and photos. 

Aligning Our Business With Our Values: A New Partnership With SEI

Check out this video featuring our OCIO providing an update on your investment options and their performance.

We believe to truly affect change, our values must inform and drive our actions – and this was the impetus for partnering with SEI as our outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO). The leading global investment firm is known for its focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, values we wholeheartedly share. As an OCIO with 450+ clients worldwide – more than 170 of which are nonprofits – SEI serves as an extension of our staff, providing world-class investment expertise and constant focus on managing the charitable funds you have entrusted to us. Check out this new video featuring our OCIO providing an update on your investment options and the performance of our investment portfolio.

In Memoriam: Diane Bernstein, Jane Bainum, Milt Peterson, Senator Mike Miller, Waldon and Rhonda

As a member of our Partnership to End Homelessness Leadership Council, Waldon Adams was instrumental in our work to ensure everyone has housing they can afford.

Last year, we lost several special members of The Community Foundation family. We pay tribute to former Trustee, donor, and friend Diane Bernstein; Jane Bainum, co-founder of the Bainum Family Foundation and longtime philanthropic partner; Milt Peterson, trusted donor and founder of Peterson Companies; and the beloved Senator Mike Miller, one of our 2021 Civic Hero honorees. We also remember and honor our friends Rhonda Whitaker and Waldon Adams, two tireless advocates for ending homelessness who passed away unexpectedly in April. 


From Crisis to Recovery: A Pivotal Year

You can also view our FY 2021 annual report for more highlights from our crisis to recovery work in 2020-2021.

The Community Foundation Invests $6.2+ Million in 70 Nonprofits Nurturing Equitable Recovery

Grants aim to increase food security, close the opportunity gap, support survivors of domestic violence, and build stability for more families.

The region’s largest local funder has announced more than $6.2 million in grants to 70 nonprofits addressing issues facing families and communities in the Greater Washington region as they adapt to a post-pandemic life. 

The Greater Washington Community Foundation is investing in equitable recovery targeting a wide range of challenges, from helping families facing food insecurity, to advancing educational equity, supporting survivors of domestic violence, and building stability for more families. 

These grants represent initial investments that lay the groundwork for The Community Foundation’s new 10-year strategic vision to close the region’s racial wealth gap. The Community Foundation’s new strategy focuses on increasing economic mobility by prioritizing historically underinvested BIPOC neighborhoods that have been systematically denied access to wealth building opportunities. The Community Foundation is specifically interested in neighborhoods and census tracts that are experiencing the highest incidences of system-induced inequities in the areas of health, homeownership, education, employment, income, and life expectancy. 

“The pandemic not only increased demand for housing, food, and educational supports, it also exacerbated and brought longstanding inequities into focus,” said Tonia Wellons, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “These grants will help our nonprofit partners sustain and continue to adapt their services to support equitable recovery by providing individuals and families with what they need to survive and thrive today and for the long-term.”

 

Food Security

With 1 in 10 Montgomery County residents facing food insecurity due to COVID-19, The Community Foundation’s Food for Montgomery initiative is marshaling the resources of nonprofits, faith communities, local businesses, farmers, and county agencies to increase food access and help families recover from crisis. Grants totaling $959,590 will build the resiliency of 14 nonprofit and faith-based partners to more effectively and efficiently meet the needs throughout Montgomery County.

Afrithrive to support its two-acre farm and community gardening program to engage African immigrants in growing culturally specific produce which is hard to obtain through most food distribution providers. 

American Muslim Senior Society to support staffing, equipment, and cold storage necessary to strengthen its food security work and maximize the power of its volunteer network.

BlackRock Center for the Arts / Up-County Consolidation Hub to hire a bilingual social worker to connect vulnerable families to sustainable food resources and supports that are vital to their recovery.

Celestial Manna for staffing needed to advance food recovery efforts that prevent food waste and save thousands of dollars.

Charles Koiner Center for Urban Farming to support the development of an urban farm and community gardening program in Wheaton, MD that will enable residents to grow their own culturally appropriate food.

Community Health and Empowerment through Education and Research (CHEER) to support community-garden work that will engage Long Branch area residents to grow their own food for their community.

Guru Gobind Singh Foundation to support expanded storage that will enable this volunteer-driven effort to sustain its food security work.

Kingdom Fellowship CDC / East County Consolidation Hub to support the development of an innovative cold storage resource to help hub partners prevent waste and distribute food more efficiently. Hub partners include Kingdom Fellowship, Rainbow Community Development Center, Kings & Priests Court Int'l Ministries, and People's Community Baptist Church. 

Manna Food Center, A Place of Hope, Co-Health, Ethiopian Community Center Maryland, Identity, Kings and Priests’ Court International Ministries, and Southern African Community USA to enable outreach partners to connect residents with Manna Food Center’s resources and provide vouchers to purchase culturally specific foods to meet their needs.

The Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland and its partners, the Crossroads Community Food Network and FRESHFARM, to build the capacity of local farmers markets so they can more effectively reach and serve customers that rely on federal nutrition benefits, thereby increasing access to healthy food from local farmers.

Rainbow Community Development Center for staffing necessary to foster resiliency in the East County region through collaborative work with key partners and to sustain the organization’s expansion spurred by the pandemic.

Red Wiggler Community Farm to employ adults with developmental disabilities to grow healthy food for group homes and food distribution partners throughout the county.

Shepherd’s Table to support the necessary equipment and kitchen improvements to sustain and deepen collaborations bringing prepared meals to individuals and families facing food insecurity.

WUMCO for expanded cold storage that will enable the collection of more donations from local farmers and hunters to distribute in the rural, Up-County area. 

 

Education and Literacy

The Community Foundation’s Children’s Opportunity Fund (COF) is a public-private partnership that invests in innovative, evidence-informed efforts targeted at reducing educational disparities to close the opportunity gap in Montgomery County. Reading mastery is a key predictor of a student’s career attainment, and the most critical time to gain these skills is between birth and third grade. Recent grants of $200,000 will further COF’s strategy to improve third grade literacy rates by supporting early literacy programs, tutoring programs, and out of school time activities. 

Kid Museum to create an intentional curriculum for students in Grades K-3 that integrates STEM, literacy, and social emotional learning at Rolling Terrace and Strathmore, two Title 1 Elementary Schools -- in the spring the program will be piloted at additional elementary schools. 

Imagination Library to expand its program developed for children from birth to age 5 in seven zip codes to receive free, high-quality, age-appropriate books delivered to their home every month. 

 

Survivors of Domestic Violence

In partnership with the Prince George’s County Department of Family Services, The Community Foundation administers the Domestic Violence Community Grants Fund to support nonprofits assisting families and survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking to achieve a greater level of independence and self-sufficiency, cope with healing, and rebuild the family unit. Grants of $120,00 to four organizations will support counseling services, housing and transportation, and legal services.

Community Advocates for Family and Youth to support the recently launched Begin Again and Thrive program to address housing needs by providing emergency accommodation, permanent relocation, and financial assistance. 

Community Crisis Services to provide shelter transportation, limited rental support, and to meet individual needs such as school lunches or school supplies for a family or student. 

Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County to continue funding a staff attorney position and program offering legal assistance.

House of Ruth Maryland to support the provision of counseling/therapy services including IPV education, safety planning, and trauma reduction. 

 

Children, Youth, and Families

The Community Foundation administers the Fund for Children, Youth, and Families, a five-year initiative, to invest in effective organizations working to make the community more vibrant, healthy, and stable. The 2021 cycle includes nearly $4.8 million in multiyear grants to 50 nonprofits offering housing services, permanency support, academic support, and early career development programs.

826DC to help students improve writing skill development and increase fluency with writing based on the National Writing Project standards.

Adoptions Together to provide training for families interested in fostering and to place foster children in permanent homes.

The Arc of Prince George’s County to support participants of the Ready@21 Program, which helps young adults through career coaching and resume development to increase job readiness, improve college awareness, and develop self-advocacy skills.

Aspire! Afterschool Learning to improve reading instructional level by one grade or more for students in its afterschool care program.

The Barker Adoption Foundation to provide older foster child adoption training and facilitate the placement of older foster children and/or sibling groups.

Bread for the City to support advocacy efforts for families at risk of housing displacement and to provide direct services to families through the Food Program, Clothing Program, Medical Clinic, Social Services Program, and Legal Clinic.

Bright Beginnings to support early childhood development for children ages 0-5.

Carpenter's Shelter to help families who enter shelter to gain stability and transition to permanent housing and sustain independent living.

CASA for Children of DC to provide advocacy support for reunification, adoption, or guardianship for foster youth and workforce development activities for older foster youth.

Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.) to provide trainings and support for pre-adoption and post-adoption guardians.

Central American Resource Center to provide financial training and planning to support stable housing for Latino immigrants.

Children's Law Center to provide legal representation for child welfare cases to ensure children are growing up in permanent, stable families.

Community Crisis Services, Inc. to assist households experiencing homelessness and/or domestic violence to access safe, permanent housing.

Community Family Life Services to provide intensive financial coaching, financial case management, and wrap around supports for women seeking housing stability.

Cornerstones, Inc. to provide rental assistance services for at-risk tenants.

Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)/ Prince George's County, Inc. Support the Job Readiness and Transitioning Youth program, which ensures that at youth participants who emancipate will do so with stable housing

Voices for Children Montgomery to provide placement in safe homes for clients at case closure.

DC SAFE to help clients move to safe transitional or permanent housing after their stay in SAFE Space.

DC Volunteer Lawyers Project to offer advocacy and referrals, including enforcing victim rights in housing, employment, and public benefits, as well as provide legal assistance and advocacy with victim legal rights.

DC127 to help teen parents who are aging out of foster care be prepared for a life of independence with stable housing, jobs, and increased access to supportive services.

District Alliance for Safe Housing to help families transition from emergency shelter to more permanent housing with increased economic and housing stability.

District Of Columbia Grassroots Empowerment to help secure long-term housing for residents displaced and impacted by public housing redevelopment.

Doorways for Women and Families to provide re-housing supportive services to help participants achieve stability and transition to permanent housing.

The Dwelling Place, Inc. to help program residents remain stably housed and maintain compliance with program requirements through case management, increasing financial stability, and home visits.

Family & Youth Initiative to assist participant teens in foster care with finding an adoptive family and provide continuing support to participant youth who age out of foster care.

Fihankra Akoma Ntoaso to provide afterschool and summer programs for children in the child welfare system to allow them to develop positive relationships with adults and peers.

Crittenton Services of Greater Washington to increase school attendance, academic engagement, and grade point average for Goal Setting Girls participants.

Foster and Adoptive Parent Advocacy Center (FAPAC) to provide training, peer support, financial stability, and individual advocacy to foster families in DC.

Homeless Children's Playtime Project to provide ongoing play programs and supportive services for homeless children in DC.

Hope And A Home, Inc. to help resident families increase financial stability and make progress towards transitioning into and/or maintain permanent, stable housing.

Horizons Greater Washington to provide literacy and math academic enrichment support for students.

Housing Up to provide employment support, rental assistance, and financial support services for affordable rental housing buildings.

Interfaith Works Inc. to help families experiencing homelessness achieve stability and transition to permanent housing with the assistance of case management and supportive services.

Martha’s Table to support academic enrichment for the six developmental domains — early literacy, early math, language, cognition, physical development, and socioemotional development.

Mary's Center for Maternal and Child Care, Inc. to support the Home Visiting Program, which encourages early childhood development through reading, storytelling, and singing with young children daily.

Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, Inc. to help residents maintain on time rent payments and permanent, stable housing.

My Sister's Place to help residents increase income, provide case management, and transition to transitional or permanent housing.

National Housing Trust Enterprise to help NHT households participate in financial programs and maintain stable housing.

Neighborhood Legal Services Program to host “Know Your Rights” presentations and represent clients in cases involving housing discrimination, illegal eviction, rent increases, housing conditions, voucher termination, and loss of subsidies.

Neighbors Consejo to assist low-income families in transitioning from shelter to rental housing, while helping them improve their personal and financial stability.

Northern Virginia Family Service to provide foster care pre-service training and Resource Parent certification.

One Common Unity to improve course grades, increase class attendance, and reduce punitive disciplinary actions for students in the Fly by Light program.

One World Education to increase research and writing skills as well as social and emotional learning for students.

The Platform of Hope to provide housing, education, employment, family stability, finances, and health support services for low-income families at risk for homelessness.

Prince George's Child Resource Center, Inc. to improve language and cognitive abilities through participation in child development and parent/child learning activities.

Reading Partners to help students meet or exceed their primary, individualized end-of-year literacy growth goal.

Right Beginnings Inc. to provide career development, mentoring, and career counseling to homeless women seeking to increase financial stability to find housing.

Rising for Justice to provide tenant rights educational trainings and legal services for tenants in need of improved housing conditions or facing eviction.

Sasha Bruce Youthwork to help at-risk youth achieve safe and stable living environments.

Stepping Stones Shelter to help resident families increase their income during stay and move on to stable housing utilizing a subsidy program.

Following up with our Community Action Award Winners

By Benton Murphy, outgoing Senior Advisor for Impact

Earlier this year, the Community Foundation issued $100,000 in small grant awards to community partners across the region through our Community Action Awards. The Awards were provided to a cohort of 50 activists, artists, and advocates leading neighborhood-based projects that would spark change in their communities. 

The Community Action Awards are part of our three-part VoicesDMV series, a powerful community engagement initiative launched in 2017 to explore our region’s most pressing challenges and opportunities. In 2020, VoicesDMV tapped into Community Insights through a regional survey and convened hundreds of residents from across the region to discuss ways to make our communities stronger through On The Table conversations.

While many of our Awardees are still working to finalize their programs, we are thrilled to share some highlights of some excellent programs that have taken place over the past year.

American University and EL Haynes Public Charter School received an award to support their Action Research for Community Change project. The project, sparked by a conversation that took place as a part of our On the Table day of dialogue in 2020, was an innovative and impactful partnership that paired AU college students and high schoolers at EL Haynes Public Charter School in conversations on race and equity. Students at both institutions participated in virtual classrooms together, co-learning and co-designing a community action research project. AU students developed a curriculum and guide for community action research. EL Haynes students conducted a bilingual survey of the student body with more than half of student responding. Based on student responses, the action researchers made a series of recommendations that yielded commitments from school leadership to hire a new social worker, offer two new elective courses focused on centering Black lives, and a commitment to using student surveys to inform future teacher professional development. What’s more—AU students developed a workbook on action research that the students can use in future years to continue to lift up student voices for change!

The Brem Foundation received an award to provide funding for its Wheels for Women program which helps connect women to breast care appointments. The District of Columbia has the highest death rate for breast cancer in the United States, and despite being diagnosed at the same rate, Black women have a 40% higher death rate from breast cancer than white women. Brem used funds to support 76 one-way rides for women to get to their breast care appointments, the majority of recipients were Black women. Brem also was able to use funds to expand from 8 to 9 community partners for rides, which will be useful for the many recipients who live very far from their health care provider.

IMPACT Silver Spring used its award to support its Sewing Academy for Latina Women. The Academy was the brainchild of IMPACT’s Women’s Empowerment Collective, composed mostly of parents of IMPACT’s youth programming or who became interested through direct outreach at local schools. The award funded the purchase of sewing machines and supplies, as well as compensation for experienced seamstresses who served as instructors in the program. Twenty women registered for the Academy over a six-month period. The women of the Academy both built their sewing skills as well as strong bonds and a new support network. Participants were also supported to participate in civic actions, including providing testimony at Montgomery County Council hearings on the importance of affordable vocational education. When the Academy students gathered with their family, friends, and IMPACT staff for their graduation in July they held a fashion show to showcase the students’ work, with one participant noting: “I made three dresses. I never thought I could do this. I’m making my dreams come true.”

This has been an especially meaningful program for me to take on as I wrap up a 17-year stint here at The Community Foundation to move on to other opportunities. Having led our inaugural Community Action Awards program, it is so wonderful to see how impactful these small-dollar grant awards can be. It is instructive for us as funders and individual donors that even a small gift can be meaningful for those who are striving to make the world a better place for everyone. I am hopeful that you will find our next crop of Awardees as inspiring as I have found this one!

View the Impact of Several Projects

Got You Covered Diaper Bag Project

Live It Learn It for Drew Elementary School

DC KinCare Alliance Relative Caregiver Community Board Outreach and Education Project

Zoom Pals, an intergenerational pilot project in a partnership between American University and Hyattsville Aging and Place

Emerging Leaders Impact Fund Awards Inaugural Grants to Combat Chronic Absenteeism

The Emerging Leaders Impact Fund (ELIF), a new giving circle for young philanthropists in Prince George’s County, recently completed its inaugural cohort and culminating grant round. ELIF members – 40 young professionals from area colleges, businesses, and civic organizations – selected 5 Prince George’s County nonprofits to receive $11,500 in micro-grants to provide a broad range of services that are designed to address chronic absenteeism and high truancy rates in Prince George’s County schools.

School absenteeism, a problem that leads to learning loss and other negative outcomes, has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis and the need for a transition to remote learning. Children who are chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade are less likely to be proficient readers by third grade. By sixth grade, those who miss more than 10 percent of school are more likely to drop out altogether. Frequent school absenteeism has long-term negative effects on academic performance, income, and health. The ELIF has partnered with five nonprofit organizations to address this pressing issue:

  • Jacob’s Ladder to support the Academic Enrichment Program that provides tutoring, basic literacy skills, one on one instructions, small group sessions, confidence building and mentoring to students that have low grades, high rates of truancy, absenteeism, suspensions, and behavioral issues.

  • L.E.E.P. to College Foundation to support pilot learning pods to enrich student learning, increase student engagement, and provide mentoring and emotional well-being support.

  • Mentoring Through Athletics to support tutoring services in mathematics, reading comprehension, and writing as well mentoring and physical activities.

  • S.E.A.C., Inc. (Seaton Empowering Action in the Community) to support the Math Achievers Program that provides individualized and/or small group instruction, consistent relationships between instructors and students, parental involvement, and reinforcing that learning math can be fun. 

  • Sisters4Sisters, Inc. to support the Daughters of Destiny mentoring program for girls which provides workshops focusing on leadership skills, career mentoring, developing self-esteem and avoiding peer pressure.

Jacob’s Ladder Founder and Executive Director Jarriel Jordan, Sr. talks about the organization’s mission and its Academic Enrichment Program.

L.E.E.P to College Foundation Founder and Executive Director Lisa Rowe talks about how ELIF funding will help create an academic enrichment program.

Mentoring Through Athletics supports kids and families on and off the field with mentoring, tutoring, food support, and athletic programming.

“School absenteeism and truancy threatens to undermine our children’s success. We’re pleased to be partnering with so many great organizations to address the issue. These grants will help ensure that every Prince Georgian has the opportunities necessary to reach their full potential,” said Davion Percy, Co-Chair, ELIF.

The strength of ELIF lies not just in how many grants it awards, but more importantly in its ability to bring a diverse group of people together to learn about issues affecting Prince George’s County residents and make investments in programs that can help transform our communities.

The ELIF enrollment period is now open to all emerging leaders (45 years of age and under) and others that support the County’s future leaders. If you’re interested in joining a diverse group of passionate people who use the power of philanthropy to make a positive difference in Prince George’s County, click here to learn more about ELIF and become a member today!

Recap from our 2021 Annual Meeting!

Sponsored By

Thank you for joining us at the intersection as part of our 2021 Annual Meeting! It was an incredibly powerful and inspiring conversation -- from Michelle Singletary sharing her reflections and personal experiences with misperceptions about race and inequality, to the stories of impact from our community, to the exciting preview of our new strategic vision. Together, we will chart a path toward a just, equitable, and thriving region where everyone prospers and thrives. 

In lieu of providing lunch for the meeting, we invited participants to help us select a hunger relief nonprofit to receive a special grant. Thanks to a generous challenge match by several Community Foundation Trustees -- Dr. Charlene Dukes (who instigated the challenge), David and Peggy Shiffrin, and Sarah Moore Johnson -- we are able to award grants of $2,500 each to Bread for the City, Capital Area Food Bank, Manna Food Center, and United Communities Against Poverty. What an incredibly inspiring act of generosity!

In case you missed the discussion, or would like to revisit the conversation, you can now watch a recording of the event. You can also learn more about your investment options as a fundholder on our website.

And finally, we hope you will join us on Friday, October 29 at 9:00 a.m. for our next quarterly book group discussion of Michelle Singletary's 10-part series for the Washington Post. Click here to register to join us for this continuing conversation.

We appreciate that you have entrusted us as your charitable giving partner. Thank you for sharing your passion for philanthropy and service with us.

If you have any questions, you can reach us at 202-955-5890 or email donorservices@thecommunityfoundation.org.

We remain committed to working with you to strengthen and support our region now and for the future.

Sincerely,
Tonia Wellons
President and CEO
Greater Washington Community Foundation

Innovation and Healing: How the Arts Survived COVID-19

Source Theatre doesn’t typically broadcast plays on its lobby windows. Like most DC theaters, though, the CulturalDC-owned and operated nonprofit needed to get creative during COVID-19. 

In partnership with Theater in Quarantine, an NYC-based digital performance lab, CulturalDC presented a 4-part video installation on Source Theatre’s storefront windows. DC residents could experience the movement-based projections from March 5-April 5, 2020, while socially distancing outside the theater.

“It was an incredible outpouring of creativity,” CulturalDC Trustee David Shiffrin says. 

Shiffrin, who also serves on the boards for The Community Foundation and Arena Stage, cites CulturalDC’s partnership with Theater in Quarantine as one of many creative pivots in DC’s arts community. To stay afloat, arts organizations innovated their art forms, he says. 

Healing Through the Arts

For Community Foundation Trustee Rachel Goslins, who directs the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building, innovation in the arts is also a pathway to healing. 

“[The remote environment] forced us to consider how we could continue to provide value,” she says. “The arts have this special ability to help people heal and process their emotions. We need that now, more than ever.”

(In America: Remember art exhibition, photo credit Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(In America: Remember art exhibition, photo credit Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

She cites “In America: Remember,” which runs through Oct. 3, as an especially poignant example of the arts as healing. The art exhibition—supported by America Remembers Fund, a component fund at The Community Foundation—blankets the National Mall with 660,000+ white flags, each honoring a person lost to Covid-19. Visitors are invited to personalize flags for lost loved ones. 

Conceptualized by local artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, “In America: Remember,” builds on the fall 2020 installation “In America: How Could This Happen.” Firstenberg’s fall exhibition also honored COVID-19 victims with small white flags, covering a four-acre site outside RFK stadium. 

“There’s just such poetry in that,” Goslins says. “The arts are so important to the well-being of communities.” 

Looking Toward the Future

At the Smithsonian, Goslins is busy preparing for a different type of exhibition. This winter , Smithsonian will open “FUTURES,” a part-exhibition, part-festival celebrating the institution’s 175th anniversary. The exhibition will showcase future-focused artwork, interactive displays, and technology spanning 32,000 square feet across the National Mall. 

Running Nov. 2021-July 2022, “FUTURES” is intended to inspire people to reflect and to dream—another healing mechanism of the Arts.

“In our society, we are constantly imagining what could go wrong. We need to be able to also imagine what could go right,” she says. “We hope ‘FUTURES’ will encourage visitors to think about the future they want, not just the future they fear.” 

“We wanted to use our anniversary to help people look ahead at this pivotal moment in time,” Goslins continues. “I hope this can just be one more step forward for our community, and the arts.”

The Power of Philanthropy 

As cultural organizations work toward post-pandemic recovery, groups face a critical period—one with “no magic formula for success,” says Shiffrin. With continued uncertainty around the Delta variant, arts organizations need support now more than ever.

As a steering committee member for Arts Forward Fund, a collaborative partnership with The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation and other funders to help arts and cultural institutions survive and recover from the pandemic, Shiffrin has seen the impact investments can make. In total, the fund has made nearly $2.7 million in grants to 130+ organizations, 60% of which are BIPOC-led or BIPOC-serving. 

This summer, Arts Forward Fund was one of 289 equity-focused efforts nationwide to receive support from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Arts Forward received $1 million for 2021 grantmaking, allowing us to make investments in 89 local arts organizations to support COVID-19 recovery.

“MacKenzie Scott’s gift was truly transformative,” Shiffrin says. “The need is even greater this second round. Continued advocacy [will be] essential.”

Aspirations for the Arts

The current environment with COVID-19 makes it difficult to forecast the future, Shiffrin says, but he has many hopes for the arts sector. Post-pandemic, he hopes organizations can continue to innovate their work, and inspire personal transformation. 

He cites MacKenzie Scott’s recent quote as illustrative of his aspirations for impact beyond the pandemic:

"Arts and cultural institutions can strengthen communities…by transforming spaces, fostering empathy, reflecting community identity, advancing economic mobility, improving academic outcomes, lowering crime rates and improving mental health."

For Goslins, hope is the driving force.

“I’m very hopeful about the cultural sector and our ability to help people process what’s happened over the last year and a half,” she says. “It’s a testament to why the arts aren’t only valuable--they’re essential.”

Arts Forward Fund Announces $1.7 Million in Grants to 89 Local Arts Groups Impacted by COVID-19

 
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Arts Forward Fund, a partnership between the Greater Washington Community Foundation, The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, and 10 other foundations and individual donors, is proud to announce new grants totaling nearly $1.7 million to 89 arts and culture organizations in the DC region.

These grants will help organizations address the challenges of reopening and recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 60 percent of grants and grant funding will go to organizations that are led by Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) and predominantly BIPOC-serving. Based on feedback from a community advisory committee and last year’s applicants, these grants will support general operations rather than specific projects. Grant recipients include six theaters, nine dance schools and dance companies, five film and music festivals and more than 20 youth-serving organizations across DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

In response to a call for applications released in early July 2021, Arts Forward Fund received 131 applications totaling nearly $2.7 million. Thanks to a generous gift of $1 million from billionaire Mackenzie Scott and her husband Dan Jewett, Arts Forward Fund was able to support more than two-thirds of 2021 applicants and award more than 60% of total funds requested.

“Our region’s arts and culture organizations will take years to recover from the impact of this pandemic,” says Calvin Cafritz, President and CEO of The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, which made a lead grant of $500,000 to establish Arts Forward Fund in 2020 and contributed an additional $400,000 in 2021. “As the region’s leading funder of arts and culture organizations, The Cafritz Foundation is honored to join so many of our funding colleagues in this remarkable collective effort to help our local cultural organizations reopen and thrive.”

“Through some of the darkest days of this crisis, many of our region’s arts and cultural organizations found innovative ways to inspire, uplift, and support our community. As we continue to recover from this crisis and adjust to a new normal, it is important to acknowledge that arts groups were disproportionately impacted and that recovery will take time and require sustained investment,” says Tonia Wellons, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “We are proud to be part of this equity-focused funder collaborative investing in the stability of our region’s arts sector to contribute to the vitality of our region.”

Following is a list of Arts Forward Fund grant recipients. All grants support general operations.

1st Stage Theater

826DC

Actor's Center

Adventure Theatre

American Poetry Museum

American Youth Philharmonic

Anacostia Playhouse

Arlington Arts Center

Art Enables

Art of Noize

Art Works Now

Artivate

Arts Fairfax

Arts on the Block

ArtStream

Asian Pacific American Film

Atlas Performing Arts Center

Black Artists Of DC

BlackRock Center for the Arts

Capital Fringe

CapitalBop

Capitol Hill Arts Workshop

Capitol Hill Jazz Foundation

GB Youth Media

Church of the Epiphany

Ciesla Foundation

CityDance Viva School of Dance

Coalition For African Americans in the Performing Arts (CAAPA)

Critical Exposure

D.C. Creative Writing Workshop

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company

Dance Institute of Washington

Dancemakers

Dance Place

DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative

DC Independent Film Festival

DC Jazz Festival

DC Palestinian Film & Arts Festival

DC Youth Orchestra Program

Docs in Progress

East of the River Boys & Girls Steel Band

Educarte

Encore Stage & Studio

Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education

Friends Of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

Gala Hispanic Theatre

Girls Rock DC

Greater Reston Arts Center

Heritage Signature Chorale

IN Series

Inlight Magazine

Joe's Movement Emporium

Kalanidhi Dance

Life Pieces to Masterpieces

Live It Learn It

McLean Project for the Arts

Music for Life

New Orchestra of Washington

Northeast Performing Arts Group

One Common Unity

Oyé Palaver Hut

Pan American Symphony Orchestra

PEN Faulkner

Prince George's Arts and Humanities Council

Princess Mhoon Dance Institute

Project Create

Pyramid Atlantic

Ragbaby Exchange

Sandy Spring Museum

Shout Mouse Press

Sitar Arts Center

Smith Center for Healing and the Arts

Sole Defined

Split This Rock

Step Afrika!

The Essential Theatre

The MusicianShip

Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts

Transformer

UrbanArias

Washington Area Lawyers For the Arts

Washington Bach Consort

Washington Chorus

Washington DC International Film Festival

Washington Project For the Arts

Words Beats And Life

Young Artists of America

Young Playwrights Theater

Zora Neale Hurston Richard Wright Foundation

About Arts Forward Fund

Launched in July 2020 with lead grants from The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Harman Family Foundation, the Weissberg Foundation, and and more than a dozen other funders, Arts Forward Fund is an equity-focused funder collaborative housed at and administered by the Greater Washington Community Foundation. Additional supporters in 2021 include Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Diane & Norman Bernstein Foundation, Lois and Richard England Family Foundation, Linowitz Family Fund, Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation, Robin B. Martin Family Foundation, Howard and Geraldine Polinger Family Foundation, and other individual contributors.

Our 2020 - 2021 Year in Review

Over the past 18 months, we have all been impacted in some way by COVID-19. Although our experiences may be different, our community came together -– as neighbors helping neighbors -– to support each other through this crisis.

Since March 2020, we have mobilized over $40 million in community support to help our neighbors facing hardship. Thanks to the incredible donors, nonprofit partners, and community leaders who stepped up to meet this challenge, our collective response demonstrated the power of what our community can accomplish by coming together. 

Our Annual Report features the impact that The Community Foundation, our donors, and partners have had on this region from April 2020 – March 2021, and beyond.

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Read our Annual Report

Deepening Our Impact: 8 Highlights from the Past Year

Along with the release of our annual report, we’re celebrating our most impactful stories from the past year--from helping launch the Black Voices for Black Justice DMV Fellowship, continuing our work to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, to advancing housing justice in partnership with Flock DC’s birdSEED Fund. Read on for stories of meaningful collaboration and coordination that helped make a difference in our community. 

Uniting for Change

We believe true change rises from strong alliances. We’re proud to share stories about how our community partnerships have helped make a difference.

 
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Introducing the Black Voices for Black Justice DMV Fellows

Launched last fall (2020) in partnership with the DC-based nonprofit GOODProjects, and with seed funding from Bridge Alliance Education Fund, the Black Voices for Black Justice DMV Fellowship supports activists, organizers, and leaders who are on the front lines of advancing social justice and racial equity. Each Fellow received a $30,000 grant to support their racial justice work in our region, and beyond. Meet these inspiring change-makers, and learn what fuels their fight for justice.

 

DC Cares Program: $5M Undocumented Workers Relief Package

Thousands of immigrants in Greater Washington were excluded from federal stimulus efforts due to their documentation status. Together with our partners at Events DC and the Executive Office of the Mayor, we launched the DC Cares Program in summer 2020, disbursing a total of $5 million in direct cash assistance to excluded workers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. In January 2021, we launched Phase II of the program, providing over $8 million in relief funding.

 
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$1 Million Arts Forward Fund

In partnership with the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation and eight other funders, we launched Arts Forward Fund to provide critical support to local arts and culture organizations impacted by COVID-19. In October 2020, we awarded over $1 million in grants to 43 arts organizations. Currently, we’re reviewing a second round of proposals, supported by a generous $1 million gift from MacKenzie Scott.

Investing for Impact 

Learn about some of our most impactful investments this year.

 
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Legacy Fund for Small Business Development

Seeded with a $1 million gift from a generous donor, the Legacy Fund for Small Business Development provides critically needed access to capital for small businesses in Prince George’s County. It’s part of our work in Prince George’s County’s to advance equity and economic mobility by eliminating social and economic disparities in the County. In November, we awarded relief funding to 173 small businesses in Prince George’s County to help minimize business closures and retain 650 jobs.

“Ninety-five percent of all businesses in [Prince George’s County] are small businesses and they contribute nearly half of all jobs in the county. Through the Legacy Fund, we hope to preserve the small business infrastructure, ensure job retention, drive economic development, and enable the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next, leaving a lasting legacy for families and Prince George’s County.” --Tonia Wellons, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation.

 
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Fund for Children, Youth, and Families Awards $1.99 Million

At the end of last year, the Fund for Children, Youth, and Families (FFCYF)awarded nearly $2 million in grants to 49 nonprofits serving disadvantaged children, youth, and families. Local WDVM covered the announcement, highlighting the investment’s focus on closing the achievement gap, supporting children in foster care, and helping families experiencing homelessness.

Jana-Lynn Louis, Community Foundation program officer for FFCYF, said:  “It’s all about supporting where our region needs help the most and trying to fill in those gaps that often fall by the wayside.”

Community Connections

Oftentimes, it's our staff and partners who say it best. These guest posts highlight different voices and perspectives in our community on the issues that matter most.

 
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How to reconstruct an equitable future for our region

How can we reconstruct an equitable future for our region coming out of the COVID-19 crisis? In an opinion piece for the Washington Post, our CEO Tonia Wellons and Ursula Wright explore a new framework to respond to emerging needs, re-engage our community, and reconstruct and shape a new normal for this region.

 
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Flock DC: Down payment Grants for a more just future

BirdSEED Fund, launched in partnership with local real estate firm Flock DC, helps advance housing justice by providing down payment grants for first-time Black and Brown home buyers. In her guest-authored blog, Flock DC founder and CEO Lisa Wise shares her passion for justice and why she believes it’s crucial we work together to reimagine a more equitable future.

 
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Food for Montgomery: A Community-Wide Response to the Rise in Hunger

As our community’s need for food skyrocketed during 2020, our Montgomery County leaders, community stakeholders, and The Community Foundation teamed up to create Food for Montgomery. Anna Hargrave, Executive Director for Montgomery County, shares how this remarkable public-private partnership is helping prevent food insecurity in the County, and ensure no residents go hungry.

Hungry for other Community Foundation impact stories? Check out ‘A Year of Impact: Our Top 10 Stories of 2020,’ published as an annual wrap-up last December. 

Community Foundation Invests Nearly $1 Million in Black-led Organizations Leading Systems Change

The Community Foundation is proud to announce an investment of $940,000 in 17 Black-led organizations in Greater Washington working in the critical area of systems change. These one-year awards will help support organizations’ immediate infrastructure needs, including staffing, strategic planning, marketing and communications, professional development, and more. 

Enabled through a generous $1 million gift from Facebook, The Community Foundation launched this new funding opportunity in April 2021. The following investments align with our new strategic focus, which prioritizes support for BIPOC-led and serving organizations and local neighborhoods where racialized socio-economic disparities are the greatest. 

“Discrimination and disparities based on race, income, and gender continue to threaten both the lives and livelihoods of people of color, especially Black residents. It is vital that we invest in organizations that are working to disrupt and transform systems perpetuating those inequities,” says Dawnn Leary, Senior Community Investment Officer at The Community Foundation. “I am thrilled this funding opportunity will support the immediate infrastructure needs of 17 organizations on the front lines organizing, empowering, and advocating with and for residents of Greater Washington.” 

African Communities Together, to support building an infrastructure for  member recruitment, retention, and leadership development, including a member phone bank and data clean-up project. 

Bread for the City, to support the hiring of a racial equity manager to drive efforts, that shift organizational culture to ensure racial equity. Funds will also support workshops for staff hosted by Service 2 Justice and the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond.

Collective Action for Safe Spaces, to sustain and expand staff and board leadership through strategic planning, financial planning, and personnel recruitment.

Community Grocery Co-Op, to strengthen marketing and communications, fundraising, canvassing community stakeholders, hiring of staff, and leadership team development.

Concerned Citizens Network of Alexandria, to support fundraising, training and mobilization, and website and video upgrades.

 Critical Exposure, to support hiring a full-time Human Resources and Operations Manager, a key role to meet sustainability goals for the organization.

DC Justice Lab, to support organizational needs such as equipment for a home office/remote work, IT, marketing and communications, development and fundraising collateral, and staff/board professional development and training. 

Dreaming out Loud, to support the installation of a new CRM system, the implementation of public relations, and developing a comprehensive communications plan that improves community engagement. 

Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, to hire a second full-time staff member, and support cover artist and speaker fees at their vision salons. 

Life After Release, to support leadership development and wellness for a team of six organizers (five formerly incarcerated women and one man), the development of their organizational communications infrastructure, and office equipment for staff to work from home as needed. 

Mamatoto Village, to support data collection, leadership training, and marking and communications needs. 

Many Languages One Voice, to support MLOV’s investment in and building of a membership database in Salesforce, and  hiring a strategic communications consultant. 

ONE DC, to help re-open Black Workers and Wellness Center (BWWC) and resume activities housed in the center, namely Cooperation DC.   

Progressive Maryland, to invest in new AI technology, provide training, streamline processes, and expand contacts.  

Racial Justice NOW!, to support the development and implementation of a five-year strategic plan.  

Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid, for the organization including, conducting a board assessment, and hiring a consultant to train the board on governance, fundraising, budget allocation, human resources management and strategic planning.

The National Reentry Network of Returning Citizens, to support the development of a community space hub focused on returning citizen visibility and leadership, and provide the critical infrastructure needed for their staff and programs.

Greater Washington Community Foundation Awards Over $330,000 in COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Grants

Ten Local Nonprofits Receiving Support to Address Vaccine Hesitancy, Mental Health, Food Access, and Reopening Schools

The Greater Washington Community Foundation is proud to announce an additional $337,000 in relief and recovery grants from the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. Since March 2020, The Community Foundation has raised and distributed more than $11 million for coordinated emergency response and recovery efforts. These rapid response grants have helped local nonprofits to expand critical services, ensure continuity of operations, transition to virtual service delivery, and counteract lost revenue due to closures or event cancellations. 

The Community Foundation established the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to lead a coordinated regional philanthropic response to the pandemic and resulting economic crisis. Together with our peers in philanthropy, this effort focused on addressing urgent needs and reaching adversely affected communities, especially low-income households and communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by this crisis.

As we continue responding to urgent needs while fostering an equitable recovery, The Community Foundation’s new round of funding will make investments in 10 nonprofits working across four priority areas:

Supporting efforts to overcome vaccine hesitancy and to open vaccination sites in impacted communities:

  • Family & Medical Counseling will receive $15,000 to support COVID-19 testing and vaccination targeting residents of DC and Prince George's County, especially those living in Ward 7 and 8 and in the southern areas of Prince George's County.

  • La Clinica del Pueblo will receive $15,000 to support COVID-19 testing and vaccination targeting majority Latinx communities in DC and Prince George's County.

  • Latin American Youth Center will receive $27,000 to support engagement and outreach efforts to disseminate information on combating spread of COVID-19 and testing and vaccination options to increase the vaccination rate among Black and Latino populations in the region.

  • Mary’s Center will receive $50,000 to replicate its mobile vaccine clinics, currently serving disproportionately impacted communities in DC, and expand into Montgomery County and Prince George’s County with a focus on hard-to-reach populations.

Addressing the mental health needs of frontline workers:

  • Wendt Center for Loss and Healing will receive $85,000 to provide emotional support sessions (workshops and process groups) for frontline professionals and social services nonprofits whose staff members have been deeply impacted by COVID-19.

Advancing efforts to increase food access:

  • DC Hunger Solutions and Maryland Hunger Solutions will receive $40,000 to deliver critical outreach to prospective and eligible SNAP participants, provide technical assistance on school meal programs, offer education and training, and advance advocacy campaigns to increase access to federal nutrition programs.

  • The Mid-Atlantic Food Resilience and Access Coalition (MAFRAC) will receive $45,000 to extend its local food mini-grant program to resource BIPOC-led organizations with funds to purchase food through MAFRAC’s extended network of local food producers, including a number of Black-owned farms.

Ensuring an equitable and safe return to school:

  • Community Youth Advance will receive $25,000 to recruit, onboard, and train mentors for 25 students to work on a pathway for re-engagement in school, as part of a partnership with PGCPS and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) focused on re-engaging at-risk and chronically absent high school students.

  • DC Action for Children will receive $35,000 to support building strong partnerships between schools and Out of School Time programs to ensure an equitable and safe return to school and advocate for access to high quality learning opportunities beyond the school day that prepare DC’s youth for success in education, careers, and life.

“Due to the deep pre-existing inequities that have been exacerbated by COVID-19, we know that many communities in our region are still struggling—and will be for some time,” said Benton Murphy, Senior Adviser for Impact at the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “As our region’s crisis response leader, The Community Foundation and our partners will continue to respond to the critical needs of our community as we work towards building an equitable recovery and future for our region.”

The COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund was established on March 12, 2020 with support from nearly 1,500 foundations, corporations, and individuals/families. A list of the major partners and contributors to the Fund can be found here.

More than 1,600 nonprofits applied for a total of $60 million in grants – approximately six times the amount of funds raised to date. The Fund has provided support to 300 nonprofits providing food, shelter, educational supports, legal aid, and other vital services to our neighbors facing hardships due to COVID-19. Over half of all recipient organizations are led by people of color. A list of nonprofit partners can be found here.

Greater Washington Community Foundation Announces $1 Million Gift from MacKenzie Scott to Arts Forward Fund

Ten Local Funders Also Supporting New Funding Round in July

Author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has awarded $1 million to the Greater Washington Community Foundation to support Arts Forward Fund, an equity-focused funder collaborative formed in 2020 by local funders to help arts and culture organizations in the DC region to stabilize, adapt, and thrive through the COVID-19 pandemic. The gift to Arts Forward Fund is one of 289 grants totaling $2.7 billion that Scott announced through a June 15 blog post on Medium.

In her post announcing the gifts, Scott wrote:

“Arts and cultural institutions can strengthen communities by transforming spaces, fostering empathy, reflecting community identity, advancing economic mobility . . . and improving mental health, so we evaluated smaller arts organizations creating these benefits with artists and audiences from culturally rich regions and identity groups that donors often overlook.”

The purpose of Arts Forward Fund is to provide resources to help arts and culture organizations continue their work despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and respond to the national movement for racial justice. Created with a lead gift from The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Arts Forward Fund awarded 43 grants totaling $1,048,500 in October 2020. More than 60 percent of these grants and grant funding went to organizations that are BIPOC-led and predominantly BIPOC-serving, with most grants supporting the shift to online and digital programming. 

Including Scott’s gift, more than 20 foundations and individual donors have contributed just under $3 million to Arts Forward Fund since 2020. Major supporters include the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Diane & Norman Bernstein Foundation, England Family Foundation, Philip L. Graham Fund, Harman Family Foundation, Linowitz Family Fund, Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation, Howard and Geraldine Polinger Family Foundation, and Weissberg Foundation. 

In March 2021, a follow-up survey of 2020 Arts Forward Fund applicants confirmed ongoing uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic and a return to in-person events and programs. Frequently cited challenges included increased costs and limited revenue for online and limited in-person programs, audience reluctance to return to venues, staff capacity to maintain virtual programs while simultaneously restarting in-person programs, and concerns about maintaining individual donor support.

To provide relief and recovery funds to help organizations address these issues, Arts Forward Fund will open the application for another round of funding on July 6. With Scott’s gift and commitments from local funders, Arts Forward Fund anticipates an additional $1.7 million to award in grants. For the 2021 grant round, Arts Forward Fund’s focus will be on providing general operating support funding for community-based organizations with annual revenue of $3 million or less. Arts Forward Fund will continue to prioritize organizations that are BIPOC-led and BIPOC-serving. Details will be posted here.

“As a steadfast supporter of the arts community, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation is honored to be part of the collective effort to help our local cultural organizations recover and reopen,” says Calvin Cafritz, President and CEO of the Cafritz Foundation, which made a lead grant of $500,000 to establish Arts Forward Fund. “In its first round of grantmaking, the Fund received 227 applications totaling nearly $8 million, evidence of the enormous disruption the COVID-19 pandemic created in the sector. Arts Forward Fund, including MacKenzie Scott’s generous gift, is only part of the ongoing community commitment that will be needed to support our region’s arts and cultural organizations as they rebuild and thrive.”

“Arts and culture organizations are a critical economic engine for this region, and they contribute immeasurably to our sense of community and our well-being,” says Tonia Wellons, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “We are humbled by this recognition of the Arts Forward Fund’s efforts and proud to bring much needed relief to organizations in the region that enrich our communities and touch our lives.”

A Drive for Justice: Local Asian Leaders Share Their Stories

Leading With Service

Trustee Veronica Jeon considers entrepreneurship—and service—core foundations of her career.

 “I am a product of entrepreneurial parents, [and] I’ve always played a part in giving back. I’ve been blessed and fortunate to do that in my community where I live, work, and play,” she says. 

As President and CEO of VSJ, Inc, a minority, woman-owned public relations and strategic communications firm, she serves clients across the nonprofit, corporate and government sectors. “Your success is our passion” is VSJ’s mission—a charge that also fulfills Veronica’s personal passion for service. 

Veronica also serves as the Chair of the Prince George’s County Advisory Board and as an executive committee member of our Emerging Leader’s Impact Fund in Prince George’s County, helping determine the focus of grantmaking and rallying resources to deepen impact in the County. 

In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, she shares what inspires her to continue to serve in philanthropy in our region—especially in this pivotal moment in our nation’s history. 

“As we continue to emerge in Prince George’s County and beyond, I am committed to effectively grow the culture of philanthropy by advocating and leading initiatives; partnering to elevate and engage in philanthropy on all levels locally and regionally; and, mentoring the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders,” says Veronica. “As a servant leader in this pivotal time in our nation’s history, I am of the belief that we all must lead in such a way to make others better as a result of our presence. And, in doing so, making sure that impact lasts in our absence.”


Empowering Others Towards Action

The Asian American Lead Youth Council, a group of high school and middle school AAPI youth who advocate for diversity and racial equity, is working hard to combat gentrification in DC’s Chinatown. A VoicesDMV Community Action Awards winner, the Council is leading efforts to uplift residents’ stories to raise awareness of the negative impacts of gentrification. Stories are shared on their project-dedicated website, and in their petitions for change to city leaders. 

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“The main reasons that inspire me to continue to lead and invest in AAPI-focused work are the opportunities to inspire other scholars to fight for what they are passionate about and to spur change in my community,” says Maricarmen, AALEAD Youth Council member. “This work is so important because current social and political issues have created massive tension in communities, where voices are no longer heard. [It] allows the public to learn and spread awareness about the issue at hand.”

Through their work with Chinatown residents, youth leaders have developed meaningful, inter-generational relationships with community members. They’ve facilitated partnership conversations and presentations with groups, and had the opportunity to get to know those directly affected by Chinatown’s rising housing costs. 

“Something that inspires me to continue to lead and invest in this work is definitely my culture and background. Oftentimes Asian Americans in settings such as schools are seen as timid or not assuming of a leader. I aspire and live to prove that wrong. I want to be a role model and norm breaker for people out there and give my fellow Asian Americans inspiration as to what they can achieve even in a society filled with ignorance today.” – Jerry, AALEAD Youth Council member.

A Drive for Justice

The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) works to empower Koreans and Asian Americans as change-makers in their communities. Through expanding AAPI voting power; developing a new generation of youth and immigrant leaders; and building a sustainable movement organization, NAKASEC is forging a new future for Korean and Asian Americans.

As one of our Resilience Fund grantees, we were proud to partner with NAKASEC during the height of COVID-19 to help support individuals excluded from federal relief.

“Right now the spotlight is on AAPIs because of increased reporting of interpersonal discrimination, harassment violence towards AAPIs. None of this is new though to us. And while our communities are in focus - even for horrible reasons - this has created opportunities for AAPIs to re-assert belongingness, think about solutions to address the conditions behind the ‘anti-Asian hate,’ and expand the conversation to institutionalized oppression,” says Sookyung Oh, NAKASEC Director.

“People of Asian heritage have always played a central role in leading campaigns and movements for change in solidarity with others. I see this drive for justice among AAPIs who want to fight for change, but didn’t always have a political home or community to be grounded in. That’s what inspires me to lead NAKASEC Virginia. We want to be a place of connection and growth for AAPIs and this work is more important than ever.”

Renowned Local Artists To Perform At Celebration Of Community Champions

We are thrilled to announce the cohort of renowned local artists, from four regional arts organizations, who will perform at our virtual Celebration of Community Champions on May 20. 

These performers work with some of Greater Washington’s most impactful nonprofit arts organizations, including Arts on the Block, DC Jazz Festival, Joe’s Movement Emporium, and Synetic Theater, which are supported by the Arts Forward Fund. Arts Forward Fund is a funder collaborative that provided over $1 million in emergency support to help arts and culture organizations struggling due to the pandemic.

Read on to learn more about our featured artists and organizations—and get a sneak-peak of their performances.

Arts on the Block:
Young Artists From Youth Arts Movement

Since 2003, Arts on the Block (AOB) has helped young people imagine and plan fulfilling lives and careers, join the creative workforce, and contribute to their own communities. AOB’s programs provide creative expression and learning, studio skills, job training, and career path support to young creatives who might not otherwise be introduced to art and design careers. 

For this special performance, several young artists from Youth Arts Movement (YAM), AOB’s STEAM-centered visual arts program, will present and discuss their creative works. The YAM program, conducted in both English and Spanish for students ages 4-13, provides an introductory experience in the elements of visual art. Projects are integrated with science and technology activities, allowing students to explore the creative connection between science and art.

DC Jazz Festival:
Jazz Pianist Allyn Johnson & Friends

DC Jazz Festival (DCJF) presents world-renowned and emerging jazz artists to audiences in Greater Washington, and beyond. Throughout the year, DCJF also advances music education by extending free educational programs to underserved neighborhoods in DC, and to DC public and charter school students. Signature programs include the annual DC JazzFest, slated for September 1-5 this year; the year-round DCJF Music Education Program; the Charles Fishman Embassy Series; and the DCJazzPrix competition. 

Allyn Johnson, jazz pianist

Allyn Johnson, jazz pianist

For the Celebration,  DC Jazz Festival will present Allyn Johnson, a DC-born jazz pianist, composer, arranger, and producer. He will be  joined by longtime collaborators Herman Burney on bass, and drummer Carroll V. Dashiell III.

Johnson is known for his trademark sound that gives brilliance, and fortitude, to the art of jazz improvisation. A protege of the late great jazz legend Calvin Jones, a venerable figure in the international jazz community, Johnson makes it his mantra to never rest on his laurels. He hopes to continue Jones' rich legacy of service, musicianship and academic excellence.

Joe’s Movement Emporium:
Sainey Cesay, Poet Laureate of Prince George’s County

Joe’s Movement Emporium, a cultural arts hub based in Mount Rainier, Maryland, inspires creativity through cultural experiences, arts education, job training, and creative community. Located in the Prince George’s Gateway Arts District, Joe’s serves more than 70,000 visitors annually through arts-based youth programs that bridge the creative divide between under-resourced families, and those with means. Current programs include Club Joe’s Arts Education After School; Artist Partners; CreativeWorks job training in digital and theater technology; and, an active theater in both of its locations.

At the Celebration, Joe’s will present Sainey Cesay, a graduate of Joe’s CreativeWorks program, and the 2021 Youth Poet Laureate of Prince George’s County. Her poem Water deftly comments on race, politics and the environment. 

Synetic Theater:
‘All The World’s A Stage’

Synetic Theater redefines theater by blending innovative techniques and movement, investing in artists’ growth, and creating unforgettable visceral experiences for every audience. Founded by Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili, Georgian artists who moved to the US in the 1990s, the Tsikurishvilis combine traditions of the Caucasus with distinctly American styles to tell classic stories through movement, music, technology and visual arts.

Synetic will present an excerpt from ‘All The World’s a Stage,’ the first Synetic Motion Pictures short film, featuring Scott Brown and Maryam Najafzada. The film tells the story of life from one of Shakespeare's most famous speeches.

 
 

Excited to see these incredible artists in action?

RSVP for our virtual Celebration of Community Champions on May 20. Registration is free (though, donations are appreciated!)

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!).

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.

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

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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

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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

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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

COVID-19 Partners Advance Food Security and Equity in Region

More than 15% of residents in our region struggle with food insecurity—and we anticipate this only getting worse as the cold winter months continue. In response to this emergency community need, we recently distributed an additional $2.04 million in phase 3 grants from our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, helping support local nonprofits that are providing food assistance, as well as childcare, eviction prevention, and unemployment support.

Our nonprofit partners have stepped up to feed our community, and we are excited to share a few of their stories. Read on for more.

Community Outreach and Development CDC

Community Outreach and Development CDC, a Prince George’s County-based nonprofit, works to provide quality services so residents can become self-sufficient, productive members of our community. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has expanded their food assistance program to deliver to over 1,000 households who are homebound, including seniors and those who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. 

“Elderly individuals called our agency thanking us for our delivery service, especially during a time when persons were anxious about being in the public and they had underlying medical conditions. One family called stating that they tested positive for COVID-19 and had no groceries. We were able to assist that family with two weeks' worth of food while going through isolation, and provided a tub of cleaning products to help with disinfecting their home.”  -Community Outreach and Development CDC staff member

 In the below, short impact video, Corae Young, Assistant Director of Community Outreach and Development, shares more of their story.

Dreaming Out Loud

Since the onset of COVID-19, Dreaming Out Loud (DOL) quickly pivoted their program model to include meal preparation for vulnerable populations, as well as supporting mutual aid programs for residents across Wards 1, 7, and 8. This directly supports this local nonprofit’s mission—creating economic opportunities for the DC metro region’s marginalized communities through building a healthy, equitable food system.

With support from The Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, DOL provided logistics and coordination support to provide more than 200,000 meals. And, they procured produce from Black BIPOC farmers, and helped maintain community-based hires to pack and distribute food. In total, their direct COVID-19 food support has served an average of 2,000 people per week to DC residents.

“This grant allowed DOL to add capacity to support food aid to thousands of DC residents,” said Christopher Bradshaw, Executive Director. 

“It was very important the way that the food aid resources were deployed. They supported Black food makers and workers and farmers, hiring from within the community – while reaching vulnerable residents with healthy, delicious food. This is in line with our mission of creating economic opportunities within marginalized communities, while building a health equitable food system.” 

Institute for Public Health Innovation

The Institute for Public Health Innovation is focused on improving the public’s health and well-being, across Northern Virginia, Maryland, and DC. And with our region’s current food security crisis, that includes providing urgent food assistance to those in need. In response to COVID-19, the Institute has:

  • Provided grant writing and development support for food assistance providers

  • Developed an extensive COVID-19 resource hub for food access on their website

  • Developed a partnership with La Clinica Del Pueblo that allows us to refer requests for food assistance support form Spanish speaking residents to support staff at the organization

  • Acted as a liaison between donors, food providers, and Council members to help coordinate large donations

…among many others. In partnership with World Central Kitchen and National Philanthropies, the Institute was able to provide county partners with over 10,000 meals served weekly from April to June, and 8,000 weekly for the months of July and August.

“We were able to leverage our deep relationships with food and farm stakeholders, regional organizations, and county agencies to lead the County’s COVID-19 emergency food response. Support from the Greater Washington Community Foundation enabled us to quickly build staffing capacity and launch new initiatives,” said Sydney Daigle, Food Equity Council Director. 

“The programs we have launched during our grant period will support residents during the pandemic and during our County's recovery.”