Letter to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser from the Partnership to End Homelessness Leadership Council

Dear Mayor Bowser:

We are writing on behalf of the Greater Washington Community Foundation and its Partnership to End Homelessness Leadership Council to thank you for your commitment to addressing homelessness in DC. As you work to finalize your budget proposal for fiscal year 2023, we ask you to take bold action to end homelessness and make substantial investments in housing that is affordable to DC households with extremely low incomes.

As you know, the Partnership to End Homelessness is a collective effort of private sector business leaders, philanthropists, and national and local nonprofits working to ensure homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring. We are committed to doing our part to end homelessness in DC. However, we know that we cannot do it alone. Public sector investment and commitment, aligned with private sector resources, is the only way to ensure that everyone in our community has the stability that housing provides.

The pandemic has emphasized how critical the role of housing stability is to everyone’s health and security. It has reminded us that far too many DC households are faced daily with housing instability and little or no financial cushion. And it has shown us what we can accomplish as a community when we commit to finding the resources to end homelessness.

As leaders in the business, philanthropic, and nonprofit sectors, we all want to live in a community that has worked to end homelessness, and we know that the District’s future will be stronger if we do. Ending homelessness and ensuring housing security will help children succeed in school, help workers be more present and productive, improve the overall health and well-being of residents, and reduce stresses on DC’s social safety net.

We are deeply appreciative that the budget for the current fiscal year took a major step toward ending homelessness, with funding to help thousands of people to move from homelessness to permanent affordable housing, and that you and the Council devoted a substantial amount of federal pandemic aid to address immediate housing security needs and create more long-term affordable housing opportunities. It is investments like these, sustained year after year, that will bring us to the place we all want: a District of Columbia where everyone has stable, secure, and decent housing that they can afford.

This is why we are asking you to use the revised 2022 budget and the 2023 budget to continue to address pre-pandemic as well as pandemic-driven housing challenges faced by so many, and to make continued progress toward ending homelessness and creating deeply affordable housing. We align with the recommendations of our community advocacy partners in calling on the District to use the Fiscal Year 2023 budget for bold action on our deepest inequities, especially homelessness and affordable housing for extremely-low income and very low income households.

Increased Rental Assistance and Eviction Prevention: The District has done an outstanding job of getting federal emergency rental assistance to those most at risk. Unfortunately, given the major lack of affordable housing, rising rents, inflation and ongoing unemployment, the need is so great that the District is running out of this resource. An estimated 40,000 DC residents remain at risk of eviction. We echo the concerns outlined in the letter submitted by DC Fiscal Policy Institute and 37 other organizations on January 27th, and urge you to invest:

  • Necessary resources – estimated to be $200 million in rental assistance and $20 million in utility assistance – through ERAP or other programs. We urge you to do this now, through a supplemental budget for FY2022 or other means to tap the $566 million FY2021 surplus and higher-than-expected revenues this year.

  • Substantial funding for rental assistance and emergency rental assistance in the FY2023 budget.

Expansion of Permanent Supportive Housing to end chronic homelessness: Even with the substantial investments in the FY2022 budget, under your new comprehensive plan, Homeward DC 2.0, we know that nearly 500 individuals and 260 families still face chronic homelessness. We urge you to implement your plan’s recommendation and invest:

  • $25.9 million in permanent supportive housing for 500 individuals and 260 families

Investments to make homelessness truly rare, brief and non-recurring: The challenge of homelessness is not static, meaning that we cannot house those currently facing homelessness and expect the problem to end. Homelessness is affected by the continued and significant loss of affordable housing and the relentless increase in rents throughout DC– including the increase this year for rent-controlled units. In order to prevent homelessness and the long-term impacts of homelessness on our neighbors and our communities, we urge you to invest:

  • $700,000 to prevent homelessness for 400 additional individuals through Project Reconnect

  • $6.3 million in well-targeted Rapid ReHousing, including high-quality case management, for single adults

  • $27.7 million in Targeted Affordable Housing for 1,040 households

  • $24.2 million toward ending youth homelessness

  • $1 million in workforce programming for homeless youth

  • $558,000 to create a mobile behavioral health team than can meet youth where they are

  • $1.8 million to continue the ReEntry Housing Pilot for Returning Citizens

  • $1 million to fund B24-0106, the “Fair Tenant Screening Act of 2021,” and B24-0229, the “Human Rights Enhancement Amendment Act of 2021”

  • $12.5 million to provide 65 units of transitional housing and 15 affordable housing units to survivors of domestic violence

Outreach and Other Services: While we work to ensure everyone has safe and stable housing, we must:

  • Continue to provide PEP-V, non-congregate shelter options for residents experiencing homelessness who are at high risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19

  • Fund robust street outreach, focused on housing

  • Invest $300,000 in additional capital funds to build two 24-hour, 7-day public restrooms

Preserve Public Housing, Expand Affordable Housing: We urge you to use the FY 2023 budget to make a substantial commitment to deeply affordable housing for households earning 0- 30 percent of the Median Family Income (MFI). Housing that is affordable to households with extremely low-income households is the only real long-term solution to ending homelessness. This includes:

  • At least $12.9 million in Local Rent Supplement Program vouchers to ensure that half of the Housing Production Trust Fund units will be affordable to people below 30 percent MFI, as required by law.

  • Maintain stable funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF) and strengthen transparency and reporting requirements to ensure the fund is meeting statutory affordability requirements.

  • $17.3 million for 800 Local Rent Supplement Tenant Vouchers, to assist those on the DC Housing Authority waitlist.

  • $60 million to repair and preserve public housing.

  • $20 million to preserve affordable housing though the Housing Preservation Fund.

  • $1.3 million to expand and provide tenant vouchers to 60 returning citizens .

In a community where over 85% of individuals experiencing homelessness are Black, addressing homelessness and investing in deeply affordable housing is a matter of racial equity and social justice. Our city and nation’s history of denying access to economic opportunity to Black people and those in other marginalized communities – relegating Black people largely to lower-paying occupations, denying access to federally guaranteed mortgages, allowing restrictive covenants and more – created the conditions we now see, where median Black household income is less than one-third median white household income and median wealth for Black households is less than one-eightieth the average white household wealth. The large majority of Black households are renters and thus subjected to the relentless increase in rents as the District develops, and most do not have the finances needed to move to homeownership, leading to displacement and/or homelessness. We have an obligation to reverse these conditions– especially as the Nation’s Capital.

Opening up opportunities to affordable housing and wealth building will pay off, in stronger families, stronger communities, and a stronger future. Research confirms that housing instability harms a child’s development and an adult’s ability to get and retain employment, and that providing housing stability creates better health and better futures for children, their families, and single adults.

Thank you again for your leadership and commitment to ending homelessness in our city. We urge you to make 2023 the year that DC makes bold and significant investments to end homelessness and to increase the supply of deeply affordable housing.

Sincerely,

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

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

2022 Montgomery County Philanthropist of the Year Award Nominations Now Open!

Kevin Beverly, 2021 Montgomery County Philanthropist of the Year

Montgomery County Philanthropist of the Year, Kevin Beverly with Montgomery County Advisory Board Vice Chair, Catherine Leggett, at the 2021 Celebration of Giving.

Nomination Guidelines

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

Nomination Process

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

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

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

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

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

Eligibility Criteria

All nominees must:

  • Be a resident of Montgomery County

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

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

  • Encourage/motivate others to become philanthropic

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

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

Deadline: Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The nomination form, letter, and any additional attachments must be submitted via email by close of business on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 to:

Kate Daniel
Donor Services Associate, Montgomery County
kdaniel@thecommunityfoundation.org

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

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

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.

Meet our 2021 Montgomery County Philanthropist of the Year, Kevin Beverly

Kevin Beverly grew up in a segregated community on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Finding inspiration in his mother’s support and older brother’s example, and he left to pursue his higher education goals at the University of Maryland where he met his wife, Diane. After graduation, they moved to Bethesda, Maryland where they raised their two boys. Kevin’s career took him to the World Health Organization, National Library of Medicine, PSI International, Computer Sciences Corporation, BAE Systems, and Abt Associates. He ultimately then came to Social & Scientific Systems, Inc. where he served as Vice President and Executive Vice President from 2003 to 2014 and President & CEO from 2014 to 2020.

Kevin’s thoughtful approach to philanthropy is grounded in a practice of listening and learning from the community. As a corporate leader, Kevin empowered the Social & Scientific Systems employees to shape the company’s giving priorities. Leading by example, he encouraged them to develop relationships with high-impact nonprofits addressing the most pressing needs throughout the community where they lived and worked. From literacy to hunger and much more, Kevin rolled up his sleeves alongside his employees, demonstrating the profound satisfaction and deep impact one can make from investing time, talent, and treasure.

Knowing education was key to his success, Kevin has devoted much of his personal time and resources to advance organizations helping children and youth achieve their full potential. He has chaired the boards of CollegeTracks and Bethesda-Chevy Chase YMCA and the steering committee for the Children’s Opportunity Fund at The Community Foundation. He also served on many other key youth-focused boards: Boys and Girls Club of Montgomery County, Montgomery Moving Forward, Passion for Learning, and Universities at Shady Grove.  He also chairs the Mission and Oversight Committee on the Board of CareFirst of Maryland.

The Community Foundation also had the great fortune of having Kevin serve two terms and chair our Montgomery County Advisory Board plus serve on our regional Board of Trustees. His leadership has been pivotal in helping more people and businesses learn about the needs in our community and how to make a powerful impact by teaming up with others who care.

We have seen firsthand how his knowledge, keen insights, and strategic thinking enable organizations to tackle problems, reimagine what’s possible, and pursue bold goals for our community. We are especially grateful for how Kevin’s passionate leadership inspires others to join in supporting worthy causes throughout our community.

On behalf of the thousands of lives touched by his leadership and generosity, we congratulate Kevin on being named the 2021 Montgomery County Philanthropist of the Year. We know his story will continue to inspire many more by showing the powerful difference we all can make when we give where we live.

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!

A Thankful Tribute: Uplifting Community Foundation Trustees

This fall, we welcomed Sarah Moore Johnson to our Board of Trustees and bid farewell to two long-standing members: Kenny Emson and Mary Pat Alcus. As a warm welcome and thankful tribute, we share their stories below – and celebrate what makes each one of them an invaluable part of The Community Foundation family.

Fueling the Power of Disruption

Sarah Moore Johnson, our newest Trustee, is a passionate champion for racial justice. As a tax and estate planning attorney, she leverages her positions of influence to advocate for racial equity and inclusion.

“I’ve been troubled by how under-represented Black and Latinx communities are in the wealth planning industry,” Sarah says, “and I see a connection between this and the racial wealth gap. Tax policy can be a means of restorative justice.”

As co-chair of The Community Foundation’s Professional Advisor Council, Sarah was inspired by the organization’s focus on racial equity - and knew she must get involved. She joined the Board of Trustees this fall, and hasn’t looked back since.

“I believe in the power of disruption,” Sarah says. “The Community Foundation is positioning itself as an innovation lab for ideas which disrupt the racial wealth gap. It’s exciting to collaborate with talented people who share the same goals.”

Sarah is a founding partner of the law firm Birchstone Moore LLC, and immediate past president of the Washington, DC Estate Planning Council, where she established its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. She’s also spoken out publicly in support of H.R. 40, the House Bill to study reparations for African Americans - and is working with Howard University’s law school to develop an externship program for underserved Black and Latinx communities.

We’re thrilled to welcome Sarah to the board, and look forward to partnering with her to advance racial justice in our community, and beyond.

A Legacy of Impact

“Proud, honored, and excited.” These are the words Kenny Emson, former Community Foundation Trustee and staff member, uses to describe his service.

Emson, who just concluded six years of service on the board, also worked on staff from 1990-2011. During his 20-year tenure as staff, he was Director of Finance, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Development Officer, helping grow The Community Foundation’s assets from $15 million to $350 million.

Current staff member Silvana Straw, who joined the organization around the same time as Kenny, salutes his deep expertise and passion for the work:

“Kenny’s strong financial and development expertise, work ethic and people skills, along with his genuine care for the community, is a very important part of The Community Foundation’s success story. He gave so much through the decades, and worked hard and had fun doing it. He was truly mission-driven.”

Kenny will continue to support The Community Foundation through donor stewardship and cultivation. He hopes cultivating additional investments will help propel the organization’s new strategic focus on closing the racial wealth gap.

“My hope (and expectation) is we have just started to scratch the surface,” he says. “I believe The Community Foundation is well-positioned to achieve the growth required to help our community bridge the racial wealth gap.”

Thank you, Kenny, for your words of support and tireless years of service. We will miss you at The Community Foundation - but look forward to nurturing our continued friendship.

Kenny Emson (far left, back row) and Silvana Straw (far right, front row) joined The Community Foundation staff together in 1990.

Kenny Emson (right) pictured with our former CEO Bruce McNamer (center) at the 2019 Celebration of Philanthropy.

Head (and Heart) First

Mary Pat Alcus was first introduced to The Community Foundation in 2008 through the mother-daughter giving circle in Montgomery County. A friend invited her and her daughter Claire to join - an experience she says “opened a whole new world.”

Soon after, Mary Pat joined our Sharing Montgomery Grants Committee and the Montgomery County Advisory Board. In 2013, she became a Trustee, eventually chairing the Investment Committee and serving on the Professional Advisors Council, along with other special committees.

“We discovered when Mary Pat makes a commitment, she dives in head (and heart) first,” says Anna Hargrave, Executive Director for Montgomery County at the Greater Washington Community Foundation.

This fall, Mary Pat concluded eight years of board service, with 13 years of volunteering with the organization overall. For her, contributing a professional skill set as an investment advisor was especially meaningful - and helping directly impact the region by providing donors with strong investment results and more philanthropic funds.

“I hope I have demonstrated to my peers that the time, talent and treasure you put into The Community Foundation is deeply rewarding,” says Mary Pat. “I’ve learned so much about the community and its most pressing needs.”

We will be forever grateful to Mary Pat for all the ways she has advanced our mission and impact throughout the community. She truly is a champion of The Community Foundation.

Mother-Daughter Giving Circle donors Mary Pat Alcus (left) and Susan Freed worked with The Community Foundation to establish a legacy of giving–especially giving locally–in a new generation of young women.

Senior Nonprofit Leader Joins Our Prince George's County Team

We are thrilled to welcome Darcelle Wilson as our new Senior Director for Prince George’s County.

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Darcelle brings deep expertise in fundraising and community engagement. Darcelle has worked with some of the leading nonprofit organizations in our region including Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and University of Maryland. She’s helped raise millions of dollars to address community needs, and we couldn’t be more excited that she has joined our team.

As the new Senior Director in Prince George’s County, Darcelle will work with donors to explore opportunities for achieving their philanthropic goals and facilitating their commitment on critical community issues affecting county residents. She will also prioritize developing and deepening relationships with community leaders and organizations throughout the county.

This leadership change in Prince George’s County is occurring because our beloved colleague Amina Anderson is leaving The Community Foundation after 14 years to spend more time with family and friends and work on special projects.

Our President and CEO Tonia Wellons shared, “Amina’s contributions to the Greater Washington Community Foundation have been numerous. She started as a program lead in Prince George’s County, then shifted to working with and understanding the priorities of our DC-based fundholders, before returning to Prince George’s County two years ago and elevating our presence there. Amina moves seamlessly with a keen thoughtfulness and quiet power that is incredibly valued and will be sorely missed.”

Please join us in welcoming Darcelle Wilson and wishing Amina Anderson all the best on her new adventures!

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

Food for Montgomery Partners with Feed the Fridge and Mary's Center to Fight Hunger

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Food for Montgomery, a COVID-19 response initiative co-led by the Greater Washington Community Foundation, has partnered with Feed the Fridge to innovate another solution to solving hunger in the region with a new fridge at Mary’s Center. The new location partners with Jalapeño Mexican Grill from the community kitchen of Crossroads Community Food Network to provide meals for those in need.

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.”

Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Recognizes Children’s Opportunity Fund as a Bright Spot Community During COVID-19 Pandemic

Children’s Opportunity Fund Recognized for Work in Supporting Early School Success

The Greater Washington Community Foundation is pleased to share that the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CLGR) named Montgomery County, Maryland, as a 2021 Bright Spot community for its responses to the COVID-19 crisis last year.

Specifically, CLGR is highlighting communities that developed exemplary or innovative responses to the COVID-19 crisis, including new or adaptive roles, programs, organizational relationships/collaborations, policies and/or resources. In particular, the Campaign is recognizing communities for crafting solutions that seem especially effective, replication-worthy and/or deserving of being sustained during the post-COVID period.

As a co-founder of the Educational Enrichment and Equity Hubs in Montgomery County, we are humbled and proud to be recognized for this COVID-19 response work in the County. Established by The Community Foundation’s Children’s Opportunity Fund (COF), in partnership with certified childcare providers, The Black and Brown Coalition for Educational Equity and Excellence, and Montgomery County Public Schools, Equity Hubs offer low-income students grades K-8 a safe place to learn during remote learning due to the pandemic. These enrichment centers continue today, acting as active academic partners in assisting with distance learning and working to ensure that all students can excel.

“We are so thankful for all our community partners who have stepped up to help us close the opportunity gap by addressing racial inequities and expanding opportunities for Black, Brown, and low-income students,” said Anna Hargrave, executive director for Montgomery County at the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “The Equity Hubs are critical in our efforts to support our most marginalized youth and families in Montgomery County and we look forward to continuing this work in the future.”

Since September 2020, the Equity Hubs have welcomed over 1,400 students across 70 sites. Thanks to the support of public and private community partners, COF has raised and administered over $8.3 million to fund the Equity Hubs.

About the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
Launched in 2010, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort of funders, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that many more children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. CGLR focuses on promoting early school success as an important building block of more hopeful futures for children in economically challenged families and communities.

Since its launch, CGLR has grown to include more than 300 communities, representing 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and two provinces in Canada — with 5,000+ local organizations and 510 state and local funders (including 200+ United Ways). To learn more, visit gradelevelreading.net and follow the movement on Twitter @readingby3rd.

About the Greater Washington Community Foundation
The Greater Washington Community Foundation exists to Build Thriving Communities by guiding strategic philanthropy, providing leadership on critical issues, promoting civic engagement, and inspiring local giving. Founded in 1973, The Community Foundation is a public charity made up of hundreds of charitable giving funds established by generous individuals, families, and businesses. We work with donors and partners to enhance the quality of life in the District of Columbia, Montgomery County, Northern Virginia, and Prince George’s County. As the region’s largest local funder, we manage $350 million in assets and have invested nearly $1.3 billion to build more equitable, just, and enriching communities where all residents can thrive.

The Children’s Opportunity Fund is a component fund of the Greater Washington Community Foundation. Funded jointly by the government of Montgomery County, Maryland, and Montgomery County Public Schools to leverage public funds to attract private investment, the Fund champions, plans and funds strategic investments that improve the lives of low-income children and families in the county. With a focus on innovative, evidence-informed efforts targeted at closing the opportunity gap, the Fund identifies priority areas for investment based on unmet need, aligns resources toward effective multi-sector collaborations serving the county’s most marginalized youth and their families, and seeks new funding sources.

Community Foundation Announces $500,000 Gift from Howard Hughes Medical Institute To Children’s Opportunity Fund

The Greater Washington Community Foundation is pleased to announce a new $500,000 contribution from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to the Children’s Opportunity Fund (COF). The gift will help the Educational Enrichment & Equity Hubs to close the opportunity gap by addressing racial inequities and expanding opportunities for Black, Brown, and low-income students and families in Montgomery County, Maryland. This gift recognizes HHMI’s support of the hubs concept and the work of the Black and Brown Coalition for Educational Equity and Excellence and its partnership with COF.

COF, an impact initiative of the Greater Washington Community, champions, plans, and funds strategic investments that improve the lives of low-income children and families in the county. The Black and Brown Coalition for Educational Equity and Excellence focuses on eliminating systemic barriers for student to thrive. In response to the pandemic and school closures, COF along with the Black and Brown Coalition for Educational Equity and Excellence, with certified childcare providers, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), and community members came together to establish the Equity Hubs program in Montgomery County. Since September 2020, the Equity Hubs have welcomed over 1,300 students across 70 sites. Through the support of public and private community partners, COF initially raised over $4.2 million to fund the Equity Hubs for low-income students through the first semester. In February 2021, MCPS and Montgomery County Council provided another $3.6 million to continue this effort into the second semester.

“We are so thankful for partners like HHMI and others who have stepped up to help us close the opportunity gap by addressing racial inequities and expanding opportunities for Black, Brown, and low-income students,” said Tonia Wellons, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “These contributions help bolster our ability to support our most marginalized youth and families in Montgomery County as schools begin to reopen.”

Recent news coverage has highlighted how the pandemic has exacerbated the documented achievement gap in Montgomery County. The efforts of the Children’s Opportunity Fund and the Black and Brown Coalition and its partners to support the county’s most vulnerable students came to the attention of HHMI President Erin O’Shea, who reached out to explore how HHMI could contribute.

O’Shea notes the value of targeted interventions that leverage school community member expertise to provide students with resources they need.

"We're pleased to support the innovative equity hub model catalyzed by the Children’s Opportunity Fund and the Black and Brown Coalition in Montgomery County," said O'Shea. "By ensuring that students have access to learning tools and support services, the hubs directly address systemic inequities in education that have widened during the pandemic."

Even as schools begin to reopen, the need to support our community’s children and families will continue, especially as the implications of the pandemic are more fully understood. COF will continue working with the community partners to understand the evolving needs of the most vulnerable youth and families to close the steadily increasing opportunity gap in Montgomery County.

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About the Greater Washington Community Foundation

Since 1973, the Greater Washington Community Foundation has been a champion of thriving communities and a catalyst for change through local philanthropic engagement, effective community investment, and civic leadership. We work with donors and partners to enhance the quality of life in the District of Columbia, Montgomery County, Northern Virginia, and Prince George’s County. As the region’s largest local funder, we have invested more than $1.3 billion to build more equitable, just, and enriching communities where all residents can live, work, and thrive.

About the Black and Brown Coalition for Educational Equity and Excellence

Cofounded in 2019 by Identity and the NAACP Parents’ Council, the Coalition’s mission is to ensure by 2025, all students, and particularly Black and Brown students, have equitable access to the resources, opportunities and supports they need to be successful in college, career, and life. The Black and Brown Coalition harnesses the power of two historically disenfranchised communities who have not traditionally advocated together. By joining forces, the Black and Latino communities leverage the influence of 54% of the MCPS student body to push to undo the deeply embedded impact of systemic inequity.

About the Howard Hughes Medical Institute

HHMI is the largest private biomedical research institution in the nation. Our scientists make discoveries that advance human health and our fundamental understanding of biology. We also invest in transforming science education into a creative, inclusive endeavor that reflects the excitement of research. HHMI’s headquarters are in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Community Foundation to Honor Community Champions

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

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

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

CareFirst workers delivering PPE.

CareFirst workers delivering PPE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nomination Guidelines

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

Nomination Process

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

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

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

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

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

Eligibility Criteria

All nominees must:

  • Be a resident of Montgomery County

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

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

  • Encourage/motivate others to become philanthropic

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

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

Deadline: Friday, April 30, 2021

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

Kate Daniel
Donor Services Associate, Montgomery County
kdaniel@thecommunityfoundation.org

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

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

Our New Partnership with SEI

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

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

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

Who is SEI?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phase Two of the DC CARES Program Will Provide Over $8M for Excluded Workers Relief

Critical Funding Represents Continuing Efforts to Support the DC Community and Invest in City’s Future

Washington, DC – January 25, 2021 – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Events DC, Washington DC’s official convention and sports authority, announced the launch of Phase 2 of the DC CARES Program, which will provide over $8 million in relief funding to eligible excluded workers in the District of Columbia. They include people who have been omitted from federal stimulus efforts and are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The additional aid comes from the District of Columbia’s budget and supplements the $5 million in relief for Phase 1 of the program provided by Events DC in June. 

“In funding this initiative for excluded workers, Mayor Bowser and her partners on the DC Council are proud to collaborate with Events DC to make this investment in our DC values of hope, love, diversity and inclusiveness,” said John Falcicchio, deputy mayor for planning and economic development. 

DC Cares is a continuing partnership among Events DC, the Executive Office of the Mayor, the Greater Washington Community Foundation and key partnering community-based organizations (CBO’s). To implement Phase 2 Events DC has provided the Greater Washington Community Foundation with $8.1 million to purchase pre-paid debit cards of $1,000 per card. In collaboration with the Executive Office of the Mayor, The Community Foundation will facilitate the outreach, processing and distribution of the pre-paid debit cards through the CBOs. 

“This program remains a core part of our mission to serve and give back to our communities which will help to continue to propel our city forward,” stated Greg A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC. “We thank Mayor Bowser and her executive team for their tireless efforts in supporting the excluded worker community and the DC Council for funding this important relief package.” 

The identified community-based organizations will issue the pre-paid debit cards to eligible workers based on certain criteria. The relief funding will be targeted to those families who live in the District, have experienced loss of income due to the public health emergency, and are ineligible for unemployment insurance or federal COVID-19 relief, to include returning citizens and cash economy workers.

The Community Foundation is a tax-exempt public charity that manages hundreds of charitable giving funds on behalf of generous individuals, families, and businesses in the Washington, DC metro area. The community-based organization currently designated to help implement the DC CARES program include the following:

  • Bread for the City

  • The Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)

  • CentroNía

  • Latin American Youth Center (LAYC)

  • Mary’s Center

  • Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative

  • DC Jobs with Justice

“We are proud of our continued partnership with Events DC, the Executive Office of the Mayor, and the following community-based organizations — Bread for the City, The Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), CentroNía, Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), Mary’s Center, Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative, and DC Jobs with Justice — to provide over $8 million in relief funding to workers who have been excluded from federal stimulus efforts,” said Tonia Wellons, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation.

“As the pandemic continues, so does the urgent need to support our excluded workers who are struggling financially. Building on our Phase I efforts, our goal is to provide this essential relief funding so these individuals may cover their food, rent, medical care, and other critical needs.”

Applicants who may be eligible for the program can access it through the centralized intake process at www.DCCARES2021.org or 202-332-1264. Any applicant who believes they may be eligible is encouraged to apply.


About Events DC 
Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, delivers premier event services and flexible venues across the nation's capital. Leveraging the power of a world-class destination and creating amazing attendee experiences, Events DC generates economic and community benefits through the attraction and promotion of business, athletic, entertainment and cultural activities. Events DC oversees the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, an anchor of the District's hospitality and tourism economy that hosts more than 1.7 million visitors and generates more than $400 million annually in total economic impact, and the historic Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square. Events DC manages the RFK Stadium-Armory Campus (RFK Campus), including Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Festival Grounds at RFK Campus, The Fields at RFK Campus, the non-military functions of the DC Armory and the Skate Park at RFK Stadium. Stay current on the 190-acre RFK Campus Redevelopment Project at www.RFKCampus.com. Events DC also built and serves as landlord for Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States. Events DC manages Gateway DC, R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center and the Entertainment and Sports Arena (www.ESAontheRise.com), all conveniently located in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC.

Statement on Assault on our democracy

Statement from Tonia Wellons, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation

Yesterday was a sad day in America.

Our democracy has never been perfect. In fact, a healthy democracy thrives on debate and the productive exchange of ideas in the public square – sometimes vigorously. However, what we just witnessed yesterday in our Nation’s Capital is far from the kind of democracy that our founders fought for and so many of us aspire to uphold.

I have spent the better part of my career working in developing and transitional countries where democracy was fledgling and tenuous at best, and never once witnessed the attempted overthrow of government that we experienced at the seat of our democracy yesterday. On behalf of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, I want to strongly condemn the violent attack on the U.S. Congress and Capitol complex, the beacon of our nation and its democratic systems.

The brazen actions of these rioters were a blatant attempt to reverse the results of a free and fair democratic election. Those who seek to wreak havoc in our city and to desecrate our democratic institutions cannot and will not prevail. It is no longer sufficient to say, ‘this isn’t our America.’ It is, unfortunately!

And yet, the chaos of the day in our Nation’s Capital offered a stark contradiction to the victories hard won in Georgia. Victories obtained through grassroots organizing and through participatory governance; a cornerstone of our democracy. This too, is our America.

Many are resigned to view Washington, DC as a federal city and the seat of our democracy, and too often forget that this area is also home to thousands of people who chose to live, work, and raise their families in a prosperous region. As the CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, which serves DC and its surrounding suburban communities, I know the DC region to be a place with a strong sense of community and a passion for social justice and philanthropy.

In our local community, I have been heartened to see momentum building for an equitable recovery and a move toward a deeper experience of our humanity and the manifestation of justice. But as the civil unrest that unfolded earlier this summer and the racial inequities exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis have shown us, we still have a long way to go until we truly realize the principles and ideals that “all men [and women] are created equal” and entitled to “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

While we are concerned and abhorred by yesterday’s events, and all the circumstances leading up to it, the Greater Washington Community Foundation family will not be deterred from our work to ensure a future where we all have an equal opportunity to thrive. At The Community Foundation, we understand the needs and challenges facing our local community and will continue to focus our energy and resources on addressing inequities in housing, education, employment, medical care, and more. We are resolute in our commitment to creating an equitable, just, and thriving region, and will not fall prey to the distraction and disruption others would seek to create.

Those working to undermine our democracy want chaos. We choose community.

A Year of Impact: Top 10 Stories of 2020

#1: Tonia Wellons Named Hero of the Crisis, Nonprofit Leader of the Year

It’s been a busy year for Community Foundation staff—especially for Tonia Wellons, who was named permanent President and CEO just weeks after the pandemic hit. Tonia was recently named Washington Business Journal’s 2020 Nonprofit Leader of the Year for her role and leadership in our region’s COVID-19 Response efforts; and “Hero of the Crisis” from Washingtonian Magazine. We are so proud of Tonia, and the incredible leadership she’s provided throughout this crisis. 

#2: COVID Impact Stories: Bringing Partner Voices to Life 

This special video highlights our COVID-19 nonprofit partners’ impact —and thanks donors for their incredible generosity and support throughout this crisis. 

Highlights are pulled from our individual, 2-minute COVID impact story videos, including local organizations like Black Swan, Generation Hope and Montgomery Hospice. Click here to access a full list of videos—and hear more of our nonprofit partner’s stories first-hand. 

 #3 Your Voices Matters: VoicesDMV On the Table Conversations

This WDVM segment highlights how VoicesDMV On the Table conversations brought together residents throughout the DMV area to talk about ideas for improving their communities.

On October 1, we hosted our inaugural VoicesDMV On the Table conversations, bringing together hundreds of residents from across the region for small-group conversations, remotely. Groups discussed and reimagined the future of our community, offering meaningful, action-oriented perspective on how to improve the lives of our neighbors in the DMV. Read more from Benton Murphy, Senior Advisor for Impact, who led the initiative.

#4: Arts Forward Fund Announces $1 Million in Grants to Local Arts Groups Impacted by COVID-19

This fall, together with the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation and 16 other foundations and individual donors, we launched the Arts Forward Fund, an initiative to help local arts and culture organizations weather the impact of COVID-19. We were so excited to announce $1 million in grants from the fund, helping arts and culture nonprofits make essential shifts needed to sustain their work—and respond to the national movement for racial justice. 

 #5: Back to School Means Facing the Digital Divide

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As remote learning continues, schools still don’t have enough devices for every student, and too many homes in DC lack access to high-speed internet. Together with the DC Public Education Fund and Education Forward DC, we established the DC Education Equity Fund, which has provided 4,000+ students with internet access. and 3,000+ students with personal devices. Read more in “Back to School Means Facing the Digital Divide,” by our partner Erin Sheehy of Education Forward DC. 

#6: #MakeADifference Mondays

This bi-weekly blog series features our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund partners’ stories, grouped by funding priority: housing and homelessness, medical care and access, education and youth, domestic and community violence, and workforce and small business. Take our #MakeADifference Monday: Housing and Homelessness blog, for example, which includes a feature on Mi-Casa, Inc.:

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

Read our blog for a full list of our #MakeADifference Monday posts, sharing the difference your support has made for our community.

#7: How to Reconstruct an Equitable Future for Our Region

In this opinion piece for the Washington Post, our President and CEO Tonia Wellons and Ursula Wright, Managing Director for FSG, explore a new framework for reconstructing a more equitable future for our region. In the article, they refer to our country’s current situation as a “trifecta of crises” that threatens our nation’s public health, economic security, and democracy. 

Though this pandemic is new, racism and economic injustice are not. The pandemic has served to further reveal preexisting inequities in housing, education, health care, food security, policing and criminal justice, income and employment.

 #8: Celebrating Three Leadership Legacies

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Richard Bynum, board member and President of PNC in Greater Washington and Virginia, was honored by the Washington Business Journal with the Minority Business Leader Award—an honor that coincided with two other major board member milestones. Dr. Charlene Dukes, Secretary of our Board, retired as President of Prince George’s Community College after 13 years of service. And Artis Hampshire-Cowan, Vice Chair of our Board, was honored by Leadership Greater Washington as the 2020 Leader of the Year.

Read more about their achievements and success stories. 

#9: Legacy Fund Supports Small Businesses in Prince George’s County

This fall, we were proud to launch The Legacy Fund for Small Business Development, seeded with a $1 million gift directed by Sam Brin and support from Meridiam, to provide critically needed access to capital for small businesses in Prince George’s County—one of the hardest hit groups in the County. We have disseminated $1 million in relief funds to 173 small Prince George’s County small businesses, helping them minimize vulnerability to closure and enabling them to thrive. 

#10: Celebrating the Power of Our Community

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

Read our Power of Our Community recap to watch the event recordings and view our key-takeaways and impact video updates.

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

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

Andy Burness, a longtime Community Foundation donor said

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Purchased produce from local farmers that food providers distributed 

  • Stocked food providers’ shelves with nutritious food

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

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

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

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

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

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

about burness

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

about BUSINESS LEADERS FIGHTING HUNGER

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

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

Nonprofits Selected Through A Participatory Grantmaking Process

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advancing Black Lives in Education 

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

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

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

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

Story Tapestries 

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

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

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

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

GapBuster, Inc.

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

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

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

Loud Voices Together 

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

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

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

About the Children’s Opportunity Fund

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