Building Resilience in the Face of COVID-19

By Melen Hagos, Manager, Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships

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

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

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

Staying True to Our Mission

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grateful for the Past, Hopeful for our Future

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

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

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

Finding Hope in Resilience

By Melen Hagos, Manager, Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships

re·sil·ience

noun

the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

As a child of immigrant parents, I understand the difficult journey all too well. I have family members who have navigated the complex immigration system and subsequently went on to live the 'American Dream.'

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In the mid-1980s, my parents came to the United States as refugees from Eritrea, a country in East Africa. At the time, they had three little girls; my other five siblings were born here in the US. My father, a teacher who always emphasized education, made sure all eight of us went to college.

My family, like many other immigrant families, came here to seek a better life. A life in which they can work, raise their children, and provide a path forward for future generations.

This is why I have been so disheartened to see immigration being used to divide our communities and alienate some of our most marginalized neighbors. This has made it more difficult for people, just like me and my family, to build a solid foundation in an already complex world.

You might be wondering what, if anything, can we do about it? It’s easy to feel helpless in times like these, but I choose to find hope in the resiliency of our community, especially when caring people come together to help each other out.

It was this vision for resiliency and neighbors helping neighbors that led to the launch of the Resilience Fund in 2017. The Resilience Fund was created by The Community Foundation in partnership with the Meyer Foundation and several donors who were concerned about how federal policy changes and the increasing climate of hate and intolerance would impact our local community.

Over the last three years, we’ve supported nonprofits on the front lines of responding to policy shifts that have had detrimental and, in some cases, long-lasting impact on our local community. Thanks to our dedicated Steering Committee of both individual and institutional donors, we have provided 38 organizations with nearly $1 million in emergency grants to respond to shifts in immigration policy, provided training on legal and civil rights, expanded access to citizenship and democracy, and lead efforts to build community cohesion.

To date, the Fund has raised over $1.3 million dollars and leveraged nearly $700,000 to support nonprofits in the region. And, has served as a mechanism to mobilize compassionate community members to get involved by providing support (gifts ranging in size from $10 to $50,000!) to help our neighbors facing hardship due to the 2019 partial government shutdown.

It wasn’t easy when my family arrived 33 years ago. My parents had to learn a new language and culture, and leave their old lives behind. I haven’t heard them talk about the kind of difficulties I see immigrants facing today, though. We weren’t turned away from communities in the same spirit I see happening today.

For me, this is one of the greatest goods the Resilience Fund offers. I do feel a culture of intolerance and hate directed towards immigrants and people of color, that has reached new depths. We are living in a time that has become so divisive, where dinnertime conversations or friendships can go awry due to differing political views, and where people choose not to vote because they feel like it won’t matter. The Fund can be an opportunity to educate ourselves, and others, on these challenges, and the work that needs to be done to overcome them.

To be most effective, though, we need to hear from you.

What are the most derisive issues impacting our community? Are there ways we can ease policy shifts that are adversely impacting immigrants? As a local nonprofit, you can help inform the conversation by posing ways to address these challenges.

If you have an idea or solution to help our neighbors build resilience or how we can affect change through the Resilience Fund, submit a proposal through our Call for Ideas, by 4 p.m. on March 9. Proposals will be reviewed by the Steering Committee in March and April 2020.

Going forward, we will continue to host open funding rounds, to empower our nonprofit partners to help us identify the most critical issues facing our community. We want to change the narrative by offering resources to affect real change.

Today, my family is settled in Arlington, Virginia. The journey of an immigrant isn’t an easy one—but, with dedication and community support, it doesn’t have to be so difficult. I hope you’ll join me in helping support other’s journeys.

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The Resilience Fund welcomes new donors who are interested in serving on the Steering Committee which advises on grant decisions and future fund priorities. If you are interested in joining, please reach out to Melen Hagos at mhagos@thecommunityfoundation.org.

Quarterly Community Update

Dear friends,

Happy new year! I want to take a moment to share how thankful I am for the generosity and continued partnership throughout 2019 and beyond. I am so proud of what we have accomplished together — here are just a few highlights from last year:

  • The Community Foundation joined with Mayor Bowser’s Interagency Council on Homelessness to launch the District’s first-of-its-kind public-private Partnership to End Homelessness.

  • The Children’s Opportunity Fund doubled its impact for a total of $1.2 million invested towards closing the opportunity gap for children and families in Montgomery County.

  • The Workforce Development Collaborative celebrated its 10th anniversary by updating its strategy to focus on eliminating inequities based on race, ethnicity, or gender and providing new career pathways and wealth-building opportunities for local workers.

  • The Resilience Fund mobilized community support for nonprofits providing emergency cash and food assistance to our neighbors during the partial Federal Government shutdown.

Last quarter (October-December 2019), our community of givers collectively awarded nearly $20.4 million in grants to organizations serving the most critical needs of our communities. With your support, The Community Foundation continued its critical work to Build Thriving Communities in the Greater Washington region by awarding new grants from:

  • The Resilience Fund to increase civic engagement, support advocacy on behalf of immigrants and asylum seekers, and expand outreach and services to marginalized communities;

  • The 2020 Count DMV In Census Project to ensure an equitable future for our region through a fair and accurate Census count by supporting education, outreach, and assistance focused on hard-to-count communities; and

  • The Partnership to End Homelessness in the form of “flex funding” to help nonprofits expedite housing placement and increase stabilization for single adults experiencing homelessness.

I hope to see you at our 2020 Celebration of Philanthropy on March 12, where we will recognize the collective effort of our region’s nonprofits, donors, and community leaders who work to make our communities stronger. We are excited to present the 2020 Civic Spirit Award to the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation at the Celebration. Sponsorship packages are available for individuals and businesses — please contact Emily Davis at edavis@thecommunityfoundation.org.

It is our generous donors who make this all possible! Together, we are building a more vibrant, equitable, and enriching community for all who call the Greater Washington region their home.

 
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Sincerely,

Tonia Wellons
Interim President and CEO

New Grant Opportunities for Nonprofits Serving Greater Washington

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

Resilience Fund Announces New Grants to Increase Advocacy, Civic Engagement, and Support for Marginalized Communities

The Resilience Fund has announced a new round of $180,000 in grants to eight local organizations conducting advocacy on behalf of immigrants and asylum seekers, providing outreach and services to marginalized communities, and expanding civic engagement among Hispanic voters. These grants represent our mission to respond to federal policy shifts that are negatively impacting our neighbors and communities in the Greater Washington region.

ADVOCACY

$25,000 grant to Casa de Maryland to respond to the impact of increased immigration enforcement on the African diaspora community in the region. This project will directly engage 250 African immigrant community members in legal rights training and 20 African immigrant community leaders in leadership and advocacy training and will benefit a broader community of immigrants residing in Fairfax County and statewide in Maryland through the achievement of universal representation in immigration proceedings.

$25,000 grant to Crossroads Community Food Network to address the need for increased communication and connection amid heightened anti-immigrant rhetoric and federal policy changes around SNAP and other safety-net programs. This project will serve 4,000+ residents of the Takoma/Langley Crossroads, a mostly immigrant, low-income community that straddles the border of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

ASYLUM SEEKERS

$25,000 grant to Asylum Seeker Assistance Project to provide holistic social services supporting a minimum of 40 formerly detained asylum-seeking men, women, and children living in the region. Through the provision of direct services, education, and community support, ASAP empowers asylum seekers to rebuild their lives with dignity and purpose. All services are provided free to clients.

$25,000 grant to Ayuda to support critical client and case needs across three field offices in DC, Maryland, and Virginia to include (but not limited to) asylum seekers, victims of trafficking and other crimes such as domestic violence, and separated families. Ayuda will help clients with the costs of filing fees, expert reports, and psychological evaluations, in addition to other critical support such as transportation expenses, which are necessary for our clients to pursue their legal cases.

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

$15,000 to League of Women Voters, Montgomery County to increase voter participation in 2020 among Hispanic voters. League of Women Voters will work with an established local newspaper, El Tiempo Latino, to translate the Voter's Guide into Spanish for each election in 2020. This newspaper is distributed free on a weekly basis at about 300 points in Montgomery County, including bus stops, retail outlets, and metro stations. Its circulation covers about 26% of Hispanic households in the County. This grant will cover election-related activities for both the Primary Election and General Election in 2020.

SUPPORT FOR MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES

$25,000 grant to Identity, Inc. to support emergency family custodial planning for immigrant families impacted by real and threatened immigration policy changes. Identity will facilitate 10 Know-Your-Rights information sessions for at least 300 residents and schedule five day-long follow-up Standby Guardianship Clinics to assist immigrant parents in Montgomery County in preparing Standby Guardianship Forms, thereby legally designating an adult to care for their children in case they are unable to do so due to adverse immigration action.

$25,000 grant to Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County to hire and manage a Community Health Worker (CHW), who will work from the Montgomery County Public Schools International Admissions and Enrollment (IAE) office in Rockville to serve children and families at a point of entry into the school system that is nearly universal for international students. This CHW is a critical piece of the program design to serve the increasing numbers of children and families settling in the County after emigrating from Central America. Many of these children faced incredibly difficult journeys to get here, and they will need a broad scope of supportive services to achieve healthy development and reach their full potential.

$15,000 grant to Shout Mouse Press, Inc. to support author empowerment, outreach, and advocacy work around two books: a memoir collection by Latinx youth immigrants and an anthology by Muslim American youth. The goal is to change the narrative about marginalized communities by empowering young people to write and publish original stories not being represented in traditional publishing marketplaces. This grant will support outreach to 300+ DMV-area educators and 1400+ local students via author talks and will directly empower 26 Latinx immigrant or Muslim American youth authors via professional development training, speaking opportunities, and scholarship money to support their next steps as leaders changing the narrative about their communities in this country.


ABOUT THE RESILIENCE FUND

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

Ensuring an Equitable Future for Our Region Through a Fair and Accurate Census Count

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The 2020 Count DMV In Census Project is proud to announce its first round of grants to ensure an accurate, and complete census count in the Greater Washington region. Grants will support 20 local nonprofit organizations undertaking education, outreach, and assistance focused on hard-to-count communities in the region, ahead of the March 2020 census, with a goal of increasing census participation in those communities.

The 2020 Count DMV In Census Project recognizes that a complete and accurate census count is critical for advancing racial equity in our communities. Historically, the census count disproportionately left out communities of color, immigrants, young children, low-income, and rural households. It is estimated that more than 55,000 individuals were “undercounted” in this region in 2010. With that many people undercounted, the full picture of our communities and their needs cannot possibly be captured.

Video courtesy of the United Way of the National Capital Area, a funder of the 2020 Count DMV In Census Project.

When populations are undercounted in the census, communities are impacted in multiple ways, with communities of color the most adversely impacted. For example, the census count determines the number of representatives a region has in government. An undercount could mean less representation than necessary for some of our most hard-to-count populations, resulting in a loss of power, influence, and likely decreased focus and mismatched investments in their priorities and concerns, which will have real consequences for the next decade. Federal funding for social service programs – such as maternal and child health, Head Start, supplemental food programs, subsidized housing, and other human services (more than $24 billion to DC, Maryland, and Virginia combined!)— could be drastically reduced and fail to meet the full needs of our communities that are historically and persistently subjected to divestment. Businesses that are urgently needed – like grocery stores and healthcare providers – may fail to open in under-resourced neighborhoods because the data does not reflect current or potential for future demand.

With the importance of the census count in mind, we are proud to award a total of $287,000 to organizations committed to a fair and accurate count of all residents of the DMV. The organizations listed below are focusing on a variety of communities in our region, including people living with disabilities, communities of color, returning citizens, and more. These organizations also work with communities across the Greater Washington region, including DC, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Northern Virginia. We encourage you to read below to learn not only which organizations we funded, but also how they specifically plan to encourage historically undercounted communities to participate in the census and be heard.

Donors to the 2020 Count DMV In Census Project include Bainum Family Foundation, the Bauman Foundation, Consumer Health Foundation, Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, United Way of the National Capital Area, and Weissberg Foundation. The Greater Washington Community Foundation administers grants on behalf of the project and conducted a rigorous application review process to vet grantee organizations for funding.

2020 Count DMV In Census Project Grant Recipients

Arc of the District of Columbia, Inc. to engage and educate people living with disabilities to complete the census with appropriate and accessible supports in place.

Asian American LEAD (AALEAD) to support efforts in Northern Virginia and Montgomery County to reach hard-to-count Asian-Pacific American populations.

CASA de Maryland, Inc. to support a census outreach program specifically promoting the participation of low-income immigrants and Latinx families in Northern Virginia.

DC Action for Children to engage children as youth ambassadors to convince families, friends, and neighbors to complete the 2020 census form and ensure that all people living in their household are counted.

District of Columbia Baptist Convention to support residents served by District of Columbia Baptist Convention’s interfaith member congregations in the DMV region through educational and awareness campaigns.

Edu-Futuro to reach hard-to-count Latinx populations in the DMV region through Linea Directa, a half-hour Spanish language program focusing on the importance of participating in the census. 

Ethiopian Community Center, Inc. to ensure that newly arrived African-immigrant residents in Montgomery County, MD have the information and support they need to participate fully in the 2020 census, by engaging individuals and families with limited English proficiency.

Greater Washington Urban League to fulfill the needs of census outreach and participation for people of color in the District, specifically wards 5, 7, and 8.

Justice for Muslims Collective (Defending Rights and Dissent Inc.) to engage Arab, Middle East Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities and businesses through outreach and awareness building in the DMV region. 

La Clinica del Pueblo (Promotores) to support promotoras de salud (community health workers) who will conduct education and outreach to hard-to-reach Latinx populations to encourage participation in the 2020 census.

Latino Economic Development Corporation to educate and reach out to small businesses in DC on the importance of the census.

Montgomery College Foundation - Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center to support student ambassadors at Montgomery College to engage in strategic outreach in hard-to-count communities in Montgomery County, MD.

National Korean American Service and Education Consortium Inc. to support outreach activities including education and raising awareness of the census within the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in Northern Virginia.

Prince George’s County Children’s Resource Center to advance census work in Prince George’s County to engage families and children ages 0-5.

Progressive Maryland Education Fund to engage low-income residents and communities of color in Prince George’s County on their participation in the 2020 census.

Restaurant Opportunities Centers ROC United, Inc. to support ROC DC’s efforts to incorporate census work in its outreach and education programs designed for low-wage restaurant workers.

Seabury Resources for Aging to support outreach to low- to moderate-income older adults in DC and Silver Spring, MD.

United Planning Organization to host information sessions for participants in their training programs for people of color in wards 5,7, and 8 and encourage students in its employment training programs to apply for positions in support of the census. 

Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights Inc. to support outreach efforts in Northern Virginia, specifically to Latinx, Asian, and African immigrant communities.

Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement to support outreach efforts to communities of color and immigrant communities in Northern Virginia.

The Impact of the City Fund's Investments in DC

By Tonia Wellons, Interim President and CEO

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Imagine someone gave you $15 million to invest in local programs to help improve lives. Where would you invest those dollars? What information would you need to help make those decisions? How would you know if that $15 million was well spent?

While this sounds like a fantasy scenario for a foundation, these are some of the hard questions the Greater Washington Community Foundation had to ask when the District of Columbia entrusted us to lead the City Fund.

The City Fund was established in 2013 via legislation passed by the DC City Council to support former Mayor Vincent Gray’s One City Action Plan to grow and diversity the District’s economy, educate and prepare the workforce for the new economy, and improve the quality of life for all DC residents. It was designed as a five-year initiative, with the final round of City Fund grantmaking concluding in 2018. The City Fund was an unprecedented government/philanthropic partnership for our region. For the first three years, the City Fund was focused on driving community improvement around seven priority issue areas—the arts, education, the environment, health, public safety, senior and disability services, and workforce development. Over time, the City Fund’s focus shifted to support Mayor Bowser’s Safer, Stronger initiative with investments focused on improving the lives of individuals and families in District neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by inequities related to social determinants of health, including access to educational, economic, and job opportunities; access to health care services; quality of education and job training; and recurring exposure to violent crime.

The Community Foundation worked with Mayor Gray as a trusted local philanthropic partner to design a rigorous, transparent, independent, and community-informed grantmaking process to support dozens of excellent nonprofits working in all 8 wards throughout the District. The grantmaking program focused on investments in programs and building the capacity of nonprofits to provide quality services that will make the District a more healthy, stable, and vibrant place to live for all its residents. Over the course of several grant rounds, The Community Foundation’s staff engaged community members—including issue area experts, Community Foundation board members, and other vital stakeholders—to help us make funding decisions.

District of Columbia Youth Orchestra, one of the City Fund's grantees, performing at the White House in 2016.

District of Columbia Youth Orchestra, one of the City Fund's grantees, performing at the White House in 2016.

We are proud today to unveil a final online report to the community that encompasses the breadth and depth of our City Fund initiative. We have partnered with mySidewalk to create the City Fund Dashboard. The Dashboard provides an analysis of the scope of the City Fund’s investments, the impact of our nonprofit partners, and the context in which the investments were made. By exploring the dashboard, we are hopeful you will learn something new about our community and the incredible work that our nonprofit partners undertake each and every day to make our community stronger. In doing so, you will follow in the footsteps of the dozens of community stakeholders, issue-area experts, and partners who contributed their expertise and lived experience to this initiative. We thank them for their service to our community!

With a fund this large, it can be difficult to realize the impact on individuals in our city. We invite you to read the story of Chloe [name changed], an 11-year-old who found a home before she became a victim of sex trafficking. She was assisted by FAIR Girls, who used funding from the City Fund to hire a youth case manager whose full-time job is to serve trafficked and exploited children in the nation’s capital. You can read more about FAIR Girls and Chloe’s story here.

The City Fund is just one example of how The Community Foundation partners with local governments as a trusted grantmaking partner. The Community Foundation thanks the District of Columbia government, the Council of the District of Columbia, Mayors Bowser and Gray, and all the fantastic grantees who made the City Fund initiative a success.

For more information about the City Fund, or how you can partner with The Community Foundation, please contact Benton Murphy, Associate Vice President of Community Investment, at bmurphy@thecommunityfoundation.org.

Strategic Emergency Response Insights from the 2019 Partial Federal Government Shutdown

"People know what their needs are. We [funders] need to listen."

These words from Terri D. Wright, Vice President of Program and Community at the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, kicked off our roundtable discussion about the partial federal government shutdown. Six months and two days after the end of the shutdown, which ran from December 22, 2018 to January 25, 2019, The Community Foundation, our Resilience Fund Steering Committee, and our partners at United Way of the National Capital Area convened funders, nonprofits, and experts to discuss lessons learned about what worked well and what we could have done better.

During the shutdown, our Resilience Fund, which responds to changes in federal policy and the resulting climate of intolerance and hate, disproportionately impacting local people of color and immigrant communities, mobilized community support from our neighbors. The response was inspiring.

Giving during the shutdown reflected an outpouring of philanthropic support at all levels. The Community Foundation received gifts ranging in size from $10 to $50,000, in total receiving $125,000 in individual donations and institutional commitments. We provided funding to the Capital Area Food Bank, United Communities Against Poverty in Prince George’s County, Manna Food Center in Montgomery County, the Greater DC Diaper Bank, and the Excellence in Education Foundation for Prince George’s County Public Schools and the Dine with Dignity Program of Montgomery County Public Schools Foundation.

“It's truly satisfying to hear how our neighbors and local nonprofits rose to meet community needs during the shutdown," said Resilience Fund steering committee member Elaine Reuben. "The shutdown was so hard on so many; it's good that we can shed light on some of the incredible community responses."

Our nonprofit partners shared stretched themselves more than ever before to keep up with increased demand during the shutdown. One challenge for nonprofits was how to find a way to provide services to communities they’d never reached before. Corinne Cannon, Founder and Executive Director of the Greater DC Diaper Bank, said, “People were in need but didn't want to go to food banks. People thought 'I'm not in poverty, this isn't for me’.” Despite that reluctance, the Greater DC Diaper Bank staff were able to distribute 102,000 diapers, 161,000 period products, 20,000 incontinence pads and 850+ 8oz bottles worth of baby formula.

Volunteers sort produce the Capital Area Food Bank provided to furloughed federal workers and contractors at popup markets around the region during the government shutdown. Photo provided by the Capital Area Food Bank.

Volunteers sort produce the Capital Area Food Bank provided to furloughed federal workers and contractors at popup markets around the region during the government shutdown. Photo provided by the Capital Area Food Bank.

Radha Muthiah, CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank, shared how the food bank relied on data about where most GS6 and GS7 employees lived. They partnered with Giant Foods and Safeway to distribute supplies in their parking lot, where these employees were already used to going to get groceries, and they relied on local media to help spread the word. In total the food bank served a total of 4,189 individuals during the shutdown. Partners for distribution sites and communication are key to make sure people know where they can receive emergency cash, food and other assistance during an emergency. During the shutdown, the Capital Area Food Bank was supported both by the Resilience Fund and by United Way of the National Capital Area.

In addition, our Resilience Fund supported Manna Food Center in Montgomery County providing food support to 748 people - 304 children and 444 adults. United Communities Against Poverty in Prince George’s County thought outside the box during the shutdown. They provided rent assistance that kept those affected from suffering eviction, in addition to meals for 109 individuals. They helped enroll recipients into peer support programs to deepen networks within the communities of those affected.

Our nonprofit partners also let us know that monetary donations at all levels are more useful than donations of goods. Physical donations take staff time to sort through, but in an emergency, staff need to prioritize distribution to the community.

Robert G. Ottenhoff, President and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, reminded us that emergency relief plans are most effective when they are written well in advance of emergencies. Ottenhoff suggested organizing a committee that meets regularly so that communities are prepared to lead in a crisis. It can be helpful to have first responders identified in advance, as well, so that they can be funded as quickly as possible in advance of – or during! – a crisis. The Center also offers a Disaster Philanthropy Playbook that offers promising practices and innovative approaches to keep in mind in advance of disasters.

“We are so proud of the community’s response to the shutdown, and we want to learn as much as we can for this event,” says Tonia Wellons, our Vice President of Community Investment. “We are excited to continue to share our insights and new plans with the greater community at large.”

We’re partnering with United Way of the National Capital Area and Metropolitan Washington Council on Governments to continue our deeper look at how our philanthropy can be prepared in case of emergency.

2020 Count DMV In Census Project Offers Grant Opportunity

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

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

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


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

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

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

  1. Public education and information activities

  2. Outreach and mobilization

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

  4. Communications and media work

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

Grants Available

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

Eligibility Criteria

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

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

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

Application Process

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

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

Questions

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

Resilience Fund Offers New Grant Opportunity Addressing Federal Policy Impacts

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

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

Grantmaking Opportunities

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

Eligibility Criteria

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

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

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

Application Process

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

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

Questions

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

Resilience Fund Announces New Grants to Nonprofits Supporting Immigrants and Sexual Assault Survivors

The Resilience Fund has announced $90,000 in grants to three local organizations conducting advocacy on behalf of immigrants and victims of sexual assault and providing direct support for immigrants facing deportation or applying for benefits. These grants fit within the Fund’s overall focus on responding to federal policy shifts affecting our neighbors and communities in the Greater Washington region.

The Resilience Fund’s latest grants will support:

  • $35,000 grant to Civic Nation’s It’s On Us program to conduct advocacy with local and national partners to combat harmful proposed rule changes to Title IX that will infringe on the civil rights of sexual assault survivors on college campuses.

  • $30,000 grant to support Northern Virginia Family Services’ immigration legal services program to provide consultations and representation to more than 1,700 individuals annually in deportation defenses and applications for immigration benefits.

  • $25,000 grant to support Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy to engage at least 20 immigrant congregations in advocacy on policies to make Virginia more welcoming to immigrants and to build relationships between 50 ally congregations and immigrant leaders.

According to Tracey Vitchers, the executive director of It’s On Us, “The grant received by Civic Nation for It's On Us will empower our staff and students in the Washington, DC area to fight back against the Federal Department of Education's harmful proposed rule changes to Title IX that will make college campuses less safe and leave survivors more vulnerable to ongoing harm. We are grateful to the Resilience Fund for supporting our work to combat sexual violence.”

“NVFS Immigration Legal Services strives to respond to the needs of vulnerable immigrant communities in Northern Virginia by ensuring access to competent, trauma-informed, affordable legal advice and representation,” said Tori Andrea Babington, NVFS Director of Legal Services. “This has been challenging in recent years given the rapid and continuing changes to immigration policy and the fear that our immigrant neighbors are experiencing in response. We are so grateful to the Resilience Fund for supporting these critical legal services, giving us the flexibility to go where the need is greatest.”   

Kim Bobo, Co-Executive Director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, said, “Thanks to the timely grant from the Resilience Fund, we’re reaching out to immigrant congregations around the state to engage them in advocating for a Driver’s Privilege Card for immigrants and in-state tuition for immigrants students. ‘Welcome the immigrant,”’ a core tenant of faith communities, is especially poignant for immigrant congregations and we need their engagement on these critical fights.”

These three grants show the range of the Resilience Fund’s investments in both policy interventions through Civic Nation and Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and nonprofits providing direct service work through Northern Virginia Family Services.

About the Resilience Fund

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

Resilience Fund Grants Respond to Ongoing Impact of Shutdown

The Resilience Fund announced that it has made grants to local nonprofits responding to the most pressing needs of federal workers, contractors and small business owners impacted by the partial Federal Government shutdown. These grants have provided support for emergency response, including funding for emergency cash and food assistance, as well as to help nonprofits restock, replenish and recover from the unexpected increase in demand for their services.

“It is heartening to say that the outpouring of support from our community has been incredible! We have more than doubled our original gift of $50,000 by raising an additional $125,000 in individual donations and institutional commitments, including gifts ranging in size from $10 to $50,000,” said Tonia Wellons, VP of community investment for the Greater Washington Community Foundation, and Terri D. Wright, VP for program and community for the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, who co-chair the Fund’s Steering Committee.

The Resilience Fund’s latest round of rapid response grants provided support to:

Volunteers sort produce the Capital Area Food Bank provided to furloughed federal workers and contractors at popup markets around the region during the government shutdown. Photo provided by the Capital Area Food Bank.

Volunteers sort produce the Capital Area Food Bank provided to furloughed federal workers and contractors at popup markets around the region during the government shutdown. Photo provided by the Capital Area Food Bank.

This announcement comes as parts of the Federal Government reopened this week following a 35-day partial shutdown affecting an estimated 300,000 federal workers and contractors in our region. While this provides some relief for federal workers who will eventually receive back pay, we remain concerned for local contractors, small business owners, childcare providers, and service sector workers, among others, who may not be able to recover lost income and could continue to fall behind. The Community Foundation will continue to work with the Resilience Fund’s Steering Committee and donors to determine how to further allocate resources to address the ongoing impact of the shutdown on our region. 

You can help support our neighbors in need by making a donation to the Resilience Fund. You can choose for your donation to support nonprofits helping our neighbors affected by the shutdown or to contribute to one of the Resilience Fund’s other funding priorities, including immigration policies, justice reform and civil rights roll-backs, and efforts that expand access to citizenship and democracy.

ABOUT THE RESILIENCE FUND

The Resilience Fund was created in early 2017 as a collaborative partnership of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, and other foundation and individual contributors. The Fund has raised and leveraged more than $1 million and made grants to nonprofits responding to changes in federal policy and the resulting climate of intolerance and hate, disproportionately impacting local people of color and immigrant communities. Grants have supported immigrant-serving organizations responding to changes in immigration and deportation policies by providing advocacy, legal or medical services, training on legal and civil rights, and assistance to reunite families separated at the border. The Fund has also supported efforts to build community cohesion and combat anti-other sentiment by funding grassroots community engagement, voter education services, and the expansion of programs teaching tolerance, respect and inclusion.

Six Things The Community Needs You To Know About The Shutdown

Editor’s Note: Though the federal government has reopened for the next three weeks, we recognize that contractors, childcare providers and many other parties that Tonia Wellons highlights in this blog post may never receive backpay, and certainly still suffer from the consequences of the shutdown. In addition, if no budget is reached by February 15, the partial federal shutdown may resume. In light of these ongoing concerns, Wellons’ reminders and recommendations for ways to help still remain deeply relevant to our community.


By Tonia Wellons, Vice President, Community Investment

It has been one month since the partial Federal Government shutdown began and our neighbors in the Greater Washington region, especially in Prince George’s County, continue to be impacted. Most of you have heard the news stories, may be experiencing this first hand, or you have seen the long lines of working families in search of food and other forms of assistance.

We all know that when shocks like this hit the country, they hit communities of color the hardest. With incomes typically lower, personal savings often thinner, and access to networks with deep pockets limited, communities of color suffer the most and often have the longest recovery time. 

In my role at the Greater Washington Community Foundation, I have had the opportunity to work closely with nonprofits and funders who have organized very quickly to respond. Here’s a summary of what we have learned and how you might be able to help:

  • While federal workers are directly impacted, we must not forget that contractors, small business owners, and child care facilities are also affected. We should also be mindful that offices like child support enforcement can’t disburse what they can’t collect.

  • Local food pantries and food banks need to be replenished. The demographic impacted is unaccustomed to navigating human and social service systems. The response from local grocers, restaurants, and food markets has been welcomed. 

  • Prince George’s County Public Schools has received as many as 500 new applications for free and reduced lunch because of the federal shutdown.

  • There is an increase in concern about eviction prevention, particularly as we move into proximity of a second missed pay cycle. 

  • Child care is an expense that families are most likely to cut first since they are home. There is a ripple effect on child care providers, children, and workers; and it is often difficult for families to return once they leave.

  • Families need food and cash assistance to cover the cost of everyday household expenses and medicine.

Manna 2 copy.jpg

A community member sorts produce at a local food center.

This week as we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is only fitting that we look to his words to guide our steps. His life and his legacy represent the importance of pressing forward to change and challenge federal policies that impact the poor, working class, and especially people of color. His life and legacy is one of vision, advocacy, and action. In his honor, I invite you each to consider several ways that we can support our neighbors affected by the shutdown.

“The time is always right to do the right thing.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

How You Can Help Our Neighbors During and After the Shutdown

1.       Ask your friends and neighbors what they need. Reach out to people you know who work for the Federal Government and ask them what they need. Now is the time to get to know your neighbors, to reach out to your friends, and make yourselves available to them. Invite them over for dinner or offer to pay for their children’s school lunch.

2.       Donate food and cash to help families meet immediate needs. You can make a donation to your local foodbank, church or school pantry, or school lunch fund. Several of our nonprofit partners throughout the region have mobilized to offer pop-up markets, hand out food or gift cards, and provide support for household essentials and other resources. We have compiled a list of resources to help furloughed federal employees and contractors in need of assistance – and local governments in DC,  Montgomery County and Prince George’s County have released resource lists.

3.       Encourage those impacted to reach out to their creditors to defer payments. Local banks, utility companies and several other institutions have offered to work with customers to offer loans, flexible payments, and more. The United Way of the National Capital Area has opened four Financial Empowerment Centers located throughout the region, offering direct access to high-quality financial services and guidance at no cost to the client. Check our list of resources for more details.

4.       Consider supporting nonprofits addressing the long-term challenges facing our communities. Even after the shutdown ends, the long-term effects will continue to impact our community. Local nonprofits throughout the region will continue their work to support families in need and find solutions for disparities in income, access and opportunity in our communities. The Community Foundation can help you identify nonprofits working to alleviate poverty and hunger, expand access to a quality education, provide training to obtain a living wage job, and improve the quality of life for our region’s most vulnerable residents. Contact us to discuss.

If you are in a position to help our neighbors who may struggle to meet critical needs for food or other financial assistance during this period of uncertainty, please consider giving to our Resilience Fund. Established by individual and institutional donors in March 2017, and housed at Greater Washington Community Foundation, the Resilience Fund’s mission is to respond to changes in federal policy that negatively impact the most vulnerable in our communities. The Fund has set aside $50,000 to help local nonprofits address the most critical needs. With your support, these organizations can increase capacity to do more during this time of uncertainty for our friends, families, and neighbors. Contributions to this fund will support our neighbors now and in the future.


Tonia Wellons leads the Greater Washington Community Foundation’s Community Investment function, which includes competitive and discretionary grant-making, community engagement efforts, and strategic partnerships. She has over 20 years of experience spanning senior leadership roles at the Peace Corps and the World Bank Group to social entrepreneurship for a community-based fund that she founded. In 2016, Tonia was named one of NBC’s Women of Washington.

Resilience Fund Dedicates $50,000 to Those Impacted By Shutdown

The Greater Washington Community Foundation announced it will dedicate $50,000 in funding for emergency cash and food relief for local workers, contractors and small business owners impacted by the partial Federal Government shutdown. These funds are being made available through the Resilience Fund, which supports the critical needs of nonprofits responding to changes in federal policy, and the climate of intolerance and hate, disproportionately impacting local people of color, and immigrant and refugee communities.

“Our hearts are with all the individuals and families affected by the partial government shutdown, which is estimated to impact 285,000 people in the DMV region alone according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments,” said Tonia Wellons, VP of Community Investment for the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “We know missing even one paycheck can mean members of our community, especially the region’s low-wage workers, struggle to pay rent, afford groceries, and otherwise provide for their families. Our nonprofit partners and other organizations have stepped in to fill gaps left by the government, but many have stretched themselves thin during a historically slow time of year for giving. The Resilience Fund will provide critical support so that these nonprofits have the resources they need to continue their work and meet the increase in demand for their services.”

You can help those affected by the shutdown, too. All donations made to the Resilience Fund from today through the end of the shutdown will be added to the $50,000 in funds set aside to support nonprofits providing aid or assistance to local residents. You may also elect to make a donation to one of the Resilience Fund’s other funding priorities, including immigration and deportation policies, justice reform and civil rights roll-backs, and efforts that expand access to citizenship and democracy.

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ABOUT THE RESILIENCE FUND

The Resilience Fund was created in early 2017 as a collaborative partnership of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, and other foundation and individual contributors. Since the Fund’s inception, it has raised and leveraged more than $1 million and made grants to organizations supporting our neighbors affected by changes to immigration and deportation policies, as well as efforts to build community cohesion and combat anti-other sentiment. Grants have supported immigrant-serving organizations providing advocacy, legal or medical services, training on legal and civil rights, and assistance with reuniting families separated at the border and detained in Maryland or Virginia. The Fund has also responded to increases in incidents of hate and intolerance in the region by supporting grassroots community engagement, voter education services, and the expansion of educational programs in local schools that teach news literacy as well as tolerance, respect and inclusion.

Resources and Support for Furloughed Federal Government Employees

With the partial government shutdown affecting up to 285,000 people (according to an estimate of affected federal and contract workers provided by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments) in the DMV region alone, many of you have asked how you can help our neighbors who may be impacted or what resources are available to Federal Government employees or contractors in need of assistance. Several companies and local organizations have made resources available to local residents whose livelihoods may be affected, and we have compiled many of these resources into the list below.

If you are in a position to help our neighbors who may struggle to meet critical needs for food or other financial assistance during this period of uncertainty, please consider giving to our Resilience Fund. The shutdown is occurring during one of the driest seasons of giving, which puts an even greater strain on our nonprofit partners who are providing assistance to our neighbors in need. The Resilience Fund, with a mission to respond to changes in federal policy that negatively impact the most vulnerable in our communities, has set aside $50,000 in funding to help local nonprofits address the most critical needs. With your support, these organizations can increase capacity to do more during this time of uncertainty for our friends, families, and neighbors.

Utilities:

Pepco’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)/ Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) provides assistance to low-income customers with their home heating bills. Maryland residents can call 1-800-352-1446 or visit the Office of Home Energy Programs website. DC residents can call 311 or visit ddoe.dc.gov/publication/energy-assistance-program-applications. Pepco is also offering deferred payment plans and other assistance programs, DC residents can find info here and Maryland residents can find info here.

Washington Gas is offering DC, Maryland and Virginia residents flexible payment options for federal workers, including deferred payments and ways to spread the cost of winter heating. You can contact Washington Gas customer service representatives at 1-844-WASHGAS to discuss their individual situations. Washington Gas also offers assistance to customers facing disconnection with a grant of up to $500 once a year through the Washington Area Fuel Fund Partnership administered by the Salvation Army.

DC Water will assist furloughed government employees by offering flexibility for bill payment and making existing programs available to assist customers who are struggling with their bills. You can learn more about options by calling customer service at 202-354-3600 or visiting https://www.dcwater.com/customer-assistance. WSSC, serving Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, will waive late fees and work with customers to establish convenient payment plans.

Another resource is the Greater Washington Urban League, which provides up to $500 in assistance to families needing assistance with their electric and gas bills. For information on getting assistance, you can call the GWUL offices at 202.265.8200.

T-Mobile and Verizon have both announced flexible payment plan assistance.  Customers should contact the companies directly.

Banks and Mortgage:

Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase Bank, and other institutions have offered flexibility with deferred payments, interests and late fees for their customers. Democracy Federal Credit Union is offering a short-term emergency loan with 0% interest. Bankers are also referring customers with specific concerns to their in-house financial counseling service. Other institutions, like USAA Bank and Transportation Federal Credit Union, have said they'll provide low-interest loans to their customers.

The Hebrew Free Loan Association is also making available emergency loans ranging from $500 to $2,000 to current Federal employees affected by the shutdown.

Unemployment Resources:

Federal employees may be eligible for unemployment benefits by following the application process through the state in which you work. To find your state’s office, click here. The Office of Personnel Management has released a resource page with important Unemployment Insurance Information for Federal Workers.

Nonprofit Resources:

The Capital Area Food Bank has a goal to provide 300,000 extra meals in January. This includes launching five free Pop Up Markets on Saturday, January 12 from 9 AM to 12 PM for government employees and contractors affected by the furlough. More information can be found at https://www.capitalareafoodbank.org/pop-up-markets/. You can also locate your local food bank using this online tool https://www.capitalareafoodbank.org/get-help/.

Starting on Monday, January 14, Bread for the City will provide a five-day supply of groceries for furloughed DC federal employees or contractors and their families. A Federal Government employee ID is required, or contractors can bring a picture ID with supplemental information regarding your furloughed status. More information is available at https://breadforthecity.org/food/.

United Way of the National Capital Area announced the launch of its Emergency Assistance Fund, with an initial $50,000 in support to select nonprofit organizations providing vital food, rent and utility assistance which are facing an increased demand for services due to the government shutdown crisis. You can also use United Way NCA’s services to seek financial guidance and one-on-one counseling by visiting one of its four Financial Empowerment Centers located throughout the region. These centers offer direct access to high-quality financial services and guidance in a welcoming, professional environment at no cost to the client. United Way NCA also offers 2-1-1, a free, confidential helpline number that provides callers in need of social services with health and human service resources in their local community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Resources for DC Residents:

For District residents affected by the shutdown, the DC government has compiled a list of available resources.

Resources for Montgomery County Residents:

The Montgomery County government has compiled a list of resources to help affected workers who live in the county.

A Wider Circle, Interfaith Works and Manna Food Center are nonprofits offering food, household essentials and other resources for Montgomery County Residents.

Resources for Prince George’s County Residents:

For residents in Prince George’s County, the county government has compiled a list of resources to help affected workers in the area.

Resources for Residents Of Northern VirGinia:

Arlington residents affected by the shutdown can find resources complied by the Arlington County government.

For residents of Fairfax County, the county government has complied a list of resources available for affected federal workers.

The City of Alexandria government has created a list of resources for local affected residents.

Northern Virginia Family Service provides housing assistance, emergency financial assistance, emergency food assistance, sample letters to send to creditors, and more.

The Resilience Fund Combats Hate and Intolerance in the Greater Washington Region

Announces New Grants to Local Nonprofits Serving Immigrant and Muslim Communities

The Resilience Fund has announced $200,000 in grants to seven nonprofits supporting our neighbors experiencing hardship as a result of shifting federal policies and growing anti-other sentiment. The grant awards will enable these organizations to provide legal or medical services, conduct advocacy, and help protect the civil rights of immigrants, refugees, Muslims and other vulnerable communities in our region. 

“In light of recent tragedies from Pittsburgh to Louisville, we are reminded of both the strength and the vulnerability of our communities, including in the Greater Washington region,” said Tonia Wellons, VP of community investment for the Greater Washington Community Foundation, and Terri D. Wright, VP for program and community for the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, who co-chair the Fund’s Steering Committee. “The Resilience Fund is one tool to help stem the rising tide of intolerance, fear, bigotry, hate and anti-other sentiments that impact us locally. These grants will support the critical work of nonprofits responding to community needs to ensure our neighborhoods remain resilient, thriving, and more equitable and inclusive places to live.”

Grant Awards

The Resilience Fund’s latest grants will support:

  • DC Law Students in Court to expand immigration representation by leveraging hundreds of pro bono hours from student attorneys who will represent clients seeking release on bond before the Arlington Immigration Court. This will be the first legal clinical program of its kind in DC.

  • Identity, Inc. to help mitigate the negative consequences of new MCPS policies and practices on immigrant students and their families, including the visitor ID policy, Free and Reduced-Price Meals paper application, and high school athletics registration. Identity will advocate for policies that reduce barriers to equitable participation.

  • Jews United for Justice to conduct advocacy around the Montgomery County Trust Act, which would formalize rules preventing police and other local emergency services from cooperating with ICE; and the statewide Trust Act which will amend the Maryland Dream Act, so all young people have equal in-state tuition regardless of DACA status.

  • Justice for Muslims Collective to organize and empower Muslim communities to challenge federal anti-Muslim policies and societal bigotry. JMC will host community-building events, complete a DMV assessment on the needs of Muslim communities, organize rapid response mobilizations, and host community defense and wellness workshops.

  • League of Women Voters of Virginia to conduct voter services and voter education programs in Northern Virginia, specifically Arlington County, Fairfax area, Loudoun County, and Prince William area.

  • Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care to provide medical, dental, and behavioral health services to undocumented children separated from their parents at the border and receiving shelter in the region. Mary’s Center will provide behavioral health care in its School Based Mental Health program at 18 public schools, and wraparound care at its health centers.

  • The Fuller Project for International Reporting to counter hatred and intolerance by expanding its reporting, training, and raising awareness about the issues facing immigrant women, children, and their families.

About the Resilience Fund

The Resilience Fund was created in early 2017 as a collaborative partnership of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, and other foundation and individual contributors. It supports the critical needs of nonprofits who are responding to changes in federal policy and budget priorities, as well as the climate of intolerance and hate, both of which are disproportionately impacting local people of color, and immigrant and refugee communities. 

Since the Fund’s inception, it has raised and leveraged more than $1 million and granted out $550,000 to organizations supporting our neighbors affected by changes to immigration and deportation policies, as well as efforts to build community cohesion and combat anti-other sentiment. Grants have supported immigrant-serving organizations providing advocacy, legal representation, medical services, training on legal and civil rights, and assistance with reuniting families separated at the border and detained in Maryland or Virginia. The Fund has also responded to increases in incidents of hate and intolerance in the region by supporting grassroots community engagement, voter education services, and the expansion of educational programs in local schools that teach news literacy as well as tolerance, respect and inclusion. 

Call for Proposals

The Resilience Fund is interested in identifying community-based solutions which respond to federal policy shifts impacting our region. Organizations located in or serving the Greater Washington region may submit a letter of inquiry for a rapid response grant to address current or emerging issues affecting our neighbors and communities. We will entertain inquiries linked to immigration, justice reform and civil rights roll-backs, and efforts that expand access to citizenship and democracy including voter registration and participation efforts (GOTV). New proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by the Resilience Fund Steering Committee in 2019. 

Grants may support special projects, programs, or include general operating support. Grant awards may range from $10,000-$30,000. For more details on proposal submission guidelines, click here. Letters of inquiry may be submitted through our online application system. Contact Melen Hagos with questions at mhagos@thecommunityfoundation.org.

Join Us!

If you share our commitment to ensuring our communities are strong and resilient, we invite you to stand with us by contributing to the Resilience Fund.

The Resilience Fund Releases Call for Proposals

The Resilience Fund is interested in identifying community-based solutions which respond to federal policy shifts impacting our region. Interested organizations located in or serving the Greater Washington region may submit a letter of inquiry for a rapid response grant to address current or emerging issues affecting our neighbors and communities. We will entertain inquiries linked to immigration, justice reform and civil rights roll-backs, and efforts that expand access to citizenship and democracy including voter registration and participation efforts (GOTV).

Grants may support special projects, programs, or include general operating support. Grant awards may range from $10,000-$50,000. Contact Melen Hagos with questions at mhagos@thecommunityfoundation.org.

New proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by the Resilience Fund Steering Committee in 2019.  

The Resilience Fund was created in early 2017 as a collaborative partnership of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, and other foundation and individual contributors. It seeks to address the critical needs of nonprofits responding to changes in federal policy and budget priorities, as well as the climate of intolerance and hate, both of which are disproportionately impacting people of color, and immigrant and refugee communities. The Fund's main objective is to provide funding in response to both urgent and systemic issues facing our community ̶ in the near-term and long-term ̶ and to be nimble in responding to new issues as they emerge. Since the Fund’s inception, we’ve granted out $380,000 to 12 organizations supporting residents and families affected by the new Administration’s changes to international travel, immigration, and deportation policies as well as building community cohesion and combating anti-other sentiment.

Resilience Fund Announces Grants to Support Family Reunification and Immigrants’ Rights

Releases Call for Proposals to Identify Community-Based Solutions Addressing Policy Shifts Affecting the Region

 

The Resilience Fund has announced $80,000 in emergency grants to two local organizations working to assist with reuniting immigrant families separated at the border and to protect the civil rights of immigrant children detained in Maryland and Virginia. 

The Resilience Fund was created in early 2017 as a collaborative partnership of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, and other foundation and individual contributors. It seeks to address the critical needs of nonprofits responding to changes in federal policy and budget priorities, as well as the climate of intolerance and hate, both of which are disproportionately impacting people of color, and immigrant and refugee communities. The Fund's main objective is to provide funding in response to both urgent and systemic issues facing our community ̶ in the near-term and long-term ̶ and to be nimble in responding to new issues as they emerge.

Since the Fund’s inception, it has raised and leveraged more than $1 million and made rapid response grants to 10 organizations working in the areas of immigrants’ rights, grassroots community engagement, anti-bullying and anti-bigotry. Last fall, the Fund initially focused on changes to international travel, immigration, and deportation policies affecting residents and families in the Greater Washington region. Its first round of grants supported four immigrant-serving organizations working to ensure community members understand their legal and civil rights, take precautions to stabilize their families in the event they are detained, and receive legal representation. Soon after, the Fund responded to increases in incidents of hate, intolerance and incivility in the Greater Washington region by focusing its second round of grantmaking on building community cohesion and combating anti-other sentiment. The Fund made grants to four local organizations focused on grassroots community engagement and to two national organizations to expand educational programs in local schools that teach news literacy as well as tolerance, respect and inclusion.

Grant Awards

The Resilience Fund’s latest grants will support:

  • CAIR Coalition will receive a $50,000 grant for its Detained Children’s Program which provides Know Your Rights presentations, individual legal screenings, and pro bono representation to unaccompanied minor children. This program has screened over 40 children separated from their families at the border and detained in facilities in Maryland and Virginia while they wait to be reunified with their parents. CAIR is working to find and interview separated parents and assist them with obtaining support services to fill out the required paperwork to sponsor their children. Grant funds will allow CAIR to expand its staff capacity to match families with local service providers to ensure each child has pro bono representation in Immigration Court. Currently, CAIR Coalition is the only nonprofit legal services organization assisting separated children and adults in detention facilities in Maryland and Virginia.

  • The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs will receive a $30,000 grant to expand staff capacity to respond to the urgent civil rights needs of the immigrant community, including a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of unaccompanied immigrant children detained at a juvenile center in Virginia. The suit alleges systemic discrimination by staff, use of excessive force, inappropriate use of restraint and/or seclusion and routine denial of necessary mental health care. The children range in age from 10 years old to 17 and are all refugees fleeing from violence in Central America. Grant funds will help to engage professional interpreters for clients who have limited English or do not speak English at all, help to locate children who have been released to a family member or sponsor to collect and preserve their testimony about the facility, and to support staff time for this case

Call for Proposals

The Resilience Fund is interested in identifying additional community-based solutions that will respond to current or emerging issues impacting our neighbors or communities. Interested organizations located in or serving the Greater Washington region may submit a letter of inquiry for a rapid response grant. We will entertain inquiries linked to immigration, other policy roll-backs that disproportionately impact various communities in our region, and efforts that expand access to citizenship and democracy. The Fund is also interested in work happening regionally that may have been impacted by the humanitarian crisis at the US border with Mexico, particularly work that centers around legal support for detained parents or children who have been separated and are now being held in the Greater Washington region. Inquiries related to other emerging issues are welcomed.

Grants may support special projects, programs, or include general operating support. Grant awards may range from $10,000-$50,000. For more details on proposal submission guidelines, click here. Letters of inquiry may be submitted through our online application system. Contact Melen Hagos with questions at mhagos@thecommunityfoundation.org.

The Resilience Fund: A Year in Review

It has been one year since the Greater Washington Community Foundation and the Meyer Foundation launched the Resilience Fund as a rapid response vehicle to address changes in federal policy and budget priorities and the increasing climate of intolerance, hate, and anti-other, which disproportionately impact people of color, and immigrant and refugee communities. In that time, we have raised more than $630,000 from institutional and individual donors across the region. We are incredibly proud to share that we have also leveraged as much as $450,000 through parallel commitments from donors to organizations funded through the Resilience Fund. That is more than $1 million to support local nonprofits serving the urgent and emerging needs of our region's most vulnerable residents. This is a true testament to the commitment of incredibly generous people in our region who care deeply about their neighbors and communities. 

Reflecting on the past year, we wanted to share some of the important work this Fund has contributed to.

Helping Immigrant Communities

Initially, the Resilience Fund focused last fall on supporting residents and families affected by the new Administration’s changes to international travel, immigration, and deportation policies. The Resilience Fund’s first round of grants supported work to ensure community members understand their legal and civil rights, take precautions to stabilize their families in the event they are detained, and receive legal representation.

  • Know Your Rights education: As ICE changed its enforcement priorities and stepped up detentions, CAIR Coalition responded by delivering 12 presentations across the region educating 326 immigrant youth and adults about their constitutional rights. It also intervened in the bond cases of 18 detained individuals, securing the release of 12 on bond and with three more are awaiting hearings.

  • Legal defense training: Noncriminal arrests of immigrants have increased by nearly 300%. Legal Aid Justice Center is combating ICE abuses by training 64 lawyers to defend immigrants in deportation proceedings by challenging constitutional violations. Without the Resilience Fund’s support, LAJC would not have had the funding to provide this training to nonprofit providers and private attorneys.

  • Legal services: CASA sought to address threats facing immigrants due to increased enforcement and changes to DACA and TPS. It held 46 know your rights workshops attended by 6,740 people, screened 415 people at risk of deportation to identify potential forms of relief, provided DACA application assistance to 320 youth, held bystander trainings for 300 people and mobilized a national day of action.

  • DACA application support: The President’s decision to rescind DACA provided only one month for eligible recipients to renew their status – affecting an estimated 20,000 people in the region. Ayuda received an emergency grant to conduct outreach and organize two free DACA clinics – helping 45 clients prepare renewal applications, receive in-depth legal consultations, and open long-term representation cases. The future of DACA remains uncertain but, with the Resilience Fund’s support, Ayuda continues to assist DACA recipients with legal advice and representation.

Countering Hate and Intolerance 

Recent increases in incidents of hate, intolerance and incivility in the Greater Washington region led the Resilience Fund to refocus its second round of grantmaking on building community cohesion and combating anti-other sentiment. In late December, the Fund made grants to local organizations focused on grassroots community engagement and national organizations combating bullying, bigotry, and fake news through education. While much of the work funded this round is still in process, some early notable achievements include:

  • Anti-bias education: The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has tracked a disturbing trend of increasing bias incidents in schools, where it’s estimated that 1 in 4 students are bullied. With support from the Resilience Fund, ADL doubled the size of its No Place for Hate program to reach more than 25,000 students in 25 K-12 schools throughout the region. The program is helping local schools foster an accepting and safe climate using ADL’s framework to teach respect and inclusion.

  • Digital literacy tools: More educators are seeking tools to teach students how to sort fact from falsehood in the digital age so they can be informed and engaged citizens. A grant from the Resilience Fund enabled the News Literacy Project to expand its program into Arlington County, Virginia, where it will host a NewsLitCamp for teachers in August and make 2,500 subscriptions to its virtual classroom available.

  • Community engagement: Prince George’s County residents care deeply about the well-being of their communities but lack a space to discuss relevant issues. With support from the Resilience Fund, the Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund partnered with the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative and will host a town hall style gathering on April 23, for discussions of economic, health, public safety and educational challenges in the County.

  • Training future leaders: Disenfranchised communities have long been left out of conversations about economic improvement and systems change. Progressive Maryland offered 5 trainings to empower 50 members to become agents of change and advocates for social and economic justice. These members have since taken on leadership positions within their local chapters to help strengthen their community’s grassroots capacity to advocate for their needs.

While many similar rapid response funds launched in other parts of the country are winding down, the Resilience Fund is gearing up for its second year. The Steering Committee is in the process of building out its agenda. We invite you to join us in our efforts. For more information contact Tonia Wellons, Vice President - Community Investment at twellons@thecommunityfoundation.org

Sincerely,

 
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Bruce McNamer

President and CEO

Greater Washington Community Foundation

Nicky Goren

President and CEO

Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

Resilience Fund Steering Committee

Greater Washington Community Foundation

Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation

Harman Family Foundation

June Linowitz

Elaine Reuben

Rob and Sheri Rosenfeld

Mauri Ziff and Jeff Hamond

How the Resilience Fund Reshaped One Couple’s Philanthropy

 
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Rob and Sheri Rosenfeld opened a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation in December 2007. A native Washingtonian, Rob is a real estate developer and investor who was previously a Managing Partner of JBG Rosenfeld Retail. Sheri is a native of Chicago who has lived in the Washington area for nearly 30 years. She is a psychotherapist and was in private practice. Over the years, the Rosenfelds have donated their time serving on nonprofit boards and contributing to causes near and dear to their family, such as the arts and cancer research. However, they decided to expand their approach to philanthropy when they heard about The Community Foundation’s Resilience Fund. The Fund was created in March 2017 to support the critical needs of nonprofits working on behalf of vulnerable communities affected by changes in federal policies. Rob and Sheri recently spoke about their experience serving on the Fund’s steering committee. 

What drew you to the Resilience Fund? 

When we learned about the Fund, it felt like an “aha” moment. We both had been searching for what one person or what one couple could do to speak to the troubling direction that this new administration was taking. Rather than moaning and groaning about changing policies, we wanted to take action. The Resilience Fund spoke to us.

What inspired you to join the steering committee? 

We took great comfort in knowing that both The Community Foundation and Meyer Foundation were involved in creating the Fund. We recognized the value of the two foundations, along with other foundations and individuals, joining forces to have a greater impact. While we were prepared to make a significant financial contribution, we wanted to do more than just write a check. We saw this as a significant time in our country, in terms of the political and social climate. If we were going to make a material commitment of our time and resources during our lifetime, it felt like this was one of those times.

How do you feel about the committee’s decision to focus on immigration, deportation policies, the rise of intolerance and the adverse impact of the federal budget on our region

Some may see these issues – especially immigration – through a partisan lens. We see them through a humanitarian and economic lens. In fact there are people on both sides of the aisle who see the merits of a robust immigration system. Having friends and colleagues from many different backgrounds, we feel that ALL people deserve the same rights and freedoms, including due process. We feel this in our bones and in our hearts. It’s heartbreaking to watch so much social and economic progress be rolled back. The Resilience Fund is ensuring that our neighborhoods “remain resilient, thriving, and more equitable and inclusive places to live despite policy shifts and ‘anti-other’ sentiments.” 

How does the steering committee make its decisions?  

The committee has conference calls or meetings at least once a month. We ask critical questions about potential grantees: Is the organization strong enough? Will this funding make a difference? Is this an urgent need? There are so many groups doing good work. It’s our job to determine which organizations will have the greatest impact. For instance, in September, we made an emergency rapid response grant of $25,000 to support Ayuda. That is exactly what this fund is intended for. At the time, Ayuda was addressing the urgent need for emergency clinics to prepare and file Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal applications in DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland before the filing deadline. Our rapid response funding also provided legal services and consultations to advise DACA recipients about avenues of relief available to them. 

Would you recommend this Fund to friends? 

Absolutely. For the past year, we’ve been raising money from our friends and colleagues – and we aren’t done yet. Our goal is to raise support from friends toward the Fund’s ultimate goal of $1 million. In every administration there’s going to be a rollback of something. But this time, things are happening so fast and with such a large sweeping hand.  Together, we hope to soften the blow from these shifting policies. 

Learn more about the Resilience Fund's focus areas and recent grants.