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Community Leadership

The Community Foundation provides leadership to identify and address the most promising opportunities and critical challenges facing our communities.

The Partnership to end Homelessness

The Greater Washington region is home to some of the nation's most prosperous communities. Yet, DC has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the country – it is estimated that one in every 100 DC residents is homeless. Housing plays a critical role in disrupting poverty, providing stability and creating a foundation for success in life. The Community Foundation, in partnership with the District of Columbia Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH), is preparing to launch a public-private partnership focused on ending homelessness in the District by ensuring it is a rare, brief, and non-recurring event. Leveraging our experience as a convener, funder, community leader and advocate, we will bring together key public and private sector partners to make critical investments that will accelerate our community’s response. The partnership will include a platform for resource mobilization, coordination and advocacy; a focus on innovative approaches to increasing the supply of affordable housing, such as a pre-development loan fund and impact investing note; and grants to nonprofits for costs related to obtaining and moving into permanent housing, as well as innovative programs, emerging needs and advocacy efforts.

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Voices of the Community: DC, Maryland, Virginia (VoicesDMV), a community engagement initiative conducted in partnership with the Urban Institute, was designed to connect directly with the people and communities we serve to understand our neighbors’ experiences in their neighborhoods, jobs, schools, with local government, and with each other — and to identify the role philanthropy can play in enhancing or improving those experiences. Through this initiative, we set out to shed light on the region’s challenges and opportunities related to housing, transportation, safety, economic security, race relations and community well-being. What we found was despite our region’s vast wealth, deep disparities in income and opportunity persist and the gap continues to widen, which is preventing many of our neighbors from accessing the region’s economic growth and prosperity. The report has already served as a catalyst for effective community investments to ensure a more equitable, just, and thriving region for all residents. It has even influenced changes to The Community Foundation’s own community investment and leadership framework as we refreshed our focus areas to more fully capture the range of efforts that are critical to Building Thriving Communities.

the resilience fund

The Resilience Fund was created in partnership with the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, with contributions from other foundations and individuals, as a rapid response vehicle to address changes in federal policies and budget priorities and the increasing climate of intolerance and anti-other sentiment disproportionately impacting local people of color, and immigrant and refugee communities. Since its launch more than a year ago, the Fund has raised and leveraged more than $1 million from institutional and individual donors across the region and through parallel commitments from donors to organizations identified by the Resilience Fund. The Fund has focused on changes to international travel, immigration, and deportation policies which impact thousands of residents and families in the Greater Washington region. It has also supported broader efforts across the region to address the climate of hate and intolerance, and the uptick in violent incidents linked to race, religion, national origin, and other differences. And our most recent grants supported local organizations working to assist with reuniting families separated at the border and to safeguard the civil rights of immigrant children detained in Maryland and Virginia. 

workforce collaborative

A $9 million initiative of The Community Foundation, the Collaborative is a coalition of local workforce investors who share a common commitment to addressing poverty and income inequality by helping workers advance their skills and credentials, so they can earn family-sustaining wages. Current Workforce Collaborative partners include The Community Foundation, the Consumer Health Foundation, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, the Scheidel Foundation, the Moriah Fund, Kaiser Permanente, Northern Virginia Health Foundation, Patricia Weiss Fagen, JP Morgan Chase, United Way of the National Capital Area, and the Washington Area Women’s Foundation. Since 2007, the Collaborative has helped more than 6,500 workers in the region earn credentials, get promotions and raises, and ultimately launch family-sustaining careers.

In December 2016, the Collaborative released Greater Washington Works: IT and Health Careers with Promise, a report focused on how our region can address the skills gap and lift more of our neighbors out of poverty through careers in IT and Healthcare. These findings provided the foundation for Greater Washington Works, a new funding initiative to invest nearly $1 million over two years in work to bridge the skills gap that is keeping workers in low-wage jobs, reinforcing income inequality, and keeping local business from finding the best local candidates for open job opportunities. 

SHARING FUNDS

Knowing that our donors can give anywhere in the world, our volunteers have created shared funds that focus solely on improving the lives of our lowest-income neighbors in the District of ColumbiaMontgomery County, and Prince George's County. These strategic, donor-led collective funding efforts facilitate education and civic engagement around local issues and make it easy for more local donors to give to high-impact organizations which are vetted by their peer philanthropists. Donors come together to learn first-hand about the challenges facing the region’s most vulnerable residents, combine their resources, and invest in organizations working to make a difference in the lives of children and families around the region. This past year, we celebrated that our givers have contributed nearly $9 million through Sharing funds since their inception. 

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Raise DC

Raise DC is a multi-sector partnership of local stakeholders formed to promote a culture shift from competition over Washington, DC, resources to collaboration, in providing every child and youth with opportunities to succeed, from cradle to career. Using data to guide its citywide work, Raise DC brings together schools, government agencies, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations, and the business community to collectively position students for success through their entire academic journeys and into the workforce. Raise DC was formed in 2012 in DC’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education after stakeholders throughout the District – convened by The Community Foundation – called for a collective impact strategy to foster coordination among DC’s sectors. In 2013, Raise DC was spun out of government and incubated by The Community Foundation, which now provides shared office space, back office support and additional resources.