Barbara Bush's Literacy Legacy

  Official Portrait of Barbara Pierce Bush, taken in the residence of the White House, 1989    Photo credit: George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Official Portrait of Barbara Pierce Bush, taken in the residence of the White House, 1989

Photo credit: George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush. The Community Foundation was proud to support Mrs. Bush to establish the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy in 1989, and to house the Foundation for more than two decades (until 2011). She was a true champion of building family literacy nationwide to ensure that all people have a chance to achieve their full potential.

Although we are no longer affiliated with her Foundation, her literacy legacy lives on and you can find more information at The Foundation is inviting anyone interested in honoring her legacy to share a personal tribute or make a memorial donation.

New Grants from Catalyst Fund Support Wealth-Building and Entrepreneurship

The Greater Washington Community Foundation is excited to announce $250,000 in grants through the Catalyst Fund, a new initiative focused on community-based efforts to support small business, micro-enterprise development, and entrepreneurship. The Catalyst Fund is an outgrowth of the Community Foundation’s long-standing support for job training and workforce development solutions, and also represents a shift in our strategy to consider the changing nature of our region’s workplaces and economy. According to an Association for Enterprise Opportunity report, the median net worth of business owners is almost 2.5 times higher than non-business owners. For people of color, the distinction is even greater—for instance, a Latino man who owns a business has a net worth that is approximately 5 times higher than his peers, while for a black woman the difference is 10 times.

“These Catalyst Fund grants underscore the importance of investments in wealth-building and entrepreneurship, as well as signal a need for more philanthropists and funders to invest in preparing workers for The Future of Work. The Community Foundation will make this one of the hallmarks of our forthcoming strategy to disrupt poverty and build thriving communities across the Greater Washington region,” said Tonia Wellons, VP of Community Investment at the Greater Washington Community Foundation.

Catalyst Fund Grant Awards

Life Asset

In the District of Columbia, the Fund is investing in Life Asset’s microloan and small business training program for low-income entrepreneurs. Life Asset works to alleviate poverty in the Greater Washington area by empowering people through affordable financial products, services, and education, thereby promoting self-help and self-respect and expanding social and economic opportunities for lower income residents. The Catalyst Fund’s $75,000 investment will help Life Asset scale its work to double its loan capacity in 2018.

"Life Asset is grateful for the partnership with The Community Foundation and excited to scale up our proven microloan program. Our goal for the next 12 months is to provide microloans coupled with business training to 800 low-income entrepreneurs - creating jobs and financial self-sufficiency through business ownership."

- Executive Director Markus Larsson


In Maryland, the Fund is making investments in a trio of community-based groups, each working to build wealth in grassroots communities using different and innovative approaches. This includes CASA, the foremost Latino and immigrant organization in the region with a mission to create a more just society by building power and improving the quality of life in working class and immigrant communities. The Catalyst Fund’s $50,000 investment will support CASA’s efforts to ensure that small local businesses along the International Corridor (spanning the neighborhoods of Long Branch in Montgomery County and Langley Park in Prince George’s County) are not displaced during the construction of the new Purple Line Light Rail.

“With the construction of the Purple Line having already begun, we have an historic opportunity to ensure that small businesses in the International Corridor not only survive the construction, but thrive in their revitalized neighborhood. CASA is so excited to expand our work in supporting the small businesses in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties affected by the Purple Line by offering technical assistance and advocacy, thanks to the additional support we will be receiving through the Catalyst Fund.”

- Jennifer Freedman, CASA’s Chief of Development and Finance

Impact Silver spring

The Fund has also invested $75,000 in IMPACT Silver Spring, whose vision is for every resident to lead a full and quality life in a racially and economically equitable Montgomery County. The Catalyst Fund’s grant will support IMPACT Silver Spring's ongoing efforts to build a local economy ecosystem that enables low-income residents of color to build and own a network of micro, small, and cooperatively-owned businesses - leading to increased financial security, assets, and community wealth. 

"We applaud the Greater Washington Community Foundation for investing in strategies that go beyond managing symptoms to root cause solutions.  While jobs can help people get out of poverty, they need assets to stay out of poverty."

- Jayne Park, Executive Director of IMPACT Silver Spring

Crossroads Community Food Network

Finally, the Fund has invested $50,000 in Crossroads Community Food Network, a Montgomery County-based nonprofit that works to bolster the local food system through programs that support and unite those who grow, make, and eat fresh, healthy food. Our investment will support the Microenterprise Training Program & Community Kitchen, a free, bilingual entrepreneurship and business support program for underserved aspiring food entrepreneurs.  Graduates are eligible to apply to use Crossroads’ brand-new Takoma Park Silver Spring Community Kitchen for entrepreneurs to create their products to potentially be showcased at Crossroads’ own Farmers Market.

“Funding at this critical juncture in our program will enable us to scale up our food entrepreneur training program to ensure our new community kitchen reaches full capacity. These two initiatives extend the opportunity of entrepreneurship to people who are often left out. We're thrilled to be able to provide more economic opportunities for low-income immigrants.”

- Christie Balch, Crossroads’ Executive Director

The Community Foundation is thrilled to support these high-quality nonprofits in their efforts this year. If you would like more information about these organizations, the Catalyst Fund, or to learn more about how you can work to support workers and entrepreneurs to succeed in our region’s changing economy, contact Benton Murphy at

Bowser Administration Announces $1.2 Million in Grant Awards to Nonprofit, Community Organizations

The Bowser Administration announced 25 awardees of the City Innovation Fund’s Safer, Stronger DC Community Opportunity Grant Competition. The grants, which total $1.2 million, are part of Mayor Bowser’s Safer, Stronger DC initiative.
“By working together with community organizations to take a smart, holistic approach to public safety, we are building on our progress and providing more Washingtonians and neighborhoods the opportunities and resources they need to thrive,” said Mayor Bowser. 
The 25 organizations were selected through an independent grant-making process managed by the Greater Washington Community Foundation. Selected organizations serve children, youth, and families in the following selected priority Police Service Areas (PSA): 302, 304, 305, 404, 506, 507, 602, 603, 604, 702, 704, 705 and 706. These PSAs encompass the neighborhoods of Columbia Heights, Brightwood Park, Trinidad, Carver/Langston, Deanwood/Lincoln Heights, Fort Dupont, Benning Ridge/Marshall Heights, Fort Stanton/Garfield Heights/Woodland, Douglass, Congress Heights, and Washington Highlands. The grant period is for one year.
“These general operating grants will help build and enhance the internal capacity and operations of community organizations doing critical work in our neighborhoods with some of the hardest to reach and most at-risk residents,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services HyeSook Chung.
In all, 106 organizations applied for funding this round. This year, the Bowser Administration continued to offer technical assistance with the grant process through a partnership with Project 500. Project 500 is a business development program to help diverse businesses and nonprofits scale in terms of revenue, staff, and investment retained. 
“This final slate of City Innovation Fund grantees represents the diversity and complexity of issues facing our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Bruce McNamer, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “These organizations have demonstrated their capacity and commitment to providing access, equity and opportunity to all. The Community Foundation will continue to support the District of Columbia Government in its efforts to ensure that all residents benefit from the city’s economic growth and prosperity.”
The following organizations are being awarded grants:

Access Inc.
College Tribe
Community Services Agency of the Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO
D.C. Law Students in Court Program, Inc.
D.C. Creative Writing Workshop, Inc.
Do the Write Thing Foundation of DC
Excel Automotive Institute
Exodus Treatment Center, Inc.
GALA Hispanic Theatre
Generation Hope
Good Projects
Healthy Babies Project, Inc.
Innercity Collaborative Community Development Corporation on behalf of Saving our Next Generation (SONG)
Jah Kente International
Just 4 Us Foundation, Inc.
Latin American Youth Center
Metro DC Community Center Inc.
My Sister’s Place
Nomis Youth Network
One Common Unity
Sasha Bruce Youthwork Inc.
Schooltalk Inc.
Teens Run DC
Urban Ed, Inc.
Young Ladies of Tomorrow

“We are extremely grateful to receive this grant award,” said Pastor Gary Hill, Executive Director of Exodus Treatment Center, Inc. “The Woodland Terrace community has suffered more than its fair share of violent crime and related trauma. We serve as a safe haven of opportunity. Our programming mitigates idle time by providing productive and supervised training and activities for the community. This grant will provide the necessary resources to increase and build capacity for our pre-apprentice program.”  
The disbursement of grant payments is contingent on organizations successfully satisfying all District of Columbia business and tax requirements. 

For more information, contact Manon P. Matchett at

On the 50th Anniversary of MLK's Assassination

The anniversary of MLK’s assassination is a reminder of Dr. King’s remarkable legacy and how his message is both timeless and still so timely today. It is one that I often reflect on when thinking about The Community Foundation’s work and of our responsibility to our own community. But this particular anniversary also has special significance to myself and the donors and staff of The Community Foundation who have the opportunity every day to live the legacy of leadership of our former CEO Terri Freeman. For 17+ years, Terri led The Community Foundation’s efforts to advance equity, social justice, and the well-being of all in our community, doing so in ways that were reflective of Dr. King’s own leadership, commitment and vision. We are especially proud of the leadership role Terri now plays in advancing Dr. King’s dreams as the President of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis – located at the site of his assassination on this day in 1968. I hope that on this anniversary, you will join us in recommitting to his legacy, and in acknowledging Terri’s lifetime of effort to make his dream a reality.

Bruce McNamer

President and CEO

Greater Washington Community Foundation


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



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

Honoring the Legacy of Cliff Kendall

The Greater Washington Community Foundation is saddened to share the news that Clifford M. Kendall passed away on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.

Cliff and Camille Kendall opened the very first fund which established our Community Foundation in Montgomery County (CFMC) 22 years ago. Cliff also stepped up to serve as the Founding CFMC Advisory Board Chair, recruiting thoughtful and strategic leaders to build CFMC as a permanent “engine of giving” for county residents and businesses. 

Cliff devoted his “retirement” energy to the causes most dear to him and Camille, with a special focus on scholarships for low-income students. Their generosity has enabled hundreds of students to earn degrees at Montgomery College, the Universities at Shady Grove, and the University of Maryland. Never content to simply write a check, Cliff dove into numerous leadership roles at these beloved institutions, using his business acumen to help foster change which affected thousands more students. 

Cliff’s philanthropic legacy also includes the creation of our Sharing Montgomery Fund and its endowment, a key source of support for nonprofit organizations working with the county’s growing population of low-income children, families, and seniors.

We are deeply grateful to Cliff for his visionary leadership and strategic giving which touched the lives of so many people and played a key role in our community’s health and vibrancy. We are certain that his exceptional example will continue to inspire many others to give their time, talent, and treasure, making his true philanthropic legacy impossible to measure. 

Bruce McNamer
President and CEO,
Greater Washington Community Foundation

In 2016, we had the honor to recognize Cliff and Camille for their inspiring philanthropy. This video provides a brief glimpse into the ways Cliff touched the lives of so many and led by example.  

How the Resilience Fund Reshaped One Couple’s Philanthropy


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.