Local Youth Team Up with Law Enforcement & Build Bonds Through Athletics

“Building big league people, not just big league athletes.”
— Cal Ripken, Sr.

The Site Visit

The Community Foundation in Prince George’s County witnessed the great work that both the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and the Police Athletic League are doing for some of our most vulnerable youth.  Students, donors and other participants had a great time getting to know each other through fun introductions, team building exercises and trainings! The PAL Program uses mentoring, education, recreation and athletic activities to build bonds between youth and law enforcement. They have went from serving 15 to over 400 students in just 5 years.


Getting to Know the Team

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Randy Acosta (far right), Senior Director of Development & National Corporate Partnerships, Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. “I grew up going to the Boys and Girls Club. The opportunity to serve and give back to these same types of organizations is my greatest accomplishment.”

Joe Rossow (far left), Executive Vice President of Operations, Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. “We are always looking to learn from the work of other foundations and in the process, form lasting partnerships.”

Corporal Kurt Schnitzenbaumer (middle), Executive Director, Prince George’s County Police Athletic League (PAL). “PAL wants to create a space for kids to call home. We want our kids to feel a sense of ownership and connectivity.”


Meet Taylor!

Taylor is a student participant from Fairmont Heights High School. “Here, we have so many different ways to express ourselves… Fairmont Heights is the hidden secret of Prince Georges. There is so much talent at my school. I’m glad that when the police came to our building, it wasn’t bad. They recognized our talent and gave us resources to achieve our goals. I have really seen the police force and my peers changing for the better.”


Year-End Grantmaking and Giving

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The Greater Washington Community Foundation would like to acknowledge the generosity exhibited by our donors in 2017.  Throughout the year you’ve continued to demonstrate a strong philanthropic spirit - maintaining and establishing new funds, and recommending thousands of grants to local and national nonprofit organizations.

In an effort to assist you with carrying out your end-of-year philanthropic goals, please see below for The Community Foundation’s deadlines regarding year-end giving and grantmaking activities:

RECOMMENDING GRANTS FROM YOUR DONOR-ADVISED FUND

Grant recommendations submitted by December 8 will be processed by December 31, provided the organization meets The Community Foundation’s due diligence requirements. Due to increased volume, grant recommendations submitted after December 8 may not be processed and mailed in 2017.

PLEASE NOTE: Grants submitted prior to December 8, 2017 must also be approved (meeting The Community Foundation’s due diligence requirements) to be processed and mailed by December 31, 2017.

Grant recommendations should be submitted through your Donor Central account.  Questions regarding Donor Central can be forwarded to Emily Davis (202-973-2501, edavis@thecommunityfoundation.org).

MAKING GIFTS TO THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

Stock and cash gifts (check, wire, online) submitted to The Community Foundation by December 31st will be earmarked as a 2017 contribution. 

Gifts made via check can be sent to:          

Attn: Finance Department
Greater Washington Community Foundation
1325 G Street NW
Suite 480
Washington, DC 20005

*Please include the name of the fund in the memo line of the check. 

**Checks sent by US Postal Service mail can be earmarked as a 2017 contribution if postmarked by the US Postal Service for December 31.

Gifts made online:

Gifts can be made online at www.thecommunityfoundation.org. 

Gifts of cash or securities made via wire transfer:

Please see the instructions for making gifts of cash or securities by wire transfer.  Please contact the Finance Department at 202-955-5890 if there are any questions. Monies must be in The Community Foundation’s account by December 31, to be earmarked as a 2017 contribution.

Hope for the Girl in the Twirling Skirt

By Andrea Powell, Founder and Executive Director, FAIR Girls

Chloe* isn’t even 12 yet, but she has run away from home more than 13 times.  She likes to draw with glitter pens and is obsessed with my pink cell phone cover. She’s a child.  Lost in her own world, she twirled around in circles in her floral skirt through the halls of the “J level” DC Superior Court, while a judge eventually ruled to have her removed from her parent’s custody. 

At 23, I founded FAIR Girls to help provide long-term therapeutic interventions, including safe housing, for exploited and trafficked young women and girls. After working with more than 1,000 girls, I have learned that many sex trafficking situations of American girls like Chloe start within 48 hours of being on the streets. In the past year, with the support of the City Fund administered by the Greater Washington Community Foundation, FAIR Girls has hired a youth case manager whose full-time job is to serve trafficked and exploited children in the nation’s capital.

Chloe continued to run away several times after I first met her that day at court. Fortunately, I was able to connect her with a dedicated FAIR Girls case manager and our partners at Sasha Bruce, a homeless shelter and safe haven for disconnected youth who are unable to return home.

Drawing by 13 year old survivor of sex trafficking in a FAIR Girls workshop

Drawing by 13 year old survivor of sex trafficking in a FAIR Girls workshop

In March, a media outcry over the thousands of missing girls of color in DC put the District under the national spotlight. Town hall meetings were filled with the heated questions of women of color demanding to know why their daughters are not being referred to as “critical missing” but rather being labeled as “runaways,” a stigmatizing term that could result in some minors over the age of 12 not being actively searched for as aggressively by law enforcement.   

Six months later, direct service providers like FAIR Girls are working alongside city agencies including the Child and Family Services and DC Courts to implement a citywide strategy that is part of the outcome of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Task Force on Missing and Runaway Youth. This includes the implementation of the District’s citywide plan to pull missing girls and boys back into their homes and communities, including the newly opened STEP shelter managed by Sasha Bruce.

To understand what has been done and where we go from here, we need to be willing to ensure solutions are rooted in the lived experiences of girls like Chloe, whose support systems are shattered with unforeseen and unpredictable acts of life. Chloe’s father died months earlier, she was in a schoolyard fight that led to months of out-of-school suspensions, and her mother was overwhelmed with grief and loss. While on the streets, she met an older boy who gave her expensive gifts. She was flattered with the attention but still too young to understand the price of accepting these gifts. When I met her, I was determined to make sure she didn’t have to learn.

As heartbreaking as her story is, many missing girls are not as lucky as Chloe. In looking at the photos of missing girls in DC, I see the familiar faces of girls who have since been confirmed as child victims of sex trafficking.

Many people believe that sex trafficking happens in faraway countries, but more than 90% of the girls we serve are American girls of color. On average, they are 14 to 15 years old when first sold into sex trafficking and their abuse continues for four years before they receive help. Approximately 60% of the 125 to 150 young girls we serve annually are from the D.C. metropolitan area. As a repeat “runaway,” Chloe was at risk of being one of them.

Since the media storm, FAIR Girls receives an average of one to two new referrals a week of exploited and trafficked girls. While the numbers here are alarming, this is progress. Law enforcement’s focus on missing and exploited youth has resulted in girls who have been missing anywhere from two days to two years being found and connected to the care they need to recover. 

Drawing of what human trafficking looks like, as drawn by teen girl in DC schools

Drawing of what human trafficking looks like, as drawn by teen girl in DC schools

However, there is more to be done before we can say that we are meeting needs of sexually trafficked and exploited teens in DC. A critical gap remains that there is no secure therapeutic housing program specifically for child survivors of human trafficking in the nation’s capital. This must be our next step in truly creating a safe haven for missing and exploited youth in the nation’s capital.

Chloe’s story is one of a child being pushed away by adults and institutions, time and time again. To refer to her as a “runaway” is to miss the point. In fact, the very term, “runaway,” implies blame and stigma that does not belong to Chloe or any child who finds themselves on the streets. Chloe’s leaving home was the attempt of a scared and disconnected child at regaining control of her life. Chloe wasn’t a “runaway.” She was “pushed away.”   

Our conversation must shift from “why are they running away?” to “how is our community pushing these vulnerable young girls out into the margins of society and into the hands of pimps?”

Pulling in Chloe and the thousands of other “pushed away” girls and boys of color is a critical mission for FAIR Girls and the District of Columbia.

Andrea Powell is the founder and Executive Director of FAIR Girls. To learn more, visit www.fairgirls.org, email info@fairgirls.org, or follow @FAIR_Girls.

*Names of youth in this post have been changed to protect their identity.  All facts are accurately portrayed.

What I Learned about Social Justice Philanthropy from the Diverse City Fund

By Nancy Withbroe

Diverse City Fund is a grassroots activist grant maker we can count on to support the work of justice. There is nothing like it in our capital city. As a donor, I am more committed than ever to keeping the funds flowing to and through D.C. Fund.
— Donald Temple

One warm evening this summer, several colleagues and I had the joy of attending a reception for the Diverse City Fund, a component fund of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, at the home of Andy and Marjan Shallal. The event raised more than $25,000 in fresh commitments, which doubles to $50,000 based on a match from a major donor.

The fund works to nurture community leaders of color and grassroots projects that are acting to transform the District of Columbia into a more just, vibrant place to live. One of the event co-hosts, Medea Benjamin, celebrated these efforts: “In these times, I am most energized by joining hearts, minds, and resources for racial justice. Bringing people together to contribute to the Diverse City Fund is one way I know that my giving is relevant and powerful." The small projects supported by the fund — often volunteer-powered — have few options for funding, but it is often these very projects that work to build institutions by and for communities with the least access to resources. Those were boosted considerably by the success of this event.

Attending the reception gave me the opportunity to learn more about the innovative social justice-oriented philanthropic model practiced by the volunteers involved with the Diverse City Fund. The Fund is led by a group of volunteers who call themselves the “Board of Instigators.” Because they want to center social changemakers of color in their grantmaking process, they recruit a separate Grantmaking Team composed of activists of color who are rooted in D.C. and its social justice work.

I encourage other donors who want to empower and build the capacity of community-led social change leaders to consider what they might learn from them.

The recent resurgence of hate crimes and racist acts like the violent march in Charlottesville remind us all that, now more than ever, it’s imperative that the people of color who are building innovative programs to support community-building and resist displacement have a say in how philanthropic resources are deployed in the District. This fund has organized itself to fulfill that mission through its resident-led decision-making and micro-grants, which recently grew to total $150,000 for 2017.

The event hosted by the Shallals helped to foster community among grantees, donors, and supporters of the Fund, and put a spotlight on less visible community-level projects. An attendee, Laurie Emrich, declared, “Justice won't wait. It is the work of a lifetime and it takes all of us. I was thrilled to invite new donors to the Diverse City Fund to be a part of resourcing movements here where local, national and global arenas all intersect. I look forward to more activists and allies joining this important work."

The Greater Washington Community Foundation is proud to house the Diverse City Fund and many other initiatives that donors create to realize their philanthropic and social change dreams. If you would like to learn more about ways to leverage your philanthropy strategically, please reach out to me at nwithbroe@thecommunityfoundation.org.

The Resilience Fund Announces New Grants and Commitments

Ayuda to receive $25k emergency grant for community clinics;
Cafritz pledges $20k matching grant

The Resilience Fund, a collaborative partnership among the Greater Washington Community Foundation, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, and other foundation and individual contributors, today announced an emergency rapid response grant of $25,000 to Ayuda. The grant will support Ayuda to address the urgent and immediate need for emergency clinics to prepare and file Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal applications in DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland before the October 5 filing deadline. Ayuda will also provide legal services and consultations to advise DACA recipients regarding possible avenues of relief that may be available to them.

The Resilience Fund launched in February to respond to the critical needs of nonprofits working to support our region’s most vulnerable communities. The Fund is focused on addressing federal policy and budget changes that are disproportionately impacting people of color, immigrant and refugee communities. The DC metropolitan area is home to 1.3 million foreign-born residents, including an estimated 400,000 unauthorized immigrants — many of whom are long-term residents with deep community ties, including spouses and children who are U.S. citizens.

The Fund’s first round of grants were awarded last month to help the region’s networks of community organizations working to support immigrants affected by changes in international travel, immigration, and deportation policies. These grants will help expand collaborative work to ensure that community members understand their legal and civil rights, take precautions to stabilize their families in the event they are detained, and receive legal representation.

At a stakeholders meeting today, the Steering Committee was proud to announce the Fund has surpassed its initial $500,000 fundraising goal. The goal has been extended and the Fund is now on its way to raising $1 million total thanks to the generosity of local foundations and individuals across the region.

One such commitment is a new challenge matching grant from the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the largest private foundation focused exclusively on the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The Cafritz Foundation has pledged to match every dollar donated to the Resilience Fund, up to $20,000.

“The Community Foundation is proud to partner with the Resilience Fund Steering Committee and other generous donors who want to ensure our community is a vibrant and inclusive place for all residents and families in the region,” said Tonia Wellons, VP of Community Investment for the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “The Resilience Fund’s efforts going forward seek to address the growing climate of intolerance and hate, including the uptick in violent incidents linked to race, religion, national origin, and other differences. We invite those who are concerned about what is happening in our region to stand with us against intolerance by making a contribution to this Fund today.”

“With rapid response grant funding from the Resilience Fund, Ayuda is taking immediate steps to serve the urgent needs of DACA recipients,” said Paula S. Fitzgerald, Executive Director of Ayuda. “We are providing multiple DACA renewal clinics and open walk-in days in September to serve those who are eligible to renew their DACA status within the short window of time. We are also providing consultations to those Dreamers who stand to lose DACA in the near future to evaluate them for other forms of relief and inform them of their rights.”

Members of the Resilience Fund Steering Committee include:
Greater Washington Community Foundation
Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation
Harman Family Foundation
The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
Rob and Sheri Rosenfeld
Mauri Ziff and Jeff Hamond

Mobilizing Community Support When Disaster Strikes

By Nancy Withbroe, Vice President, Philanthropic Engagement and Chief of Staff

On this 16th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, I am heartbroken by the suffering of people in the devastating paths of recent natural disasters, as well as the horrific violence of war and terrorism. Yet, when disaster strikes we can count on the country’s network of community foundations to step in to help, as we are seeing in response to the current season of horrific hurricanes.

The Greater Washington Community Foundation has a longstanding track record of mobilizing philanthropic giving from individuals and organizations when disaster strikes. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, The Community Foundation administered the $25 million Survivors’ Fund, which used over 12,000 gifts to make grants to 1,051 people impacted by the attack on the Pentagon. More recently, we have helped our donors provide help to neighbors facing such local disasters as the Flower Branch Apartments Silver Spring gas explosion that killed seven low-income residents in August 2016 and displaced 100 others, or the emergency housing situation at the Lynnhill Condominiums in Temple Hills that left 77 families without power.

We’re keenly aware that those who struggle the most in natural disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are residents of low-income communities – and often communities of color. This recent opinion piece in The Washington Post summarizes painfully the compounding negative effect that poverty, housing, racism and other issues have in the immediate and longer-term wake of natural disasters.

As someone who has devoted her career to philanthropy, I take solace in moments like these by the opportunity – and the responsibility – we have to relieve the suffering of our most vulnerable neighbors and to address the systemic inequities and injustices that disproportionately exacerbate the suffering of people of color.

At the Greater Washington Community Foundation, we have been busy advising our donors and fundholders as they direct their contributions to nonprofits supporting those impacted by the hurricanes. We’re also collaborating with our corporate fundholders to raise money for their disaster relief funds held here – to date, processing more than a thousand gifts into their funds – and, most importantly, quickly mobilizing to make grants to help nonprofits and individuals in need. We are working with Capital One, Fannie Mae and Marriott International to disburse grants to over 3,000 employees of those companies, collectively, in the greater Houston area, and stand ready to assist for other disasters.

Somehow the scale of these events can distance us from the experiences of individual people and families whose homes are lost and lives disrupted. The following note, which accompanied an $8 contribution to one of the corporate funds held at The Community Foundation, moved me deeply and reminded me that any of us can take action through giving: “I am a Night Auditor at [a corporate site in Illinois].  I want to contribute to this fund because [my employer] has a 'Spirit to Serve' and I want to be a part of that.  God bless all the people who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area.”

While small in amount, this $8 contribution represented enormous heart, character and selflessness – giving what you can to those most in need. I’m grateful to all our donors, fundholders, nonprofit grantees, and colleagues who partner with us to create opportunities for others to help their colleagues, to feel connected to an employer in a meaningful way, and to make a difference, one dollar at a time.

Please reach out to me or any other staff member if you’d like guidance on how you can make a difference during these times.

Reflections on Intolerance

By Bruce McNamer, President and CEO

While on vacation in Europe last month, I spent the day touring the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in Poland.  For me it was such a powerful, if still inadequate, reminder of the scale and brutally systematic nature of the crime perpetrated there by the Nazis – and of their unapologetic, explicit, even prideful buy-in to hatred and cruelty and dehumanization on an epic scale.  Pure, unmitigated, unequivocal, racist evil.

The very next day, I was shocked, saddened and angered to learn of the violent march of self-proclaimed neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville.  By the end of the day, one of their own had killed one woman and injured many others. Pure, unmitigated, unequivocal, racist evil lives. 

I expect the horror of Charlottesville was brought home to each of us in different ways.  I didn’t need to go to Poland to be outraged.  But being there sure brought home the stakes to me.

Every day I am thankful to live in a country that was founded on the principles of freedom of assembly, speech, religion, and the press. Unfortunately, as of late, we are too often reminded that this freedom also extends to hate speech and even the most evil ideas.  But allowing such expression must be the extent of our accommodation.  To “see both sides,” to tolerate violent intolerance, to morally equivocate, to be silent in the face of evil … is to side with evil.  

I am heartened and inspired by the millions of people from across our country and around the world who have spoken out to condemn this display of evil, as well as the hate and intolerance that seem to have found new license in recent months. I believe our country is resilient, most of its people decent, and that our founding ideals of liberty, justice, and equality will sustain us in spite of these assaults upon them.   

But that will be the case only so long as we don’t stand passively by.  That has been tried before, in places like Germany. If you are concerned, and wondering what you can do, there are ways that you can help make a difference for our most vulnerable neighbors.

Here at the Greater Washington Community Foundation we serve as a bridge, connecting donors who want to make our community stronger and more vibrant with nonprofits that are serving the most critical needs throughout the region. In February, we partnered with the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation to launch the Resilience Fund to ensure our region’s communities are resilient and supported in the face of federal policy and budget shifts. Through this Fund we are responding to the critical needs of nonprofits working to address changes that are disproportionately impacting people of color, immigrant and refugee communities. Our first round of grants was awarded last month to help the region’s networks of community organizations working to support immigrant communities affected by changes in international travel, immigration, and deportation policies. For our next round of grants, we seek to address intolerance, incivility, and the uptick in violent incidents linked to race, religion, national origin, and other differences.

How can you join this effort?

Stand with Us Against Intolerance on Sept. 12  

The Resilience Fund Steering Committee invites you to join a Stakeholders Briefing on September 12 from 10-11:30 am at the Meyer Foundation. Learn how our neighbors are being affected by policy recommendations and increases in incidents of bias and bigotry. Explore what steps we can take as a community to stand together against intolerance.

Guest panelists will include: Nicole Cozier, director of diversity and inclusion at the Human Rights Campaign; Doron Ezickson, D.C. regional director of the Anti-Defamation League; Hurunnessa Fariad, interfaith/outreach/communications coordinator for the ADAMS Center; and Dr. Rashawn Ray, sociology professor at the University of Maryland. Please  RSVP here to receive more event details.

Join Us by Making a Donation

Contribute to the Fund and join with others who seek to advance community-based solutions that support community cohesion, work to limit intolerance, and address federal policy changes that are adversely affecting residents and families in the Greater Washington region. We initially set a goal of raising $500,000 for this effort — a goal which we have already surpassed thanks to the generosity and compassion of our community of givers. We now aim to raise $1 million with your help. You may give directly to the Fund through an online donation form available here, or as a fund-to-fund transfer in Donor Central if you are an existing donor to The Community Foundation.  

This is just the beginning of our efforts. It is more important now than ever that we stand together to fight intolerance and build community cohesion for lasting change.

Thank you for being part of our community of givers and for your own commitment to our neighbors.

Sincerely,

Bruce McNamer
President & CEO

How You Can Help with Hurricane Relief Efforts

This post was created on August 29 to aid Hurricane Harvey recovery and relief efforts. It was modified on September 11, 2017 to include information for anyone seeking to support nonprofits in Florida involved in the recovery efforts following Hurricane Irma, and again on October 2 for Hurricane Maria recovery in Puerto Rico.

Rescue operations are currently underway in Houston and surrounding areas as the unrelenting rain and rising floodwaters continue to threaten residents and communities across Southeast Texas and parts of Louisiana. Many of you have asked how we can aid these relief efforts and help the victims affected by the devastating floods.

When disaster strikes, it is a good idea to seek out information from the local community foundation regarding how you can best help with recovery efforts. Community foundations have deep community knowledge and a lasting commitment to community improvement.

In response to the overwhelming interest in supporting Houston's recovery efforts, Houston Mayor Turner established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund with the Greater Houston Community Foundation to accept tax-deductible flood relief donations. If you would like to support the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, please  click here for details.

As Harvey now heads towards Louisiana, the Mayor of New Orleans has activated the NOLA Pay It Forward Fund: Hurricane Harvey in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation. The fund will provide resources for the early relief and rebuilding efforts of those communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

If you are looking for additional ways to help, here is a list of other local and national organizations that are accepting donations to aid victims and recovery efforts:

National Organizations

  • The American Red Cross is accepting donations on its website, by phone at 1-800-RED-CROSS, or you can text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10.
  • Donations to the Salvation Army can be made online, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) or  texting STORM to 51555.
  • Council on Foundations Disaster Giving Resources, including a recording of an August 29 webinar hosted with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.
  • One America Appeal is the effort of former Presidents to help our fellow citizens in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean as they recover and rebuild.

Local Organizations in Texas

Local Organizations in Florida

Organizations helping in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

  • Hispanics in Philanthropy,  Puerto Rico Community Foundation, and La Red de Fundaciones de Puerto Rico have set up a Hurricane Relief Fund for Puerto Rico, Cuba and Florida.
  • United For Puerto Rico is providing aid and support to those affected in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane María.
  • The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands is collecting donations to the Fund for the Virgin Islands to aid Hurricane Irma relief and recovery.

You may request a grant from your fund with The Community Foundation to support many of the organizations mentioned in this message, or to other qualifying nonprofits and public charities. Please log into your Donor Central account to submit your grant recommendations. If there are ways that you would like to offer support beyond what we have suggested, feel free to contact your donor services representative or any of our staff with your questions.