A Framework for Building Thriving Communities

Dear friends and community members,

As a community foundation, having a finger on the pulse of our community is central to who we are and our ability to make a difference in the lives of those who call our region their home. Last year, in partnership with Urban Institute, we launched Voices of the Community: DC, MD, VA (VoicesDMV) to connect directly with the people and communities we serve and 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.

VoicesDMV revealed a region in which, while separated by income, education or geographic boundaries, all of us share similar hopes and dreams. We all want a better overall quality of life for ourselves and our families, including the opportunity to live in a safe and welcoming environment, obtain a quality education, earn a living wage, and build assets for a secure future. And yet, as prosperous as our region is, our survey found that deep disparities in income and opportunity persist and the gap continues to widen, preventing many of our neighbors, particularly people of color due to historical discrimination, from accessing the region’s economic growth and prosperity.

A decade ago, our Economic Security Framework was created as a direct response to the economic crisis and its impact on the region, with a focus on workforce development, safety-net services, and education. But the nature of today’s challenges requires a different approach, one that goes deeper toward addressing systemic issues to improve the economic and social well-being of people and communities who have long been marginalized, particularly communities of color. While economic security will remain part of our work going forward, we have taken this opportunity to refresh our focus areas to fully capture the range of efforts that are critical to building thriving communities. Our new Building Thriving Communities Framework will broaden our work with donors and partners across the region to disrupt poverty, deepen human connection, and prepare for the future of work.

With this refresh, we seek to deepen and expand existing work by leveraging new tools, prioritizing strategic partnerships across sectors, and developing innovative approaches to addressing the region’s most pressing challenges. This includes a new partnership with the District of Columbia Interagency Council on Homelessness to launch a broader public-private partnership that will build off the District’s plans to make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring by making critical investments to accelerate our community’s response.

We are also deliberately centering racial equity and community voice in our community leadership efforts and in our grantmaking. For example, as our Workforce Development Collaborative celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, the focus will remain on supporting programs and policies which help workers advance their skills and credentials, but with a special emphasis on eliminating inequities based on race, ethnicity or gender and providing new career pathways and wealth-building opportunities.

We hope you see a connection between our Building Thriving Communities Framework and your own charitable giving plans. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss how The Community Foundation can support your broader interests. You can also make an unrestricted gift to the Fund for Greater Washington to support our ongoing community change work across the region. Your continued partnership and support are crucial as we seek to build thriving communities today and for generations to come.

Sincerely,

 
 Bruce McNamer, President and CEO

Bruce McNamer, President and CEO

 Tonia Wellons, VP of Community Investment

Tonia Wellons, VP of Community Investment

 

Building Thriving Communities

The Greater Washington Community Foundation has three focus areas which guide our interconnected and strategic approach to Building Thriving Communities. These focus areas represent the range of efforts that The Community Foundation, our donors, and partners individually and collectively undertake to strengthen our region and create a brighter future for our most vulnerable neighbors. Through support for direct services as well as research, advocacy, and grassroots community engagement, we are contributing to systems change in the following areas: 

Poverty

Approach: Respond to the multi-dimensional nature of poverty by addressing basic needs – food, shelter, education, health – while also working on systemic approaches to dismantling its impact.

The Community Foundation has long advocated for and supported education and safety-net services as part of our economic security framework. But the persistence of poverty—often predicted by zip code and race or ethnicity—remains one of the biggest challenges affecting families across the region. We are committed to addressing inequities and helping our most vulnerable neighbors—people experiencing homelessness, unstable housing, or underemployment—find pathways out of poverty by supporting both direct services and systems-level interventions.

Related Funds and Initiatives:

  • Fund for Greater Washington
  • Partnership to End Homelessness in DC
  • Children’s Opportunity Fund (Montgomery County)
  • Sharing Funds
  • Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative
    Prince George’s County)
  • Fund for Children, Youth and Families
  • Raise DC
  • Scholarship funds
  • Neighbors in Need Montgomery Fund

Broader Foundation and Donor Interests:

  • Safety-net services
  • Affordable housing
  • Homelessness
  • Hunger
  • Education and scholarships
  • Economic development
  • Public Health
  • Early Childhood Development
     

Culture and Human Connection

Approach: Foster diverse and inclusive connections by promoting philanthropy and civic engagement, supporting arts and culture, and advocating for equity, inclusion, and justice.

Our region is one of the most culturally, ethnically, geographically, and economically diverse areas in the country. Yet underlying discrimination and disparities based on race, income or gender continue to threaten community cohesion. We can enhance community well-being by celebrating our region’s diversity and the economic and social benefits therein, facilitating civic participation by all and advocating for more just policies and investments that support members of our community who are economically and/or socially marginalized.

Related Funds and Initiatives:

  • Fund for Greater Washington
  • VoicesDMV
  • Resilience Fund
  • Sharing Funds
  • Celebration of Philanthropy, Celebration of
    Giving, and Civic Leadership Awards
  • Spring Creek Environmental Fund
  • Corporate disaster relief funds and other
    responsive funds

Broader Foundation and Donor Interests:

  • Race equity and inclusion
  • Social justice
  • Civic engagement
  • Disaster Relief
  • Arts and Culture
  • Environment
  • Human rights
  • Criminal justice reform
  • Public spaces

The Future of Work

Approach: Prepare workers and entrepreneurs to build the skills and resources they need to succeed in our region’s changing economy.

As our region grows and adapts to a changing global economy, local employers increasingly demand a higher level of skill and knowledge from workers. Thousands in our region are unemployed, under-employed, or stuck in low-wage employment because they lack the tools and training. We will continue our work to eliminate income gaps, especially those based on race or ethnicity, and advocate for fair wages, portable benefits, and state of the art workforce systems. Ultimately, we aim to connect workers to career pathways and industry-recognized credentials to help them enter and advance in their careers, build skills, and increase wages.

Related Funds and Initiatives:

  • The Catalyst Fund
  • Workforce Development Collaborative
    • Greater Washington Works: IT and
      Health Careers with Promise
  • Sharing Funds

 

 

Broader Foundation and Donor Interests:

  • Career pathways
    and advancement opportunities
  • Adult education, training
    and credentials
  • Income inequality
  • Workforce development programs
  • Wealth-building, entrepreneurship and small business
  • Portable benefits
  • Research and advocacy

Centering Race Equity and Inclusion at The Community Foundation

The Community Foundation is building on a rich history of social justice grantmaking and community leadership initiatives—including funding collaboratives such as the Washington Area Partnership for Immigrants and the Common Ground Fund, which originated our acclaimed “Putting Race on the Table” discussion series—as we renew our institutional commitment to race, equity and inclusion. Our priority is to ensure that our leadership team and staff have a full appreciation for what it means to apply a racial equity lens to our day-to-day work. This includes revisiting our internal processes and institutional infrastructure to make sure they reflect our values for racial equity in pay, voice, contracting, hiring, governance, and in our grantmaking process. Similarly, we look to achieve racial equity in our programmatic and community leadership work by explicitly acknowledging systems and policies that have led to disproportionate negative outcomes for people of color, and by disaggregating data as we consider current and future programmatic interventions. We seek to center racial equity at The Community Foundation by actively engaging people and communities most impacted, particularly as we pursue solutions and investments.

This is a work in progress, but our commitment to this work remains steadfast.

Partnering with Donors to Pool Resources for Local Impact

Sharing Funds in the District of ColumbiaMontgomery County, and Prince George's County represent strategic, donor-led funding efforts which facilitate education and civic engagement around local issues and encourage more residents and businesses to collectively give where they live. Individuals 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.

Sharing DC

Sharing DC supports nonprofit organizations based in and directly serving low-income children, youth, adults and families in the District of Columbia. The focus area for the last Sharing DC grant cycle was on youth post-secondary success. The primary goal was to help District of Columbia youth access and be successful in post-secondary education and training, including traditional college and university credentials and industry recognized certifications. A total of $140,000 was awarded to the following organizations:

  • Latin American Youth Center for its Career Academy offers students the chance to earn a GED, take college preparatory classes, earn college credits, and gain job skills in the high-growth healthcare and information technology sectors.
  • New Futures provides ongoing case management, support services, and scholarships to propel students through two- or four-year community colleges or certification programs. New Futures DC will support 35 underserved youth to complete their post-secondary Scholars program.
  • One World Education offers school-based programs that improve students' research, writing, and presentation skills while guiding them to more deeply understand social issues and to be prepared for postsecondary education, careers, and civic responsibilities. One World seeks to launch two new programs, expand into nine new DC charter schools, onboard two AmeriCorps VISTAS, upgrade computer systems, and increase communications outreach.
  • See Forever Foundation serves a student population comprised of primarily court-involved teens and students who have dropped or failed out of traditional schools. These “alternative” schools create learning environments in low-income, urban communities where all students, particularly those who have not succeeded in traditional schools, reach their potential and prepare for college, career, and a lifetime of success.
  • The Next Step Public Charter School serves disconnected youth with programs that increase their chances of succeeding in their post-secondary studies. The Next Step offers these students a full academic program in English and Spanish with flexible placement and pacing, extensive and wraparound case management, life skills instruction and college and career readiness services.
  • The Urban Alliance’s High School Internship Program targets under-resourced high school seniors with a 2.0-3.0 grade point average and who have great potential for post-secondary success but are at risk of falling behind academically. With this grant, Urban Alliance can support 170 youth to participate in the 2017-2018 Washington, DC High School Internship Program.
  • Urban Education provides technology-driven education, information, and skill development. This grant will help Urban Ed serve 75 low-income, unemployed youth, complete plans to grow its reach to 150 youth per year, rollout expanded courses of study, and become an approved vocational education Academy at Anacostia Senior High School.

Read about how Urban Ed is helping DC youth find expanded career pathways by gaining marketable workplace skills in information technology to establish the footing for personal and family sustainability.

Sharing Montgomery

The Sharing Montgomery Fund provides grants to 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations with programs or services which directly serve low-income children, youth, adults, families, and/or seniors living in Montgomery County. In FY18, the Sharing Montgomery Endowment grew to $2.1 million, and made grants of $375,000 to 60+ local nonprofits.

Sharing Prince George’s

Sharing Prince George's supports quality nonprofit organizations addressing the economic security needs of Prince George’s County residents through education, workforce development and safety-net services. It currently consists of the Prince George’s Neighbor to Neighbor Fund and the MGM National Harbor Fund. The Sharing Prince George’s Fund granted a total of $188,000 in awards to 15 nonprofits:

  • Amara Legal Center to expand the Legal Representation Program which provides full legal representation to clients in cases such as child custody, civil protection orders, criminal record expungement, criminal defense cases, victim-witness advocacy, and various other types of civil cases in Maryland.
  • Centro de Apoyo Familiar to support an asset building program which is designed to reach low-to moderate-income Latino families.
  • Court Appointed Special Advocate - Prince George's County, MD to support work to match transition-aged foster youth throughout the County with CASA volunteers who provide one-on-one support to ensure successful transitions to adulthood by increasing high school graduation, access to post-secondary opportunities and access to safety net services.
  • Doctors Community Hospital Foundation to support the Wellness on Wheels Mobile Clinic which targets Prince George’s County communities that face significantly higher health challenge and disparities.
  • Family Restoration and Healing Center, Inc. to support the i-Succeed Workforce Development Program that will prepare, secure and maintain employment and career paths for 80 at-risk youth ages 15-24 from low income communities by focusing on job readiness, life skills, career training and employment.
  • First Generation College Bound, Inc. to support the organization to empower youth from low to moderate families to achieve social and economic success by providing guidance, encouragement and support in obtaining a college degree.
  • Housing Initiative Partnership, Inc. to support education, counseling, and support to help first time low-and moderate-income homebuyers make sustainable housing choices, help current homeowners avoid foreclosure, and help households build stable financial futures through financial planning, credit management, debt payment, and increasing savings.
  • La Clinica del Pueblo to support 1,000 Latino uninsured adults, adolescents and children in the Primary Health Access program that will deliver high quality healthcare, support services, and health educational services at a new health center in Hyattsville. 
  • Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, Inc. to support efforts to provide food, prevent evictions and utility cutoffs for families and individuals residing in Laurel.
  • Mission of Love Charities, Inc. to support a new food pantry that will serve at least 1,200 individuals and families in need. 
  • Mistaken Identity Foundation to support a workforce development program for low-income residents and returning citizens that offers 10 industry training programs, emotional intelligence workshops and job placement services as well as small business and entrepreneurship training.
  • Per Scholas, Inc. to sustain and enhance an IT training and job placement program, and specifically support students in their IT support and IT Security training tracks. 
  • Sasha Bruce Youthwork, Inc to support the day to day operations of the first emergency homeless youth shelter in Prince George’s County, Promise Place, which provides homeless, abandoned, abused, neglected and runaway youth from all over the county with a compassionate alternative to the dangers of the streets and/or unstable housing.
  • Side by Side, Inc. to support the Great Strat program which provides more than 100 workshops for parents at six Prince George’s County schools on how they can help their children build strong foundations in reading, math and behavior. 
  • Southern Prince Georges County Community Charities Inc to support ASCEND, a national program of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Upsilon Tau Omega Chapter of Fort Washington for girls and boys designed to motivate, engage, and assist high school students in reaching their maximum potential. 

Read how FGCB provides pathways through high school into college for low- to moderate-income, at-risk, and/or underrepresented youth attending Prince George’s County Public Schools.

The Impact of Hands-On Grantmaking in the District

This post is part of a series highlighting the amazing impact that results when our generous donors take a hands-on approach to the grantmaking process through our various Sharing Funds.

Sharing Funds in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and DC represent The Community Foundation’s community-led grantmaking approach through a collection of philanthropic funds that provide financial support to local nonprofit organizations. The initiative helps donors strategically leverage their resources to create even greater impact in their own communities by pooling resources in support of effective nonprofits. It also brings donors, and other stakeholders, together to learn first-hand about the challenges facing the area’s most vulnerable residents. They engage in a peer-led grant review process to identify and support organizations that are effectively responding to the most critical needs.

Sharing DC supports nonprofit organizations based in and directly serving low-income children, youth, adults and families in the District of Columbia. Its focus for the most recent grant cycle was on youth post-secondary success, with a primary goal to help DC youth access and be successful in post-secondary education and training, including traditional college, university credentials and industry recognized certifications.

If you’re like me, donating to charity requires a certain amount of finger-crossing. You have a few favorites you give to every year, because you know they do a good job. But then there are all the others: a little here to one group, and a little there to another. Maybe their literature caught your eye, or a friend told you about them, or you read about them somewhere. I often feel like it’s a shot in the dark. But Sharing D.C. is different. The support from The Community Foundation’s staff and the evaluations I conduct with my fellow donors make me comfortable that our money is going to good causes.

—    Marcus Rosenbaum, Sharing DC Committee Member

In 2017, the Sharing DC fund granted $140,000 in awards to nonprofits across Washington, DC. Urban Ed, Inc. was one of the seven recipients in the latest round of Sharing DC awards.

Urban Ed’s mission is “to provide District of Columbia children, youth and adults with technology-driven education, information and skill development for sustained futures.” The organization helps DC residents gain marketable workplace skills in information technology and coordinates educational initiatives that address truancy and low literacy with the use of various levels and forms of technology.

With more than 19,000 people out of work, half of which are youth between 18-29, these high levels of unemployment perpetuate several community issues such as crime rates, substance abuse, domestic violence and ongoing high poverty. Helping young people find careers in high growth occupations establishes the footing for personal and family sustainability [and alleviates] many societal issues, particularly within the Ward 8 community.
Having strategic funding partners, like The Community Foundation and this Sharing grant, is essential to the growth of our TechnoForce program (now called the STEMAcad) and our ability to reach our goals to provide the city more career pathways in IT and serve more residents in need. With this grant, we were able to expand our program to provide 4 career pathways, bring accredited IT curriculum to the ward 8 community, and build a pool of 75 local minority IT talent for regional employers. [We are] bridging more corporate partnerships to support IT workforce development, diversity, and inclusion, [and] we are now conferred as a non-degree granting educational institution by OSSE.

—    Roxanne J. Williams, President

The Community Foundation is happy to announce the next grant round for the Sharing Funds is opening on June 4, 2018. To stay updated on our grant availability, visit our nonprofit page or join our mailing list.

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,

 
Nicky+Goren_credit+Lisa+Helfert[1].jpg
2317+-+Bruce+McNamer+-+Sitting[2].jpg
 

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

Sasha Bruce Youthwork: Helping Youth Transition Successfully to Adulthood

For the past 43 years, Sasha Bruce has helped homeless youth find safe shelter, strengthened family ties and prepared youth for post-secondary education and careers. These services are available to the 1,500 youth and 5,000 family members who reside in Sasha Bruce’s transitional living facility or receive services via their Homeless Youth Drop-In Center each year.

Our Sharing DC Advisory Committee members and The Community Foundation donors and staff visited the Teen Drop-In Center to learn more about the work of Sasha Bruce, including its 18-year-old workforce development program. The program includes mentoring services that are geared toward the development of post-secondary plans for homeless youth and helping them access skills training certifications which can lead to immediate career tracks.

On the day of our visit, the drop-in center, which opens from 8:00 am-6:00 pm daily, was in full swing. The lounge, kitchen, and computer lab were all filled with teens. Some were studying for their GED exam or fixing lunch and others were applying for jobs or just taking a break from the chaos of life on the streets.

Executive Director, Deborah Shore, graciously escorted our group through the facility while sharing how the organization has evolved and expanded over the years. We paused periodically to meet with key staff and chat with clients. Most of the teens who participate in Sasha Bruce’s programs are grappling with very difficult circumstances. Despite their challenges, case managers shared numerous success stories of students obtaining jobs in construction or retail, entering transitional housing, or attending college.

With so much of their lives in flux, achieving any of these milestones is a major victory. Sasha Bruce often serves as a stabilizing force for youth. It provides ongoing support and a mentoring relationship that often extends for years. Its presence helps to ensure the successful transition to adulthood for DC area youth.
 

Sharing DC

Sharing DC, a donor led grantmaking initiative of The Community Foundation, focused on youth access to and success in post-secondary education this year. By 2018, 71% of all jobs in DC will require a post-secondary degree or certificate. However, only 72% of DC Public and Charter School students will graduate high school, and of those, just 19% will earn post-secondary degrees.

To learn more about Sharing DC or join us for future visits, please contact Gisela Shanfeld at gshanfeld@thecommunityfoundation.org

 

 

Learn! DC Takes Community Foundation Donors Out on the Water

The Greater Washington Community Foundation held its inaugural event for a new initiative called Learn! DC on Monday, June 19. Learn! DC will be a series of opportunities for Community Foundation donors and fund holders to learn about the issues facing the Washington, D.C. community, and the organizations who build their programming to combat these issues and support the needs of the community.

Learn! DC’s first event was held in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing pollution in the bay and its tributaries by serving as a watchdog fighting for effective science-based solutions to “Save the Bay”. In addition to advocacy, the CBF hosts educational field programs which take students outside to explore the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

To gain a deeper perspective regarding the state of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, 10 Community Foundation donors took a ride on the CBF’s education vessel for a two-hour exploratory, interactive adventure. As the boat passed through the waterways crisscrossing the rivers, CBF educators explained in great detail how the state of the Chesapeake Bay and its sprawling watershed effects the health of the rivers’ water.

Trawling for fish is one way to measure the health of the Anacostia and Potomac rivers. The variety and health of fish are good indicators of oxygen and nutrient levels in the water. Donors participated in a trawling demonstration by helping to heave a massive net from the water and then survey the catch. The haul that day produced a majority of catfish. These catfish are not native to the area, as they were placed here for sport fishing. The catfish have since flourished as there are otherwise no other natural predators. All fish caught by the trawling net were then put back in the water safe and sound.

“It’s so important for the DC community to learn about the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. As  D.C. natives and fishing enthusiasts, it was exciting to learn about how we can help maintain the health of the rivers that we love.” - Betsy Paull, donor

The Community Foundation hopes to host more Learn! DC events starting in Fall 2017.