A Monarch Butterfly Spreads His Wings

Guest post by Karen Gardner, Executive Director, Reading Partners

This is the first post in a new blog series on Building A Safer, Stronger DC, featuring stories from grantees of the City Fund Safer, Stronger DC portfolio. View the full series here.

 
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Right around this time last year, we first got to know Anthony* as a charismatic second grader who really liked to tell tales. Tall ones. One of the stories he liked to tell was about a shark in his bathtub, which included what the shark ate, how the shark got into his bathtub and even where it went when the water was drained. Anthony was an imaginative thinker who had thoughts and opinions on just about any topic. But when you asked him to read, the normally outgoing student would transform into a shy one, barely uttering a word.

Anthony found decoding and reading fluently a challenge. It caused him to daydream in class and rarely engage in reading, so his teacher recommended him for Reading Partners, a one-on-one literacy tutoring program for kids struggling with reading. Thankfully, Anthony’s school, Malcolm X Elementary in Ward 8, was one of two schools where Reading Partners’ program expanded significantly with the support of the City Fund just two years prior.

Anthony was about a year below grade level. When the site coordinator assessed him, she noticed that because he struggled to decode words, he would just skip over a word if he didn’t know it. He was quickly paired with two seasoned community tutors, Ms. Layla and Ms. Beth, who both had experience with shier students.

To help Anthony move past his shyness and gain more confidence, his tutors worked with their site coordinator to find ways to incorporate his own stories into the lessons. They figured if they could get him to talk about something he was really interested in, he might become more comfortable with them and therefore more comfortable reading aloud.

One day, Anthony was completing a normal lesson with Ms. Layla. The site coordinator was listening in on their session because they were always full of energy. After reading a book about butterflies, Anthony began asking Ms. Layla questions about the text just as she would have done. The site coordinator listened more closely and realized he was quizzing Ms. Layla specifically about the Monarch butterfly and was utilizing information from a previous session. She was so astounded at his confidence that she sat back in awe. Anthony went on to show Ms. Layla where in the text certain answers were and shared the information he previously learned.

This interaction showed that all his hard work had paid off. He was able to decode larger words, understand the text, and relate it to his own prior knowledge. This once shy student had developed into a now confident super reader that read literally everything on the walls as he walked the hallway with his site coordinator!

Reading Partners gave Anthony a place where he could move away from feeling like he might make a mistake, to where he had the courage and knowledge to correct a mistake. In the reading center, he could be himself. Now, in class, he is more inclined to raise his hand and readily speaks up. Anthony learned how to use the context clues in the text to better understand vocabulary words and no longer shies away from multisyllabic words. He is a much more fluent reader and now reads with expression.

Without Reading Partners, Anthony’s full potential might not have been realized. He would have continued to be afraid to read for fear of making a mistake and he most likely would have fallen even further behind.

If not for the literacy skills he acquired, Anthony also might not have discovered that he loves facts and that non-fiction books are his thing! And he might not have made new friends in Ms. Layla and Ms. Beth, who truly loved listening to his stories, no matter how tall. Their commitment to Anthony’s success contributed to the fact that he’s now on a path to a brighter future. I’m thrilled to share that Anthony finished the school year on grade level. He now understands that reading matters.

Reading matters because it is the foundation for all future learning. Yet nationwide, 80% of students from low-income households are not reading proficiently by fourth grade. In addition, not reading proficiently by the end of fourth grade makes students four times more likely to drop out of high school. Illiteracy in our country is an epidemic with serious consequences for our communities — but it’s a solvable problem. In fact, research shows that no one factor can so dramatically shape a person’s chance of success and well-being as learning to read.

Reading Partners is fully committed to strengthening our communities by working with students like Anthony. At Reading Partners, community tutors from all walks of life come together to share their love of reading and learning, empowering the next generation to succeed in school and in life. Anthony’s accomplishments are a great example of what can be achieved when a community comes together and encourages a child to excel.

In the words of his site coordinator, “Without Reading Partners, Anthony may not have blossomed into such a wonderful, brilliant student. He always has a tall tale and he can go on and on about these stories. I can see him writing a script for a children’s movie someday. When I think of Anthony, I think of the Monarch butterfly.”

*Names have been changed.

 
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“Inner City Blues”: The Dual Reality of Building a Safer, Stronger DC

By Manon P. Matchett, Community Investment Officer, Greater Washington Community Foundation

As a proud and happy resident of the Hillsdale community for the past 15+ years, I have dutifully crossed the Anacostia River every day to travel to work. Most of that time has been spent working in philanthropy. The landscape has changed significantly these last few years.    

The optics of my commute change as I travel downtown. As I exit the Frederick Douglass bridge and drive past the new DC United Audi and the Washington Nationals stadiums on each side of me, I am reminded of how change has come, slowly and sometimes painfully. Neighborhoods that were crime-ridden and desolate are now thriving communities with quaint restaurants, trendy boutiques and high-rise luxury apartments. Streets have awoken from their coma with a promise never to sleep again. This is a new city hustle and bustle, that is energizing, even calming. Yet, not all communities are experiencing the region’s progress and prosperity in the same way.

The reality of the work that I do at The Community Foundation and how our focus on improving our communities personally affects me and my family has hit home in recent weeks. Within the last month, yellow crime tape has decorated my street. Shots were fired. On the street where my family lives. The most frightening experience was watching Metropolitan Police officers canvassing my block for bullet casings. I walked away after the twelfth marker was placed on the street. Last Sunday, a young man, with a bright future was gunned down on his way home from the corner store. I purposely drive in the opposite direction, so I do not have to see his deathbed – a small plot of bloodstained grass.

As a community leader, funder, convener and advocate, The Community Foundation has a long history of responding to urgent and emerging community challenges by addressing both short-term needs and creating long-term solutions. Most recently as the number of violent crimes committed in the District has surged, particularly in communities like mine which are located East of the River, I have participated in conversations with the philanthropic community, community-based organizations, and the District Government to identify ways we can contribute to and accelerate various violence prevention strategies. As a result of these conversations, The Community Foundation has mobilized the generosity of local funders to support the implementation of a pilot program that targets a small set of District neighborhoods using the Cure Violence methodology. While this program is just beginning to launch, I am heartened by the ongoing work of local community groups who are already offering a range of solutions to address violence prevention in our homes, in our schools, and in our communities.

In 2016, the Greater Washington Community Foundation assumed grantmaking for Mayor Bowser’s Safer, Stronger DC initiative. This was a targeted, place-based approach to meet the unique and varying needs of high crime neighborhoods. Since then, we have successfully conducted three grant rounds totaling $4 million to 95 organizations serving 13 Police Service Areas in Wards 1, 5, 7, and 8. I am immensely proud of what this portfolio of organizations is achieving.

Over the next few weeks, grantees from the City Fund Safer, Stronger DC portfolio will share their stories of how their respective organizations provide necessary safety-net, violence prevention and violence intervention services to some of the most vulnerable populations and under-resourced communities in the District. None of them will tell how grueling and sometimes discouraging their work can be. Many mask the pain of being unable to help everyone. Quite a few are still grieving the loss of life and potential of those they have served. Yet, all of them wake anew each day ready to start all over again filled with hope and courage.

My own commuting mentality is evolving. On good days, I am not just crossing the river, I am crossing a bridge. I am coming home to new residences, redeveloping commercial corridors and more options for shopping and dining. Despite all this, I make the journey home filled with anxiety and trepidation because I do not know what to expect. To ease my spirit, I hum the lyrics to “Inner City Blues” from the iconic and native Washingtonian Marvin Gaye. Some days “it makes me wanna holler and throw up both my hands.” My heart calms as I turn onto my street and see an MPD cruiser parked nearby. It is temporary solace knowing that my community has one more night of peace.


 

A Safer, Stronger DC Blog Series

 

Join us for a screening and discussion of America to Me on September 27 at 6 pm

The Greater Washington Community Foundation has partnered with Education Forward DC and the DC Public Education Fund to host a citywide screening and panel discussion of America to Me, a ten-part docu-series about race and equity in America’s public schools commissioned by Participant Media. Directed by Academy-Award nominee Steve James (Hoop Dreams, Life Itself, The Interrupters), the series follows a year in the life of students, teachers, and administrators at Oak Park and River Forest High School, a racially integrated high school near Chicago. 

Please join us on September 27 for the screening followed by a discussion with former U.S. Secretary of Education and CEO of Ed Trust, John King; Interim Chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools, Amanda Alexander; former Washington, DC Deputy Mayor for Education, Abigail Smith; and series-featured student, Jada Buford.
 
You can find more information in the invitation below. Please RSVP by clicking here.

Sharing DC: Immersive Grantmaking

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What if you could visit a nonprofit, talk with key staff, and get a behind the scenes tour before deciding to give? What if you could get together with like-minded individuals to share your observations and learn about important issues facing Washingtonians every day? Sharing DC, an initiative of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, provides an opportunity to do just that. It allows donors and stakeholders alike to experience philanthropy in a visceral and meaningful way.

Meeting in early spring, the Sharing DC Committee gathers to learn about pressing community issues in the District. A lively discussion among members is facilitated by The Community Foundation’s dedicated Community Investment team, and a decision is made about which issue to focus on for the year.

This year, the Committee’s focus area is homelessness prevention and intervention. Our goal is to help single adults, families and youth exit homelessness and move to permanent housing by providing funds to help them meet key needs and address barriers to homelessness.

Starting in late September, Committee Members will travel across Washington, DC to visit nine amazing organizations that have been selected to apply for funding. The Committee will meet one last time, in early December, to share feedback and learnings and collectively make funding decisions.

The Sharing DC process helps answer our most fundamental questions about philanthropy: what are the most pressing issues in the District, what questions should I be asking of an organization I’d like to support, how can I ensure that my grant will have a meaningful impact? These are some of the questions we explore through Sharing DC’s hands-on, collaborative and donor-centered approach. This is the perfect opportunity for anyone who may wonder if they are making wise investments to immerse themselves in a grant review process.

Sharing DC is a remarkable program. Just ask the many participants who join us each year on visits to some of DC’s most promising programs, or read about one of our grantee organizations and its mission to provide DC youth with technology-driven education, information and skill development for sustained futures. This is but one example of The Community Foundation’s efforts to encourage philanthropy in our region and to bring people together. Collectively, we’re making a real difference in the lives of our neighbors and communities.

To join us for one or more visits, please contact Gisela Shanfeld.

For Both Donors and Scholars, 'We Take Away the Worry'

 
 Denton Scholars at the 2018 Awards Banquet

Denton Scholars at the 2018 Awards Banquet

When journalist Herbert Denton Jr. died suddenly in 1989, his Washington Post colleagues were heartbroken. A distinguished reporter, editor and foreign correspondent who was a champion of black achievement in his profession and mentor to numerous black journalists, Denton was remembered by colleague Juan Williams. “What Denton did was to establish black journalists at The Post and make a way for black journalists in the future in a way no lawsuits and no rhetoric have ever approached,” Williams wrote in a Post column at the time. “And in the process, he increased the newspaper’s awareness of black Washington. This…puts him among the legends of journalism.” 

Another Washington legend – former Washington Post publisher Donald E. Graham – along with coworkers such as Milton Coleman, came up with a fitting way to honor their friend: the Herbert H. Denton, Jr. Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship has been awarded annually since 1990 to a graduating senior from a list of participating area high schools. Criteria include general character and academic achievement, demonstrated ability in non-fiction writing, and financial need. The 2018 scholar, Rhema Jones, is a graduate of KIPP DC College Preparatory and will begin at McDaniel College this fall. Past scholars have graduated from colleges large and small, private and public, and have gone on to careers in medicine, investment banking, education, government, public health, journalism and others. Alumni who make up “the Denton Scholar family” include Curtiland Deville, clinical director and chair of Sibley radiation oncology at Johns Hopkins; Erin Michele Roberts, a published short story writer; and Benjamin de la Piedra, who teaches oral history workshops and is writing a biography of Denton, among many others. 

Graham established a scholarship fund with the Greater Washington Community Foundation in 2004. Since then, The Community Foundation “has been an ideal partner,” said Graham. The staff “couldn’t be more helpful.”

Pam Kendrick, a former Post employee who serves as administrator of the scholarship program and works closely with The Community Foundation staff, agrees, adding that the fund pays for everything from tuition to room and board (including off-campus housing and study abroad) to the many expenses that financial aid does not typically cover, such as books, computers and other school supplies.

“We take away the worry – for both the donor and for the scholars,” says Amina Anderson, The Community Foundation’s Director, DC Office of Philanthropy and Donor Services. “That way the donor can focus on awarding scholarships and the students can focus on their education.” The Community Foundation manages several scholarship funds in a variety of ways, from administering payments and managing assets to being involved in the selection of scholars.

“The Denton scholarship has brought a lot of really impressive young people into the Washington community – doctors, lawyers, businesspeople,” Graham said. Equally impressive, he adds, is that they are “very dedicated to those who come after them.” For instance, when one candidate said she wanted to be a doctor but didn’t know anyone to talk to about the field, a former scholar who is a physician came forward and offered to guide her. It left her speechless. That is the power of the Denton Scholar family.

Coleman heads the selection committee. “For some,” he says, “the scholarship has meant being able to go to a four-year college, instead of a community college. For others, it meant graduating from an Ivy League school with no debt. And for some, it meant the difference between going to college – or not going at all.”

Learn more about the life of Herbert Denton and the scholarship fund named in his honor by visiting www.dentonscholars.org.

Starting a scholarship fund at the Greater Washington Community Foundation is easy and rewarding, and the best part is that students, their families and communities will benefit from your generosity for years to come. For more information about creating a scholarship fund at The Community Foundation, please contact us at 202-955-5890 or donorservices@thecommunityfoundation.org.

 

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.