Resilience Fund Dedicates $50,000 to Those Impacted By Shutdown

The Greater Washington Community Foundation announced it will dedicate $50,000 in funding for emergency cash and food relief for local workers, contractors and small business owners impacted by the partial Federal Government shutdown. These funds are being made available through the Resilience Fund, which supports the critical needs of nonprofits responding to changes in federal policy, and the climate of intolerance and hate, disproportionately impacting local people of color, and immigrant and refugee communities.

“Our hearts are with all the individuals and families affected by the partial government shutdown, which is estimated to impact 285,000 people in the DMV region alone according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments,” said Tonia Wellons, VP of Community Investment for the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “We know missing even one paycheck can mean members of our community, especially the region’s low-wage workers, struggle to pay rent, afford groceries, and otherwise provide for their families. Our nonprofit partners and other organizations have stepped in to fill gaps left by the government, but many have stretched themselves thin during a historically slow time of year for giving. The Resilience Fund will provide critical support so that these nonprofits have the resources they need to continue their work and meet the increase in demand for their services.”

You can help those affected by the shutdown, too. All donations made to the Resilience Fund from today through the end of the shutdown will be added to the $50,000 in funds set aside to support nonprofits providing aid or assistance to local residents. You may also elect to make a donation to one of the Resilience Fund’s other funding priorities, including immigration and deportation policies, justice reform and civil rights roll-backs, and efforts that expand access to citizenship and democracy.

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ABOUT THE RESILIENCE FUND

The Resilience Fund was created in early 2017 as a collaborative partnership of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, and other foundation and individual contributors. Since the Fund’s inception, it has raised and leveraged more than $1 million and made grants to organizations supporting our neighbors affected by changes to immigration and deportation policies, as well as efforts to build community cohesion and combat anti-other sentiment. Grants have supported immigrant-serving organizations providing advocacy, legal or medical services, training on legal and civil rights, and assistance with reuniting families separated at the border and detained in Maryland or Virginia. The Fund has also responded to increases in incidents of hate and intolerance in the region by supporting grassroots community engagement, voter education services, and the expansion of educational programs in local schools that teach news literacy as well as tolerance, respect and inclusion.

Resources and Support for Furloughed Federal Government Employees

With the partial government shutdown affecting up to 285,000 people (according to an estimate of affected federal and contract workers provided by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments) in the DMV region alone, many of you have asked how you can help our neighbors who may be impacted or what resources are available to Federal Government employees or contractors in need of assistance. Several companies and local organizations have made resources available to local residents whose livelihoods may be affected, and we have compiled many of these resources into the list below.

If you are in a position to help our neighbors who may struggle to meet critical needs for food or other financial assistance during this period of uncertainty, please consider giving to our Resilience Fund. The shutdown is occurring during one of the driest seasons of giving, which puts an even greater strain on our nonprofit partners who are providing assistance to our neighbors in need. The Resilience Fund, with a mission to respond to changes in federal policy that negatively impact the most vulnerable in our communities, has set aside $50,000 in funding to help local nonprofits address the most critical needs. With your support, these organizations can increase capacity to do more during this time of uncertainty for our friends, families, and neighbors.

Utilities:

Pepco’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)/ Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) provides assistance to low-income customers with their home heating bills. Maryland residents can call 1-800-352-1446 or visit the Office of Home Energy Programs website. DC residents can call 311 or visit ddoe.dc.gov/publication/energy-assistance-program-applications. Pepco is also offering deferred payment plans and other assistance programs, DC residents can find info here and Maryland residents can find info here.

Washington Gas is offering DC, Maryland and Virginia residents flexible payment options for federal workers, including deferred payments and ways to spread the cost of winter heating. You can contact Washington Gas customer service representatives at 1-844-WASHGAS to discuss their individual situations. Washington Gas also offers assistance to customers facing disconnection with a grant of up to $500 once a year through the Washington Area Fuel Fund Partnership administered by the Salvation Army.

DC Water will assist furloughed government employees by offering flexibility for bill payment and making existing programs available to assist customers who are struggling with their bills. You can learn more about options by calling customer service at 202-354-3600 or visiting https://www.dcwater.com/customer-assistance. WSSC, serving Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, will waive late fees and work with customers to establish convenient payment plans.

Another resource is the Greater Washington Urban League, which provides up to $500 in assistance to families needing assistance with their electric and gas bills. For information on getting assistance, you can call the GWUL offices at 202.265.8200.

T-Mobile and Verizon have both announced flexible payment plan assistance.  Customers should contact the companies directly.

Banks and Mortgage:

Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase Bank, and other institutions have offered flexibility with deferred payments, interests and late fees for their customers. Democracy Federal Credit Union is offering a short-term emergency loan with 0% interest. Bankers are also referring customers with specific concerns to their in-house financial counseling service. Other institutions, like USAA Bank and Transportation Federal Credit Union, have said they'll provide low-interest loans to their customers.

The Hebrew Free Loan Association is also making available emergency loans ranging from $500 to $2,000 to current Federal employees affected by the shutdown.

Unemployment Resources:

Federal employees may be eligible for unemployment benefits by following the application process through the state in which you work. To find your state’s office, click here. The Office of Personnel Management has released a resource page with important Unemployment Insurance Information for Federal Workers.

Nonprofit Resources:

The Capital Area Food Bank has a goal to provide 300,000 extra meals in January. This includes launching five free Pop Up Markets on Saturday, January 12 from 9 AM to 12 PM for government employees and contractors affected by the furlough. More information can be found at https://www.capitalareafoodbank.org/pop-up-markets/. You can also locate your local food bank using this online tool https://www.capitalareafoodbank.org/get-help/.

Starting on Monday, January 14, Bread for the City will provide a five-day supply of groceries for furloughed DC federal employees or contractors and their families. A Federal Government employee ID is required, or contractors can bring a picture ID with supplemental information regarding your furloughed status. More information is available at https://breadforthecity.org/food/.

United Way of the National Capital Area announced the launch of its Emergency Assistance Fund, with an initial $50,000 in support to select nonprofit organizations providing vital food, rent and utility assistance which are facing an increased demand for services due to the government shutdown crisis. You can also use United Way NCA’s services to seek financial guidance and one-on-one counseling by visiting one of its four Financial Empowerment Centers located throughout the region. These centers offer direct access to high-quality financial services and guidance in a welcoming, professional environment at no cost to the client. United Way NCA also offers 2-1-1, a free, confidential helpline number that provides callers in need of social services with health and human service resources in their local community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Resources for DC Residents:

For District residents, DC’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) offers funding for locals facing eviction because of overdue rent. DC’s Department of Energy and the Environment provides various programs to assist with utility payments.

Resources for Prince George’s County Residents:

For residents in Prince George’s County, the county government has compiled a list of resources to help affected workers in the area.

Resources for Montgomery County Residents:

The Montgomery County government has compiled a list of resources to help affected workers who live in the county.

A Wider Circle, Interfaith Works and Manna Food Center are nonprofits offering food, household essentials and other resources for Montgomery County Residents.

2019 Montgomery County Philanthropist of the Year Nominations Now Open!

Nomination Guidelines

Purpose: To honor an individual who has made a positive impact in our community through giving, and whose philanthropic leadership sets an inspiring example for us all. 

Nomination Process:

Complete the official nomination form and a letter explaining why your nominee should be selected as the Montgomery County Philanthropist of the Year. 

Please note that the cover form must be completed in its entirety in order for the nomination to be eligible. The Awards Committee will not accept nominations which rely solely on resumes, newspaper articles, annual reports or the like in substitution for concise responses to the criteria outlined below. Pending review by the Philanthropist of the Year Selection Committee, The Community Foundation staff may contact you for additional information. 

For inspiration, look no further than our past honorees.

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Our 2018 Montgomery County Philanthropist of the Year, Linda Youngentob, and her family at the Celebration of Giving on November 1, 2018.


Eligibility Criteria: 

All nominees must…

  • Be a resident of Montgomery County

  • Have a demonstrated track record of charitable giving to one or more nonprofit organizations based in and working in Montgomery County

  • Have made a positive impact in the lives of county residents through their giving

  • Encourage/motivate others to become philanthropic

Note: The level of charitable dollars given is secondary to its impact and potential to inspire others to follow suit. Creative approaches to philanthropy are welcome!  Nominees may be of any age.

In exceptional circumstances, the Award Committee may consider a former resident, a family unit, or a philanthropist who is deceased. 

Deadline: March 8, 2019

The nomination form and letter must be postmarked or emailed by close of business on Friday, March 8, 2019 to:

The Community Foundation in Montgomery County

Attn: Kevin Donnelly

8720 Georgia Avenue, Suite 202

Silver Spring, MD 20910

kdonnelly@thecommunityfoundation.org

The Community Foundation in Montgomery County will contact the selected awardee and her/his nominator by the end of May. All other nominations will remain confidential.

Questions: Contact Kevin Donnelly at kdonnelly@thecommunityfoundation.org or 301-495-3036 x162.

Leapfrogging Inequity in Montgomery County

Guest post by Kimberly Rusnak, Project Director for the Children's Opportunity Fund

What is leapfrogging in education? The concept was explored with a group of Community Foundation donors at our most recent President’s Forum in Montgomery County. It is the ability to jump ahead or disrupt existing paradigms to make rapid and non-linear progress. It is the possibility to transform what and how children learn so that young people can develop a broad set of skills needed to thrive. The concept is discussed by Rebecca Winthrop, a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institute, in her new book, Leapfrogging Inequality: Remaking Education to Help Young People Thrive

The first major point covered during the talk sought to answer a critical question: What is the goal of education? Though it seems like such a simple question, the answers in the room were vastly different. Some of the answers were: the goal is to teach basic skills of reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. This was countered with the goal to ensure sustainable employment. Or is the goal to provide young people with the tools for a fulfilling life and to encourage active civic participation? Or all of the above?

The answer posed to the group by Ms. Winthrop was called, “Academic +,” also known as The Breadth-of-Skills-Movement. While an education system must prioritize knowledge acquisition, there must also be a strong emphasis on developing skills needed to use that knowledge in different settings overtime. This includes academic subjects, plus globally relevant topics, communication skills, problem solving skills; and trying to prepare students for the future. It’s a tough job—and no single approach is the perfect solution because learning happens everywhere—at home, at school, in the community. 

In an average year, an elementary school student only spends 14% of their time in school (based on a 7-hour school day, 180 days  per year). Roughly 33% of a student’s time is spent sleeping, and 53% of their time is spent awake and out of school. If the majority (53%) of learning happens at home, in the community and among peers, think about what that means. 

For many families that cannot afford quality early learning and pre-K access, fee-based out of school programs, private tutoring and costly summer camps, the opportunities and exposure to academic and non-academic skills and knowledge are very different compared to affluent families who can. The families who cannot afford expensive out-of-school supports are often immigrants and people of color; which is why the opportunity gap and racial inequity exists in almost every county and city in the United States.  Race and poverty are not the same thing, but there are strong correlations in the world of education.  As Kevin Beverly, a Trustee of The Community Foundation reflected:

“Encouraging educators to open the aperture and look beyond the standard approaches is a key to helping our at-risk youth excel.” 

In order to make major strides and changes in education, we must take big leaps and major calculated risks to achieve greater change for children and address this inequity. We must do our work differently so that we can achieve different results. Incremental change is not enough; we must find ways to leapfrog. As Shirley Brandman, an Education Advocate in Montgomery County reflected:

“Our commitment to equity will only become real when we can invest in tangible strategies that catch students up and keep them on track academically.  Making more than a year's worth of progress in a year of schooling is key and the insights shared about how we can harness innovation to leapfrog or accelerate learning should inspire us to rededicate our efforts.” 

There were several examples of this idea shared at the President’s Forum last week.  An initiative called, LEMA (Literacy and Math Education Labs) has created board games that teach literacy, numeracy, teamwork and collaboration at the same time. Another example was Wonderschool in California who works with families, educators and childcare providers to helps individuals start their own businesses by assisting with licensing, marketing and everything in between. 

I have spent my entire career working in education and the field of out of school time.  I am excited for the opportunity to take my experiences and knowledge and put them to work in Montgomery County through the Children’s Opportunity Fund. It is our goal to help every child succeed.  The Fund focuses on supporting and scaling evidence-based initiatives that are meeting gaps in Montgomery County. 

Thank you to Rebecca Winthrop for sharing her knowledge and expertise.  Our community will use these learnings and others to help investigate opportunities to innovate and address inequity in education in Montgomery County, and across the region. 


Kimberly joined The Community Foundation in the summer of 2018.  Through her previous experience as a Program Officer with the Social Innovation Fund, she oversaw a portfolio of innovative interventions ranging from cradle to career.  Kimberly came to The Community Foundation well-versed in program development, nonprofit management and community development.  She is a passionate advocate for young people and believes it is critical that we provide equal opportunities to all. 

Thank You for Supporting the 2018 Celebration of Giving

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Thank you for supporting the 2018 Montgomery County Celebration of Giving! 

We were proud to bring together more than 350 people to recognize the donors, nonprofits, and local leaders who make up our community of givers and doers in Montgomery County and to salute our 2018 Philanthropist of the Year, Linda Youngentob. 

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As we head into the holiday season, we hope you will remember Linda’s story and the three epiphanies which guided her own philanthropic journey:

  • You can have impact when you help one person at a time,

  • That impact will have a ripple effect, and

  • Every one of us can have this impact right here in our own community.

We wish to extend a special thank you to the Celebration Sponsors, Host Committee, and everyone who contributed to making the night a success. Proceeds raised will help The Community Foundation in Montgomery County to meet its goal of addressing critical community needs by investing in high-impact nonprofit organizations and inspiring more people to give!

We couldn’t have done it without you!

With deep gratitude,

Anna Hargrave

P.S. Watch Linda's salute video and visit our Celebration page to see additional photos from the event. 

The Resilience Fund Combats Hate and Intolerance in the Greater Washington Region

Announces New Grants to Local Nonprofits Serving Immigrant and Muslim Communities

The Resilience Fund has announced $200,000 in grants to seven nonprofits supporting our neighbors experiencing hardship as a result of shifting federal policies and growing anti-other sentiment. The grant awards will enable these organizations to provide legal or medical services, conduct advocacy, and help protect the civil rights of immigrants, refugees, Muslims and other vulnerable communities in our region. 

“In light of recent tragedies from Pittsburgh to Louisville, we are reminded of both the strength and the vulnerability of our communities, including in the Greater Washington region,” said Tonia Wellons, VP of community investment for the Greater Washington Community Foundation, and Terri D. Wright, VP for program and community for the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, who co-chair the Fund’s Steering Committee. “The Resilience Fund is one tool to help stem the rising tide of intolerance, fear, bigotry, hate and anti-other sentiments that impact us locally. These grants will support the critical work of nonprofits responding to community needs to ensure our neighborhoods remain resilient, thriving, and more equitable and inclusive places to live.”

Grant Awards

The Resilience Fund’s latest grants will support:

  • DC Law Students in Court to expand immigration representation by leveraging hundreds of pro bono hours from student attorneys who will represent clients seeking release on bond before the Arlington Immigration Court. This will be the first legal clinical program of its kind in DC.

  • Identity, Inc. to help mitigate the negative consequences of new MCPS policies and practices on immigrant students and their families, including the visitor ID policy, Free and Reduced-Price Meals paper application, and high school athletics registration. Identity will advocate for policies that reduce barriers to equitable participation.

  • Jews United for Justice to conduct advocacy around the Montgomery County Trust Act, which would formalize rules preventing police and other local emergency services from cooperating with ICE; and the statewide Trust Act which will amend the Maryland Dream Act, so all young people have equal in-state tuition regardless of DACA status.

  • Justice for Muslims Collective to organize and empower Muslim communities to challenge federal anti-Muslim policies and societal bigotry. JMC will host community-building events, complete a DMV assessment on the needs of Muslim communities, organize rapid response mobilizations, and host community defense and wellness workshops.

  • League of Women Voters of Virginia to conduct voter services and voter education programs in Northern Virginia, specifically Arlington County, Fairfax area, Loudoun County, and Prince William area.

  • Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care to provide medical, dental, and behavioral health services to undocumented children separated from their parents at the border and receiving shelter in the region. Mary’s Center will provide behavioral health care in its School Based Mental Health program at 18 public schools, and wraparound care at its health centers.

  • The Fuller Project for International Reporting to counter hatred and intolerance by expanding its reporting, training, and raising awareness about the issues facing immigrant women, children, and their families.

About the Resilience Fund

The Resilience Fund was created in early 2017 as a collaborative partnership of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, and other foundation and individual contributors. It supports the critical needs of nonprofits who are responding to changes in federal policy and budget priorities, as well as the climate of intolerance and hate, both of which are disproportionately impacting local people of color, and immigrant and refugee communities. 

Since the Fund’s inception, it has raised and leveraged more than $1 million and granted out $550,000 to organizations supporting our neighbors affected by changes to immigration and deportation policies, as well as efforts to build community cohesion and combat anti-other sentiment. Grants have supported immigrant-serving organizations providing advocacy, legal representation, medical services, training on legal and civil rights, and assistance with reuniting families separated at the border and detained in Maryland or Virginia. The Fund has also responded to increases in incidents of hate and intolerance in the region by supporting grassroots community engagement, voter education services, and the expansion of educational programs in local schools that teach news literacy as well as tolerance, respect and inclusion. 

Call for Proposals

The Resilience Fund is interested in identifying community-based solutions which respond to federal policy shifts impacting our region. Organizations located in or serving the Greater Washington region may submit a letter of inquiry for a rapid response grant to address current or emerging issues affecting our neighbors and communities. We will entertain inquiries linked to immigration, justice reform and civil rights roll-backs, and efforts that expand access to citizenship and democracy including voter registration and participation efforts (GOTV). New proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by the Resilience Fund Steering Committee in 2019. 

Grants may support special projects, programs, or include general operating support. Grant awards may range from $10,000-$30,000. For more details on proposal submission guidelines, click here. Letters of inquiry may be submitted through our online application system. Contact Melen Hagos with questions at mhagos@thecommunityfoundation.org.

Join Us!

If you share our commitment to ensuring our communities are strong and resilient, we invite you to stand with us by contributing to the Resilience Fund.

Meet the 2018 Montgomery County Philanthropist of the Year

 
 

On Thursday, November 1, 2018, The Community Foundation saluted Linda Youngentob as the 2018 Montgomery County Philanthropist of the Year at our annual Celebration of Giving.

Linda’s philanthropic journey was first shaped by her parents who emphasized tikkun olam, the belief that we all have a responsibility to heal the world.  While pursuing a busy career in the telecommunications field, Linda and her husband, Bob, always made giving and volunteerism a top priority for their girls, Lisa, Jamie, and Casey.  In addition to supporting numerous international causes, Linda spearheaded the first Mitzvah Day at Washington Hebrew Congregation in 1992, which galvanized hundreds of congregants to volunteer with local nonprofits and has since become a national model adopted by synagogues around the world. 

As a faculty member of Montgomery College’s Macklin Business Institute, Linda proudly cheers on her students at graduation.

As a faculty member of Montgomery College’s Macklin Business Institute, Linda proudly cheers on her students at graduation.

More recently, Linda felt compelled to focus her professional, volunteer, and philanthropic resources on her main passion: empowering youth to achieve their higher education goals, attain professional success, and give back to the community.  She left a successful career in the private sector to become a Macklin Business Institute faculty member at Montgomery College, where she eventually joined the Montgomery College Foundation Board and now co-chairs its Capital Campaign.

While impressed by her students’ talent and drive, she was deeply troubled by the overwhelming barriers holding them back from completing a college degree.  To tackle these larger issues, she became a volunteer and board member for several youth-focused organizations: CollegeTracks, FutureLink, and Identity, Inc. She also tapped into her business acumen and networks for Compass, an organization that enables nonprofits to address pressing challenges in order to make a deeper impact. 

Linda worked one-on-one with CollegeTracks students and served on the Board, helping the organization expand to serve hundreds more students dreaming of earning a college degree.

Linda worked one-on-one with CollegeTracks students and served on the Board, helping the organization expand to serve hundreds more students dreaming of earning a college degree.

In 2014, Linda and Bob took the next step in their philanthropic journey by opening a giving fund at The Community Foundation.  Linda quickly became an active member of our Sharing Montgomery Grants Committee, lending her keen analytical skills to assess high-impact nonprofits supporting our County’s low-income neighbors.  While connecting and learning from other inspiring philanthropists, Linda quickly found even more ways to activate her friends and family to experience the deep joy in giving back.

All of us at The Community Foundation express our deep appreciation to Linda for her thoughtful leadership, tireless advocacy, and strategic philanthropy which have touched the lives of so many throughout our community.  She is an inspiring example of the positive difference each of us can make when we give where we live.

Investing in Root Cause Solutions to Addressing Poverty

The Green Clean Coop, photo courtesy of Impact Silver Spring

The Green Clean Coop, photo courtesy of Impact Silver Spring

Starting a business can be challenging under any circumstances, but especially when you are committed to doing it cooperatively. That was the challenge—and opportunity—when five Montgomery County residents came together under the auspices of the nonprofit IMPACT Silver Spring to start a worker-owned environmentally-friendly cleaning service. Cooperative members pooled their savings for start-up equipment and supplies while graphic design and marketing help were provided by connections made through the IMPACT network. The result: The Green Clean Cooperative.   

IMPACT also helped birth a financial lending cooperative, among other ventures. It’s an entrepreneurial model that attracted the attention of the Greater Washington Community Foundation and led to a grant from the Catalyst Fund. The new fund is focused on community-based efforts to support small business, mirco-enterprise development and entrepreneurship. In addition to IMPACT Silver Spring, grants ranging from $50,000 to $75,000 were awarded to CASA, Crossroads Community Food Network and Life Asset. Read more about these grants from the Catalyst Fund.

“The Catalyst Fund grants underscore the importance of investing in wealth-building and entrepreneurship and signal a need for more philanthropists and funders to invest in preparing workers for The Future of Work,” said Tonia Wellons, The Community Foundation’s Vice President of Community Investment. “The Community Foundation is making this one of the hallmarks of its strategy to disrupt poverty and build thriving communities across the Greater Washington region.”

According to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, the median net worth of business owners is almost 2.5 times higher than non-business owners. For people of color, the distinction is even greater. Just ask Amilcar Pena. As a worker-owner of the Green Clean Cooperative, he is taking home around $20 an hour, compared to the $10 to $12 he would earn working for a private company, he says.

“It’s heartening to see The Community Foundation investing in innovative strategies that go beyond managing symptoms to root cause solutions,” said IMPACT Silver Spring Executive Director Jayne Park. “While jobs can help people get out of poverty, they need assets to stay out of poverty.” 

The Catalyst Fund grew out of The Community Foundation’s long history of supporting job training and workforce development solutions, including through leading the Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative for the last decade. It was created after an anonymous donor passed away in 2016, leaving a $6 million bequest for an endowed fund. His wish was to see the gift benefit the Greater Washington region—a place he called home for 50 years.

In his later years, the donor discussed with his financial advisor, Nicholas Durso of Sun Trust Bank, how best to create a lasting legacy. “He was a good man who wanted to help people who wanted to help themselves,” says Durso. The Community Foundation offered the perfect vehicle: a field of interest fund that allows donors to support organizations working within a specific geographic region toward a specific purpose.

“The Community Foundation offered the infrastructure and expertise and has been the perfect partner,” said Durso, who works closely with the staff. “In recommending grantees, they’ll say, ‘you knew the donor best, what are your thoughts?’ It’s a collaborative relationship.” The Catalyst Fund “is a reminder of what a great man he was,” says Durso of his client. 

The anonymous donor would undoubtedly be pleased to know that 10 months after the Green Clean Cooperative was launched, it already has 19 clients and is providing steady income for the worker-owners who share in profits and continue to put money back into the business every month.

 

Establishing a legacy fund with the Greater Washington Community Foundation is an excellent way to create a lasting impact. To learn more, please contact Director of Development Joanne Pipkin at 202-263-4781 or jpipkin@thecommunityfoundation.org.