2020 Count DMV In Census Project Offers Grant Opportunity

Please note these two updates to our grant opportunity as previously posted:

The review committee will now consider (on a case by case basis) larger grants for comprehensive coordinated proposals from applicants that seek to work in multiple jurisdictions.

Additionally, organizations may apply to the 2020 Census opportunity AND the Resilience Fund if they fit the eligibility criteria for both RFPs.


Currently we are less than one year from the commencement of the 2020 Census. Increased understanding of the importance of the census, how it is used, and the potential impact of a complete and accurate count, messaged for relevance, can inform regional awareness and inspire local action.

The 2020 Count DMV In Census Project will entertain applications from nonprofit organizations who will undertake activities that will focus on hard to count communities in the Washington, DC region. For information about the hard to count communities in our region, click here.

Funding will be provided for activities, including, but not limited to:

  1. Public education and information activities

  2. Outreach and mobilization

  3. Indirect assistance to individuals and families completing the 2020 Census Form

  4. Communications and media work

  5. Partnerships with community and nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and local governments to conduct public education and outreach

Grants Available

Grant awards will range between $5,000-$20,000 for program requests only.  General operating requests will not be accepted. The Review Committee will consider (on a case by case basis) larger grants for comprehensive coordinated proposals for applicants that seek to work in multiple jurisdictions.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Organizations must be 501(c)3 nonprofits or have partnerships that appoint a 501(c)3 nonprofit institution as their fiduciary agent.

  2. Organizations are required to operate in Washington, DC or the following counties: Montgomery and Prince George’s, MD; Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas, and Manassas Park in Virginia.

  3. Organizations that are valued by the community as a “trusted messenger” and resource as evidenced by extensive experience or a mission that includes providing direct services, outreach, and engagement of hard to count communities.

Application Process

Proposals must be submitted through our online grant application system, Gifts Online. No hard copy, email or faxed proposals will be accepted. Applications are due by 4:00pm on Monday, July 29. Proposals will be reviewed in August 2019 and applicants will be notified if they have been selected for funding by September 2019.

Please note: Applicants must have a functioning Internet connection and one of the following browsers, with cookies enabled: Internet Explorer v7 or higher Firefox v3 or higher.

Questions

For any questions regarding this funding opportunity or technical assistance with the online application system, please reach out to Melen Hagos. No calls, please.

Resilience Fund Offers New Grant Opportunity Addressing Federal Policy Impacts

The Resilience Fund was created in early 2017 as a collaborative partnership of philanthropies and individual donors led by the Greater Washington Community Foundation. It seeks to address the critical needs of nonprofits responding to changes in federal policy and budget priorities, as well as the climate of intolerance and hate, both of which are disproportionately impacting people of color, immigrant, and refugee communities. 

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 family reunification.

Grantmaking Opportunities

For our 2019 giving round, The Resilience Fund is accepting proposals from organizations who are responding to changes in federal policy and budget priorities impacting the Greater Washington region. Grant awards may range from $10,000-$30,000.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Organizations must be 501(c)3 nonprofits OR have partnerships that appoint a 501(c)3 nonprofit institution as their fiduciary agent.

  2. Organizations are required to operate in Washington, DC or the following counties: Montgomery and Prince George’s, MD; Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas, and Manassas Park in Virginia.

  3. Organizations must demonstrate that the proposed work is directly responding to changes in the federal policy landscape over the past two years.

Application Process

Proposals must be submitted through our online grant application system, Gifts Online. No hard copy, email or faxed proposals will be accepted. Applications are due by 4:00pm on Monday, July 29. Proposals will be reviewed in July/August 2019 and applicants will be notified if they have been selected for funding by September 2019.

Please note: Applicants must have a functioning Internet connection and one of the following browsers, with cookies enabled: Internet Explorer v7 or higher Firefox v3 or higher.

Questions

For any questions regarding either funding opportunity or technical assistance with the online application system, please reach out to Melen Hagos. No calls, please.

A (Fiscal) Year of Impact in Our Community

By Bruce McNamer, President and CEO

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As we reflect on our 2019 fiscal year (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019), the generosity and community spirit of our donors, partners, and community members gives us so many reasons to celebrate.

This year, the launch of our new Building Thriving Communities framework refocused our strategic grantmaking approach on addressing poverty, deepening culture and human connection, and preparing for the future of work. This refresh deepens and expands The Community Foundation’s existing work by leveraging new tools, prioritizing strategic partnerships, and developing innovative approaches to address the region’s most pressing challenges. Inspired by this framework, we are excited to lead a public-private partnership with the DC Interagency Council on Homelessness to build off District Government’s strategies and momentum by making critical investments to ensure homelessness is rare, brief and non-recurring in DC.

In January 2019, volunteers sorted produce the Capital Area Food Bank provided to furloughed federal workers and contractors at popup markets around the region during the government shutdown. Photo provided by the Capital Area Food Bank.

In January 2019, volunteers sorted produce the Capital Area Food Bank provided to furloughed federal workers and contractors at popup markets around the region during the government shutdown. Photo provided by the Capital Area Food Bank.

Our Resilience Fund continued to provide emergency grants to nonprofits responding to the local impact of federal policy changes, including assisting with reuniting families separated at the border and detained in MD or VA, and providing legal or medical services and advocacy for immigrants, refugees, Muslims and other vulnerable communities in our region. The Fund also responded to the recent partial Federal Government shutdown by mobilizing community support for nonprofits providing vital relief, such as emergency cash and food assistance, to our neighbors experiencing hardship.

In November 2018, members of our Sharing Montgomery Committee visited the nonprofit Identity to   learn about its trauma-informed, positive youth development approach to serving 3,000 Latino youth and families.

In November 2018, members of our Sharing Montgomery Committee visited the nonprofit Identity to learn about its trauma-informed, positive youth development approach to serving 3,000 Latino youth and families.

Our Sharing Funds brought together donors for nearly 50 nonprofit site visits to learn about work to improve outcomes for low-income children and families. Donors participated in a review process and selected 77 local nonprofits to receive $685,000 in grants. Sharing DC addressed homelessness with flexible funding to help our neighbors obtain and move into permanent housing and provided support for youth homelessness prevention and intervention programs, including services for LGBTQ youth. Sharing Montgomery and Sharing Prince George’s focused on the economic security needs of county residents by supporting nonprofits providing educational, workforce development, safety-net, or capacity-building services.

Our community celebrated the spirit of local giving at our annual receptions in DC in March, and in Montgomery County and Prince George’s County last fall. These events brought together a thousand community leaders and raised nearly $1 million for the Fund for Greater Washington, which enables The Community Foundation to provide vital resources to civic and community organizations, incubate new solutions, and conduct programmatic initiatives and advocacy.

Despite a volatile stock market and uncertainty around the implications of the new tax law, our donors continued to give to the causes that matter most to our community. During the last fiscal year, our community of givers contributed more than $66 million to charitable giving funds at The Community Foundation. Together, we continued to invest in enhancing our communities with more than $64 million in grants to a diverse range of issues from human services to education, workforce development, health care, the arts, economic development, and so much more. Our donors’ actions inspire us and demonstrate that in communities throughout the Greater Washington region, we take care of each other.

Our impact is immeasurable in terms of the hope and opportunity it provides. Together, we have helped more youth prepare for college or career, more families to access critical supports and services, and more workers to launch family-sustaining careers. Together, we are making the Greater Washington region a more thriving, just and enriching place to live for all.

Thank you for continuing to be our partner in strengthening our communities every day.

Resilience Fund Announces New Grants to Nonprofits Supporting Immigrants and Sexual Assault Survivors

The Resilience Fund has announced $90,000 in grants to three local organizations conducting advocacy on behalf of immigrants and victims of sexual assault and providing direct support for immigrants facing deportation or applying for benefits. These grants fit within the Fund’s overall focus on responding to federal policy shifts affecting our neighbors and communities in the Greater Washington region.

The Resilience Fund’s latest grants will support:

  • $35,000 grant to Civic Nation’s It’s On Us program to conduct advocacy with local and national partners to combat harmful proposed rule changes to Title IX that will infringe on the civil rights of sexual assault survivors on college campuses.

  • $30,000 grant to support Northern Virginia Family Services’ immigration legal services program to provide consultations and representation to more than 1,700 individuals annually in deportation defenses and applications for immigration benefits.

  • $25,000 grant to support Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy to engage at least 20 immigrant congregations in advocacy on policies to make Virginia more welcoming to immigrants and to build relationships between 50 ally congregations and immigrant leaders.

According to Tracey Vitchers, the executive director of It’s On Us, “The grant received by Civic Nation for It's On Us will empower our staff and students in the Washington, DC area to fight back against the Federal Department of Education's harmful proposed rule changes to Title IX that will make college campuses less safe and leave survivors more vulnerable to ongoing harm. We are grateful to the Resilience Fund for supporting our work to combat sexual violence.”

“NVFS Immigration Legal Services strives to respond to the needs of vulnerable immigrant communities in Northern Virginia by ensuring access to competent, trauma-informed, affordable legal advice and representation,” said Tori Andrea Babington, NVFS Director of Legal Services. “This has been challenging in recent years given the rapid and continuing changes to immigration policy and the fear that our immigrant neighbors are experiencing in response. We are so grateful to the Resilience Fund for supporting these critical legal services, giving us the flexibility to go where the need is greatest.”   

Kim Bobo, Co-Executive Director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, said, “Thanks to the timely grant from the Resilience Fund, we’re reaching out to immigrant congregations around the state to engage them in advocating for a Driver’s Privilege Card for immigrants and in-state tuition for immigrants students. ‘Welcome the immigrant,”’ a core tenant of faith communities, is especially poignant for immigrant congregations and we need their engagement on these critical fights.”

These three grants show the range of the Resilience Fund’s investments in both policy interventions through Civic Nation and Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and nonprofits providing direct service work through Northern Virginia Family Services.

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 seeks to address the critical needs of nonprofits 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.

Victories in Advocacy

What do paid sick leave in Maryland, limiting drinking water contamination in Virginia, and protecting housing for Chinese Americans in DC’s Chinatown all have in common? These are victories that were made possible by advocacy, led by our nonprofit partners.

Advocacy—activities that can influence public policy, including work connecting community members to other decision-makers—is a key tool we use to build thriving communities.

“Investing in advocacy is a critical part of creating real and lasting social change,” says Silvana Straw, Senior Community Investment Officer and Philanthropic Advisor at The Community Foundation. “Advocacy efforts increase public awareness and public will, increase public and private funding, and strengthen public policy.”

One example of a recent victory is the work of Washington Interfaith Network (WIN), which we have helped fund. WIN’s campaign in DC’s Northwest One neighborhood engaging community residents and leaders in housing advocacy, led to a plan to build 518 units of affordable housing at 33 K Street NW, formerly Temple Courts. WIN and former tenants have been working with the developer to secure jobs commitments for former and current tenants.

Building on 30 years of experience, including advocacy which preserved $80 million of public funding for safety net services in the region, Straw’s current work focuses on housing and ending homelessness.

DCFPI is a key partner of the Way Home: the campaign to end chronic homelessness in Washington DC and helps organize major advocacy events led by the campaign.

DCFPI is a key partner of the Way Home: the campaign to end chronic homelessness in Washington DC and helps organize major advocacy events led by the campaign.

Straw also works with the DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI), a key partner in the fight for affordable housing and ending homelessness in DC. Their research revealed that in the past decade DC lost more than half of its affordable housing. Last year DCFPI laid out a blueprint for the investments needed to fully address DC’s housing needs. DCFPI’s research shows that extremely low-income families face the greatest need and supports advocacy for DC’s Local Rent Supplement Program, including a 2019 increase which was the largest in years.

Another victory is thanks to Housing Counseling Services (HCS). Their advocacy has helped tenants at Wah Luck House, mostly Chinese American seniors, keep their housing in DC’s Chinatown. They helped tenants exercise their Purchase Rights when their building went up for sale. Ultimately, tenants successfully negotiated a contract with the purchaser that preserves the HUD subsidy for 20 years and guaranteed an entire building upgrade.

Workforce development remains another key advocacy area for The Community Foundation. Benton Murphy, Senior Director, Community Investment, says,

“Over my years at The Community Foundation, my grants portfolio has included a large number of advocacy projects focused on things like encouraging transparency in our local and state government funding and budgets, advocating for better working conditions and rights for undocumented workers and day laborers, and helping more adults with literacy challenges receive better, more targeted education and job training supports.”

Last March, members of Job Opportunities Task Force spent the day in Annapolis, marching, advocating, and meeting with legislators to advance key issues, including colleges and universities removing the arrest/conviction question from applications.

Last March, members of Job Opportunities Task Force spent the day in Annapolis, marching, advocating, and meeting with legislators to advance key issues, including colleges and universities removing the arrest/conviction question from applications.

Some recent workforce victories include the passage of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act. This act will require employers with 15 or more employees to earn up to seven days of paid sick days in one year thanks to work alongside Job Opportunities Task Force and Maryland Center on Economic Policy. Another victory with these groups was the passage of the Maryland Fair Access to Education Act that requires colleges and universities who do not use a third-party admissions application to remove the arrest/conviction question from the initial admissions application, ensuring more equitable access to education.

In DC, the DC Adult and Family Literacy Coalition led by a Steering Committee (Academy of Hope Public Charter School, Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School, DC Public Library, Literacy Volunteers & Advocates, So Others Might Eat, Southeast Ministry and YWCA National Capital Area) convened at the Community Foundation’s offices, successfully advocated for the District to provide free public transportation to adult learners. This is important because many students miss class and fail to complete their programs if they don't have bus or subway fare. The 2018 DC budget included $2 million so that adult learners can travel for free using public transportation to and from class

Advocacy remains a key practice for community foundations and nonprofits to make the region more equitable for all our neighbors, including our most vulnerable populations.

To read about advocacy in action, check out this blog post from the Potomac Riverkeeper Network about how they worked to ensure passage of a bill to properly dispose of more than 27 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash currently sitting in holding ponds, safeguarding Virginia residents at risk of toxic contamination from pond leakage.

Protecting Our Community from Unsafe Drinking Water

Guest Post by Emily Franc, Vice President of Development/Philanthropy, Potomac Riverkeeper Network (PRKN)

The Greater Washington Community Foundation manages The Spring Creek Environmental and Preservation Fund, of which the Potomac Riverkeeper Network was a grantee in 2019, 2018 and 2016. The Spring Creek fund was created to support local nonprofit organizations with a demonstrated track record in successfully preserving, protecting or encouraging sustainable use of exceptional natural or built environments in the Greater Washington region, particularly those environments affecting low-income populations.


Possum Point is a sleepy rural community of families and military veterans who live a simple life along Quantico Creek and the Potomac River. Dan and Patty Marrow chose to raise their three children on Possum Point Road because they believed it was a safe, wholesome community. Little did they know that carcinogens had been leaching from toxic coal ash ponds owned by the nearby Dominion Power Plant through ground water, slowly poisoning their drinking wells.  Residents of Possum Point and other communities across Virginia were unaware of the dangers of living next to coal ash ponds.  

That is until newly hired Potomac Riverkeeper, Dean Naujoks, came on the scene in 2015, fresh from battling Duke Energy and its leaking ash ponds in North Carolina. Those lessons learned proved invaluable in the fight to bring polluters to justice and uphold regulations that protect human health and our drinking water supply.

We assume when we turn on our tap, clean water will come out.  The Clean Water Act legitimizes our right to clean water, but right here in the Washington, DC, region, our Riverkeepers uncover illegal pollution regularly.  Ensuring enforcement of Clean Water laws, Riverkeepers become the last line of defense, protecting our waterways on the public’s behalf.  

Photos from Possum Point, showing ash piles being bulldozed into Pond D. Photos by Alan Lehman, Potomac Riverkeeper Network.

What Dean uncovered at Possum Point was alarming – water containing heavy metals called seeps had been leaking from unlined ash ponds for decades into the creek.  Independent lab test results of private drinking wells around Possum Point, commissioned and paid for by Potomac Riverkeeper Network (PRKN), proved “untreated water from the wells at the properties addressed [on] Possum Point Road should not be used for potable purposes.” The wells were contaminated by a cocktail of carcinogenic metals linked to coal ash proving ground water contamination had moved off-site into residential drinking wells. 

“It is not easy to tell someone you believe their drinking wells are contaminated and unknowingly poisoning them,” said Naujoks, “but at the same time they have a right to know if their water is safe to drink!”

With growing momentum, PRKN hosted public forums attended by hundreds of people, engaged elected officials, and mobilized coalition partners and the public to join our “Move Your Ash” coal ash campaign. Property owners on Possum Point Road became outspoken after learning that their children had been exposed to unsafe well water for decades. Our coalition’s outreach committee generated over 1,000 calls, emails, and letters to elected officials in support of coal ash legislation.

In January of this year, the Virginia legislature passed a bill requiring at least 7 million of the 30 million tons of coal ash in the state to be recycled and the rest safely landfilled within 15 years! Without a Riverkeeper conducting investigations, informing the public, and pressuring state agencies to take action, these decades of unimpeded pollution would have continued.

This story is just one of dozens of toxic threats we investigate annually.  Taking the time to deeply investigate and understand the nature of threats to water quality, while locating the actual individual sources of pollution is critical to our approach, credibility, and success.

We are grateful for the support of the Greater Washington Community Foundation’s family of donors and the Spring Creek Environmental Fund for their stalwart support of our efforts.  Together, we took on Dominion and took back our right to clean water.

Potomac Riverkeeper Network works to protect the public’s right to clean water in our rivers and streams by stopping pollution to promote safe drinking water, protecting healthy river habitats, and enhancing public use and enjoyment. Learn more.

Surprising Stats from VoicesDMV

As a community foundation, your perspectives – the voices of our community – are key to our work. We are committed to responding to our community’s needs through responsive grantmaking and by amplifying local voices in public and private sector conversations. To best speak in partnership with our community, we have to listen. We have 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.

About a year ago, the Greater Washington Community Foundation proudly announced the release of Voices of the Community: DC, Maryland, Virginia. Designed to amplify the voice of the people—those who live and work in our region—VoicesDMV included a survey of more than 3,000 of our regional neighbors as well as community conversations with hundreds of stakeholders across the region. This allowed The Community Foundation to hear directly from locals about the region’s strengths, challenges, and overall quality of life.

We saw this as a way to better understand the story of our region. We launched this initiative recognizing that although our region is data rich, few efforts systematically capture the voices, experiences, attitudes, and perceptions of people who live here, especially across jurisdictions.

VoicesDMV was envisioned as a north star for The Community Foundation – a way for us to ensure our grantmaking and community leadership efforts are aligned to the needs most strongly felt by our neighbors. We have also offered the data collected through this initiative as a public good, available to anyone seeking to do good in our region. And we made a commitment to revisit this survey every two years to keep our finger on the pulse of our region.

Our efforts have paid tremendous dividends. Through VoicesDMV we learned so much more about our region, especially our neighbors experiences in their communities and the role philanthropy can play in enhancing or improving those experiences.

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A community member speaks at a community conversation in Northern Virginia.

Photo by AOTA Creative Group.

VoicesDMV revealed that even as our region continues to prosper, deep disparities in income, education and opportunity persist and the gap continues to widen:

  • Nearly one in five residents has faced some form of housing or food insecurity in the past 12 months. That number increases to one in three people for our region’s black and Hispanic populations.

  • One in three people would not have enough savings to continue to live as they do today for more than two months if they lost current income sources.

  • The cost of living, especially renting or owning a home, was raised as one of the most challenging aspects of our region.

  • Nearly a third of Prince George’s County and Montgomery County respondents rated access to education and training as a “major” barrier to finding a job.

  • One in four people were discriminated against in the region in the past year, and the majority said it was because of their race or ethnicity.

VoicesDMV has influenced The Community Foundation at its very core. These findings drove the development of our new Building Thriving Communities framework, which underscores the importance of our continued focus on affordable housing in our region and led us to explore new opportunities to support entrepreneurship and prepare for the Future of Work.

And while we have put so much new work into practice as a result of VoicesDMV, our work to stay in touch with the community is not over. In the nearly two years since we initiated our first VoicesDMV survey, we have seen the birth of the #MeToo movement, new administrations taking the reins of power throughout our region, and Amazon deciding to set up shop.

With so much change happening, we are excited by the opportunity to circle back to the community for our second VoicesDMV survey, this time with a few new bells and whistles and plenty of opportunities to engage with us on the results. Stay tuned for more from The Community Foundation on ways that you can be engaged with VoicesDMV!

If you’d like to sign up for news and more information about our VoicesDMV initiative, please contact Benton Murphy at bmurphy@thecommunityfoundation.org

 

Resilience Fund Grants Respond to Ongoing Impact of Shutdown

The Resilience Fund announced that it has made grants to local nonprofits responding to the most pressing needs of federal workers, contractors and small business owners impacted by the partial Federal Government shutdown. These grants have provided support for emergency response, including funding for emergency cash and food assistance, as well as to help nonprofits restock, replenish and recover from the unexpected increase in demand for their services.

“It is heartening to say that the outpouring of support from our community has been incredible! We have more than doubled our original gift of $50,000 by raising an additional $125,000 in individual donations and institutional commitments, including gifts ranging in size from $10 to $50,000,” 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’s latest round of rapid response grants provided support to:

Volunteers sort produce the Capital Area Food Bank provided to furloughed federal workers and contractors at popup markets around the region during the government shutdown. Photo provided by the Capital Area Food Bank.

Volunteers sort produce the Capital Area Food Bank provided to furloughed federal workers and contractors at popup markets around the region during the government shutdown. Photo provided by the Capital Area Food Bank.

This announcement comes as parts of the Federal Government reopened this week following a 35-day partial shutdown affecting an estimated 300,000 federal workers and contractors in our region. While this provides some relief for federal workers who will eventually receive back pay, we remain concerned for local contractors, small business owners, childcare providers, and service sector workers, among others, who may not be able to recover lost income and could continue to fall behind. The Community Foundation will continue to work with the Resilience Fund’s Steering Committee and donors to determine how to further allocate resources to address the ongoing impact of the shutdown on our region. 

You can help support our neighbors in need by making a donation to the Resilience Fund. You can choose for your donation to support nonprofits helping our neighbors affected by the shutdown or to contribute to one of the Resilience Fund’s other funding priorities, including immigration policies, justice reform and civil rights roll-backs, and efforts that expand access to citizenship and democracy.

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. The Fund has raised and leveraged more than $1 million and made grants to nonprofits responding to changes in federal policy and the resulting climate of intolerance and hate, disproportionately impacting local people of color and immigrant communities. Grants have supported immigrant-serving organizations responding to changes in immigration and deportation policies by providing advocacy, legal or medical services, training on legal and civil rights, and assistance to reunite families separated at the border. The Fund has also supported efforts to build community cohesion and combat anti-other sentiment by funding grassroots community engagement, voter education services, and the expansion of programs teaching tolerance, respect and inclusion.