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.

Six Things The Community Needs You To Know About The Shutdown

Editor’s Note: Though the federal government has reopened for the next three weeks, we recognize that contractors, childcare providers and many other parties that Tonia Wellons highlights in this blog post may never receive backpay, and certainly still suffer from the consequences of the shutdown. In addition, if no budget is reached by February 15, the partial federal shutdown may resume. In light of these ongoing concerns, Wellons’ reminders and recommendations for ways to help still remain deeply relevant to our community.


By Tonia Wellons, Vice President, Community Investment

It has been one month since the partial Federal Government shutdown began and our neighbors in the Greater Washington region, especially in Prince George’s County, continue to be impacted. Most of you have heard the news stories, may be experiencing this first hand, or you have seen the long lines of working families in search of food and other forms of assistance.

We all know that when shocks like this hit the country, they hit communities of color the hardest. With incomes typically lower, personal savings often thinner, and access to networks with deep pockets limited, communities of color suffer the most and often have the longest recovery time. 

In my role at the Greater Washington Community Foundation, I have had the opportunity to work closely with nonprofits and funders who have organized very quickly to respond. Here’s a summary of what we have learned and how you might be able to help:

  • While federal workers are directly impacted, we must not forget that contractors, small business owners, and child care facilities are also affected. We should also be mindful that offices like child support enforcement can’t disburse what they can’t collect.

  • Local food pantries and food banks need to be replenished. The demographic impacted is unaccustomed to navigating human and social service systems. The response from local grocers, restaurants, and food markets has been welcomed. 

  • Prince George’s County Public Schools has received as many as 500 new applications for free and reduced lunch because of the federal shutdown.

  • There is an increase in concern about eviction prevention, particularly as we move into proximity of a second missed pay cycle. 

  • Child care is an expense that families are most likely to cut first since they are home. There is a ripple effect on child care providers, children, and workers; and it is often difficult for families to return once they leave.

  • Families need food and cash assistance to cover the cost of everyday household expenses and medicine.

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A community member sorts produce at a local food center.

This week as we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is only fitting that we look to his words to guide our steps. His life and his legacy represent the importance of pressing forward to change and challenge federal policies that impact the poor, working class, and especially people of color. His life and legacy is one of vision, advocacy, and action. In his honor, I invite you each to consider several ways that we can support our neighbors affected by the shutdown.

“The time is always right to do the right thing.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

How You Can Help Our Neighbors During and After the Shutdown

1.       Ask your friends and neighbors what they need. Reach out to people you know who work for the Federal Government and ask them what they need. Now is the time to get to know your neighbors, to reach out to your friends, and make yourselves available to them. Invite them over for dinner or offer to pay for their children’s school lunch.

2.       Donate food and cash to help families meet immediate needs. You can make a donation to your local foodbank, church or school pantry, or school lunch fund. Several of our nonprofit partners throughout the region have mobilized to offer pop-up markets, hand out food or gift cards, and provide support for household essentials and other resources. We have compiled a list of resources to help furloughed federal employees and contractors in need of assistance – and local governments in DC,  Montgomery County and Prince George’s County have released resource lists.

3.       Encourage those impacted to reach out to their creditors to defer payments. Local banks, utility companies and several other institutions have offered to work with customers to offer loans, flexible payments, and more. The United Way of the National Capital Area has opened four Financial Empowerment Centers located throughout the region, offering direct access to high-quality financial services and guidance at no cost to the client. Check our list of resources for more details.

4.       Consider supporting nonprofits addressing the long-term challenges facing our communities. Even after the shutdown ends, the long-term effects will continue to impact our community. Local nonprofits throughout the region will continue their work to support families in need and find solutions for disparities in income, access and opportunity in our communities. The Community Foundation can help you identify nonprofits working to alleviate poverty and hunger, expand access to a quality education, provide training to obtain a living wage job, and improve the quality of life for our region’s most vulnerable residents. Contact us to discuss.

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. Established by individual and institutional donors in March 2017, and housed at Greater Washington Community Foundation, the Resilience Fund’s mission is to respond to changes in federal policy that negatively impact the most vulnerable in our communities. The Fund has set aside $50,000 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. Contributions to this fund will support our neighbors now and in the future.


Tonia Wellons leads the Greater Washington Community Foundation’s Community Investment function, which includes competitive and discretionary grant-making, community engagement efforts, and strategic partnerships. She has over 20 years of experience spanning senior leadership roles at the Peace Corps and the World Bank Group to social entrepreneurship for a community-based fund that she founded. In 2016, Tonia was named one of NBC’s Women of Washington.

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 affected by the shutdown, the DC government has compiled a list of available resources.

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.

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 Residents Of Northern VirGinia:

Arlington residents affected by the shutdown can find resources complied by the Arlington County government.

For residents of Fairfax County, the county government has complied a list of resources available for affected federal workers.

The City of Alexandria government has created a list of resources for local affected residents.

Northern Virginia Family Service provides housing assistance, emergency financial assistance, emergency food assistance, sample letters to send to creditors, and more.

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.

The Resilience Fund Releases Call for Proposals

The Resilience Fund is interested in identifying community-based solutions which respond to federal policy shifts impacting our region. Interested 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).

Grants may support special projects, programs, or include general operating support. Grant awards may range from $10,000-$50,000. Contact Melen Hagos with questions at mhagos@thecommunityfoundation.org.

New proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by the Resilience Fund Steering Committee in 2019.  

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 people of color, and immigrant and refugee communities. The Fund's main objective is to provide funding in response to both urgent and systemic issues facing our community ̶ in the near-term and long-term ̶ and to be nimble in responding to new issues as they emerge. Since the Fund’s inception, we’ve granted out $380,000 to 12 organizations supporting residents and families affected by the new Administration’s changes to international travel, immigration, and deportation policies as well as building community cohesion and combating anti-other sentiment.

Resilience Fund Announces Grants to Support Family Reunification and Immigrants’ Rights

Releases Call for Proposals to Identify Community-Based Solutions Addressing Policy Shifts Affecting the Region

 

The Resilience Fund has announced $80,000 in emergency grants to two local organizations working to assist with reuniting immigrant families separated at the border and to protect the civil rights of immigrant children detained in Maryland and Virginia. 

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 people of color, and immigrant and refugee communities. The Fund's main objective is to provide funding in response to both urgent and systemic issues facing our community ̶ in the near-term and long-term ̶ and to be nimble in responding to new issues as they emerge.

Since the Fund’s inception, it has raised and leveraged more than $1 million and made rapid response grants to 10 organizations working in the areas of immigrants’ rights, grassroots community engagement, anti-bullying and anti-bigotry. Last fall, the Fund initially focused on changes to international travel, immigration, and deportation policies affecting residents and families in the Greater Washington region. Its first round of grants supported four immigrant-serving organizations working to ensure community members understand their legal and civil rights, take precautions to stabilize their families in the event they are detained, and receive legal representation. Soon after, the Fund responded to increases in incidents of hate, intolerance and incivility in the Greater Washington region by focusing its second round of grantmaking on building community cohesion and combating anti-other sentiment. The Fund made grants to four local organizations focused on grassroots community engagement and to two national organizations to expand educational programs in local schools that teach news literacy as well as tolerance, respect and inclusion.

Grant Awards

The Resilience Fund’s latest grants will support:

  • CAIR Coalition will receive a $50,000 grant for its Detained Children’s Program which provides Know Your Rights presentations, individual legal screenings, and pro bono representation to unaccompanied minor children. This program has screened over 40 children separated from their families at the border and detained in facilities in Maryland and Virginia while they wait to be reunified with their parents. CAIR is working to find and interview separated parents and assist them with obtaining support services to fill out the required paperwork to sponsor their children. Grant funds will allow CAIR to expand its staff capacity to match families with local service providers to ensure each child has pro bono representation in Immigration Court. Currently, CAIR Coalition is the only nonprofit legal services organization assisting separated children and adults in detention facilities in Maryland and Virginia.

  • The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs will receive a $30,000 grant to expand staff capacity to respond to the urgent civil rights needs of the immigrant community, including a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of unaccompanied immigrant children detained at a juvenile center in Virginia. The suit alleges systemic discrimination by staff, use of excessive force, inappropriate use of restraint and/or seclusion and routine denial of necessary mental health care. The children range in age from 10 years old to 17 and are all refugees fleeing from violence in Central America. Grant funds will help to engage professional interpreters for clients who have limited English or do not speak English at all, help to locate children who have been released to a family member or sponsor to collect and preserve their testimony about the facility, and to support staff time for this case

Call for Proposals

The Resilience Fund is interested in identifying additional community-based solutions that will respond to current or emerging issues impacting our neighbors or communities. Interested organizations located in or serving the Greater Washington region may submit a letter of inquiry for a rapid response grant. We will entertain inquiries linked to immigration, other policy roll-backs that disproportionately impact various communities in our region, and efforts that expand access to citizenship and democracy. The Fund is also interested in work happening regionally that may have been impacted by the humanitarian crisis at the US border with Mexico, particularly work that centers around legal support for detained parents or children who have been separated and are now being held in the Greater Washington region. Inquiries related to other emerging issues are welcomed.

Grants may support special projects, programs, or include general operating support. Grant awards may range from $10,000-$50,000. 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.

The Resilience Fund: A Year in Review

It has been one year since the Greater Washington Community Foundation and the Meyer Foundation launched the Resilience Fund as a rapid response vehicle to address changes in federal policy and budget priorities and the increasing climate of intolerance, hate, and anti-other, which disproportionately impact people of color, and immigrant and refugee communities. In that time, we have raised more than $630,000 from institutional and individual donors across the region. We are incredibly proud to share that we have also leveraged as much as $450,000 through parallel commitments from donors to organizations funded through the Resilience Fund. That is more than $1 million to support local nonprofits serving the urgent and emerging needs of our region's most vulnerable residents. This is a true testament to the commitment of incredibly generous people in our region who care deeply about their neighbors and communities. 

Reflecting on the past year, we wanted to share some of the important work this Fund has contributed to.

Helping Immigrant Communities

Initially, the Resilience Fund focused last fall on supporting residents and families affected by the new Administration’s changes to international travel, immigration, and deportation policies. The Resilience Fund’s first round of grants supported work to ensure community members understand their legal and civil rights, take precautions to stabilize their families in the event they are detained, and receive legal representation.

  • Know Your Rights education: As ICE changed its enforcement priorities and stepped up detentions, CAIR Coalition responded by delivering 12 presentations across the region educating 326 immigrant youth and adults about their constitutional rights. It also intervened in the bond cases of 18 detained individuals, securing the release of 12 on bond and with three more are awaiting hearings.

  • Legal defense training: Noncriminal arrests of immigrants have increased by nearly 300%. Legal Aid Justice Center is combating ICE abuses by training 64 lawyers to defend immigrants in deportation proceedings by challenging constitutional violations. Without the Resilience Fund’s support, LAJC would not have had the funding to provide this training to nonprofit providers and private attorneys.

  • Legal services: CASA sought to address threats facing immigrants due to increased enforcement and changes to DACA and TPS. It held 46 know your rights workshops attended by 6,740 people, screened 415 people at risk of deportation to identify potential forms of relief, provided DACA application assistance to 320 youth, held bystander trainings for 300 people and mobilized a national day of action.

  • DACA application support: The President’s decision to rescind DACA provided only one month for eligible recipients to renew their status – affecting an estimated 20,000 people in the region. Ayuda received an emergency grant to conduct outreach and organize two free DACA clinics – helping 45 clients prepare renewal applications, receive in-depth legal consultations, and open long-term representation cases. The future of DACA remains uncertain but, with the Resilience Fund’s support, Ayuda continues to assist DACA recipients with legal advice and representation.

Countering Hate and Intolerance 

Recent increases in incidents of hate, intolerance and incivility in the Greater Washington region led the Resilience Fund to refocus its second round of grantmaking on building community cohesion and combating anti-other sentiment. In late December, the Fund made grants to local organizations focused on grassroots community engagement and national organizations combating bullying, bigotry, and fake news through education. While much of the work funded this round is still in process, some early notable achievements include:

  • Anti-bias education: The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has tracked a disturbing trend of increasing bias incidents in schools, where it’s estimated that 1 in 4 students are bullied. With support from the Resilience Fund, ADL doubled the size of its No Place for Hate program to reach more than 25,000 students in 25 K-12 schools throughout the region. The program is helping local schools foster an accepting and safe climate using ADL’s framework to teach respect and inclusion.

  • Digital literacy tools: More educators are seeking tools to teach students how to sort fact from falsehood in the digital age so they can be informed and engaged citizens. A grant from the Resilience Fund enabled the News Literacy Project to expand its program into Arlington County, Virginia, where it will host a NewsLitCamp for teachers in August and make 2,500 subscriptions to its virtual classroom available.

  • Community engagement: Prince George’s County residents care deeply about the well-being of their communities but lack a space to discuss relevant issues. With support from the Resilience Fund, the Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund partnered with the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative and will host a town hall style gathering on April 23, for discussions of economic, health, public safety and educational challenges in the County.

  • Training future leaders: Disenfranchised communities have long been left out of conversations about economic improvement and systems change. Progressive Maryland offered 5 trainings to empower 50 members to become agents of change and advocates for social and economic justice. These members have since taken on leadership positions within their local chapters to help strengthen their community’s grassroots capacity to advocate for their needs.

While many similar rapid response funds launched in other parts of the country are winding down, the Resilience Fund is gearing up for its second year. The Steering Committee is in the process of building out its agenda. We invite you to join us in our efforts. For more information contact Tonia Wellons, Vice President - Community Investment at twellons@thecommunityfoundation.org

Sincerely,

 
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Bruce McNamer

President and CEO

Greater Washington Community Foundation

Nicky Goren

President and CEO

Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

Resilience Fund Steering Committee

Greater Washington Community Foundation

Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation

Harman Family Foundation

June Linowitz

Elaine Reuben

Rob and Sheri Rosenfeld

Mauri Ziff and Jeff Hamond