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Apply Today for LEARN Scholarship

The Landover Educational Athletic Recreational Nonprofit (LEARN) was established in 1996 to support education programs for Prince George's County youth residing in the vicinity of FedEx Field stadium. Since its inception, the LEARN Foundation has awarded close to $1 million in scholarships and grants to Prince George’s County students and community organizations.  Embedded in the foundation’s mission is the belief that the future is now, and that through partnerships and collaboration young people residing in the targeted areas can benefit through post-secondary education opportunities. 

In 2002, the LEARN Foundation became a component fund of the Greater Washington Community Foundation. Since that time, hundreds of students have benefited from scholarship awards toward college and other career preparation opportunities.The fund is now accepting applications for 2019 awards. Interested high school seniors must apply by Saturday, April 29, 2019.

For more information please contact The LEARN Foundation via phone (301) 499-3500 or email learnfoundation18@gmail.com.

Closing the Achievement Gap in Montgomery County

The Children’s Opportunity Fund champions and supports strategic investments to improve the lives of low-income children and families in Montgomery County. The Fund was launched jointly by the Montgomery County Government and Montgomery County Public Schools to identify priority areas for investment based on unmet need and to help align resources toward effective multi-sector collaborations serving the County’s most vulnerable youth and their families. In July 2017, the Fund made its inaugural grants which were leveraged against matching dollars to launch and expand innovative, evidence-informed programs throughout the county. We are pleased to report that the Fund recently made another $623,000 in grants to these high-impact organizations to further support their vital work:

Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL) works to create high-quality learning opportunities for the children who need them most, mobilizing schools and communities to expand learning time beyond the traditional school day and school year. The 2017 grant from the Children’s Opportunity Fund supported BELL’s Summer program which provided educational services to 1,134 rising 3-5th graders. For six and one-half hours per day, five days a week, the program blended academics with nutrition, enrichment, and mentorship at no cost to lower income families. The result was an increase in the average scholar’s literacy by 1.5 months and math skills by 3 months, increased self-confidence for 98% of scholars, and improved scholar attitudes about school which led to a 93% average daily attendance rate. Read about Bell’s efforts to prevent the ‘summer slide’ in an op-ed for the Baltimore Sun.

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I have been inspired by Montgomery County’s commitment to equity in education. Families and MCPS educators have advocated for increasing access to the BELL Summer program with evidence-based instruction and engaging resources to accelerate scholars’ learning year-round. The Children Opportunity Fund’s visionary investment in BELL Summer has helped us double this collective impact in summer 2018 and serve 2,100 young people across 11 Title I MCPS schools!
— Damon Johnson, Vice President, Partner Impact, BELL

Family Service’s Thriving Germantown Collaboration. As Germantown has grown and become more diverse, so has the rate of increased poverty (16% versus 6% countywide) and the economic, health, and educational disparities for the most vulnerable residents. Over 20 community nonprofit partners established a five-year collective impact initiative, Thriving Germantown Community HUB, designed to help Germantown families connect to health care, early child care, adult education, employment, and more. Family Services, Inc. was selected to provide leadership for this multi-sector, multi-generational care coordination initiative to improve student/family health and wellness outcomes, achieve academic success, and ensure that children have safe, stable and nurturing environments in which to live. A grant from the Children’s Opportunity Fund supported the coordination of work around early childhood care and education. In its first year, Thriving Germantown provided 99 comprehensive family risk assessments and facilitated referrals and linkages to appropriate resources and services for 131 children, adults and families. Read more about the school and leaders behind the Thriving Germantown collaboration in Bethesda Magazine’s 2017 December cover story, “Hope Lives Here.”

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Partnerships are at the heart of Thriving Germantown – with families from the Daly School community, school staff, and over a dozen community health and social services organizations. The investments from COF are particularly helpful in supporting our early care and academic related service coordination. We’re excited to include as goals for the new year deepening our reach into the community, enhancing data sharing and collaboration with our partners, and developing a permanent shared nonprofit services facility for the Germantown community.
— Kylie McCleaf, CEO Family Services, Inc.

Urban Alliance is committed to helping underserved youth gain the experience, support, and training necessary to compete in the labor market and embark on a pathway to self-sufficiency. With the grant from the Children’s Opportunity Fund, Urban Alliance expanded its High School Internship Program into Montgomery County to provide career preparation and internships to high school seniors in the East County area. Through the program, students had the opportunity to gain significant professional development training, one-on-one mentoring from adult professionals, and paid, real-world work experience. The program placed 30 interns at worksites around the county, with a 100% retention rate – all youth who began the program in the fall are still actively enrolled. While their post high school plans are still in progress, all Montgomery interns have applied to college, all have been accepted to at least one institution, and all have completed a resume.

 
Anna Hargrave, Executive Director of the Community Foundation in Montgomery County, poses with Urban Alliance Scholars.

Anna Hargrave, Executive Director of the Community Foundation in Montgomery County, poses with Urban Alliance Scholars.

 
“The Children’s Opportunity Fund is making it possible for Urban Alliance to provide even more young people in Montgomery County with early, meaningful work experience and professional development to help them succeed in adulthood. We’re so grateful to the Greater Washington Community Foundation for their dedication to improving outcomes for underserved youth by helping us to sustain and grow our program here in the county.”
— Eshauna Smith, CEO of Urban Alliance

Amazon HQ2 journey exposes region's challenges

In a new op-ed for the Washington Business Journal, Bruce McNamer and Sarah Rosen Wartell from Urban Institute discuss how racial and economic inequities that have long plagued our area could threaten our progress, and they offer 3 strategies to get the region on a path for inclusive growth.

Paying Tribute to Nancy Fax

It is with great sadness that we share news of loss of The Community Foundation’s long-time friend, Nancy Fax, who passed away Monday, June 4 after a brief illness.

Nancy had a long-standing relationship with The Community Foundation in Montgomery County. She was a two-time member of the Advisory Board, and chair from April 2004 to March 2006. She also co-chaired The Community Foundation’s Professional Advisors Council for many years. During her Board tenure, she was responsible for significant growth in The Community Foundation’s charitable assets and giving.

Her leadership was also pivotal to Sharing Montgomery, our strategic, donor-led funding effort to support organizations serving the County’s growing population of low-income children, families, and seniors. Each year, it educates people about the nonprofit community serving Montgomery County, engages donors in strategic grantmaking, and supports nonprofit capacity building. This spring, thanks to the contributions for many people and businesses, Sharing Montgomery granted $375,000 to 60 organizations.

A memorial service honoring Nancy's life will be held at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, June 26th in the Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo Park (7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, Maryland). In lieu of flowers, the family invites Nancy's friends and colleagues to make a contribution to one of the following organizations:

Please contact Anna Hargrave (Executive Director, The Community Foundation in Montgomery County) at ahargrave@thecommunityfoundation.org if you have questions about the memorial service or other ways to donate in Nancy’s memory. 

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A Partnership to End Homelessness in DC

Washington, DC, like every major city across America, faces an affordable housing crisis. Housing plays a critical role in disrupting poverty, providing stability and creating a foundation for success in life. Yet a growing number of DC residents are experiencing housing instability and homelessness as a result of loss of affordable housing stock, major rent increases and low wages. According to the District’s recent Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, approximately 6,900 people at any given point in time are literally homeless—living on the streets or in the city's emergency shelters. Lack of stable housing makes it difficult for people to obtain or maintain employment, address health needs and keep families together.   

The Community Foundation, in partnership with the District of Columbia Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH), is preparing to launch a public-private partnership focused on ending homelessness in the District by ensuring that homelessness is a rare, brief, and non-recurring event. Spurred in part by the District Government’s own plans* to address homelessness, we believe there is an immediate opportunity to align public and private sector resources and strategies to tackle this persistent challenge with renewed vigor and innovative solutions. Leveraging our experience as a convener, funder, community leader and advocate, we will bring together key public and private sector partners as we identify gaps and leverage points in the District’s plan in order to pinpoint how the private sector can make critical investments to accelerate our community’s response.

We seek to:

  • Make homelessness in the District rare, brief and non-recurring by accelerating the implementation of the District’s strategy;

  • Support homeless individuals, families, and youth to exit homelessness and obtain stable housing;

  • Leverage and align public and private philanthropic resources, leading to more strategic and sustained investment in the homeless services system; and

  • Provide a broad-based platform for continued resource mobilization and coordination.

The Community Foundation is laying the groundwork for the launch of this partnership and currently engaged in the next phase of program design and fundraising planning. As a starting point, we are focused on our most vulnerable neighbors, those who have no or extremely low/very low income (0-50% AMI). Our approach will focus on expanding the supply of supportive housing more quickly and supporting nonprofit provider capacity to serve people exiting homelessness more efficiently and effectively.

The Community Foundation has a long history of making investments to help people meet basic needs for shelter and housing. In 2008, we galvanized the generosity of our community to establish the Neighbors in Need Fund which raised $5 million in aid for neighbors hit hardest by the economic crisis and to support advocacy and systems change. In 2014, we commissioned the study, Housing Security in Greater Washington, the first of its kind to quantify the need for shelter and housing across a range of income levels and inform strategic investments by the private and public sector. Many of our donors have given significantly in this area for the past 40+ years, including millions of dollars for the preservation of affordable housing in the District in addition to housing advocacy and community organizing. And in the past two years, our Fund for Children, Youth and Families has awarded over $2 million for Stable Homes/Stable Families in the region.

We are excited by the opportunity to refresh our commitment in this space and lay the groundwork to launch a new public-private partnership focused on ending homelessness in Washington, DC. If you are a funder or donor and are interested in learning more about our partnership to end homelessness in DC, please complete this brief form and we will follow up with you.

 
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Additional resources:

Partnering with Donors to Pool Resources for Local Impact

Sharing Funds in the District of ColumbiaMontgomery County, and Prince George's County represent strategic, donor-led funding efforts which facilitate education and civic engagement around local issues and encourage more residents and businesses to collectively give where they live. Individuals come together to learn first-hand about the challenges facing the region’s most vulnerable residents, combine their resources, and invest in organizations working to make a difference in the lives of children and families around the region.

Sharing DC

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

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

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

Sharing Montgomery

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

Sharing Prince George’s

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

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

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

Coaching Prince George’s County’s Youth to College Success

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

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

Sharing Prince George’s, operating out of the local office in Prince George’s County, helps donors to strategically leverage their resources to support the nonprofit organizations that are addressing the county’s most critical needs. It currently consists of the Prince George’s Neighbor to Neighbor Fund and the MGM National Harbor Fund.

The Sharing Prince George’s initiative is a clear demonstration of the Community Foundation’s role as a convener in the philanthropic community. By providing a mechanism for corporate members of our community to pool resources so that grants can then be distributed directly to nonprofits doing important work in our community, The Community Foundation is leveraging its expertise to create a better Prince George’s.

—     William M. Shipp, Trustee of The Community Foundation

In 2017, the Sharing Prince George’s fund granted $188,000 in awards to nonprofits in Prince George’s County, MD. First Generation College Bound (FGCB) was one of the 15 recipients in the latest round of awards.

FGCB helps youth realize that being the first in their family to earn a post-secondary degree is no longer a dream out of reach. For more than 25 years, FGCB has provided pathways through high school into college for low- to moderate-income, at-risk, and/or underrepresented youth attending Prince George’s County Public Schools.

According to the US Census, only 46% of low-income American students matriculate to college nationally. With limited opportunities for employment, low- and moderate-income students without college degrees will likely encounter a poorer quality of life, marked by inadequate housing, poor health care, food insecurity and the inability to build sustainable futures.
As a society, unless we do more to encourage first generation students to obtain college degrees, we risk becoming a more divided nation: between those who are moving forward, and those left behind.  And our most serious social problems – poverty, racism, violence, substance abuse, and mass incarceration – will grow more intractable.
General Operating Support from the Sharing Fund gave FGCB the flexibility to assure we addressed our most critical needs and gave our Coaches proper administrative and technical support to improve the quality of our services and enhance our mission’s delivery.

—     Joseph Fisher, Executive Director, First Generation College Bound

In 2016-2017, First Generation College Bound served 1,210 students across three programs: the Homework Club (27 students), College Access (223 students), and College Retention (960 students). College Access Coaches conducted a workshop series that educated high school seniors on the importance of taking the SAT, the financial aid system, the college admissions process, and how to successfully transition to college. A record number of students in the program – 98% of the 223 participants – matriculated to college.

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

The Impact of Hands-On Grantmaking in the District

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

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

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

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

—    Marcus Rosenbaum, Sharing DC Committee Member

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

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

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

—    Roxanne J. Williams, President

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