In recent years, dramatic shifts in population, development and community needs are transforming our neighborhoods like never before, and many residents are experiencing those changes differently. As we seek to build the kind of vibrant community that we all want to call home, it is critical to understand the diverse attitudes and perceptions of the people that live in the Greater Washington area by hearing directly from a broad cross section of residents.

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Voices of the Community: DC, Maryland, Virginia (VoicesDMV), a new initiative from the Greater Washington Community Foundation in partnership with the Urban Institute, is creating a pathway for effective change by amplifying residents’ voices. With VoicesDMV we are going directly to the community to enhance our understanding of the true challenges and opportunities facing our region, and what it will take to give all residents the chance to thrive. We’ll use what we hear to help inform a collective vision for the region’s future efforts to improve equity, access, and opportunity for all.

The best solutions happen when we listen to and value every voice.

We are conducting an extensive survey of 3,000 local residents; focus groups of disconnected youth, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, and self-selected middle-class residents; and a series of four community conversations in Prince George’s County, Northern Virginia, Montgomery County and D.C. to explore the attitudes and perceptions linked to well-being in our region. The VoicesDMV initiative’s focus is on education, housing, transportation, safety, economic opportunity, race and overall community well-being.

As a community foundation, we know the best solutions are achieved when we listen to and value the voices from all of us who live, work and raise families in the Greater Washington region. That is why this initiative is designed to surface resident stories and perspectives from across the region that can be shared with community organizations, funders, businesses, policymakers, and others who are working to make a positive difference in our region. The VoicesDMV initiative is intended to serve as a public good for the broader community — with the findings offering a roadmap to drive community impact initiatives.

For more information regarding The Community Foundation’s VoicesDMV initiative, please contact voicesDMV@thecommunityfoundation.org.