If the year 2017 has given you a case of whiplash, review this list of D.C. charities to get back to basics: food and shelter for the homeless; arts and enrichment for kids; legal services for the elderly and destitute. You’ll also find organizations that are dedicated, on a local level, to some of the issues and people hardest hit by the Trump administration—immigrants, women and girls, and the environment. Everyone needs a sanctuary.  

Many organizations do great work to make D.C. a place where people who are struggling have a chance at something better. We’re listing some of them here for our 8th annual “Give It Up, D.C.” issue, which is a partnership with the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington. 

We’re overjoyed to be able to offer this list. The Catalogue reviews all of the organizations on its roster to make sure each one is well-managed, makes an impact, and is in good financial order. Please visit http://cfp-dc.org/citypaper2017 to make a contribution to any of these organizations. The Catalogue for Philanthropy will not shave off any part of your donation, and it doesn’t charge organizations to be part of its list. 

If you’re looking to volunteer, check out the volunteer opportunity spotlight list, too. 

Happy Thanksgiving. —Alexa Mills

Culture and the Arts

Dance Place

Young Playwrights’ Theater

Low-income students need the cognitive, social, and personal skills that arts education is uniquely suited to offer, but today’s school budgets don’t provide much of that. Working with students ages eight to 18, the Young Playwrights’ Theater’s in-school playwriting program integrates artist-taught workshops into the DCPS curriculum, using playwriting to enhance literacy, creative expression, and communication. Each participant writes a play and sees it performed by professional actors in the classroom or at the New Play Festival. Students can further hone their skills through after-school and summer programs, and a social justice workshop series brings together youth, artists, and activists to respond to urgent concerns like police brutality, racism, and xenophobia through “rapid response” playwriting. Strategically targeting the areas of greatest child poverty in D.C., and creating continuums of programming that serve the same kids in elementary, middle, and high school, YPT helps the most at-risk kids find and share their voices.

2437 15th St. NW

Art Enables

Here’s a great concept: an entrepreneurial arts program in which self-taught adult artists with developmental, intellectual, or mental disabilities create “outsider” art while developing artistic and life skills, gaining confidence, achieving self-expression, and earning income from the sale of their work. The only program of its kind in the region, Art Enables provides participants with the opportunity, materials, environment, and marketing support to succeed as professional artists. The finished artwork is exhibited locally in the studio and at galleries, and nationally and internationally via AE online, where each artist also has his or her own web page. Participants receive 60 percent of the proceeds from their art, and design fees for cards and merchandise. For many, this is their first and only source of income. Great results? You bet! Last year artists welcomed more than 5,000 visitors to the gallery and sold more than $84,000 worth of artwork. Art Enables gives artists the opportunity to tell their stories through art and share them with the public. 

2204 Rhode Island Ave. NE

Capitol Hill Arts Workshop

The arts create challenge; the arts create common ground; the arts must be accessible to all: These are the rallying cries of Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, which serves all ages and provides tuition assistance for youth and adult classes. Photography, writing, visual arts, ceramics, acting, and dance are all on the menu. CHAW offers after-school classes for elementary and middle school students in Ward 6 (vans bring them to the workshop), private music lessons for a range of instruments and voice, and arts adventure summer camps. Committed to bridging the city’s vast income gap, CHAW never turns a child away for inability to pay. It also lends support to other arts and community groups, providing reasonably priced or free space for performances, workshops, and meetings. For adults, there are juried shows for artists, lectures, dance and music concerts, and other community arts events. CHAW is also administering several public arts projects in Southeast D.C. At CHAW, the arts inspire. 

545 7th St. SE

Children’s Chorus of Washington

As budget cuts force schools to eliminate programs in the arts, children’s music programs are increasingly rare. But Children’s Chorus of Washington helps fill the void. Through CCW, children from first grade through high school can experience a world-class music education, regardless of their background, economic status, or prior experience. More than 160 students from public and private schools sing in five audition-based ensembles, which perform in dozens of concerts and events each year, including as guest artists in performances with leading adult choruses and orchestras. In response to the tremendous need for choral programs in under-resourced D.C. schools, CCW launched SING DC! in 2012 to offer vocal training at no cost to students or schools—breaking down economic barriers and empowering young singers right in their own neighborhoods. Research shows that music programs have a life-changing impact: Students who sing in choruses get better grades, learn self-discipline, and gain collaboration and leadership skills. Your support means children experience the great joy of music and benefit from sharing it with others..

4626 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Suite 100

Dance Place

In its permanent home in the Brookland/Edgewood neighborhood, Dance Place is a hub of activity where a 45-week presenting season, bustling dance school, and neighborhood cultural center thrive on each others’ energy. The complex hosts performances of modern dance, traditional African, step, tap, and hip-hop, often drawing on the 50 local, 14 touring, and four resident companies that call Dance Place home. It is also a world-class school, supporting everything from pre-professional training to a full range of courses for kids, including resident youth performance companies for more serious young dancers. Its NEXTgeneration program offers deeply discounted or free after-school academic enrichment and dance classes, job training for teenagers, and a summer arts camp for at-risk youngsters. Its latest venture is the 8th Street Arts Park, the first community park in the neighborhood, built by neighbors, for neighbors. Winner of the 2014 Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in Service to the Arts (awarded to Founding Director Carla Perlo), Dance Place is theater, school, and community resource in one—an extraordinary combination.

3225 8th St. NE

Chamber Dance Project

The only ballet company of its kind in the nation, Chamber Dance Project brings together outstanding professional dancers and musicians who together perform contemporary works in intimate settings—not only with live music, but with the musicians onstage. Each spring, eight dancers from nationally recognized ballet companies dedicate their off season to CDP, collaborating with guest musicians and the company’s own string quartet, all under the guidance of award-winning choreographer Diane Coburn Bruning. Community engagement is center stage: Partnering social service agencies have access to free open rehearsals in the studio, and CDP annually donates to them 100 summer performance tickets. Audio descriptions for visually-impaired audience members and free performances ensure broader access to the arts. CDP offers heightened artistic experiences to more than 2,000 audience members each year. 

700 12th St. NW, Suite 700

Capital Fringe

Take a community of emerging artists who need opportunities to share and develop their work. Pair that with an adventurous local audience eager to experience cutting-edge work. Then watch Capital Fringe unfold. Since 2005, the summer Fringe Festival has infused energy into the local arts scene—presenting 12 major festivals featuring more than 39,000 artists to over 325,000 ticket buyers. The festival is unjuried and open to all; Capital Fringe provides the performance space, staffing, and promotion, enabling each group to focus on the art, and helping artists generate $2 million in revenue since the event’s debut. And year-round, artists and audiences come together to explore art, theater, dance, music, and creative events at the Logan Fringe Arts Space in D.C.’s Trinidad neighborhood and throughout our city. What’s next? Renovating the Arts Space to expand opportunities for all. Help set the scene!

1358 Florida Ave. NE

DC Youth Orchestra Program

The DC Youth Orchestra Program has been an integral part of the Greater Washington community since 1960 and the need is as pressing as ever. It is the only program in the region that makes high-quality music education available to all interested students (pre-K through 12th grade) regardless of background, economic status, or ability. Each year, 600 students from 200+ schools and all D.C. wards progress at their own pace, from introductory lessons to advanced chamber music instruction, and perform in 20 concerts, all free and open to the public. Tuition at the main site is based on financial need and starts at just $25; El Sistema-based programming at four Title I schools is tuition free. This year, the low-cost instrument rental program will be re-launched so that more students have the opportunity to participate. Without DCYOP, the vast majority of these kids would not have a safe place to learn a musical instrument, develop life skills, and play in an orchestra, a transformational experience for so many. Your generosity keeps the music alive.

1120 20th St. NW, Suite 200N


Mentor Prize


Greater Washington is home to thousands of individuals who want to become mentors yet struggle to find programs that match their interests and availability. Meanwhile, mentoring programs lack the resources for quality recruitment. MentorPrize bridges the gap, uniting people across communities and boosting the chances of a successful mentor-mentee match. Through presentations at corporations, outreach at public events and volunteer fairs, and regular posts on volunteer websites, MentorPrize recruits suitable mentors for more than 20 area nonprofits, allowing them to focus on direct service to the people they serve, from foster kids to teen parents seeking a foothold in the job market. The program sets a high bar: Participating nonprofits must employ best practices and MentorPrize’s regular follow-ups with partners and volunteers help promote quality mentoring relationships. For both mentor and mentee, these connections can be transformational. 

7979 Old Georgetown Road, 10th Floor, Bethesda

News Literacy Project

In the digital age, how do we know what to believe? Not all information is created equal, and the News Literacy Project works to ensure that young people can discern fact from fiction. NLP collaborates with educators and seasoned journalists to deliver its curriculum: in a classroom unit lasting three to four weeks, through a semester-long after-school program, or via a cutting-edge e-learning platform. Journalists from major news organizations (including The Washington Post, NPR, USA Today, and Politico) volunteer their time and expertise, while teachers receive training to integrate news literacy lessons into existing curricula, aligning with Common Core standards and promoting 21st century skills. Last year, 1,333 students at 14 D.C.-area schools benefitted from NLP’s lessons, learning to analyze nonfiction texts, photos, and videos while reflecting on topics like the importance of the First Amendment, the watchdog role of the press, and students’ roles as both creators and consumers of digital content. An investment here helps build a generation of informed voters, savvy thinkers, and responsible citizens.

5525 Devon Road, Bethesda

DC Scores

DC SCORES believes in equipping every child with the skills and confidence they need to succeed on the playing field, in the classroom, and in life. Serving 2,200 low-income D.C. youth, the innovative model combines poetry and spoken word, soccer, and service-learning projects, and proudly hosts the city’s biggest poetry slam and only public elementary and middle school soccer leagues. Each season, teams of 32 students participate in all aspects of the program. Kids who join to play soccer end up reciting poetry on stage and students drawn in by community service end up scoring their first goal on an athletic field, all with a team of peers supporting them along the way. Dedicated DC SCORES coaches work with elementary and middle schoolers during the critical after-school hours for more than 24 weeks each year, stepping in where others have stepped out. 

1224 M St. NW, Suite 200


“We want to start a business.” These words first inspired BUILD’s founder, who agreed to help four young entrepreneurs on the condition that they finish high school. Now in five locations across the country, including D.C., where more than 300 students participate annually, BUILD runs a comprehensive, four-year business and academic program that immerses students in entrepreneurship training, teaches critical thinking and problem solving, and propels them toward college. Recruiting youth from under-resourced communities, BUILD Metro DC begins in 9th grade with a credit-bearing course at six D.C. schools and then shifts to an after-school program. Students craft business plans, make pitches for venture capital, build a small business, and “cash out.” In the third year they focus intensively on college readiness. The profit is clear: 98 percent of students graduate on time; 97 percent are accepted into a post-secondary institution; 75 percent are accepted into four-year colleges. 

1763 Columbia Road NW, First Floor

Girls on the Run Metro D.C.

What difference does it make if a girl enters her pivotal adolescent years self-confident and disciplined, with a strong sense of self-worth? For some, it makes all the difference. That is why Girls on the Run pairs evidence-based character education with running instruction. GOTR-D.C. coaches more than 2,000 girls a year across all D.C. wards, equipping them with the skills and encouragement they need to meet life’s challenges, from peer pressure and bullying to body image and healthy relationships. During each 10-week program, trained volunteer coaches mentor teams of eight to 15 girls in grades 3 through 8, exploring key character education topics while helping the girls set individual goals and prepare for a season-culminating 5K event. Scholarships (provided to more than 60 percent of participants) ensure that girls of all economic backgrounds—12,000 D.C. girls since 2006—are empowered to believe in themselves, value healthy relationships, encourage their team, and have an impact on the community in which they live. 

1211 Connecticut Ave. NW Suite 304

Critical Exposure

First, capture your world; then, change it. That is the guiding principle of Critical Exposure, which empowers underserved D.C. youth through photography, writing, and community organizing. In semester- and year-long programs, 130 students learn the fundamentals of photography and then use their training to document issues—the school-to-prison pipeline, school culture, relevant curricula—and work to convince decision-makers to implement solutions. Public exhibits inform and engage the community, while youth-led campaigns, public hearings, and meetings with legislators teach civic engagement and forge connections between those who make policy and those who profoundly feel its day-to-day effects. Visits from professional photographers also encourage students to see photography as a career and a lifelong outlet for self-expression. The union between art and policy creates a sense of empowerment that is otherwise in short supply for these young people. 

1816 12th St. NW, 3rd Floor

After-School All-Stars DC

The vision: that all children have the chance to grow up safe and healthy, go to college, find careers they love, and give back to their communities. ASAS brings these goals within reach for nearly 500 of the District’s most at-risk youth, providing free, comprehensive after-school programming at six Title I middle schools. From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (when youth violence and drug use are most likely to occur), it offers academic support, enrichment activities, and health and fitness programs, a combination known to improve student achievement significantly more than academics alone. Additional initiatives target key issues: high school readiness, career exploration opportunities, and sports activities that double as lessons in topics like leadership, teamwork, and gender equality. Through it all, kids connect with caring adults who believe in their potential for greatness. Part of a national program, this local branch is in high demand. 

1331 H St. NW, Suite 1100

Center for Inspired Teaching

What is the most influential school-based variable in student achievement? The teacher. Since 1995, Inspired Teaching has fostered better classroom experiences for kids through innovative teacher training. Its two-year certification program for new teachers, and one-year professional development program for existing teachers, trains them to teach students not what to think but how to think, and ensures that all teachers are effective in the classroom when they take charge. Teachers also combine instruction with emotional support, a key factor in student success. Working with DCPS educators to improve student achievement and create rich academic experiences, Inspired Teaching also developed the first-ever Common Core-aligned “modules” for both science and social studies. Its Real World History builds the skills of a historian and provides internship opportunities at historical sites and museums, connecting learning with our world.

1436 U St. NW, Suite 400

D.C. Students Construction Trades Foundation

In 2005, the D.C. Students Construction Trades Foundation launched the Academy for Construction and Design and rejuvenated in D.C. what was once a staple in high schools nationwide: career and technical education. The Academy offers a hands-on curriculum that builds skills (math, carpentry, mechanical drawing, blueprint reading), encourages academic success (94 percent of seniors graduate) and prepares students for college and careers (with seminars on topics like interviewing, writing college essays, and career networking). Each year, students test their knowledge at real building sites in the city. Partnerships with local construction firms offer internships, mentoring, and job placement opportunities. These experiences set Academy graduates apart from their peers, whether they are entering the workforce or applying to degree programs in architecture, engineering, or construction management. Meanwhile, the Foundation also provides adults with fully certified apprenticeship training, offering evening classes to help balance career-enhancing coursework with home life and employment. Entering its second decade and thriving in its new home at IDEA Public Charter School, the Academy builds promising futures. 

4001 Brandywine St. NW, 4th Floor

Homelessness and Housing

Bright Beginnings

Bright Beginnings

Today, an estimated 858 families in the District are homeless, including 1,620 children, about half of whom are under the age of six. Growing up on the move, they often begin school with developmental disadvantages that create life-long learning problems. Bright Beginnings aims to give them a more secure, positive start. For 25 years, it has offered a rigorous pre-kindergarten curriculum (including counseling, speech therapy, and pre-literacy learning), designed for those born into chaotic environments. Serving about 170 children each day, the Early Head Start and Head Start programs establish a solid foundation for reading and writing and ensure early intervention for learning disabilities and health problems. (Free therapeutic services, and dental, vision, and hearing screenings are all available on site.) A strong family services program sees that parents develop the skills to monitor their children’s development, meet their basic needs, and tap resources to find employment and a stable home. A bright beginning can lead to a lifetime of success.

128 M St. NW

Capital Area Asset Builders

For those living in “asset poverty,” without a credit history or even a savings account, taking steps toward a prosperous future can seem daunting. But through education and planning, the seemingly impossible becomes possible. CAAB works with single mothers planning to buy their first homes, aspiring entrepreneurs working to launch a business, and individuals hoping to rebuild their credit. Classes and coaching cover the basics: managing money, saving, investing, understanding credit scores and financial rights. CAAB-supported savings accounts let clients save $1,000 towards their goals, and CAAB matches that at least three to one. CAAB also manages the citywide D.C. Earned Income Tax Campaign, which provides free tax preparation and ensures that low- and moderate-income residents (5,129 households this year) can access the benefits to which they are entitled. In a vital community everyone has incentives and opportunities to save for the future.

1100 H St. NW, Suite 200

Community of Hope

Since 1980, Community of Hope has served the District’s low-income families, including those experiencing homelessness, providing opportunities to help them achieve good health, a stable home, family-sustaining income, and hope. A continuum of housing programs, including homelessness prevention, temporary and transitional shelter, permanent supportive housing, and rapid rehousing, provides more than 600 families with a safe place to live while helping them increase their income and work toward their goals of stability and self-sufficiency. Families access intensive case management, job support, youth intervention and mentoring, and support with budgeting, family stability, and substance abuse, all according to need. COH is also a federally qualified health center offering comprehensive services at three health centers in Wards 1, 5, and 8, designed so that low-income clients can access everything they need at one location: preventative and routine health care, wellness services, chronic disease management, dental services, prenatal care, and specialty care. 

4 Atlantic St. SW

Charlie’s Place

At Charlie’s Place, it all starts with a hot, nutritious meal. For 26 years, this non-denominational organization (housed at St Margaret’s Episcopal Church) has served breakfast to all who walk through its doors, providing more than 300,000 meals to homeless and low-income individuals in the Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan neighborhoods. Doors open at 6 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and clients are welcome simply to eat—but they can also relax, play music, use the washrooms, and grab a bag lunch before they go. Every day, staff remind their guests of the other services offered on site or through partner organizations, including individual case management, clothing, job referrals, and housing and legal support. A bilingual nurse practitioner provides health care on Tuesdays, and the barber visits two days a week. The chef and floor staff are former clients themselves. It’s no wonder so many feel at home here, and each year, hundreds take steps toward independence with the support of a dedicated staff and more than 1,100 volunteers. 

1830 Connecticut Ave. NW

Friendship Place

For people with serious mental health challenges, addictions, and long histories of homelessness to those recently displaced by a job loss, health setback, or family crisis, Friendship Place addresses the immediate needs: showers, meals, blankets, healthcare, and more. But the end goal is getting people out of homelessness and into stable, permanent housing. In 2016 alone, it prevented or ended homelessness for 1,372 people, including 350 veterans and more than 400 children in the families it served. Operating out of eight different sites, programs include street outreach to adults and youth, drop-in services, free medical and psychiatric care, transitional shelter, permanent supportive housing for individuals and families, job placement, homelessness prevention, rapid rehousing, and specialized services for veterans and their families. In 2016, Friendship Place served more than 2,900 people.

4713 Wisconsin Ave. NW

Homeless Children’s Playtime Project

Every week, some 150 volunteers give children a much-needed opportunity: the chance to play. At five emergency shelters and transitional housing programs, the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project nurtures healthy child development and reduces the effects of trauma by creating playrooms where kids can jump into games, explore math and reading, engage in art and imaginative play, and eat healthy snacks. Kids get one-on-one attention and the company of their peers, while parents have time to rest, run errands, and take classes, assured that their children are safe. Monthly field trips introduce children to places like the National Zoo, the Smithsonian, and the White House, and seasonal parties give families opportunities to relax and celebrate together. Activity packs—backpacks filled with games, books, and toys—keep children engaged and active when they are away. Most kids come from single-parent, low-income families and are struggling to process the crises—from sudden eviction to domestic violence—that displaced them. They need these play times: to restore comfort, safety, and joy. 

1525 Newton St. NW

Housing Up

The causes of homelessness are varied: unemployment, disability, illness, addiction, domestic violence. So Housing Up provides a range of housing services to more than 600 homeless and at-risk families in D.C., enabling them to make transformational changes in their lives. For those experiencing homelessness for the first time, rapid re-housing gets them back on the road to housing stability. Permanent Supportive Housing provides homes for the chronically homeless, many of whom struggle with disabilities, HIV/AIDS, or substance abuse. And affordable housing units offer low-income working families a safe and dignified place to live. But the idea is not just to put a roof over a family’s head (though that is no small thing); it’s to help people build the skills they need to achieve housing stability and self-sufficiency. Housing Up’s comprehensive services include employment and career counseling, job readiness and life skills training, mental health counseling, and youth enrichment programs such as gardening, art clubs, and tutoring. The ultimate goal: End family homelessness by 2020.

5101 16th St. NW

Joseph’s House

From streets, shelters, prisons, and hospitals, each year Joseph’s House welcomes approximately 35 men and women, all of whom have AIDS or terminal cancer, to its eight-bed house in Adams Morgan. There, they find a compassionate community that provides specialized and end-of-life care. Serving the homeless and those with unstable housing, Joseph’s House offers each resident physical, emotional, and spiritual nourishment, 24-hour nursing care, medical case management, and addiction recovery support, as well as home-cooked meals and communal activities. Most residents are hospice patients who receive constant support and love; staff and volunteers hold vigils for the dying, remaining fully present to them in their final hours. Others regain their health and, when they do, Joseph’s House helps them return to independence while continuing to offer support—managing medications and providing transportation and basic necessities, including food, clothing, and shoes. In a city with some of the nation’s highest rates of HIV infection, cancer mortality, and homelessness, Joseph’s House remains steadfastly committed to providing a home—and community—to those who come through its doors.

1730 Lanier Place NW

Community Family Life Services

For 48 years, CFLS has evolved to meet the varied needs of D.C.’s most vulnerable citizens, offering critical support to those struggling with poverty and homelessness. Short-term crisis assistance (food, clothing, a hot breakfast) provides an emergency safety net, while long-term support (transitional housing, single-room occupancy, employment services, mentoring and parenting programs) gives families the opportunity to turn their lives around. CFLS also helps women returning home after incarceration, many of whom are single mothers facing homelessness. Intensive case management begins three to four months before each woman’s release and continues as she rejoins the community—meeting her basic needs, helping her secure employment and housing, and offering parenting classes, mentoring, and medical case management, including substance abuse treatment. Many of these women arrive at CFLS with a single trash bag filled with all their possessions. You can give them a new beginning.

305 E St. NW

Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless

WLCH believes that housing is a human right, so when the 2017 Point in Time survey counts 7,473 D.C. residents as homeless, there is work to be done. At six community-based sites, staff lawyers and 200 volunteers meet with individuals and families experiencing homelessness or severe housing instability, offering direct legal representation at no cost and helping them achieve permanent, affordable housing. WLCH also strives to ensure that housing agencies respect the rights of homeless and low-income families, shelters are well-maintained and accessible to people with disabilities, and homeless services provide a safety net during financial crises. Community trainings empower shelter residents, educating them about their rights under the law. Last year, WLCH served 960 clients with direct representation, assisted tenant associations representing 1,000 households, and conducted outreach to 800 families seeking shelter. You can help give everyone a strong voice, in court and in the community.

1200 U St. NW

Samaritan Inns

Samaritan Inns was founded in 1985 to help homeless and addicted people transform their lives. Each year, several hundred men and women enter a month-long certified program based on nationally recognized best practices in the field. Many move on to a six-month transitional living program, where they practice drug- and alcohol-free lives, and learn to manage their finances and hold a job. The final step, a two-year program where clients live in cooperative apartments, reinforces recovery. One year after graduation, more than 90 percent live in their own homes, sober and employed. The staff really understands the needs of the population it serves: 75 percent were formerly homeless and addicted themselves. In addition, a new program allows women with addiction to continue to live with their kids while in treatment. The program addresses a critically underserved population in D.C.: homeless and addicted mothers who are twice as likely to relapse into substance abuse when separated from their children. 2523 14th St. NW

Immigration and Refugee Services

Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center

Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Fund

Since its inception, APALRC has represented countless low-income Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants and their families. Their needs are similar to other low-income individuals seeking legal services, but their challenges are amplified: Many do not speak English fluently (or at all) and the customs of our legal system are wholly foreign to them. Dedicated to free legal service that is linguistically and culturally accessible, the APALRC team includes three attorneys, and everyone—volunteers and interns included—is bilingual and bicultural. Through direct representation, referrals, and legal education, APALRC supports hundreds of low-income crime victims and their families, individuals seeking affordable housing, and survivors of domestic violence each year. In addition, a team of law student volunteers and interpreters (who, together with the staff, speak more than 16 Asian dialects) manages a multilingual helpline for those who don’t know where to turn. APALRC also advocates for improving language access to government services and the legal system.

1627 K St. NW, Suite 610

Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project

One in four women in the United States will experience intimate partner violence in her lifetime. For immigrant women, cultural and language barriers severely limit their ability to make informed choices and to access life-saving resources. Since 1996, DVRP has served over 1,100 Asian and Pacific Islanders in Greater Washington, empowering survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault to rebuild their lives. Full-time case managers (supported by multilingual advocates) provide safety planning, information, and referrals to shelter, legal, and social services, all facilitated in the survivor’s preferred language. The Training and Technical Assistance program works closely with mainstream service providers (law enforcement, shelters, healthcare workers) to help them better serve survivors from different backgrounds. Outreach activities in Asian and Pacific Islander communities raise awareness of abuse and unite people against it. DVRP is run for and by survivors. 

PO Box 14268, Washington, D.C. 20044 


Since 1973, Ayuda (which means “help” in Spanish) has welcomed tens of thousands of immigrants who want nothing more than to get a new start in “the land of opportunity.” But for so many foreign-born residents (one in eight in D.C.) simply asking for help is a challenge. Without a solid grasp of the language or the legal system, they don’t know where to go or whom to trust. So Ayuda provides immigration and family law assistance, as well as social services support, for all immigrants—men, women and children—from anywhere in the world. Along with representation in family- and humanitarian-based cases, Ayuda offers comprehensive services for immigrant survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence, many of whom fear that the police, courts, and even shelters will not protect them. It also offers desperately needed specialized advice and representation to abused, neglected, and abandoned immigrant children. Ayuda gives clients the opportunity to fully and comfortably call their new country home. 

6925 B Willow St. NW

Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition

Just last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained over 400,000 immigrants—long-term residents, asylum seekers, and the seriously ill. Nearly 60,000 were children fleeing gang violence, abuse, or human trafficking, and many arrived without a parent or guardian. With no legal right to an attorney, and no ability to pay for a private lawyer, few detained adults (or children) can navigate the complex legal system on their own. As a Washington-area nonprofit dedicated exclusively to assisting detained immigrants, the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition is their hope. For 4,000 individuals, it provides legal orientation, individual consultation, pro bono representation, assistance for asylum-seekers, post-release transition planning, and youth-focused legal services, as well as “Know Your Rights” presentations at 11 jails and juvenile centers. It also serves as a vital community resource on detention and deportation questions, and advocates passionately for the rights of immigrants, including detainees with mental illnesses. Consider this: In 2016, CAIR Coalition served 706 unaccompanied immigrant kids, nearly 200 more than the year before. The need is growing.

1612 K St., NW, Suite 204

Central American Resource Center

One in 10 Washingtonians is Latinx, and the majority are immigrants. Many have fled violence at home, and all are seeking better opportunities. Whether they have well-established roots in the U.S. or are newly arrived, they face a host of challenges, including limited English skills, unstable employment and housing, and low wages. So CARECEN provides a one-stop shop where Latinx immigrants can access the tools and resources they need to lead secure and productive lives. Direct legal services and consultations (offered at low or no cost) allow them to resolve their immigration status, secure work authorization, and gain permanent residency. The next step is citizenship, and CARECEN’s citizenship coursework (including mock interviews and ESL tutoring), voter education, and civic engagement activities prepare those it assists to fully engage in civil society. Housing counseling promotes safe and stable homes for all through education on tenant rights, foreclosure prevention, and financial literacy. And an after-school youth program prepares the next generation to become the leaders of tomorrow. 

1460 Columbia Road NW, Suite C-1

DC Doors

For the women and families referred to DC Doors for support, homelessness is just one of many challenges in their lives. Most face cultural and language barriers (85% are Latinx); some are single parents; several have severe mental illnesses. So DC Doors intentionally keeps its caseload modest, offering comprehensive, bilingual assistance to more than 80 children and adults each year. Its 18-month transitional housing program does far more than provide shelter. Life-skills lessons (including classes on parenting, relationship-building, children’s education, cooking, and nutrition) strengthen the entire family. Meanwhile, employment assistance and training in money management and financial literacy help adults work toward lives of stability and independence. A new 12-week workforce development program taught by licensed CPAs equips clients with the skills to become accounting technicians. Once families move into permanent housing, six months of aftercare helps ease the transition. And through it all, emotional support is available 24/7. 

630 Columbia Road NW

Latino Economic Development Center

More than anything, LEDC believes in the families that it serves: With the right support and resources, they can live in affordable homes, build small businesses, and spark community growth. The only organization providing bilingual wealth-building services in the entire region, it aims to drive the economic and social advancement of low- to moderate-income Latinx residents. In homeownership counseling, LEDC walks families through each step of buying a house, from credit repair to application packaging. Mortgage and foreclosure advising is available for those who are struggling. By educating and empowering tenants, LEDC helps to prevent displacement and secure housing for very low-income renters. After stability comes growth, and through micro-loans, financial services, and individual business coaching, it helps aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders compete and thrive. 

641 S St. NW

Mi Casa

Affordable housing is the bedrock of a healthy community: It helps families thrive, and is linked to better education and health outcomes for children. Yet with D.C. neighborhoods undergoing gentrification, many low-income District residents cannot afford to buy or even rent a home. Mi Casa, a Latinx-focused affordable housing developer, is addressing this crisis in three ways: by helping tenants organize and purchase their apartment buildings when they come up for sale; by renovating and building housing for families; and by leasing affordable apartments in Mi Casa-owned buildings. As part of its work with new tenant-owners, Mi Casa trains them in the skills they need to keep their homes —balancing a budget, reading financial statements, hiring and supervising a property manager—which ultimately gives them control over their lives. One of the most efficient developers of affordable housing in the city, Mi Casa has taken the lead in addressing one of the principal problems facing low income residents in the District today. 

6230 3rd St. NW

Women and Girls

The Womens Centers Center

New Endeavors by Women

NEW annually gives more than 200 women and children in seven housing programs a safe place to stay. Homeless for a variety of reasons, the women (single or with families) come when they are ready to make big changes in their lives. Independent living skills, academic retooling, employment counseling, strategies for obtaining and maintaining affordable housing, support groups, and therapy all help women regain control of their lives. Drug recovery assistance is critical because most residents have a history of substance abuse. Importantly, residents learn how to afford places of their own. Many put a portion of their income into an escrow account, and work diligently with staff to identify potential housing. NEW women who become self-sufficient remain so: More than 80 percent of the 3,000 who have completed the program are no longer homeless. 

611 N St. NW

Breast Care for Washington

The District of Columbia has one of the highest rates of breast cancer mortality in the country and Ward 8 has the highest incidence of the disease. Until recently, however, there was no facility here offering the 3D screening technology known to be the most accurate method of detection. In response to this disparity, Breast Care for Washington opened its doors in 2014. Conveniently located within a comprehensive healthcare facility in Ward 8, BCW is the first breast cancer screening facility east of the Anacostia River with state-of-the-art technology and services, including 3D mammography, diagnostics, ultrasound, and minimally invasive biopsies. In its brief history, BCW has already screened 800 women: 90 percent are from the surrounding neighborhoods, most receive Medicaid, and 15 percent are uninsured. In cases of abnormal findings, BCW provides full continuitty of care, helping each patient navigate the system from diagnosis to surgical consultation and, when necessary, treatment. Simply put, every woman should have access to these services, regardless of where she lives or her ability to pay.

4 Atlantic St. SW

Suited for Change

To be hired for a job and to keep it, you need a suit; to buy that suit, you need a job. That’s why more than 100 local social services agencies refer low-income clients to Suited for Change. Trained volunteers meet women who have completed a job-readiness program and are seeking employment; together they select suits and accessories for the interview process. Once clients have secured employment, they are referred back for a second consultation where they receive a week’s wardrobe. Survivors of domestic violence, homeless women, immigrant women, former offenders, teenagers, and seniors participate in workshops on everything from healthy eating and budgeting to goal-setting and surviving difficult bosses. A partnership with the D.C. Women’s Business Center and the YWCA-National Capital Area, the new Suited for Start-Up program counsels and mentors women who want to establish their own businesses. Since 1992, nearly 23,000 women have taken steps toward employment and financial independence for themselves and their families.

1010 Vermont Ave. NW Suite 450

Tahirih Justice Center

Tahirih Justice Center addresses an urgent need: protecting immigrant girls and women fleeing torture, rape, trafficking, honor crimes, forced marriages, widow rituals, and domestic violence abroad and at home. Protecting those who have experienced abuse in the U.S. or have fled it in their home countries and now seek asylum, Tahirih provides holistic legal services, case management, advocacy, and education. And it has an extraordinary record of success in its immigration and family law cases, an astonishing 99 percent. Clients also complete safety plans, set goals, develop budgets, and receive referrals for shelter, counseling, medical care, food, and clothing as they rebuild their lives and their children’s. In court and in the community, Tahirih gives a powerful voice to those who are not heard and whose needs often go unmet, training attorneys, police, judges, prosecutors, legislators, and social and medical service providers to understand the unique concerns facing immigrant women and children, and then advocating for policies that better shield them. Each year, Tahirih seeks justice and rekindles hope for 250 courageous women. Let’s stand, united, behind them.

6402 Arlington Blvd., Suite 300, Falls Church

The Women’s Center

For more than 40 years, The Women’s Center has been nothing short of a lifeline to the women, men, and children of Northern Virginia and D.C. for whom mental health counseling would otherwise be out of reach. A team of 60 therapists provides immediate care to nearly 2,300 clients annually, regardless of their ability to pay. The Center is also the only regional provider of domestic violence and sexual assault support and advocacy, serving over 600 survivors each year. The approach is holistic, pairing mental health counseling with life skills training: Career and financial counseling, mentoring programs, and advice on interviewing and resume-writing for those re-entering the workforce are all on the menu. Most clients are under- or uninsured, and thanks to the Center’s sliding fee scale, some pay as little as $5 per counseling session to help them cope with life’s challenges, whether facing depression, job loss, divorce, abuse, or the death of a loved one. 

133 Park St. NE, Vienna

Nueva Vida

Imagine you have no health insurance, no primary care physician, no family or friends nearby—and suddenly you have cancer. For many Latinx residents of the Washington area, this is their reality. Founded in 1996 by Latinx breast cancer survivors and health professionals, Nueva Vida has provided support services to more than 6,000 clients in the Latinx community. The only Spanish-speaking agency of its kind in the mid-Atlantic region, it offers high-touch, comprehensive programs that serve the specific needs of this group—outreach and education, patient navigation, and mental health support—guiding them through the difficult days of diagnosis, and assisting them with life-saving access to treatment and healthcare. Nueva Vida educates, provides culturally sensitive and bilingual assistance in a fragmented healthcare system, and offers caring and culturally expert support. It has given new life to so many. You can offer your life-changing support.

206 North Washington St., Suite 300, Alexandria

The Women’s Collective

Founded by a woman who had lost both her husband and youngest child to AIDS, The Women’s Collective is a peer-led grassroots organization serving some 250 low-income women, girls, and their families who live with or are at risk for HIV/AIDS annually. Faced with poverty, homelessness, violence, and drug abuse, many do not even consider HIV the most pressing problem they face. And with limited incomes (often less than $10,000 a year) most lack access to quality healthcare. TWC dismantles the barriers, providing a continuum of care: HIV counseling and testing, peer support, emergency assistance, and help navigating the complex healthcare system. Prevention efforts target at-risk youth, while testing onsite, at partner agencies, and via a mobile unit, serves more than 500 individuals each year and provides education and information to thousands more. TWC’s advocacy allows women and girls throughout D.C. to reach policy makers on a broad array of issues at the intersection of HIV, poverty, homelessness, and health equity. 

1331 Rhode Island Ave. NE

Legal Help

DC Law Students in Court Program

DC Volunteer Lawyers Project

Consider this: D.C. has the most lawyers per capita in the U.S., yet 90 percent of domestic violence victims seeking legal protection do not have a lawyer. The DC Volunteer Lawyers Project addresses this profound disparity by linking low-income, at-risk clients with skilled volunteer lawyers. To expand the pool of qualified attorneys, DCVLP recruits those not affiliated with law firms (government attorneys, recent graduates, lawyers taking a break from career) and gives them training, supervision, and support to provide free, high-quality legal representation to people in crisis. The group primarily serves clients seeking civil protection orders (nearly 300 in 2014, with an outstanding 90 percent success rate), and staffs a walk-in clinic where domestic violence survivors can access legal services, housing, and counseling in a single place. DCVLP also represents children in high-risk custody cases where parental mental illness, substance abuse, incarceration, or child abuse has created tragic circumstances. This dedicated team has a long waiting list for its services.

5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Suite 440

The Human Trafficking Legal Center

Nearly all of the trafficking survivors who come to HTLC for help are immigrant women who have been held in forced labor, deprived of food, wages, and medical care. Many have suffered physical and sexual abuse. HTLC connects them to its network of more than 3,000 highly-skilled attorneys who are ready and willing to help. With legal support, clients can obtain criminal restitution, bring civil suits against their traffickers, win damages, and gain financial independence. To ensure expert representation, attorneys receive specialized training, extensive technical assistance, and data analysis services. Landmark research and public education further advance the cause. Since 2012, HTLC has helped trafficking survivors win over $40 million in court orders and public settlements—funds they use to purchase homes, open businesses, and provide for their children.

1030 15th St. NW, Number 104B

Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project

More than 300 years. That’s the total amount of time that, collectively, 19 men spent in prison for crimes they didn’t commit. But thanks to the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, their freedom was finally secured. Focusing on the D.C. region, MAIP rigorously screens and investigates innocence claims from prisoners and their families. For the most compelling cases it offers pro-bono litigation, representing the prisoner in court or filing a clemency petition—and achieving one of the highest success rates of any innocence organization in the country. MAIP has had nine victories in the last two years alone. And the work is crucial, not only because securing justice for those wrongly imprisoned is the right thing to do, but because protecting the public from perpetrators still at large is also critical. Overturning convictions is, however, profoundly difficult, so MAIP also leads a policy reform effort, which has led to improved legislation that can prevent wrongful convictions before they happen. Helping return innocent citizens to their families and to their rightful lives is, simply, the right thing to do.

2000 H St. NW

Amara Legal Center

For a survivor of sex trafficking, access to a lawyer can make all the difference—the difference between imprisonment and freedom, between keeping a family together and losing custody, between staying safe and living in fear. Serving 150 clients annually, Amara Legal Services is the only organization in D.C. that provides free legal services exclusively to people whose rights have been violated through commercial sex. Through direct legal representation (coordinated with pro bono attorneys and legal interns), Amara helps clients obtain legal protection from abusers, reunite with their children, and seal unjust criminal records that would otherwise limit their opportunities for employment, higher education, and housing. Staff attorneys oversee the entire process, tailoring services to meet the unique needs of individuals who have endured extreme trauma. Regular trainings for lawyers and social service organizations expand the community’s ability to identify survivors and refer them for support. Meanwhile, Amara’s policy advocacy helps stop unjust persecution of victims, and its awareness campaigns help prevent trafficking before it starts. Here, your support restores justice and hope.

P.O. Box 18391, Washington, D.C. 20036

AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly

AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly empowers, defends, and protects Washington’s elderly residents—the frail, poor, disabled, and institutionalized—a majority of whom are low-income ethnic minorities and women. The idea is not simply to take care of legal matters but to address fundamental human needs: income, housing, long-term care, and personal autonomy. The Legal Advice Hotline ensures prompt guidance from a seasoned attorney, helping thousands of D.C. residents annually. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman advocates for the rights and dignity of residents in nursing homes and other facilities. The Homebound Elderly Project provides legal assistance to the elderly right where they live, even in the hospital. The Alternatives to Landlord/Tenant Court Project and its Elder Buddies volunteer de-cluttering program prevent evictions, displacements, and homelessness among low-income elder tenants. The test of a community is how it cares for its elderly. Surely this is a test we can pass.

601 E St. NW

Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia is the law firm for people who cannot afford a lawyer. Every year, it works to improve access to justice for hundreds of poor and low-income people whose needs are not being met. And the need is great: People living in poverty are more likely to encounter legal issues, often in cases where the stakes are high. Getting legal help could mean that a family gets heat in the winter, a woman escapes a domestic violence situation, a senior citizen obtains the right prescription drug plan, a person in need receives the proper safety net benefits. Last year, services provided by Legal Aid benefited nearly 8,800 District residents, the majority of whom live in the poorest wards of the city. Thousands more benefited from legal rights education efforts, referrals, and law reforms that better protect their rights. Equal justice is at the very core of the mission. Your support allows the oldest and largest legal services program in D.C. to continue making justice real for everyone.

1331 H St. NW, Suite 350

DC Law Students in Court Program

The need for affordable housing is probably the single biggest challenge facing poor people in the District, and gentrification and its consequences have only intensified the problem. DC Law Students in Court comes at the issue in an innovative way. Acknowledging that 90 percent of landlords have attorneys and only 3 percent of tenants do, LSIC uses legal defenses to intervene in crises and prevent evictions. Homelessness prevention constitutes 70 percent of its work, with small claims, criminal defense cases, and juvenile justice work rounding out the docket. The idea makes sense: Law students from American, Georgetown, GW, Howard, and UDC pair up with some of D.C.’s neediest citizens, whose incomes fall well below the poverty line. Many are female heads of households with young children or heads of extended families on public assistance or disability. The goal is to stabilize their living situations, teach them the value of asserting their rights, and create a group of young attorneys who will continue to help poor people throughout their careers.

4340 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 214

Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project

In domestic violence trials, an alarming number of battered women lose custody of their children or are forced to share custody with an abusive parent. Tragically, these developments can prove fatal and they are just some examples of the many injustices survivors experience in the courts. DV LEAP helps overturn unjust trial outcomes, assisting survivors in custody battles, civil protection order cases, and cases in which domestic violence has affected their housing, employment, and more. Its flagship program, DC LEAP, provides consultations to D.C.-area victims and attorneys, strategizing with them about the potential for appeal, conducting legal research, and preparing a strong record for trial. Then, if needed, DV LEAP finds pro bono co-counsel, helps to represent the victim, and presents its recommendations to the court. Meanwhile, trainings for D.C. judges, lawyers, and advocates strengthen our community’s response to domestic abuse. With numerous successful appeals (and participation in 10 Supreme Court cases), DV LEAP has empowered thousands of survivors to live free from violence.

650 20th St. NW


Rock Creek Conservancy

Anacostia Watershed Society

The Anacostia River touches countless communities, winding through Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Washington, D.C. before flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. This vital natural resource has suffered from generations of neglect, but the promise of a healthy and clean river is within reach. Dedicated to the restoration of the watershed, Anacostia Watershed Society mobilizes the community to stop new pollution, restore natural systems, and rebuild the community’s relationship to the Anacostia River. Through hands-on service learning, it engages thousands of local students each year in planting wetland vegetation and cleaning up the shores, and it advocates on the river’s behalf, seeking better stormwater controls and smarter green development. AWS also provides opportunities for adults to become Watershed Stewards—reducing stormwater, installing rain barrels and green roofs, and becoming advocates in their communities. Thousands work with AWS to restore and clean the watershed through year-round volunteer events. Canoe and pontoon tours, biking and kayaking, and other environmentally-friendly activities remind all local residents of the pleasure that (clean) rivers can bring. Your stewardship, and support, is the next essential resource.

4302 Baltimore Ave., Bladensburg

Audubon Naturalist Society

Since 1897, the Audubon Naturalist Society has been connecting Washington area residents to nature, inspiring them to appreciate, understand, and protect their forests, wetlands, water resources, and open spaces through education, advocacy, and conservation. And that connection with nature can start early. Each year, more than 7,000 children from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade visit ANS’ two beautiful sanctuaries, where enthusiastic naturalist teachers emphasize hands-on, interactive learning. GreenKids, a unique collaboration with the Montgomery County and Loudon County Public Schools, fosters the development of school environmental resources such as gardens, nature trails, and recycling programs. Plans are now taking shape to expand GreenKids to schools throughout the D.C. metro area. Protecting and preserving natural habitats and local clean water (by conserving area streams and open spaces) are all part of ANS’ community outreach plan. 

8940 Jones Mill Road, Chevy Chase

National Park Trust

National Park Trust is committed to getting kids unplugged, outside, and inspired by the natural world. Its signature Buddy Bison School Program has engaged 30,000 youngsters with American parks and public lands—10,000 from the D.C. metro area alone—providing teachers with hands-on resources for science and history classes that enhance existing school curricula. And the benefits to children’s brains and bodies are undeniable: Studies show that spending time outdoors eases symptoms of depression and ADHD, and helps curb obesity and diabetes. To create opportunities for kids to visit local, state, or national parks, NPT handles the logistics and covers transportation costs (the primary obstacle for most schools). From park trips, to canoe adventures, to service projects, the Trust has made conservation relevant and exciting for thousands of D.C.-area youth. After all, preservation is at the heart of NPT, which has overseen 100 land projects in parks, forests, and wildlife refuges. The goal of the Trust’s education programs? Cultivating future park stewards and conservationists. 

401 East Jefferson St., Suite 207, Rockville

Potomac Riverkeeper

The Potomac River watershed (which includes the Shenandoah River, the Potomac, and the Upper Potomac) encompasses 15,000 square miles, touching four states and the District of Columbia as it flows into the Chesapeake Bay. Six million residents live along the watershed, but instead of a clean and healthy river, they find swimming prohibitions and fish consumption advisories lining its banks. Potomac Riverkeeper is a grassroots on-the-water organization dedicated to fighting pollution and creating healthy rivers and streams. In partnership with pro bono attorneys, it works to correct violations of environmental law and promote government accountability. Its network of volunteer citizen monitors reports on the health of fish in the rivers and it uses their input to direct enforcement and advocacy work, using the legal system to force polluters to clean up their act. Knowing that healthy rivers and healthy communities go hand-in-hand, Potomac Riverkeeper strives to ensure that all 383 miles of our river stay healthy. Clean water should not be the exception to the rule. It should be the rule.

3070 M St. NW

Potomac Conservancy

Since the days when George Washington built his home along its banks, the Potomac has been an anchor for our region’s identity and the source of 90 percent of its drinking water. The wildest river running through an urban area, it is home to more than 200 rare species and natural communities. But rapid population growth and its accompanying urban sprawl have led to an increase in pollution for the river and its streams. Potomac Conservancy provides effective, long-term conservation solutions: permanently protecting land from development (thereby preventing future pollution), and building a coalition of advocates for smart urban growth and river-friendly policies. Tree plantings, river cleanups, seed collections, and other hands-on activities improve the local environment and empower individuals to leave a healthier, cleaner legacy for generations to come. 

8403 Colesville Road, Suite 805, Silver Spring

Rock Creek Conservancy

Rock Creek meanders 33 miles through the Washington metropolitan area, across numerous local and state borders, through forested parkland and along busy roads, near hiking trails, businesses, and backyards. But there is only one organization solely dedicated to the creek and its parks, an area visited annually by more than two million people. Rock Creek Conservancy leverages the park’s popularity, empowering visitors and neighbors alike to explore, enjoy, and become stewards of this national treasure. Each year, more than 4,500 volunteers pick up trash, remove invasive species, and restore native plants, while dozens of Stream Team leaders adopt sections of the creek for neighborhood-based stewardship. Local residents and landowners learn how they can improve the watershed’s health—from removing pet waste to mitigating English ivy—and get support to develop eco-friendly landscapes and backyard habitats. Meanwhile, the Conservancy acts as the park’s central advocate, contributing to the passage of environmental legislation in local government. You too can be a steward for good and ensure the park’s health and beauty.

4300 Montgomery Ave., Suite 304, Bethesda

Solar United Neighbors

The vision: a future in which energy is clean, local, equitable, affordable, and reliable for everyone. SUN is catalyzing a grassroots clean energy movement, connecting citizens with the tools and resources they need to start renewable energy projects in their communities. At its core are co-ops in which groups of neighbors “go solar” together and get a bulk discount, making solar more affordable and accessible, and benefitting the local economy. SUN also manages the process with the installer, but that’s just the beginning. Co-op members are encouraged to take part in educational programs, volunteer work, and advocacy. The result: a network of empowered citizens who fight for energy rights and achieve significant policy wins. Now working in five states (including Maryland and Virginia) and in D.C., SUN is paving the way to a clean energy future.

1115 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 300

Volunteer Opportunities

City Kids Wilderness Project

Each year, 130 youth from under-resourced communities experience life-changing adventures. They begin their journey in 6th grade, and progress as a cohort through seven years of activities and challenges. In the summer, they head to Broken Arrow Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming, for overnight camping trips, mountain climbing, and whitewater kayaking. During the year, day and weekend excursions acquaint students with our region’s natural wonders. 

Art Works Now

Summer camps, drop-in sessions, and Saturday classes take place regularly at Art Works Now in Mount Rainier, Maryland. The organization also brings art wherever it is needed most—into youth centers, schools, and affordable housing communities. All programs address local needs and are offered at low or no cost. At Toddler Time, parents network and relax while young artists explore creative play. Studio classes for teens with developmental disabilities use tactile experiences to strengthen physical and cognitive skills. 

Beacon House

Operating in the middle of a large, subsidized housing project in Ward 5 where students typically perform in the lowest quartile on standardized tests, Beacon House offers one-on-one, back-to-basics, math and reading for 1st to 8th graders, and has had a dramatic impact on academic performance: Over the course of the school year reading and math skills improve by an average of two grade levels. Nutritious meals are offered along with homework help, tutoring in core subjects, athletics, and arts. 

D.C. Creative Writing Workshop

In Congress Heights, DCCWW provides a place where students’ voices are heard and respected. Students read poems, discuss them, use discussion to spark their own writing, and then perform their original poems for the class. The hArtworks literary magazine showcases student work and many Workshop students go on to win top prizes in local poetry contests. Five hundred aspiring writers participate each year. 

Georgetown Ministry Center

Begun in 1987 with just one social worker and a mandate to provide service and shelter, GMC has since grown into a year-round drop-in center, providing psychiatric and medical outreach, social and mental health services, case management, shelter and housing support, handicapped-accessible bathrooms, and laundry facilities to one of the very neediest populations: chronically homeless individuals who suffer from mental illness, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities, as well as physical injuries. Many are resistant to help, so GMC creates a welcoming environment that fosters trust. 

Horton’s Kids

In Wellington Park, youngsters find a safe haven at Horton’s Kids. Six days a week, they gather at the Community Resource Center to eat healthy meals, read in the library, get homework help and, most importantly, engage one-on-one with a caring adult mentor. Through its structured case management system, children stay on track right through high school graduation. Homework help, intensive tutoring, sports, cooking classes, gardening, and field trips are available to all. Programs for older youth include college and career readiness and discussion groups (called Rap Sessions). The most basic needs are covered, too: coats and shoes, toiletries, emergency food, dental and vision services, and counseling with trained psychologists.

Jubilee JumpStart

In Adams Morgan, 34% of children under five live in poverty and they begin kindergarten far less prepared, academically and emotionally, than their peers. Jubilee JumpStart gives them an extra boost. Its center offers affordable, high-quality early childhood education in a dual language environment. A low student-teacher ratio ensures personal attention and teachers chart each child’s progress. For parents who work long hours, the center is open from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Graduates have no reason to fear the first day of school, and 20 percent of their parents have been inspired to start school again themselves. 

Rebuilding Together of Washington DC

One elderly woman lived in a house with ceiling holes large enough to see the sky. A disabled woman, living 15 blocks from the Capitol, had never bathed in her own home because of the bathroom’s state of disrepair. Since 1983, Rebuilding Together has stepped in and revitalized over 2,900 homes for D.C.’s most vulnerable residents. For many, a new roof would cost more than a year’s income, so Rebuilding Together recruits over 2,000 volunteers to replace roofs, paint walls, purchase new stoves and refrigerators, and install air conditioning and wheelchair ramps for low-income families.

Please find more great organizations in a section on legal services groups at https://cfp-dc.org/citypaper2017.