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As a Donald Trump administration promises to slash funding for all manner of federal programs, this year’s publication of our giving guide may be more important than ever. This is the sixth year of Washington City Paper’s partnership with the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington, whose goal is to offer informed guidance for District residents about how to spend their charitable dollars.

“I’m hearing it from everybody, and honestly I’m saying to everybody that this is a time to gather together around shared values and work to make the community a better place to live … for everyone,” says Barbara Harman, founder and president of the Catalogue. “There is tremendous income inequality and inequality of opportunity in Washington, D.C. and the situation is only likely to get worse in the years ahead. So it’s important for people who have the capacity to give, in whatever capacity, to step up to the plate right now and contribute to those in the community who need it most.”

Included here are a vetted selection of nonprofits with budgets of less than $3 million per year that are doing critically important, and often thankless, work for the District’s children, homeless, elderly, disabled, and immigrant communities, among others. They are tackling some of society’s most intractable problems— and for the city’s neediest citizens—using literacy, arts, life skills, and other strategies to reduce disparity among people from all walks of life.

The Catalogue has performed its due diligence to ensure that this guide serves as an unqualified recommendation for the charities listed. Its battery of review and vetting is meant to ensure that the finances of each organization are sound, their programs effective, and their impacts measurable.

We feel honored to offer our support for their work and for those who are on the ground making the District a better place for all citizens. Please visit http://cfp-dc.org/citypaper if you want to donate to any of these organizations. The Catalogue of Philanthropy will receive no part of your contribution.

The Catalogue is an independent public charity that raises funds separately to fulfill its mission and neither asks for nor accepts fees from charities to be featured in its publication, which is distributed to thousands of households across the region.

This Thanksgiving, please reach into your wallet and give. —Liz Garrigan



Co-founded by writer Dave Eggers and educator Ninive Calegari (and named for the street address of its first home), 826 National is grounded in the belief that great leaps in learning happen when students receive the right kind of one-on-one attention. Here at home, 826DC recruits and trains volunteers who provide educational support and critically important mentoring to address the dauntingly low literacy skills that plague D.C. youngsters, some two-thirds of whom cannot read or write at the “proficient” level. Youth ages 6-18 attend writing workshops, participate in author roundtables, and professionally publish their work (the proof is in the pudding!). They write and revise, sharpen their skills, build their confidence, improve their schoolwork and, importantly, learn to express themselves with meaning and power. Since first opening its doors in Columbia Heights in 2008, the program has expanded from 134 students to more than 4,500, and the numbers continue to grow. 826DC provides a much-needed bridge between talented adults and the students and teachers who need them.

3333 14th St. NW

Academy of Hope Adult Public Charter School

Literacy statistics in D.C. are staggering: Approximately one in five adults has less than a high school education, and more than one in three functions below the most basic literacy level. These numbers affect us all: There is a direct correlation between low literacy and poverty, and parents who have not graduated are much more likely to have children who drop out of school too. At Academy of Hope, they know that knowledge is power, so Adult Basic Education is where it starts: Students gain real world skills in technology, math, reading, and writing. Some study for the GED, while others pursue rigorous IC3 computer certification or the National External Diploma Program that offers credit for life experiences. Academy of Hope guides current learners and graduates through resume writing, the identification of educational opportunities, and the process of applying for financial aid. Advanced students can create a personalized plan for the transition to college or a career. Academy of Hope brings real hope to this generation-—and the one that follows.

2315 18th Pl. NE


If there is one thing all teenagers can enjoy, it’s food—and Brainfood capitalizes on that universal appeal to empower young people, build their skills, and unlock job opportunities. Youth unemployment remains extremely high (14 percent), and for those living in poverty, getting that first job is all the more difficult. So at Brainfood’s after-school and summer programs (serving students from all eight wards), cooking classes engage teens not only in culinary arts and nutrition, but also in valuable job skills like accountability, communication, time management, and leadership. Home-cooked foods are donated to local community organizations, and in the summer months, youth get their hands dirty by growing produce in the garden. Second-year “MVPs” take on the role of instructor, leading workshops in the community to share their healthy cooking know-how. The newest program, Homegrown, teaches older youth to develop and sell their own food products—complete with training in branding, sales, and distribution at local outlets like Union Market. Building confidence, healthy habits, and valuable skills: Now there’s a recipe for success!

900 Massachusetts Ave. NW

Communities In Schools of the Nation’s Capital

At 64 percent, the District’s high school graduation rate is the lowest in the nation, a statistic rooted in poverty. Hunger, homelessness, teen pregnancy, gang violence—these are the challenges faced by the more than 30,000 youth living below the poverty line in D.C. Communities in Schools steps in where the need is greatest, working in seven schools where 96 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Highly-trained, full-time site coordinators develop comprehensive drop-out prevention plans, coordinated with school staff, families, and community partners to fully support the “ABCs” of attendance, behavior, and coursework. Activities like college tours, field trips, career fairs, and community service projects are offered to all. Meanwhile, those most vulnerable to dropping out—teen mothers, homeless youth, foster children—receive targeted case management to meet personal needs and achieve academic goals. And it works. Last year, 90 percent of eligible seniors in CIS schools graduated, and DCPS is now one of the fastest improving districts in the nation. Saving our city’s young people is something we can do together.

3121 South St. NW

For Love of Children

We like to think of public education as the great equalizer, leveling the unequal fields on which our children’s lives unfold. But it doesn’t always work that way: A dispiriting combination of limited possibilities and unlimited obstacles sometimes deepens, instead of mending, the disparities. Expanding from its base in Shaw and Columbia Heights, For Love of Children now opens opportunities for hundreds of children and teens from across D.C., offering carefully paced, one-on-one tutoring that brings students to grade-level proficiency in reading and math. After-school workshops teach teamwork, leadership, and community service; and a powerful Outdoor Education Center offers enjoyable challenges. Professional ACT and SAT prep, along with intensive college workshops that teach seniors how to navigate the complex application and financial aid process, all help them get safely to the next stage of the journey. The aim is to make sure that kids stay connected to their education, graduate from high school, pursue college or vocational school, and arrive at adulthood positioned for success. You can join them on their journey.

1763 Columbia Road NW, Suite 1

Horizons Greater Washington

In kindergarten, the achievement gap between low-income and middle-class children is six months; by the end of fifth grade, the gap has widened to five times that. During the summer alone, low-income students can lose over two months’ worth of reading achievement. Fortunately, Horizons has other plans. Through a unique partnership between public elementary schools and nearby private schools, Horizons offers Saturday and summer enrichment programs that build problem-solving skills, self-esteem, and a love of learning. In small classes (one teacher for five students) on the private school campuses, children delve into math, reading, science, arts, and … swimming. Everyone receives a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snack. Reading specialists spend four hours a day with those who are farthest behind, focusing on spelling, writing, and vocabulary. But just as important as academics are teamwork and respect—and the realization that learning is both hard work and really fun. Those values stick: attendance rates are over 90 percent, and 95 percent of students return each summer. At Horizons, summer learning loss becomes learning gain.

3000 Cathedral Ave. NW

Horton’s Kids

In Wellington Park, one of the most violent and under-resourced communities in Southeast D.C., 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. But Horton’s Kids is much more than a community center. Through its structured case management system, children stay on track right through high school graduation and are prepared for post-secondary success. Homework help, intensive tutoring, sports, cooking classes, gardening, and field trips are available to all. Programs for older youth include college and career readiness, life skills, mentoring, 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. More than 75 percent of Horton’s Kids’ participants are now enrolled in high-performing schools, and their graduation rate is nearly twice the neighborhood average. Serving 500 children annually, Horton’s Kids is the lifeline they deserve.

100 Maryland Ave. NE, Suite 520

Inner City Inner Child

Working directly in early childcare classrooms, Inner City Inner Child collaborates with community organizations, public schools, and charter schools to bring innovative arts and literacy education into chronically impoverished neighborhoods. The only organization of its kind in the District, it focuses on our youngest and neediest children: During a six- to 12-week program, highly-trained teaching artists model ways to integrate books, music, and dance to develop children’s academic and social-emotional skills. During naptime, teachers take part in workshops to hone their new techniques (and earn professional certifications): By the end of the program, they are equipped to engage countless more early learners. And every child takes home a backpack full of new books—usually the first they have ever owned. Parents, too, develop new skills through family literacy workshops, where they receive free books, dinner, and training on how to create a culture of reading at home. Reaching more than 3,300 children annually, this program opens books—and a whole new world—to young children in need.

3133 Dumbarton St. NW

Latin American Youth Center YouthBuild Public Charter School

A small, alternative school, YouthBuild PCS offers 16- to 24-year olds who have dropped out, aged out, or been expelled from traditional high schools, a unique second chance. In an intimate, supportive environment, students can take classes in English or Spanish, earn a GED diploma, acquire the skills to be successful in college or the workplace, and navigate the transition to adulthood. And this is no small feat: 100 percent are low-income; more than a third are parents themselves; another third speak little or no English; and most begin with extremely low math and reading levels—often the reasons that they dropped out in the first place. Students alternate between the classroom (reading, science, math; job-readiness and life skills), a construction site (building affordable housing units), and service learning opportunities (creating community gardens and cleaning up local rivers). So building means many things: building knowledge, character, homes, lives. Young people who often feel that they have nothing to offer leave YouthBuild PCS with a different perspective: “I built that,” they say. They have built even more.

3014 14th St. NW

Latino Student Fund

Latinos make up the largest minority group and fastest growing demographic in the nation, yet Latino students have higher school dropout rates than students of any other racial or ethnic group. In our region, the Latino Student Fund is breaking the barriers to high school graduation by providing educational support services for both youth and their families. LSF’s Tutoring Program offers at-risk Pre-K to 12th graders weekly, individualized academic support during the school year. Its Access Program not only educates families about parochial and independent school options but also prepares them for the admissions process. The LISTO college access program for low-income DCPS students features everything from college admissions and financial aid workshops to ACT prep and campus visits. (LISTO Rapido is the intensive, week-long summer version.) Starting with four students in 1994, LSF today serves more than 250 families each week and around 500 youth each year. Best of all? Ninety percent of participants go on to college. Now that’s a statistic we can all get behind.

3480 Woodley Road NW

Monument Academy Public Charter School

Every child can achieve independence and success, regardless of past experiences: That is the founding principle behind Monument Academy, a transformative public boarding school that opened its doors in 2015 with its first class of 40 fifth graders. Most students have suffered significant trauma (abuse, hunger, loss of a parent) or have special needs; many are in foster care or are homeless. But with the right support, all have unlimited potential. Wrap-around care is key: Staff are trained to address children’s social and emotional needs in addition to fostering top-notch academic performance. Small classes, independent and group learning, special education services, counseling, and family engagement activities are all part of the program. And during the week, students live in single-gender homes (up to 10 students each) with a house-parent couple who teaches them important life skills in a safe, family-like environment. The Academy is dedicated to adding a grade level each year to see these youngsters (and many more) graduate from high school poised for long-term success. Let’s join them on the journey.

500 19th St. NE

Multicultural Career Intern Program (MCIP)

This unique partnership between a nonprofit organization (MCIP) and a school (Columbia Heights Educational Campus, home to Lincoln Multicultural Middle and Bell Multicultural High Schools) enhances academics with year-round support programs. Indeed, many of the campus’s 1,350 students need the support: 80 percent are “language minority,” and 75 percent of high schoolers work to support themselves or their families. To give them every opportunity for success, MCIP offers an array of services: teen pregnancy and gang prevention, support programs for teen parents and their children, and tutoring in reading, math, and science. Through the Early College program, students simultaneously enroll at Bell and at the University of the District of Columbia (cost-free)—and graduate with a diploma and an Associate’s degree in hand. In 2015, Bell retained its No. 1 ranking in The Washington Post Challenge Index as D.C.’s most academically rigorous college preparatory program for low-income students. Named one of 12 “Breakthrough High Schools” in the country for significant student achievement and high graduation and college admission rates, this extraordinary model truly merits your support.

New Futures

By 2018, 71 percent of D.C. jobs will require some post-secondary education, but for youth living in poverty, that degree can often be out of reach. At New Futures, low-income D.C. students learn how to build meaningful careers without spending their limited time and money on a four-year degree. Partnering with 14 nonprofits that help identify motivated high schoolers, New Futures empowers youth to pursue well-paying, professionally-satisfying jobs by attaining community college degrees or vocational certificates. Scholarships cover up to 100 percent of costs; weekend workshops build critical skills in teamwork, time-management, and communications; and mentors help students tackle challenges and stay on track. Each year, Career Education Workshops introduce students to in-demand careers in fields like healthcare, information technology, and engineering. And all can access the Career Navigator website, which assesses interests and skills, and then helps youth develop educational plans. By identifying satisfying careers within reach—and equipping students with the tools and education they need to achieve them—New Futures truly lives up to its name.

641 S St. NW

An Open Book Foundation

For too many children, books are a luxury. And it’s no coincidence that schools with the fewest books on the shelves have the highest percentage of students from low-income families, who have far lower proficiency levels in reading. An Open Book Foundation addresses this profound disparity, bringing award-winning authors and illustrators into 120 schools and organizations in and around D.C., from Head Start programs to high schools. Fun, interactive reading and writing workshops engage students in the art of storytelling, and each child receives a signed book to take home (books are donated to school libraries and classrooms as well). Whenever possible, AOB seeks out authors and illustrators who are role models: Students meet and connect with talented adults who look like them, grew up nearby, or had similar childhood experiences—and are then inspired to read and write their own stories. Since 2010, AOB has hosted over 400 events and donated over 25,000 books to the schools and organizations most in need. You can help bring literature—and learning—to life.

3215 Morrison St. NW


Play is so critical to children’s healthy development that the United Nations has declared it a right of every child. Yet school principals report that 89 percent of discipline problems occur during lunch and recess—hot spots for bullying and fights. So Playworks partners with schools, districts, and after-school programs throughout the D.C. region, working to replace the chaos of the playground with healthy, inclusive play. On-site coaches create a safe, active recess by establishing clear areas for games, communicating shared expectations, and teaching conflict resolution. Fourth and fifth graders receive training to serve as junior coaches, while non-competitive after-school sports leagues offer positive team experiences. Playworks also provides consultations and professional development to school staff, building their capacity to sustain a healthy recess culture and ensure their students’ safety and success. And the benefits to the 8,100 local students they touch are manifold: less bullying, better behavior, easier transitions to the classroom, and more physical activity. Quite simply, play works wonders. Let’s support those who make it inclusive, safe, and, of course, fun.

600 Pennsylvania Ave. SE


The results are in: RESET is far more than a successful experiment. An all-volunteer organization of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians, RESET engages students in the STEM world, encouraging them to consider a future in the field. Serving 25 schools, Martha’s Table, and the D.C. General Family Shelter, RESET reaches 1,900 youngsters annually (pre-K-8), many of whom live, or attend school, in low-income neighborhoods. Volunteers—sourced from the National Science Foundation, EPA, NIH, Patent and Trademark Office, and others—work closely with classroom teachers to lead hands-on experiments that reinforce the curriculum. An engineer shows how to generate electricity using wind, sunlight, and mechanical energy; a physical anthropologist complements an Earth and Life Sciences module by discussing early humans’ posture and appearance. The goal is not just to teach chemistry or robotics, but to provide children with positive, exciting science interactions—with those who have made this their life’s work. With your help, they will inspire a new generation of eager inventors and space explorers!

P.O. Box 9400

San Miguel School

Latino boys are more likely than any other demographic to drop out—but not at San Miguel School. Currently enrolling 85 at-risk Latino youth, immigrants or the sons of immigrants, 90 percent of whom are poor and arrive two to three years behind grade level, San Miguel serves as a model of innovative Catholic education. Academically rigorous and nearly tuition free, it limits classrooms to approximately 15 students, focuses on the mastery of basic skills in English and math, and nurtures the physical and emotional well-being of each boy. Breakfast, study hall, and tutoring fill out an extended day (until 5 p.m.) and a 200-day school year maintains or accelerates achievement. The goal? To prepare each student for success in high school and in life. And San Miguel stands by its graduates, offering ongoing mentoring and significant high school and college guidance. Last year, 100 percent of students went on to college preparatory high schools and alumni continued to attain a 100 percent high school graduation rate, nearly twice the rate of their local peers. Now that’s an achievement.

7705 Georgia Ave. NW, Suite 101

Teaching for Change

In today’s education system, high-stakes testing leaves teachers desperate for classroom materials that are academically rigorous and engaging. For schools that serve students of color, the need is especially acute: Standard curricula do not reflect the children’s identities and fail to spark a love of learning. So Teaching for Change transforms the educational landscape, offering professional development training to more than 2,000 D.C.-area teachers each year—and empowering them to deliver dynamic, challenging lessons that are relevant to students and their communities. Children discover their own heritage while learning about the Civil Rights Movement, Central American literature, D.C.’s homegrown go-go music, and more. A wealth of online resources and books (including Teaching for Change’s own publications) encourage children and adults alike to re-think the world beyond the headlines and textbooks. Meanwhile, the Tellin’ Stories Project helps schools develop meaningful home-school partnerships and build parent engagement—a proven catalyst for academic achievement. We have the power to shape the future of education: Let’s make sure every child is a part of it.

1832 11th St. NW

Urban Alliance Foundation

Nurturing self-sufficiency is what Urban Alliance is all about. The only year-round high school internship program in D.C., it serves over 950 young people in the city’s most under-served neighborhoods. Its core project is the High School Internship Program, which gives over 150 students the time, space, and resources to learn about professional jobs and begin setting goals for the future. Participants commit for a year, maintain their grades, stay on track to graduate, and develop a post-high school plan. Life skills sessions focus on time management, communication, and conflict resolution. UA also matches interns with area nonprofits to help them deal with important issues like teen pregnancy, domestic abuse, and financial literacy. Employment assistance mediates conflicts at work so that all students succeed at their jobs. Paid summer internships for college students align with their course of study; UA also helps its graduates with resumes, interviews, job searches, and financial aid applications. Posting an astonishing 100 percent high school graduation rate, and a college matriculation rate of 80 percent, this is an alliance that deserves your support.

2030 Q St. NW

Washington Jesuit Academy

A tuition-free, academically demanding, private middle school (grades 5-8), Washington Jesuit Academy is all about improving the odds for low-income, at-risk boys. Now in its 15th year, WJA has nearly 250 alumni—99 percent of whom are enrolled in or have graduated from high school. And while only 17 percent of low-income minority students in D.C. go on to enroll in college, over 70 percent of WJA alumni do. How does it happen? WJA is a one-stop shop that integrates character education, health and nutrition, counseling services, and mentoring into an 11-hour school day, along with a six-week Summer Enrichment Program. Students play after-school sports, attend evening study hall, eat three nutritious meals with their classmates, and meet with a teacher-mentor each day to discuss challenges and triumphs. In the short term, WJA prepares every student for D.C.’s college preparatory schools; and in the long-term, it supports them through the high school and undergraduate years, on the road to college graduation. You can be part of a transformative four years for boys who deserve a better life.

900 Varnum St. NE

Wilderness Leadership & Learning Inc.

For students at Wilderness Leadership & Learning, the natural and cultural worlds of Greater Washington are their classrooms. On Saturdays, school holidays, and during summer break, WILL brings together youth from underserved D.C. neighborhoods to learn and to explore: day trips on the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers; a ropes course challenge; a scavenger hunt on the National Mall (including the National Gallery); a seven-day backpacking journey on the Appalachian Trail; a forum on college admissions; workshops on inclusion and diversity, financial literacy, healthy eating—all these (and more) are designed to develop their inherent strengths, their decision-making, leadership, goal setting, and life skills. Service learning is an integral part of the WILL experience and all WILL youth learn and appreciate the importance of giving back. Last year, 36 WILL students made the 335-hour commitment to explore and grow. To date, 100 percent of those who completed the program have graduated from high school or are on track to do so. You can catalyze their next venture and keep them on track to succeed.

1758 Park Road NW


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

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 100 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

Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center (APALRC)

Since its inception, APALRC has represented countless low-income Asian 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, too—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 over 16 Asian dialects) manage 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. For so many, language is the great barrier to participation in American society: APALRC turns it into a bridge.

1627 K St. NW, No. 610

Calvary Women’s Services

Among homeless women, the place has a reputation: When you’re ready to turn your life around, go to Calvary. Each year, more than 130 women find “a safe, caring place for tonight; support, hope, and change for tomorrow.” Of the 7,000 homeless in D.C., most are women (and their children). Many struggle with mental illness, domestic violence, substance abuse, and chronic disease. Every day, Calvary Women’s Services helps 56 women find comprehensive care: housing, healthy meals, education and job readiness programs, mental health and addiction recovery services, life skills classes, and a sisterhood of support. Some women live at Calvary’s permanent housing facility for women with a history of addiction; others work toward independent living through one of the only transitional housing programs for homeless women in the District. Follow-up services ensure that graduates stay healthy and on track as they work toward a new life of empowerment and independence. Tonight Calvary will provide a safe place for homeless women in D.C.: You can ensure that it will do so tomorrow.

1217 Good Hope Rd. SE

CASA For Children of DC

For children in foster care, uncertainty is the norm: They bounce from house to house and school to school. And the vast majority of kids in D.C.’s child welfare system are victims of neglect or abuse. So CASA DC provides a grounding rod: a caring, consistent adult who is dedicated to the child’s best interests. After rigorous recruitment, screening, and more than 30 hours of training, volunteers (called CASAs) are sworn in by the D.C. Superior Court and matched to a young person in need. CASAs attend court hearings, strengthen relationships with social workers and attorneys, and help connect youth to jobs, educational opportunities, and housing. Specialized support is provided for pregnant teens and young parents, children whose parents struggle with substance abuse, runaways, and older youth who will soon “age out” of the system. In 2015, CASA DC served 242 kids; of the cases that closed, 100 percent transitioned into independent living, permanent guardianship, or adoption, or were successfully reunited with their biological families. Your advocacy—and philanthropy—is needed here.

515 M St. SE, Suite 74

Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)

One in 10 Washingtonians is Latino, 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 United States 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 Latino 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 Latinos 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. Together, these programs strengthen our Latino community … and our society. 

1460 Columbia Road NW, Suite C

Charlie’s Place

At Charlie’s Place, it all starts with a hot, nutritious meal. For 26 years, this nondenominational 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 healthcare 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. Won’t you join the team?

1820 Connecticut Ave. NW

Community Foodworks

Farmers markets have changed the way we eat and shop for food, while providing an economic lifeline for small farmers. But all too often, low-income families—many of whom depend on federal nutrition programs to meet their basic needs—are left with an empty plate. Enter Community Foodworks. Through innovative food distribution programs at its four farmers markets, CFW increases the amount of local, healthy foods in low-income households. For shoppers who use SNAP, WIC, and other forms of federal aid, weekly $10 vouchers encourage them to visit their neighborhood market, while a matching dollar program doubles their purchasing power. A subsidized Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program ensures that low-income families can take home the same bag of produce as their more affluent neighbors, while free home delivery is available for seniors. And at its flagship market in Columbia Heights, CFW distributes fresh food at wholesale prices to organizations that provide meals to residents and schools in need. This innovative organization builds healthier communities through food justice. Pass the plate, please.

1380 Monroe St. NW

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 over 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. Ultimately, we are all one community: Let’s ensure that homes, good health, and hope are accessible to everyone.

4 Atlantic St. SW

DC Doors

For the women and families who are referred to DC Doors for support, homelessness is just one of many challenges in their lives. Most face cultural and language barriers (85 percent are Latino); some are single moms; 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 after-care helps ease the transition. And through it all, emotional support is available 24/7. Your philanthropy opens doors into a new world, lifting families out of poverty … for good.

1545 6th St. NW

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 just makes sense: law students from American, Georgetown, GW, Howard, and UDC pair up with some of DC’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. Now that’s philanthropy at work.

4340 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 100

The Father McKenna Center

During his time with St. Aloysius Church near Union Station, Father Horace B. McKenna was known by many as “Washington’s priest to the poor.” Since 1982, the Father McKenna Center has honored his legacy, providing more than 20,000 homeless men with the services they need to survive. Every weekday, more than 100 men come to the Day Center to eat, take showers and do laundry, access phones, mail, computers, and clean clothing, and attend a support group. Staff work with guests to identify challenges and goals, and then connect each individual to the services and resources he needs to move forward. The Hypothermia Program pairs intensive case management with evening care and overnight shelter for up to 20 men during the cold months of winter. And through the Center’s food pantry, more than 200 low-income families living in Ward 6 “shop” for much-needed groceries, including fresh bread, produce, milk, eggs, and meat. It all happens thanks to dedicated staff, a youth service-learning program, and hundreds of other volunteers. You can join them.

19 I St. NW

Friends of Compass

Since 2001, Friends of Compass has developed an exceptional track record of delivering invaluable capacity-building consulting services to nonprofits: Over 2,000 business professionals have volunteered on 400 projects for 300 local nonprofits. The value of their time and labor averages $150,000 per project, but Compass provides all services at no charge. At the end of a project, nonprofit leaders have an objective and clear understanding of their own organization and a strong plan for moving into the future. In turn, each member of the Compass team develops a deep and personal commitment to the nonprofit world—perhaps for the first time. Every nonprofit is different and Compass makes sure that each one has the time and team to make a real difference: By carefully screening applications from nonprofits, selecting a Project Leader to manage and motivate the team, and recruiting and training volunteers with the right education and experience. Smaller nonprofits truly flourish with high-level guidance and long-term support. A gift to Compass is a gift to all of them.

1720 N St. NW

Girls on the Run – DC

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-DC coaches over 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 8-15 girls in grades 3-8, 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. Let’s give them support (and cheers) all the way to the finish line. 

1211 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 304

Healthy Babies Project

The District has one of our country’s most frightening low birth weight rates (38 percent higher than the national average) as well as soaring teen pregnancy rates. Sobering statistics indeed. But Healthy Babies Project aims to educate D.C.’s young people about sexual health; reduce the rates of low birth weight and infant death; improve infant health and prevent child abuse and neglect; teach effective and confident parenting to all new parents, including teens and fathers; offer family support and home visits; and provide comprehensive and structured health, prenatal, and childbirth education services. Last year, clients delivered 124 normal birth-weight babies and markedly few low birth-weight babies. Moreover, the current repeat teen pregnancy rate for HBP clients is 1.5 percent, as compared with 23 percent for other teenagers in the District, indicating that education can make a huge difference. HBP brings expectant parents under its wing to nurture, educate, and encourage them to participate actively in their family’s care—a true bright spot in the often dark healthcare landscape. Help spread the light!

4501 Grant St. NE

Housing Up (formerly THC)

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—with your help, please.

5101 16th St. NW

Iona Senior Services

A key component of aging well is “aging in place,” which incidentally saves billions of dollars that might otherwise be spent on institutional care. For over 40 years, Iona Senior Services has provided the support that makes this possible, enabling older people—whose numbers are greater now than at any time in history —to stay (and thrive) in their own homes. Of Iona’s clients, 80 percent are financially insecure, nearly 70 percent are all alone, and many have difficulty shopping, preparing meals, managing money, doing housework, and taking medication. So Iona offers a full range of services: adult day programs for some, coordination of in-home and out-of-home services for others; community programs like group meals, fitness classes, visual art and creative writing courses, and recreational activities that promote a healthy lifestyle; and meal delivery and volunteer companions for those who are homebound. The Client Care Fund supports seniors whose families can’t afford even the most modest fees. Someone’s mother, someone’s father: Your support can make the difference.

4125 Albemarle St. NW

Lydia’s House in Southeast

Frustrated by the lack of government intervention and support to address the challenges facing D.C.’s poor, Eugene and Patrice Sheppard created Lydia’s House in Southeast to provide social services, emotional support, and educational resources for families at every stage of the poverty cycle. Now a HUD-approved housing counseling agency working with low- and moderate-income households in the District and Prince George’s County to ensure that they obtain, maintain, and retain their housing choices, Lydia’s House serves over 950 clients a year with pre-purchase workshops and one-on-one counseling on topics like home ownership, rental, credit, debt management, and foreclosure prevention. Financial education—which has reached hundreds of veterans—includes basic banking, money management, and understanding how credit works. The Growing Children program, provided through Young Outstanding Ladies Organization, combines technology, hands-on workshops, and mentoring for the younger set—girls 12-18—to increase social and decision-making skills. Lydia’s House also provides emergency rental and utility assistance, and food and clothing distribution, so it’s a full plate. Your philanthropy really makes a difference here.

4101 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SW

Miriam’s Kitchen

For the last 32 years, Miriam’s Kitchen has served a nutritious breakfast to men and women in the District who are chronically homeless, feeding more than 4,000 people each year. Today, Miriam’s offers “more than a meal”: It is a leading advocate for a more effective and efficient homeless services system. In the dining room, where dinner is now served, case managers work one-on-one to meet guests’ needs—providing them with clothing and toiletries, connecting them to critical social services, and helping them find jobs and housing. Other community organizations bring their services (healthcare, legal support, HIV testing) on site to further streamline support. But a stable home for all is the ultimate goal, so Miriam’s offers wrap-around care to 95 formerly homeless individuals who now live in Permanent Supportive Housing, helping them integrate into the community and remain safely housed. A Street Outreach Program was launched this spring, and Miriam’s has committed itself to join with the city in a historic commitment to end chronic homelessness by 2017. You can help make this vision a reality. 

2401 Virginia Ave. NW

School Justice Project

More than half. That’s how many youth in D.C.’s juvenile justice system have special education needs. But court-involved youth with disabilities rarely receive the education to which they are legally entitled. Instead, without proper support, far too many drop out and land in the criminal justice system. Dedicated to changing this trajectory, School Justice Project champions the rights of these young people (ages 18-22—those at the deep end of the juvenile justice system), equipping them with education and resources to transition successfully into adulthood. SJP attorneys provide 150 youth with direct legal representation, utilizing special education law to increase access to education. Systemic advocacy efforts improve re-entry services and policies, making sure these students have meaningful, effective support when they return to the community. SJP also connects its clients to community-based support services, and offers trainings for legal professionals to encourage the integration of special education law into juvenile practice. These kids have been dealt a tough hand in life. You can give them a fighting chance at the meaningful future they deserve.

1805 7th St. NW

Smith Center for Healing and the Arts

Smith Center for Healing and the Arts works with the human experience of cancer that conventional medicine often doesn’t address. Caregiver and patient support groups, workshops on stress reduction, and classes in poetry, art, and journal writing offer the opportunity for self-expression; restful Cancer Retreats let patients and caregivers explore a range of resources for healing and relaxation. On site and by phone, trained Patient Navigators work with cancer patients one-on-one, empowering them to take a more active role in their care and well-being through education, resources, and emotional support. Deeply committed to serving all D.C. residents, Smith Center also offers programs for low-income, at-risk, minority, and young adult cancer survivor populations, all at no or low cost. In all, it provides cancer support services to 1,500 people each year. Another 3,000 community members visit the center’s Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, which is dedicated to exhibiting fine art that explores the innate connection between healing and creativity. A two-time Susan G. Komen Foundation award winner, Smith Center deserves your generous support.

1632 U St. NW

SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders)

We’ve come a long way in the last few decades, but LGBTQ youth are still at greater risk than their heterosexual peers for physical abuse, homelessness, suicide, HIV infection, and dropping out of school. Committed to a better world for the next generation, SMYAL builds LGBTQ youth leaders, empowering them to engage their peers in service and advocacy projects. Teens create and manage Gay-Straight Alliances at their schools (proven to reduce bullying and harassment); youth trained in HIV prevention educate their peers about safer sex; and outstanding young leaders receive academic scholarships in recognition of their courage. Meanwhile, the Youth Center provides a safe, supportive space where teens can openly be themselves. Support groups explore self-esteem, health, sexual activity, drug abuse, and violence protection; free HIV testing and counseling are offered to all. SMYAL also trains teachers, social workers, and medical professionals to work with LGBTQ youth in an effective and affirming way. Some young people believe that harassment and isolation are facts of life. We know better.

410 7th St. SE

Street Sense

Since 2003, Street Sense has been changing the story of homelessness—literally. Its biweekly street newspaper features articles and creative writing about poverty and injustice, authored by homeless and formerly homeless individuals (as well as staff and volunteers), who earn an average of $45 per day selling the newspaper in their communities. In 2013, Street Sense expanded beyond the page and launched a Media Center, where 130 men and women experiencing homelessness participate in free weekly workshops in writing, theater, photography, graphic design, digital marketing, and more. Through a stepping-stone model of increasing responsibility and rigor, participants gradually work toward gainful employment while also building key life skills: setting goals, managing relationships, and making responsible decisions. Most recently, Street Sense incorporated a team of on-site case managers to expand and streamline support—and help pave the way toward self-sufficiency. Staff and volunteers view participants not as beneficiaries, but as talented, hard-working colleagues whose voices should be heard. You, too, can help them tell their stories … and build new lives.

1317 G St. NW

Thrive DC

From infants to great-grandmothers, Thrive DC welcomes the most vulnerable of our neighbors: homeless men, women, and children whom other programs may not accept or accommodate. Some suffer from mental illness or substance abuse (or both); others are victims of sexual or domestic abuse; many live with chronic health problems. And they come for something simple: hot, nutritious breakfast for men and women, dinner for women and children, plus an emergency food pantry and carry-out lunch. They also find laundry facilities and showers, toiletries, mail, phone and computers access, and warm clothing and blankets. After building a relationship of trust, Thrive helps clients on-site or refers them to providers who can assist with housing, medical care, or legal services. An employment program offers on-the-job training and life-skills coaching, and for women coming out of incarceration, a comprehensive re-entry program helps them rebuild their lives. Since 1979, Thrive DC has been serving to homeless and vulnerable Washingtonians generous portions of food—and help and hope.

1525 Newton St. NW, Suite G1

Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International

For individuals fleeing civil war, terrorism, and repressive regimes in their home countries, the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition offers more than peaceful refuge. Founded and led by torture survivors, TASSC serves 330 clients (called “members”) each year, helping them apply for asylum and build new lives. Most come from Ethiopia and Cameroon, arriving with little more than the clothes on their backs. Together with a clinical case manager, they create a roadmap for their journey to recovery, including medical treatment (through on-site care and referrals), bilingual, trauma-informed counseling, and therapeutic activities like yoga, story-telling, art workshops, and more. A career counselor assists with job searches and resume preparation, and staff and pro bono attorneys offer free legal services to navigate the complicated asylum application process. Meanwhile, up to eight male survivors live at the Survivor House while they seek stable housing and employment. But most importantly, TASSC restores in its members the belief that they are a welcome and dignified part of the human family. Nothing less will do. 

4121 Harewood Road NE

The Veterans Consortium

Every year, thousands of veterans and their loved ones appeal to federal courts in D.C., seeking to overturn the denial of their veterans’ benefits claims. Many are elderly, experiencing financial hardship, or suffering from serious conditions like PTSD; all deserve high-quality representation. So The Veterans Consortium provides free legal services to over 400 Veterans and their families each year, ensuring equal access to justice in court—and achieving favorable outcomes in 80 percent of its cases. It recruits and trains top-notch volunteer attorneys, matches them with thoroughly screened clients, and provides expert mentoring throughout the appeals process. Many successful cases require medical proof to actually claim benefits or redress, so a new medical review program provides volunteer doctors who support cases with critical evidence. The Consortium also offers start-up funding for veterans law clinics at partner law schools, thereby expanding the pool of expert representation. These services mean veterans can access the life-changing benefits that our country has vowed to provide. Let’s keep that promise.

2101 L St. NW


Center for Civilians in Conflict

Every year, millions of civilians are killed, injured, and displaced due to armed conflict. These innocent men, women, and children are too often overlooked—so the Center for Civilians in Conflict works on their behalf. CIVIC calls on and advises international organizations, governments, militaries, and other parties to implement policies that prevent civilian harm. Its dedicated team travels to conflict zones to speak directly with those affected, brings their stories to those in power, and provides expert advice on ways to ensure civilian safety. When harm does occur, CIVIC presses warring parties to make amends and assist those caught in the crossfire—a seemingly fundamental concept that is, in reality, wholly new to war policy and practice. And the world is listening. In a decade of work, CIVIC has conducted effective, high-level advocacy with numerous international stakeholders (including the United Nations and NATO), and has been instrumental in documenting civilian harm and developing better protection tactics across the globe, from Afghanistan to Libya. Together, we can lower the human cost of war.

1850 M St. NW

Freedom Now

Freedom of expression and belief is a fundamental right most of us take for granted. But around the world, journalists, human rights defenders, politicians, and religious figures are unjustly imprisoned for holding views that their governments do not tolerate. Many of these “prisoners of conscience” have dedicated their lives to advancing human rights— so Freedom Now amplifies their voices, and works to set them free. Each case undergoes a thorough legal review; once accepted, staff and volunteer attorneys provide pro bono legal representation and petition international tribunals, such as the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, for the prisoner’s release. Advocacy and public relations campaigns raise awareness, engaging influential policymakers and officials to strengthen the case and increase pressure on the detaining government. Since 2001, Freedom Now has helped release 100 prisoners (15 in the first half of 2016 alone). Your support returns courageous individuals to their families and communities—and to their essential work of advocating for a more just and peaceful world.

1750 K St. NW

Kakenya Center for Excellence

Instead of dropping out of school at age 12 and becoming a teenage wife and mother, as is traditional in the Maasai community, young Kakenya Ntaiya courageously fought to continue her education. In exchange, she promised to return to her village to help others. Today, the Kakenya Center for Excellence is changing the paradigm for girls’ education and empowering young leaders in rural Kenya. A boarding school (grades 4-8) provides 270 Maasai girls with a safe place to live, high-quality education, and enrichment activities. The girls consistently score among the top students regionally and nationally, and all have avoided harmful traditional practices like female genital mutilation and early marriage. Once they begin secondary school, services like mentoring, career guidance, tutoring, and financial assistance ensure that alumnae stay on track. KCE reaches an additional 3,000 children through Health and Leadership trainings, extending the network of young leaders across the region. And demand for these programs increases each year, revealing a remarkable cultural shift in support of girls’ education—a right that every girl should have.

1717 K St. NW, Suite 1050


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 performing 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

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-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 1 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. 

1700 East Capitol St. NE

GALA Hispanic Theatre

In the heart of bustling Columbia Heights lies the National Center for Latino Performing Arts, GALA Hispanic Theatre. A unique fusion of theater, youth development, and community development in a transitioning D.C. neighborhood, GALA mounts classical, modern, contemporary, and new works, including musical and dance theater pieces, by artists from Spain, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States. Its children’s theatre produces bilingual musicals that enrich family life while reinforcing Hispanic language and culture for young audience members; its matinee performances and post-show education programs draw over 8,000 students every year; and Paso Nuevo (New Step), its signature outreach initiative, engages at-risk Latino and multicultural youth in a bilingual program that exposes them to the rich literary and theatrical traditions of their heritage while giving them the chance to create and perform their own work on a professional stage. In 2012, Paso Nuevo was the recipient of the National Arts & Humanities Youth Award—quite an honor. A gift to GALA gives artistic voice to a new generation of Washingtonians!

3333 14th St. NW


Coalition for Smarter Growth

Where and how does our region grow? That is the question that Coalition for Smarter Growth tackles each day, seeking solutions to the closely-linked challenges of housing, transportation, energy, and the environment in a region that includes over four million people. The final goal? Stronger affordable housing policies, a reduction in environmentally damaging sprawl, well-planned developments, and better transit choices for all those who call this region home. Combining research and policy work, CSG reviews and endorses development and transportation projects and policies, and has formed a lively, committed network of community partners. Groundbreaking reports on pedestrian safety and affordable housing are not just published but also shared and discussed in the media and online. The Walking Tours & Forums Series also educates a range of civic leaders and community members about smart growth solutions. From climate change to changing demographics—everything points to the importance of walkable, transit-oriented communities. With Coalition for Smarter Growth we will discover, together, just how to build them. 

316 F St. NE, No. 200

Washington Youth Garden, Friends of the National Arboretum

How can we encourage our children to eat healthy foods, enjoy the outdoors, and take care of the earth … all while developing their science skills? Now in its 45th year, Washington Youth Garden has the answer, offering year-round gardening programs to more than 5,000 youth annually. The vast majority of participants live in low-income neighborhoods where fresh produce is scarce, green spaces are limited, and nutrition education is virtually nonexistent. Through multi-year partnerships at six schools, entire communities come together to design, install, and maintain school gardens; meanwhile, staff deliver free science and nutrition curricula and work with teachers to enrich their lessons with outdoor, garden-based learning. At WYG’s demonstration garden (located in the stunning National Arboretum), instructors offer hands-on science field trips to grades pre-K through 12 at low or no cost. A paid summer internship program for high schoolers focuses on urban gardening and environmental stewardship, complete with cooking lessons, food systems training, farm visits, and community service projects. Plant a seed … and watch it grow. 

3501 New York Ave. NE



Amara Legal Center: Court filing fees for one client.

An Open Book Foundation: Buys one beautiful, new hardcover book for a child who has never owned a book before.  Given at author event and signed by the author.

Iona Senior Services: Basic food staples for one hungry senior: a can of tuna, a can of soup, a box of cereal, and a jar of peanut butter.

Healthy Babies Project: DC Metro Student Electronic Pass providing a pregnant teenager with four rides on Metro to and from classes.

Thrive DC: Six pairs of new socks—their most requested item.


Community Foodworks: Will give one family enough fruits and vegetables for an entire week.

San Miguel School: Markers, pens, brushes, and paints for an art class.

Father McKenna Center: One hour of case management for men struggling with homelessness.

Central American Resource Center (CARECEN): Credit review and counseling for one participant to put them on the path to financial stability. 

Monument Academy Public Charter School: School supplies for one student.


Charlie’s Place: Underwrites two weeks of the Charlie’s Place “Housed but Hungry Program,” where staff deliver nutritious food to former clients who have housing, but still can’t afford regular meals.

Brainfood: Kitchen utensil set for after school classes.

GALA Hispanic Theatre: Fee for a teaching artist to provide music instruction for youth in their after-school program.

Kakenya Center for Excellence: Provides one month of high school tuition for a Maasai girl in KCE’s Network for Excellence.

Communities in Schools of the Nation’s Capital: Food basket for a family of four.

Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

Communities in Schools of the Nation’s Capital

Volunteer for school special events such as holiday parties, as well as for ongoing events like the family food markets.  January is an ideal time to start tutoring a student to make sure they are on track for the rest of the school year.

DC Doors

Ease the burden of DC Doors’ homeless clients by translating important documents from English to Spanish.

Monument Academy Public Charter School

Participate in a food drive the week of Dec. 12 by collecting nonperishable items and sorting donations to distribute to our students and families to take home for winter break.

Girls on the Run – DC

Join the Girls on the Run – DC 10th Anniversary Community Fall 5K on Sunday, Dec. 4. Opportunities include volunteer welcome team, greeter, information team, and more! 

Charlie’s Place

Help in the kitchen, work in the clothing closet, and serve a hot nutritious meal to between 70 and 100 clients as part of the morning meal program. Or, help with a very special party on Thursday, Dec. 15—collect and sort gifts, create gift-packs, and volunteer on the evening itself.

Community Foodworks

Help with thinking, planning, and organizing for next season! Participate in focus groups about the future of Community Foodworks’ markets, help organize and repair their materials and equipment, research new farmers and producers, analyze data about market participation, and design new outreach/informational materials.

Wilderness Leadership and Learning Inc:

January 2017 volunteer opportunities include participating in nutrition and cultural awareness days and financial literacy and SMART goals days for students. 

Iona Senior Services

Help pack and deliver meals to low-income seniors on Saturday mornings, or glean produce from farmer’s markets on Sundays for distribution to seniors who otherwise would not have access to  healthy, fresh food.


Help out at Brainfood’s first student event of the year on Thursday, December 15th ; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Brainfood participants will be welcoming family and friends to their Chinatown site and making some classroom favorite recipes to share.

GALA Hispanic Theatre

Usher the audience to their seats for “Hecho en Puerto Rico,” a comedy performed at GALA Dec. 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. Sort and give out 600 gifts or provide ushering and ticketing support at the Three Kings Day event Jan. 8.