AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of Garden Resources of Washington (GROW), I was intrigued to find our name at the top of the list of inappropriate grantees of the D.C. Escheated Estates Fund (“The District’s Escheating Heart,” The District Line, 3/17). We applied twice to the fund, adhered to the application guidelines, conducted out projects as planned, kept required separate bank accounts, and submitted required final reports. By listing GROW in your article, you imply that we mis led the fund, misrepresented our organizational purpose, misused city funds, and did not serve the intended beneficiaries.
Perhaps you should have done some research so you would know what you were writing about. The article would have been more accurate if you had compared the law establishing the fund with the fund’s application procedures, with grantees’ reports, and finally with the auditors’ reports.
The application to the D.C. Escheated Estates Fund does not require that grantee organizations be “established to serve the poor,” but rather that the funded project benefit people “in poverty,” according to the federally defined poverty level. Do you think that people in poverty do not benefit from organizations for domestic violence, anti- drug/drug-control activities, suicide prevention, public-school activities, group therapy, music therapy, and garden development? Nowhere in the application material is there a list of either required or unsuitable projects. It is irksome that you would quote from the auditor’s report without stopping to think about whether or not it makes any sense!
GROW is an organization that assists city residents in starting community food gardens and neighborhood beautifications. We applied twice to the D.C. Escheated Estates Fund for funding to support development of gardens for people in poverty and for outreach to people in poverty for possible future garden development. We received two $5,000 grants, kept the required separate bank accounts in each case, submitted a final report with itemized accounting in each case, and worked to benefit people in poverty in each case.
Executive Director, Garden Resources of Washington, Columbia Heights