Courtesy of 11th Street Bridge Park

Leaving her father’s funeral, Tiffany Jessup prepared for life as the head of her household after losing a loved one to COVID-19. 

She peered down at her phone only to learn that transition had a sudden complication. Like millions of people across the country, Jessup was furloughed.

Jessup, who has worked as a paralegal for more than 20 years, was now unexpectedly without a source of income and tasked with supporting her mother — who she lives with in Washington, D.C.’s Ward 8 neighborhood.

While uncertainty loomed throughout the month of May, come June, help was on the way.

She was selected to be a beneficiary of The THRIVE East of the River partnership, a collaboration between Martha’s Table, Bread for the City, 11th Street Bridge Park (a project of Building Bridges Across the River) and Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative (FSFSC), designed to address immediate economic instability posed by COVID-19 to DC’s Ward 8 residents with the goal of supporting a total of 500 families.

THRIVE East of the River first came onto Jessup’s radar while serving as President of the Savannah Apartment Tenants Association — an affordable housing development with 60 units. That complex is located at the Douglass Community Land Trust, which was stood up by 11th Street Bridge Park to create inclusive and equitable development and preservation of permanently affordable housing. 

Courtesy of 11th Street Bridge Park

“Assistance from THRIVE East of the River represents hope,” says Jessup. “Sometimes it seems like people living in the inner city just get lost in the shuffle and that nobody is thinking about us. This assistance showed us that there are people out there that truly understand our situation and want to help.” 

THRIVE East of the River has supported more than 350 low-to-moderate income families living in Ward 8, a historically Black community, since its June launch. It has distributed nearly $2 million in financial aid to those people — all of whom had preexisting relationships with one of the four aforementioned nonprofits. 

This partnership has raised nearly $4 million in funding from companies like Capital One — who has been a longtime supporter of many organizations in Ward 8.

“Capital One stepped up and recognized the immediate need in our community,” says Scott Kratz, Director of 11th Street Bridge Park. “Capital One has been making an impact east of the river for quite some time and continues to invest in it with the upcoming opening of the Capital One Cafe at the historic Anacostia MLK Gateway project.”

Participants receive five months of support including weekly groceries, monthly dry goods and $5,500 in financial assistance. Assigned community navigators from FSFSC are helping those families access unemployment insurance, tax credits and other available benefits. 

FSFSC is offering Capital One’s financial well-being course to teach budgeting skills to Ward 8 residents in an effort to help them manage the financial assistance they’re receiving through THRIVE East of the River. 

“The financial well-being component in THRIVE is essential for family success,” says Nekkita Beans, a special project coordinator at FSFSC. “We’re educating people about how to create a budget that meets their specific situation. We’re also offering support as community navigators to act as liaisons to connect people with all of the resources being offered to sustain their needs.”

That support comes as part of the larger Capital One Impact Initiative, which focuses on creating a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to prosper by advocating for an inclusive society, building thriving communities and creating financial tools that enrich lives.

“Capital One is proud to support an initiative organized by strong nonprofits that are embedded in the community they serve and trusted by Anacostia’s residents,” says Naomi Smouha, Community Relations Manager at Capital One. “We’re committed to ensuring that individuals and families who have been directly affected by the pandemic are equipped with the proper resources and support needed to navigate these challenging times.”     

For Jessup, the hope that support brought to her and the residents she represents at the Savannah Apartments continues to shine.

“Our residents stand strong, we stand together and we are thankful,” Jessup said. “It felt like that support came overnight and all of a sudden we had people in our corner to help provide resources and meet the unique needs of every person exactly where they stand,” Jessup said.

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