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Program Areas

Grants are made in the areas of Arts and Humanities, Community Services, Education, Health and Environment.

The Foundation seeks to be responsive to community issues and needs. Our process is highly competitive and is open to new projects and new organizations. The following summary, Examples of our Grant-Making, is offered to help guide applicants. While this is not intended to be an exhaustive description and may, as appropriate, change over time, we hope that the following will suggest the kind of meaningful work in which the Foundation is seeking to invest.

Generally, the Foundation looks to support work that improves the lives of DC-area residents, with a particular emphasis on vulnerable and underserved individuals. We encourage organizations that provide comprehensive services and work towards systemic change, which addresses all levels of, and all who are affected by, the issue. The goal is that all in the region become self-sufficient and lead healthy, fulfilling lives. We search for nonprofits that also employ effective partnering and show cultural competence in engaging effectively with communities and people of various cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. On occasion, the Foundation invests directly in strengthening the nonprofit sector by helping current grantees to build organizational capacity and by supporting advocacy and other efforts.

If you have questions about whether your organization or project aligns well with the Foundation’s objectives, please Contact Us.

For additional information about recent grants, please view our Annual Report.

Examples of our Grant-Making

ARTS AND HUMANITIES

Our giving in the Arts and Humanities includes theater, dance, music, visual arts, film and other multidisciplinary art forms, as well as organizations that promote the humanities. We focus on nonprofits that have deep, meaningful impact and can demonstrate the depth and breadth of their local initiatives. The Foundation examines how access to the Arts and Humanities for diverse populations is created and how unique opportunities are provided for all ages to engage. In addition to more traditional approaches, we believe in the power of the Arts and Humanities to be innovative and create social change.

EDUCATION

The Foundation’s Education docket invests in learning from cradle to career. It includes schools that provide early childhood education, kindergarten through twelfth-grade instruction and undergraduate and graduate institutions. The Foundation also looks for models that provide comprehensive services to help students improve academic success and future employment outcomes. This may include charter and private schools, college access programs, groups focusing on teacher and school leader training, as well as certain supportive scholarship programs.  In addition, the Foundation invests in adult basic education, literacy programs and preparation and testing for the General Equivalency Diploma.

The Foundation’s grants related to workforce development largely reflect two types of organizations: those that focus on a specific field and help individuals on a career pathway or those that concentrate on broader job- and career-readiness.

COMMUNITY SERVICES

Community Development

The Foundation’s Community Development grant-making includes affordable housing production and preservation, homeless services, transitional and permanent supportive housing, foreclosure and eviction prevention, community economic development and wealth building, and civic engagement. Our giving in those areas is focused on increasing the availability of housing that is affordable to low- and moderate-income residents, helping homeless individuals and families attain self-sufficiency and housing stability, improving the economic status and viability of low- and moderate-income residents and communities, and preventing the adverse impact on neighborhoods that commonly results from foreclosures and vacancies.

Children, Youth and Families
The Foundation’s Children, Youth and Families portfolio includes out-of-school time programs, youth development and academic enrichment in schools, as well as programs for homeless youth or those in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. Our giving focuses on nonprofits that help young people improve their academic performance, develop relationships with trusted adults and make connections to the larger community.  We support programs that also provide safe spaces for children, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.
We look for collaboration between nonprofits and schools, so that services are coordinated and the best outcomes for youth are ensured.  We expect that programs operating within schools will also align with academic standards.
For older youth, the Foundation invests in programs that enable them to learn new skills, access employment opportunities, make healthy choices and advocate for change within their schools and communities.  In addition, we support programs that create more permanent placements for older youth in foster care and offer training and support for foster and adoptive families.

Justice: Access, Violence Prevention, Reentry

The Foundation invests in organizations and programs that help increase access to justice for low-income individuals. Such nonprofits may provide direct legal representation, education about legal rights and responsibilities, and advocacy.

We also support nonprofits that provide assistance to victims of violence, to help them achieve safety and self-sufficiency. This may include direct services, as well as advocacy.

Our grant-making also aims to reduce the recidivism rate of incarcerated youth and adults. Support includes direct services to help facilitate returning citizens’ reentry into the community and related advocacy.

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Our giving in Health and Wellness supports integrated healthcare and prevention efforts and broad collaborations, to ensure that all DC metropolitan residents live longer, healthier lives. We strive to bridge the worlds of health and healthcare through a broad range of investments. These may include support for community-based nonprofit health centers and coalitions of healthcare providers, in order to increase access to coordinated, high-quality medical, dental and mental health services for our region’s low-income and most vulnerable residents.

We also look for models that keep people healthy in the first place. Support may go towards increasing access to nutritious, affordable food; creating opportunities for better health in our neighborhoods, homes, schools and workplaces; and decreasing the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the DC metropolitan region.

To address disparities among our region’s most vulnerable populations, the Foundation also funds nonprofits that provide community-based, culturally competent, comprehensive services to children, older adults and disabled individuals. Our hope is that every metropolitan Washington resident can actively participate in a robust community life and maintain independent living for as long as possible.

ENVIRONMENT

The Foundation strives to preserve the region’s resources and raise awareness so that individuals can enjoy healthy and fulfilling lives in a clean environment. Through our grant-making, we support groups that are concerned with our natural environment’s past, present and future. To help restore and protect our region’s natural resources, we have focused on local parks, the Anacostia and Potomac rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We have also funded programs that create future stewards. Through such education and outreach efforts, the public becomes more aware of the dangers of an unhealthy environment — including pesticides and toxins — and better understands the need to protect open natural spaces.

For questions about whether your organization or project aligns well with the Foundation's objectives, please Contact Us.