A Catalog for Giving 2023
There is no denying that COVID-19 has had a profound and ongoing impact on student learning both here and across the country. Post-pandemic, some late elementary-age students found themselves suddenly in middle school; and some middle schoolers suddenly found themselves in high school, often without the preparation they needed. Alarmingly, 17% of local teachers left the profession during the last school year alone, further complicating the return to in-person learning. Local nonprofits bridge the gap, providing affordable programming outside of school, advocating for and supporting social-emotional learning in school, and helping young people take ownership of their educational journeys. Because the rising cost of higher education has meant fewer students attending and graduating from college, post-secondary success programs, scholarship funds, and career training programs provide the support that young people need. Nonprofits also focus on the educators who guide our young adults, especially on the mental health challenges that both teachers and students continue to face. The results of all this hard work? They can last a lifetime.
Courtesy of
Photographer Dana Cook, Courtesy of Read Early And Daily
Youth Education & Enrichment
City Gate
Some 60% of families East of the River live below the poverty line. Children who experience poverty, systemic discrimination, and the unstable home environment these often create, frequently struggle in school. City Gate redefines what success can look like, engaging and empowering 250 students annually through its trauma-informed education programs. After school in community centers, public housing complexes, and churches, students participate in STEAM and literacy instruction, physical recreation, cooking, and crafting, in addition to receiving homework help and daily meals. To combat learning loss when school is not in session, City Gate designs full-day expeditions, community service projects, and arts and sports activities that foster students’ self-esteem and social-emotional skills. By tailoring its programs to the unique needs of each child, City Gate acknowledges their individuality and value. When education is provided in a holistic, community-based way, it can be transformative.
WISH LIST: $100: a set of story mats for creative writing; $500: a set of classroom books for literacy & one-on-one tutoring; $1000: balls, hula hoops, jump ropes, & 2 basketball hoops for camps
Lynn Bergfalk, President & Founder 3920 Alton Place NW Washington, DC 20016 Tel 202 237 1799
WETATi Academy (We're Empowered To Achieve The impossible)
Young people of color in low-to-moderate income communities rarely see themselves as future successful entrepreneurs. WETATi is changing that narrative by providing students from middle school through college with practical learning opportunities. Through hands-on coursework and one-on-one coaching, students learn about financial management, entrepreneurship, and workforce development while practicing the soft skills they need to secure employment. Every week, they complete a practical assignment that challenges them to experience a real-life workforce scenario. At term’s end, they are either certified as an Entrepreneur or Entrepreneurial Employee. Students who participate in the iDEA Lab take an idea from inception to implementation — culminating in an annual pitch competition where everyone receives valuable feedback from adult business owners; winners are supported in starting their own businesses. WETATi makes economic empowerment possible — one student at a time.
WISH LIST: $100: seed funding (up to $2500); $500: scholarship funding (up to $5000); $1000: 2 laptops for office use and fundraising
Ambassador Dr Margaret Dureke, President & Executive Director Nyumburu Cultural Center, University of Maryland, 4018 Campus Drive College Park, MD 20742 Tel 240 743 6188
Courtesy of City Gate
The Latino Student Fund
Hispanic students represent only 16% of undergraduate students nationwide— a trend that the LSF is working to reverse through its multigenerational education program. Children as young as four join its academic support initiative, engaging in one-on-one Saturday morning tutoring sessions, complete with breakfast, free books, and individualized support in English and math. When they enter high school, a year-round mentoring program along with after-school and summer college prep programs help each student prepare for the transition to post-secondary education and a healthy adulthood. ESL and computer literacy classes for parents run concurrently with the tutoring program — providing the entire family with educational opportunities in one location. LSF serves over 700 individuals each year; 100%of students graduate from high school and enroll in post-secondary education. Now that’s a statistic we can all get behind.
WISH LIST: $100: books in English for 4 parents; $500: A/V editing software and equipment for 5 middle school students; $1000: 1 week of Summer College Prep and regional college tours
Maria Fernanda Borja, President & CEO 910 17th Street NW, Suite 317 Washington, DC 20006 Tel 202 244 3438
Parents are the ultimate experts on their children but are rarely consulted about the education policies that impact their children’s lives. PAVE empowers DC parents to engage in the policymaking process and demand great schools for every child. 3,000+ trained parent leaders serve on Ward-based and city-wide Parent Leader in Education (PLE) Boards, meet with elected officials, mobilize other parents, and build targeted campaigns. PAVE equips them with information and resources and also partners directly with schools, state agencies, and policymakers to improve their family engagement practices. Since 2016, PAVE parents have identified mental health as a top priority four times. Their activism has resulted in budget increases of over $60 million, supporting social-emotional learning programs, trauma-informed care, and more — a huge win for DC families. Let’s ensure that DC has excellent, safe, nurturing schools for all.
WISH LIST: $100: printed materials for 1 parent leader for the year; $500: childcare for 1 PLE board meeting; $1000: breakfast, lunch, or dinner for 1 signature PAVE event
Maya Martin Cadogan, Executive Director 1616 P Street NW, Suite 120
Washington, DC, 20036
Tel 202 677 9412
Courtesy of Touching Heart
Touching Heart
Touching Heart teaches children that it is never too early to be a philanthropist. Through its Kids on a Mission (KOAM) program, children work with adult coaches to plan and execute a fundraising event, 100% of whose proceeds benefit the cause they select. As part of the Schools on a Mission (SOAM) program, elementary school students meet weekly after school for eight weeks to practice kindness by making sandwiches and blankets to donate to homeless shelters. Middle and high school students join a year-long club that incorporates age-appropriate lessons about social issues and empowers them to take on solution-driven service and fundraising projects. In one year alone, children pack over 4,000 lunches for people experiencing homelessness and purchase backpacks and other school supplies for more than 3,000 children in foster care. Everyone can create meaningful change, including the youngest among us.
WISH LIST: $100: 100 sandwiches & 100 snack bags for local food pantries; $500: 300 cold-weather care packages; $1000: 1 year of the SOAM (Schools on a Mission) program
Helen Yi, Executive Director 13286 Holly Meadow Lane Oak Hill, VA 20171 Tel 703 901 7355
Read Early And Daily (READ)
Founded to bridge the gap in youth literacy programming, READ uses its bookstore revenue to give culturally relevant books to more than 1,400 children annually. Moms-to-be can receive a Baby Book Bag containing five bilingual books to start building their home libraries. After birth and through the age of five, economically vulnerable parents continue to receive a free book every month for each child in their household. For almost half of READ families, this is their only source of books. Trained volunteers host monthly family playgroups where they model reading aloud to improve literacy. Additionally, READ’s Book Bus makes monthly visits to public elementary schools to deliver books while its new bookstore educates the community-at-large about reading inequities. “Buy” a book from READ and a child living in or near poverty will experience the joy and impact of reading.
WISH LIST: $25: 5 board books & bilingual reading tips; $100: 25 books to give away at family playgroups; $500: 5 board books prenatally & 1 book a month for 5 years
Jennifer Sauter-Price, Executive Director 113 North Galveston Street Arlington, VA 22203 Tel 202 412 6655
DC has the highest rate of teacher turnover in the country, with 25% of educators leaving schools each year. EmpowerEd was founded to address this alarming loss, including the loss of experienced teachers of color, whose relationships with students often define the school environment. Led by educators, it works directly with 15+ schools and supports dozens more to improve teacher retention by strengthening each school’s culture and policies to support wellness, professional development, shared leadership, and healthier working conditions. EmpowerEd collects data in regular city-wide surveys of DC educators, using it to advance teacher-driven solutions. Alongside councilmembers and agency officials, it has led successful campaigns like funding DC’s first educator pathway, which provides high school students with a free route to becoming licensed local teachers. An investment in our teachers is an investment in the success of our students.
WISH LIST: $100: a teacher lounge upgrade to create a wellness space; $500: a school educator wellness intro workshop; $1000: 1 advocacy & organizing training for teacher leaders
Scott Goldstein, Executive Director 3814 Kansas Avenue NW Washington, DC 20011 Tel 202 763 1187
DC Students Construction Trades Foundation
Through the Academy of Construction and Design, the DC Students Construction Trades Foundation creates pathways to a brighter future for students in local schools. Preparing them for college and/or career, ACAD’s hands-on curriculum builds technical skills in math, carpentry, mechanical drawing, blueprint reading, and more. Each year, students gain real-world experience as interns, engage with professionals from construction firms on building sites in the city, and benefit from mentorship and further learning opportunities. These experiences set Academy graduates apart from their peers — whether they pursue college or employment. The Foundation also works closely with industry partners to provide adult learners with apprenticeship-related instruction and professional credentials. Evening classes help workers balance career-enhancing coursework with home life and full-time employment. The Academy builds promising futures. So can you.
WISH LIST: $100: personal protective equipment and basic tool kits for 4 students; $500:tools and equipment for 20 students; $1000: digital instructional materials for 10 students for 1 year
Paula Ralph, Executive Director 4001 Brandywine Street NW, 4th Floor Washington, DC 20016 Tel 202 215 6640
Main Street Child Development Center
For 50 years, Main Street has offered high quality, early childhood education to Fairfax families, most of whom have low incomes. Experienced teachers and expert staff work with over 100 two- to five-year olds annually, using a range of assessments, tools, and developmentally appropriate curricula. With a licensed clinical social worker, mental and behavioral health specialists, a Fairfax County Public Schools special education teacher, and a new sensory discovery room on site, students struggling with chronic stress, behavioral challenges, language and developmental delays get specialized care. All are screened for vision, hearing, and language challenges (and receive glasses and speech therapy if needed). Out-of-schooltime programs for 25 elementary-age children keep graduates on track. Parenting workshops, nutrition classes, and special events build social bonds — so necessary in today’s world. Preparing kids and families for a better future: that’s Main Street’s main goal.
WISH LIST: $100: 2 nutritious meals and 2 snacks for 10 children; $500: 1 week of on-site mental health/behavioral counseling and support; $1000: 1 bus for a field trip for 2 classes
Carol F Lieske, Executive Director 4401 Sideburn Road Fairfax, VA 22030 Tel 703 273 1192
Photographer Julie Cole,, Courtesy of Main Street Child Development Center
All Ages Read Together
Though children begin nurturing a lifelong love of learning in their first five years, too many in Northern Virginia face socioeconomic, language, and cultural barriers to accessing preschool. AART closes this opportunity gap by welcoming all to their free preschool programs throughout the year. Classrooms are led by a multi-generational team of skilled volunteers with a higher-than-average ratio of 4 adults to 10 students. Annually, 180+ children in under-resourced communities across Loudoun and Fairfax Counties, build the early literacy, academic, and social-emotional skills they need to thrive in kindergarten and beyond. From providing age-appropriate books in bilingual classes in pop-up preschools, churches, senior centers, and more, AART’s community-driven approach ensures that their graduates, even current college students, still remember their first teacher. Education can be more than an equalizer. With AART, it can also feel like family.
WISH LIST: $100: 1 week of books for 2 AART classes; $1000: 70 supply-filled backpacksfor kindergarten; $2500: 3 weeks of instruction for 1 class
Michelle Sullivan, Executive Director 1141 Elden Street, Suite 200 Herndon, VA 20170 Tel 540 277 3135
Kid Power, Inc
Kid Power nurtures the development of tomorrow’s leaders, inspiring hundreds of students in under-served schools each year to become well-rounded agents of positive change in their own communities. Every day after school, students participate in a variety of enrichment activities — from art to STEM, service learning to student government. In youth-led Kid Power Circles, students discuss community issues and engage in team building. School-based gardens supplement lessons in sustainable agriculture and nutrition through hands-on science experiments and cooking classes that use produce harvested from the gardens. A mentoring program pairs high school students with trained community mentors while high-impact tutoring ensures low student-to-staff ratios in literacy tutoring and social-emotional support. During the summer, an interactive leadership program further builds students’ career skills in public speaking, researching, and financial literacy. Impart truly lasting change by inspiring DC youth to power our future.
WISH LIST: $100: transportation for a one-on-one tutoring and mentoring activity; $500: a Kid Power garden for 1 full year; $1000: after-school programming for 1 full year
Andria Tobin, Executive Director 400 E Street SW Washington, DC 20024 Tel 202 484 1404
Pursuing your dream college is challenging for anyone. Now, imagine being the first in your family to do so, grappling with financial and language barriers at the same time. Working with under-resourced Latino and immigrant families throughout Northern Virginia, Edu-Futuro offers free, Spanish-English bilingual programs to inspire a new generation of leaders. Each year, close to 700 students work toward graduation through the multi-stage, after-school Emerging Leaders Program (ELP): middle schoolers build STEM skills through hands-on robotics; high schoolers engage in leadership development and mentorships; and rising seniors receive year-long support as they navigate college applications and enrollment. A suite of programs — from workforce development to parenting classes — empowers parents too and helps them secure employment, adapt to life in the US, and fully advocate for themselves and their children.
WISH LIST: $100: 4 $25 gift cards for ELP robotics participants; $500: a stipend for 1 student’s pre-college internship; $1000: 2 college scholarships for seniors
Jorge E Figueredo, Executive Director 2110 Washington Boulevard, Suite 349 Arlington, VA 22204 Tel 703 228 2560
Higher Achievement
Dedicated to closing the opportunity gap, Higher Achievement serves some 400 academically motivated middle-schoolers from under-resourced communities, providing them with rigorous academic enrichment, caring role models, and a culture of high expectations. At the Afterschool Academy, students build social-emotional skills, experience hands-on educational electives, and work with volunteer mentors on high school readiness, acceptance, and enrollment. (They also enjoy a healthy supper.) All students participate in the program’s three components — a serious commitment that results in college-bound scholars with the character, confidence, and skills to succeed. Summer engagement includes field trips and college visits. High school placement services help these middle schoolers advance to college-prep high schools and 95% graduate from high school on time (compared with 75% citywide). For these determined scholars, your help means success in high school and beyond.
WISH LIST: $100: Afterschool Academy supplies for 5 scholars; $500: college trip for 5 scholars; $1000: field trip for 80 scholars
Dr Beshon Trusty, Executive Director 317 8th Street NE Washington, DC 20002 Tel 202 544 3633
Courtesy of Higher Achievement
Urban Adventure Squad
Taking advantage of DC’s hiking trails, green spaces, and historic neighborhoods, UAS designs experiential learning programs that supplement curricula for students in under-resourced public schools. An ecology unit comes to life through a neighborhood exploration of local species; a history lesson about “Black Broadway” unfolds along the U Street Corridor. UAS partners with local organizations to create hundreds of programs incorporating team building activities, hands-on experiments, field trips, and reflection and relaxation time. Programs take place during and after school, when schools are closed during the school year, and in the summer. For students who often lack access to outdoor learning experiences, programs are free or available at highly subsidized rates. UAS serves more than 1,300 students annually across a full range of academic subjects. Our city is a rich resource for learning and UAS ensures more young people can experience it.
WISH LIST: $100: a set of mini-microscopes, a desktop microscope & slides for science programs; $500: snacks for 5 weeks of summer; $1,000: outdoor learning program for 12 students
Elana Mintz, Founder & Executive Director 1101 Connecticut Avenue NW, #450 Washington, DC 20036 Tel 202 455 0390
LearnServe International
LearnServe equips DC-area middle and high school students with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to tackle our world’s pressing social challenges. LearnServe Fellows design and launch their own social ventures to benefit their schools and communities, growing into resilient and empathetic leaders. The most promising ideas receive additional training and compete for seed funding to maximize their impact in the LearnServe Incubator. In-school programming incorporates social entrepreneurship into the classroom, providing teachers with specialized curricula, materials, volunteers, and more. Students gain global experience by connecting with young social entrepreneurs in Zambia and Paraguay, in addition to implementing volunteer projects alongside local leaders in summer learning trips abroad. Since 2003, more than 2,000 students from diverse backgrounds have designed, pitched, and launched new social ventures. Put young people in the driver’s seat and trust them to change our world for the better.
WISH LIST: $100: seed grant for 1 student-led social venture; $500: transportation stipends for 5 students; $1000: scholarship for 1 year of social entrepreneurship training for 1 student
Scott Rechler, Co-Director & CEO PO Box 42182 Washington, DC 20015 Tel 202 422 2239
The Ellington Fund
Fifty years after its founding, Duke Ellington School for the Arts continues to nurture a passion for arts in the District’s youth — regardless of background, ability to pay, or previous training. In a rigorous, college preparatory setting, and led by educators of color, the predominantly African American students at DESA explore life-changing arts experiences: theater, music, dance, and technical design; painting, sculpture, and photography; spoken word, playwriting, and production. The Fund provides critical support for this work, including counseling, tutoring, and college guidance to prepare 565 talented young artists for higher education and careers. DESA sets high expectations and, with help from the Fund, students rise to meet them: last year, 98%graduated and 100% achieved college acceptance with over $9 million in scholarships. Your investment nurtures young talents and minds alike.
WISH LIST: $100: a pair of ballet shoes for 1 student; $500: theatre or dance costumes for 5 students; $1000: a professional working artist to teach a Master Class for 50 students
Jackie Love-Baker, Director of Development 3500 R Street NW Washington, DC 20007 Tel 202 283 0123
Mentorship & College Access
Though she searched for financial aid to support her college education, Yasmine Arrington couldn’t find a scholarship program for a student like her —a teen with an incarcerated parent. So she created ScholarCHIPS which, to date, has supported 88 scholars and boasts 40 college graduates. High school guidance counselors help identify applicants and selected scholars receive annual support — renewable $3,500 scholarships and $1,000 book awards if they maintain good academic standing. ScholarCHIPS also provides one-on-one mentoring, professional development workshops, and a support network designed to help scholars persist in school and graduate. Remarkably, at least 95% of them do, overcoming the financial barriers and social stigma that so many children of incarcerated parents experience. Your support gives these scholars a fighting chance at going to and succeeding in college — and at the lifelong benefits that brings.
WISH LIST: $500: book award for 1 scholar for 1 semester; $1000: book award for 1 scholar for the school year; $1750: a semester’s scholarship aid for 1 scholar
Yasmine Arrington, Founder & Executive Director 22 Gallatin Street NE, Unit B Washington, DC 20011 Tel 202 677 0897
Institute for East African Councils on Higher Education (IEA Councils)
Nationally, only 44% of African immigrant students enter college. IEA bridges this gap by engaging parents in African immigrant communities and giving their students culturally sensitive tools to succeed. Students form deep relationships with IEA staff, who provide them with personalized counseling as they explore and visit potential college options. After demystifying assumptions about college for students and their families, IEA supports them throughout the application process, from developing personal statements to conducting mock interviews with college representatives. The result: 100% of IEA students matriculate (27% to Ivy League schools), each receiving an astonishing $175,000 in financial aid. Additional pre-collegiate training eases the transition to college life. It also sets each student up for success at schools that have traditionally made access difficult for students with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. These bright scholars can express their full potential — with your support.
WISH LIST: $100: in-state college visit expenses for 1 student; $500: out-of-state college visit expenses for 1 student; $1000: 1 year of college access program financial aid for 1 student
Matheos D Mesfin, Executive Director & CEO 3636 16th Street NW, 4th floor Washington, DC 20010 Tel 202 607 3241
Photographer Felisha Carrasco, Courtesy of ScholarCHIPS
College Bound
College Bound targets underserved 8th–12th grade public school students who have the capacity yet lack the necessary supports to attend college. Students meet weekly with mentors to work on math, SAT prep, and the college admissions process. CB also sponsors career and college fairs, takes students on college tours, and annually offers over $250,000 in scholarships. For the last decade, 100% of seniors have graduated high school and been accepted into college. Its Virtual Mentoring Program further helps students navigate college life once they’re there. With CB’s support, 94% of students return to college for their second year, far beyond the national average for this key indicator of success. With seven locations throughout the city and additional enrichment opportunities for students during the academic year, College Bound is making college completion a reality for DC’s young people. What a difference that makes.
WISH LIST: $100: a 4-day college tour for 1 student; $500: an 8-week SAT preparatory class for 20 students; $1000: care packages for 10 college students
Kenneth Ward, Executive Director 128 M Street NW, Suite 220 Washington, DC 20001 Tel 202 842 0858
Courtesy of Future Link
Future Link
For many young adults, the route from high school to college and career is strewn with financial obstacles and daunting choices. Now imagine making that transition as a first-generation, remedial-level student facing challenges like homelessness, trauma, and poverty. Each year, Future Link works with 300 Montgomery County young adults, helping them navigate the path to a promising career. The program begins with a 15-week college-level seminar that empowers students and equips them with essential workplace skills. Next comes a suite of services — mentorships, paid internships, career exploration, scholarships, and professional networks — to help students finish college or trade school and enter the workforce. Impressively, participants hold a 75%academic persistence rate — higher than the county average for similar students. Each year, dozens attain college degrees, professional certifications, and full-time employment. For youth fighting the odds, your support opens doors.
WISH LIST: $100: 1 student textbook; $500: networking event for 25 students; $1000: 3-month student internship (payment matched by employer)
Mindi Jacobson, Executive Director & Co-Founder 15 West Gude Drive, Suite 150 Rockville, MD 20850 Tel 240 393 9443
Here in DC, the vast majority of the nearly 1,000 kids in foster care entered the system because of abuse or neglect. So BEST Kids offers them something they desperately need: consistent encouragement and support from a caring adult. It provides one-on-one mentoring, monthly peer group activities, and college/career readiness skills to nearly 100 children and youth ages 6–21. Reliability is crucial, so mentors undergo extensive training and receive support from a team of staff and experts in psychiatry, education, legal advocacy, and behavior management. The average mentorship lasts over 18 months, double the national average, and in 2022, over 76% of kids said they think they are doing as well as others their age — a significant accomplishment. These kids know they can count on their mentors for support and they are also learning to advocate for themselves.
WISH LIST: $100: back-to-school supplies for 5 mentees; $500: 4 laptops for college/career workshops; $1000: expenses for 1 peer group activity for 15 mentees
Stephania Herrera, Executive Director 1212 4th Street SE #201 Washington, DC 20003 Tel 202 397 3272
Adult Literacy & Learning
Literacy Council of Frederick County
Nationwide, 36 million adults struggle to read and write English. Responding to this critical challenge, the Literacy Council provides free, confidential, one-to-one or small group reading and English language instruction for adult learners in Frederick County, 90% of whom are non-native English speakers. In ESL community classes, students hone their skills in beginning literacy, pronunciation, writing, civics, and digital literacy. Workplace literacy classes at small businesses make attendance easier for employees working multiple shifts or jobs, while parent literacy classes and tutoring at five local elementary schools reach a broader community. The Literacy Council also supports learners who need assistance with GED prep, citizenship tests, social services applications, and more. Last year, their collective community approach saw over 140 volunteers working with more than 300 adult learners. Literacy is an integral part of finding success within one’s community —because literacy lifts lives.
WISH LIST: $100: 10 adult literacy student workbooks; $500: training materials for 25 new volunteer tutors; $1000: development of workplace literacy programs
Laurie Fisher, Executive Director 110 E Patrick Street Frederick, MD 21701 Tel 301 600 2066
English Empowerment Center (formerly Literacy Council of Northern Virginia)
Hailing from 90 different countries and speaking 50 different languages, 1,500 adult learners come to EEC each year to learn the basics of reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English (virtually and in person). A dedicated team of 500 volunteers delivers beginning-level English classes while concurrently introducing learners to important resources related to voting, employment, finances, health, and more. Many students progress into advanced, skill-based classes, or join Destination Workforce, a program that builds the foundational literacy and soft skills needed to obtain and succeed in entry-level jobs. In partnership with public schools, a family literacy program provides English instruction for parents while their children read, write, and get help with their homework. EEC served its 60,000th learner in 2022, and demand continues to grow. For our immigrant neighbors, English opens doors to education, employment, community engagement — and greater understanding.
WISH LIST: $100: training for 2 new volunteer instructors; $500: 12-week family learning program for a mother and her children; $1000: beginning-level English books for 1 class
Roopal Mehta Saran, Executive Director 2855 Annandale Road Falls Church, VA 22042 Tel 703 237 0866 ext 102