A Catalog for Giving 2023
Human Services
According to the city’s annual point-in-time count, homelessness in DC has increased by a significant 18% since the start of the pandemic. This has happened alongside reduced government benefits, a significant increase in the cost of living, and a rise in food insecurity – disproportionately experienced by people living in food deserts where healthy food is scarce, or costly, or both. All are compounding problems that underlie ongoing concerns about public safety. Historically, local nonprofits have stepped in where government has stepped out, but high demand and inadequate funding add stress to a sector that is also struggling with staff shortages. With the help of ordinary people who have stepped up in extraordinary ways, nonprofits continue to shine, supporting hundreds of newly arrived migrants after Title 42 ended (it had blocked their entry into the US), and expanding access to safe abortions when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Collaboration has been key: none of us can act alone, especially now, and local nonprofits on the front lines need all of us working together.
Photographer Rossiely Perez, Courtesy of Community Bridges
Basic Needs, Food, & Housing
Dreaming Out Loud
Over 34,000 DC residents live in “food deserts” — over a mile from a supermarket — and many also struggle to pay for needed food. So DOL combines food access with economic opportunity, building food systems that are powered by the communities they serve. Since 2008, its community farmers markets have provided 40,000 low-income customers with 300,000 pounds of healthy food. At the Farm and Food Hub (its flagship program in Ward 7), DOL grows organic produce; runs a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program — members pay before the growing season and farmers share the harvest; conducts school-to-farm educational programs; and offers workforce development training. Partnering with regional farms, it also serves as a hub for storing, processing, and distributing local food that it shares with area schools, small businesses, and nonprofits. Fueling local economies and creating food security: it’s a win-win.
WISH LIST: $100: organic seeds for the Kelly Miller & Ft Stanton DOL Farms; $500: 16 weeks of CSA shares for 1 family; $1000: multiple cases of collard greens, kale, or other produce
Christopher Bradshaw, Executive Director 80 M Street SE, Suite 100 Washington, DC 20003 Tel 202 800 2612
Hope Multiplied
Since 2012, HM has grown from working with 25 volunteers to over 300 who joyfully meet the needs of their neighbors by listening before acting. Today, its education programs match students with mentors and volunteer reading buddies, boosting the skills and confidence of 68 students each year. Emerging Leaders, a comprehensive multi-year program, connects an additional 35 students with civic leaders and gives them the tools to launch their own social enterprises and enroll in internships that expand their professional horizons. Through its Love Your City and Healthy Start programs, HM tailors the way it addresses the needs of each student and family it serves and increases the overall experience of food security in low-resource neighborhoods. The core ingredient across HM’s education, leadership development, and food distribution programs is a love for community. And that’s what makes long-lasting change.
WISH LIST: $100: meal kits for 12 families; $500: seed money for students’ business ventures in the Emerging Leaders program; $1000: 2 monthly food distributions
Steve Messeh, CEO 80 M Street SE, Suite 100 Washington, DC 20003 Tel 571 445 4673
Courtesy of Dreaming Out Loud
Wanda Alston Foundation
Founded by transgender women of color, the Wanda Alston Foundation is dedicated to serving one of DC’s most vulnerable populations: LGBTQIA2S+ youth (ages 18–24) who are experiencing homelessness. With houses in Wards 7 and 1, the Foundation offers shelter and care for 18 months and up to 6 years respectively. A clinical supervisor and case manager complete a full intake assessment and create individual service plans, which they revisit at weekly meetings with each resident. These youth have experienced trauma, rejection, discrimination, and more, so the Foundation partners with mental and behavioral health specialists to help residents heal and improve their well-being. Meanwhile, youth receive daily meals, take part in practical life-skills lessons, get assistance securing permanent housing or employment, or continue their education — whatever they need to chart a new path. Most importantly, they experience acceptance and love.
WISH LIST: $100: bedding, towels, toiletries, and clothing for program participants; $500: 1 month of Metro transportation for 5 youth; $1000: 1 month of groceries
June Crenshaw, Executive Director 1377 R Street NW, Suite 200 Washington, DC 20009 Tel 202 465 8794
Breadcoin Foundation
The idea behind Breadcoin’s “food token” is simple — anyone can fund coins for people who are hungry. Purchased coins (currently valued at $2.50) are distributed to nonprofits for their hungry or food-insecure clients; individuals and families use them to purchase food at participating restaurants or stores of their choice. Circulating Breadcoin ensures that school children, caregivers, people in reentry programs, and others can eat food made with love by their neighbors. Additionally, Breadcoin’s Flash Tables program invites all passersby to dine together, feeding some 100 people within a few hours. To date, Breadcoin has offered individual community members a new way to invest in 25 local nonprofits and 60+ local entrepreneurs. It has provided over$150,000 in revenue to food businesses in underserved areas (coins are redeemed at full value) and 16,000 meals to food-insecure neighbors — with dignity and without stigma.
WISH LIST: $100: 10–15 restaurant meals; $500: 1 community meal event for 40–50 people; $1000: pop-up community meal event for 80 to 100 people
Cary Umhau, Chief Networking Officer & Co-Founder PO Box 76405 Washington, DC 20013 Tel 202 876 6852
Housing Options & Planning Enterprises
Many households earning above the federal poverty line are still unable to afford their basic needs. HOPE helps these and other low-income households attain self-sufficiency by finding them quality housing and working with them toward homeownership. Annually, over 1,000 clients enroll in its education cohorts and one-on-one counseling, creating action plans to rebuild credit, prevent foreclosure, prepare for their first real estate purchase, and ultimately, increase the value of their home. Its trainings allow participants to qualify for down payment assistance programs while strengthening their financial literacy skills. Free tax preparation services and entrepreneurship assistance, housing for seniors and people with disabilities, support for renovation projects that improve residents’ quality of life, and rental counseling for tenants all help to create a world where people of any economic background can thrive.
WISH LIST: $100: care basket of toiletries for 1 month; $500: utility assistance for 1 month; $1000: mortgage assistance or subsidy for 1 month
Donna Hurley, President & CEO 6188 Oxon Hill Road, Suite 700 Oxon Hill, MD 20745 Tel 301 567 3330
Photographer Sharon Fast Gustafson, Courtesy of Breadcoin Foundation
Hope and a Home
Almost seven people for every 1,000 residents in DC experience homelessness— more than three times the national average. Having empowered hundreds of families to achieve self-sufficiency since its founding, Hope and a Home’s multi-phased program addresses the root causes of homelessness, which disproportionately impacts households of color. Transitional Housing provides people in need of immediate necessities with reduced rental rates, financial counseling, career training, healthy meals, and individualized case management over three years. Families who graduate into Independent Housing continue to receive long-term and open-ended support so that they can clear up credit, save money, retain independent housing (90% do), and steadily grow their incomes. Through the Higher Education Program’s two-generation approach, families are supplied with laptops and books, college prep courses, scholarships, and student debt assistance. Your support can help another 62 families transition from homelessness to independence this year.
WISH LIST: $100: 1 week of meals for a family of 2; $250: 1-week subsidy for summer camp; $1500: 1 semester of support for a college student
Lynn C French, Executive Director 1236 Columbia Road NW, Lower Level Washington, DC 20009 Tel 202 387 7091 ext 207
Arlington Thrive
The cost of living in metro DC is among the highest in the nation, placing immense strain on low-income families — particularly when temporary unemployment, an unexpected illness, or a financial crisis strikes. Since 1975, Arlington Thrive has been the only nonprofit to provide same-day emergency financial assistance to residents of the county who cannot pay for their basic needs: rent, utilities, medical bills, prescription costs, work-related transportation, childcare, and other emergencies. It works in collaboration with more than 30 peer organizations and government agencies, meeting a comprehensive range of clients’ needs with speed and efficiency. The result?No duplication of services, and 88 cents on the dollar going directly to financial assistance. With 10 full-time and one part-time staff, Arlington Thrive annually serves more than 3,000 clients. Your donation keeps countless families warm, safe, and at home, where they belong.
WISH LIST: $100: urgent prescription medications for a family in need; $500: a utility or medical bill payment; $1000: 1 month’s rent for a family facing a financial crisis
Jeanette Mallet, Director of Strategic Development & Communications PO Box 7429 Arlington, VA 22207 Tel 703 558 0035
Children, Youth & Families
Open Door Sports
On and off the field, the friendships that develop between children with and without disabilities form the heart of ODS‘ community. Kids with disabilities and from low-income households are often left out of the play and confidence-building that after-school sports programs provide. At no cost to families, ODS offers weekly adapted sports classes year-round in which each child is paired with a middle or high school volunteer peer buddy to play soccer, basketball, and bocce. Across warm-up activities, skill development drills, and scrimmages, players improve their self-esteem while having fun in an inclusive and supportive environment. A competitive Game Day League allows more skilled players to experience a real game environment, complemented by kids’ nights out where everyone enjoys social activities together. From birthday party invitations to high fives in school hallways, ODS players and peer buddies become true friends.
WISH LIST: $100: t-shirts for 12 kids with disabilities; $500: soccer equipment for a year of adapted soccer programs for 224 children; $1000: 7-week adapted soccer program for 10 kids
Sarah Albus, Executive Director 9519 West Stanhope Road Kensington, MD 20895 Tel 202 430 6140
Photographer Sarah Albus, Courtesy of Open Door Sports
Second Story
For over 50 years, Second Story has operated the only emergency home for youth in Northern Virginia; today, it does that and more, providing a range of safe spaces and services for youth in crisis. The Homeless Youth program equips young people with long-term housing support, counseling, life skills education, therapy, tutoring, case management, and emergency supplies they need to become self-sufficient adults. Young mothers and their babies receive safe housing, job training, and parenting support while moms continue their education and save for the future. Community outreach programs provide safety and educational support after school — helping kids stay on track academically while steering clear of gangs, drugs, and violence. Family Resource Centers bring together language and computer classes, legal services, tutoring, and joint parent-and-child programs. For young people with nowhere else to turn, Second Story opens doors.
WISH LIST: $100: 2 weeks of food for a young mother and her child; $500: daily counseling for 1 teen for 3 weeks; $1000: a bed, food, and round-the-clock support for 4 nights for 1 teen
Judith Dittman, CEO 8221 Old Courthouse Road, Suite 370 Vienna, VA 22182 Tel 703 506 9191 ext 100
Fihankra Akoma Ntoaso (FAN)
FAN has been leading with love since 2005, serving as a safe place and home for youth and families in Ward 8 who may be impacted by the child welfare system. It runs the only youth Peer-Operated Center in the District, a drop-in community hub that houses an open pantry with prepared meals, fresh produce, and other essential items. After school and in the summer, certified peer specialists engage youth ages 9–16 in trauma-informed programming while offering their caregivers and alumni (ages 16–28) ongoing support and connection: targeted case management, referrals, cultural and recreational activities, and more. 80% of FAN’s participants graduate from high school and 81% gain employment — but most importantly, they each experience consistent care, love, and safety from a supportive community of adults. Want to make a deep impact where it’s needed most? This is the place.
WISH LIST: $100: monthly SMARTrip for alumni participants; $500: 2 weeks of program meals and snacks for up to 30 youth; $1000: 2 laptops or 3 tablets to start a tech corner
Josephine Mazyck, Executive Director 2815 Stanton Road SE Washington, DC 20020 Tel 843 735 9817
Courtesy of Homeless Children’s Playtime Project
Homeless Children's Playtime Project
Every week, at shelters and community spaces, staff and volunteers give children experiencing housing insecurity a much-needed opportunity: the chance to play. As one of the only organizations nationwide focused on creating spaces for trauma-informed play, Playtime Project nurtures healthy child development by meeting kids where they are and letting them be themselves. While they play games, eat healthy snacks, and explore, parents have time to rest, run errands, and take classes. Monthly field trips introduce children to baseball games and the National Zoo; seasonal parties give families opportunities to socialize and relax. Backpacks filled with games, books, and toys keep children engaged when they are away from the program. Families leaving a shelter get “move-out support”: furnishing and toys provided by volunteers and case management by staff — all to ensure they have the resources they need in their new home.
WISH LIST: $100: 4 Playtime to Go Kits for children living in shelters; $500: 6 months of case management and links to resources for 1 family; $1000: trauma-informed curriculum materials
Jamila Larson, Executive Director 1525 Newton Street NW Washington, DC 20010 Tel 771 888 4481
Heartly House
Heartly House is Frederick County’s only provider of comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and child abuse. Its central access point is a 24/7 hotline: some callers need a supportive listener; others request hospital accompaniment, transportation, or emergency shelter. They provide these services and more, with survivors’ holistic needs in mind. Its shelter is more than a place to sleep: food, clothing, and toiletries are provided, and supportive staff help clients navigate their next steps. Therapy services include group counseling specifically designed for Spanish-speaking women, male survivors of child sexual abuse, and LGBTQ+ survivors. Legal support — including court accompaniment, case preparation, and representation — empowers clients to seek justice. Three satellite operations will address a demand that has risen 65% since the onset of the pandemic. Your support will help meet this growing need.
WISH LIST: $100: 1 counseling session for a child or adult victim; $500: 3 nights of shelter for a survivor of domestic violence; $1000: resources for 6 protective orders for victims in danger
Dr Inga James, President & Executive Director PO Box 857 Frederick, MD 21705 Tel 301 662 8800
Rainbow Families
In the 1980s, two gay dads began an AOL listserv to enable families to connect while a group of lesbian moms met to share parenting resources. In time, they merged, and today Rainbow Families has over 1,000 members (6,000 connected via email) and is the region’s only nonprofit dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ families with trusted resources and compassionate services. It offers parenting classes, an Annual LGBTQ+ Family Conference (declared ‘Rainbow Families Day’ by the DC Mayor’s office), and support groups on adoption, new parenting, sober parenting, transgender parenting, and more. There are also opportunities for LGBTQ+ families to connect at picnics, dances, and camp weekends — spaces where children (and parents) can socialize with families like theirs in a safe, positive, celebratory way; no explaining, no “code shifting.” Annual membership dues are nominal and waivers are available — because all are welcome.
WISH LIST: $100: annual membership for 3 families for a year; $500: Maybe Baby course for 2 sets of prospective parents; $1000: Camping Weekend for 4 families
Darren Vance, Executive Director 5614 Connecticut Avenue 309 Washington, DC 20015 Tel 703 399 0634
Girls & Women
Community Bridges
The results are impressive: 100% of participants in Community Bridges’ Girls Program graduate from high school, and 100% achieve college acceptance and enrollment. But the program is about more than numbers — it’s about equipping girls to think critically, make healthy choices, and become life-long leaders. Working with girls in 4th through 12th grades from diverse backgrounds in Montgomery County (where immigrants represent 35% of the poorest residents), CB engages girls in school, after school, and on weekends. Through a continuum of services (from mentorship and leadership development to field trips, debates, and service projects), girls explore their identities, build character, and realize their potential. College access and success advising assist them in the critical steps toward postsecondary education, while family workshops equip parents to champion their daughters’ growth and success. These girls can break the cycle of poverty.
WISH LIST: $100: annual activity fee for 4 CB girls; $500: college visit for 15 high school juniors and seniors; $1000: recruitment and training for 40 CB mentors
Shannon Babe-Thomas, Executive Director 8757 Georgia Avenue, Suite 540 Bethesda, MD 20910 Tel 301 585 7155
Photographer Shannon Babe-Thomas, Courtesy of Community Bridges
Trafficking is a local issue: there are more than 120 illicit massage businesses just in Fairfax County, where most local sex trafficking takes place. So Reset180 — one of the only organizations in the county that serves human trafficking survivors — reaches out to them via text, offering resources to gain freedom from sexual exploitation. Law enforcement, social workers, the human trafficking hotline, and church leaders refer local survivors to them for wrap-around case management support. Those who are ready to start a new life, work with staff to set goals and receive trauma-informed care. A trained speakers bureau educates the broader community on how to prevent, identify, and report human trafficking, while an outreach team initiates small group, non-judgmental conversations with sex buyers about the harms of sex trafficking. As one survivor shares, “I’m finally healing from the trauma and becoming stronger.”
WISH LIST: $100: food for survivors in crisis situations; $400: trauma- informed therapy for 1 month; $1000: rent for 1 month for the Resource Center
Kim Luckabaugh, Executive Director 1930 Isaac Newton Square, Suite 203 Reston, VA 20190 Tel 703 209 7095
DC Abortion Fund
While DC has long been a safe place for those seeking abortion care, the cost can be prohibitive even for those who have health insurance: $750 for a first-trimester abortion to over $10,000 in the third trimester. As our region’s only abortion fund without eligibility requirements, DCAF serves anyone for whom abortion is unaffordable, whether they live in or travel to our region, and regardless of their stage of pregnancy. Individuals can call one of its five helplines, including a Spanish-language line, and are paired with a case manager within 24 hours to identify and secure the funding and practical support needed. Last year alone, DCAF provided more than 7,000 callers with support and with $2.3M in resources. In its 28-year history, DCAF has not turned away a single person in need — because no one should be denied their reproductive rights.
WISH LIST: $100: 1 night in a hotel; $750: 1 first-trimester abortion; $1000: 1 second-trimester abortion
Alisha Dingus, Development Director PO Box 65061 Washington, DC 20035 Tel 434 401 2571
Friends of Guest House
Guest House is the only reentry program in Northern Virginia that comprehensively addresses the unique needs of formerly incarcerated women— spanning healthcare, jobs, housing, and more. Its six-month, 24/7 residential program offers reentering women a supportive environment as they rebuild their lives. Clients work with case managers to develop tailored re-entry plans while attending workforce training and life skills classes designed specifically for justice-involved women. Once affordable, safe housing is secured (through Guest House’s transitional home or through nonprofit partnerships), a nine-month aftercare program helps clients navigate the challenges of independent living. Case management is also available for women reentering society directly from incarceration. Each year, these programs benefit more than 250 women — as well as some 300 children whose futures depend on the help and stability their mothers find today.
WISH LIST: $100: planners and journals for 65 residents; $500: 1 week of meals for 30 women; $1000: 1 year of Metro card funds
Sonja Allen, Executive Director 1 East Luray Avenue Alexandria, VA 22301 Tel 703 473 5474
Health, Wellness, & Senior Services
Silver Spring Village
Caring neighbors helping older neighbors to thrive: that’s the vision at Silver Spring Village, where just three staff and over 100 trained volunteers serve more than 270 members — older adults who wish to live in their homes as long and as independently as possible. Volunteers provide transportation and technology coaching, take notes at medical appointments, and assist with household tasks and errands. Regular visits and phone calls reduce social isolation and loneliness and help identify when more support is needed. At that point, members are referred to the Village’s vetted professional partners. A full calendar of more than 900 educational, recreational, and social events (many of which are open to the public) encourages seniors to make friends, learn new things, and stay healthy. Supporting the Village means helping to build a community where seniors feel truly valued.
WISH LIST: $100: event refreshments for 30 seniors; $500: 20 hours of individualized services counseling; $1000: 3 annual memberships for BIPOC seniors with very low incomes
Douglas C Gaddis, Executive Director 8700 Georgia Avenue, Suite 306 Silver Spring, MD 20910 Tel 240 833 5582
Photographer Doug Gaddis, Courtesy of Silver Spring Village
Recovery Cafe DC
Two experienced Black leaders in Southeast DC co-founded RCDC to provide a space of belonging for people who have experienced addiction and, often, the related challenges of homelessness, mental health diagnoses, or incarceration. Individuals struggling with addiction benefit from peer-led communities that support their long-term healing. Every week, members participate in a Recovery Circle where they hold each other accountable to their commitment to recovery. They share their challenges and successes in sessions facilitated by trained member leaders, building deep trust with each other. Trained volunteers further the healing by offering regular classes in art therapy, goal setting, and trauma awareness. RCDC also helps members look ahead, connecting them with needed employment, housing, and health resources. The relationships nurtured here are transformative — 100% of individuals in recovery for drug use say RCDC helps them prevent a relapse. Everyone deserves a second chance.
WISH LIST: $100: 12 writing journals; $500: meals for 1 month of Recovery Circle gatherings; $1000: transportation assistance for 10 members’ health appointments
Jacqueline Conerly, CEO 1640 Columbia Road NW Washington, DC 20009 Tel 301 455 7717
Joseph's House
One of the only dedicated respite centers in DC, Joseph’s House supports very ill, unhoused people of color and members of the LGBTQ community with HIV/AIDS or terminal cancer — offering companionship and honoring their dignity. Every year, it welcomes 20-25 individuals from shelters, clinics, prisons, and hospitals, providing each with holistic, 24-hour care: emotional and spiritual nourishment, medical case management, home-cooked meals, and personal care services. Residents who regain their health receive support on the path to financial and housing stability. Those with terminal illnesses receive the love and care of staff. Joseph’s House neither charges for services nor bills insurance, promoting justice for residents who experience wide health disparities in a city with some of the nation’s highest rates of HIV infection and homelessness. For all who come through its doors, Joseph’s House offers a home — and a community.
WISH LIST: $100: day trips for residents and community members; $500: a retreat for staff and volunteers; $1000: 1 resident’s medical costs
Kowshara Thomas, Executive Director 1730 Lanier Place NW Washington, DC 20009 Tel 202 328 9161
NAMI Montgomery County
In the US, one in five people — and one in three young adults — reports living with a mental illness. And tragically, suicide is the second leading cause of death in teens and young adults. NAMI MC envisions a future where all people affected by mental illness live healthy, fulfilling lives supported by a community that cares. Trained volunteers with lived experience lead classes and support groups grounded in established, evidence-based resources, helping individuals, families, and caregivers access critical information and feel less alone. In addition to its free programs, NAMI MC’s communities of peers conduct advocacy and outreach to break the silence around mental health and remove the stigma that prevents many from seeking the help they need. Feedback from the thousands who have benefited is overwhelmingly positive: simply put, this place saves lives.
WISH LIST: $100: 2 support groups for 20 individuals; $500: training for 4 volunteers living with mental illness; $1000: 1 15-hour class for 20 parents of children living with mental illness
Stephanie Rosen, Executive Director 9210 Corporate Boulevard, Suite 170 Rockville, MD 20850 Tel 240 760 2543
Legal Services & Justice Programs
Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop
Free Minds builds community and empowers justice-involved individuals through the literary arts. In book club discussions, writing workshops, and author visits, youth and adults in local detention facilities read stories and poetry that reflect their lives — and then write and publish their own narratives. When members move to federal prisons across the country, Free Minds connects them with books, personalized letters, a community magazine, and events in which volunteers read and respond to members’ poetry. Additionally, the reentry program builds on these activities to offer apprenticeships and job skills training while creating spaces for reentry members to lead advocacy and peacebuilding efforts. Last year, Free Minds served more than 1,000 individuals and achieved a recidivism rate of just 9%, with over 97% of members employed, in school, or in vocational programs —an extraordinary achievement.
WISH LIST: $100: 1 set of books for a session at the DC Jail; $500: 1 job readiness/skill-building apprenticeship; $1000: 1 issue of the Free Minds magazine for 600 members
Tara Libert, Co-Founder & Executive Director 1816 12th Street NW Washington, DC 20009 Tel 202 758 0829
Courtesy of Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop
Piedmont Dispute Resolution Center
For over 30 years, PDRC has promoted nonviolence in Prince William County through its mediation, training, and restorative justice services. Its conflict management specialists ensure that all voices in a community are heard and respected, facilitating empathy between individuals, families, and organizations. Tenants and parents work with certified mediators to reach an agreement in landlord-tenant, child custody, and child support disputes so that they do not have to receive a judgment in court. For juvenile offenders, PDRC’s restorative justice volunteers meet them, and those they’ve wronged, face-to-face, supporting their reintegration into the community. Additionally, PDRC trains educators on restorative practices to expand support for marginalized students who disproportionately receive disciplinary action. It also brings different groups together in community dialogues to seek common ground. Serving more than 5,000 individuals each year, PDRC gives residents the ability to resolve conflict harmoniously.
WISH LIST: $100: 1 co-parenting class; $500: 1-week training for 1 volunteer for the restorative justice program; $1,000: 1 community conversation facilitation
Lawrie Parker, Executive Director 98 Alexandria Pike, Suite 53 Warrenton, VA 20186 Tel 540 347 6650
DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
Founded by lawyers focused on addressing policy issues, DC Appleseed has spent two decades proposing and implementing equitable solutions to some of the city’s toughest problems — from ending the HIV epidemic to cleaning up the Anacostia River. By working with government, corporate, and community partners to research and provide recommendations on city-wide issues, DC Appleseed increases community awareness of these issues and their impact. It then uses this data to design and advocate for policy and legislative reform on statehood, early childhood and special education, healthcare, river restoration, and workforce development — facilitating transparency and cooperation throughout this process. Among other wins, its settlement with insurance provider CareFirst after a 12-year legal battle required the insurer to invest$95 million to advance health equity in the city. DC Appleseed demonstrates that important systems change is possible right here at home.
WISH LIST: $100: 2 gift cards for DC residents’ time & expertise; $500: transport, childcare, & food for the Racial Equity Community Council; $1000: 6.5 hours from a technical sediment expert
Erin Calloway, Director of Development & Communications 1111 14th Street NW, Suite 510 Washington, DC 20005 Tel 202 289 8007 ext 14
Community Legal Services of Prince George's County, Inc.
Founded in 1985 as a referral organization, CLS started out by matching low-income residents of Prince George’s County with attorneys offering free legal advice. Since then, it has expanded exponentially and now operates several walk-in clinics across the county. Staff and volunteer attorneys provide, in English and Spanish, free, brief legal advice to individuals with a variety of needs — whether the client is a domestic violence survivor pursuing a protective order, a day laborer seeking unpaid wages, or a family facing foreclosure. And for just $25, those meeting income requirements can apply for a referral to receive full legal representation at no cost. Last year, CLS assisted in over 10,000 cases. But in today’s economy, demand far exceeds supply. Your support can help secure justice for even more of our deserving neighbors.
WISH LIST: $200: 2 hours of legal advice; $700: representation of a domestic violence survivor in a protective order hearing; $4200: attorney representation in a family law matter
Jessica Quincosa, Executive Director 6301 Ivy Lane, Suite 720 Greenbelt, MD 20770 Tel 240 391 6532
Photographer Sediqa Fahimi, Courtesy of REACT DC
Immigrant & Refugee Services
REACT was founded following the fall of Kabul when its original two-person team helped house 10 newly arrived Afghan refugees who landed at Dulles Airport. Less than 18 months after volunteers first stepped up to address this humanitarian crisis, REACT has grown to become a key partner of the State Department, serving more than 1,500 refugees from Afghanistan, Ukraine, Haiti, and other countries. Every newcomer to DC is connected with the social services they need — families find housing and enroll in school and benefits; jobseekers access individualized employment support and placement; and women gain entrepreneurship skills and education through workshops and social gatherings. A pro-bono asylum clinic, the first of its kind, is staffed with immigration attorneys fluent in multiple languages. For families struggling with the trauma and upheaval that brought them to the US, REACT means a new, self-sufficient life.
WISH LIST: $100: 1 semester of English language lessons; $500: computer & digitalliteracy lessons; $1000: capacity-building lessons for employment opportunities
Sarah Cady, CEO 7459 Digby Green Alexandria, VA 22315 Tel 443 386 7915
Immigrant & Refugee Outreach Center
For immigrants and refugees in need of immediate assistance upon arrival in the US, government-appointed agencies often move too slowly. IROC was created to quickly connect newcomers with local volunteers to begin building a new life in America. Each household is paired with a peer, who identifies and refers them to resources to meet their social and material needs — whether it means delivering warm meals and culturally sensitive groceries or providing car seats or school supplies to newly arrived families. New and expecting mothers receive baby supplies while jobseekers are equipped with resume and interview assistance, mentorship, and vocational training scholarships. In the summer, children engage in sports, arts and crafts, and community discussions for free. With well over 100 volunteers helping newcomers arrive, survive, and thrive, IROC has become — as one participant puts it — “like a shield.”
WISH LIST: $100: diapers and wipes for 1 month; $500: groceries for a family of 6 for 2 weeks; $1000: emergency shelter for a family of 6 for 1 week
Megan Flores, Executive Director PO Box 11371 McLean, VA 22102 Tel 502 617 4762
American Muslim Senior Society
Combating hunger is often the first step an individual takes when improving their quality of life. Each week, AMSS’s Halal Meals on Wheels serves over 500 senior residents in Montgomery County, providing nutritious and culturally-appropriate meals to this primarily immigrant and low-income community. In a wide variety of languages, trained volunteer ambassadors work with clients to identify the challenges they face and help them gain access to healthcare, housing, transportation, and more. Weekly check-ins and regular deliveries of warm meals and fresh produce bring companionship and address hunger. They also form the foundation of AMSS’ wraparound support that works to address the root social causes of health disparities in the community. AMSS empowers under-served seniors by giving them the tools they need to live well. After all, everyone deserves to live with dignity.
WISH LIST: $100: delivery of 8 meals to an elderly resident; $500: training for 3 new volunteer ambassadors; $1000: fresh fruits & vegetables for Halal Meals on Wheels Program
Mona Negm, President & Founder 15800 Crabbs Branch Way Rockville, MD 20855 Tel 301 785 3752
Life Skills, Training & Employment
Dog Tag Bakery
Through its one-of-a-kind entrepreneurship program, Dog Tag empowers veterans with service-connected disabilities, military spouses, and caregivers, to discover their passions and talents. Twice a year, small cohorts (14–16 people) of Dog Tag Fellows engage in five months of hands-on entrepreneurship training, culminating in a Certificate of Business Administration from Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. Fellows gain real-life, small business experience — from product development to human resources training — through rotations at their successful social enterprise, Dog Tag Bakery. Additional Learning Labs on a variety of topics help them to reflect on their goals, develop soft skills, and improve their overall well-being. Ultimately, 93% of Fellows graduate, move on to start new businesses or jobs, continue their education, or focus on their health and recovery — with many choosing to give back to the veteran and military communities from which they came.
WISH LIST: $100: 1 textbook for a fellow’s business education class; $500: 1 month’s rent for laptops for all fellows; $1000: 2 business education classes for 1 fellow
Meghan Ogilvie, CEO 3206 Grace Street NW Washington, DC 20007 Tel 202 527 9388
Photographers Scott Kruitbosch and Noella Barone,, Courtesy of Dog Tag Bakery
The Training Source
For 30 years, underserved youth and adults who want opportunities to succeed have received comprehensive support at The Training Source — all at no cost. The goal is for unemployed adults to complete an internationally recognized certification, access placement services, and land a job. High school students participate in a three-year college and career exploration program. Young adults prepare for successful careers through a six-week employability skills training program. The Training Source also provides job seekers with professional clothing, assists those who are applying for social services, and provides free internet access and laptops for participant use. Nearly 100% of adults who complete the training earn a certification and over 75% secure work, while others transition to complimentary programs that help them move along their journey to success. Economic mobility is what it’s all about.
WISH LIST: $100: binders for a cohort of 10 program participants; $500: participation in a multi-state college tour for 1 youth; $1000: Career Fair to facilitate employment matches
Kim Rhim, Executive Director 59 Yost Place Seat Pleasant, MD 20743 Tel 301 499 8872
Fewer than half of young, neurodivergent people obtain regular, paid employment or finish their post-secondary education — and yet programs to help them are scarce. Specifically designed for this population, BroadFutures offers training, mentoring, and paid internships to help reduce barriers to employment and enhance economic mobility, while also supporting employers in creating accessible and inclusive workplaces. It places a strong emphasis on professionalism, with a unique focus on stress tolerance, flexibility, and social support. Leveraging the power of the arts to create a risk-free environment where participants can learn, make mistakes, simulate work situations, and receive valuable feedback is key. A team of mentors and coaches is dedicated to supporting participants and employer partners, resulting in mutually beneficial outcomes. Over 90% of program graduates have successfully gained employment or continued their higher education, paving the way for a broad and promising future.
WISH LIST: $100: training materials for 1 intern; $500: materials for Friday training sessions for an entire program; $2500: internship stipend for 1 summer intern
Carolyn Jeppsen, Co-Founder & CEO 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, #7000 Washington, DC 20006 Tel 202 521 4304
Crossroads Jobs
Although Loudoun County is one of the wealthiest in the nation, more than 15,000 of its residents live in poverty. And despite the current labor shortage, many qualified job applicants still face unemployment, especially if they are disabled, neurodiverse, elderly, experience homelessness, possess a criminal record, or have limited English proficiency. Crossroads provides participants with a comprehensive, bilingual job training program in which they develop and follow an individualized employment plan that goes well beyond merely assembling a resume. From setting goals to honing interview skills, each participant works with a job counselor throughout the application process and before interviewing with Crossroads’ partner employers. The support continues even after participants are hired, ensuring that they transition smoothly into their new roles and remain employed. With 621 program graduates securing permanent jobs, Crossroads brings the promise of self-sufficiency.
WISH LIST: $100: 1 session of 3 workshops; $500: 1 job placement from the general applicant population; $1000: 1 week of job coaching for 8 neurodiverse clients
Carol L Smith, Executive Director 8B South Street SW Leesburg, VA 20175 Tel 703 508 3132
Community & Civic Engagement
Empower DC
Empower DC builds power to amplify the community’s voice. Founded by two local organizers who understood that the people most impacted by inequitable systems are often excluded from the decision-making process, Empower DC has nurtured hundreds and directly impacted Black and Brown residents to become confident, informed, and outspoken advocates who testify at hearings, give interviews to the media, and develop policy. It organizes with affected residents to advocate for public housing, environmental justice, racial equity, and equitable development and has won increased funding for childcare subsidies, fought against closing public schools, proposed zoning amendments for affordable housing, and advocated to close a chemical facility that has made Ivy City residents ill. Empower DC disrupts inequitable systems by organizing community power so residents can shape the policies and decisions that affect their lives.
WISH LIST: $100: food for an Empower DC membership meeting; $300: 1 air quality monitor; $1000: quality banners and signs for a rally
Parisa Norouzi, Executive Director 1419 V Street NW Washington, DC 20009 Tel 202 758 3897
Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid
During the pandemic, SYC became a hub for mutual aid and now continues quickly to meet on-the-ground community needs through the DC Mutual Aid hotline. Activating more than 80 partners and 100 volunteers across the city, it uses a grassroots approach to redistributing resources like basic needs, money, and skills. Volunteers respond to calls and deliver in person what housed and unhoused neighbors need — food, internet service, free COVID-19 testing, housing referrals, and other critical resources. Youth participate in tutoring and extra-curricular activities like yoga and aquatics that are offered by community members; they even learn how to refurbish — and redistribute— computers. Community organizers advocate for fundamental systems change by testifying before the DC Council and educating residents about the city budget and local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. Everyone has something they need — and everyone has something to contribute.
WISH LIST: $100: Chromebook for 1 student; $500: first aid kits for tent encampments for1 month; $1000: 1 semester of art classes for 1 student
Jahaira Mejia, Executive Assistant 545 7th Street SE Washington, DC 20003 Tel 347 478 4125
Photographer Conrado Muluc, Courtesy of Empower DC
Harriet's Wildest Dreams
DC has the highest police per capita rate of any large city in the country, disproportionately impacting Black residents, who are most likely to experience police violence. In two years, HWD has trained and mobilized 15,000 people to provide care, defense, and legal support, and to organize for policy change. Its Safety Team is equipped to respond to city-wide crises through de-escalation, medic and mental health assistance, and support for people in jail; its Courtwatch program encourages community members to attend en masse to ensure the accountability of judges and prosecutors. HWD also teaches people facing charges how to navigate the legal system, allowing some to win their cases, secure employment and housing, and even vote for the first time. For HWD, true safety means empowering community members to be agents of change.
WISH LIST: $500: healing circle participation for 1 Black mother; $1000: operation and medical equipment for responders; $1200: post-release housing for 1 Black mother for a month
Dornethia Taylor, Executive Director 6368 Coventry Way, Suite 313 Clinton, MD 20735 Tel 240 462 1044
Collective Action for Safe Spaces
On the understanding that the legal system is unsafe for people of color, CASS empowers communities to build alternatives while also addressing the root causes of violence. A Black, trans, queer, and non-binary-led organization, its Transformative Justice hub is a space for survivors of interpersonal and state violence — and particularly those impacted by multiple systems of violence —to nurture relationships with each other and practice new systems of accountability. Participants grow together into facilitators and leaders who can respond to instances of community conflict. Direct cash support meets the material needs of trans survivors, while the Survivor Fellowship Program develops their skills as organizers. Public workshops train individuals and organizations to intervene, stop harassment, and repair harm without involving the criminal legal system. True community safety moves at the speed of trust.
WISH LIST: $100: meals for participants at 1 community workshop; $500: reading materials for 1 year of a transformative justice study group; $1000: 2 ASL interpreters
Je'Kendria Trahan, Executive Director 455 Massachusetts Avenue NW, #346 Washington, DC 20001 Tel 202 556 4232
President Lincoln's Cottage
President Lincoln did much of his nation-changing work (including developing the Emancipation Proclamation) at a cottage in northwest Washington. Since opening to the public on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in 2008, the Cottage continues its legacy as “a home for brave ideas.” From exhibits to events to tours that incorporate mindfulness techniques, creating a meditative experience as audiences are guided through the grounds, the Cottage welcomes over 35,000 visitors annually, including 5,000 students. Educational programs are free for DC public and charter schools, and for Title I schools in Virginia and Maryland. The award-winning Students Opposing Slavery program brings together youth from around the world to learn about slavery’s history — and to develop actionable plans to fight human trafficking today. Using past history to address present-day challenges, this innovative home redefines what a National Monument can be.
WISH LIST: $100: supplies for Lincoln’s Hat program; $500: 2 field trip transportation scholarships for under-resourced schools; $1000: 1 scholarship for Students Opposing Slavery program
Dr Michael Atwood Mason, Executive Director & CEO 3700 North Capitol Street NW, Box 558 Washington, DC 20011 Tel 202 618 3403
Photographer Brian Rimm,, Courtesy of President Lincoln’s Cottage
Voices for a Second Chance
Most justice-involved citizens will return to a community very different from the one they left, but VSC is there to prepare them to rejoin the world —facilitating communication with families, attorneys, and therapists while they are incarcerated and, after release, connecting them to critical programs and services. And the needs are great: job training, mental health support from felon-friendly organizations, substance use disorder and chronic disease treatment and, of course, secure housing to facilitate a smooth transition. After release, the Welcome Home Center offers a continuum of reentry support to secure transportation and housing assistance, toiletries, and a snack, or get funds to secure a birth certificate. Maintaining family ties and creating positive relationships with the community means justice-involved citizens are better prepared for their release into the world we all share — to raise their children, to work, to live.
WISH LIST: $100: 2 Welcome Home bags with clothing and toiletries for newly released clients; $500: 2 nights in a hotel for homeless and transient clients; $1000: 1 week in a hotel
Paula Thompson, Executive Director 1422 Massachusetts Avenue SE Washington, DC 20003 Tel 202 544 2131
DC Peace Team
Ordinary people can build a world that cultivates peace and justice — and DCPT gives them some of the key tools. It strengthens the capacity of community members to address their own conflicts by training them in key nonviolent skills, from active bystander intervention and de-escalation to trauma awareness and restorative justice. Participants learn how to diffuse harmful behavior, use compassionate communication to better connect with others, and repair relationships. Additional training equips participants with the skills they need to join one of DCPT’s Unarmed Civilian Protection units. They can then be deployed in violence-affected neighborhoods and alongside local grassroots groups during political demonstrations that threaten Black and Brown leaders, or even in uprisings like the January 6th insurrection. DCPT has trained over 8,500 individuals since it was founded — working together constructively as a community to reimagine safety and transform society.
WISH LIST: $100: training on anti-racism for 2 individuals; $750: Restorative Circle for a single group; $1000: 2 trained persons deployed with a Community Safety Unit for 20 hours
Eli McCarthy, Director of Programs 7305 Baylor Avenue College Park, MD 20740 Tel 510 717 8867
Progressive Maryland
A higher minimum wage. Paid sick leave. More affordable childcare and prescription drugs. Bail and police reform. These are just a few of the victories that Progressive Maryland has helped to achieve since 2004, affecting thousands of people across the state. Its grassroots approach empowers communities to advocate for reforms to the economic and social systems that oppress them. That means training leaders from marginalized communities —particularly people of color, LGBTQ+ folks, and individuals with low incomes —in grassroots organizing at the Maryland People’s Leadership Institute. It also means educating everyday voters about how state and city governments affect their lives (from job opportunities to air quality), and how, as voters, they can create positive change. More than 125,000 Marylanders across nine state chapters have joined the fight for justice, demanding a Maryland that works —for everyone.
WISH LIST: $100: office supplies for chapter locations; $500: 1 introductory organizing training for 20 members; $1000: 3 months of Institute programming
Larry Stafford Jr, Executive Director PO Box 7595 Largo, MD 20792 Tel 202 907 9597