“What’s Up Wednesday” 10.01.14

It’s hard to believe that fall is already here! October brings changing leaves, cool temperatures, warm cider, and an abundance of CFP nonprofit activity. So cozy up with your favorite sweater or blanket, and read below or take a look at “What’s Up” this week!

DASH DC advocates prepared to #SpreadLoveDC and Paint the Town Purple to kick-off domestic violence awareness month…

…Students at Community Lodgings were busy writing their autobiographies during the after school program…

…and at Good Shepherd Housing, they celebrated the week with much to be grateful for, and thank you notes ready to go out the door!

Our Daily Bread and Food for Others are working together to feed more kids! Through a grant from Fairfax County, they are expanding their weekend food backpack programs for children who attend Fairfax County Public Schools. 18 FCPS social workers, counselors and parent liaisons attended a meeting organized by ODB, FFO and Marshall Road Elementary School Vienna Virginia social worker Jean Wyman (pictured) and PTA representative Kristen Wilson to learn more about the options to bring weekend backpacks to their schools.

CityDance Conservatory dancers performed in A Taste of Qadar, the premiere of the opera scenes, on the Millennium Stage at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Senior Services of Alexandria kicked off October in partnership with the specialty gift shop Reunions, which will donate five percent of all profits to Senior Services of Alexandria. Visit Reunions at 1709 Centre Plaza in Alexandria, VA. Be sure to check it out!

And finally, this week, the Catalogue for Philanthropy approved our final ?proof? of the 2014-2015 Catalogue, and will begin printing and binding next week?just in time for our November 1st Catalogue release. We can’t wait to share it with you!

Around Town 9/26-10/2

As we enter this busy Fall season, you can see that our nonprofits are hard at work planning annual Galas, Fun Runs, and festivals for all! With most of the tourists gone, this is a great time to make connections in your neighborhood and connect with our amazing nonprofits. Happy Friday!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Washington Executives Association Charity Golf Tournament

On September 26th, the Washington Executives Association (WEA) will be hosting a golf tournament to benefit FACETS at the Old Hickory Golf Club in Woodbridge, VA. If you’re interested in playing and being part of a great day-while at the same time giving back to the community, register today and bring your co-workers, clients and prospective clients.

When: Fri Sep 26 2014 (11:00 AM – 5:00 PM)
Where: Old Hickory Golf Club, 11921 Chanceford Drive, Woodbridge, VA 22192
Fee? yes http://bit.ly/1tl2gRm
Contact: Carolyn Lagermasini, (703) 352-6342

Saturday, September 27, 2014

World of Wheels for CASA: Family Festival and Touch a Truck

Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)/Prince George’s County
This family-friendly community event will feature cars, trucks of all sizes, cycles and more! Come out to see these many forms of transportation in person. Enjoy an assortment of activities for kids of all ages… Moonbounces, food and more! Proceeds go to Court Appointed Special Advocate/Prince George‘s County. Entry is $5 per person (children 2yrs old and younger are free) or $10 for a VIP package. Contact us at WOW4CASA@gmail.com or see the World of Wheels page for more information. If your company is interested in sponsoring the event or providing a vehicle, please contact Kara Bundy at kbundy@pgcasa.org.

When: Sat Sep 27 2014 (10:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
Where: DeMatha High School, 4313 Madison Street, Hyattsville, MD 20781
Fee? yes $5 per person; children 2 and under are free
Volunteer Info: Volunteers are needed to plan the event as well as help the day of the event with ticket sales, food preparation, staffing tables, etc.
Contact: Kara Bundy, (301) 897-0827
For more information:click here

Diaper Distribution Day!

DC Diaper Bank
Our distribution days are one of the most exciting and important days at DC Diaper Bank. This is the day we distribute more than 50,000 diapers to over 18 amazing organizations across the DC Metro area. Come join us as we help these great organization fill their trucks with much needed diapers for the families that they serve.

When: Sat Sep 27 2014 (10:00 AM – 1:00 PM)
Where: DC Diaper Bank Warehouse 8858 Monard Drive, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: Sorting and packing diapers; helping with other inventory
Contact: Corinne Cannon, (202) 656-8503

39th Anniversary Benefit Gala

The Downtown Cluster’s Geriatric Day Care Center
Benefit Gala to support the frail elderly of Washington, DC Entertainment: Memphis Gold Band

When: Sat Sep 27 2014 (1:00 PM – 5:00 PM)
Where: Washington Navy Yard, 1411 Parsons Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20374
Fee? yes $75.00
Contact: Thomye Cave, (202) 347-7527

Sunday, September 28, 2014

11th Annual 5K Run & 2 Mile Walk

First Generation College Bound
The Riverfest 5K Run & 2 Mile Walk starts and finishes at Laurel’s scenic Riverfront Park, located at the end of Avondale Street off Main Street in Laurel, MD. The Riverfest 5K course is beautiful as well as challenging so come out and race for education! All proceeds raised with support FGCB’s college access program. T-shirts will be provided to all race participants. Packet pickup: Saturday, September 27th from 10:00am-2:00pm @ Robert J. DiPietro Community Center (7901 Cypress Street, Laurel, MD 20707) Event details and schedule: Race day registration begins @ 7:45am. There will be a warm up stretch with Magnificant Body at 8:30am. Participants should be at the starting line @ 8:50am. The 5K Run & 2 Mile Walk both begin at 9:00am. Visit www.fgcb.org or www.active.com to register.

When: Sun Sep 28 2014 (09:00 AM – 11:00 AM)
Where: Riverfront Park Avondale and main Street, Laurel, MD 20707
Fee? yes $25
Contact: Nickole Conyngham, (301) 490-0911
For more information: click here

Second Annual Teddy Bear 5K & 1K Fun Walk/Run

Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center
Sponsors, Exhibitors & Participants are invited to sign up for the second annual event that will feature exhibits of family friendly crafters and programs at 2 pm until 4 pm race. Proceeds of race support the Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center’s high-quality early childhood education program, keeping it affordable and accessible to children from low-income, working families. Prizes for runners. Race is on the scenic, mostly flat W&OD Trail starting and ending in the heart of Falls Church.

When: Sun Sep 28 2014 (4:00 PM – 6:00 PM)
Where: W&OD Trail 400 N. Oak St., Falls Church, Virginia 22043
Fee? yes Early Bird Rates: $15 runners on 5K; $10 1K until July 1.
Volunteer Info: Set up, Serve as Course Marshalls During Race, Give out Water to runners, Assist with Registration, Clean Up after Race.
Contact: Renee Boyle, (703) 534-4907
For more information:click here

Workshop: Energy & Faith

Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment
Presented by Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment, the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP), and Interfaith Power and Light, this workshop will cover the importance of energy efficiency and tips for saving energy in the home with reflection on the responsibility as people of faith to consider the impact of our electricity use. Participants will learn how to evaluate different segments of the home including heating/cooling, insulation, lighting, appliances, windows and more. We’ll also review the Energy Star Yard Stick tool for evaluating home energy use. A potluck dinner and social hour will be held prior to the event. If interested, please bring a dish and arrive at 6:00 p.m.

When: Sun Sep 28 2014 (7:00 PM – 8:30 PM)
Where: Unitarian Universalist Church, 4444 Arlington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22204
Fee? no
Contact: Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment, (703) 228-6427
For more information: click here

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Happy Hour at Marvin!

The Family Place
The Family Place is partnering with Marvin to help raise money to provide food for disadvantaged families in the District.

When: Thu Oct 2 2014 (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)
Where: Marvin DC, 2007 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Fee? no
Contact: The Family Place DC, (202) 265-0149

“What’s Up Wednesday” 9.24.2014

With a little over a month to go before the release of the 2014-2015 Catalogue, it’s a busy (and exciting!) time here at the office! But sometimes…that excitement gets the best of us and, well, next thing we know we’re mesmerized by an adorable kitten video and forget to include that video’s organization in our #whatsupwednesday blog. This was the case for Stone Soup Films, which, last week, sent us a video hot off its screen debut (courtesy of Stone Soup Doc-in-a-Day volunteers) about the Washington Humane Society. Check out their video here and prepared to be mes”meow”ized.

Back to this week’s events…from strolling in Alexandria, to soccer in the White House, to dancing in Rockville, this week’s charities were busy, busy, busy! Take a look at this week’s video to see it all come together.

The Successful Aging Committee of Alexandria (of which Senior Services of Alexandria is a member), sponsored a Robust Walkathon to benefit senior programs in Alexandria.

This week, CityDance OnStage Ignite Artist S.J. Ewing, her company S. J. Ewing & Dancers, Conservatory Dancers and DREAM Alumni shared a stage in Australia Home Land at the Hill Center! (photo credit: Maggie Picard Photography)

What a first week for DC SCORES! The Barnard Bears of DC SCORES were in mid-season form when they put on a clinic for guests at The White House during the Social Innovation Fund’s “What Works” Showcase.

KEEN Greater DC welcomed young adults with disabilities into a new dance program in Rockville, MD this past Sunday. Working one-on-one with volunteer coaches, young adult athletes will increase their level of physical activity, coordination, balance, flexibility, self-esteem and stage presence through KEEN Dance. To see a video of the performance, click here.

Today for Rosh Hashanah, Crossroads Community Food Network’s farmer’s market sampled yogurt, honey, and cinnamon dip with apple slices!

Cheers to another great week!

Around Town 9/19-9/25

Enjoy the nice weather while it’s still here?with some great events courtesy of our CFP nonprofits. This week we bring you a Write Night, Welcome Breakfast, ?Fishing Day, 5K walk, and a Power Party. Thanks so much everyone for a great week, hope to see you at the events!

Friday, September 19, 2014

WILL Power Party
Wilderness Leadership & Learning
The WILL Power Party will celebrate 10 YEARS of WILL positively impacting the lives of the DC youth from underserved neighborhoods and will: Bring WILL friends together to celebrate our successes Continue to raise awareness about WILL Introduce WILL to new friends Raise funds so we can increase the number of youth we impact Be a tremendous networking opportunity for DC professionals gathered with the common goal of investing in WILL and the future of DC youth Honor our Partners of the Year: Bennett Ross, Partner, Wiley Rein, and Maria Tukeva, Principal of the Columbia Heights Education Campus.

When: Fri Sep 19 2014 (5:30 PM – 9:00 PM)
Where: Pepco Edison Place Gallery, 702 Eighth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20068
Fee? yes $125/person
Contact: Steve Abraham, (202) 319-2765
For more information: click here

Saturday, September 20, 2014

5K Family Run/Walk to Benefit Wounded Warrior Caregivers
Operation Homefront DC Metro Chapter
Behind Every Wounded Warrior is Another Courageous Heart Operation Homefront 5k Family Walk/Run to honor our military caregivers and sponsored by the Catholic Daughters of Americas (CDA). Registration & bib pick-up begin at 7am. Race start: 8am.

When: Sat Sep 20 2014 (08:00 AM)
Where: Cameron Run Regional Park, 4001 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA 22304
Fee? yes Adults $25; Kids (<16) $10; Family Registration: $60
Contact: Operation Homefront, (703) 421-9033
For more information: click here

Recreational Fishing Day Volunteer Opportunity
Anacostia Watershed Society
Please join Anacostia Watershed Society, University of Maryland College Park, and Anacostia Community Museum for a day of recreational fishing! We will provide fishing rods and bait on a first-come, first-served basis (bring your own if you prefer). Each participant will receive a gift card valued at $10 for providing us with your catch (per DC fishing regulations)! All ages and experience levels are welcome. Please register so you can be notified if inclement weather cancels the event.

When: Sat Sep 20 2014 (10:00 AM – 4:00 PM)
Where: Hains Point, 927 Ohio Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: We are looking for 5 – 10 volunteers to help with event logistics (e.g., help with participant registration for those who provide caught fish, direct and check on participants, take GPS coordinates, distribute supplies and gift cards, assist with proper labeling and storage of fish samples). If you would like to help, please let us know in either the ‘Please share reasons for participating’ section or the ‘How did you hear about AWS’ section when you register and we will contact you with more details.
Contact: Lori Baranoff, (301) 699-6204 ext 107
For more information: click here

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ayuda’s Welcome Breakfast
Ayuda is a 41-year old direct services organization that provides legal, social, language services, education and training to low-income immigrants in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Most of the clients we serve are 300% below poverty level. Many speak limited or no English. Without Ayuda’s low-barrier, low-cost services (and sometimes we waive fees), the cycle of abuse and exploitation of immigrants and their families lead to untold economic desperation. Our clients, victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault, and other violent crimes, have come from 104 countries around the world. We can’t do our work without our friends and supporters. We hope you’ll join us at our Welcome Breakfast as we strive to expand our network of volunteers, ambassadors, and contributors.

When: Tue Sep 23 2014 (08:30 AM – 09:30 AM)
Where: The Hamilton Live, enter on F St between 14th & 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
Fee? no
Contact: Sarah Block, (202) 387-4848 ext 143

Volunteer Write Night Volunteer Opportunity
Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop
Join usfor Write Night at The George Washington University Campus at the Marvin Center! Free Minds works to empower incarcerated youth through the transformative power of reading and writing. Our members are often sent off to federal prisons across the country, where they are isolated from their families and friends. They send us poems about their experiences, their emotions, and their hopes for the future. Write Night provides an invaluable connection to the outside world and gives them a chance to express themselves with a caring community that’s you all! It only takes a few minutes to write a response to an inmate’s poem, but it means so much to the poet. One of our members wrote: I want to thank you for sending me the feedback on my poetry. It caught me at the right time. It turned my whole day around. About those responses to my writing, it touched me that people felt the way they did about something I wrote.” Write Night is a casual event and you are invited to drop by or stay the entire time. We are always looking to expand our circle of volunteers so feel free to bring friends! We ask that if you plan to attend, please RSVP so we can have an idea of how many people to expect. If you can, please bring a potluck snack to share. Because of the success of Write Night, we request that you bring a donation of forever stamps to help with our mailing this month. This month’s Write Night is at The George Washington University campus in the Marvin Center. We’ll be in Room 403 (but please check back here before the event, as the exact room number is subject to change). We will have signs posted so that we are easily visible.

When: Tue Sep 23 2014 (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)
Where: Marvin Center at GW University, 800 21st ST Nw; Room 403, Washington, DC 20052
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: Alongside other volunteers and Book Club members home from prison, provide feedback on the writing of Book Club members still incarcerated and meet other volunteers!
Contact: Free Minds, (202) 758-0829
For more information: click here

“What’s Up Wednesday” 9/17/2014

This week’s What’s Up Wednesday highlights CFP nonprofits hosting evenings of dance, a poetry kick off, and luncheons! Exciting events all around our area thanks to these great organizations! For a video of today’s events, click here!

This week CityDance DREAM students rehearsed for CityDance OnStage Ignite Artist S.J. Ewing’s free evening of dance, Australia Home Land, at the Hill Center. They are so excited to bring together CityDance DREAM, Conservatory and S. J. Ewing & Dancers to share a stage! Be sure to catch Australia Home Land at the Hill Center this Sunday at 5 pm, to help CityDance celebrate dance on Capitol Hill!

DCSCORES‘ fall season kicked off Monday for 1,500 kids at 47 schools, who all received poetry journals & took to the soccer field!

Senior Services of Alexandria held its annual Volunteer Luncheon at The Fountains at Washington House to celebrate all their volunteers who make a difference in the lives of seniors.

CentroNia was happy to host Mission Readiness today for lunch to talk about school nutrition!

Joseph’s House in the process of designing a new healing garden. Their research on accessibility and design required some sprinkler time at Georgetown Waterfront Park!

Washington School for Girls had their Service Learning Kickoff, and hosted students from Maret School, and staff from So Other Might Eat!

At Good Shepherd Family and Housing Services, Betsy was ready and waiting to welcome clients as they entered through the door.

Lucille taught staff from Crossroads Community Food Network (new ’14-’15 charity) about some of the dishes she likes to prepare with ingredients from the Crossroads Farmers Market!

Around Town 9/11-9/18

Wrapping up another great week here at the Catalogue. With so much excitement in the air, what better way to spend the weekend than checking out some events, courtesy of our nonprofits!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Family Garden Day @ Washington Youth Garden
Washington Youth Garden, Friends of the National Arboretum
Family Garden Days is an interactive family gardening, nutrition education, and cooking program. It is designed to bring families together at the Washington Youth Garden to share in a communal experience of learning how to grow and prepare fruits and vegetables, maintain an organic garden, and prepare healthy meals. Tailored to beginning gardeners and those looking to enhance their food and wellness practices, the program is an exciting opportunity for families to grow awareness, appreciation and connections to their food sources and engage in healthy life affirming outdoor activities! Participating families harvest fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden for cooking demos as well as to prepare and enjoy at home.

When: Sat Sep 13 2014 (10:00 AM – 12:30 PM)
Where: Washington Youth Garden (at the National Arboretum), Ellipse Road Northeast, Washington, DC 20002
Fee? yes $10 adults; $5 kids
Contact: WYG, (202) 245-2709
For more information: click here

Sunday, September 14, 2014

She Kills Monsters — Last Performance
Atlas Performing Arts Center
It’s the 1990s in suburban Ohio and Tilly lives among the most fearsome creatures known to man: American high school students. She copes with the stress by creating an elaborate Dungeons & Dragon’s module where she plays out her fears and fantasies in a world she controls. When Tilly dies unexpectedly, her older sister Agnes has no choice but to run the gauntlet of this mysterious world, battling and befriending the strange and fantastic monsters her sister has created. Run 8/18 – 9/14 (previews 8/15 – 8/17) by Qui Nguyen; Directed by Randy Baker

When: Sun Sep 14 2014 (3:00 PM)
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002
Fee? yes $30 regular admission; $20 students w/ID; $20 seniors (60+)
Contact: Atlas Performing Arts Center Box Office, (202) 339-7993
For more information: click here

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Performance by Colin Sorgi
National Philharmonic
Join new Concertmaster Colin Sorgi, Pianist Brian Ganz and NPO Principal Cellist Lori Barnet as they perform a special, free concert!

When: Wed Sep 17 2014 (7:30 PM)
Where: Richard Montgomery High School, 250 Richard Montgomery Dr, Rockville, MD 20852
Fee? no
Contact: National Philharmonic, (301) 493-9283

Thursday, September 18, 2014

2nd Annual Taste of the Garden
Kid Power
Join us for a rooftop cocktail party to celebrate and support Kid Power’s VeggieTime Project! Enjoy appetizers, drinks and a silent auction. The VeggieTime Project seeks to create a sustainable community where DC youth and their families have access to fresh, local produce and effect change in the larger food system. Students study nutritional and environmental issues and engage in hands-on gardening, cooking, farmer’s market and service activities.

When: Thu Sep 18 2014 (6:00 PM – 9:00 PM)
Where: The Rooftop Garden, 901 K ST NW, Washington, DC 20001
Fee? yes Advance Tickets (until 9/4): $45; General Tickets $65; Green Thumb Sponsor (includes 2 tickets & recognition in the program) $250
Contact: Courtney Moran, (202) 383-4543
For more information: click here

“What’s Up Wednesday” 9.10.2014

This week CFP nonprofits are helping everyone out: students, teachers, homeowners, seniors, and even pets! Check out their great work and click here for the video version.

Senior Services of Alexandria & AWLA cosponsored a free program “Seniors and their Pets” this morning.

CityDance’s Early Arts Company went into DREAM schools to perform!

Washington English Center is prepping for their new term as students go back to school this week!

Our Daily Bread’s Financial Mentors and Budget Class instructors are working with Habitat for Humanity clients to give them the budgeting and financial planning tools they need to stay in their homes! Instructors presented three classes over nine weeks, along with intensive financial mentoring. The clients are new or prospective Habitat homeowners.

Stone Soup is stuffing envelopes and getting ready for their annual fundraising event (Focus on Community) on October 8th!

Check back next week for more great work by Catalogue nonprofits!

Around Town 9/4-9/11

At the end of this short week we bring you the latest events and excitement from CFP nonprofits. As we begin to settle into the fall season, get out into our community and meet organizations that are doing great work in our community!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Professional Attire Collection Day

Suited for Change
Join Suited for Change as we receive large clothing donations of fall clothes. Our suiting program provides professional attire, shoes and matching accessories to low-income women who are entering the job market or who have recently started a new job. Clients meet one-on-one with trained volunteers, also known as “wardrobe consultants,” who assist them in assembling a professional wardrobe.

When: Sat Sep 6 2014 (10:00 AM – 12:00 NOON)
Where: 1010 Vermont Ave; Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005
Fee no
Volunteer Info: Volunteers are needed to help SFC receive large clothing donations dropped off by residents curbside.
Contact: Daniella Burgos, (202) 293-0351
For more information: click here

Step Explosion

Step Afrika! USA
Step Afrika! brings the excitement and energy of stepping to DC Parks and Recreation Centers in all 8 Wards this summer with the second annual Step Afrika! Step Explosion. Following a tour of the city by Step Afrika!, Step Explosion culminates with a showcase of the finest step teams from across the DMV at Raymond Recreation Center. All Step Afrika! Step Explosion performances are FREE and open to the public. Seating is General Admission on a first come, first served basis.

When: Sat Sep 6 2014 (2:00 PM)
Where: Raymond Recreation Center, 3725 10th Street NW, Washington, DC 20010
Fee no
Contact: Step Afrika, (202) 399-7993 ext 112
For more information: click here

Thursday, September 11, 2014

2014 Circle of Life Award Event

Sarah’s Circle
The 2014 Circle of Life Award event, benefiting Sarah’s Circle, will be held on Thursday September 11, 2014 from 6:00pm-9:00pm at the Arts Club of Washington. We will honor Bob Pohlman, retiring executive director of the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED) for his decades of commitment to improving the quantity and quality of affordable housing in the District of Columbia. Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist, Colby King, will present the Circle of Life Award to Mr. Pohlman. The evening will feature an open bar, buffet-style meal, music and dancing, and many surprises! To RSVP for the event or for answers to any questions, please email jpetro@sarahscircle.org. Sponsorship opportunities are available and will provide your company with the opportunity to market your brand to 150 professionals representing virtually every industry in DC.

When: Thu Sep 11 2014 (6:00 PM)
Where: Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
Fee no donations will be accepted at the event
Volunteer Info: We are seeking a few volunteers to help with guest check-in, hospitality, and breakdown.
Contact: Jessica Petro, (202) 332-1400 ext 11

Energy Efficiency ~ Beyond the Basics: Insulation & Sealing

Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment
Building on our efforts to provide energy efficiency education throughout the community, ACE is pleased to offer a program that will explore the topics of insulation and sealing and provide practical tips and resources for those who are ready to move beyond the basics of changing to CFLs or LED light bulbs, installing power strip, etc. The program will explore building science, the thermal envelope of your home, and tips on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

When:Thu Sep 11 2014 (6:30 PM – 8:30 PM)
Where:Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford Street, Arlington, VA 22206
Fee yes $15 for non-members/non energy master; FREE for ACE Members & Arlington Energy Masters
Contact: Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment, (703) 22-6427
For more information: click here

7 Questions with Rebecca Read Medrano, Executive Director of GALA Theatre

Rebecca_1 (1)In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month we welcome Rebecca Read Medrano to 7 Questions. Rebecca has served as chief finance and administration officer for GALA Hispanic Theatre since 1976. Medrano has also served as the principal development and marketing staff member, managing GALA’s $4.2M capital campaign and developing its strategic marketing plan. GALA (Grupo de Artistas Latinoamericanos) Hispanic Theatre is a National Center for Latino Performing Arts in the nation’s capital. Since 1976,GALA has been promoting and sharing the Latino arts and cultures with a diverse audience, creating work that speaks to communities today, and preserving the rich Hispanic heritage for generations that follow.

1. What motivated you to begin working with your organization?

I graduated from Smith College with a degree in Latin American Studies and a minor in dance/theater, and I had pursued dance all my life, since age three. I was fortunate in that both of these fields or disciplines came together when I met my future husband, Hugo Medrano, at an audition for a bilingual children’ s theater program at Back Alley Theater in 1974. After two years at the Back Alley, Hugo and I co-founded GALA Hispanic Theatre. We shared a vision and passion for preserving Latino arts and culture in the U.S. and providing a nurturing space where Latino artists could create and produce their work. Of course GALA’s founding was also inspired and propelled by the wave of political exiles arriving to DC from South American in the late 1970s in response to repressive military regimes. These were artists seeking a safe place in which to remain connected to their cultures and find freedom of expression. I think that is why GALA has remained so connected to the community it serves after almost 40 years, even though the demographics have changed.

2. What exciting change or innovation is on your mind?

I am most excited now about the installation of a new marquee at our street entrance on 14th Street. Ever since creating our theater space in the Tivoli, we have been hindered by the confusing layout of the building’s entrances. In the original plans, GALA was supposed to have the right to construct a marquee at the entrance, but things changed. Since everyone’s eye goes immediately to the historic marquee at the corner (which was the original theater entrance but is now a Z-burger) they assume that is the entrance to GALA. Although GALA’s street entrance on 14th Street is marked by a large neon sign on the wall above, passersby constantly miss it. The new marquee will mimic the historic style of the one on the corner, but it will also have LED signage to let the public know what is on stage and what is coming. I think this will do wonders to better connect us with the immediate community surrounding the theater, and will attract a new, diverse audience to GALA. It will also be helpful to all of the organizations we partner with who also use our space, such as InSeries, Young Playwrights’ Theater, and Landless Theater, among others.

3. Who inspires you (in the philanthropic world or otherwise)? Do you have a hero?

My hero and inspiration is Joseph Papp, the great New York theater visionary and producer. I always admired Papp’s passion for culturally specific art and theater by artists of color. He wasn’t afraid of taking risks, such as launching (and providing underwriting for) the first International Latino Theater Festival in New York, and producing unknown works by little known artists. I also was inspired by his “Save the Theaters” initiative when he lobbied, against big time developers, to protect historic theaters in New York. Despite his renown, he was humble enough to travel to DC to attend one of GALA’s productions of Lorca’s House of Bernarda Alba when we had our space at the old Landsburgh Building (where Papp was almost locked out by a guard!). And he took the entire cast to dinner after the performance and critiqued each artist.

4. What was your most interesting recent project/partnership?

To me the most interesting recent project GALA undertook was the national tour of an internationally acclaimed Mexican theater/dance company called Teatro Linea de Sombra. Through a Southern Exposure grant initiative, funded by NEA and the Mid-Atlantic Foundation, GALA partnered with three other groups On the Boards in Seattle, International Latino Theatre Festival of New York, and Cumberland County College in Vineland New Jersey to produce a national tour of Teatro Linea de Sombra’s powerful multimedia work, Amarillo. The piece depicted the voyage (s) of nameless migrants who leave their home towns in Mexico or Central America in the hopes of reaching the U.S. border, but they never make it. Every year thousands disappear in the desert, dying of dehydration or hunger, and their families never know their whereabouts or if they ever reached their destinations. The show utilized dance, projections, throat singing, wall climbing, and 800 pounds of sand that poured out of suspended bags that swung back and forth across the stage. The effect was visceral and immediate.

5. What is the single greatest challenge that your organization faces (besides finances) and how are you dealing with this challenge?

Everyone says that we have to face the issue of leadership transition, since the three senior staff members (including Hugo and myself) have all been with the organization for over 35 years. I agree that this is a challenge, particularly since we are a culturally specific organization and it will be difficult to find someone within the U.S. theater community to take on the leadership as Artistic Director. We are beginning to lay the groundwork for that transition, but I also see other equally as important challenges ahead that have to do with external changes in the arts environment.

When GALA started in 1976 there were only 8 other arts groups in DC, and we were the only Latino arts group. Now with so many theaters competing for audiences, everyone needs the Latino audience (one of the fastest growing sectors of the population in our region). As a result many arts groups are doing Latino work to attract these audiences and help their bottom line. But this work has never been integral or critical to their mission, as it has been to GALA, which is a group of Latinos for Latinos. The Kennedy Center is undertaking a flamenco festival, one of GALA’s most popular programs for the past ten years; Strathmore is doing Flamenco, everyone is doing tango, and the edgy theaters are doing work by new Latino artists in English. All of these groups have much larger marketing budgets and staffs than GALA, so it means that we are in danger of losing some of our audience. Our response to this has been to do more commissioning work. This year we have commissioned a new bilingual children’s play by one of our collaborating young Mexican-American artists, Cecilia Cackley, we commissioned a new work by Caridad Svich, and a musical by an Argentine playwright Patricia Suarez Cohen about the trafficking of Polish Jewish women in Buenos Aires at the turn of the century. All of the playwrights are Latina women, so we feel we are contributing to the growth of the field of Latino dramaturgy and at the same time introducing non-Latino audiences to important new work.

6. What advice do you have for other people in your position?

Never lose faith in your mission and your vision. Use the telephone once in a while, not just e-mail or social media, to call donors, thank people, engage board members, and create excitement on a personal level. Young people NEVER use the phone!

7. What’s next/coming up for you?

It is always a surprise for me at GALA because I learn something new every day. And that energizes me and keeps me young. We have such a rich culture and there is so much more to explore and uncover. We are looking forward to celebrating our 40th anniversary in 2015-16 so there will be a lot of surprises in store for everyone. Stay tuned.

“What’s Up Wednesday” 9.03.2014

Just because it’s a short workweek doesn’t mean Catalogue charities are doing any less across Greater Washington. From training coaches for youth sports programs, to encouraging reading among at-risk students, to providing legal aid to help people keep their homes…September is off to a remarkable start (see video here)!

DC SCORES was all-hands-on-deck preparing for their #CoachKickoff on Saturday! Coaches like Popsie (pictured) make their program work!DC_SCORES

CityDance artists rehearsed for the CityDance faculty artist’s show “Fresh Visions!”CityDance

Literacy Lab’s DC Reading Corps blogged about adjusting to a new placement site in their blog post “Board Masters: Making Connections at our New School One Bulletin Board at a Time.”.


Bishop T. Walker School for Boys?(new ’14-’15 charity) read aloud to one another in the afternoon!


The Legal Counsel for the Elderly and partner Zuckerman Spaeder helped an elderly woman who fell victim to a housing scam save her home. Wow!Legal Council for the Elderly_ms mack

Catalogue charities Generation Hope (new ’14-’15 charity) and the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project were at American University’s community involvement fair!