In the News

Dramatic increase in demand for affordable housing in Arlington — A 122-unit affordable housing complex, still under construction, received over 3,600 applications in less than two weeks from hopeful residents. With maximum income limits that vary between just over $30,000 for one person to up to $74,000 for six people living in one unit, this surge of applications highlights a larger affordable housing crunch in the county.

Food stamp benefits will see decline in November and face an additional 5 percent cut in House vote next week — Additional SNAP benefits launched by the 2009 stimulus are set to expire in November. With the current divide in Congress, their impending expiration will cut the monthly food stamp allowance for a family of four by $36. A vote in the House next week could mean an additional cut of nearly 5 percent to the SNAP program. There are over 50 million Americans who are hungry, nearly 17 million of whom are children. September is Hunger Awareness Month and these decisions could mean increased challenges for low-income Americans locally, and across the country.

Errors by DC tax officials have put over 1,900 DC homeowners at risk for foreclosure — A Washington Post investigation into a program at the DC Department of Tax and Revenue has led Mayor Gray to halt the sale of all tax liens, after reports that residents, including elderly homeowners, were forced into foreclosure. One in five liens was sold by mistake. An excerpt from the Post’s series is below — read the series here.

For decades, the District placed liens on properties when homeowners failed to pay their bills, then sold those liens at public auctions to mom-and-pop investors who drew a profit by charging owners interest on top of the tax debt until the money was repaid. But under the watch of local leaders, the program has morphed into a predatory system of debt collection for well-financed, out-of-town companies that turned $500 delinquencies into $5,000 debts then foreclosed on homes when families couldn’t pay, a Washington Post investigation found.

Kids suffer as gap grows between families of different races, classes and educational achievements — A new report by the Ohio State University’s Department of Sociology found “a widening gap in recent years between families that are white, educated or economically secure and minority families, those headed by someone with a high school degree or less, and poor families.” The report noted that living arrangement was a “strong indicator of poverty,” showing that “four percent of U.S.-born children living in dual-income families were poor in 2010, followed by 14 percent in traditional families, while nearly 60 percent of the children living with single, never-married mothers were.” This is significant as white U.S.-born kids were nearly twice as likely as their African-American counterparts to grow up in a dual-income household with married parents. Find the report here.

DC’s new superintendent for education: Mayor Gray announced yesterday that Jesus Aguirre, director of the District’s Parks Department, will become the city’s new state superintendent of education. With a background in education, Aguirre first joined the District government in 2007 as part of the transition team leading up to Michelle Rhee’s term. Since 2009, he has directed the Parks Department at the request of Mayor Fenty, and begins his new post on October 1st.

Around Town: September 6-12

CFP nonprofits always seem to have great events and volunteer opportunities available to the community. Check out what some of the best local nonprofits are up to this week!

Friday, September 06, 2013

Charity in Chocolate

Heart of America Foundation
This event features a decadent mix of chocolate & fashion including: – A delicious Chocolate Fashion Show where chefs decorate models in beautiful chocolate couture – More than 50 sweet and savory tasting stations and an open bar for you to enjoy, including a special celebration of Italian culture and cuisine – A raffle campaign with fabulous prizes and proceeds supporting book donations to children in need Proceeds from Charity in Chocolate help The Heart of America Foundation provide books to children in the DC metropolitan area who have little or nothing to read at home.
When: Friday, September 6, 2013 (6:00 PM – 09:00 AM)
Where: Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C., 1330 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20024
Fee? no $110 Guest, tickets discounted for groups of 10 or more, VIP tickets also available
Contact: Daniel Horgan, (202) 347-6278
For more information: click here

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Leave a Legacy Cruise Celebration

Audubon Naturalist Society
Long-time ANS support and current Executive Director, Neal Fitzpatrick, plans to retire in September after 33 years of service. Since Neal has been such a passionate advocate for protecting our local water resources and natural spaces, it seems fitting that his legacy include a fund established in his name that would support the mobilization of people of all ages to protect and restore streams in the greater DC region. To honor Neal and to build his Legacy Fund, we have planned a number of festive events! Join Neal and his wife Roxane, Saturday, September 7th, 6-8pm, aboard the U.S.S. Sequoia Presidential Yacht for an elegant cocktail reception catered by Main Event Caterers, one of Washington, DC’s premiere caterers. Proclaimed by the History Channel as the “Rolls Royce of Yachts,” the Sequoia has catered to a dozen U.S. Presidents for 90 years. It features most of the original furnishings and is full of historic photos and letters. Suggested donation for this event is $500 per person ($400 of which is a tax-deductible gift). RSVP by Friday, August 30th, to Loree Trilling at ltrilling@audubonnaturalist.org or 301-652-9188 x35. Space is limited!
When: Saturday, September 7, 2013 (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)
Where: Gangplank Marina, 6th St SW & Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024
Fee? yes $500 per person suggested donation ($400 is tax-deductible)
Contact: Loree Trilling, (301) 652-9188 ext 35
For more information: click here

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Look at Literacy

Literacy Council of Montgomery County
Come learn about the state of adult literacy in Montgomery County, how the Literacy Council addresses the needs of adults with low literacy skills, and how you can be involved.
When: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 (10:30 AM – 11:30 AM)
Where: Rockville Library, Suite 320, 21 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850
Fee? no
Contact: Marty Stephens, (301) 610-0030 ext 202
For more information: click here

Around Town: August 23-30

The school year is almost upon us, but CFP nonprofits are still in full summer swing! Check out what these great nonprofits have going on in your neck of the woods! Don’t forget–if you head to an event, let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or by email at info@cfp-dc.org!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Adult Literacy Tutor Orientation

Literacy Council of Montgomery County
The Literacy Council of Montgomery County will hold an information session for volunteers interested in helping adults learn to read, write or speak English. Tutors work one-on-one or with small groups. No foreign language skills are necessary. Tutors meet with students in libraries or community centers at mutually convenient times. Registration is required. Call 301-610-0030 or e-mail info@literacycouncilmcmd.org.
When: Friday, August 23, 2013 (10:30 AM – 12:00 NOON)
Where: Rockville Library, 21 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: Information session for potential volunteers.
Contact: Maggie Bruno, (301) 610-0030 ext 208
For more information: click here

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Nash Run Trash Trap Cleanup

Anacostia Watershed Society
The Anacostia Watershed Society has been experimenting with a stationary device built to strain the trash from the flowing waters of Nash Run, located adjacent the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Northeast DC. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about the trash challenges of the Anacostia and what is being done to address it. We need your help to keep the trash trap clean and functioning well! Contact Maddie at 301-699-6204 ext. 109 or mkoenig@anacostiaws.org to sign up!
When: Saturday, August 24, 2013 (09:00 AM – 12:00 NOON)
Where: Intersection of Anacostia Ave. NE and Douglas Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20019
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: See above.
Contact: Madeline Koenig, (301) 699-6204 ext 109

Monday, August 26, 2013

Wetland Workday

Anacostia Watershed Society
The Anacostia Watershed Society is working to restore a wetland along the Anacostia River called Kingman Marsh. Wetlands do great things for our river — they provide habitat for native wildlife, help filter toxins from river water, and act like a sponge to prevent flooding. We need your help to ensure to restore Kingman Marsh! No previous training or skills are required. All tools and supplies needed (including boots and waders) will be provided. Please note that the work will be muddy and volunteers will be asked to wear waders for the entire event. Bending, lifting, digging, and walking fair distances will be required. If this will be an issue, please consider joining us for another event. Contact Maddie Koenig at 301-699-6204 ext. 109 or mkoenig@anacostiaws.org to sign up!
When: Monday, August 26, 2013 (10:00 AM – 1:00 PM)
Where: Driving Range of Langston Golf Course, Benning Rd. NE, Washington, DC 20002
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: See above.
Contact: Madeline Koenig, (301) 699-6204 ext 109
For more information: click here

Adult Literacy Tutor Orientation

Literacy Council of Montgomery County
The Literacy Council of Montgomery County will hold an information session for volunteers interested in helping adults learn to read, write or speak English. Tutors work one-on-one or with small groups. No foreign language skills are necessary. Tutors meet with students in libraries or community centers at mutually convenient times. Registration is required. Call 301-610-0030 or e-mail info@literacycouncilmcmd.org.
When: Monday, August 26, 2013 (7:30 PM – 9:00 PM)
Where: Rockville Library, 21 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: Information session for potential volunteers.
Contact: Maggie Bruno, (301) 610-0030 ext 208
For more information: click here

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Wetland Workday

Anacostia Watershed Society
The Anacostia Watershed Society is working to restore a wetland along the Anacostia River called Kingman Marsh. Wetlands do great things for our river — they provide habitat for native wildlife, help filter toxins from river water, and act like a sponge to prevent flooding. We need your help to ensure to restore Kingman Marsh! No previous training or skills are required. All tools and supplies needed (including boots and waders) will be provided. Please note that the work will be muddy and volunteers will be asked to wear waders for the entire event. Bending, lifting, digging, and walking fair distances will be required. If this will be an issue, please consider joining us for another event. Contact Maddie Koenig at 301-699-6204 ext. 109 or mkoenig@anacostiaws.org to sign up!
When: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 (10:00 AM – 1:00 PM)
Where: Driving Range of Langston Golf Course, Benning Rd. NE, Washington, DC 20002
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: See above.
Contact: Madeline Koenig, (301) 699-6204 ext 109
For more information: click here

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wetland Workday

Anacostia Watershed Society
The Anacostia Watershed Society is working to restore a wetland along the Anacostia River called Kingman Marsh. Wetlands do great things for our river — they provide habitat for native wildlife, help filter toxins from river water, and act like a sponge to prevent flooding. We need your help to ensure to restore Kingman Marsh! No previous training or skills are required. All tools and supplies needed (including boots and waders) will be provided. Please note that the work will be muddy and volunteers will be asked to wear waders for the entire event. Bending, lifting, digging, and walking fair distances will be required. If this will be an issue, please consider joining us for another event. Contact Maddie Koenig at 301-699-6204 ext. 109 or mkoenig@anacostiaws.org to sign up!
When: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 (09:00 AM – 12:00 NOON)
Where: Driving Range of Langston Golf Course, Benning Rd. NE, Washington, DC 20002
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: See above.
Contact: Madeline Koenig, (301) 699-6204 ext 109
For more information: click here

Look at Literacy

Literacy Council of Montgomery County
Come learn about the state of adult literacy in Montgomery County, how the Literacy Council addresses the needs of adults with low literacy skills, and how you can be involved.
When: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 (10:30 AM – 11:30 AM)
Where: Rockville Library, Suite 320, 21 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850
Fee? no
Contact: Marty Stephens, (301) 610-0030 ext 202
For more information: click here

Spotlight: Capital Partners for Education

Today we’re shining a spotlight on Capital Partners for Education to congratulate them on their 2013 award from the Washington Post Charities! Executive Director of CPE, Khari Brown’s involvement working with urban teens through his various coaching experiences led him to pursue a career in expanding educational opportunities for low-income youth. Since joining Capital Partners for Education in 2001, Khari has reshaped the program by vastly expanding the number of students reached and establishing a programmatic framework for CPE to build upon in years to come. Khari received both a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and a Master’s degree in Education from Tufts University.

1. What motivated you to begin this organization (if you are the founder) or to begin working with it? What need does it fulfill and how are you (and your organization) working towards meeting it?
I began working with Capital Partners for Education (CPE) because it was an organization that could have a direct impact on improving young peoples’ futures by helping them get to and through college.

Earning a college degree has never been more important in today’s economy. Without a college degree, our students will be left behind and destined for a life of poverty. Low-income students face multiple barriers to college completion and we work to help them overcome these obstacles and let their talent shine.

I am motivated by the positive difference we make in our student’s lives. We are changing the trajectory for each student and their family. We get results–99% of our graduates enroll in college and 75% of our graduates complete college on time. 2013 marks the eighth year in a row where 100% of our seniors enrolled in college.

2. What exciting change or innovation is on your mind?
CPE is seeking to triple the number of students we serve over the next three years. This is the first year where we will extend our program from high school through college completion. We are able to do this by integrating a new e-mentoring platform called iMentor. CPE is the first organization in this region to use this technology. Students, mentors and staff are now connected through iMentor’s online portal, making it possible for us to serve students remotely for the very first time.

3. Who inspires you (in the philanthropy world or otherwise)? Do you have a hero?
I come from a family of educators. They and some of my teachers and professors growing up were my early inspiration. There are many great philanthropists I admire. Most are not famous, but they give a big percentage of their wealth and their time to charity and aren’t motivated by recognition.

4. What is the single greatest challenge that your organization faces (besides finances) and how are you dealing with this challenge?
The greatest challenge is to make sure that we are growing in a responsible way. We are motivated to serve more students because the need is great and we have an innovative model that works. We must strive to balance expanding our reach while ensuring that every CPE student gets the individual support they need to reach their goals.

5. What advice do you have for other people in your position?
Don’t be afraid to let your organization evolve.
Empower your team to be part of big decisions and new directions for the organization.

6. What’s next/coming up for you?
This fall we will enroll 30 new students this fall into a new program that begins in the 11th grade and continues through college graduation. By adding a new entry point to our program, we are able to help more motivated, low-income students get on the path towards college. This community-based mentoring program will prepare students for college at monthly workshops focused on college preparation, career readiness and financial literacy. Once students are enrolled in college, we will continue to provide mentoring, career exploration services and financial life skills training through their college graduation.

7. Congratulations on receiving an award from the Washington Post charities! What project is this grant supporting? What does this award mean to you or allow you to do?
The investment from Washington Post Charities is instrumental in fueling our growth as we expand to serve more students. This year, we are increasing our student body by 56% by extending support to our alumni while they are in college and introducing the new program line for 11th grade students.

Spotlight: Everybody WINS! DC

Today we’re shining a spotlight on Everybody WINS! DC to congratulate them on their 2013 award from the Washington Post Charities! Mary Salander is co-founder and Executive Director of Everybody WINS! DC, a Catalogue charity since 2006. Now celebrating its 19th year, EW!DC serves nearly 5,000 children through what has become the largest mentoring and literacy program for disadvantaged youth in the Washington Metro area. EW!DC launched in the spring of 1995 with Senators and their staffers as the first mentors and reading partners. Mary Salander joined us to talk about what’s next this year.

1. What motivated you to begin this organization? What need does it fulfill and how are you working towards meeting it?

I was actually working in brain research when I was asked by then-Senator Jeffords, chair of the HELP committee, to help bring this model for literacy and mentoring to Washington. My interest in service work coupled with the scale of the problem — the rate of functionally illiterate high school graduates, to the lack of resources, including books, in low-income homes — led me to dive right in. I had a mentor in 4th grade that made a huge difference in my life and my love of learning, and this was an opportunity to share that opportunity with so many more kids.

Many of the challenges we identified 19 years ago are still challenges today. Twenty percent of adults in the District have few literacy skills, and less than half of the public high school students scored proficient in reading. There’s an enormous gap seen right from the start: middle income students in the United States typically enter first grade with 1,000 – 1,700 hours of one-on-one reading, low-income students go in with just 25. And we’ve done our children a great disservice by teaching to the standardized tests rather than inspiring them to want to learn or to read for pleasure.

Everybody WINS! brings a caring mentor into a child’s life who can introduce them to the joy of reading, as well as inspire them to want to learn. Most of the kids we serve don’t have someone in their lives who can spend time reading with them, so our mentors help fill that gap while sharing their own stories with the students. An encouraging mentor can be so powerful: I was fortunate to mentor a little girl from first through eighth grade. She came in with very few language skills, struggled with challenges at home, but we got to know each other, read together and found ways to make learning enjoyable. By the end of 8th grade, she won the Principal’s Award and even addressed her class at graduation. I heard from her just last month when she called me to tell me she’s off to college in the fall! She has a new opportunity to break the cycle and that’s what we want for every child.

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

We started EW!DC with our Power Lunch program, where adults from federal agencies to law firms read with a child over lunch. We grew from 100 kids in the spring of 1995, to nearly 5,000 today, thanks to the support of the members of Congress, corporate partners and individual volunteers.

Since then, we’ve started the Readers are Leaders program, where 4th and 5th graders are matched with K-3rd graders are reading partners. They read together, but we also run a set of leadership trainings for our student mentors where they learn about being leaders at school and in the community, through service, a leadership summit and other workshops. We’ve also started Storytime, where we bring enrichment programs to schools and get a book into the hand of every child at the end.

3. What is the single greatest challenge that your organization faces and how are you dealing with it?

The challenge of how to close the literacy gap is always foremost in our minds. Our one-on-one approach is proven to be effective and we take pride in how far we’ve come, but we’d love to scale this up to provide this service for any child in the metro region who could benefit from it.

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

Treat your staff royally –find ways to foster their development, build their skills and get to know them. Everyone at a small organization is vital and you’ll get rewarded the more you invest in them. Also, choose your board carefully and spend a lot of your time cultivating excellent relationships with each person. They will add tremendous value to the organization. It is critical to have a high performing board working with you.

And tenacity! Change is often slow, so stay positive knowing that the work you’re doing matters and find your reward in every day you wake up and work for the happiness and welfare of others. As long as I know I’m making a difference, having fun and still have a kick in my step, I’ll keep going because there’s no better reward for me.

5. What’s next/coming up for you?

This fall, we’re excited to have all our programs up and running early, beginning in mid September which will give us more time with the kids. We’re growing our monthly book distributions, to expand the number of books we put into kids hands each year, and will be doing a lot to gear up for National Mentoring Month in January.

6. Congratulations on receiving an award from the Washington Post Charities! What does this award mean to you?

We’re thrilled to have this support — this award allows us to sustain and grow our Power Lunch program at Ross Elementary School, which will support 100 volunteer readers this year. We’ll also be able to continue our special events for the students, including our end of year celebration for all our students, volunteers and mentors.

Guest Post: Reach Incorporated

New CFP nonprofit, Reach Incorporated is in the business of developing readers and leaders by training teens to teach. In this guest blog post, Executive Director Mark Hecker discusses their new program, Teens Give Back, and how it not only helped to build on the progress their tutors made throughout the school year, but helped out a few other local nonprofits as well.

Emerging Philanthropists: When Teens Give Back

By Mark Hecker, Executive Director, Reach Incorporated

This summer, Reach Incorporated launched a brand new summer program. This new effort, aimed at building on the progress our tutors make during school year programming, focused on four components, including intensive reading practice, college & career investigations, and children’s book writing.

On July 31st, we gathered for the final exercise in the fourth component of our summer program, Teens Give Back. At the beginning of the summer, we informed our cohort of adolescents from Eastern Senior High School and Perry Street Prep PCS that they would be responsible for giving away $2,500.

For a number of weeks, our teens identified community challenges, learned about organizations addressing those challenges, and generated a list of potential grant recipients. Through ongoing research and serious conversations, our young people selected four finalists: Homeless Children’s Playtime Project (HCPP), DC Central Kitchen, Martha’s Table, and Free Minds Book Club. These decisions were made based a number of factors, including the issue addressed, the size of the organization, and the impact made.

Selecting finalists, however, was just the beginning. Our tutors were split into four teams–one for each finalist organization–and asked to write and produce pitches. These pitches, limited to 90 seconds, sought audience support at the event on July 31st. The audience votes determined the size of the grant received by each of the organizations.

From the beginning, we could tell that our young people were well prepared. The team representing HCPP didn’t even stumble as they educated and engaged the audience. During DC Central Kitchen team’s presentation, Sasha leveraged the story found on the water bottles on each table (DC Central Kitchen had catered the event). The Martha’s Table team focused on size of impact, while the Free Minds team–led by Zorita, who bravely conquered serious stage fright!–took a more personal approach. In the end, those at the event had a tough decision to make!

While the votes were counted, we had the opportunity to publicly recognize Kyare, a rising 11th grade student at Eastern Senior High. Based on his performance both in and after school, Kyare earned a promotion to Junior Staff status–the highest honor given to Reach Incorporated tutors. Kyare is just the second person to ever receive this promotion!

Smiles filled the room as we celebrated Kyare’s accomplishment, but it was time to announce our winners. Without doubt, each group wanted to win, but only one could take home the top prize. First, we announced our honorable mentions–both DC Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table received $250 grants from our kids.

The teens moved to the edge of their seats as we announced that the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project was our runner up. HCPP was thrilled to learn that they would receive a $750 grant from our young people. That left only our winners–Rashaan, Zorita, Za’Metria, and Kyare–who were thrilled to learn that they had earned a $1,250 grant for Free Minds Book Club. Free Minds staff members gathered around to get pictures taken with their adolescent advocates.

As audience members filed out of the room, our teens accepted handshakes from inspired attendees. The teens’ preparation showed in their performance. While any competition leaves some with hurt feelings, our young people were uniformly proud of the work they had done. They had, without question, learned the value of giving back. With the audience’s help, we had given birth to a group of future philanthropists.

The Homeless Children's Playtime Project team doing research

The Homeless Children's Playtime Project team doing research

The Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop team as they pitch the room

The Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop team as they pitch the room

Kyare celebrating his promotion

Kyare celebrating his promotion

If you’re interested in learning more about what happens when you give teens real responsibility for real outcomes, visit us at www.reachincorporated.org.

Around Town: June 1-2

We have a hot weekend ahead of us, DC metro! Looking for a place to stay cool while still having a great time? Check out closing weekend of Constellation Theatre Company‘s Gilgamesh. Washingtonian Magazine said, “Constellation Theatre’s Gilgamesh is visually and aurally arresting,” and The Maryland Theatre Guide raved, “This world premiere of Gilgamesh must be seen, and heard, and witnessed. It will leave you lingering with wonder.” Don’t let these reviews do all of the talking–grab your tickets to see Gilgamesh and experience it this weekend before it’s gone!

Gilgamesh

Constellation Theatre Company
Closing night of Gilgamesh. The show runs from May 2 – June 2, 2013. Part god and part man, King Gilgamesh races the sun & journeys to the ends of the earth on his epic quest for immortality.
When: Saturday, June 1, 2013 (2:00 PM and 8:00 PM) and Sunday, June 2, 2013 (2:00 PM)
Where: at Source, 1835 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
Fee? yes – tickets start at $25.
Contact: Lindsey, (202) 204-7741
For more information: click here

Equalizing Education

Last week, I came across an interesting article in Greater Greater Education, which considered the unintentional effects of emphasizing equality (and not necessarily equity) in education. Setting aside the conversation about whether our country’s attempts at providing an “equal education” are, in fact, equal, the author offers thought-provoking commentary on the philosophical and pragmatic tensions of a education focused on college preparation versus a more practical post-graduate path (equality vs adequacy).

While not offering a solution to this inherent conflict, the piece considers why equality in education is failing many of our public school students and not preparing them for the realities of working life:

…Only 32% of young adults complete an undergraduate degree by 29, meaning the vast majority of high school students need preparation for a decade or more of life without any further education. These students…need classes that prepare them to navigate government programs, secure employment, understand the contracts they sign, nurture relationships and build a family. They need to be taught about the structure of the US workforce, and what the requirements are on paper and in practice to advance in different industries. They need to be taught consumer financial skills.

On the other hand, free education is seen as the “great equalizer” in American society – the only opportunity equally afforded to all children regardless of race, class, gender, ancestry, disability, or any other status. Many first-generation college-bound students only learn about opportunities to climb the ladder from that one dedicated teacher or guidance counselor at school. Ideally, any student who is presented with these opportunities and encouraged enough would pursue the college dream, succeed, graduate, and provide a strong and supportive environment for her children to do the same. At least in theory, this is how marginalized and disadvantaged groups gain a greater level of wealth, power, and status within society.

In practice, many of us know this isn’t true. Public education has existed in this country for over 150 years, and yet the system has promoted institutionalized biases for much of that time – against women, minorities, and immigrants, among other groups. How do we recognize the failings in our current system of public education, while preserving its idealistic integrity, and equitably meet the needs of all students?

The nonprofit community has stepped up to tackle this challenge, providing educational enrichment programs that try to cover the spectrum of students’ needs. College prep nonprofits, like Collegiate Directions Inc, identify students who have high potential for success in college and offer them intensive support, beyond what public school can provide. The results are impressive, according to a recent opinion piece in the Washington Post:

Since we began in 2005, 98 percent of our scholars have graduated from four-year colleges within six years, compared with only 11 percent of low-income, first-generation students nationally, according to a 2008 Pell study. Our scholars exemplify how earlier intervention, personal advising and academic support are essential to finding, gaining admittance to and succeeding in a best-fit college.

Other nonprofits offer nontraditional high school programs that address head-on the reality that many students will face after graduation. For example, Youth Build Public Charter School prepares students for post-secondary education and the workplace by offering, in English and Spanish, academic, vocational and workforce development programs. The D.C. Students Construction Trades Foundation offers students the opportunity to explore a broad range of careers in the building industry and gain experience in those fields through a hybrid high school program.

As important as it is to strive towards the lofty goals of our public education system, it’s more of an injustice to our diverse student population today to ignore their realities. That doesn’t make the dilemma any less uncomfortable to face. We’re faced with providing a band-aid solution to overall economic inequality while our society figures out how to heal the deeper wounds. Ultimately, the patient can’t survive without either the band-aid or the surgery – something we shouldn’t forget when providing immediate solutions to education inequality in the United States.

Around Town: May 18-19

If you are looking for a fun way to learn, make a difference, and get out of the house this weekend, these CFP nonprofits are waiting for you! See what is in store for the DC Metro area this weekend on Around Town. Heading to one of these events? Let us know–we would love to hear about it:

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Grocery Deliveries to Low-Income Seniors in North Capitol/Shaw

We Are Family Senior Outreach Network
We Are Family will be delivering groceries to over 250 low-income seniors in the North Capitol and Shaw neighborhoods.
When: Saturday, May 18, 2013 (10:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
Where: Metropolitan Community Church, 474 Ridge St. NW, Washington, DC 20001
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: Volunteers will help assemble and deliver grocery bags to low-income seniors. Although a car is not needed, it is helpful.
Contact: Mark Andersen, (202) 487-8698
For more information: click here

LAMB 10th Anniversary Fiesta & Auction

Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School
Join us in celebrating LAMB’s 10th anniversary at the Fiesta & Auction! Food, music, silent auction & live auction, including items for many fabulous restaurants, hotels, and local businesses. Venga a disfrutar!
When: Saturday, May 18, 2013 (6:00 PM – 10:00 PM)
Where: Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School, 1375 Missouri Ave. NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20011
Fee? yes $35 in advance; $45 at the door
Contact: Colleen Renk or Iyon Rosario, (202) 726-6200
For more information: click here

The Big 33: The World’s Most Important Dinner Party

A Wider Circle
Come see why Zagat calls 9159 Brookville Road one of the finest dining establishments in town. Okay, not really, but come see – and share – what A Wider Circle is all about! It only costs A Wider Circle $33 to provide a child or adult with all of his or her basic need items – from beds and dressers to sheets, towels, dishes, pots, pans, and much, much more! $33 is only a suggested donation. We invite you to come on out, share in some great food, hear about the work, and enjoy a wonderful dinner party. Have questions or want to RSVP? Call 301-608-3504 or email Dinner@awidercircle.org All are welcome, so please feel free to share this invitation with friends, family members, neighborhood listservs, or anyone who may be interested.
When: Saturday, May 18, 2013 (7:00 PM)
Where: A Wider Circle’s Center for Community Service, 9159 Brookville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Fee? no
Contact: Erin Fiaschetti, (301) 608-3504
For more information: click here

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Christopher K. Morgan & Artists/skybetter and associates

Dance Place
DC based Christopher K. Morgan & Artists joins forces with NY based skybetter and associates for an evening of contemporary dance employing sinuous and abstract movement combined with detailed musicality. Performance includes Inclement Weather, choreographed by Sydney Skybetter, centering on the hallucinogenic memory of a beloved, lost grandmother. Co-presented by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
When: Sunday, May 19, 2013 (7:00 PM)
Where: Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017
Fee? yes $22 General Admission; $17 Members, Seniors, Teachers and Artists; $10 College Students; $8 Children (17 and under)
Contact: Carolyn Kamrath, (202) 269-1608
For more information: click here

 

Fighting to Read

Over the past few weeks, we’ve written about the importance of the DC One City fund as a support for the nonprofit sector (see posts here and here). At the same time, adult education advocates have waged another local budget battle over funding for the Pathways to Adult Literacy Fund. Yesterday, CFP nonprofit Academy of Hope Executive Director Lecester Johnson joined Community Foundation for the National Capital Region President Terri Lee Freeman to publish an op-ed in the Washington Post about this issue.

Johnson and Freeman tell the stories of Academy of Hope students who have changed their lives by completing a GED program. They also share compelling reasons for why adult literacy is so crucial – not only in general, but specifically in the District of Columbia:

More than 64,000 D.C. adults lack a high school credential. With limited basic math, reading and digital literacy skills, these residents have difficulty following written instructions, completing paperwork, communicating effectively with colleagues or helping their children with homework. This undermines the job security of workers, the economic viability of local businesses and the well-being of families…

Literacy is one of those root problems that, if addressed with serious investments, will pay off in multiple ways. For instance, earning a diploma is not only good for adult students; it also is good for their children. Parents with strong literacy skills can better help their children do homework, study and succeed in school. And young adults whose parents have a high school diploma are more likely to complete high school than are those whose parents do not, according to a 2012 Urban Institute report.

The DC City Council is still making decisions on the FY2014 budget. You can read more about current hearing and decisions online here, and lend support to those fighting for adult literacy programs here.