Testimony to DC Committee of the Whole Budget Hearing

Thank you, Chairman. My name is Martine [Sadarangani Gordon].  I’m a Ward 3 resident, Vice President of Programs at Washington Area Women’s Foundation and a member of the Under 3 DC advocacy coalition.


I’m also a mom of two young kids, and I am here today to reiterate the need for increased, long-term public investment in early education. For far too long, our society has relied on parents paying significant sums for childcare and early educators earning poverty wages to finance the system. My own childcare costs in 2021 will exceed a third of my income, but on the other side of things, more than 34% of early educators in DC are living in poverty. It is a cruel joke that early educators in DC do not earn enough to afford childcare for their own children.

Councilmembers, economic instability wasn’t caused by the pandemic. Many DC families have struggled for decades, in part, because of how expensive it is to pay for basic needs – housing, healthcare, and childcare among them. Childcare costs alone can eat into 80% of a local family’s income. There is a reason other wealthy countries pay for social supports, like early education, for their residents. They know most hardworking people simply can’t afford to do it on their own. We, here in DC, cannot expect any measure of economic stability if we do not better subsidize these costs and ensure livable compensation for our most valuable workforce. 

I know we just got a whole lot of federal money, but that is not sustainable funding. That’s why the time is now to increase taxes on the highest income earners so we can help families to not have to live in poverty. A tax increase on households with taxable income of more than $250,000 would represent just 3% of taxpayers in DC, and we know that those households represent the wealthiest taxpayers who have fared well during this pandemic. In exchange, a tax increase like this would allow for a $60 million enhancement to our childcare subsidy program. So, please raise revenue. 

On a related topic, as someone who had both my children before DC’s paid leave program started, I am strongly against any proposal to use any surplus dollars from the Paid Family and Medical Leave program to cut taxes to corporations. That money belongs with the hardworking families and caregivers who need it.  I urge you to reject that proposal and use those funds to expand paid family & medical leave instead.

You have heard, and will continue to hear, today from early educators and parents who are pleading for change to our systems. DC residents are supportive of increased investments in early education. We have seen that through both recent surveys and through the widespread public support of DC’s universal prek program. 

I have worked on early education policy in DC for over a decade, and I know that the changes needed are not all legislative. But I assure you, they are not insurmountable. What you, as Councilmembers, can ensure is that the funding to make those changes is available. You have the power to make things better. A tax increase on just 3% of our wealthiest folks can go a long way.

Pay Home Visitors Their Worth

Unless you’ve participated in a home visiting program yourself, you probably don’t know what home visiting is or what a home visitor does. In truth, there are different types of home visiting models, and the job of a home visitor can be slightly different depending on the model and individual family needs. But, regardless of the program, home visitors help families navigate complex resource and support systems so that families are healthy, safe, educated and economically secure.

That’s a huge job, and you’d think that anyone doing that job would be paid handsomely. Not so. Like many largely women workforces, they are undervalued and underpaid. Despite the fact that 81% of DC home visitors hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, only 34% report being satisfied by their salary. Further, more than half of DC home visitors report that their overall compensation is inadequate, and a third of DC home visitors do not anticipate being able to stay in the field long-term due to the lack of fair compensation. In a recent report by the DC Home Visiting Council, a home visitor is quoted as saying, “Nobody wants to be complacent. In this field, you can get very complacent, because the pay is low, but there’s no room for growth. You can be the best at it, and you’ll still be running in place.”

Aren’t we tired of this story? The hard working Black and brown women putting their heart and soul into their work to help their neighbors, all the while not earning enough to sustain their own families?  And it is Black and brown women who are home visitors locally. In fact, 84% of DC home visitors identify as women, 56% are Latinx and 27% are Black. Only 12% of DC home visitors are White. In DC, we know that home visitors aren’t just helping families navigate systems effectively, they are supporting mostly Black and brown families navigate historically racist and sexist systems, all the while being survivors of those systems themselves.

So, once again, we have a largely women of color workforce performing critical work to reduce infant mortality, improve child outcomes, reduce child abuse and neglect, and so much more; yet as a community we ask them to do very hard work for very little pay. And when those same women leave the field for opportunities with higher compensation and greater opportunity, we are left with the difficult task of recruiting for a position that we know doesn’t compensate commiserate with the level of skill required.

This issue is, of course, more complicated than just raising salaries. The funding for home visiting programs is a mix of federal and local government dollars and private philanthropic funds. Many programs operate in an environment of constant scarcity and uncertainty. That alone makes it difficult to hire, retain, and compensate staff. But, we can do better. As a community, we can commit to valuing home visiting as a critical element of a comprehensive system of care. We can demand a stronger public investment in home visiting programs that allows for higher rates of compensation for the workforce.

DC is a wealthy District with a high cost of living. Families are struggling, and unfortunately those who want to serve families are struggling too. Let’s find a way to make this right. Let’s pay home visitors what they are worth.

Learn more about DC home visitors and home visiting programs by visiting the DC Home Visiting Council website.

Testimony to the Committee of the Whole, Education Oversight Hearing

Hello Chair Mendelson and DC Councilmembers. My name is Martine Gordon. I am a resident of Ward 3, a working mom, and Vice President of Programs at Washington Area Women’s Foundation.

The Women’s Foundation is a community-supported foundation that invests in the power of women and girls of color in the region.

I want to talk today about educational infrastructure. DC has demonstrated a commitment to building up its overall education infrastructure. And while we know there is more work to be done, our public education system has a foundation on which to continue to build. In our current reality of pandemic and economic crisis, the question for parents with school-aged children is not if their kids will be able to return to school. It’s “when?”.

We do not, however, have an infrastructure like that for early education. We do not have the level of public investment needed to ensure infant and toddler classrooms will be able to re-open or stay open or to ensure early educators will be available to return to work.

The early education sector needs stronger public investment because, while early education is a public good, it is in crisis. As a society, we have relied on parents paying significant sums and early educators earning poverty wages to finance the system.  Personally, I will share that childcare costs for my family in 2020 equated to about a quarter of my income. On the other side of things, the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment reports that the poverty rate for early educators in DC is 34.4% – 5.8 times higher than for elementary school teachers.[1]

The system doesn’t work for early educators, and it doesn’t work for families.

While DC has invested more in prek, in particular, than other jurisdictions across the country, it is time we dedicated the level of public funding necessary to create an early education infrastructure that meets our economic and education needs. Fully implementing the Birth-to-Three law can help set up that infrastructure.

I want to acknowledge the emergency response funding that Council and the Administration dedicated to early education programs. I also want to recognize OSSE’s leadership, during a time of public crisis and internal transition. I look forward to learning of OSSE’s updated child care subsidy plan, and hope that OSSE and intergovernmental partners are provided with the funding and support needed to make it easier for eligible families to obtain and retain their child care subsidies and for programs to receive subsidy payments timely and in a way that allows them to plan[2].

Like many, I also eagerly anticipate additional federal support for early care and education. My hope is that the emergency funding coming to DC will be turned quickly and provide flexibility to programs[3].

Thank you so much for allowing me this time today. I am happy to answer any questions you may have.


[1] https://cscce.berkeley.edu/workforce-index-2020/states/district-columbia/

[2] For example, paying subsidies to programs based on enrollment instead of attendance to allow for stronger cash flow for programs and expanding the number of allowable absences for children to be able to stay home if sick but still keep their subsidy.

[3] If the funding is used to provide grants to licensed providers, I urge OSSE to ensure grant applications are simple, do not create unnecessary burdens to programs and that smaller programs and family child care providers have support in completing applications.

And then came Kamala…

Growing up, I wanted to be president. It was more than a childhood dream. In elementary school, I wrote anti-war, environmentalist letters to then President Bill Clinton. In middle school, my best friend gifted me a “future president” t-shirt as a joke, but I wore it earnestly. I would practice speeches in the bathroom mirror, and in preparation for my life of public service, I ran for elected positions of my high school class, volunteered in my town, and while my friends were reading the Harry Potter books, I was studying the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

It wasn’t until the summer after my junior year of high school when I began to question if my dream would become reality. I was attending a summer program for high school students at Georgetown University, and the second I stepped on campus, I knew I was in over my head. It wasn’t that I couldn’t cut it academically. It was that I simply did not fit in. These kids were rich and well connected. Even my own roommate that summer was the daughter of a member of Congress. In contrast, I was just a girl from a small town in Connecticut, best known back home as the youngest kid of the Indian widower to the former town beauty queen.

No one that summer had to tell me not to share my future career aspirations with my peers. I was very much the metaphoric fish that suddenly found herself in a much bigger pond, and just like that, I doubted my capabilities.

At one point, my roommate was in an amicable debate about political electability with another student, because that is the type of thing high schoolers at Georgetown do, and he said something about intelligence as a top criteria for candidates for elected office. My roommate countered that there were other factors that mattered more. “Take Martine for example,” she said. “She’s super smart, but I would never vote for her.” She didn’t mean it to hurt. We got along great, actually, and we remained friends long after that summer. What she meant was that it didn’t matter how smart I was. It didn’t matter how much I studied or prepared. The voters of this great nation were simply not going to vote for me for a variety of reasons, but mainly because I’m not a White man.

That was the summer of 2000. Two months later, I was studying in my high school’s library during a free period when the school principal came in frantically asking for the television to be turned on. The library had one of only two televisions connected with cable in our small school. It was unusual for it to be used, let alone for Principal Story to seek it out, but he was beside himself. The librarian found the remote, and he turned on the news. I stood there with Mr. Story watching the World Trade Center towers smoldering on live TV.

The TV stayed on over the course of the day. Within the hour, the library was standing-room-only with students and teachers watching the news, crying, holding one another, and taking turns using the phone in the office to call their families to make sure that their relatives in New York were ok; some learning they were not.

Like many brown people in this country, I was horrified by what transpired on 9/11. I was scared. I felt betrayed. But, I couldn’t dwell on it. Because the fear of the actual attack morphed shortly thereafter into fear of my fellow Americans.

In the weeks after 9/11, my father put three American flag bumper stickers on his car and started wearing an American flag pin on his clothes every day. He hoped it would be enough to convince our predominantly White community, where he had lived for decades at that point, where I was a second-generation townie on my mother’s side, that we weren’t suddenly a threat. Like I said, part of the reason we were well-known in our town is because my father is an Indian man who married a local White woman. Before 9/11 that was unusual. After 9/11, it was a liability.

And just like that, the weight of reality hit my teenage self, not like a ton of bricks, but more like a smothering blanket. Those few months made me realize what I had been too naive to recognize; I was not going to be spectacular. I was going to be average, at best, because the safest way to get through life was to keep my head down as much as possible.

Ultimately, I did decide to be a public servant, albeit not an elected one. I have dedicated my life to public and nonprofit work, and I’m proud of what I have accomplished as an adult. But, I have missed my childhood confidence.

I remember feeling a small level of validation when President Obama was first elected in 2008, because not only did he become the first Black president, but also the first president with a non-European name. If Americans can accept Barack Obama as President, surely the name Martine Sadarangani is truly American too.

And then came Kamala.

Watching Kamala Harris on the campaign trail in 2020 had a profound impact on me. Here is a woman who, like me, was raised by an immigrant parent; who, like me, is half Indian; but who, unlike me, is seemingly unapologetic for who she is.

We hear all the time that representation matters, notably for kids. We want kids to see themselves in their teachers, pastors, community leaders. But, I have not had one woman of color teacher or religious leader in my entire life. My role models, as it turns out, have been largely male and/or White.

Even twenty years after my childhood dream was stamped out, and after working to build a successful career for myself otherwise, the election of a woman of color as Vice President made me stand up a little taller and made my voice a little clearer.

I love this country. More often than not, I tear up with pride upon hearing the national anthem. But, in loving this country, I don’t ignore the injustices and the terrible acts of our past and present. My love is what put me on a path of public service, and my love is what allows me to have faith that we can and will do better in the future, even in moments when I don’t feel that my country loves me back.

Leading up to yesterday, friends asked me if I was nervous about the inauguration. There was an attack on the Capitol Building just two weeks ago. Areas of DC are on lockdown, with a stronger military presence than the US has deployed in areas of active armed conflict.  Shouldn’t we just have the inauguration indoors where our elected leaders can be kept safer and so that DC residents don’t need to be afraid?

Of course not. Demonstrations of love need to be stronger than demonstrations of hate.

And look at what this inauguration gave us. Just two weeks after white supremacists tried to cripple our democracy, and coming up on nearly a year into a pandemic that has claimed the lives of 400,000 Americans, a Black and south Asian woman stood before the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, raised her brown-skinned hand and swore the oath of office for the Vice Presidency.

Regardless of your political views, that moment was a demonstration of love. It is a moment that brown-skinned women and girls all across the US can hold in our memories.

And on a day in the future when, despite our devotion to this country, we don’t feel that love returned, we can think back on the image of Kamala Harris being sworn in to a nationally elected office; we can see ourselves in her; and we can stay hopeful for our own futures.

Congratulations, Madam Vice President. And thank you.

[Artist credit: Lex Marie]

Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative (ECEFC) Makes 2021 Investments

After the latest grant round for the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative, I received an email from the President of one of our new Grantee Partners. It was right before Thanksgiving, and she wrote, “I have so much to be thankful for. You, especially, and The Women’s Foundation will be on my Thanksgiving list from now on.”

Upon reading her email, I was overwhelmed with humility and gratitude. Here is a woman who works a full-time job and volunteers to run a nonprofit organization on evenings and weekends, and she’s thanking me? How can this be?

Unfortunately, it’s for the simple act of treating her with respect.

Those of us who work in philanthropy know that the sector is currently undergoing a reckoning of sorts. There are those of us who were discussing systemic racism, philanthropic power dynamics and the need for more trust-based philanthropy prior to this year. However, for many, this past summer meant they could no longer gloss over the articles, blogs, and other resource guides of how to invest with an equity lens. They now have to act.

The Women’s Foundation has been reforming our practices for some time now, and the members of the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative (ECEFC) have come along with us. The ECEFC is a group of funders who pool their money and make grant award decisions together. The members have changed slightly over time, but the group has come together to invest in early education systems change in the DC metropolitan region for the past 13 years. The Women’s Foundation is a member of the group, but we also staff it.

The ECEFC members have been refining their priorities in the area of early education over the past four years by listening to community needs and recommendations, while also updating their giving processes to better align with their collective values around equity in early education. This year, in the midst of the global pandemic, the national childcare crisis, and overall local hardship, they took a giant leap forward. They said they wanted to invest in the largely women of color, and largely under-compensated, early education workforce. Specifically, they stated a desire to provide resources to early educator membership associations, community organizers, and policy advocates to elevate the voices of early educators in policy decisions. And they wanted to support early educator well-being.

They also supported me in streamlining the application process and working with applicants more directly. This allowed me to help applicants with few or no staff to draft portions of their grant applications, update deadlines so that folks who had a family emergency come up the day the application was due could still submit, and finalize applications in our online system for some organizations when their internet wasn’t working properly or their paying day-job required their attention.

The Women’s Foundation and the ECEFC operate this way to show respect. Respect for time. Respect for expertise. Respect for people.

This new way of working is how The Women’s Foundation staff is partnering with applicants across all of our priority areas. And, it is one of the many reasons that the members of the ECEFC trust The Women’s Foundation to be its home.

Ultimately, the ECEFC awarded grants to 13 organizations for 2021, totaling $367,000. In another demonstration of respect, the ECEFC made the intentional decision to fund general operating requests, and offered applicants a choice of applying for general operating or project-specific funds. Ultimately, 60% of the total funds awarded this round are general operating dollars, which the Grantee Partners can use as they see fit.

The 2021 Grantee Partners/Projects are:

  • Briya Public Charter School to support Multicultural Spanish Speaking Provider Association
  • DC Association for the Education of Young Children
  • DC Family Child Care Association
  • DC Fiscal Policy Institute
  • The Equity in Early Learning Initiative pilot project including Wonders Early Learning and Extended Day, The Campagna Center, Briya Public Charter School, and Bright Beginnings
  • House of Ruth to support a pilot project including KidSpace, Bright Beginnings and the Early Childhood Innovation Network focused on early educator wellbeing
  • Maryland Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Maryland State Family Child Care Association
  • Nonprofit Montgomery to support Montgomery Moving Forward
  • Northern Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Prince George’s Child Resource Center
  • SPACEs In Action
  • Voices for Virginia’s Children

There is still more work to be done, of course. Now that the funds are awarded, we will collect confidential feedback from applicants on how the process could be improved to better support them, to incorporate their needs, and to better respect them. And, what’s most important, we will improve our processes based on their feedback. Because just as we expect that nonprofits center the voices and lived experiences of those they serve in their work, philanthropy should do the same.

The 2020 members of the ECEFC include The Andrew and Julie Klingenstein Family Fund, Bainum Family Foundation, The Goldberg Family Fund, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The Richard E. and Nancy P. Marriott Foundation, PNC Foundation, Washington Area Women’s Foundation, and The World Bank.

Child Care Deserves Increased Investment – Here is What Philanthropy Can Do

Findings from the Washington Region ECE Workforce Network to inform the current child care crisis

 

Early care and education systems in the United States have been instable, at best, for decades. In fact, it is difficult to call it a true system. It is more a patchwork of different funding, regulations, and ideologies sewn together over the years. When a stitch breaks or a hole appears, we attempt to sew it shut, but this leaves significant weaknesses in the system’s structure. Educators and advocates have been warning about this instability for years.

Now, as we experience intersecting and simultaneous crises, the weaknesses of this system are torn wide open and on full display. We can no longer afford the current inadequate, patchwork system, and we will continue to undermine our economy if we continue to simply patch holes. This is the time to take the lessons learned from research and local collaboration, coupled with the expertise of educators and the needs of families, to implement policy and systems changes that will stabilize the early education system as a foundational and critical element of our economic infrastructure. In order for this new system to ensure high quality, accessible caregiving options for all families, we must ensure stronger investment in early childhood educators and the programs in which they teach.

The Burden of the System on Workers

In the DC metropolitan region, early childhood educators in 2016 earned $17,711 per year on average, with Latinx and Black early educators earning less per hour than their White counterparts. Health insurance coverage [1] is also inconsistent among early childhood educators.  In 2016, only 52 percent of early childhood educators in the region had health insurance (either from their own employer or their spouse’s employer), and health benefit coverage varied, not surprisingly, across the system. For example, only 37 percent of family child care providers had health insurance that same year, compared to 60 percent of school-based early educators.[2]

Public school educators are paid more and receive benefits as a result of significant government investment. However, we have not invested in the full early education workforce in the same way. The current system of early childhood education puts the financial burden on parents, who are forced to pay well beyond their means, in many cases, as well as the educators themselves who receive lower compensation to keep costs from skyrocketing beyond what families are currently paying.

At a rate of pay that effectively equals DC’s minimum wage, and with inconsistent access to benefits, the field of early childhood education was not a stable employment option prior to the current pandemic. Now, recent local and national surveys of early education programs estimate that in the current crisis, 20 to 50 percent of early education programs will close, if they have not already, without significant financial investment. This means that there will be less availability of programs for families, and less jobs available for early educators [3].

The Burden of the System of Families

Consider that, as previously mentioned, many early childhood educators earn wages that fall below 200 percent of the poverty line for a family of three, while at the same time, in 2017, the average annual cost of full-time, center-based infant care in Washington, DC was 89 percent of the median income of a family led by a single mother.[4] Let me be plain: she can’t afford that. Now, with COVID-19, public health and safety require early care and education programs to increase expenses even more to account for tighter student-to-teacher ratios, increased and new cleaning supplies and methods, less sharing of supplies and equipment by students, potential construction costs needed to retrofit classrooms and upgrade HVAC systems, and much more.

While there are some programs that are publicly funded—including  DC’s preK program, Early Head Start and Head Start, the Virginia Preschool Initiative, and subsidy programs—the vast majority of the early care and education system in the Washington, DC region, and nationally, is funded by families. So, what we have now is a situation where parents cannot pay any more, but programs need more money to ensure programs are safe for kids. This discrepancy is significant—estimated to total in the billions of dollars over multiple years—and, therefore, can only be remedied through increased public investment.

Increased Public Investment Is Needed

In the current state of the economy, with such high levels of unemployment, it is in our country’s best interest to invest strongly in early childhood education programs both to create stable jobs against the backdrop of high unemployment rates and to ensure that parents can get back to work as other jobs become available. As Fatima Goss Graves and Ai-jen Poo stated during The Women’s Foundation’s #AskHer webinar on August 27, 2020, “care work makes all other work possible.”

Advocates had pushed for $50 billion at the federal level to “bail out child care,” but that funding was not approved. Some states and localities have directed local funds to early care and education systems in their jurisdictions, but those funds will fall short of the level of investment needed. And because states need to balance their budgets, whereas the federal government does not, during a national economic crisis, it becomes increasingly necessary for states to look to the federal government for support.

What Philanthropy Can Do

Local philanthropy has been generous and responsive to the current crises. However, the volume of need is overwhelming, and local foundations and corporate philanthropy will not be able to fully fund every system. However, there are specific things that local philanthropy can do to support local early care and education systems.

First, funders can invest in early care and education programs directly or into pooled funder collaborative models that are providing funding and technical assistance to local programs to re-open or remain open. We do not have to see the dire closure rates that are predicted. Philanthropic dollars can ease that pain.

Second, funders can invest in policy advocacy and community organizing that will put early care and education workers front and center in policy and systems discussions to ultimately result in the changes and increased public investments needed. Some funders historically stay away from funding advocacy to avoid being associated with lobbying activities, but private foundations can fund 501(c)(3) organizations that engage in advocacy with general operating dollars. Lobbying does not have to be a concern.

Additionally, for funders who do not have a current early education or child care giving priority area, I encourage you to think about how your current giving priorities intersect with the challenges presented by the current early care and education crisis. Embedded in all of these issues is anti-poverty work, workforce development, education reform, family supports, mental health and well-being, movement building and community organizing, racial and gender justice, and much more.

The Women’s Foundation stands ready to help our funder colleagues and other community members who want to direct dollars to improve early care and education systems in our region. Reach out to us with questions about this piece or for advice on where you can invest in a local funders collaborative or advocacy coalition working on these issues at programs@wawf.org or find us on social media on Twitter, FacebookInstagram or LinkedIn.

About the Washington Region Early Childhood Education Workforce Network

Much of the points in this piece are supported by research conducted by the Washington Region Early Childhood Education Workforce Network (The Network), which has spent the past five years researching the current state of the early childhood education field locally and coordinating around policies and practices that will contribute to a more stable early education workforce. The Network launched in partnership with the National Academies of Medicine after its 2015 report on the early education workforce and is aligned with NAEYC’s Power to the Profession.

The Network is currently housed at Washington Area Women’s Foundation and funded by the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative.

Research and Resources Produced

Throughout its five years, The Network produced valuable research to inform the field in the region, including:

Next Steps for The Network

The Network is currently in the process of converting from a cross-sector, regional research and design entity to a regional early childhood education workforce advocacy collaborative. The collaborative will use the research and findings of The Network to inform its work and coordinate policy changes at the local and state levels to advance the early childhood education workforce in the region.

About the author – Martine Sadarangani Gordon is Vice President of Programs at Washington Area Women’s Foundation and manages the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative.

[1] The research referenced did not include paid leave or other benefits in the compensation review

[2] Urban Institute. Early Childhood Educator Compensation in the Washington Region, April 2018 – https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/97676/early_childhood_educator_compensation_final_2.pdf

[3] National Women’s Law Center reports that nationally the child care industry lost one third of its workforce between February and April, 2020, and 95 percent of those who lost jobs were women. https://nwlc-ciw49tixgw5lbab.stackpathdns.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ChildCareWorkersFS.pdf

[4] https://media.thewomensfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/14140548/2016ECEFS-1.compressed.pdf

#AskHer Series: Teresa Younger, Ms. Foundation for Women

#AskHer is an interview series with women leaders, our partners, community members and supporters who work tirelessly for women and girls.The webinar series is for in-depth conversations around complex issues affecting our constituents. Issues ranging from racism, racial justice, women, girls, intersectionality and more will be covered.

Our inaugural #AskHer webinar series was a poignant discussion on the role and value of women’s foundations, the ways in which philanthropy needs to change, and why centering women and girls of color is so important with Martine Sadarangani Gordon, Vice President of Programs, Washington Area Women’s Foundation and Teresa Younger, President and CEO, Ms. Foundation for Women.   Missed the live webinar?

Watch the recap now: https://wawf.org/AskHerJulyRecap

#AskHer Series: Indira Henard, Executive Director, DC Rape Crisis Center

Our new #AskHer series is an interview with our partners, community members and supporters who work tirelessly for women and girls. Our first interview is with Indira Henard, Executive Director of DC Rape Crisis Center. The interview was conducted by our Vice President of Programs, Martine Sadarangani Gordon.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. As we enter the second month of our local stay-at-home orders, we are sensitive to the impact of the crisis on survivors of sexual violence.

To better understand these issues, we talked to Indira Henard, Executive Director, DC Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC). Her answers to our questions shined the light on what survivors may be experiencing right now and how our community can support survivors during this crisis.

Martine Gordon: Let’s start with a little about you and the DC Rape Crisis Center for our readers.

Indira Henard: My name is Indira Henard, and I am the Executive Director of DC Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC). It is the first and oldest rape crisis center in the country. I have been in the violence against women’s moment for 20 years and have been at the DCRCC for 12 years.

We serve the entire region, including Maryland and Virginia, but the majority of our clients come from Wards 5, 7, and 8 in DC. Whether you were sexually assaulted 48 years ago, 48 months ago, or 48 days ago, you can still come to us for services. This is what we call soul work because the journey to healing is life-long.

MG: How has DCRCC had to shift its work to continue to support survivors right now?

IH: We’ve had to do a lot of shifting. Right now, all of our services are virtual. We are serving close to 100 individual therapy clients, seeing all of them virtually via telehealth. We’ve also added extra lines to our 24/7 hotline because we’re seeing a significant increase in demand for services.

We’re also doing training and technical assistance virtually. Part of what the DCRCC does is that we do training and technical assistance for both local and national community partners. For example, we typically do a lot of technical assistance for schools, but most recently the training has focused on what COVID crisis response looks like for agencies that are culturally specific.

At the end of this month we’re also hosting a survivor check in call. I’ll be leading the call with clients to check in and create space for them. Normally I meet with our clients quarterly, but April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so I wanted to do something special for them.

MG: What should people know about survivors, or people who experience abuse/violence during this pandemic that they may not otherwise read or hear about?

IH: A lot of what abuse is connected to is power and control. We’re living in an unprecedented time because survivors have limited control being forced into quarantine. It is kicking up all of the issues around trauma and not feeling safe, and all of this is happening on a timeline where no one knows when it will end.

We know how the body holds trauma and the brain stores memory. When you have no control over where you can go, it brings up a lot, coupled with when your daily routine and your sense of normalcy is no longer the same.

We also know that home may not be a safe space. For survivors of sexual violence, being at home may be with your perpetrator and could be triggering or even increase the incidences of rape. Even if you want to try to leave to go somewhere safe, the shelters aren’t taking in new people. You’re in a catch-22.

Alternatively, home may be safe for you right now, but if you’re at home with people who don’t know you’ve been assaulted, being able to find a private space to do tele-therapy may not be an option.

I think the other big shift is in general — what we know is that sexual violence is not a single issue because we don’t live single issue lives. Even though DCRCC supports survivors with trauma, we’re seeing other things come up. We have clients who may also be dealing with other mental health or substance abuse issues. This crisis is making it harder to do referrals to programs that they may need beyond support as a survivor.

MG: Are there local government responses to the pandemic that have impacted survivors in unexpected ways?

IH: One example here in DC is that over 20 metro stations have been shut down. If they relied on public transportation but the hours have been cut and stations closed, that’s impactful. It creates a challenge with trying to go to the grocery store or getting medical assistance.

Because the region in general has basically gone virtual, we’re assuming that people have access to the technology, but if we’re looking at folks in Wards 5, 7, and 8, they may not have that technology.

MG: Many local governments are also anticipating significant budget cuts coming. How does this impact DCRCC’s ability to provide support to its clients?

IH: It is weighing heavy on our minds. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a $600 million budget shortfall for this fiscal year, which is enormous. For the upcoming fiscal year, they are expecting an even larger shortfall. One of our key government funders has already made it clear that it will be a very lean fiscal year. For organizations like DCRCC who work with survivors, hearing that there will be strong budget cuts is catastrophic to our work because what we are expecting coming out of this pandemic is a surge in request for services.

My hope is that folks will realize that there is an intersection of trauma as it relates to the impact that COVID-19 is having. And it’s not just for survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault. These are intersectional issues for the most vulnerable residents. Even though a client may not be living in a shelter, for example, we have to understand the impact may look different for them – but there is an impact.

Generally, rape crisis centers across the country are struggling to stay afloat and fight for dollars in the next wave of federal funds, as well. Government funding will be challenging going forward, so it will take the support of the philanthropic community and donors to keep us afloat.

MG: Tell us about how your team is doing. How are they approaching their work, and, if you have a sense, how are they feeling right now?

IH: My team has just been troopers. They continue to knock it out of the park. This is the first time in 48 years at DCRCC that we’ve done virtual work like this, and they executed the transition seamlessly.

The way we approach our work is with heart. There is a saying we have that this is not hard work; its heart work. First and foremost, we have to show up with heart. My team bears witness to the unimaginable. We meet survivors where they are, and we create multiple pathways for their healing journeys. Survivors are the GPS from which we take directions. That has always been our philosophy, but it’s even more so now.

We are a small but mighty team and close knit. We have weekly check-ins and weekly self-care Friday calls. I talk to every staff member and have one-on-one time with every staff member, and I try to do things to make their days a little extra special because I know they are working really, really hard.

I’m also intentional around making sure they still have professional development opportunities in the midst of this crisis. In a nut shell, they are doing ok, but it’s definitely been challenging.

MG: What do survivors need right now, and looking six months out, what do you think the survivor support space will need when society enters the recovery phase of the pandemic?

IH: I think on a basic level, we need to believe survivors. We need to meet them where they are. We need to remind them that they are not alone and that what they are experiencing in healing is normal and expected. Sometimes we forget about those basics and how they mean so much.

On a higher level, we need philanthropic and systemic support to agencies who are on the ground with survivors. We need help, and we cannot do it alone. This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint, and when we enter the recovery phase, it will be fierce. We expect a significant surge in survivors, and we are going to need to meet that demand.

I encourage donors to trust your grantees. Trust them to know what is happening on the ground. Know that the resources being given to them are going to be used and maximized in the most efficient ways.

There is not a walk of life that sexual violence does not impact, and as such, everyone should be supporting sexual violence work. I would encourage folks to support those agencies on the ground. DCRCC is entering into our 48th year, and there is no way we could have done that without the support of the community.

Here’s How You Can Help Local Organizations Impacted By The Coronavirus

{Updated December 4, 2020 – We have added additional needs & resources to the alphabetized list below}

Neighbors and Friends –

These are uncertain times.  Many of us have not experienced a public health crisis quite like this before. While the quick spread of the coronavirus is anxiety provoking for all of us, for some in our community, the situation is dire.

We have heard from some of our Grantee Partners and area nonprofits that they are having trouble maintaining supplies of items to keep their offices safe for their clients, who rely on their critical services. We encourage you to review the lists below and consider donating an extra bar of soap or bottle of cleaning solution that you may have at your house or buy at the store this weekend.

The examples below are only a few of hundreds of organizations across the region that provide critical services to our community. We encourage you to reach out to other non-profits and community groups with whom you may already have a relationship to inquire about their needs as well.

Let’s all work together to ensure our neighbors have the resources they need to stay healthy and safe during these uncertain times.

Sincerely,

Martine Sadarangani Gordon
Vice President of Programs


ORGANIZATIONS IN NEED 
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Adventist Community Services of Greater Washington (ACSGW) was established in 1983 as the collective health and social welfare arm of several local church congregations. Today, ACSGW is a faith-based, nonprofit organization whose mission is to help those less fortunate in our community. We empower those in need through compassionate emergency care, life education, and community development. ACSGW currently provides case management, food, clothing, emergency financial assistance, health and fitness programs, technology education, and job-training.
This organization is in need of:
  • Scholarships funds to equip residents for new post COVID jobs
  • Hygiene items for families in need

Point of contact:

301-585-6556

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Founded in 1975, AHC develops affordable housing and helps communities thrive in the Northern Virginia, Washington DC and Baltimore region. We provide a wide array of educational programs and social services in our community centers to help residents build more stable and successful lives.
Our primary focus at the present time is ensuring that basic needs, particularly for the elderly and families with children, are being met. AHC is seeking funds/items to deploy critical emergency assistance to residents who meet established criteria, such as:
  • Employment reduction or loss due to COVID-19
  • New immediate need for childcare; therefore, not able to go to work
  • Personal illness or need to self-quarantine
  • Other needs as assessed by Resident Services staff and as the crisis evolves

Immediate priorities include food, toiletries/diapers/formula, medication, emergency supplies, and transportation (bus/shuttle/Lyft/Uber fare or gas money). The health and safety of both residents and staff is paramount.

Items requested:

  • Food
  • Essential toiletries such as diapers, feminine products, body wash, and baby products
  • Essential household items such as toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, and cleaning supplies
  • Medical supplies such as prescriptions, gloves, incontinence supplies, and wound care
Point of contact:
Haley Mixson

 

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Ayuda provides legal, social, and language services to help vulnerable immigrants in our neighborhoods access justice and transform their lives. Since 1973, we have served more than 100,000 low-income immigrants throughout Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia.

Ayuda has created a COVID-19 Relief Fund to support the immigrant community who are low-income and in need of assistance.

Learn more and donate here: https://www.classy.org/campaign/support-covid-19-relief/c277151


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The Black Swan Academy (BSA) a non-profit organization in the District of Columbia that concentrates its efforts on empowering Black youth through Civic Leadership and Engagement.

In recognition that the closing of District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and the reduction of hours for waged workers may add an additional burden on young people and their families, BSA will be providing support in the following ways:

Please drop off any of the following supplies during those times (If you need them to pick up supplies, please contact Samantha Davis at sdavis@blackswanacademy.org)

  • Soap (bar or liquid)
  • Hand sanitizer (to the extent you can find it)
  • Gloves
  • Disinfecting wipes or sprays
  • Lotion
  • Toilet paper
  • Non perishable food items
  • Paper bags

Beginning April 1st, they will do a food and toiletries drive, you can contact Kaya Lowery, to arrange pick up/ drop off. klowery@blackswanacademy.org

Point of contact:
Samantha Davis
sdavis@blackswanacademy.org

 

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Bright Beginnings provides complete, wraparound services to children birth to five and their families experiencing homelessness or housing instability. BBI offers early childhood education, family services, home-based services, therapeutic services, health & wellness services and workforce development services in a comprehensive two-generation approach.

Need: Bright Beginnings needs support in providing every one of their children and their families with a holiday season filled with dignity and hope. You can support BBI by giving through their Amazon Holiday Wish List: https://a.co/1JowGyT

Point of contact:
Toyeka Milam
tmilam@bbidc.org
202-515-6931


 

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The Capital Area Food Bank leads our region’s efforts to provide good, healthy food to people struggling with hunger and food insecurity. Each year, we source and distribute the food for over 30 million meals.

For members of the public who wish to provide support, they are experiencing a shortage of volunteers, and are in critical need of help sorting and packing food in their warehouse and assisting at their offsite food distributions.  To learn more and sign up, visit volunteer.capitalareafoodbank.org.


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Calvary Women’s Services offers housing, health, education, and employment programs that empower homeless women in Washington, DC, to transform their lives.
The organization is need of:
  • Antiseptic gel by the gallon
  • Disposable face masks
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Latex gloves
  • Bottled water
  • Grocery gift cards for women in our permanent supportive housing
  • Donated meals for women in our transitional congregate housing
Point of contact:
202-678-2341

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The mission of Chess Girls DC is to build the confidence of Girls using Chess as a tool. Chess teaches Persistence. The Chess Girls DC program develops a solid foundation of chess knowledge taught in a way that properly prepares girls to apply it in a productive fashion, in order that every maneuver becomes a way to practice effective thinking.
The organization is in need of:
  • A grant/stipend for teacher who continues to teach and is unemployed
Point of contact:

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Community Bridges empowers girls from diverse backgrounds to become exceptional students, positive leaders, and healthy young women. We do so by addressing the developmental needs of immigrant and minority girls and their families living at or below the federal poverty level in Montgomery County, Maryland.

The organization is in need of:

  • Grocery gift cards
  • Cloth masks
  • Diapers

Point of contact:
Shannon Babe-Thomas
sbabethomas@communitybridges-md.org
301-512-4622


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The District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) is the largest provider of safe housing and services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and children in the DC area.

Their doors remain open as they are still working to provide emergency safe housing, support, and services during this crisis.

Your gift today helps ensure that DASH’s critically needed services continue as the demand increases and the long-term effects of this crisis takes its toll on families to rebuild their lives.

The organization is in need of:

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Disinfecting Wipes and Sprays
  • Hand Soap
  • Grocery Gift Cards (Giant, Trader Joe’s, Harris Teeter)
  • Baby formula

Items can be purchased and shipped directly to DASH though its Target Charity Wish List.

Point of contact:
Jessy Murgel
jmurgel@dashdc.org

The DC Rape Crisis Center is a non-profit organization (501(c)(3)) and the designated sexual assault coalition for the District of Columbia. DCRCC is the oldest and the first rape crisis center in the country, and the only rape crisis center in the District of Columbia that has spent the past 46 years listening to the stories of survivors of sexual assault. In our 46th year, we are working to empower a culture of consent.

The organization is in need of:

  • Cleaning supplies
  • Facial tissue
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Bottled water
  • First aid kits
  • Disinfecting wipes
Point of contact:
Indira Hernard
dcrcc@dcrcc.org

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At Doorways, we envision a community where all people live free of violence and have safe and stable housing. That’s why we work to transform the lives of adults, youth and children who are facing homelessness or suffering abuse in our community. Through the generosity of our partners and supporters, we help our most vulnerable neighbors survive crisis, rebuild their lives and achieve brighter futures.
Doorways is moving an unprecedented number of women and families to independent housing at this time and needs assistance providing new household items and infant care supplies to those families.
Point of contact:
Joy Myers

703-504-9290

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Asian Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP) is seeking gift-card donations.  During this pandemic, many DVRP survivors need financial support to buy food, child care items, and personal hygiene products especially those in shelter.
Online gift card donations from places like Target, CVS or anywhere that provides e-gift cards can be sent to DVRP at info@dvrp.org and will be gifted directly to DVRP clients.
Learn more about DVRP here: https://dvrp.org/

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FAIR Girls  provides crisis intervention, specialized housing, and holistic and compassionate care to survivors of human trafficking.  FAIR Girls is located in Washington, D.C. but serves girls and young women trafficking survivors from across the DMV.

During the COVID-19 crisis, we have expanded our Vida Home hours to 24/7 — requiring an additional 45 hours of staff coverage per week, and increased groceries and cleaning supplies — to ensure that the survivors we serve have a safe, stable and healthy home they can count on during this crisis.   While we are unfortunately not able to accept new clients during this time, FAIR Girls continues to provide information and crisis intervention, via our 24/7 hotline (855-900-3247), to law enforcement, government agencies, community service partners and survivors who need our assistance in this unprecedented time.

We need the following supplies at the Vida Home, and vital financial help to continue to provide lifesaving services during the COVID-19 crisis:

  • Toilet paper and Paper towels
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Soap
  • Canned and non-perishable goods
  • Hand sanitizer

Please make a donation through the FAIR Girls website


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Friendship Place is the premier housing service provider for people experiencing homelessness in the DC region. Our innovative, customized, person-focused programs empower participants to rebuild their lives, find homes, get jobs and reconnect with friends, family and the community, permanently.
The organization is in need of help to:
  • Buy food and toiletries for the families and individuals we serve. Many people cannot get out to buy groceries and other items. Friendship Place staff have begun ordering items to be delivered to participants, but this need only grows.
  • Continue and expand our street outreach activities. Friendship Place staff are still going out to meet with those in homeless camps, and we need tools to keep those in the camps safe.
  • Prepare for an influx of people who have lost their homes and their jobs. We need to prepare all our programs to serve the surge of participants we will see in the wake of this crisis.

Donate to Friendship Place and their efforts on their website.

Point of contact:

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Generation Hope is a not-for-profit that supports teen parents completing their undergraduate degrees. Part of the support we provide to the scholars is access to one-on-one mentoring. As most scholars are transitioning online due to COVID-19 and school closures, we would like to increase our recruitment efforts for Volunteer Sponsors who would be willing to mentor a scholar. We want to ensure that the scholars have access to the support they need to excel during these stressful times.
Sign up to be a Volunteer Sponsor today and learn more about the role, eligibility criteria and the application here: http://supportgenerationhope.org/sponsor-application
Point of contact:
Susanne Nyaga
Generation Hope  is also in need of:
  • Grocery, restaurant, or Visa gift cards to provide to our families
  • Virtual gift cards are preferable
Point of contact:
Caroline Griswold Sholt
caroline@supportgenerationhope.org

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Goodwin House is a mission-driven, not-for-profit & independent, Goodwin House has been redefining aging since 1967. With our continuing care at home program, Life Plan Communities & healthcare services, we partner with residents, members, family & staff as we age together.
Goodwin House Foundation is in need of:
  • Workforce grant assistance for citizenship application fees,
  • Food insecurity,
  • Housing emergency assistance, and
  • Tuition assistance.
Point of contact:

Valerie Burke


 

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Greater DC Diaper Bank empowers families and individuals in need throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia by providing an adequate and reliable source for basic baby needs and personal hygiene products.

“We are looking for 10,000 people who can give at least $12 to help us purchase 1,500,000 diapers to meet the needs of families right now.

We know that many things are scary and uncertain right now. But what’s NOT uncertain is the fact that we need each other right now, more than ever. Our families, friends, and neighbors need us and you answer that need by joining our army of doers and donors!

Our reality at Greater DC Diaper Bank changes, literally hour by hour, BUT we remain committed to supporting families in need with critical resources, especially now, and what we know is that things will get tougher as this crisis unfolds.”

You can help by giving what you can on their website.


 

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Healthy Babies Project is a private, not-for-profit, community-based support organization for District of Columbia pregnant and parenting women and families.

The organization is in need of:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Germicidal wipes
  • Water bottles
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Hand soap (Liquid)

Point of contact:
Regine Elie
relie@healthybabiesproject.org


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Over the next two weeks, Homeless Children’s Playtime Project’s office will be closed with staff working remotely. They will continue to monitor the situation and will assess whether or not to reopen Playtime at the shelters on March 30. In the meantime, they are not accepting any in-kind donations or deliveries at the office.
While Playtime programming is on hold, they plan to create play kits for the children to keep them entertained during this troubling time. If you would like to help them fill the kits with fun reusable toys and activities, please provide an online donation through their website.
Program staff will purchase items and deliver them to the children at the shelters.
This is an unprecedented time and with your generous support, Playtime is doing all it can to bring play to children already in crisis, while keeping staff, families, and volunteers safe.  Thank you for continuing to support the power of play!

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House of Ruth empowers women, children and families to rebuild their lives and heal from trauma, abuse and homelessness.

The organization is in need of:

  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Bleach
  • Bars of soap
Point of contact:
Elizabeth Kiker
EKiker@houseofruth.org

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Each year, Identity assists more than 3,000 in-school and out-of-school youth and their families who live in high-poverty areas of Montgomery County and who are most at-risk for poor academic and economic life outcomes.

The organization is in need of:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Disinfecting spray cleaner
  • GROCERY STORE GIFT CARDS Because many of our client families are not in traditional salaried jobs, their lives and livelihoods will continue to be disrupted. In addition, the nutritious meals served at school that augment many of their children’s food supply are temporarily unavailable.  Donated grocery store gift cards (we suggest in denominations of $25-$50) would have an immediate and welcome impact. Gift cards can be mailed to Identity, 414 E. Diamond Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD 20877
  • DIRECT DONATIONS TO IDENTITY’S LIFT FUND which provides short-term financial relief to Identity clients facing truly extraordinary crises or hardship. It was created last year in honor of Identity Co-Founder Candace Kattar to ensure her legacy of never giving up on any young person in need. To contribute to this Fund, please visit this link.
  • Remote learning actually increases the need for supplies at a time when families are struggling. Your support during our Back-to-Learning Supply Drive will help fill age appropriate backpacks with school supplies from pens, binders and calculators to noise-cancelling earphones that block out distractions in crowded homes. Help us help up to 1,000 Latino and other historically underserved youth start the school year prepared and excited to learn. Each backpack filled with the supplies needed will cost about $100. To contribute to this fund, please write BACK TO LEARNING in the Additional Comments box on the donation form.
Point of contact:
Allison Russell
arussell@identity-youth.org

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The International Rescue Committee provides opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, and other immigrants to thrive in America. In Silver Spring and other offices across the country, the IRC helps them to rebuild their lives.
The IRC’s office in Silver Spring staff are working remotely to assist the individuals and families we serve to navigate the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Show your support by donating items via our Amazon Wishlists that are curated based on the needs of individual families we serve.
Point of contact:

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LIFT is a national nonprofit with locations in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles dedicated to empowering families to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. With its unique two-generation approach to poverty, LIFT invests in the personal well-being and financial strength of parents to bring about transformative change for their children, families, and overall community.
With many of our parents experiencing the financial impact of the pandemic, we are asking funders and supporters to support LIFT’s COVID-19 Family Goal Fund which puts money directly into parents’ hands to invest in their goals and rebound in times of crisis.
Point of contact:
Kristy Arnold

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Since 1917, Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSSNCA) has served boldly, offering hope and a helping hand where it is needed most.
We have an LSSNCA Emergency Assistance Fund to directly support:
  • Emergency rental assistance;
  • Assistance for utility bills;
  • Childcare funding;
  • Temporary grocery assistance;
  • LSSNCA administrative funding and most critical needs.
Learn more about the fund on their website.
Point of contact:
Shelby Kruczek


mamatoto
Mamatoto Village is a non-profit organization devoted to creating career pathways for Women of Color in the field of public health and human services; and providing accessible perinatal support services designed to empower women with the necessary tools to make the most informed decisions in their maternity care, their parenting, and their lives.
The organization is in need of:
  • Grocery store gift cards
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned tuna and chicken
  • Dry goods (rice, pasta, beans)
  • Pasta sauce and tomato sauce
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Bar and liquid soap
  • Personal hygiene items (lotion, body wash, toothpaste)
  • General donations for emergency family needs
Point of contact:
Briana  Green

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“At Martha’s Table, we remain deeply committed to protecting the health, safety, and well-being of our community. Throughout this difficult time, we are doubling down on our mission to support strong children, strong families, and strong communities. As we continue to stand alongside our community, we will roll out an unprecedented level of support.

We are partnering with DC Health, the Capital Area Food Bank, DCPS, Trayon White, and other local leaders, to ensure bags of groceries are available at designated select school sites every day which are listed on our website.
If people are interested in making an in-kind donation they can check out our Martha’s Table Amazon Wish List featuring our most urgently needed items. https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/2HXVLVOSNZHZH?ref_=wl_share
Please visit https://marthastable.org/covid19/ for more detailed opportunities!

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Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC) empowers victims of all crimes to achieve survivor defined justice through a collaborative continuum of advocacy, case management and legal services.
  • Survivors of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and other crimes are requesting additional support from our Survivor Support Fund, and we need additional resources to provide that. For example, we are seeing requests for food donations.
  • We also would like to pay our Advocates hazard pay (time and a half). Our advocates are still responding to Washington Hospital Center 24/7 to provide crisis advocacy for sexual assault survivors seeking forensic exams. Our funders are not able to approve hazard pay, so we would like to provide this to advocates, but estimate it would cost us an additional $145.20 per 12 hours of response to survivors at the hospital.
To donate, please visit their website!
Point of contact:
Merry O’Brien

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Northern Virginia Family Service’s (NVFS) breadth, depth and scope of services offer the resources and support to ensure that everyone in need, at every stage of life, maximizes their potential and fully contributes to a thriving community.How you can help a family prepare:       

Donate Food, Goods, Grocery Gift Cards, or Funds

Make a donation through their website.

Drop-Off Location: NVFS SERVE Campus, 10056 Dean Dr, Manassas, VA 20110

To minimize person to person contact, please consider mailing donations to: NVFS Headquarters, 10455 White Granite Drive #100, Oakton, VA 22124

Most-Needed Items:

  • Diapers
  • Shelf-stable canned goods
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Household Cleaning supplies (Clorox wipes, Lysol, rubbing alcohol)
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Grocery Gift Cards

You can also purchase items through their Amazon Wish List. On the shipping address page, select NVFS HQ—this will ship it to their Oakton office. On the gift message, please include your name & address so they can properly acknowledge your generous donation.


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As the largest network of community health centers in Washington, D.C., Unity Health Care provides a full-range of health and human services to meet the needs of our communities through a network of over 20 traditional and non-traditional health sites. Their team of compassionate and multicultural health professionals place Unity values into action every day to bring whole-person care and wellness to over 104,000 patients through 500,000 visits annually.
The organization is in need of:
  • Hand sanitizer

Unity Health Care provides life saving health care for over 104,000 men, women and children in DC every year. Over 10% of COVID-19 patients are cared for by their incredible health heroes. You can help them save lives by donating here.

Point of contact:
Andrea White
202-465-6134
awhite@unityhealthcare.org


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Right Beginnings, Inc. is a non-profit charitable organization recently formed under the District of Columbia’s not-for-profit statute.  The organization offers programs and services to female victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
The organization is in need of:
  • Women’s cosmetics
  • Food
  • Women’s clothing – for victims of domestic violence at Freddi House emergency shelter

Point of contact:


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The Washington School for Girls ignites the joyful pursuit of learning and inspires lives of faith-filled purpose, leadership, and service.
WSG is an all-scholarship independent Catholic School educating students in grades 3-8. Located in Ward 8 and serving the surrounding communities, the school provides an excellent academic program in a supportive environment which engages families and the community in the social, emotional, and spiritual growth of its students and graduates. We help our students to become the confident, capable, and courageous young women they are meant to be.
We are offering a full academic program remotely, with live direct instruction, tutoring, and enrichment activities. Our families have critical needs to ensure their daughters can participate fully, such as:
  • Technology needs, such as wifi-hotspots and Chromebooks
  • School supplies, such as materials for independent work activities
  • Food assistance, since many students relied on National School Lunch Program meals served at school

Additionally, families impacted by COVID-19 have needed cash assistance for a variety of basic needs such as health-related expenses, transportation, childcare, household supplies, and more. WSG has a limited family emergency fund for such needs, but anticipates a significant increase in requests for assistance once utilities and landlords restart fee collection.

Point of contact:

Susan Rockwell
202-678-1113

Wesley Housing is an affordable housing developer and supportive services provider with 27 communities in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. In response to the unprecedented need in our communities due to COVID-19, we are providing supportive services remotely in the areas of housing stability, job stability, and material assistance. It is our goal to keep all 3,200+ residents housed, stabilize their income, and mitigate food insecurity by providing resources and linkages and referrals.
We are in need of funding to support these efforts, as well as grocery store gift cards for families.
In addition, we are holding a Supplies for Success school supplies drive until Sept. 3, 2020. Donations to the campaign will be used to purchase “Success Kits” for 400+ disadvantaged youth in our communities.

Point of contact:

Kathy Mejasich
703-642-3830 ext. 214

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Women Giving Back supports women and children in crisis on a first step to stability by providing quality clothing at no cost, assisted by a caring and committed community.
They are in need of:
  • Monetary donations and volunteers
  • Donations of new and gently used clothing and accessories
  • Diapers and baby wipes
  • New and unopened toys and gifts for their Holiday Gift for Kids event
Point of contact:
Julia Michels
julia@womengivingback.org
571-313-1089

 

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Founded in 1905, YWCA National Capital Area dismantles barriers faced by women, girls, and people of color as they work to develop and sustain healthy lives. Women and girls come to us in times of transition for job training and career counseling. They come for mission-based skill building programs for their families. They come in times of crisis as survivors of rape or domestic violence.

The organization is in need of:

  • Non-perishable items, canned goods of all kinds, some meat products
  • Personal care items (soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes)
  • Masks and gloves

YWCA National Capital Area is taking donations of grocery items as well as monetary donations.

Point of contact:
Monica Gray

ORGANIZATIONS PROVIDING RESOURCES 
breadforthecitylogoBread for the City is an award-winning front line agency serving Washington’s poor. They operate two Centers in the District of Columbia and provide direct services to low-income residents of Washington, DC. All of their services are free. Their mission is to provide comprehensive services, including food, clothing, medical care, legal and social services to low-income Washington, DC residents in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.
  • They have organized a food sign-up form in order to add those who are experiencing need in the District to their food distribution list. Call 202-265-2400 or click the link above to have a bag of groceries delivered.
  • ¡Haga clic aquí para registrarse en línea para la entrega de comestibles! Las cosas son difíciles para muchos en este momento. Estamos contentos de compartir lo que tenemos. Llame 202-265-2400 o haga clic en el enlace arriba para recibir una bolsa de compras el lunes 27 de abril o más tarde.

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Catholic Charities is committed to the poor, especially the homeless, immigrant newcomers at-risk and persons with mental and developmental disabilities. We will help individuals and families move from crisis and isolation to stability and growth through food assistance, workforce development and education to name a few.

Food: Food and meal distribution — including St. Maria’s Meals, the Southern Maryland Food Bank, food pantries and the SHARE Food Network — continues with safety protocols such as curb-side pickup in place. Because schools are closed and senior centers are limiting contact, the distribution of snack saks and senior saks has been suspended.

Shelters: Five low-barrier shelters operated by Catholic Charities on behalf of the District of Columbia are open 24 hours. Those seeking access to shelters are being screened by health-related questions, with 1,200 clients processed so far in the District and at a transitional housing facility in Rockville, Md.

Additionally, our medical clinics remain open to act as a frontline filter to alleviate stress on hospitals!

Health care: Our medical clinics continue to be open, some with limited hours. Patients are being screened before arrival. We are not accepting walk-ins or new appointments. Telemedicine appointments are offered for sick patients. Health Care Network services as they are available are being done remotely, and many behavioral health services are being done remotely.

Find out more on their website!


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Concentric Private Wealth is providing a variety of support to our clients and the larger community to help people have an outlet so that we can stay centered and thrive during these uncertain times.

Check out a brief description of each weekly session below:

PARENTS: Mindful Parenting in Times of High Stress with Francine Ronis, LPC

Parents, this one’s for you – a special opportunity to connect with a behavioral therapist in a group discussion to help navigate the difficult conversations of today as a family. Every Monday at 11:00 ET, you can join these enlightening discussions to help ease your mind and offer a sensible perspective.  Date and registration details will follow soon.

ADULTS: Meditation led by Yogi Marni Sclaroff

Start your day with our weekly meditative Zoom-cast. It will be both calming and centering – a short, 15-minute escape from the headlines and negativity that will help you cope with the events of the day, and stay connected. Please join us for this live stream every Tuesday at 7AM ET and 11AM ET

OPEN TO ALL: Growth IGNITED with Katherine Liola

And finally, twice a week please don’t miss our live storytelling podcast where Katherine interviews people from various backgrounds and careers (including an Olympian, multiple Emmy winner and physician)  to hear about their personal journeys of growth, and how they arrived where they are today. Their stories will lift and inspire you. Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:00 ET.

TEENS: Resilience Building in Uncertain Times with Corinne Coppola, M.A. 

Our upcoming live streaming Zoom-cast for middle-schoolers, and our live-streaming Zoom-cast for high-schoolers. These warm, meditative sessions will help ease the mind and promote self-confidence and a more positive, hopeful tone while adding valuable perspective.

2:00 ET – Middle School Students

2:30 ET – High School Students

TEENS and COLLEGE STUDENTS: Financial Bootcamp with the Concentric Team

Check out our MoneySmartSeries for teenagers and young adults, look for Office Hours with the Concentric Team – a candid forum for answering common questions and offering tips for high-schoolers and college students. Our MoneySmart series has become a favorite among students and we’ll be announcing our weekly schedule soon.

ADULTS: Money Talk with the Concentric Team

We will also be making space each week for a high level Q&A session to help those you care about find direction in these uncertain times. Invite your friends and loved ones.

All reflective and learning sessions are virtual and compliments of Concentric Private Wealth. Learn more on their website.


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Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) is a new program which provides benefits to purchase foods to families who have lost access to free school meals due to COVID-19 related school closures. Benefits are retroactive to when schools initially closed. The first round of benefits to households already enrolled in SNAP/TANF will be transferred this Friday, May 22.

Eligibility:
All households with students in pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade receiving free school meals at D.C. Public Schools and public charter schools are eligible for P-EBT. This includes income-eligible families who have submitted a Free and Reduced-priced Meals (FARM) application, families receiving SNAP or TANF, and all families with students attending a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school.

Resources:
DHS has created a landing page and P-EBT Call Center for families (202-868-6663, M-F from 7:30am – 4:45pm). Families should use the P-EBT Call Center for more information on P-EBT and questions about their enrollment status.
You can download an FAQ on the DC Hunger website here.
Deadlines:
It is VERY important for families who are not enrolled in free or reduced-priced meals and do not attend a CEP school to apply asap. If a family applies any time in May, they will receive the full May and June benefits. However, if they apply on June 1, they miss out of all May benefits. The deadline to apply for all new families is June 19. Because of delays in SNAP application verifications, the best way for new families to apply is to contact their school to submit a FARM application.
For more information visit: https://dhs.dc.gov/p-ebt

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ELIANA’S LIGHT
Eliana’s Light supports DC, MD, and VA families with children who have complex medical conditions by providing a collaborative approach to care that’s focused on their whole health and well-being.
During this time of COVID-19, we are providing financial assistance to help families cover the cost of food, rent and utilities while we connect them to additional resources in their community and support their emotional well-being.
Point of contact:
Whitney Ortiz
 

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Expecting Health was founded by a group of women with a simple idea: families deserve and should expect more – more support, more guidance, better health. At Expecting Health, we believe that new and expecting families, regardless of makeup, income, or background, should and deserve to expect health. We simply don’t think it needs to be this hard.

As a soon-to-be or new parent, you have a lot going on! With the recent outbreak of coronavirus, also called COVID-19, there is even more misinformation, confusion, and fear around what you need to do to stay healthy. It’s important to be informed, up to date, and prepared to help you stay calm and empowered during this time. You may have a lot of questions about what you can do to keep yourself and your baby healthy. Being a new or expecting parent is never easy but during this pandemic, it may be even more challenging, scary, and stressful. While there are many things out of your control, there are things you can do to keep yourself and your baby as healthy as possible.

Check out COVID-19 resources for new and expecting parents on our website! Follow along on our Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/expectinghealth), Twitter (@ExpectHealthOrg), and Instagram (@ExpectingHealth) for more information and useful infographics that make it easy to understand what’s going on!

Point of contact:
Jamie Loey
jloey@expectinghealth.org


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Friends of Puerto Rico is a non-profit 501(C)(3) that supports the economic development of the people of Puerto Rico through entrepreneurial initiatives, education, and creating opportunities for women and girls. Since 2015, we have mobilized a passionate community of over 30,000 global entrepreneurs, donors and partner organizations focused on driving economic success and innovation to cultivate the next generation of leaders. Through a combination of training, education and mentorship initiatives that utilize the beautiful culture, art and people of Puerto Rico, our goal is to end financial hardship and provide economic opportunities and self-sufficiency for people on the island, in Washington, DC and around the United States.
The organization is offering:
  • Social impact coffee from Puerto Rico and they are happy to donate to organizations and families in need.
Point of contact:

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JCADA is committed to providing high-quality services to all residents of the Greater Washington DC community 14 years old & older, without regard to race, national origin, ability, background, faith, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, or immigration status. JCADA services victims and survivors of all types of power-based violence, including victims and survivors of domestic violence (also known as intimate partner violence), dating violence, elder abuse, gender-based violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and stalking.
The organization is offering:
  • Free counseling, victim advocacy, and legal services for victims of power-based violence.
  • Helpline open during business hours for safety planning while being quarantined with an abuser.
  • Prevention, Education & Training to teach adults and teens about healthy relationships.
Point of contact:
Amanda Katz

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Latin American Youth Center’s (LAYC) mission is to empower a diverse population of youth to achieve a successful transition to adulthood, through multi-cultural, comprehensive, and innovative programs that address youths’ social, academic, and career needs.  In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, LAYC is offering the following tele-mental health services for youth in DC: mental health treatment, behavioral health services for homeless youth, trauma informed care, and substance use treatment.
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Point of contact:
202-319-2229

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  1. MHA’s COVID19 website houses information and resources specific to the current public health emergency including live events and webinars, screenings, and educational resources:  www.mhanational.org/covid19
  2. MHA’s May is Mental Health Month Toolkit may also be helpful as its handouts focus on life after loss, eliminating toxic influences, creating routines, supporting others, and connecting with others. www.mhanational.org/may
  3. MHA’s affiliate, Vibrant Emotional Health, administers the Disaster Distress Helpline https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline. Calls (1-800-985-5990) and texts (text “TalkWithUs” to 66746) are answered by a network of independently-operated crisis centers around the country, who provide psychological first aid, emotional support, crisis assessment and intervention, and referrals to local/state behavioral health services for follow-up care & support.
  4. For policy changes related to tele-health services in Medicaid and Medicare, here is a summary of changes including a link to the state-by-state breakdown.

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OAR is a community-based nonprofit which envisions a safe and thriving community where those impacted by the legal system enjoy equal civil and human rights. Through our upstream work, we are confronting and dismantling racism in the legal system and across all systems. Our downstream work allows us to be on the journey with individuals of all genders returning to the community from incarceration and support their families in the homecoming process. And we offer alternative sentencing options through community service to youth and adults to avoid the trauma of incarceration and instead remain a part of helping the community thrive.
Point of contact:
Stephannie Ku

703-228-7132

 

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Rock Recovery (Rock) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in Arlington, VA whose mission is to support the journey to freedom from disordered eating by bridging gaps in the treatment and understanding of eating disorders and related mental health challenges. Rock provides affordable and accessible comprehensive eating disorder recovery services and hosts community empowerment events designed to decrease mental health stigma, increase access to care and spread the message that complete recovery is possible.

Along with individual sliding scale therapy, Rock offers weekly, clinical therapy groups which include:

  • Bridge to Life: A three-hour therapy program that includes combined clinician-led meal support and therapeutic processing in a supportive group setting
  • Body Image Therapy Group: Weekly therapy group to help clients health their self image
  • Coffee & Conversations for Moms: Monthly therapy group to help clients in all stages of motherhood navigate daily challenges of being a parent while pursuing recovery
  • Freedom & Faith: Virtual faith-based recovery therapy group to help clients find support in their faith as they overcome their eating disorder
  • Bridge to Life Virtual: Virtual therapy group with a clinician-supported meal exposure and therapeutic processing and support

Point of contact:
info@rockrecoveryed.org
571-255-9906


Have additional resources? Please email communications@wawf.org

Do you care about Pre-K in Virginia? It’s time to speak up.

The shifting political landscape in Virginia has made national news over a variety of issues in the Commonwealth. But, one area of public policy that has been quietly making traction for years, and is now poised to be a breakout star of the current Virginia legislative session, is early education.

There are a number of bills and budget proposals being considered in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate that could change the early childhood development and education system. One such issue is mixed-delivery pre-kindergarten. Mixed-delivery refers to the idea that publicly-funded early education programs do not need to exist only in public schools, but rather can be delivered through center-based and home-based programs as well.

Earlier this month, budgets approved by the Virginia Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee and the House Appropriations Committee maintained most of the Governor’s proposals for early childhood. In regard to funding for mixed-delivery grants to non-public school programs to offer pre-kindergarten, the House proposed $3 million of the original $10 million proposed for the grants, while the Senate proposed $8 million. This week the Virginia House and Senate appointed conferees to negotiate differences in the budget. Advocates argue that the House budget would provide 500 fewer mixed-delivery slots than the Senate budget.

From where we sit at The Women’s Foundation, the fact that the debate is over the amount of funding, versus the viability of mixed-delivery as an option, is pretty amazing. Here’s why:

There was a time when the debate around early education was whether or not it should be publicly funded at all, let alone how it should be delivered. With everything we’ve learned about early brain development and the impact of early education in the past few decades, it’s exciting to see the policy debates shift from “if” we should support early education to “how” can we support early education.

Check out ECEFC Grantee Partner Voices for Virginia’s Children’s blog to learn more and get involved!