Congratulations to this year’s finalists for our $100,000 Impact100 DC grant! Our five focus area committees and finance committee spent the spring rigorously reviewing this year’s grant proposals, narrowing them down to one finalist in each focus area. We are incredibly proud of all our applicants, and thrilled to announce this year’s finalists.
Watch this year’s video and read below to learn more about these powerful organizations.
Program: “Gateway to Growth”
The mission of City Gate is to engage and empower at-risk youth and families impacted by poverty to access the resources and opportunities of the larger community.
“Gateway to Growth” is a high-impact, out-of-school time, literacy intervention program. The program targets elementary school-aged students in DC’s Ward 8. Impact funds would expand this program over two years to serve a total of 110 students in grades 2 through 5 with the goal of bringing participating students up to grade level in reading. In addition to the reading interventions, the specialized curriculum helps students absorb social-emotional skills and build resiliency. Targeting these early elementary school years is critical because research shows that third graders who aren’t reading at grade level are among the most likely to drop out of school. Their goal is to create lifelong learners.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Tenants and Workers United (TWU)
Program: “Advancing Housing Justice through Organizing Low-income Communities of Color in NOVA”
TWU’s mission is to organize low-income communities of color, build power, and help people become change agents who transform systems, advance social justice, and improve the quality of life across Northern Virginia.
TWU’s project would fund additional grassroots organizers to work on a comprehensive housing justice campaign with very low income Latino and immigrant residents in Alexandria City and South Fairfax County, where many families live in deplorable rental conditions. Northern Virginia currently has the highest rate of severe housing burden among low-income households of any similar metropolitan area in the country. This work will build upon TWU’s many grassroots organizing successes in this community, empower a new cohort of activists, and ultimately prevent mass community displacement as a result of intense development pressure and gentrification in the area.
The Urban Studio in cooperation with the Audubon Naturalist Society
Program: “Restore a Stream, Empower a Community – Oxon Run and Our Future”
The mission of the Urban Studio is to advance design thinking for equitable and sustainable urbanism. The mission of the Audubon Naturalist Society is to inspire residents of the greater Washington, DC region to appreciate, understand, and protect their natural environment through outdoor experiences, education and advocacy.
Together, these organizations seek to empower one of DC’s poorest neighborhoods with meaningful input into the government’s restoration of a segment of the Oxon Run watershed that flows through their community. To accomplish this, they propose to expand an Urban Studio pilot program in which local students receive intensive immersion in landscape design principles to create proposals to restore communities that historically have been neglected into healthy, vibrant living spaces. Students who are most in need would reap the benefits of stable, intentional, intensely supportive relationships with program staff and each other. The program will foster authentic community engagement by the stakeholders who live alongside the Oxon Run River in SE whose needs have long gone ignored.
ARTS & CULTURE
GALA Inc., Grupo de Artistas Latinoamericanos
Program: “GALA’s Paso Nuevo Youth Program”
GALA Hispanic Theatre’s mission is to develop, produce and present works that explore the breadth of Latino performing arts, making this work accessible to the broadest possible audience and using theater as a vehicle for social change.
This dynamic theater arts project targets Latinx teenagers ages 13-18. Paso Nuevo provides access to high-quality arts programming as a vehicle for these youth to explore their identity and emotions, along with issues such as race relations, immigration, and misogyny.
In addition to academic support and mentoring, students receive training in all aspects of theater and create their own works, which they perform for the wider community.
Paso Nuevo students choose their own pathways of artistic exploration, developing bilingual creative writing and language skills, and a better understanding of and tolerance for each other’s differences. Longterm, the program opens a path for future educational and career opportunities. Impact funds would significantly expand enrollment in the Paso Nuevo Youth Program; bring in additional teaching artists, rent additional space for growth, and provide paid employment for some of their students who would otherwise be unable to participate.
Program: “Childcare Education and Training Center/Workforce Development and Early Childhood Education for Immigrant Families”
The mission of Edu-Futuro is to empower immigrant and underserved youth and families through mentorship, education, leadership development and parent engagement.
This project targets the immigrant community in Northern Virginia with whom Edu-Futuro has long worked. This community has been particularly hard hit by the Covid pandemic. Over the past 2+ years, as Edu-Futuro worked to provide emergency financial assistance to the families it serves, it realized that child care options for working parents had virtually disappeared. At the same time, many of their constituents had to leave their jobs due to the risks of Covid and lack of available care; they now need new career options.
Edu-Futuro seeks funds for the initial phase of an ambitious workforce development initiative designed to equip Latino and immigrant members of its community with the training and credentials needed for well-paid jobs in the childcare field. The project builds on existing work Edu-Futuro has done with a range of community partners; long term the project will fold into a planned Child Care and Training Center serving Northern Virginia.