children in a classroom smiling
Photographer Caitlin Kim, Courtesy of Communities in Schools of NOVA
After a challenging “pandemic school year,” educators have looked forward with optimism to full-time, in-person learning for 2021-22. For some (maybe even most) children, that may mean learning to learn all over again, and learning while still dealing with the fallout of the pandemic – ongoing food insecurity, economic insecurity, loss. Adding to the challenge is a widespread awareness that pre-pandemic educational disparities have now only increased. The absence of close personal connections to teachers, lack of a quiet place to study, poor internet access, and the complications of family circumstances, meant that for too many children, online learning last year just didn’t work. And then there were students who never registered.
pre-pandemic disparities have now only increased
Some reports suggest that at least 5,000 in DCPS alone simply “disappeared” – and this number doesn’t reflect those who registered but rarely logged on. The problem wasn’t simply local: research shows that virtually all the nation’s schoolchildren have fallen behind, with students of color having lost the most ground, particularly in math. Recovery from learning loss is, therefore, a major focus for school districts and nonprofits this year. So are basic needs – food, housing support, financial assistance – because many families are still recovering from the trauma of the last year. Non-academic enrichment programs, whether in sports, arts, or entrepreneurship, matter deeply because these should belong equally to all children, and too often, they do not. Of course, nonprofits are also addressing the impact of our public reckoning over race. Education programs are building into their work an awareness that school is a place where all children can be empowered to think critically, act with power, and strengthen their own voices as advocates for the kind of education they want.
youth education & enrichment
two men smiling with paper wall with quote behind them
Photographer Caitlin Kim, Courtesy of Communities in Schools of NOVA
communities in schools of nova
wish list $100: meals for a family engagement event; $500: support for health screenings and food distribution; $1000: weekend food bags for 100 families
Patrick Brennan,
Executive Director
PO Box 3512
Alexandria, VA 22302
Tel 703 338 5019
When systemic inequities interfere with students’ ability to stay in school and achieve in life (poverty, low rates of educational attainment, unaffordable housing, lack of health insurance), CIS NOVA steps in – surrounding students in eight elementary, middle, and high schools with holistic safety-net, academic improvement, family engagement, and college and career supports that empower them to keep learning and succeed. Anchored by site coordinators in each location and working closely with school districts, teachers, and over 70 community partners, CIS NOVA transforms each school into a rich environment that provides culturally and linguistically accessible services to students and families. Currently, it provides increased support to those dealing with pandemic-related learning slide and to alums who graduated during the crisis. This nationally proven model of coordinated, school-based support has demonstrated that, when their needs are met, all children can thrive.
community youth advance
wish list $150: matching 1 boy or girl with 1:1 mentoring; $500: 26 weeks of tutoring for a student in grades K-5; $1000: 6 weeks of 1:1 tutoring for a student in grades 6-12
Danielle Middlebrooks,
Executive Director
2342 Vermont Avenue, Suite 1
Hyattsville, MD 20785
Tel 240 770 3870
Committed to closing the achievement gap for students of color (a gap that grows to 30+ points for children categorized as economically disadvantaged), CYA’s weekly tutoring, high-quality instruction, hands-on learning, and problem-solving builds strong academic skills for Prince George’s County students. The curriculum reinforces what students learn in school and exposes them to entirely new topics – health, arts, cooking, entrepreneurship, financial literacy – and to college- and career-readiness programs. CYA marries education with mentoring to promote interaction, growth, and character building. Weekly group activities include separate boys’ and girls’ groups, and one-on-one mentoring when available. Case management for academically disengaged students, begun in partnership with PGCPS, is a response to the disengagement of thousands of youth during distance learning: increased family support and referral services are all designed to reconnect students with learning – and with their futures.
one world education
wish list $100: the entire One World program for 6 students; $500: journals for a class of 25; $2000: a highly-skilled teacher to work with students on oral presentations
Eric Goldstein,
Founder & CEO
1800 Kenyon Street NW
Washington, DC 20010
Tel 202 558 8899
In the District, two-thirds of students write at a “basic” or “below basic” level; college instructors estimate that half are unprepared for college-level writing. OWE leads the District’s largest writing program, annually serving 5,000 students, equipping educators to teach critical thinking, and empowering students to write about issues that matter to them. They learn to create strong hooks, gather and cite hard evidence, and write with clarity and purpose, basics they will need in college and the workplace. Select students get direct support from teachers and performance artists to build essays into persuasive oral presentations for community leaders and family members. Over the next three years, a Pandemic Rebuilding Plan will expand programs to impact 20,000 students and re-engage those set back by the pandemic. OWE is cultivating a generation of critical thinkers, persuasive writers, and social justice advocates. Our world needs them.
kids on the tennis court running and playing
Photographer Michael Bonfigli,, Courtesy of Washington Tennis & Education Foundation
youth education & enrichment
washington tennis & education foundation
WTEF addresses the dangers children face, and the opportunities they deserve, in the often empty after-school and summer hours. Located in Ward 7 where virtually all participants live, it offers a free, intensive academic, life-skills, and tennis instruction program: homework help, individualized math and reading instruction, STEM robotics, mentoring, presentations on community safety and health, college and career preparation, and 90 minutes of tennis daily. The summer program is free as is a game-based education and tennis program that serves students in 13 DC public and charter schools. Year to year, 100% of WTEF youth complete homework daily and advance to the next grade; 84% are at or above grade level in math and English; 90% have robust exercise four times weekly. All seniors enter post-secondary programs with financial aid and/or scholarships – and a change in prospects that lasts a lifetime.
wish list $100: a month of instruction at a public or charter school for 1 child; $500: 15 hours a week of on-site academic and tennis instruction; $1000: scholarship for 1 senior
John Borden,
President & CEO
5220 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20011
Tel 202 991 9888
turning the page
wish list $100: take-home math and science materials for 10 families; $500: books and supplies for 1 author visit; $1000: 1 Summer Learning Trip
Jason King,
President & CEO
80 M Street SE, Suite 110
Washington, DC 20003
Tel 202 347 9841
TTP recruits public school parents from under-resourced schools and helps them become active and effective participants in their children’s education. Community Nights bring everyone together for parent workshops, student mentoring, book giveaways, and visits from popular authors who make reading come alive. New workshops and online educational resources designed to address pandemic-related learning slide provide parents with concrete steps to support learning at home, foster collaboration with teachers, and identify valuable community resources. Sessions that focus on reading (selecting high-quality books, effectively reading at home, supporting reading progress) and social-emotional learning have been adapted to be most relevant during the difficult transition back to school. Sponsoring a summer program, over 100 trips, 125,000 books, and 1000 Community Nights: what could be more gratifying than seeing parents and children develop their love of learning?
reach incorporated
wish list $100: 20 teen-authored children’s books for 1 classroom; $500: monthly stipends for 5 teens; $1000: Summer Leadership Academy for 1 teen
Suling Miller,
Interim Executive Director
300 M Street SE, Suite 803
Washington, DC 20003
Tel 202 827 3795
By third grade, more than half of DC students have fallen behind in reading. This shortfall has serious, long-term implications because reading ability is a strong predictor of high school completion, college success, and stable employment. So Reach takes a novel approach. It recruits as tutors teens who have experienced significant academic challenges themselves. Professional instructors guide them in preparing lesson plans with a focus on decoding and comprehension skills, and Reach entrusts them with tutoring elementary students in need. Tutors gain 120 hours of teaching experience; approximately 90% graduate from high school; their young charges receive 60 extra hours of reading instruction. The results? Both groups experience significant growth: 1.5 years for tutees and two years for their tutors. For the teens who learn by teaching and for the children who benefit, it’s a win-win.
after-school all-stars
wish list $100: 1 week of ingredients for a cooking program; $300: field trip to a local college for 8th graders; $600: 6 weeks of life-changing programs for a class of All-Stars
Daniela Grigioni,
Executive Director
1730 Rhode Island Ave NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036
Tel 202 805 5628
The vision: that children from historically marginalized communities will be prepared to compete in a global economy, grow as leaders, and have a brighter future. ASAS brings this vision to life for nearly 500 of the District’s youth, providing free, comprehensive after-school programming at six Title I middle schools: academic support, arts, health and fitness, high school readiness, and career exploration. To address an achievement gap that was accelerated by the pandemic, ASAS has embraced a high-intensity tutoring initiative and expanded basic needs and mental health supports for students and families. New workshops keep parents connected too, while cultural conversations and mentoring provide an outlet for student voices in the wake of a challenging year that also included a public reckoning with racial justice. Kids connect with caring adults who represent different cultures, backgrounds, and viewpoints – and who believe in their potential for greatness.
young teen sitting on log in forest holding a stick
Photographer Steve Abraham, Courtesy of Wilderness Leadership & Learning
youth education & enrichment
wilderness leadership & learning
wish list $100: metro to and from WILL programs for 1 youth for a year; $600: boat for Potomac and Anacostia Rivers day; $1000: 7-day Appalachian Trail backpacking expedition for 1
Steve Abraham,
1758 Park Road NW
Washington, DC 20010
Tel 202 319 2765
For students in WILL, the natural and cultural worlds of Greater Washington are their holistic, transformative, positive youth development classrooms. On Saturdays, school holidays, and summer breaks, youth from underserved DC neighborhoods learn and explore: day trips on the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers; a scavenger hunt on the National Mall; a seven-day backpacking journey on the Appalachian trail; a forum on college admissions; workshops on inclusion and diversity, financial literacy, resumé writing and interview skills – all are designed to develop their inherent strengths, decision-making, leadership, goal-setting, and life skills. Service-learning projects teach the critical importance of giving back. Annually, some 40 students make the full, 335-hour commitment to explore and grow. The results? 100% of those who complete the program have graduated from high school or are on track to do so. That’s transformation.
dc scores
wish list $100: writing supplies for an entire team; $500: poetry workshops with top local artists for 4 teams; $1000: programming for 1 poet-athlete for an entire year
Katrina Owens,
Executive Director
1140 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20036
Tel 202 393 6999
Providing 3,000+ kids at Title 1 schools with access to high-quality enrichment activities, DC SCORES’ whole-child approach is unique in the DC youth development space – combining soccer, poetry, and service-learning to help “poet-athletes” build physical fitness, find their voices, improve their literacy, increase school engagement, and strengthen ties to their community. The program is free – kids get everything they need to participate: balls, uniforms, coaches, fields, transportation, journals, writing supplies – and it’s not “à la carte.” Poet-athletes participate in all aspects of the program, which pushes everyone outside their comfort zone. Students who join to play soccer end up performing poetry on stage, and students drawn in by service end up scoring their first goal on an athletic field – with their peers and their coaches (85% of whom are teachers) supporting them all the way.
center for inspired teaching
wish list $100: books and materials for 4 honors students; $500: 1 student’s participation for an entire school year; $1000: programming for 10 at the Inspired Teaching Institute
Aleta Margolis, President
5614 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 258
Washington, DC 20015
Tel 202 462 1956
Disparities across economic and racial lines have been exacerbated by the pandemic, and isolation and learning loss have harmed students from all backgrounds. Confronting a complex and difficult world, students need to think critically and advocate effectively – and teachers need to be meaningful partners in the work. Inspired Teaching promotes civil discourse and social justice right in the classroom. It engages young people in real conversation about the things that matter to them – from racism to police brutality to cancel culture to voter suppression – and teaches teachers to do the same. Whether in a year-long, honors-level course or when gathering with peers from diverse DC schools, students engage in civic – and civil! – discourse, learn productively and respectfully to discuss controversial topics, and develop the power of their voices. Empowering teachers and students together: this charts a way forward.
young girl working on bicycle in garage
Photographer Maggie Richardson, Courtesy of Phoenix Bikes
phoenix bikes
The guidelines are simple: work hard, serve your community, earn a bike. Whether at Phoenix Bikes’ community bike shop in South Arlington, or area public schools and community centers, youth ages 12-17 learn the basics of bike repair, practice their skills refurbishing a bike for someone in need, and earn a bike for themselves. Next, teens can stay on to learn advanced mechanics and help their peers through the basics, as well as build other leadership and job-readiness skills. On weekly group rides throughout metro DC, they use their well-earned bicycles for transportation, fitness, and fun. The junior cycling team gives young people an opportunity to experience endurance, discipline, and teamwork – valuable skills in cycling and in life. Using tools to fix bikes? Excellent. Using bikes as tools to develop young leaders? Awesome.
wish list $50: 1 u-lock and 1 bike light for a refurbished bike; $100: 1 mobile bike stand to use in offsite mechanics classes; $500: 6 months of shop supplies for youth classes
Emily Gage,
Executive Director
909 South Dinwiddie Street
Arlington, VA 22204
Tel 703 575 7762
youth education & enrichment
recreation wish list committee
wish list $100: athletic shoes for 2 scholars; $500: resource support for 1 scholar family for a month; $1000: 4 Chromebooks for scholars
Cora Masters Barry,
Founder & CEO
701 Mississippi Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20032
Tel 202 678 7530
RWLC combines academics, cultural enrichment, technology, and tennis to challenge and inspire young people. Grounded in the principles of project-based learning, its academic support programs offer 3.5 hours of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) daily. In partnership with Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, Blacks in Wax Creative Arts chronicles African American history with a new, original stage production each year. RWLC also sponsors field trips, entrepreneurship opportunities, and tennis tournaments – a rich assortment of community-enhancing programs. Over the years, it has outfitted tennis courts with ample and safe equipment, provided vans for transporting children to events, resurfaced basketball courts and baseball fields, funded computer labs, renovated outdoor amphitheaters, built playgrounds, supported tennis, mentoring, and education programs – all with the goal of making available to children and families, primarily in Wards 7 and 8, the resources they deserve.
city blossoms
wish list $100: soil for 4 raised vegetable beds; $500: 1 cooking box (tools/pantry staples) and mini-library of multicultural cookbooks; $5000: 1 new school garden built from scratch
Tara McNerney,
Executive Director
516 Kennedy Street NW
Washington, DC 20020
Tel 202 882 2628
City Blossoms cultivates the well-being of local communities through creative programming in kid-driven gardens. It collaborates with schools, early childhood centers, neighborhood groups, and community-based organizations to connect underserved communities to safe green space and garden-based programming, taking unused or underused land and creating urban gardens where children and youth use their creativity, intellect, and energy in new ways. Offering free and affordable in-school, after-school, and summer programming at 32 active sites for children (toddlers to teens) who would otherwise have little access to green spaces, the focus is healthy living skills, artistic expression, environmental stewardship, and community development. Dozens of neighborhood organizations, thousands of volunteers, and over 100 schools are part of the greening effort, fostering healthy communities by developing creative, kid-driven green spaces and innovative resources. Green thumb or not, you can help them grow.
build metro dc
wish list $100: grocery store gift card for 1 family; $500: virtual program for 2 students; $1000: prize money for business pitch competition
Karleton Thomas,
Regional Executive Director
2202 18th Street NW, Suite 104
Washington, DC 20009
Tel 202 506 6623
“We want to start a business.” These words first inspired BUILD’s founder, who agreed to help four young entrepreneurs – on the condition that they finish high school. Now in five locations across the country, including DC where more than 300 students participate annually, BUILD runs a comprehensive, four-year business and academic program that immerses students in entrepreneurship training, teaches critical thinking and problem solving, and propels them toward college. BUILD Metro DC begins in 9th grade with a credit-bearing course at six DC schools and then shifts to an after-school program. Students craft business plans, make pitches for venture capital, build a small business, and “cash-out”; in the third year, they focus intensively on college readiness. 98% of students graduate on time; 97% are accepted into a post-secondary institution; 75% into four-year colleges. The profit is clear.
woman smiling with notebook open and pencil in hand
Photographer Gabriel Martinez Cabrera, Courtesy of Literacy Council of Montgomery County
literacy council of montgomery county
For the over 130,000 residents of Montgomery County who are “limited English proficient,” simple tasks like completing a job application, or writing a note to their child’s teacher, pose nearly impossible challenges. For the past 54 years, LCMC has helped make those tasks easier for over 20,000 adult learners. Through one-on-one Basic Literacy and English as a Second Language tutoring and classes, it provides cost-effective instruction to both foreign-born and native-born students who have limited flexibility in their schedules, may not be comfortable in large classes, or may simply need to learn at their own pace. It also offers conversation classes and workplace literacy courses – all of which give students the skills and vocabulary to navigate school, work, and community. Over 30 classes at six sites will reach nearly 1,700 adults next year – putting their dreams into words.
wish list $100: online books for 5 students; $500: online ESL class for 8 learners; $1000: basic literacy classes for 12 students
Gabriel Martinez Cabrera,
Executive Director
21 Maryland Avenue, Suite 320
Rockville, MD 20850
Tel 646 673 1468
adult literacy & learning/mentorship & college access
loudoun literacy council
wish list $100: a new book for an entire classroom of preschoolers; $500: dinner and new books for Family Literacy Night; $1000: textbooks for 1 adult literacy class
Nikki Daruwala,
Executive Director
46175 Westlake Drive, Suite 450
Potomac Falls, VA 20165
Tel 703 777 2205
Some 32,000 Loudoun residents say they don’t speak English well and over 30% do not speak it at home – creating challenges for them and their children. Loudoun Literacy offers adult and youth classes with a focus on ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), the GED, citizenship, jobsite and financial literacy, health literacy, and school success (helping parents engage effectively with their children’s teachers). Kids in Head Start and STEP receive literacy packs with new books (and tips for parents) and staff visit every Head Start classroom to read. Family Literacy Nights include dinner, literacy-related crafts, reading tips, a read-aloud for families, and books for children. Reading in homeless shelters, sharing books with those who lack access to them, and even creating baby book bundles for expectant and new parents, Loudoun Literacy takes a multigenerational approach to solving a critical problem.
alfred street baptist church foundation
wish list $100: student fees for a semester; $1000: Legacy Scholarship for 1 student; $5000: Millennium Scholarship for year 1 of 4 years
Patricia L Wallace, President
11803 Maher Drive
Fort Washington, MD 22314
Tel 301 292 9412
Founded in 1803 in Old Town, Alexandria, The Alfred Street Baptist Church opened the Foundation in 2002 to make possible college scholarships for high-achieving, financially challenged students – because education may be the great equalizer, but only if it is financially accessible. The predominantly African American board approaches this educational effort with a special sense of purpose. Applicants must have a low expected contribution from their families and high academic achievement. Many recipients attend Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs). Because the same hurdles also exist in immigrant populations, the Foundation reaches out to diverse ethnic populations as well. Since its inception, it has awarded $1.7 million in scholarships ($1000 to $20,000) to over 400 students and offers ongoing mentoring to support them on their educational journey. Demand is greater than capacity: your support expands the reach of this critical effort.
collegiate directions, inc
wish list $500: books and supplies for a college Scholar; $1000: 3-day resilience workshop for young women; $5000: upkeep of MacBooks, iMacs, and the computer lab for a year
Amma Felix,
President & CEO
4827 Rugby Avenue, Suite 001
Bethesda, MD 20814
Tel 301 907 4877
Low-income and first-generation students face long odds on the path to earning a college degree: their graduation rate is just 16% nationwide. CDI provides 270 first-generation high schoolers with the wraparound support they need – from 10th grade through college graduation. It provides comprehensive college advising, individualized test prep, support in identifying “best-fit” schools, negotiation of aid packages, and one-on-one assistance through college that includes wellness counseling. When students are ready to graduate, the Career Mentoring Initiative provides coaching, access to workforce opportunities, and connections to accomplished professionals in their chosen fields. Additionally, the School Support program provides coaching that improves college advising for 3,000 students in Maryland and DC. Each year 100% of CDI scholars are admitted to selective four-year schools with average grants and scholarships of $36,000 – and a 97% graduation rate.