Washington, D.C.

Washington, DC

When most people think of Washington, D.C., they think of a city of iconic monuments, the Smithsonian museums, and the three branches of the Federal government. But Washington is also a thriving community of more than half a million residents. The District’s population, which lost over 200,000 residents between 1950 and 2000, has rapidly rebounded in recent years. As recently as 2007, the District was home to only 574,000 residents. By 2014, population had climbed back to 659,000 due to an influx of young, largely white residents. In 2011, the percentage of African American residents in the District fell below 50 percent for the first time since 1960. Current data indicate that African Americans are 49.5 percent of residents, non-Latino whites 35.8 percent, Latinos 10.1 percent, and Asians 3.9 percent, with the remainder of mixed descent or other.

Alongside this population gain has been the revitalization of many District neighborhoods and a recovery of District government finances. In 1997, the District's financial condition was bad enough that a federally imposed "Control Board" placed the District government under outside trustee control. Now this situation has completely turned around, and the District government frequently runs surpluses.

But as the dynamic of rising prices and displacement of thousands of long-time African American residents attests, redevelopment has created new challenges. Community wealth builders accustomed to working in a "weak market" city are now finding themselves having to adjust rapidly to the different challenges of working in a city with a "strong market". Gaining increasing prominence are community land trusts and other forms of "shared equity housing," which enable working people who cannot afford to purchase a traditional home to still have many of the benefits of homeownership, including the right to share in equity appreciation. City First Enterprises, for instance, has developed over 217 permanently affordable land trust homes, an investment of $4 million, since its establishment in 2010.  A related shared equity strategy is the development of limited equity housing co-ops. Under District law, when a multi-family apartment comes up for sale, tenants must be offered a chance to purchase the building.  Both ONE (Organizing Neighborhood Equity) DC and the Latino Economic Development Center have successfully organized tenants for this purpose, helping preserve hundreds of units of affordable housing over the past fifteen years in this manner. 

Also noteworthy are efforts at job creation and community-owned business development. One notable example is City First’s Community Wealth Building Initiative, in which City First is working with a consortium of local funders to build community wealth and harness the spending power of area anchor institutions by creating green, sustainable, employee-owned businesses that provide anchors with needed products and services. The first such business, Community CleanWater Management Group, provides maintenance, inspection and monitoring services for green stormwater infrastructure in neighboring Prince George’s County, Maryland, launched in 2015.

An overview of these and other community wealth building efforts follows:

Anchor Institutions

The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region

Established in 1973, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region aims to strengthen the Washington metropolitan region by encouraging and supporting effective giving and by providing leadership on critical issues in the community.  Since 2000, it has awarded grants totaling $568 million in the Washington region.  The foundation currently serves as the leading funder overseeing City First Enterprises and other partners’ implementation of the Community Wealth Building Initiative, a network of green, employee-owned businesses designed to meet area anchor institutions’ purchasing needs while creating wealth-building jobs in low-income communities.

Community Development Corporations (CDCs)

Anacostia Economic Development Corporation (AEDC)

Established in 1969, the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) aims to meet the economic needs and improve the quality of life of the District’s Anacostia/Far Southeast community.  To do so, the CDC focuses on housing development, commercial revitalization, small/minority business development, and job creation.  The CDC also houses a Business Development Center, which provides free management and technical assistance to small businesses located in, or wishing to locate in, the District.  In 2013, the CDC partnered with Bright Farms and the District to develop a 100,000 square foot greenhouse, which is expected to grow over one million pounds of produce a year while creating new local jobs.

Community Preservation and Development Corporation

Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC) is a nonprofit real estate development corporation focused on acquiring, redeveloping, and operating affordable, sustainable housing communities for low- and moderate-income individuals and families. Read more about Community Preservation and Development Corporation...

Development Corporation of Columbia Heights

Founded in 1984 and governed by a board composed largely of neighborhood residents and business owners, the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights is guided by its long-term mission to lead the physical, economic and social revitalization of the Columbia Heights neighborhood. Since 1991, the group has developed 131 units of affordable housing. Read more about Development Corporation of Columbia Heights...

H Street CDC

H Street CDC since its beginnings in 1984 has focused on revitalizing underdeveloped neighborhoods by developing affordable housing and commercial centers. To date, the CDC has participated in $70 million worth of commercial and residential development projects, totaling more than 330,000 square feet of commercial space, 284 units of low-income rental housing, and 47 affordable single-family owner-occupant homes. Read more about H Street CDC...

Latino Economic Development Center

Established in 1991, the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) aims to catalyze the economic and social advancement of low- to moderate-income Latinos and other D.C. area residents.  To do so, it offers a range of programs designed to equip people with the skills and tools necessary to achieve financial independence and become community leaders.  To support entrepreneurs who have difficulty obtaining credit from mainstream financial institutions, it created a “Community Asset Fund for Entrepreneurs,” which has provided more than $6 million in capital since 1997.  LEDC also engages in advocacy work to promote policies and programs focused on economic inclusion and civic engagement.

Manna, Inc.

Established in 1982, Manna aims to revitalize distressed neighborhoods, preserve racial and ethnic diversity, help low and moderate-income people acquire quality housing, and build assets for families through homeownership.  To do so, it focuses on renovating and building affordable homes, and educating and training first-time homebuyers. Since 1982, Manna has created and preserved over 1,000 units of affordable housing for low and moderate-income DC residents. In that time, Manna homeowners have accrued over $60 million in equity. Read more about Manna, Inc....

Marshall Heights Community Development Organization

Formed in 1979, Marshall Heights Community Development Organization (MHCDO) works to help residents of D.C.’s 7th Ward reach their full potential.  To do so, MHCDO has successfully developed on its own or in partnership with others a 60-unit supportive housing facility, a 469-unit garden-style apartment complex, a 220,000-square-foot complex of retail/office space which includes a major supermarket, 20,000 square feet of warehouse/industrial space, and over 150 affordable homes that have been sold to low- and moderate-income buyers.  Currently, MHCDO is collaborating with several other partner organizations to create Skyland Town Center, a mixed-used project with 342,000 square feet of retail space and 480 residential units.  To help area residents access the construction jobs created through this project, the Skyland team partnered with area nonprofits to create Skyland Workforce Center, which provides job placement services and a range of programs to improve residents’ education and skills.

Mi Casa Inc.

Mi Casa Inc. focuses on providing affordable housing in the Washington D.C. area in order to foster healthy and thriving communities.  Over the past two decades, it has revitalized over 550 homes for low and moderate income first-time homebuyers and played a lead role in renovating CetroNia, a multi-cultural education center that houses the DC Bilingual Public Charter School. To create job and training opportunities for minority professional and trade persons, it provides capacity-building and financial support for minority contractors and contractors-in-training. Read more about Mi Casa Inc....

Organizing Neighborhood Equity (ONE) DC

Organizing Neighborhood Equity (ONE) DC, founded as a branch of Manna in 1997 and becoming an independent organization in 2005, aims to create and preserve racial and economic equity in the Shaw neighborhood and wider District.  Striving to address structural causes of poverty and injustice, ONE DC’s work focuses on popular education, community organizing, leadership development, and alternative economic development projects.  Demonstrating its approach, in 2013 ONE DC worked with residents from a 121-unit apartment complex to form a tenant’s association to assert their right to affordable housing after the building owners decided to opt out of the Section 8 program.  The group also recruited over 3,000 DC residents to apply for a training and placement program for jobs at a new area hotel.

Uniting People with Opportunities (UPO) Community Development Corporation

Uniting People with Opportunities (UPO) Community Development Corporation aims to promote job creation through economic development.  To do so, it focuses on providing loans to individuals and organizations that create low to moderate income housing and/or business development opportunities and employment for low income individuals, start-ups, and businesses that seek to create jobs or upgrade wages for low income District residents.  UPO also provides administrative management services to nonprofit organizations serving low-income District residents. Read more about Uniting People with Opportunities (UPO) Community Development Corporation...

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

City First Bank

Part of a family of companies that work together to serve the needs of low and moderate income residents of the DC metro area, City First Bank is a nationally chartered community development bank with assets of $214 million, deposits of $171 million, and loans of $152 million, 80 percent of which are made to businesses in low-income communities.  Since its establishment in 1998, the bank has financed more than 5,371 units of affordable housing and helped create or retain over 4,368 jobs. Read more about City First Bank...

Washington Area Community Investment Fund

Established in 1987, Washington Area Community Investment Fund (WACIF) provides capital and technical assistance to affordable housing developers, childcare providers, and small businesses in the DC region. To date, the group has committed or funded over 315 loans totaling $24.6 million, leveraging over $150 million in financing for local nonprofits and low and moderate-income entreprenuers. Its loans, programs, and services have helped develop or preserve more than 1,500 units of affordable housing and 44 community-based facilities in the DC region. Read more about Washington Area Community Investment Fund...

Community Land Trusts (CLTs)

City First Homes

Part of a family of companies that work together to serve the needs of low and moderate-income residents of the DC metro area, City First Homes aims to expand opportunity for working families and individuals, drive neighborhood stabilization, and preserve affordable housing near transit centers and in gentrifying and challenged communities. Read more about City First Homes...

Cooperatives (Co-ops)

DC Cooperative Housing Coalition

Founded as a coalition in 1984 and incorporated in 1993, the DC Cooperative Housing Coalition is the leading trade association of housing cooperatives in the District of Columbia. The coalition estimates that there are 15,000 co-op housing units in the DC metropolitan region, the majority of which are within the District of Columbia. Read more about DC Cooperative Housing Coalition...

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

Banner Glass

Banner Glass began in May 1956 with a small auto glass installation shop in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. Since its modest beginning, the company has expanded in both size and product service to include residential and commercial plate glass installation. With five locations in Maryland and two in Virginia, Banner Glass today has 70 employee owners in the Baltimore-Washington-Northern Virginia area. Read more about Banner Glass...

TATC Consulting

Founded in 1969, TATC Consulting is a DC-based employee-owned company with over 50 employees that provides consulting services, primarily related to personnel management issues, to government agencies, private sector corporations, and nonprofit groups. Read more about TATC Consulting...

Green Economy

DC Greenworks

Established in 2000, DC Greenworks is a nonprofit that empowers residents and neighborhood groups to restore and preserve their communities by serving as a green roof advocate and educator, and as a one-stop shop for Low Impact Development (LID) consultation, design, and installation.  As of 2015, it is credited with installing over 70 green roofs and 3,200 rain barrels. Read more about DC Greenworks...

Parks and People

Parks and People leads greening initiatives such as massive land reclamation, native reforestation, watershed restoration, public health and fitness programming, urban agriculture, and green job training across the District of Columbia to help revitalize once forgotten communities.  It also runs the DC Green Corps, which provides a city-wide gateway to 50 different green career tracks.  As of summer 2014, the program graduated 150 people. Read more about Parks and People...

Individual Wealth Building

Capital Area Asset Builders

Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB) empowers low- and moderate-income residents of the Greater DC area to take control of their finances, increase their savings, and build wealth for the future.  Founded in 1997 by several nonprofit organizations aiming to catalyze Individual Development Account (IDA) programs in Washington, DC, CAAB has since expanded its work to provide financial and consumer education, research and advocacy.  Since its establishment, more than 2,000 people have participated in CAAB’s matched savings program, saving over $1,100,000 and earning over $3,500,000 in matching funds.

City First Enterprises (CFE)

City First Enterprises (CFE) aims to promote social justice by increasing economic access and expanding opportunity for low-wealth communities.  To do so, the organization works to incubate and nurture solutions that channel capital and services to people and places without access.  Demonstrating this approach, CFE has launched City First Bank, City First Homes, and City First New Markets Tax Credit Venture Fund, which, in total, are credited with supporting over 5,000 units of affordable housing, 7,000 school seats, and 3,400 jobs.  Currently, CFE is working with a consortium of local funders to implement a Community Wealth Building Initiative, which aims to foster more wealth-building jobs and harness the spending power of area anchor institutions by creating green, sustainable, employee-owned businesses that provide anchors with needed products and services.

Individual Wealth Preservation

Cabel Foundation

Founded in 2003, the Cabel Foundation aims to help underserved District youth and families to appreciate and understand the importance of saving and investing in their future. To do so, it conducts workshops, seminars, and classroom instruction in financial literacy education and financial life skills in schools, churches, community housing centers, libraries, recreation centers, senior citizens centers, and other community-based settings.  The nonprofit also has an advocacy campaign to urge policymakers to require financial literacy education as a standard for students and those receiving financial assistance.

Local Food Systems

Common Good City Farm

Farming on a half acre plot on the grounds of a DC Public School that closed in June 2008, Common Good City Farm focuses on growing food, educating, and helping low-income DC community members meet their food needs.  To do so, the farm offers a range of programs targeted to low-income individuals and families that provide hands-on training in food production, healthy eating, and environmental sustainability.  To help off-set the costs of its programs and provide free and reduced-cost produce to residents, the farm sells a portion of the over 5,000 pounds of food it grows a year to local restaurants and businesses.

DC Greens

Founded in 2009, DC Greens aims to bridge gaps in the District’s local food system to ensure that all DC residents can access and afford fresh, healthy produce.  In 2013, the nonprofit’s accomplishments included the establishment of six School Garden Markets, through which students sold produce from their own school gardens and local farms while boosting their math and marketing skills; developed standards-based tools to help DC teachers find quality farm-based learning opportunities; trained over 50 teachers to become garden educators; hosted a free all-day urban gardening forum at which 800 DC residents participated in more than 60 hands-on workshops; and provided matching dollars to low-income residents using their federal benefits at five D.C. farmers’ markets.

Wangari Gardens

Named after Professor and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai, an environmentalist and social justice activist who empowered women to plant more than 47 million trees, Wangari Gardens is a 2.7 acre garden park in Ward 5 designed, created, and sustained by the community.  It includes a 50 fruit tree forest garden, public vegetable garden, herb garden, medicinal garden, berry garden, strawberry patch, outdoor classroom, a free CSA program for low-income residents, a tool sharing program, and DC’s first public hammock.  It is also the site of free Sunday classes, which include yoga, gardening, and other community-focused topics, and a new “community composting cooperative” for residents interested in composting their food waste and creating high quality compost.

New State & Local Policies

DC Fiscal Policy Institute

The DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI) conducts research and public education on budget and tax issues in the District of Columbia, with a particular emphasis on issues that affect low- and moderate-income residents.  By preparing timely analyses that can be used by policy makers, the media, and the public, DCFPI seeks to inform public debates on budget and tax issues and to ensure that the needs of lower-income residents are considered.  It also creates an annual Budget Toolkit to help people understand the annual budgeting process and the proposed budget. Read more about DC Fiscal Policy Institute...

Social Enterprise

Fresh Start Catering (DC Central Kitchen)

Founded in 1996, this catering and contract foods service venture employs graduates of DC Central Kitchen’s job training program and generates nearly two-thirds of the total $12 million revenue needed to support the nonprofit’s range of programs focused on reducing hunger, training unemployed adults, serving healthy meals, and rebuilding urban food systems. As of 2014, Fresh Start had trained over 1,200 jobless adults for work in the culinary industry, and since 2008, its graduates have averaged a 90 percent job placement rate. Read more about Fresh Start Catering (DC Central Kitchen)...

Sustainable Community Initiatives

Sustainable Community Initiatives works to incubate and facilitate the growth of social enterprises and public education programs that are guided by environmental values, foster community sustainability, and leverage, impact and promote local value creation and investment.  One project it supports is Community Forklift, a nonprofit reuse center that collects unwanted and salvaged building materials throughout the metro DC region, sells them to the public at low cost, and distributes free supplies to local nonprofits and neighbors in need.  In recent years, it has also worked with other community partners to establish eco-focused job training programs.

State & Local Investments

Great Streets

Great Streets is the District’s multi-agency commercial revitalization initiative focused on creating thriving, inviting neighborhood centers.  To do so, the initiative awards grants of up to $85,000 to small business owners to improve their place of business. Read more about Great Streets...

New Communities Initiative

Catalyzed in 2005, New Communities Initiative is a District government program designed to revitalize severely distressed subsidized housing and redevelop communities with concentrated poverty, high crime, and economic segregation. Read more about New Communities Initiative...

The City Fund

With a $15 million allocation from the District’s FY 2014 budget, The City Fund was established to award grants to District nonprofits working to support Mayor Vincent Gray’s One City Action Plan goals of growing and diversifying the District’s economy, educating and preparing its workforce for the new economy, and improving the quality of life for all DC residents.  Administered by the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, the grantmaking program awarded $6 million to more than 80 organizations as of early 2015. Read more about The City Fund...

Transit-Oriented Development

Coalition for Smarter Growth

The Coalition for Smarter Growth promotes walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities throughout the Washington DC region, and the land use and transportation policies and investments needed to make those communities flourish.  One current focus is the McMillan redevelopment—a fenced-off, 25 acre site owned by the District that the Coalition is partnering with other city groups to help transform into what would be the city’s largest park and a vibrant, walkable neighborhood along reliable public transit options. Read more about Coalition for Smarter Growth...

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA): Joint Development Program

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which runs the Washington DC Metro bus and rail transit system, has been one of the nation's leading practitioners of transit-oriented development. In Fiscal Year 2016, annual lease payments are expected to reach $8 million a year, and the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in nearby Arlington, Virginia is widely seen as one of the most successful transit oriented development projects nationwide.  As of 2015, Metro has catalyzed over $235 billion of economic development at or adjacent to Metro property. Read more about Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA): Joint Development Program...

University & Community Partnerships

Center for Social Justice, Georgetown University

The Center for Social Justice, first formed in 2001, aims to promote and integrate community-based research, teaching and service by collaborating with diverse partners and communities. Key programs include a program that recruits an estimated 150 Georgetown students each semester to spend four to six hours a week teaching immigrant students in DC public schools English and other subjects, designing courses that build in opportunities for direct or indirect service in the local community as part of the curriculum, and support for community-based research projects. Read more about Center for Social Justice, Georgetown University...

Center for Urban Progress, Howard University

The Center for Urban Progress is an interdisciplinary center that mobilizes the Howard University community to address critical local, national, and global urban issues through applied and community-based research, academic programs, technical assistance to public and private agencies, program evaluation, and demonstration projects.  Since its establishment in 1995, it has employed over 90 graduate students in research, development and service activities, has engaged over 4,300 graduate and undergraduate students in service-learning and research activities, and has partnered with over 100 community- and faith-based organizations.

Community Development Corporations (CDCs)

Anacostia Economic Development Corporation (AEDC)

Established in 1969, the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) aims to meet the economic needs and improve the quality of life of the District’s Anacostia/Far Southeast community.  To do so, the CDC focuses on housing development, commercial revitalization, small/minority business development, and job creation.  The CDC also houses a Business Development Center, which provides free management and technical assistance to small businesses located in, or wishing to locate in, the District.  In 2013, the CDC partnered with Bright Farms and the District to develop a 100,000 square foot greenhouse, which is expected to grow over one million pounds of produce a year while creating new local jobs.

Community Preservation and Development Corporation

Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC) is a nonprofit real estate development corporation focused on acquiring, redeveloping, and operating affordable, sustainable housing communities for low- and moderate-income individuals and families. Read more about Community Preservation and Development Corporation...

Development Corporation of Columbia Heights

Founded in 1984 and governed by a board composed largely of neighborhood residents and business owners, the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights is guided by its long-term mission to lead the physical, economic and social revitalization of the Columbia Heights neighborhood. Since 1991, the group has developed 131 units of affordable housing. Read more about Development Corporation of Columbia Heights...

H Street CDC

H Street CDC since its beginnings in 1984 has focused on revitalizing underdeveloped neighborhoods by developing affordable housing and commercial centers. To date, the CDC has participated in $70 million worth of commercial and residential development projects, totaling more than 330,000 square feet of commercial space, 284 units of low-income rental housing, and 47 affordable single-family owner-occupant homes. Read more about H Street CDC...

Latino Economic Development Center

Established in 1991, the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) aims to catalyze the economic and social advancement of low- to moderate-income Latinos and other D.C. area residents.  To do so, it offers a range of programs designed to equip people with the skills and tools necessary to achieve financial independence and become community leaders.  To support entrepreneurs who have difficulty obtaining credit from mainstream financial institutions, it created a “Community Asset Fund for Entrepreneurs,” which has provided more than $6 million in capital since 1997.  LEDC also engages in advocacy work to promote policies and programs focused on economic inclusion and civic engagement.

Manna, Inc.

Established in 1982, Manna aims to revitalize distressed neighborhoods, preserve racial and ethnic diversity, help low and moderate-income people acquire quality housing, and build assets for families through homeownership.  To do so, it focuses on renovating and building affordable homes, and educating and training first-time homebuyers. Since 1982, Manna has created and preserved over 1,000 units of affordable housing for low and moderate-income DC residents. In that time, Manna homeowners have accrued over $60 million in equity. Read more about Manna, Inc....

Marshall Heights Community Development Organization

Formed in 1979, Marshall Heights Community Development Organization (MHCDO) works to help residents of D.C.’s 7th Ward reach their full potential.  To do so, MHCDO has successfully developed on its own or in partnership with others a 60-unit supportive housing facility, a 469-unit garden-style apartment complex, a 220,000-square-foot complex of retail/office space which includes a major supermarket, 20,000 square feet of warehouse/industrial space, and over 150 affordable homes that have been sold to low- and moderate-income buyers.  Currently, MHCDO is collaborating with several other partner organizations to create Skyland Town Center, a mixed-used project with 342,000 square feet of retail space and 480 residential units.  To help area residents access the construction jobs created through this project, the Skyland team partnered with area nonprofits to create Skyland Workforce Center, which provides job placement services and a range of programs to improve residents’ education and skills.

Mi Casa Inc.

Mi Casa Inc. focuses on providing affordable housing in the Washington D.C. area in order to foster healthy and thriving communities.  Over the past two decades, it has revitalized over 550 homes for low and moderate income first-time homebuyers and played a lead role in renovating CetroNia, a multi-cultural education center that houses the DC Bilingual Public Charter School. To create job and training opportunities for minority professional and trade persons, it provides capacity-building and financial support for minority contractors and contractors-in-training. Read more about Mi Casa Inc....

Organizing Neighborhood Equity (ONE) DC

Organizing Neighborhood Equity (ONE) DC, founded as a branch of Manna in 1997 and becoming an independent organization in 2005, aims to create and preserve racial and economic equity in the Shaw neighborhood and wider District.  Striving to address structural causes of poverty and injustice, ONE DC’s work focuses on popular education, community organizing, leadership development, and alternative economic development projects.  Demonstrating its approach, in 2013 ONE DC worked with residents from a 121-unit apartment complex to form a tenant’s association to assert their right to affordable housing after the building owners decided to opt out of the Section 8 program.  The group also recruited over 3,000 DC residents to apply for a training and placement program for jobs at a new area hotel.

Uniting People with Opportunities (UPO) Community Development Corporation

Uniting People with Opportunities (UPO) Community Development Corporation aims to promote job creation through economic development.  To do so, it focuses on providing loans to individuals and organizations that create low to moderate income housing and/or business development opportunities and employment for low income individuals, start-ups, and businesses that seek to create jobs or upgrade wages for low income District residents.  UPO also provides administrative management services to nonprofit organizations serving low-income District residents. Read more about Uniting People with Opportunities (UPO) Community Development Corporation...

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

Banner Glass

Banner Glass began in May 1956 with a small auto glass installation shop in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. Since its modest beginning, the company has expanded in both size and product service to include residential and commercial plate glass installation. With five locations in Maryland and two in Virginia, Banner Glass today has 70 employee owners in the Baltimore-Washington-Northern Virginia area. Read more about Banner Glass...

TATC Consulting

Founded in 1969, TATC Consulting is a DC-based employee-owned company with over 50 employees that provides consulting services, primarily related to personnel management issues, to government agencies, private sector corporations, and nonprofit groups. Read more about TATC Consulting...

Individual Wealth Preservation

Cabel Foundation

Founded in 2003, the Cabel Foundation aims to help underserved District youth and families to appreciate and understand the importance of saving and investing in their future. To do so, it conducts workshops, seminars, and classroom instruction in financial literacy education and financial life skills in schools, churches, community housing centers, libraries, recreation centers, senior citizens centers, and other community-based settings.  The nonprofit also has an advocacy campaign to urge policymakers to require financial literacy education as a standard for students and those receiving financial assistance.

Individual Wealth Building

Capital Area Asset Builders

Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB) empowers low- and moderate-income residents of the Greater DC area to take control of their finances, increase their savings, and build wealth for the future.  Founded in 1997 by several nonprofit organizations aiming to catalyze Individual Development Account (IDA) programs in Washington, DC, CAAB has since expanded its work to provide financial and consumer education, research and advocacy.  Since its establishment, more than 2,000 people have participated in CAAB’s matched savings program, saving over $1,100,000 and earning over $3,500,000 in matching funds.

City First Enterprises (CFE)

City First Enterprises (CFE) aims to promote social justice by increasing economic access and expanding opportunity for low-wealth communities.  To do so, the organization works to incubate and nurture solutions that channel capital and services to people and places without access.  Demonstrating this approach, CFE has launched City First Bank, City First Homes, and City First New Markets Tax Credit Venture Fund, which, in total, are credited with supporting over 5,000 units of affordable housing, 7,000 school seats, and 3,400 jobs.  Currently, CFE is working with a consortium of local funders to implement a Community Wealth Building Initiative, which aims to foster more wealth-building jobs and harness the spending power of area anchor institutions by creating green, sustainable, employee-owned businesses that provide anchors with needed products and services.

University & Community Partnerships

Center for Social Justice, Georgetown University

The Center for Social Justice, first formed in 2001, aims to promote and integrate community-based research, teaching and service by collaborating with diverse partners and communities. Key programs include a program that recruits an estimated 150 Georgetown students each semester to spend four to six hours a week teaching immigrant students in DC public schools English and other subjects, designing courses that build in opportunities for direct or indirect service in the local community as part of the curriculum, and support for community-based research projects. Read more about Center for Social Justice, Georgetown University...

Center for Urban Progress, Howard University

The Center for Urban Progress is an interdisciplinary center that mobilizes the Howard University community to address critical local, national, and global urban issues through applied and community-based research, academic programs, technical assistance to public and private agencies, program evaluation, and demonstration projects.  Since its establishment in 1995, it has employed over 90 graduate students in research, development and service activities, has engaged over 4,300 graduate and undergraduate students in service-learning and research activities, and has partnered with over 100 community- and faith-based organizations.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

City First Bank

Part of a family of companies that work together to serve the needs of low and moderate income residents of the DC metro area, City First Bank is a nationally chartered community development bank with assets of $214 million, deposits of $171 million, and loans of $152 million, 80 percent of which are made to businesses in low-income communities.  Since its establishment in 1998, the bank has financed more than 5,371 units of affordable housing and helped create or retain over 4,368 jobs. Read more about City First Bank...

Washington Area Community Investment Fund

Established in 1987, Washington Area Community Investment Fund (WACIF) provides capital and technical assistance to affordable housing developers, childcare providers, and small businesses in the DC region. To date, the group has committed or funded over 315 loans totaling $24.6 million, leveraging over $150 million in financing for local nonprofits and low and moderate-income entreprenuers. Its loans, programs, and services have helped develop or preserve more than 1,500 units of affordable housing and 44 community-based facilities in the DC region. Read more about Washington Area Community Investment Fund...

Community Land Trusts (CLTs)

City First Homes

Part of a family of companies that work together to serve the needs of low and moderate-income residents of the DC metro area, City First Homes aims to expand opportunity for working families and individuals, drive neighborhood stabilization, and preserve affordable housing near transit centers and in gentrifying and challenged communities. Read more about City First Homes...

Transit-Oriented Development

Coalition for Smarter Growth

The Coalition for Smarter Growth promotes walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities throughout the Washington DC region, and the land use and transportation policies and investments needed to make those communities flourish.  One current focus is the McMillan redevelopment—a fenced-off, 25 acre site owned by the District that the Coalition is partnering with other city groups to help transform into what would be the city’s largest park and a vibrant, walkable neighborhood along reliable public transit options. Read more about Coalition for Smarter Growth...

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA): Joint Development Program

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which runs the Washington DC Metro bus and rail transit system, has been one of the nation's leading practitioners of transit-oriented development. In Fiscal Year 2016, annual lease payments are expected to reach $8 million a year, and the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in nearby Arlington, Virginia is widely seen as one of the most successful transit oriented development projects nationwide.  As of 2015, Metro has catalyzed over $235 billion of economic development at or adjacent to Metro property. Read more about Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA): Joint Development Program...

Local Food Systems

Common Good City Farm

Farming on a half acre plot on the grounds of a DC Public School that closed in June 2008, Common Good City Farm focuses on growing food, educating, and helping low-income DC community members meet their food needs.  To do so, the farm offers a range of programs targeted to low-income individuals and families that provide hands-on training in food production, healthy eating, and environmental sustainability.  To help off-set the costs of its programs and provide free and reduced-cost produce to residents, the farm sells a portion of the over 5,000 pounds of food it grows a year to local restaurants and businesses.

DC Greens

Founded in 2009, DC Greens aims to bridge gaps in the District’s local food system to ensure that all DC residents can access and afford fresh, healthy produce.  In 2013, the nonprofit’s accomplishments included the establishment of six School Garden Markets, through which students sold produce from their own school gardens and local farms while boosting their math and marketing skills; developed standards-based tools to help DC teachers find quality farm-based learning opportunities; trained over 50 teachers to become garden educators; hosted a free all-day urban gardening forum at which 800 DC residents participated in more than 60 hands-on workshops; and provided matching dollars to low-income residents using their federal benefits at five D.C. farmers’ markets.

Wangari Gardens

Named after Professor and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai, an environmentalist and social justice activist who empowered women to plant more than 47 million trees, Wangari Gardens is a 2.7 acre garden park in Ward 5 designed, created, and sustained by the community.  It includes a 50 fruit tree forest garden, public vegetable garden, herb garden, medicinal garden, berry garden, strawberry patch, outdoor classroom, a free CSA program for low-income residents, a tool sharing program, and DC’s first public hammock.  It is also the site of free Sunday classes, which include yoga, gardening, and other community-focused topics, and a new “community composting cooperative” for residents interested in composting their food waste and creating high quality compost.

Cooperatives (Co-ops)

DC Cooperative Housing Coalition

Founded as a coalition in 1984 and incorporated in 1993, the DC Cooperative Housing Coalition is the leading trade association of housing cooperatives in the District of Columbia. The coalition estimates that there are 15,000 co-op housing units in the DC metropolitan region, the majority of which are within the District of Columbia. Read more about DC Cooperative Housing Coalition...

New State & Local Policies

DC Fiscal Policy Institute

The DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI) conducts research and public education on budget and tax issues in the District of Columbia, with a particular emphasis on issues that affect low- and moderate-income residents.  By preparing timely analyses that can be used by policy makers, the media, and the public, DCFPI seeks to inform public debates on budget and tax issues and to ensure that the needs of lower-income residents are considered.  It also creates an annual Budget Toolkit to help people understand the annual budgeting process and the proposed budget. Read more about DC Fiscal Policy Institute...

Green Economy

DC Greenworks

Established in 2000, DC Greenworks is a nonprofit that empowers residents and neighborhood groups to restore and preserve their communities by serving as a green roof advocate and educator, and as a one-stop shop for Low Impact Development (LID) consultation, design, and installation.  As of 2015, it is credited with installing over 70 green roofs and 3,200 rain barrels. Read more about DC Greenworks...

Parks and People

Parks and People leads greening initiatives such as massive land reclamation, native reforestation, watershed restoration, public health and fitness programming, urban agriculture, and green job training across the District of Columbia to help revitalize once forgotten communities.  It also runs the DC Green Corps, which provides a city-wide gateway to 50 different green career tracks.  As of summer 2014, the program graduated 150 people. Read more about Parks and People...

Social Enterprise

Fresh Start Catering (DC Central Kitchen)

Founded in 1996, this catering and contract foods service venture employs graduates of DC Central Kitchen’s job training program and generates nearly two-thirds of the total $12 million revenue needed to support the nonprofit’s range of programs focused on reducing hunger, training unemployed adults, serving healthy meals, and rebuilding urban food systems. As of 2014, Fresh Start had trained over 1,200 jobless adults for work in the culinary industry, and since 2008, its graduates have averaged a 90 percent job placement rate. Read more about Fresh Start Catering (DC Central Kitchen)...

Sustainable Community Initiatives

Sustainable Community Initiatives works to incubate and facilitate the growth of social enterprises and public education programs that are guided by environmental values, foster community sustainability, and leverage, impact and promote local value creation and investment.  One project it supports is Community Forklift, a nonprofit reuse center that collects unwanted and salvaged building materials throughout the metro DC region, sells them to the public at low cost, and distributes free supplies to local nonprofits and neighbors in need.  In recent years, it has also worked with other community partners to establish eco-focused job training programs.

State & Local Investments

Great Streets

Great Streets is the District’s multi-agency commercial revitalization initiative focused on creating thriving, inviting neighborhood centers.  To do so, the initiative awards grants of up to $85,000 to small business owners to improve their place of business. Read more about Great Streets...

New Communities Initiative

Catalyzed in 2005, New Communities Initiative is a District government program designed to revitalize severely distressed subsidized housing and redevelop communities with concentrated poverty, high crime, and economic segregation. Read more about New Communities Initiative...

The City Fund

With a $15 million allocation from the District’s FY 2014 budget, The City Fund was established to award grants to District nonprofits working to support Mayor Vincent Gray’s One City Action Plan goals of growing and diversifying the District’s economy, educating and preparing its workforce for the new economy, and improving the quality of life for all DC residents.  Administered by the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, the grantmaking program awarded $6 million to more than 80 organizations as of early 2015. Read more about The City Fund...

Anchor Institutions

The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region

Established in 1973, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region aims to strengthen the Washington metropolitan region by encouraging and supporting effective giving and by providing leadership on critical issues in the community.  Since 2000, it has awarded grants totaling $568 million in the Washington region.  The foundation currently serves as the leading funder overseeing City First Enterprises and other partners’ implementation of the Community Wealth Building Initiative, a network of green, employee-owned businesses designed to meet area anchor institutions’ purchasing needs while creating wealth-building jobs in low-income communities.