On May 10th, LISC DC celebrated the one year anniversary of the launch of our Elevating Equity Initiative. Over 150 people representing various nonprofits, for-profits, philanthropists, housing developers, advisory neighborhood commissions, city staff, activists, and residents joined us at Our Lady of Perpetual Help with a common goal in mind – coming together to celebrate the outcomes of the first year of our initiative.
To date, we have invested $12 million in the Elevating Equity Impact Zone, benefiting the people who live and work in the neighborhoods surrounding the future 11th Street Bridge Park.
The event began with our nonprofit partner showcase in which fourteen of our partners were on hand to share the important work being done in the impact zone. Each organization featured played a significant role in the progress we have made thus far. This included the following:
- 11th Street Bridge Park
- Academy of Hope
- Anacostia Coordinating Council
- Bread for the City
- Bright Beginnings
- Community of Hope
- Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative
- Housing Counseling Services
- Martha’s Table
- Mi Casa
- Sasha Bruce Youthwork
- Washington School for Girls
The highlight of the event was hearing from neighborhood residents who have benefited from the work of our nonprofit partners.
Barbara Green, a resident of the 1847-1849 Good Hope Rd Tenant Association, talked about her determination to not be evicted and how she convinced other residents to fight for their rights as tenants. The 1847-1849 Good Hope Road Tenant Association, Inc. assigned their acquisition rights to Mi Casa under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) and Mi Casa purchased the building in 2016 with LISC financing. Mi Casa will preserve the property as affordable housing long-term and ensure that critical renovations and repairs are undertaken.
Arthur Holman Daniels, a participant in the workforce development program at Sasha Bruce Youthwork, started out by meekly addressing the room, but after encouragement from fellow panelists and the audience, he shared his story with confidence and conviction, and ended with a resounding applause from everyone. Arthur recently secured a job in retail and has plans to go to college to study video game design.
DeNeayah Taylor and Jaden Warren, students at the Washington School for Girls (WSG), said they had lots of support from their teachers and the schools administrators, which helped them adhere to the school’s high academic and behavioral standards. DeAnna McCall, the Family Relations Coordinator at the WSG, is the liaison between students, their families, teachers, and administrators. DeAnna shared how she ensures that the students and their families’ needs are being met, and noted that many of the families’ experiences have taught them not to trust others, but by continuing to be persistent in gaining their trust, she has witnessed breakthroughs.
Eunice Long, a homeowner in Ward 8, praised Yachad for helping her renovate her home. A single mother, Eunice has lived in southeast DC for 34 years. Everything was going well for her and her family until she lost her job and was unable to make home repairs. “I had a bucket under the sink collecting water,” Eunice reflected. She eloquently spoke about the joys of homeownership and how organizations like Yachad make all the difference when help is needed “Yachad lives its mission statement. They made me feel like I was doing them a favor by allowing them to help me. It is so appreciated,” Eunice stated.
Collectively, the neighborhood residents put the human aspect on our $12 million investment. By hearing how our investments in the nonprofits’ programs and initiatives made a positive impact in the lives of Barbara, Arthur, DeNeayah, Jaden, DeAnna, and Eunice, we are able to demonstrate the real, priceless value of our investments. We measure the Elevating Equity Initiative’s success by the milestones reached by our partners and the people who benefit from their work.
As we embark on the second year of our Elevating Equity Initiative, we are reminded to not get caught up by numbers such as $50 million initiative, X amount of units and X amount of dollars invested; instead we will continue to focus on the people behind the numbers, including our various partners doing extraordinary work in the Elevating Equity Impact Zone and the people who benefit from their work.
 LISC DC provided $35,000 to Mi Casa in grant support, as well as a $1.24 million acquisition loan.
 With the help of a $32,900 grant from LISC DC, Sasha Bruce will add 4 additional units to their 8 unit transitional apartment building for homeless youth.
 LISC DC provided a $25,000 operating support grant to WSG to support the expansion of its family engagement programming.
 The homes of 5-10 low-income residents will be preserved and repaired with help of a $30,000 grant from LISC DC to support Yachad’s community engagement efforts and construction services.
Check out the photos below. All photos should be credited to Jeff Salmore.