Junior League of Washington Awards Nearly $90,000 in Grant Funding to DC-Area Nonprofits

Grant and Volunteer Resources Directed to Organizations Working to Improve Child and Adult Literacy in the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Region

WASHINGTON, DC — The Junior League of Washington announced that it will award a total of $89,184 in grant funding, as well as volunteer resources, to 10 Washington, DC, area nonprofit organizations to support life-changing child and adult literacy programs.

“The Junior League of Washington believes that literacy is the foundation to success in life,” JLW President Elizabeth Keys said. “The 10 inspiring organizations receiving our grant and volunteer resources are working in innovative and effective ways to improve literacy skills for adults and children across the DC area, and we are proud to make a tangible difference in our community through our financial support of these programs.”

JLW’s Targeted Grants are awarded to organizations that work to improve literacy and life skills of women, children, and/or families. This year’s recipients are:

Reading is Fundamental (RIF) for its literacy programming in partnership with Coalition for the Homeless (CFH) – $26,939

RIF’s mission is to transform lives through the power of books. Since 1966, RIF has placed more than 412 million books into the hands of more than 40 million children. This grant will help RIF, in partnership with CFH, launch a new collaboration to support homeless youth in Washington, DC. RIF and CFH will partner to serve the elementary school-aged children at two of CFH’s program sites, Valley Place Family Apartments and 50th Street Family Program, with a target of reaching 50 DC children in need each year.

“This grant from the Junior League of Washington will make a real difference to the children and families served by our partners at The Coalition for the Homeless. New, high-quality books and literacy resources will now go to those who need them most, and RIF is grateful to the Junior League of Washington for their ongoing dedication to children’s literacy,” said Alicia Levi, President and CEO of RIF.

Jubilee JumpStart for its Family Literacy Program – $30,000

Jubilee JumpStart is an early childhood education center located in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC. This grant will support their Family Literacy Program, which uses bilingual Learning Games curriculum in both English and Spanish. Through a combination of in-class learning activities and special programming for parents, they will prepare the youngest learners for success in school while nurturing a love of reading at home.

“We enroll entire families at Jubilee JumpStart because parents are learning as much as children in the early years. The Targeted Grant award from Junior League of Washington is a powerful investment in our Family Literacy Program as we encourage parents to read aloud with their children every day and increase the number of books in our families’ home libraries. By supporting parents as their children’s first teachers, this grant ensures that our children will be ready for school, with a love of reading boosting them towards success,” said Dee Dee Parker Wright, Executive Director of Jubilee JumpStart.

Community Family Life Services (CFLS) for its Employment Services Program – $12,245

CFLS, a JLW community partner since 2004, provides services to alleviate homelessness and overcome barriers to reintegration, including providing transitional housing, a mentoring program, female reentry case management, emergency services, and other training. JLW grant funding will support the expansion of CFLS’s Employment Services Program, providing new computers, digital literacy training, GED test preparation software, and resume building tools.

“This grant allows our most vulnerable constituents access to materials that assist in bridging their employment gaps and helps level the digital playing field,” said Ashley McSwain, LGSW, MSOD, Executive Director of CFLS.

A Wider Circle (AWC) for its Workforce Development Program – $15,000

AWC, a JLW community partner since 2016, will use JLW grant funding to sustain their Workforce Development Program. This program provides holistic, intensive, and highly personalized support to adults who have been challenged by homelessness, poverty, substance use disorders, and other health issues and who are seeking to enter or re-enter the workforce. The program offers job skills training, individualized job coaching, and free-of-charge professional attire to more than 2,000 adults each year.

“The $15,000 from the Junior League will allow A Wider Circle to serve an additional 200 individuals through its Workforce Development Program. For many, the outlook was grim prior to be introduced to our services, and your support will reverse that, providing hope and opportunity for people who deserve both. We know that no adult can rise out of poverty without a job, and our Workforce Development Program serves adults working to equip themselves with the skills and resources they need to become independent and productive members of their community, a goal which is not possible without meaningful and substantive employment,” said Dr. Mark Bergel, Founder and Executive Director of A Wider Circle.

JLW identified the following organization as a new community partner that will receive trained JLW volunteers to support its programs:

The Reading Connection (TRC) for its Read Aloud Program – JLW volunteers

TRC is dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk children and families by helping them create and sustain literacy-rich environments and motivation for reading. As our newest community partner, JLW volunteers support TRC’s Read-Aloud program, which provides low-income families or families in underserved neighborhoods with regular, accessible, and interactive read-aloud experiences, parent training, and new, free books for the children to keep. TRC received JLW funding in 2014 to expand this program; this is the first time the organization will receive volunteer support from JLW.

“We are honored to have been chosen to receive a team of Junior League volunteers to support our Read-Aloud program in Annandale, Virginia. We know that the Junior League volunteers will do an amazing job of bringing books to life and being great role models for the kids in our program. The relationship with the Junior League will support the sustainability of our volunteer programs by providing a long-term commitment of dependable volunteers,” said Stephanie Berman, Director of Program Operations for The Reading Connection.

In addition to these Targeted Grants and volunteer resources, JLW provided five Opportunity Grants, which are awarded to nonprofit organizations demonstrating unexpected, short-term financial need or smaller-denomination financial need related to their respective missions and/or operations:

  • DC SCORES for its Power of Poetry Program – $1,000
  • People Animals Love (PAL) for its PAL Club/Camp Literacy Intervention Program – $1000
  • Community of Hope for its Community of Hope Reading Program – $1,000
  • DC Diaper Bank for its Baby Pantry: Food & Other Essentials Program – $1,000
  • Young Playwrights’ Theater for its In-School Playwriting Program – $1,000

These organizations join a long list of DC-area organizations that have received and benefited from JLW grant funding, including our current multi-year grant recipient, the Washington School for Girls.

JLW grants are supported by JLW’s annual fundraisers, JLW membership dues, and donations from corporate and individual donors. To learn more about supporting JLW, please click here.