Junior League of Washington Awards More Than $160,000 in Grants, Book Donations, and Scholarships in Celebration of 105th Anniversary

Grants Directed to Children’s Literacy and Workforce Development Programs in the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Region

Washington, DC – The Junior League of Washington (JLW) announced that it will award a total of $120,000 in major grant funding to Washington, DC, area nonprofit organizations, along with a number of other smaller denomination and short-term grants.

“For the past 105 years, the Junior League of Washington has helped the Washington, DC, community thrive – through both our volunteer and financial support of worthy nonprofit partners,” said JLW President Aimee Picard Soller. “The recipients of this year’s grant funding are making measurable steps to improve children’s literacy and help prepare adults for the workforce. JLW looks forward to seeing the impact these organizations make through our grant funding, and supporting them with our passionate and engaged volunteers along the way.”

In addition, the League awarded its $10,000 Meg Graham…Celebrating Service and Scholarship, to Joy Nash, a senior at Benjamin Banneker Senior High School who will attend the University of Maryland – College Park. Joy distinguished herself for her commitment to voluntarism, a tenet of the JLW Mission; Joy completed more than 500 hours of community service while simultaneously undertaking a rigorous high school curriculum, including eight Advanced Placement courses.

JLW also awarded three outstanding runners-up book scholarships. The recipients of these awards are Sophia Uriburu-Wilder (Woodrow Wilson High School); Trenni Jefferson (Benjamin Banneker); and Munisa Said (Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus).

Over the last year, JLW provided 19 local organizations with close to 5,000 books – more than $20,000 worth of book grants – as part of its Resolution Read initiative. JLW is making a lasting impact in the Washington, DC, community by fostering a passion for books and reading where it otherwise may not exist through Resolution Read and has placed more than 125,000 books in the hands of DC children at home, in their schools, in libraries, and through other nonprofit organizations since 2012.

JLW announced its grant and scholarship recipients at a reception on Thursday, May 24. Also at this reception, the League recognized the winners of its annual youth poetry contest, held for DC public and charter school students in grades four through eight. This year’s winners are: fourth grader Abel Woldeyesus from Barnard Elementary School; fifth grader Rae Marzili from Murch Elementary School; seventh grader Dahlia Perez from Center City PCS Brightwood; and eighth grader Betty Girma from Center City PCS Brightwood.

Grant Recipients
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:

Horizons Greater Washington – $30,000 for its Year-Round Academic Program
Horizons Greater Washington develops partnerships between independent and public school communities to provide academic, cultural, and recreational programs designed to empower economically disadvantaged students. The JLW grant will support the organization’s intensive summer session and Saturday workshops during the school year, which cover reading, language arts, and project-based STEAM curriculum. Specifically, it will fund four reading specialists, a technology teacher, and supplies for their technology and engineering projects.

Renée Stikes, Executive Director of Horizons Greater Washington: “We are thrilled to partner with the Junior League of Washington as we improve the academic outcomes of low-income youth in our community. This grant will support our shared commitment to increasing literacy and STEAM skills in our students.”

Edu-Futuro – $30,000 for its Workforce Development Services
Edu-Futuro empowers under-resourced immigrant families through education, leadership development, and family engagement. The JLW grant will support the expansion of their bilingual computer literacy classes and workforce development services programs to Arlington County.

The Literacy Lab – $30,000 for its Pre-K Literacy Intervention Program
The Literacy Lab provides high-quality, targeted reading remediation to low-income students to increase their literacy skills, leading to increased academic success and greater opportunities in life. The JLW grant will support its pre-K literacy intervention programming for 40 homeless children currently living in DC General Family Homeless Shelter, including training and coaching for tutors and volunteers, family engagement materials, program supplies, and data collection and evaluation.

Ashley Johnson, Co-Executive Director of The Literacy Lab: “The Junior League of Washington is a catalyst in helping us close the literacy achievement gap for our city’s youngest learners.”

JLW also awarded two Community Partner grants. JLW has more than 25 community partners with whom its members volunteer, and each year, the League rewards Community Partner Grants to one or more of our partners. This year’s recipients include:

Horton’s Kids – $15,000 for its Older Youth Program
Horton’s Kids prepares at risk children for successful and healthy lives through educational opportunities and comprehensive programs tailored to their needs. Their Older Youth Program empowers children in grades 7-12, increasing their literacy skills and positioning them to graduate from high school with essential life skills. The JLW grant will support expenses for the program.

Bright Beginnings – $15,000 for its Kindergarten Readiness Program
Founded by JLW in 1990, Bright Beginnings serves homeless families with young children living in DC by providing children with a safe, nurturing educational environment. The JLW grant will support expenses for their Kindergarten Readiness Program, including supplies and curricula materials, transportation to college tours, career exposure, and tutoring, staff salaries, and other vital support.

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:

  • Community of Hope – $1,000 to fund the purchase of books for the waiting room of the Marie Reed Health Center
  • DC SCORES – $1,000 to fund the purchase of poetry instruction manuals for the Power of Poetry Program, which provides low-income, at-risk DC children with supplemental academic enrichment and language arts instruction
  • MOVEIUS Contemporary Ballet Inc. – $1,000 to fund a final end-of-year performance of students enrolled in its innovative, bilingual afterschool program, focused on low-income neighborhood schools.
  • New Futures – $1,000 to fund the purchase of a laptop for New Futures Career Launch Program, which provides career navigation, networking support, and a variety of workforce skill-building workshops.
  • Together We Bake – $840 to fund the purchase of ServSafe books and exams in order to train women in need in food safety certification.

JLW also provided $7,800 to current Community Partners to help them address short-term funding needs that arose during the last year. These “Fridge Funds” were granted to Iona Senior Services, National Museum of Women in the Arts, New Endeavors by Women, 826DC, Langley Residential Support Services, Lee Fendall House Museum, George Washington’s Mt. Vernon, and Carlyle House Historic Park.

These organizations join a long list of DC-area organizations that have received and benefited from JLW grant funding, including our current grant recipients, the Washington School for Girls, Reading Is Fundamental, and JumpStart Jubilee.

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.