Since our founding, DCSIP has grown into an impressive force for good in the DC social innovation community supporting more than 15 different organizations. Through our intensive yearlong partnership, DCSIP has achieved a phenomenal success rate well above the normal industry standard and attracted national recognition. Roughly 80% of the programs we have helped launch are still in place today, and, better yet, expanding to achieve deeper impact into the community with greater levels of funding as a result of our partnership. For example, four of the grantees we helped to incubate were recently recognized by CNN Money, the Washingtonian, and the Washington Post, and as a finalist for the J.M. Kaplan Fund’s 2015 Social Innovation Prize as leading start-ups tackling poverty. Our grantee network now has a deep reach into communities in DC; many of them who work exclusively in Wards 6, 7, and 8 where poverty rates are as high as 40% and unemployment rates approach 25%.
DC Urban Greens
Founded by Julie Kirkwood and Vincent Forte, DC UrbanGreens aims to make a difference by growing fresh food directly in the low-income neighborhoods that lack access to grocery stores or other means to affordable, healthy foods. By growing directly in these neighborhoods, DC UrbanGreens puts the neighborhood and community at the center of its own food production. Through partnerships with existing food trucks and mobile markets, as well as direct sales from the farm, DC UrbanGreens’ goal is to sell their produce, at affordable prices, directly into the food desert neighborhoods in which it is grown. They are specifically working in Wards 7 & 8, east of the Anacostia River, in the District of Columbia – most of which is defined by the USDA Food Research Atlas as a food desert. DC Urban Greens is not a community garden or urban farm. They are infiltrating food desert neighborhoods with productively farmed small plots that can grow a substantial amount of food. The community is included in their own welfare through volunteer opportunities, mentoring-to-employment opportunities and hands-on food growing education. The landowners that allow use of their space prove that they too are stakeholders in the community and want to be part of the solution. DC UrbanGreens’ first farm is located behind Fort Dupont Ice Arena at 3779 Ely Place, SE.
Funding provided by the DC Social Innovation project will support the building of DC Urban Greens organizational infrastructure, including the vetting and recruitment of a board to help sustain the social impact of the organization.
Founded by DC native Keith Beverly, IT’S TIME aims to help middle school students become financially savvy by teaching them investment fundamentals and improving their math skills through an engaging curriculum that incorporates grade-level math. In addition, IT’S TIME supplements financial literacy learning by equipping students with leadership skills. From oral communication training to exposure to the industry professionals that their students seek to one day participate in, IT’S TIME seeks to nurture and motivate the next generation of leaders. Since 2009, IT’S TIME has worked with students from several Washington DC schools including Howard University Middle School of Math and Science, Paul Public Charter School, John Burroughs Education Campus, Deal Junior High School, and DC Prep.
Funding provided by the DC Social Innovation Project covers the costs associated with converting IT’S TIME’s curriculum to an online educational game that incorporates elements from students’ environments. Through this online game, children will learn practical information such as how to open a savings account and budget their money, as well as be exposed to complex concepts such a
Young Doctors Project
Led by Dr. Malcolm Woodland – who grew up in southeast Washington, DC – the Young Doctors Project aims to address health disparities of African-Americans in southeast DC neighborhoods while introducing and underrepresented group to careers in the healthcare industry. Beginning in 2013, the Young Doctors Project recruited a cadre of African-American male high school students to participate in a summer academy where they learned the basics of physical health and healthy living. Following their successful completion of the academy, they conducted supervised mobile health clinics in their southeast DC neighborhoods in order to share knowledge and practical tips with their families and neighbors on embracing healthy lifestyles and avoiding common diet-related illnesses.
Funding provided by DC Social Innovation Project funded the inaugural summer academy and subsequent mobile health clinics. Additionally, our corps of volunteer consultants helped guide the leadership in creating a strategic plan for long-term growth and sustainability.
Food For Life
Started as a culinary training program for Washington, DC high school graduates with limited education or vocational options, Food For Life trains these unemployed and underemployed young adults in the culinary industry. Participants learn culinary skills from formally-trained chefs and prepare gourmet takeout meals for up to fifty customers per week. Each week, Food For Life posts the upcoming week’s menu, then customers can purchase their preferred meal. The revenue from meal purchases helps sustain the culinary training program for unemployed youth.
Our corps of volunteer consultants will help the leadership in developing a strategic plan focusing on human capital to ensure the organization has the people and expertise necessary for long-term growth and sustainability.
Press Pass Mentors
Press Pass Mentors pairs professional journalists with low-income high school juniors and seniors to help them become great writers, equipping students with the communication skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond. Press Pass Mentors launched in the fall of 2011 with mentors from The Washington Post and students from charter schools in southeast Washington, D.C. Mentors guide students through a curriculum that prepares them for the major writing assignments on the road to college: the SAT, college applications and scholarship essays. The organization and mentors also offer students behind-the-scenes field trips to places only accessible with a press pass, like the White House, Congress and an NFL locker room and award each of the program’s graduates with a financial scholarship to cover some college costs.
Funding provided by DC Social Innovation Project is supporting the launch of the program and the first class of students. Additionally, our corps of volunteer consultants assisted the leadership in selecting cost-effective software to support their donor engagement strategy.
Aya Community Markets
Founded in 2008, Dreaming Out Loud (DOL) was created in response to the educational disparities in underserved urban communities. Dreaming Out Loud’s services focus primarily on Wards 7 and 8 in Washington, DC, where some of the most pressing economic, educational and social development needs converge to affect young people. One especially prevalent issue is the lack of access to healthy and nutritious food that makes Ward 7 a food desert.
Dreaming Out Loud’s answer was Aya Community Market, a community-centered holistic health and economic development initiative that combines education, farmers’ markets and community supported sustainable agriculture to provide access to healthy food and improved nutrition Ward 7. The market strives to address a neighborhood imbalance, where there are only four supermarkets for 75,000 people. The market features local vendors, fresh produce, and baked goods. The market also engages volunteers and youth (ages 14-21) to build leadership skills and provide character development in order to conduct health outreach and education.
Funding provided by DC Social Innovation Project supported the launch of Aya Community Markets. Additionally, our corps of volunteer consultants guided and supported Dreaming Out Loud in creating a strategic plan.
Suited for Change
Suited for Change (2012)
Suited for Change breaks down barriers to self-sufficiency by providing professional clothing, career and life skills education to low-income women. Suited for Change is the umbrella organization of Suited for Startup, a business incubator focused solely on supporting women entrepreneurs from low- income backgrounds in their acquisition of the necessary skills to become future business owners, leaders and drivers of our local and national economy. Launched in 2013, the program selected five low-income female entrepreneurs. Each participant is a DC resident and aspiring small business owner in industries such as healthy beverages, criminal justice, education, and salon & wellness. These entrepreneurs are given access to a wide range of experts in business development, leadership and entrepreneurship. In addition, partnerships with the DC Women’s Business Center and YWCA-National Capital Area equip the women with skills in business development, finance, sales and marketing, and health and wellness.
Funding from the DC Social Innovation project supportED the business strategy development of the organization’s Suited for Startup incubator.
Upstart Foods (2012)
Born out of the popular Grey DC Market, which provided occasional vending opportunities for start-up food businesses, Upstart Foods is a first-of-its-kind food businesses incubator and resource portal. With the mission of helping DC-area residents turn their passions for cooking into profitable businesses, Upstart Foods provided a suite of free or low-cost services to support emerging food entrepreneurs. Services include a conference and workshops to help participants navigate legal, regulatory, marketing, strategy, and other business issues.
Funding provided by DC Social Innovation Project covered the costs associated with the inaugural conference and workshops and provided conference scholarships for five promising start-up food businesses. Additionally, our corps of volunteer consultants helped identify and create resources for UpstartFoods.com to help entrepreneurs navigate the legal and regulatory requirements of starting a food business.
Looped In (2012)
With the goal of supporting the formation of game-changing local solutions to educational inequity, Teach For America-DC Region held its second annual Innovation Challenge. Current TFA corps members and alums participating in the challenge brought a problem they were passionate about solving, and through collaborative sessions and independent research, refined their understanding of the problem and developed a proposal for a scalable solution. DCSIP partnered with TFA-DC to provide seed funding and pro bono consulting to help bring the winning idea to life. The winner was Looped In, a Web platform and app that connects a student’s teachers, parents, and tutors to help them all work together collaboratively towards a student’s progress.
Funding provided by DC Social Innovation Project funded costs associated with building a prototype platform. Additionally, our corps of volunteer consultants helped guide the leadership in creating a strategic plan for long-term growth and sustainability.
Living Images In My World
Living Images In My World (2011)
Seeking a better way to engage students in learning about learning history, Quentina Johnson created Living Images In My World, a summer experiential learning program for youth in Columbia Heights. This project was developed and implemented by, I Saw The Experience of Learning, a non-profit education organization developed to nurture, cultivate, and inspire genius in culturally diverse communities. During the summer of 2011, DC high school visual art students and Howard University college students worked with the organization to lead and direct an arts-integrated research project for a team of twenty 6th-8th grade students enrolled in the Columbia Heights Youth Club. The purpose was to create a historical restoration of lost African-American identities buried beneath pre-Civil War sites in Northwest DC. By the end of the program, a video documentary was produced along with a blog and book documenting the students’ research and experiences.
Funding provided by DC Social Innovation Project supported the launch of Living Images In My World. Additionally, our corps of volunteer consultants assisted the organization in developing a revenue-generating program to provide ongoing financial sustainability for the program.
Moms on the Move
Moms on the Move (2011)
To address a lack of health education and resources for single mothers in Anacostia, Sariane Leigh created Moms on the Move. Developed in partnership with WELL Consulting and the National Association on Teen Fitness and Exercise, Moms on the Move provides a six-week series of health and wellness educational workshops for twenty single mothers ages 18-35. Topics and activities include urban farming, yoga and zumba instruction, identifying neighborhood healthcare services, healthy cooking instruction, weight loss and management, and a walking tour of healthy food shopping in Anacostia.
Funding provided by DC Social Innovation Project supported the launch of Moms on the Move.