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#Community is the Crimsonbridge Foundation’s commitment to participate, engage, listen, and learn with the communities we support. It is a team driven initiative designed to develop relationships with community partners that go beyond grant proposals. Through #community we engage directly with grantee community partners to better understand challenges, identify solutions, leverage new resources, celebrate success, and build community. It is our approach to philanthropy and community partnership.
Mental Wellness for Student Success
May 4, 2022
Crimsonbridge Foundation team members Robyn Ellis, Caitlin Mayo, and Danielle (Dani) Verbiest joined community partner Collegiate Directions (CDI) for a screening and panel discussion of the documentary Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety. The film offers a powerful collection of voices of teens, parents, educators, and experts addressing the causes of anxiety, the differences between healthy anxiety and anxiety disorders, the sociological and academic impacts, and tools and strategies to help ourselves and others. This online event kicked off CDI’s new Learning Academy which provides practitioners, students, and their families with resources focused on mental health and wellness to support college access and completion. We celebrate CDI for its efforts to destigmatize mental health issues through awareness and to create safe spaces for students through its Wellness Program. Crimsonbridge is currently invested in this work through the College Success program.
IWPR Convenes Influential Leaders from Across Sectors at Power+ Summit
April 28, 2022
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) hosted the Power+ Summit this April, sponsored in part by the Crimsonbridge Foundation. This hybrid Summit took place in San Francisco and focused on power, systems change, and opportunities in sports, politics, justice, business, technology, the economy, philanthropy, representation, and family. President and CEO Danielle M. Reyes and Program Officer Robyn Attebury Ellis tuned in to hear speakers’ insightful “moonshots” - their wishes for how various stakeholders can take collective action and offer solutions that benefit people, families, and communities. Philanthropic giving to women and girls issues in the United States is currently at just 2% of overall giving, and Crimsonbridge believes philanthropy has an even bigger role to play in supporting representation and power for women and girls. The Foundation works with local and national partners, including IWPR, through its Women and Girls Leadership and Civic Engagement program.
LeaderBridge Network Welcomes 5 Leaders from the 2022 Executive Preparation Institute Cohort!
April 27, 2022
LeaderBridge is partnering with the Center for Nonprofit Advancement to support the participation of five leaders who were selected for the 2022 cohort of the Executive Preparation Institute (EPI)! These five leaders will join the LeaderBridge Network – Le’Anetta Obasanjo of Seabury Resources for Aging, Sheree Moore of Progressive Life Center, Fatima Bah of Calvary Women’s Services, Sakinda Skinner of Neighborhood Legal Services Program, and Stacy Lewis formerly of Millennial Action Project. The LeaderBridge team hosted a virtual meet and greet with the participating leaders where program officer Robyn Ellis heard how useful the DISC assessment, networking, and information-sharing has been for the leaders and their teams. EPI faculty have also shared a wealth of resources on board governance and engagement. The Center for Nonprofit Advancement’s EPI is a current partner of LeaderBridge, an initiative of the Crimsonbridge Foundation that works together with nonprofit leaders and program partners to meet the leadership development interests of leaders of color and of diverse backgrounds underrepresented in the Greater Washington region.
LeaderBridge Network Welcomes 4 Leaders from the 2022 Spring CPNL Cohort!
Congratulations to the leaders in the spring 2022 cohort of Georgetown University’s Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership, Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program who graduated this April! Among them, we’re pleased to welcome several new LeaderBridge alumni – Dani Faulkner of Baltimore Corps, Lizzi Lineal of The Family Place, Rafael Woldeab of City Blossoms, and Sanjay Mitchell of Thurgood Marshall PCS. The Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership wrapped a spring of monthly virtual sessions in April with participants wanting to stay engaged with their cohort-mates. On behalf of the LeaderBridge team, program officer Robyn Ellis connected with the four leaders and learned that they had especially enjoyed the experiential learning lab that allowed them to put ideas into an action plan for their organizations. CPNL is a current partner of LeaderBridge, an initiative of the Crimsonbridge Foundation to that works together with nonprofit leaders and program partners to meet the leadership development interests of leaders of color and of diverse backgrounds underrepresented in the leadership of the Greater Washington region.
Learning Together at the FADICA Annual Meeting
Gabriela Smith, Danielle M. Reyes, and Caitlin Mayo of the Crimsonbridge Foundation joined Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities (FADICA) for their first hybrid annual membership meeting, featuring presenters and panelists from across the globe. The annual meeting is an occasion for members to learn about each other’s work and discuss issues, opportunities, and innovations related to Catholic education, parish vitality, the environment, mission-driven investing, and more. Senior Program Officer Caitlin Mayo presented an update to the Catholic Schools Affinity Group on a new research report focused on Hispanic teachers and leaders in Catholic education, published by the Roche Center at Boston College. Crimsonbridge Founder and Executive Chair, Gabriela Smith serves on the board of directors of FADICA.
Exponent Philanthropy Panel on Relationships
March 16, 2022
Exponent Philanthropy hosted its annual panel for its Next Gen Fellows on how foundations can build trust and strong relationships with community partners. Crimsonbridge is a member of Exponent Philanthropy and Program Officer Robyn Ellis was invited to share her perspective as a panelist. As the Next Gen Fellows discussed how to connect with grantee partners while balancing other work responsibilities, panelists shared how relationship-building plays a key role in achieving impact. Crimsonbridge Foundation operates as a true community partner. In addition to investing grant funding it supports partnerships through technical assistance, leadership development, social media engagement, and communications support. Related to this approach, Robyn shared her experiences in cultivating these relationships in grant-making, and shared tips for engaging partners authentically.
Ten Strong: Women of Barry Farm-Hillsdale in Anacostia
March 10, 2022
This Women's History Month, the Crimsonbridge Foundation's team joined Washington School for Girls for "Ten Strong: Women of Barry Farm-Hillsdale in Anacostia," a special webinar in their Our Girls, Our World series. Based on a book written and presented by Smithsonian curator and historian Alcione Amos, we learned about the remarkable lives of ten women from Barry Farm-Hillsdale Anacostia, home to a number of the school's students. Launched during the pandemic, the Our Girls, Our World series has created virtual opportunities for the school's community to learn together beyond the classroom. For the Crimsonbridge team listening alongside teachers, students, and board members was a welcome opportunity to learn more about incredible local women and the history of our region. Washington School for Girls is a Women and Girls Leadership and Civic Engagement community partner.
Collegiate Directions Convenes Counselor Collaborative
February 25, 2022
Over the last several years, community partner Collegiate Directions, Inc. (CDI) has been developing and curating professional development resources for counselors who are working with high school and college students in DC and Maryland. As a part of their new Counselor Collaborative series, CDI convened a group of counselors in February to connect with three local college programs supporting first-generation student success. Featured programs included Crimsonbridge partner Catholic University’s Take Flight Program led by LeaderBridge alum, Javier Bustamante, the TRIO Program at Frostburg State University, and the First Generation Network at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. As campuses across the country invest in advising, retaining, and supporting college students’ basic needs and academic wellness, these three programs are engaging students and prioritizing practices that build community in different ways than before the pandemic. As program officer, Robyn Attebury Ellis noted after the event, “Our College Success partners are serving and supporting thousands of first-generation students in the Greater Washington region in truly meaningful ways!”
Celebrating Faith, Excellence, and Service in Catholic Schools #CSW22
February 4, 2022
Catholic Schools Week is a time for students, families, staff, and supporters to come together as a community to celebrate the incredible work of their schools. Growing up, Senior Program Officer Caitlin Furey Mayo participated in many Catholic Schools Weeks, first at St. Mary's in Alexandria and then at Georgetown Visitation in DC. As a young student, Caitlin looked forward to the school spirit activities each winter, which included delicious treats, dress-down days, and acts of appreciation for members of the school community. This year, Caitlin was grateful to accept two invitations to participate with Crimsonbridge partners. She started the week joining Education Imperative partner Elizabeth Seton High School for a virtual mass celebrated by Msgr. Ray East. His wonderful homily on faith, excellence, and service, which had Caitlin reflecting with gratitude on her own experiences in Catholic schools. She ended the week with Bridges for Schools partner St. Bartholomew School which hosted a fun and active virtual religion bee for its very enthusiastic 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders!
Make Time to Connect with Foundation Peers
February 3, 2022
During a busy workday, a virtual networking meeting can suddenly seem like an optional event, passed over for the sake of reclaiming a needed work hour. However, President and CEO Danielle M. Reyes reminded herself that intentionally connecting and learning from others is a core value that we do not easily dismiss. She decided to jump into an Exponent Philanthropy Virtual Roundtable and found herself in a breakout session with a staff member of the Ausherman Family Foundation. The two ended up talking until the platform was closed down, 20 minutes after the event had ended! Having a shared interest in leadership development, Danielle sought out information to connect more nonprofit leaders of color from Frederick County to the Crimsonbridge Foundation’s LeaderBridge program. The Ausherman staff member was eager to learn about LeaderBridge and proposed Crimsonbridge present it during an upcoming funders meeting in the county. “Not only was it a fun and fruitful conversation, it led to connections that will help both foundations better support the region’s nonprofit sector.” said Reyes. Exponent Philanthropy is a membership organization that seeks to amplify and increase the impact of lean funders by building an inclusive community where they can learn, connect, and collaborate.
Foundant Coffee Talk with Funder Peers
February 2, 2022
Crimsonbridge has engaged with partners virtually in the last year, and we continue to value these connections in 2022. Program officer Robyn Ellis participated in a conversation with funders in the Foundant community this month on building connections with grantee partners, donors, and staff during the pandemic. Over half of the program officers and foundation leaders tuning into the discussion work in small teams in a virtual or hybrid model. With less time in the community, participants shared they are providing new virtual forms of technical assistance and access points for community partners, including options for similar nonprofits to meet informally with foundation staff and supporting affinity groups by grant program area. These meetings have led to new collaboration among partners, new opportunities, and more accessible grant reporting. Crimsonbridge joins its peers as we look for new ways to engage with our community partners and serve in our role as convener and thought partner where it makes sense.
New Futures Scholar Award Dinner
January 27, 2022
Operations and Grants Manager Danielle (Dani) Verbiest attended the New Futures’ annual Scholar Award Dinner to learn more about this partner. The virtual event celebrated 17 new and five second-time Scholars pursuing Associate’s and Bachelor‘s degrees and professional certifications. It featured two inspiring students who spoke about the impact of the mentorship and sense of community New Futures offers them. Supports like these, in addition to scholarships, have helped these students pursue their dreams and build their futures. The event also highlighted community partners who support and connect these students to New Futures, including Crimsonbridge partners Carlos Rosario International PCS, Capital Partners for Education, CollegeTracks, and Liberty’s Promise. This community support network builds connections and collaborations that improve the lives of students. We congratulate all New Futures Scholars on their outstanding achievements and the partners supporting them.
Watch the Scholar Award Dinner here: Scholar Award Dinner - January 2022 - YouTube
She Should Run Happy Hour Connects Women Considering Elected Office
January 19, 2022
To kick off the new year, Crimsonbridge partner She Should Run hosted a virtual happy hour for women considering a run for elected office in the upcoming year. Program Officer (and Local School Advisory Team member) Robyn Ellis tuned into the event designed to break down barriers of isolation that many women in the She Should Run community have felt during the pandemic. Participants set intentions for upcoming campaigns, discussed how to engage their networks and raise funds, and shared strategies for supporting their mental health and wellness. Beyond the bipartisan cohort trainings and resources that She Should Run offers to women considering a run for elected office, we appreciate the value of these informal points of connection and belonging for women’s leadership and civic engagement. Spaces like this happy hour offer women an opportunity to talk through fears, celebrate accomplishments, and meet other women from all backgrounds and levels of experience who are working to make a difference.
Listening to Leaders
January 11, 2022
In January, LeaderBridge co-hosted a listening session with the Washington Area Women's Foundation, a Women and Girls Leadership and Civic Engagement grantee and community partner of the Crimsonbridge Foundation. More than 15 LeaderBridge alumni working throughout the Greater Washington region participated in the session along with Crimsonbridge and WAWF staff. Leaders connected through shared experiences, spoke about ways that the pandemic continues to challenge their leadership, and offered ideas for how philanthropy can better support nonprofit leaders. LeaderBridge team members Danielle M. Reyes, Robyn Ellis, and Caitlin Mayo left the listening session energized and inspired to explore new ways to foster connection, create spaces for dialogue, and develop leadership programming to meet needs shared by these leaders. The information gathered during the listening session will also inform an upcoming Washington Area Women's Foundation #AskHer/AskThem interview this April.
LGW Session Helps Leaders Navigate the Hybrid Workplace
November 9, 2021
Crimsonbridge President and CEO Danielle M. Reyes agrees with LGW that as organizations navigate the future of the workplace, one thing is clear: the hybrid workplace is here to stay. In a recent session they noted, “For most this hybrid model is a new animal, one that demands an intentional and strategic effort to articulate and align expectations, needs, and wants among leaders, managers, employees, and teams. In short, hybrid success requires a strong partnership between employees and employers.” As a leader committed to learning from and with other regional leaders, she joined leaders from all sectors to hear bestselling author Mary Abbajay provide essential strategies to ensure that everyone in an organization is working together to create a shared vision of hybrid success.
Catholic Foundations Explore Themes for Advancing the Common Good
November 9, 2021
The Alliance of Catholic Foundations hosted an engaging two-day conference exploring ideas from Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis’ writings on fraternity and social friendship. Panelists from nonprofits and foundations led participants through discussions of immigration, advocacy, racism, and food insecurity. Common themes included the importance of focusing on the wellbeing of the whole person, listening to each other’s stories, and building bridges with love! The conference offered Senior Program Officer Caitlin Furey Mayo an opportunity to learn about Catholic foundations from around the country that are working to advance the common good and build a more equitable society.
Congratulations to the 2021 Seal of Excelencia and Examples of Excelencia Winners
October 29, 2021
Community partner, Excelencia in Education hosted the Virtual Meeting Place for Latino Student Success in Higher Education this October and recognized nominees and awardees of the 2021 Examples of Excelencia and Seal of Excelencia. Programs, initiatives, and nonprofits were lifted up as examples of innovations helping Hispanic and Latino students succeed nationwide. College presidents convened and shared how they’re making sure Latino students are thriving and earning degrees. Their institutions enroll and graduate over 30% of all Latino students in college. Program officer Robyn Ellis noticed that scholars, program staff, elected officials, and college leaders are leading this work in a variety of ways. Crimsonbridge partnered with Excelencia in 2019 to create national fact sheets on Latino college completion and is a member of the Latino Student Success Funders Group, a national working group of philanthropic partners facilitated by Excelencia in Education.
Improving Career and Engagement Outcomes of First-generation Graduates
October 28, 2021
This virtual panel session brought together a variety of perspectives in higher education to discuss the latest Fact Sheets from the Center for First-generation Student Success and the Crimsonbridge Foundation on the career and engagement outcomes of first-generation college graduates. Tying together a philanthropic, institutional development, and practitioner perspective, the session featured a dynamic discussion as the panelists discussed improving first-generation student outcomes utilizing external and internal resources. As a panelist, President and CEO, Danielle M. Reyes encouraged colleges and universities to work with foundations of all sizes and to consider new points of entry, beyond scholarships, for partnering with philanthropy, including support for research, program and resource development, and the implementation of technology and communication tools. Visit our publications page to download the free 2021 Fact Sheets and read recommendations from the accompanying Issue Brief.
The Virtual National Conference for Grantmakers in Education
October 12-22, 2021
Crimsonbridge is a member of Grantmakers for Education (GFE) and staff tuned into their 25th anniversary national conference this October. GFE engaged small and large funders in various dynamic virtual sessions around the future of learning and justice. Presenters shared opportunities for funders to invest in civic participation, community leaders, and simplifying processes for grantee partners. Peer funders, nonprofit and school leaders, and national influencers all echoed a call to listen more to grantee partners’ work and take opportunities to center the people most impacted by injustices. Presenters ranged from community college presidents to teacher leaders to students and more. The sessions connected funders with many examples of how schools, programs, and partner collaborations serve students in more equitable ways and transform what success in education looks like today. College Success program officer Robyn Ellis attended the conference and plans to participate in future conversations as a new member of the GFE Postsecondary Impact group.
New Futures Scholars Shine
September 30, 2021
Community partner New Futures put their scholars center stage at the culmination of their month-long Power On campaign in September. Scholars shared their college journeys and their experiences as the first in their family to attend college and earn a degree. Raising over $250,000 in a matter of minutes, New Futures shared gratitude for the support of their community of scholars and alumni who are leading and making a big impact in the world. The hope their stories inspire for their families and college peers was an event highlight for program officer Robyn Ellis. New Futures offers flexible scholarships, a tight-knit advisor family, and connections to career pathways for scholars interested in early childhood education, electrical engineering, law, and more. Crimsonbridge’s College Success work with funders and local nonprofits like New Futures remains core to our strategy for addressing college completion for students underrepresented in higher education.
Inclusive Strategic Planning to Create Systemic Change: a page from community partner Generation Hope's playbook
October 13, 2021
Open dialogue and partnership beyond traditional grantmaking stand at the heart of the Crimsonbridge Foundation's entrepreneurial philanthropic approach. Operations and Grants Manager Danielle Verbiest recently attended community partner Generation Hope's first look at its 2024 Strategic Plan "Dreaming Big for Families: A Roadmap and a Call to Action." Founder and CEO Nicole Lynn Lewis, joined by board members Dr. Anne Kress, President of Northern Virginia Community College, and Carla Rocha, Generation Hope Alumna, shared Generation Hope's vision for the next three years with a group of their supporters. By reserving a seat at the table for all stakeholders, Generation Hope has developed an exciting, well-informed roadmap for the coming years as it seeks to build on its success and expand its holistic, two-generation work. We are excited for the public premiere of Generation Hope's strategic plan on November 4.
Generation Hope website: Generation Hope
Link to Strategic Plan: https://youtu.be/aCBmVZw89VM
Making Every Vote and Voice Matter
September 30, 2021
Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership hosted a discussion with national voting rights’ leaders. Panelists shared the need to build a bench of civic leaders and how engaging communities has meant cultivating relationships over time and training voters to engage people they know. Program officer Robyn Ellis heard a common thread that a lack of civic participation is often rooted in disconnection and a reliance on centering a singular White narrative instead of telling the stories of every person, especially people who are missing at the polls. The Center also invited everyone to join the next event in this series on November 4th. LeaderBridge is an initiative of the Crimsonbridge Foundation and partners with Georgetown University’s CPNL – Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program to expand leadership opportunities for local nonprofit leaders and help develop a more inclusive nonprofit sector.