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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.

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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.  

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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.  

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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.    

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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:


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.  


Grants Managers as Change Agents

September 14, 2021

Grants managers play an integrated and central part in the work of foundations. Operations and Grants Manager Danielle Verbiest recently attended a panel conversation organized by community partner PEAK Grantmaking as part of their 25th-anniversary celebrations. Panel members Satonya Fair of PEAK, Rip Rapson of Kresge Foundation, Darren Walker of Ford Foundation, and Marcus Walton of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations provided a robust and inspiring conversation about the evolving role of grants professionals. In addition to grantmaking and compliance, they provide analytics and advice. This allows them to act as strategic partners and change agents to help foundations drive equity forward.

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Washington Area Women's Foundation Highlights Ways for Supporting Nonprofit Leaders

September 8, 2021

Listening and learning about the needs of nonprofit leaders is a Crimsonbridge priority. Program Officer and LeaderBridge team member, Robyn Ellis, joined community partner, Washington Area Women’s Foundation (WAWF) webinar with Groundswell Foundation’s Black Trans Fund Program Fellow Bre’ Rivera to hear how it supports Black Trans nonprofit leaders nationally. By highlighting Black Trans Fund’s focus on joy, liberation, care, and investment in capacity building for the nonprofit and philanthropy sectors, WAWF shines a light on the need to envision a future beyond navigating crises and supporting victims of violence. WAWF is a partner in Crimsonbridge’s Women and Girls Leadership and Civic Engagement work, which believes in the development of the voices, power, and presence of diverse perspectives for thriving communities.

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Cristo Rey Network College Community Gathers

July 30, 2021

In July, an engaged community of over 100 Cristo Rey staff and university partners gathered for the Cristo Rey Network‘s Annual College Summit. Cristo Rey shared updates on college initiatives, trends, and ways in which alumni advisors, college counselors, and college campus staff from 65 partnering universities support Cristo Rey alumni. The Network expanded services to more than 20,000 graduates through GradForce, a Crimsonbridge College Success grant project. The event offered Program Officer Robyn Attebury Ellis an opportunity to hear about college enrollment, retention, persistence, and completion data that is informing the Network’s strategies.

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LeaderBridge Network: 2021 Rising Leaders Graduate!

July 15, 2021

Congratulations to the 45 LGW Rising Leaders who graduated this summer! Among them, we’re pleased to welcome several new LeaderBridge alumni! Typically conducted in-person over six months, Leadership Greater Washington led this year’s program virtually but hosted the graduation as a hybrid event. During the ceremony, graduates expressed gratitude for their new community of peer leaders. They also valued the opportunity to learn and practice skills, such as professional networking and giving and receiving feedback. Along with many of the graduate’s employers who showed up to support their colleagues, our LeaderBridge team members participated as well. Program Officer Abigail Galván attended the event in person while Robyn Attebury Ellis attended virtually along with LeaderBridge alumna Jessica Rodriguez of Mary’s Center and Cindy Umaña of the College Success Foundation.    


Crimsonbridge Participates in 2021 Student Success in Higher Education Conference

June 29, 2021

How can we improve first-generation students’ college-to-career outcomes? The Center for First-generation Student Success partnered with the Crimsonbridge Foundation to find the answer to its most frequently asked question. Working with RTI, the Center released compelling findings from new data into four fact sheets, which were presented at its 2021 Student Success in Higher Education Conference. Program Officer Robyn Attebury Ellis moderated a discussion with Dr. Kimberly Lowery of Lone Star College Houston North, Dr. Martha Enciso of San Diego State University, and Shawn VanDerziel of the National Association of Colleges and Employers on the implications of this data for campuses nationwide. Panelists spoke to opportunities for institutions to help students thrive in college and enter meaningful careers.


LeaderBridge Network: Executive Coaching

June 24, 2021

As leaders across the region manage changes in their teams, organizations, and leadership styles, many seek to work with an executive coach. Receiving multiple requests from nonprofit leaders for more guidance on the process, LeaderBridge approached the Catalogue for Philanthropy, which developed and hosted an informative webinar on the subject. The session provided tips on how to outline needs, budget, establish a successful relationship, and manage expectations. It emphasized the importance of setting boundaries and using an authentic voice to reach goals. The full LeaderBridge team also attended the webinar to glean more ideas for addressing this popular topic among LeaderBridge alumni. For more great Catalogue webinars visit their site!


Washington School for Girls Celebrates Graduates and Their Families

June 18, 2021

Girls can do anything! This was clear as Crimsonbridge partner, Washington School for Girls (WSG), celebrated its 8th graders as they graduated middle school. Program Officer Robyn Attebury Ellis attended the graduation ceremony virtually alongside many community partners while families joined the festivities in person. Students shared their favorite memories of the past school year, describing WSG as their family and a safe space where they could be in community with one another. Students appreciated their close connections to teachers, advisory leaders, and school staff. Many began to see themselves as entrepreneurs ready to take on the world and all received a special welcome to WSG’s alumni network. Congratulations graduates!


LeaderBridge Network: Five Leaders Join Georgetown’s Summer Certificate Program  

June 16, 2021

This summer, LeaderBridge welcomed the 10th cohort from Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership’s Certificate program. Committed to equity and inclusion, the CPNL partnered with Crimsonbridge in 2016 to implement new outreach strategies and increase tuition assistance for nonprofit leaders of diverse backgrounds. Program Officers Robyn Ellis and Abigail Galván met virtually with leaders who shared what they learned about strategic communications, governance, and planning. Leaders noted that the program has been a powerful impetus for positive transformation within their teams and work in the community, especially as their organizations  go through the strategic planning process. It’s very clear that this group of leaders is brimming with innovative ideas for their capstone projects and ready to put them into action!   


How to Gain Impactful Media Coverage

June 8, 2021

Media coverage can have a tremendous impact on nonprofit organizations. It can help them reach influential audiences they otherwise would not; build an organization’s reputation and credibility; shape public opinion, policy, and perceptions; and share truths about the people they serve to spur action. As an institutional member of The Communications Network, our Communications Officer, Abigail Galván, joined ComNetworkDETROIT to learn the dos and don’ts of gaining impactful media coverage. Do gain an understanding of the audience and topics a media outlet covers, establish a relationship with reporters, and make sure your pitch answers “so what?” To see the “Don’ts,” view the webinar – click here.    


Catalogue for Philanthropy Builds Community and Connection for Nonprofit Leaders  

May 27, 2021

During its annual gala on May 27, LeaderBridge partner Catalogue for Philanthropy highlighted how its 2020 virtual workshops “nurtured and equalized” the DMV nonprofit community. Over 90% of leaders who participated say the training helped them do their jobs better. Program Officer Robyn Attebury Ellis noticed a theme among the testimonials shared by regional nonprofit leaders, including LeaderBridge alumni: The Catalogue’s virtual programming helped leaders out of isolation and built a community for more than 8,000 leaders. The Catalogue is building on this success by launching new cohorts for Executive Directors and a new BIPOC Leadership Development Program in 2021 in partnership with LeaderBridge.   

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Sacred Heart Diverse Legacy Lives On

May 19, 2021

On May 19, Program Officer Abigail Galván attended a reception and mass by Cardinal Wilton Gregory in Washington, DC, celebrating Crimsonbridge partner Sacred Heart Bilingual Catholic School’s pre-k through 8th-grade students. She learned about new developments at Sacred Heart School, such as their involvement with Harvard University’s Project Zero. She also had the opportunity to hear from two special guests, Carmen and Rohulamin Quander, who were among the first Black students to attend Sacred Heart School in 1950. Rohulamin shared how much it meant to him to see the first black Cardinal in United States history, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, standing at the altar celebrating mass.  


LeaderBridge Network: Five Nonprofit Professionals Join LGW’s 2021 Rising Leaders Program

May 13, 2021

For more than four years, Crimsonbridge has partnered with Leadership Greater Washington (LGW) to connect emerging nonprofit leaders of diverse backgrounds to its popular Rising Leaders program.  LeaderBridge team members Robyn Attebury Ellis, Caitlin Mayo, and Danielle Reyes hosted a virtual “Meet and Greet” to learn about this year’s participants and their professional development interests. Cindy Umaña of College Success Foundation and Lorena Palacios of DC Scores, both Crimsonbridge community partner organizations, shared their hopes for developing new skills through the program. They also stepped up as advocates, encouraging philanthropy to continue offering opportunities that specifically support women of color working in our region’s nonprofit sector.  We hear you!  

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Expanding Bridges for Schools to the Diocese of Arlington

May 12, 2021

The Bridges for Schools program is expanding! Launched in 2018, the program has provided 16 schools nearly $100,000 in capacity building grants focused on increasing inclusion, engagement, and enrollment of Hispanic students and families. In May, Program Officers Caitlin Mayo and Abigail Galván offered an informative virtual presentation for schools in the Archdiocese of Washington and, for the first time, the Diocese of Arlington. They detailed the grant process, shared examples of successful outreach strategies and bilingual resources developed by schools already in the program, and answered questions. Mayo and Galván also shared news of an increase in grant size, making it possible for schools to request up to $3,000 in grant support for their Bridges work.    


 LeaderBridge Network: Speed-networking with Rising Leaders

April 23, 2021

According to Mary Abbajay of Careerstone Group, which leads Leadership Greater Washington’s (LGW) Rising Leaders program, successful networking is about building relationships! To help program participants put the networking-building skills they learn through the program into practice and meet leaders from the region, LGW invited more than ten local business, government, and nonprofit leaders to a speed-networking session with the program’s 2021 participants.  Crimsonbridge President and CEO, Danielle M. Reyes, joined the event for her second year in a row, “I love it!” she said, “I get to meet and learn about rising leaders in our region while expanding and diversifying my own network in the process!” 


How Hispanic-Serving Institutions Have Evolved in the Last 25 Years

April 21, 2021

Community partner Excelencia in Education presented a national briefing and panel discussion on Hispanic-Serving Institutions’ (HSIs) evolution over the last 25 years. Colleges and universities in multiple states co-hosted the insightful discussion. They looked at how HSIs prioritize equity and share a vision of Latino student success. In the US today, 569 HSIs enroll over 60% of Latino college students. The institutions pointed to promising retention, completion, and advocacy practices that helped them enroll more Latino students and increase Latino student completion. Program Officer Robyn Ellis heard the Secretary of Education and many college presidents express their commitment to Latino student success. Through its College Success program, Crimsonbridge Foundation partnered with Excelencia in Education to develop state fact sheets and research on HSIs and emerging HSIs.


Writing Emails that Respect Your Readers' Time

April 20, 2021

Email communication introduces a unique set of challenges such as establishing rapport, vying for your reader’s attention, and getting work done. As a member of the Communications Network (ComNetwork), Crimsonbridge Communications Officer Abigail Galván tuned in to their webinar, “How to Write Email that Respects Your Reader’s Time,” to hear Leslie O’Flahavan’s tips for success, such as: put the “bottom line” up front and use headings; use clear subject lines; provide context when you forward emails; and build rapport by including common courtesies and mimicking your correspondent’s tone. ComNetwork connects, gathers, and informs leaders from foundations, nonprofits, and the social sector to solve complex problems.  


Thinking Through Operating Procedures and Power Dynamics with Peers

April 16, 2021

Operations and Grants Manager Danielle Verbiest recently participated in two virtual events organized by community partner Exponent Philanthropy. The first event, a virtual roundtable, focused on documenting standard operating procedures to strengthen organizational management and reduce the risk of operational inconsistencies and interruptions. During the second event, a virtual dine-around, Verbiest and peers from foundations across the country discussed ways funders can reduce the power imbalance between their foundation and the nonprofits they support. Danielle enjoyed connecting with peers in philanthropy to share, learn, and develop innovative ideas to apply to her new role at the Crimsonbridge Foundation.


Re-imagining Leadership Programs

April 8, 2021

Program Officer Robyn Ellis attended the Regional Leadership Exchange in April, featuring two LeaderBridge partners, Leadership Greater Washington (LGW) and Leadership Montgomery (LM). The event provided a platform for leaders to share the challenges and growth they have experienced since early 2020. LGW President Doug Duncan noted that “we’re not working from home; we’re living at work.” And that leaders need to intentionally support their teams as they transition to work in the office. Leaders recognized the need for patience, flexibility, listening, and creative thinking. The discussion highlighted ways local leadership development programs have made their offerings more relevant and responsive to current needs and steps they have taken to include and empower leaders who previously did not have access to their programs. As LeaderBridge alumni have shared with Crimsonbridge staff, supporting leaders’ transitions and growth is now more critical than ever.


LeaderBridge Alumna Featured In Systems Change Panel

March 24 2021

 LeaderBridge partner Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership (CPNL) convened a panel of local nonprofit leaders to discuss systems change. The panel featured LeaderBridge alumna Dr. Tiffini Andorful who emphasized the importance of building trust over time and the need for a neutrally positioned organization to center equity and the community’s needs when building sustainable networks. Program Officer Robyn Attebury Ellis attended to hear panelists share their expertise on creating a sense of shared purpose, disaggregating data to assess issues better, and asking the right questions. In addition, panelists emphasized that philanthropy and nonprofits have an opportunity to support communities through technical assistance and capacity-building and that they must be willing to co-create as equal partners.


Our Girls, Our World: Racial Equity in Philanthropy

March 23, 2021

On March 23rd, community partner Washington School for Girls (WSG) hosted the second discussion in their school-year series on racial equity. They convened three nonprofit leaders whose organizations advocate for women and girls locally, including community partner Washington Area Women’s Foundation. Program Officer Robyn Attebury Ellis tuned into the panel discussion and appreciated how WSG transformed its communications to use asset-framing instead of focusing on students’ deficits. WSG discussed the importance of shifting from donor-centered to community-centered fundraising and fostering a sense of belonging instead of othering. They delivered a call to action for philanthropy to ensure community voices are heard and well-represented – we join them in this call!  Through our Women and Girls Leadership program area Crimsonbridge invests specifically in work that builds leadership, representation, and civic engagement of women and girls.


She Should Run Shares Tools to Combat Sexism

March 18, 2021

The national non-partisan organization She Should Run recently hosted a workshop that offered practical tools for addressing sexism and investing in women’s leadership. Its new toolkit draws on the experiences of leaders who have run for elected office and breaks down how to identify sexism in words, actions, and systems. Program Officer Robyn Attebury Ellis learned specific phrases and a framework to push back on sexist comments. She found it especially poignant to hear former Special Victims Prosecutor Pearl Kim share her experience running for public office in 2018. Pearl talked about how little representation there is for the Asian American Pacific Islander community and how she learned to balance responding to sexist remarks while still earning people’s votes. She Should Run is a Women and Girls Leadership community partner of the Crimsonbridge Foundation.

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LeaderBridge Welcomes 5 Nonprofit Leaders from CPNL

March 11, 2021

The Crimsonbridge team welcomed five nonprofit leaders to LeaderBridge in March. President and CEO Danielle M. Reyes and Program Officer Robyn Attebury Ellis met with Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership (CPNL) Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program leaders over a virtual lunch.  These meetings provide an opportunity for the LeaderBridge team to learn about participants, their work, and what they hope to accomplish through the Certificate Program.  For example, one leader shared that the decision to apply was her way to “get regrounded” by learning excellent practices and integrating them into her professional toolbox.  Also of note was that four of the five leaders were encouraged to apply to the program by LeaderBridge alumni, emphasizing the essential and valuable connector role nonprofit leaders play in our sector.


Sharing in the NASPA Virtual Innovation Summit showcases the power of technology in student success 

February 26, 2021

In February, NASPA hosted a half-day virtual innovation summit with higher education professionals and partners to discuss how technology has advanced college student success. Program Officer Robyn Attebury Ellis, who leads the Crimsonbridge Foundation’s College Success work, heard several examples of campuses adapting to learning and teaching online and college administrators’ ideas for reimagining student support services and building permanent in-person and virtual spaces for student and community engagement. As Crimsonbridge’s grantmaking has expanded to include support for nonprofits, colleges and universities, and high school districts innovating virtually, we recognize the opportunity and accessibility that technology provides for college students to achieve their dreams.  


FADICA's Annual Meeting 

February 11, 2021

Crimsonbridge Founder and Executive Chair, Gabriela Smith, and Program Officers, Caitlin Furey Mayo and Abigail Galván, joined FADICA for their first virtual annual meeting. The meeting is an occasion for its membership to learn about each other’s work and discuss issues, opportunities, and innovations related to Catholic education, parish vitality, the environment, the border, and more. This year, FADICA welcomed Gabriela as a new member of their board of directors and Abigail shared an exciting update on the Foundation's timely and successful collaboration with the Archdiocese of Washington to create an integrated bilingual communications strategy to better reach and engage Latino Catholics. 


Sharing in the Joy of Reading Bedtime Stories

February 2021

Today, one in five college students is a parent. Since the pandemic began, Generation Hope has invited a diverse variety of guests to join their growing community of college students with children for story time.  The popular Virtual Bedtime Stories Live series, airs via Facebook on Tuesday nights, to an audience of more than 100 viewers. Crimsonbridge President and CEO, Danielle M. Reyes, a former teacher, welcomed the opportunity to participate as a guest reader.  “I hope that when a child sees an adult having fun reading a story with them, they become even more interested and excited about reading.” Reyes shared.  Among the stories she read, were two of her favorites from the “Frog and Toad Collection,” by Arnold Lobel. “I’d say I’m like Frog, though I think there’s a little bit of Toad in all of us!”


Catholic Schools Week with the Archdiocese of Washington

March 31-February 6, 2021

Catholic Schools Week is a time for students, families, staff, and supporters to come together as a community to celebrate Catholic schools. This year, the Archdiocese of Washington embraced their #ADWcommUNITY theme as schools shared an abundance of special Catholic Schools Week activities on social media. As an active partner in building Catholic school communications resources, Crimsonbridge staff participated along, engaging with many of our Education Imperative community partners on Twitter.  Special congratulations to partner, Elise Heil, principal of Sacred Heart School, who was named Principal of the Year! 


MLK Day of Service

January 2021


For MLK Day of Service 2021, Ward 4’s Crestwood Citizens Association (CCA) hosted a neighborhood-wide alley clean up in conjunction with Rock Creek Conservancy’s (RCC) volunteer events. The Crestwood neighborhood is surrounded by Rock Creek Park on three sides and it’s trash and water run-off have a direct impact on the park and the watershed. Crimsonbridge Foundation’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Danielle M. Reyes who serves as a co-chair of the CCA’s Green Team and on the board of RCC  was an organizer and participant of the outdoor and socially-distant service event! “It was a lot of fun and very gratifying.  We didn’t think there’s be much to do at first, but ten people and two hours later, our alley was cleaner and wider!”


Building Community with ComNet

December 2020
Field, learning with peers from the sector can be a valuable way for nonprofit communications staff to gain insight and skills.  This fall, Communications and Program Officer Abigail Galván participated in the Communication Network’s V+ Community Ambassador Program, for such an opportunity. The program was an experiment and Ambassadors were charged with building community virtually among communications professionals during V, ComNet’s virtual conference and beyond.  Galván benefited from having a group of seasoned and talented communications professionals to turn to during the events of 2020. She noted that among the many useful communications tips shared by the V+ speakers and panels, was an important reminder: the secret to building community is to build it with people, not for them. Galván looks forward to bringing the tools and resources she has learned to her work at Crimsonbridge and with its community partners.


Building Belonging, Ally-ship and Organizational Culture with Leadership Greater Washington

December 2020
In July 2020, Program Officer Caitlin Furey Mayo joined over 200 other professionals for the Leadership Greater Washington Anti-Racist Leadership Series, a six-month journey of learning, listening, self-reflection, and skill-building. Mayo found the monthly sessions challenging, thought-provoking, and encouraging – a much-needed space for dialogue and connection during a highly divisive time in our country. One of Mayo’s favorite sessions of the series focused on specific and practical ways that individuals can create cultures of belonging and inclusivity within their organizations. As a former participant in LGW’s Rising Leaders program, Mayo was grateful for this opportunity to continue to grow her leadership skills, engage in vulnerable conversations, and learn concrete strategies for both individual and collective action against systemic racism.


College Completion Colleagues (C3) bring Innovation and Hope to the Field of College Success

December 2020
Convening as partners is a central part of the C3 Initiative. This fall, the leadership and program teams of the six participating direct-service nonprofits and two foundations met to continue sharing practices and ideas to support college success work. On Nov. 18th, Program Officer Robyn Ellis co-hosted a convening where C3 program directors shared innovative programming implemented to respond to immediate and constant barriers to local students’ success. Practices included: direct student support, mental wellness programming, career pathways support, and creative fundraising practices. On December 7th, Ellis and Executive Director Danielle M. Reyes co-facilitated a discussion with the C3 executive leaders that built on the momentum of the last two years. Leaders brainstormed ideas for partnering in new ways, shared data, and offered opportunities to improve persistence and completion for first-generation college students in the region.


Crimsonbridge Leadership Fund Alumni Share Ideas for Leader Engagement

December 2020
Crimsonbridge Foundation and Georgetown’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership (CPNL) teams had this opportunity at a recent virtual listening session with 15 Crimsonbridge Leadership Fund (CLF) alumni of the CPNL’s Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program. Participants shared how the pandemic has pushed them as organizational leaders, from pivoting to provide existing and new services remotely, to expanding their reach, to building more inclusive programming. Based on their input, the Foundation seeks to develop new opportunities for CLF alumni to connect, learn, and celebrate each other’s milestones in leadership.  Since 2016, 81 nonprofit leaders have completed leadership programs and four  program providers have engaged in strategies for more inclusive outreach, through Crimsonbridge Leadership Fund work.


Building Community with ComNet

December 2020
Field, learning with peers from the sector can be a valuable way for nonprofit communications staff to gain insight and skills.  This fall, Communications and Program Officer Abigail Galván participated in the Communication Network’s V+ Community Ambassador Program, for such an opportunity. The program was an experiment and Ambassadors were charged with building community virtually among communications professionals during V, ComNet’s virtual conference and beyond.  Galván benefited from having a group of seasoned and talented communications professionals to turn to during the events of 2020. She noted that among the many useful communications tips shared by the V+ speakers and panels, was an important reminder: the secret to building community is to build it with people, not for them. Galván looks forward to bringing the tools and resources she has learned to her work at Crimsonbridge and with its community partners.


Literacy Continues to Lift Lives

November 2020
Crimsonbridge Foundation’s Executive Director Danielle M. Reyes and Communications and Program Officer Abigail Galván, joined the Literacy Council of Frederick County for their 7th Annual Celebration of Achievements. The virtual program premiered via Facebook where students and volunteers in the tutoring, parent literacy, and workplace literacy programs shared their personal stories in their own words. Danielle engaged in the event through the comments section of Facebook, while Abigail live-tweeted during the event. The celebration concluded with a slide showing the many different achievements students accomplished this year, despite challenges presented by the pandemic. The night was a clear testament to this community partner’s motto: Literacy Lifts Lives!


Supporting the Natural World Around Us

November 2020

In 2019, the Audubon Naturalist Society received support through Crimsonbridge Foundation’s Team Philanthropy program for their Naturally Latinos Conference where executive director, Danielle M. Reyes served as a volunteer on the conference planning committee. This fall, Danielle continued her participation with the organization by completing the Maryland Master Naturalist program. The program engages citizens as stewards of Maryland’s ecosystems through science-based education and volunteer service. Master Naturalist graduates commit 40 hours of volunteer service annually to support ANS education programs, stewardship of Woodend habitats, and conservation outreach. They will also support the Naturally Latinos 3 Conference taking place next month!


Embracing the Newcomer

November 2020
Program Officer Caitlin Furey Mayo participated in a virtual discussion featuring Catholic Charities’ Spanish Catholic Center (SCC) staff members working on the frontlines this year.  This discussion highlighted the creativity, resiliency, and strength of both SCC staff and their clients.  Laura Irwin, the director of the English literacy program, shared how SCC’s transition to virtual learning made classes accessible for students who could not travel to Gaithersburg for in-person classes. In 2019, Crimsonbridge awarded SCC a grant from its English Language Initiatives program to innovate their curriculum and develop a hybrid virtual/in-person ESOL course. This fall, the ESOL program includes students living in Wheaton, Prince George’s County, and even Guatemala!  If you are looking for an in-person or remote volunteer opportunity, please consider volunteering with Catholic Charities.


Celebrating the Achievements of LCNV Students and Staff

October 2020

On October 29, the entire Crimsonbridge Foundation team participated in the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia (LCNV)’s Annual Recognition ceremony. The LCNV team provided a stellar virtual program that featured testimonials and stories from students, staff, volunteers, board members, and community partners and a video message from our executive director, Danielle M. Reyes! This year, the Crimsonbridge Foundation was honored to receive a Community Partner of the Year award for supporting and collaborating with LCNV to expand their innovative Destination Workforce® program. Our team appreciated the opportunity to celebrate with LCNV and provide live tweeting during the event to share highlights with others via social media.


Together for Hope Virtual Youth Expo

September 2020


Program Officer Caitlin Furey Mayo spent an inspiring and energizing evening with Crimsonbridge Bridges for Census partner Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), alongside more than 100 LAYC supporters, staff, families, and youth at their first virtual youth expo. The Expo highlighted how LAYC continues to connect with youth virtually, and celebrated the accomplishments of LAYC youth using a variety of creative mediums: videos from youth and parents, voiceover recordings of youth sharing poems and short stories, displays of photography, artwork, and activism graphics, and more! The theme of the evening, “Reclaiming our Voices: Art, Dreams, Justice,” reminded the expo participants of the importance of safe spaces where youth can come together to grow, learn, and create.  


Abolitionist, Allies, Resistance, and Persistence

August 2020
Program Officer Caitlin Furey Mayo joined Crimsonbridge community partner, DC SCORES to learn about the impact of historical inequalities on the communities where their poet athletes live and learn. DC SCORES partnered with the Sandy Spring Slave Museum to host an expert panel on the topic, which kicked off with a virtual tour of the museum. One of the panelists, a volunteer board member of the museum who also serves as the Director of the Montgomery County Public School’s Equity Initiative, offered four “agreements” for participating in courageous conversations about race:  1) stay engaged, 2) speak your truth, 3) experience discomfort, and 4) expect and accept nonclosure. Participants were also encouraged to consider how to use their power and privilege within their spheres of influence to interrupt systems of oppression. Caitlin looks forward to visiting in-person in the future to learn more about Sandy Spring’s unique role in the history of the Greater Washington region.


Reopening Schools with Latino Families in Mind

August 2020
As schools create plans for the fall, the Catholic School Advantage at the University of Notre Dame brought together Catholic school leaders to offer their perspectives on reopening, with a specific focus on Latino students and families. Program Officer Caitlin Furey Mayo listened alongside leaders to learn about the intentional strategies schools are using to communicate with families during the COVID-19 pandemic.  A central theme that emerged is the importance of consistent and effective communications during this unprecedented time. One principal shared that his school will be creating bilingual videos to help ease parents’ fears and concerns about the upcoming school year.  A superintendent encouraged school leaders to use multiple tools to reach families. Panelists agreed that nothing replaces face-to-face communications and recommended setting up a video call with parents when the technology is available.  Watch the recording of the webinar here.


What You Can Do to Support the 2020 Census

August 2020

As members of the Communications Network and supporters of regional #completecount efforts, Crimsonbridge Program Officers Caitlin Furey and Abigail Galván joined a national conversation to listen for strategies that could be shared with our five Bridges for Census partners.  The webinar, presented in partnership with Fair Count, focused on action steps nonprofits and foundations can take to support the 2020 Census.  Though the COVID-19 pandemic and shortened deadline of September 30th present new and unique challenges to this important effort, Fair Count encouraged participants to view the census as one of the “three pillars of democracy” along with voting and redistricting. Recommendations included focusing on developing creative approaches to virtual outreach, collaborating with peer organizations to maximize impact, and crafting multilingual messages to engage hard-to-count populations. View the full webinar here.


Culture Matters: Creating Culturally Responsive Evidence-based Programs

July 2020

“To serve others is a privilege and requires excellence.” This statement by an Identity team member captures their commitment to culturally responsive programming and evaluation.  For more than 20 years, Identity has built culturally responsive programs tailored to immigrant youth, many of whom have recently arrived from Central America.  During the webinar hosted by Community Science, Identity team members shared key strategies to ensure that programs are culturally responsive, such as: conducting focus groups with the target population, identifying culturally-competent and bilingual program facilitators, and listening to community needs through youth and parent advisory boards.  Hearing from Identity prompted Program Officer Caitlin Furey Mayo to reflect on the strategies that inform our Bridges and Bridges for Schools programs, as we consider how evaluation can improve these programs over time.


Virtual Convenings with College Completion Colleagues (C3) in June

July 2020
A vital component of our three-year C3 Initiative, is connecting as a network. At the request of partners, Crimsonbridge and Scheidel Foundation co-hosted two virtual convenings in June 2020. The first convening engaged executive directors and the second convening brought together the program leaders of the six participating organizations – New Futures, Capital Partners for Education, CollegeTracks, Collegiate Directions, Generation Hope, and College Success Foundation-DC. As the academic world goes virtual,  students, many of whom are first-generation college goers, face additional barriers as they continue to adjust their lives and their academic plans, in order to complete their degree. Despite this, our Program Officer Robyn Ellis was overwhelmingly encouraged to hear leaders’ stories of hope and courage as they not only support each other and their teams, but serve college scholars, their families, and their basic needs.


A Social Justice Town Hall: From Grief to Action

July 2020


On Juneteenth, the Greater Washington Community Foundation hosted a virtual town hall to discuss systemic racism and how the DC community can come together for racial justice.  The town hall featured a conversation between Dr. Rashawn Ray, Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, and the parents of 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, Richard W. Collins Jr. and Dawn Collins. Their son was killed in 2017, in a hate crime, three days before he was set to graduate from Bowie State University.  The Collins now pursue social justice at the local and national level, advocating to change unjust laws and systems.  A message Program Officer Caitlin Furey Mayo heard loud and clear was – educate yourself and VOTE in all local elections!  Watch the full recording here.



Excelencia in Education’s Greater Than Graduation Event

June 2020
On June 5, Excelencia in Education hosted a special virtual graduation event, “Greater than Graduation” to honor 2020 Latino college graduates and their families. The event showcased Latino student success at four-year universities and community colleges across the United States, and shared students’ experiences in college and they prepare for their careers beyond graduation. While cheering on the graduates, Crimsonbridge’s program officer, Robyn Attebury Ellis recognized serious grit, reflection, and transformation in the nine graduates selected for a conversation with Maria Hinojosa, host of Latino USA. Students represented Hispanic Serving Institutions and emerging HSIs, and talked about the challenges they overcame in college, their plans to give back to their communities, how hopeful they are for the future. The Crimsonbridge Foundation supports Excelencia in Education’s ALASS Institute and state research relating to Hispanic Serving Institutions.


Engaging Cross-Sector Leaders During the Pandemic

May 2020


Investing in diverse leadership is an intentional act, one that involves continued outreach, development, and support.  We also believe in the importance of engaging leaders in cross-sector dialogue and solutions. One organization working on these efforts is Leadership Greater Washington (LGW).  As a featured sector leader during one of three LGW Chair’s Virtual Town Halls, Crimsonbridge’s executive director Danielle M. Reyes, shared an update on the pandemic’s impact on philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. Her remarks ended with a call to action for cross-sector solutions, rallying government, private, and nonprofit members to consider how they can support the community personally, professionally, and as sector leaders.



Our Words Our City LIVE!

May 2020


DC SCORES celebrated National Poetry Month with a virtual event featuring performances from their all star cast of poet-athletes and professional spoken word artists. The event was a major success, with over 2,000 viewers tuned in from their homes including Crimsonbridge team members, Danielle M. Reyes and Caitlin Furey Mayo.  Our executive director noted how the virtual event was a fantastic opportunity for those not familiar with DC SCORES to have a free and accessible experience.  Caitlin Furey Mayo, who enjoyed all of the performances, was particularly touched by the poem, “Community,” shared by a 5th grader from Powell Elementary School. If you missed it, you can watch the recording of the event here. 



She Should Run…for office!

April 2020
As a part of its 2020 Road to Run Series, She Should Run is offering webinars breaking down the decision of women to run for office. In the first webinar, “How to Ask a Woman to Run”, program officer Robyn Attebury Ellis learned that women running for political office are just as likely to win as men, but not as likely to be recruited. It shared why women’s representation matters and about common barriers like perceived lack of qualifications, and shared accessible tips for people who know a great leader considering a run. The session, featured a woman running for city leadership and her “power-mapping” process before deciding to run. She Should Run also suggested a piece of homework: for the girls in your life, introduce them to strong women leaders who problem-solve well and get things done. Crimsonbridge Foundation is supporting the expansion of She Should Run’s virtual cohort programming in 2020.


A Moment of Calm with FADICA

April 2020


FADICA brought together members from all over the country for an hour-long virtual “retreat in daily life,” led by Fr. James Martin, a Jesuit priest who lives in New York City. Program Officer Caitlin Furey embraced the opportunity to pause and reflect alongside fellow members of the FADICA community. Participants reflected on the importance of finding community at this time – something that resonates deeply with the Crimsonbridge Foundation. Another suggestion for fostering a spirit of peace during a crisis – end the day in reflection, with a particular emphasis on moments of gratitude, big or small.



Crimsonbridge Leadership Fund leader Kendra Hazel featured on The Kojo Nnamdi show

April 2020


Kendra Hazel, Community Green Spaces Educator at City Blossoms was featured on the legendary Kojo Nnamdi Show today! As a 2019 Rising Leader with our partner Leadership Greater Washington, Kendra has been keeping busy taking care of DC’s community gardens, all deemed essential during the pandemic. The City Blossoms team is continuing to practice social distancing while planting spring crops and are helping to build families’ connection to nature through their free resources available at Crimsonbridge’s executive director Danielle M. Reyes, an avid gardener, tuned in along with program officer, Robyn Attebury Ellis, who was reminded that, “It doesn’t matter if we have a yard or just a window.  If we have about six hours of sunlight, we can make something delicious grow!”



AL1GN online conference shares first-generation experiences during the pandemic

April 2020


This month, our friends at the Alliance for the Low-Income & First-Generation Narrative (AL1GN) moved their popular conference online! Over the past two Saturdays, AL1GN has convened first-gen students and supporters online, creating a supportive space for students to share how they’re managing the fast transition to online education during the pandemic. The content-rich web series has hosted a virtual town hall on institutional responses to COVID-19 and presentations from students on topics such as job searching in the era of coronavirus. Program officer Robyn Attebury Ellis listened in as students offered recommendations for those in the thick of the job search process, including advice about salary negotiation, networking online, and navigating summer internship searches. Explore future sessions at!



Virtual Event Success with the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia

March 2020
Like many nonprofits that had planned events in March, the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia got creative and went virtual with their 2020 A Taste of Literacy. Program officer Caitlin Furey was there participating on social media and watching videos that featured learners, volunteers, and LCNV staff members! The event was an overwhelming success, and LCNV was able to reach 1,200 individuals with their inspiring stories!  LCNV has also pivoted to distance learning and has extended their spring semester to meet the needs of their adult learners.


Generation Hope’s virtual Bedtime Stories for student-parents and their families

April 2020


Generation Hope is adding a little love to bedtime routines for college student-parents and their kids. Once a week, they will be sharing Bedtime Stories Live on their Support Generation Hope Facebook page for their ninety-one scholars, their families, and all their supporters. Last night, after putting one baby to bed, Crimsonbridge program officer Robyn Attebury Ellis tuned in with her four year old son to hear Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, Director of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice read three books with her ten year old daughter. Robyn’s son called the story “super double thumbs up good!” Seeing a mother and child read with each other, to each other, and talk and laugh about the book, was everything. Tune in to Generation Hope’s Bedtime Stories Live next week to hear from their next reader, Senator Chris Van Hollen.



Latin American Youth Center Breakfast for Heroes

February 2020


 The 9th Annual Breakfast for Heroes was an opportunity to start the day with a great breakfast and some inspiration.  Honoring heroes who have contributed to the success of the Latin American Youth Center, the event celebrated the contributions of a Montgomery County Council Member, the Director of Community Engagement at Montgomery College, and the Founder of Neighbors Rising. Program Officer Caitlin Mayo, who recently engaged with LAYC through our Bridges for Census program, appreciated the opportunity to listen to and connect with members of the community who are passionate about lifting up the strengths and assets of our region’s youth.



Catholic Schools Week with the Archdiocese of Washington

January 2020


For more than 40 years, Catholic Schools Week has been a special time for students, families, and staff. This year, at Saint Francis International School in Silver Spring, Maryland, Archbishop Gregory celebrated a beautiful multilingual mass that honored the rich diversity of the school and its 10th anniversary. Program Officer Caitlin Mayo was delighted to join the school community for a festive morning of worship, song, and dance. Saint Francis International School is a partner in Crimsonbridge’s Hispanic Education Imperative.


New Futures Scholar Award Dinner

January 2020


At the Crimsonbridge Foundation, seeing DC students experience success in college is a priority. At the January New Futures Scholar Award Dinner, program officer Robyn Attebury Ellis had the privilege of celebrating several of her former students from the UDC-CC CARE dual enrollment program who are now pursuing associate’s and bachelor’s degrees throughout the region. At the event, New Futures awarded 36 scholarships to students pursuing degrees in a variety of fields including Health Sciences, IT, Education, Construction, Public Service, and Hospitality. Scholars shared their stories, dreams, and noted that thanks to New Futures, they know where to turn when college gets tough.


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