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A Phenomenal Feast at the #CRBistro 

December 7, 2022

Crimsonbridge Program Officers Caitlin Mayo and Robyn Ellis had the pleasure of joining Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School for a Community Culinary Event featuring African dishes prepared by students in the Culinary Arts Training Program. Guests connected with Carlos Rosario staff and sampled dishes like Egusi, Doro Wot, and Kachumbari salad. As part of the Culinary Arts Training Program, instructors train students in a variety of culinary skills, and this event featured student chefs receiving a new certification to reflect their achievements. At the end of the lunch, Carlos Rosario CEO Allison Kokkoros also recognized the students for their contributions to a banquet event earlier in the fall that raised over $100,000 for Carlos Rosario!  

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CDI Learning Academy Hosts Youth Engagement Training 

December 6, 2022

As a part of their Learning Academy series for local practitioners who support students, Crimsonbridge partner Collegiate Directions hosted a virtual session on youth engagement and the importance of building trust using the lenses of positionality and intersectionality. This session considered how students experience interactions with advisors and other staff who are in positions of power, and how nonprofit and school staff can share more about their own identities and paths with students to help build trust-based relationships. Program Officer Robyn Ellis appreciated hearing from some advisors on the call about how they have even built connections with scholars based on their mutual not-knowing about their racial and ethnic and family backgrounds. Collegiate Directions’ Learning Academy is an example of a local nonprofit hosting a professional development space where K-12 and college success practitioners can access and engage with experts on topics like youth engagement, mental health, and student success in a local context.  

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2,000 Girls Brave the Cold to Achieve their 5K Goals 

November 20, 2022

Girls on the Run of Montgomery County and Girls on the Run Washington DC held their respective 5Ks, with more than 2,000 girls running, walking, and skipping to the finish line! As the culmination of Girls on the Run’s 10-week season, the 5K is an opportunity for girls to celebrate their accomplishments with their coaches, parents, teachers, principals, and community members. Both Crimsonbridge Program Officers volunteered at this season’s 5Ks, with Robyn Ellis supporting GOTR DC’s packet pick-up station for coaches and Caitlin Mayo leading a team of volunteers at GOTR MoCo’s post-race refreshment station. Despite the chilly temperatures, the girls seemed proud to cross the finish line and thrilled to dance their hearts out with their fellow team members.   

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She Should Run Celebrates a Record Number of Women Elected in 2022 

November 16, 2022

“The status of women is the status of our future communities,” shared Erin Loos-Cutraro, Founder and CEO of She Should Run, during a virtual briefing on the results of the November elections. Framed by new research that shows why civic engagement remains an important area for investment. The nonpartisan organization highlighted that more women are running for office and more women are on the ballot now than in previous years. A historic number of women were elected, including 31.2% women serving in state legislatures and 12 women governors (24% of all governors). Crimsonbridge team members Danielle M. Reyes and Robyn Ellis felt inspired by the possibilities as She Should Run shared details on new programming and strategic communications offerings that could support millions of women considering a run for public office.

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A New Chapter for the English Empowerment Center

November 9, 2022

The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia hosted an exciting event to unveil its new name, the English Empowerment Center, in front of an audience of 250 learners, volunteers, board members, staff, and community members, including Senior Program Officer Caitlin Mayo. Reflecting on the organization’s 60-year history, Executive Director Roopal Saran highlighted LCNV’s legacy of providing English language instruction to adult learners and shared how the organizational rebrand captures the transformative impact of what they do in the Northern Virginia community and beyond. To hear from learners on how English empowers them, check out this video!

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The Catalogue for Philanthropy Honors Community Changemakers

November 9, 2022

Crimsonbridge President and CEO Danielle M. Reyes and Program Officer Robyn Ellis joined The Catalogue for Philanthropy’s Community Changemakers event. The event was an opportunity for Catalogue featured nonprofits to share and showcase their organization’s work to guests and peers. Amidst the backdrop of exhibits at the Planet Word Museum, the event lit up important stories of organizations that are addressing urgent needs and sparking positive change in our region. A highlight of the event was honoring Rebecca Lemos-Otero, a LeaderBridge alum, Co-Founder of City Blossoms, and Executive Director of HumanitiesDC, who received the Community Changemakers award for her efforts to support and bring people together. As an inaugural funder of the Catalogue for Philanthropy’s Learning Commons, the Crimsonbridge Foundation and its LeaderBridge initiative have supported professional and leadership development programs in partnership with the Catalogue since 2017.   

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Catholic University Celebrates First-Gen Students 

November 8, 2022

Supporting first-generation college student success is a shared priority of Crimsonbridge and our College Success partners. One such local university partner, Catholic University’s Take Flight program, supports students from orientation through graduation, and as many students shared this week, serves as a home away from home. Four years ago, LeaderBridge alum and Director of the Center for Cultural Engagement, Javier Bustamante worked alongside then-student Alyssa Aguirre (pictured), founder of Take Flight, to create a program to nurture their college dreams. Crimsonbridge program officer Robyn Ellis had the privilege of listening to testimonials and reflections from Take Flight students, from first-year students to graduating seniors, about how the program has provided community, peer mentorship, and improved their college experiences. On this National First-Gen College Celebration Day, November 8th, we celebrate the one in three undergraduate students on campuses across the country who are first-generation.  

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Presenting High Impact College Success Funding Strategies to Grantmakers For Education

October 21, 2022

When it comes to improving the college experience and increasing college graduation rates, opportunities abound for philanthropic engagement. After years of grantmaking and investment in research on this topic, Crimsonbridge created The College Completion Gap: An Action Guide for Philanthropy to encourage more funders and donors of all sizes to engage in high impact ways to support college completion. President and CEO, Danielle M. Reyes presented highlights from the Guide at the Grantmakers for Education 2022 Annual Conference in Austin, Texas, alongside Program Officer, Robyn Ellis and former New Futures Executive Director, Julie Green.

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Cultivating Talent Summit at Boston College  

October 2, 2022

Educators, principals, superintendents, researchers, and university and philanthropy professionals gathered at Boston College's Roche Center for Catholic Education for an energizing three days focused on Hispanic educators and leaders in Catholic education. The national summit was informed by research conducted by Drs. Hosffman Ospino and Melodie Wyttenbach, Cultivating Talent: Examining Pathways to Increase the Presence of Hispanic Teachers and Leaders in Catholic Schools. As a philanthropic partner of the research and summit, Crimsonbridge invited six representatives from the Archdiocese of Washington to participate alongside Senior Program Officer Caitlin Mayo. The summit kicked off with a beautiful bilingual mass and included many opportunities for learning, connecting, and brainstorming. Caitlin was honored to speak on a panel with Archbishop Nelson Pérez, Archbishop of Philadelphia, Leticia Oseguera, Superintendent of Diocese of San Diego, and Tommy Espinoza, President of Raza Development Fund. The summit concluded with an invitation for participants to take action in charting a path forward.  

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Celebración de Excelencia Honors 15 Colleges with National Recognition 

September 30, 2022

At its 2022 Celebración de Excelencia event, Crimsonbridge Foundation partner Excelencia in Education recognized six colleges, nine institutions, and four community-based organizations for their evidence-based programs improving Latino student success in higher education. Program Officer Robyn Ellis attended the event which highlighted that disaggregated course level data, faculty representation, and the ability to replicate and scale promising practices in the application process are key to increasing positive outcomes for Latino students. In 2019, Crimsonbridge partnered with Excelencia in Education to support research on Hispanic Serving Institutions and Latino college completion across the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Crimsonbridge currently serves alongside other local and national foundations on its Latino Student Success Funders Group.

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Alexandria Community Celebrates with ACT  

September 29, 2022

Senior Program Officer Caitlin Mayo was thrilled to join her fellow community members in Alexandria for an evening of reconnecting and celebrating at ACT for Alexandria’s Fall Social. For the first time since 2019, ACT gathered nonprofit, government, business, and philanthropic partners in person. It was an opportunity for Caitlin, born and raised in Alexandria, to learn and connect with people engaged in transformative work throughout Alexandria city and county. ACT President and CEO Heather Peeler reflected on the past two years' challenges while highlighting inspiring examples of how Alexandrians came together to respond to crises and move forward with hope.   

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Deep Listening with Leadership Roundtable  

September 22, 2022

Leaders from all over the country came together for the 2022 Catholic Partnership Summit, which featured thought-provoking panels and communal reflection in roundtable conversations. Many speakers emphasized the importance of listening to all members of the Church, especially marginalized voices. For Senior Program Officer Caitlin Mayo, one of the highlights was a panel on the vital role of women's leadership in the Church. Dr. Carolyn Woo, Sr. Teresa Maya, Kathleen McChesney, and Casey Stanton engaged in a vulnerable and courageous conversation about their experiences as women in the Church and challenged participants to consider how the Church might expand leadership roles moving forward. One of the panelists reiterated Pope Francis's call for accompaniment, saying, "it's not enough to be with the other. You have to be for the other." Read about the Leadership Roundtable's Catholic Partnership Summit in the news here. 

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Mental Health in Higher Education Convening 

August 30, 2022

The mental health and wellness of students are factors in college success and completion. Funders, nonprofits, and advocates convened at the end of this summer to discuss the needs, innovations, and opportunities in mental health for higher education as there are direct implications for. The American Council on Education and the Lumina Foundation co-facilitated this day of conversations where the US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy spoke about the collective complex traumas that young people are coping with while they pursue higher learning. Program Officer Robyn Ellis engaged with regional and national foundations with funding priorities in mental health and wellness and learned about work being done by national organizations to respond to students’ and colleges’ needs. In 2021, a third of Crimsonbridge’s College Success grant-making supported the development and expansion of mental health and wellness resources as part of comprehensive strategy to increase college completion rates.

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ComNetworkDC Happy Hour Connects Communications Professionals

June 29, 2022

Crimsonbridge President and CEO Danielle M. Reyes and Philanthropy Fellow Paige Collazo attended an in-person networking event hosted by ComNetworkDC, an affinity group of DMV-area communications professionals working at nonprofits and foundations. The member-organized event provided Communications Network members a space to reconnect and talk all things communications, marketing, and branding. Paige, who plans on studying journalism in college, gained valuable insight by connecting with people who had majored in journalism in college and are now working in the nonprofit sector in various roles. Danielle had the opportunity to share information on communications opportunities at the Foundation, including the Communications Manager position.

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IGNITE Network Unites in DC 

June 27, 2022

Program Officer Robyn Ellis had the privilege of meeting Crimsonbridge partner, IGNITE National staff, volunteers, and friends in person this June at the Young Women Run DC Conference, IGNITE the Capitol. IGNITE convened young women leaders for a three-day conference that provided media and strategic communications training and facilitated connections to elected leaders in Congress and young professionals interested in running for office to build their networks. Throughout the evening, leaders declared their intentions to run and shared their experiences running for local and state offices, starting college chapters, and registering others to vote. Participants were inspired by guest speakers’ messages to start their journey to public office before they think they’re ready and committed to staying engaged and supporting other women running. IGNITE is supported through Crimsonbridge’s Women and Girls Leadership and Civic Engagement program.  

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Generation Hope's 2022 Virtual Graduation – Hope for the Future

June 23, 2022

Operations and Grants Manager Danielle (Dani) Verbiest recently attended Generation Hope's Virtual Graduation. The event celebrated 31 student-parent Scholars who earned a post-secondary degree through their commitment, resilience, sacrifices, and determination. The evening featured inspirational testimonials from mentors and heartwarming messages from children. Student-parents face many barriers in college, and scholarships alone are not enough to help students graduate. Generation Hope's multigenerational approach provides the support student-parents need to graduate, from career counseling and mental health services to early childhood education for their young children. We congratulate all Generation Hope graduates (and their children) on their incredible accomplishments and welcome the new class of 65 students, Generation Hope's largest incoming class to date. 

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LeaderBridge Network Welcomes 5 Leaders from the 2022 Georgetown Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program!

June 15, 2022

For a sixth year, LeaderBridge has partnered with the Georgetown University Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership (CPNL) to support the participation of local nonprofit leaders in their Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program. This summer’s five LeaderBridge participants include Genesis Lazo of Just Neighbors, Marilyn Lovo of AYUDA, Paula Thomason of N Street Village, Paloma Martinez of La Cocina VA, and Yareli Urbina of the CAIR Coalition. LeaderBridge team members Danielle M. Reyes and Robyn Ellis met with the leaders in June and heard how the program supported each of their professional goals and how they are using skills and information to support a culture of progress anchored in collective care for their organizations. Leaders also shared how adaptations in nonprofits in recent years have led to new promotions, transitions, and growth opportunities for many within their organizations. CPNL is a current partner of LeaderBridge, an initiative of the Crimsonbridge Foundation. Learn more at  

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College Success Foundation DC Adapts for the Future  

May 25, 2022

Crimsonbridge and C3 Initiative partner, the College Success Foundation DC (CSF-DC) hosted a meet and greet with recently appointed Executive Director, Lester McKee. In this conversation with the CSF-DC staff, board, and funders, Lester shared his vision to continue to support first-generation student success by increasing engagement with district, college, and industry partners, and being more responsive to the unique needs of students and families in Wards 7 and 8 and beyond. CSF-DC has continuously adapted its programming to significantly improve the lives of DC high school students, scholars pursuing a degree, and graduates. In its next phase, the organization’s leader shared he brings a “healthy sense of courage,” a focus on education equity, and is ready to keep building for the thousands of scholars they serve in Washington, DC.   

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Talking Foundations with Emerging Nonprofit Leaders  

May 20, 2022

The Center for Nonprofit Advancement, a LeaderBridge partner, invited Senior Program Officer Caitlin Mayo to lead a session as part of the "Fundraising and Finances" day of their Executive Preparation Institute (EPI). The EPI is a six-month leadership development program for emerging nonprofit leaders in the Greater Washington region. Drawing on her experience working at nonprofits before joining the Crimsonbridge Foundation, Caitlin led a discussion on the grantmaking process, building meaningful relationships with program officers, and using social media as a leadership tool. This year's EPI cohort of twenty professionals includes five LeaderBridge participants: Sakinda Skinner of Neighborhood Legal Services Program, Fatima Bah of Calvary Women's Services, Stacy Lewis of APIA Scholars, Le'Anetta Obasanjo of Seabury Resources for Aging, and Sheree Moore of the Progressive Life Center.

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Mental Wellness for Student Success 

May 4, 2022

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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. 

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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. 

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LeaderBridge Network Welcomes 4 Leaders from the 2022 Spring CPNL Cohort!

April 1, 2022

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.

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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.

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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.

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Learning Together at the FADICA Annual Meeting  

March 1, 2022

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.  

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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!” 

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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.   

CS photo/Andrew Biraj


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!  

Expanding Bridges for Schools to the Dio

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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