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#Community is the Crimsonbridge Foundation’s commitment to participate, engage, listen, and learn with the communities we support. It is a team driven initiative designed to develop relationships with community partners that go beyond grant proposals. Through #community we engage directly with grantee community partners to better understand challenges, identify solutions, leverage new resources, celebrate success, and build community. It is our approach to philanthropy and community partnership.
A Morning Volunteering with Girls on the Run of Montgomery County
November 19, 2023
Every spring and fall, Girls on the Run of Montgomery County (GOTR MoCo) offers a 10-week program that culminates in a 5K for all the girls who participated in the program. Each girl is accompanied by a buddy – parents, family members, teachers, school staff, coaches, and community volunteers run or walk alongside the girls as they reach their goal of completing a 5K. The 5K is a celebration of achievement for thousands of girls living in Montgomery County. Senior Program Officer Caitlin Mayo serves on both the GOTR MoCo Advisory Council and the 5K Committee, and this year she volunteered as the Post-Race Refreshments Captain. As a former staff member of GOTR MoCo, Caitlin looks forward to the 5K each season as an opportunity to reconnect with a mission that she is passionate about – empowering girls to achieve their full potential!
Crimsonbridge Participates in National Catholic Education Convening
November 15, 2023
Crimsonbridge’s Gabriela Smith, Danielle M. Reyes, and Caitlin Mayo attended a Catholic Schools Revitalization Convening, hosted by Leadership Roundtable in partnership with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The convening engaged bishops, Catholic education advocates and leaders, and education funders in vibrant discussions on the future of Catholic education, featuring innovative and successful models that addressed sustainability and enrollment. Crimsonbridge team members shared the importance of Spanish language communications capacity building and welcoming strategies that are successfully increasing Hispanic enrollment and engagement. Another highlight of the trip was reconnecting with Bishop Mario Dorsonville of Houma-Thibodaux, who worked closely with the foundation in his former role as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington.
Washington Area Women's Foundation Hosts an #AskHer Conversation on New Report "Thrive As They Lead"
November 9, 2023
The Washington Area Women's Foundation (WAWF) hosted an #AskHer discussion to discuss their new groundbreaking report titled "Thrive As They Lead: Advancing the Infrastructure to Support Black Women Leaders in the D.C. Metro Area Nonprofit Sector. As an organization that is advancing economic security for women and girls in the Greater Washington region, WAWF convened a dynamic group of Black women leaders who addressed the broad under-resourcing of leaders in this region as well as investment opportunities to better support leaders. The panelists raised specific strategies to promote executive leader retention, board support, wellness and healing, and fair compensation. The leaders highlighted in this conversation were: Tamara Wilds Lawson, President & CEO of WAWF; Indira Henard, Executive Director of the DC Rape Crisis Center; Tonia Wellons, President & CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation; and Koube Ngaaje, President & CEO of District Alliance for Safe Housing. Crimsonbridge staff Caitlin Mayo and Robyn Attebury Ellis tuned in, attentive to the call for philanthropy to listen to and support an ecosystem of support for Black women leaders so that more DMV nonprofit leaders can thrive.
IGNITE Releases National Research on Gen Z’s Political Participation and Critical Issues
November 9, 2023
Partner IGNITE hosted a briefing on the release of new data on the political participation of Gen Z. Results featured in this national research came from a cross-section of 1,298 respondents from 49 states and DC. Program Officer Robyn Attebury Ellis tuned in to learn about the research, which highlighted changing demographics from previous years. Gen Z is now the most racially diverse generation in US history, more LGBTQIA (36% of survey respondents), and increasingly Independent in their political affiliations. Additionally, Gen Z Americans are calling for change in issue areas such as: mass shootings, healthcare, mental health, education, racial inequality, abortion, and climate change. Many young people are turning out to vote – with IGNITE alums noting a growing momentum for Gen Z college students. IGNITE CEO Sara Guillermo said, "Gen Z-ers are activated civically in a whole new way,” and shared the 8+ ways that Gen Z women are demonstrating their political engagement in 2024, including volunteering for campaigns, encouraging people to vote, running for office, attending community meetings, using social media to bring attention to an issue, and discussing public affairs with friends and family.
LeaderBridge Team Presents At Exponent Philanthropy Conference
October 18, 2023
The LeaderBridge team presented a 75-minute session titled "Actionable Ways to Support Nonprofit Leaders of Color" to a packed room of lean foundation peers attending the national Exponent Philanthropy Annual 2023 Conference in Baltimore. President and CEO, Danielle M. Reyes, Senior Program Officer Caitlin Mayo, and Program Officer Robyn Attebury Ellis had the opportunity to design and lead a session detailing short- and long-term strategies for funders interested in strategically supporting the leadership development goals of nonprofit leaders of color. Informed by feedback LeaderBridge alumni have shared with our team over the past 8 years, the LeaderBridge initiative has grown to support more than 170 nonprofit leaders in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, from over 130 locally serving nonprofits, and has partnered with twelve leadership development program providers to build welcoming and inclusive outreach and communications practices.
Crimsonbridge presents at EdFunders 2023 with the Center for First-generation Student Success
October 11, 2023
At the 2023 EdFunders Annual Conference in Atlanta, President and CEO Danielle M. Reyes opened two funder snapshot sessions focused on first-generation college student research presented by Dr. Sarah Whitley of NASPA's Center for First-Gen Student Success. Program Officer Robyn Attebury Ellis also led a conversation with Dr. Whitley and Jonathan T. Reid of the ECMC Foundation, sharing insights and specific ways foundation leaders are using this research to inform grantmaking and engagement with institutions of higher education and community-based organizations. Throughout the conference, connecting with foundation members and nonprofit leaders and attending sessions focused on justice and thriving filled our cups. For Robyn, a highlight was the annual dinner hosted by the Postsecondary Access and Attainment (or PSA2) Impact Group where she was named an incoming co-chair of the steering committee, along with Jenny Achilles of the Trellis Foundation and Jonathan T. Reid of the ECMC Foundation.
The Crimsonbridge Foundation is a member of the philanthropic association, Grantmakers for Education.
A Catholic School Celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month
September 15, 2023
“It was a joy!” commented Senior Program Officer Caitlin Furey Mayo on joining Bridges for Schools partner St. Martin of Tours Catholic School for a mass celebrated by Cardinal Gregory in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. School staff planned a beautiful, bilingual mass that honored the many cultures represented in the school’s Hispanic community. In honor of the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Cardinal Gregory spoke in his homily about the special devotions of Latino Catholics to Our Lady. He praised the diversity of St. Martin of Tours, saying, "our youthful Hispanic community lives in unity, in peace, and in love." After mass, Caitlin caught up with partners from the Archdiocese of Washington's Catholic Schools Office and Office of Cultural Diversity who were also in attendance for this celebratory occasion.
Learning Forest Resiliency Efforts by Rock Creek Conservancy
August 16, 2023
Special Projects & Executive Assistant Sarah Babins and President & CEO Danielle M. Reyes attended a virtual update from Rock Creek Conservancy on its Forest Resilience Framework. Executive Director Jeanne Braha and the RCC team presented a scorecard on the park’s natural resources and a park-wide framework for forest restoration and management that will offer a roadmap for equitable adaptive management of the forests. This plan will build on several existing elements to engage park visitors and community members in people-powered restoration, i.e., responsible recreation and active stewardship of Rock Creek’s forests. Rock Creek Conservancy is one of Crimsonbridge’s Environmental Sustainability community partners.
Rock Creek Conservancy Reaches Neighbors through Community Care Day
August 3, 2023
Crimsonbridge President and CEO Danielle M. Reyes and volunteer Ava Neretic volunteered as representatives of Rock Creek Conservancy at a recent Community Care Day event in the Crestwood neighborhood of Washington, DC. The outdoor event created an accessible opportunity for nonprofits, DC agencies, and the Ward 4 council member's office, to share information about programs and services with community members steps from their homes. Loaded with handouts and QR codes, Danielle and Ava shared updates on the Conservancy’s work, its popular Summer in the Park series, the Carter Barron Alliance, and year-round volunteer opportunities. Rock Creek Conservancy is a 2023 community partner in Crimsonbridge’s Environmental Sustainability program.
An Introduction to Environmental Advocacy
July 19, 2023
Nature Forward hosted a Conservation & Environmental Advocacy 101 training. Over the course of the afternoon, President & CEO Danielle M. Reyes, Philanthropy Fellow Paige Collazo, and Special Projects Assistant Sarah Babins participated in this interactive, online event to become more informed advocates for Environmental Sustainability. Staff heard from local DMV-area organizations and private citizens who are working towards solutions to environmental issues, and learned how coalition building can be challenging but necessary to move solutions forward and achieve positive change. As a speaker shared during the training, “Protecting the environment is not a marathon. It’s a relay race. It’s important to pass on your knowledge and skills to others so that we can carry the work together, forward.” Nature Forward is one of Crimsonbridge’s Environmental Sustainability community partners.
Aspiring Leaders Come Together for IGNITE’s Young Women Run 2023 Networking Reception
July 18, 2023
Crimsonbridge President and CEO Danielle M. Reyes and Philanthropy Fellow Paige Collazo attended the Young Women Run Networking Reception hosted by the Foundation’s community partner, IGNITE National. As part of IGNITE’s three-day Young Women Run conference, this event was an opportunity for women from all over the country to flex their political power and network with legislators from Capitol Hill. The goal of the conference was to put a national spotlight on Gen Z women who are challenging traditional social norms and helping their peers harness their political power to make change. The networking event featured a conversation between award-winning Washington Post Journalist Jacqueline Allemany and Youth Activist Mana Shooshtari about increasing Gen Z involvement in politics. Paige, an incoming journalism student at the University of Southern California, appreciated the opportunity to network and received valuable advice about studying in the journalism field and ways to get more involved. IGNITE is supported through Crimsonbridge’s Women and Girls Leadership and Civic Engagement program area.
Celebrating the Generation Hope FamilyU Cohort
July 12, 2023
Crimsonbridge Foundation President & CEO Danielle M. Reyes attended the Generation Hope FamilyU Cohort Celebration recognizing the accomplishments of the first cohort. FamilyU is a comprehensive, customized, evidence-based, two-year capacity-building experience designed to build and refine institutional competencies to improve student-parent success. As part of this cohort, local Washington D.C. regional institutions, George Mason University, Montgomery College, Northern Virginia Community College, and Trinity Washington University, advance and propel student success efforts by creating deep institutional change that results in improved student-parent outcomes. Generation Hope is supported through Crimsonbridge’s College Success program area.
DC Bar Foundation Avenues to Justice
July 12, 2023
As Vice President of the DC Bar Foundation Board, Crimsonbridge Foundation President & CEO Danielle M. Reyes was honored to address attendees of the Young Lawyers Network’s Annual Avenues to Justice event. Hosted by the Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council, the event’s primary goal is to raise funds and awareness, contributing to community well-being and good outcomes for DC residents facing life-changing legal, medical, and social issues. Danielle brings more than 20 years of grantmaking experience to her service on the DC Bar Foundation Board of Directors.
Advancing Leadership with Leadership Montgomery Emerging Leaders
June 21, 2023
President & CEO Danielle M. Reyes and Program Officer Robyn Attebury Ellis connected with Leadership Montgomery Emerging Leader alums, to speak about LeaderBridge continuing opportunities and hear feedback directly from leaders about their leadership development needs. Emerging Leaders is a nine-month, dynamic, professional development program that provides mid-level professionals between 25-35 years of age with the skills and connections necessary for success. LeaderBridge has supported 17 leaders who have completed the Leadership Montgomery Emerging Leaders program since 2019.
Connecting with LeaderBridge Alums at Georgetown
June 14 & 15, 2023
President & CEO Danielle M. Reyes met up with the LeaderBridge leaders of the Georgetown Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership (CPNL) Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate summer 2023 group, including Jerome Chambers, Jr, Chrissey Nguyen Klockner, and Maryam Trowell.
The following day, Danielle and Senior Program Officer, Caitlin Mayo, joined these leaders and program alum for the first CPNL Alumni BBQ. The gathering was a chance to meet nonprofit leaders from across the country and reconnect with LeaderBridge alums including Kitchen of Purpose’s Director of Operations, Daniela Hurtado, and Programs Manager Paloma Martinez.
The partnership between LeaderBridge and Georgetown’s Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership since 2015 has graduated 77 leaders from this leadership program. LeaderBridge works together with nonprofit leaders and program partners to meet the leadership development interests of leaders of color and of diverse backgrounds to foster a more connected and collaborative leadership network.
Learning Alongside D.C.’s Adult Public Charter Schools
May 23, 2023
Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School collaborated with the D.C. Policy Center to host a release event for its recent report, A landscape of D.C.’s adult public charter schools: Who they serve, how they serve, and what they achieve. The report focuses on D.C.’s nine adult-serving public charter schools that provide opportunities for adult learners to improve their English language skills, earn high school equivalency certificates, and enroll in workforce development programs. Senior Program Officer Caitlin Mayo connected with community partners, including Carlos Rosario International PCS and the Family Place, and heard from an expert panel that included staff and student voices from several adult public charter schools. Adult learners make up 5% of all public school students in DC.
PEAK2023: Learning, Sharing, and Evolving
May 8-10, 2023
The PEAK Grantmaking community reunited May 8–10 in Baltimore and virtually with a record number of 1,244 participants for its first in-person annual convening since 2019. Over the course of three days, Operations and Grants Manager Danielle Verbiest joined fellow grantmaking professionals on a collective learning journey exploring ways to make grantmaking more equitable and effective. Programming was robust and included sessions on:
The role of grants managers as strategic partners;
Aligning grantmaking practices with strategy, values, and culture;
Assessing nonprofit financial health in today’s context;
Designing a values-driven financial review process; and
Creating and maintaining organizational communities of care in philanthropy.
Verbiest enjoyed connecting, learning, and sharing with peers how to reimagine and lead the operationalization of effective and equitable grantmaking practices.
MCAEL Annual Grown-Up Spelling Bee
May 3, 2023
Operations and Grants Manager Danielle Verbiest was excited to attend the Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy (MCAEL)’s 8th Annual Grown-Up Spelling Bee. Back in person for the first time in several years, this event raised awareness and funds to support the Coalition’s adult English language programs as teams competed in a fun and exciting spelling contest. MCAEL, together with 60 adult ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and literacy service programs, works to strengthen the community by helping approximately 11,000 Montgomery County residents gain the English literacy skills needed to reach their potential as parents, workers, and community members. As an immigrant, English language learner, and former Executive Director of a local literacy organization, Verbiest knows firsthand how English language proficiency can be a tool for success, and she is proud to work for a foundation that partners with and supports the efforts of MCAEL and other English language initiatives in the region.
Local Action, Global Impacts: How We Can Address Climate Change at Home
April 26, 2023
Bringing together a panel of inspiring women in government, policy, and business, She Should Run hosted its first-ever conversation on climate change. The webinar was an opportunity for women in office or considering a run for public office to learn about sustainable leadership practices, crafting a compelling public message, and learning from failure. As one speaker noted, climate change is a threat multiplier and destabilizer for all communities. Finding the motivators that help people make a personal connection to the effects of climate change are significant to motivate them to get involved every day. Crimsonbridge’s Danielle M. Reyes and Sarah Babins, who work on the foundation’s Environmental Sustainability program area, appreciated the following takeaways: Focus on opportunity messaging, stay positive, maintain optimism, and share solutions!
Diving into Data with ACT for Alexandria and Venture Philanthropy Partners
April 20, 2023
Local funders and donors gathered for a data summit focused on youth outcomes in Northern Virginia. The event was hosted by ACT for Alexandria and Venture Philanthropy Partners and highlighted the diversity of Northern Virginia and its various jurisdictions. The data presented by Child Trends reveals deep ongoing disparities in youth outcomes across race, gender, and socioeconomic status. Crimsonbridge staff members Caitlin Mayo and Sarah Babins, who reside in Virginia, participated in the event alongside funding and nonprofit peers.
Speed Networking with LGW Rising Leaders
April 6, 2023
“Meeting rising leaders from our region’s nonprofit sector always inspires and reminds me why investing in leadership development is so important,” said President and CEO Danielle M. Reyes after joining Leadership Greater Washington’s Rising Leaders Program as a special guest. The Speed Networking session, led by Mary Abbajay of CareerStone, offered participants a chance to practice their skills and was followed by a happy hour where the networking continued. The event gave Reyes the chance to meet and get to know this year’s four outstanding Rising Leaders participating through #LeaderBridgeDC.
An Inspiring Evening Featuring Women Filmmakers
February 2, 2023
The Girls on the Run of Montgomery County (GOTR MoCo) Advisory Council hosted their annual LUNAFEST event to raise funds for scholarships and running shoes for girls in Montgomery County. LUNAFEST is always an uplifting evening featuring the voices and talent of diverse women filmmakers. Crimsonbridge Senior Program Officer Caitlin Mayo joined her fellow Advisory Council members in planning and hosting the event for more than 100 GOTR MoCo supporters, including volunteer coaches, board members, and alums of the program. Guests left the event feeling empowered and inspired by the stories presented by LUNAFEST.
Taking Nature Black Conference
March 8, 2023
Led by Nature Forward, this year’s Taking Nature Black conference was themed “Belonging: Engaged and Empowered,” focused on the needs and interests of Black nature professionals, environmental justice advocates, educators, and outdoor enthusiasts. President and CEO, Danielle M. Reyes, attended in preparation of the launch our new Environmental Sustainability program and was inspired, energized, and able to connect to a growing community of people working to achieve real environmental change. A highlight of her experience was reconnecting with author Caroline Brewer, who did a special reading of her poetic and powerful book, Say Their Names.
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.
Celebrating Catholic Schools Week with a Bilingual Book Launch
January 31, 2023
Crimsonbridge President and CEO Danielle M. Reyes and Senior Program Officer Caitlin Mayo celebrated Catholic Schools Week 2023 with Sacred Heart School, the only bilingual Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Washington and one of Crimsonbridge’s Bridges for Schools partners. Sacred Heart hosted a Publishing Party at the Mt. Pleasant Library to celebrate the release of Historias y Dibujos, a collection of Spanish essays written by the middle school students about their families' migration stories. The 8th grade students took turns reading from the newly published book, with many proud family members, teachers, and Catholic Schools Office leaders in attendance. Congratulations to the students and staff of Sacred Heart on this fantastic achievement! The book is available for purchase on Amazon here.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Watch the Virtual Graduation here: https://youtu.be/L4ocpiln0ng
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 https://www.leaderbridgedc.org/.
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.
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.
Mental Wellness for Student Success
May 4, 2022
Crimsonbridge Foundation team members Robyn Ellis, Caitlin Mayo, and Danielle (Dani) Verbiest joined community partner Collegiate Directions (CDI) for a screening and panel discussion of the documentary Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety. The film offers a powerful collection of voices of teens, parents, educators, and experts addressing the causes of anxiety, the differences between healthy anxiety and anxiety disorders, the sociological and academic impacts, and tools and strategies to help ourselves and others. This online event kicked off CDI’s new Learning Academy which provides practitioners, students, and their families with resources focused on mental health and wellness to support college access and completion. We celebrate CDI for its efforts to destigmatize mental health issues through awareness and to create safe spaces for students through its Wellness Program. Crimsonbridge is currently invested in this work through the College Success program.
IWPR Convenes Influential Leaders from Across Sectors at Power+ Summit
April 28, 2022
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) hosted the Power+ Summit this April, sponsored in part by the Crimsonbridge Foundation. This hybrid Summit took place in San Francisco and focused on power, systems change, and opportunities in sports, politics, justice, business, technology, the economy, philanthropy, representation, and family. President and CEO Danielle M. Reyes and Program Officer Robyn Attebury Ellis tuned in to hear speakers’ insightful “moonshots” - their wishes for how various stakeholders can take collective action and offer solutions that benefit people, families, and communities. Philanthropic giving to women and girls issues in the United States is currently at just 2% of overall giving, and Crimsonbridge believes philanthropy has an even bigger role to play in supporting representation and power for women and girls. The Foundation works with local and national partners, including IWPR, through its Women and Girls Leadership and Civic Engagement program.
LeaderBridge Network Welcomes 5 Leaders from the 2022 Executive Preparation Institute Cohort!
April 27, 2022
LeaderBridge is partnering with the Center for Nonprofit Advancement to support the participation of five leaders who were selected for the 2022 cohort of the Executive Preparation Institute (EPI)! These five leaders will join the LeaderBridge Network – Le’Anetta Obasanjo of Seabury Resources for Aging, Sheree Moore of Progressive Life Center, Fatima Bah of Calvary Women’s Services, Sakinda Skinner of Neighborhood Legal Services Program, and Stacy Lewis formerly of Millennial Action Project. The LeaderBridge team hosted a virtual meet and greet with the participating leaders where program officer Robyn Ellis heard how useful the DISC assessment, networking, and information-sharing has been for the leaders and their teams. EPI faculty have also shared a wealth of resources on board governance and engagement. The Center for Nonprofit Advancement’s EPI is a current partner of LeaderBridge, an initiative of the Crimsonbridge Foundation that works together with nonprofit leaders and program partners to meet the leadership development interests of leaders of color and of diverse backgrounds underrepresented in the Greater Washington region.
LeaderBridge Network Welcomes 4 Leaders from the 2022 Spring CPNL Cohort!
Congratulations to the leaders in the spring 2022 cohort of Georgetown University’s Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership, Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program who graduated this April! Among them, we’re pleased to welcome several new LeaderBridge alumni – Dani Faulkner of Baltimore Corps, Lizzi Lineal of The Family Place, Rafael Woldeab of City Blossoms, and Sanjay Mitchell of Thurgood Marshall PCS. The Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership wrapped a spring of monthly virtual sessions in April with participants wanting to stay engaged with their cohort-mates. On behalf of the LeaderBridge team, program officer Robyn Ellis connected with the four leaders and learned that they had especially enjoyed the experiential learning lab that allowed them to put ideas into an action plan for their organizations. CPNL is a current partner of LeaderBridge, an initiative of the Crimsonbridge Foundation to that works together with nonprofit leaders and program partners to meet the leadership development interests of leaders of color and of diverse backgrounds underrepresented in the leadership of the Greater Washington region.
Learning Together at the FADICA Annual Meeting
Gabriela Smith, Danielle M. Reyes, and Caitlin Mayo of the Crimsonbridge Foundation joined Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities (FADICA) for their first hybrid annual membership meeting, featuring presenters and panelists from across the globe. The annual meeting is an occasion for members to learn about each other’s work and discuss issues, opportunities, and innovations related to Catholic education, parish vitality, the environment, mission-driven investing, and more. Senior Program Officer Caitlin Mayo presented an update to the Catholic Schools Affinity Group on a new research report focused on Hispanic teachers and leaders in Catholic education, published by the Roche Center at Boston College. Crimsonbridge Founder and Executive Chair, Gabriela Smith serves on the board of directors of FADICA.
Exponent Philanthropy Panel on Relationships
March 16, 2022
Exponent Philanthropy hosted its annual panel for its Next Gen Fellows on how foundations can build trust and strong relationships with community partners. Crimsonbridge is a member of Exponent Philanthropy and Program Officer Robyn Ellis was invited to share her perspective as a panelist. As the Next Gen Fellows discussed how to connect with grantee partners while balancing other work responsibilities, panelists shared how relationship-building plays a key role in achieving impact. Crimsonbridge Foundation operates as a true community partner. In addition to investing grant funding it supports partnerships through technical assistance, leadership development, social media engagement, and communications support. Related to this approach, Robyn shared her experiences in cultivating these relationships in grant-making, and shared tips for engaging partners authentically.
Ten Strong: Women of Barry Farm-Hillsdale in Anacostia
March 10, 2022
This Women's History Month, the Crimsonbridge Foundation's team joined Washington School for Girls for "Ten Strong: Women of Barry Farm-Hillsdale in Anacostia," a special webinar in their Our Girls, Our World series. Based on a book written and presented by Smithsonian curator and historian Alcione Amos, we learned about the remarkable lives of ten women from Barry Farm-Hillsdale Anacostia, home to a number of the school's students. Launched during the pandemic, the Our Girls, Our World series has created virtual opportunities for the school's community to learn together beyond the classroom. For the Crimsonbridge team listening alongside teachers, students, and board members was a welcome opportunity to learn more about incredible local women and the history of our region. Washington School for Girls is a Women and Girls Leadership and Civic Engagement community partner.
Collegiate Directions Convenes Counselor Collaborative
February 25, 2022
Over the last several years, community partner Collegiate Directions, Inc. (CDI) has been developing and curating professional development resources for counselors who are working with high school and college students in DC and Maryland. As a part of their new Counselor Collaborative series, CDI convened a group of counselors in February to connect with three local college programs supporting first-generation student success. Featured programs included Crimsonbridge partner Catholic University’s Take Flight Program led by LeaderBridge alum, Javier Bustamante, the TRIO Program at Frostburg State University, and the First Generation Network at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. As campuses across the country invest in advising, retaining, and supporting college students’ basic needs and academic wellness, these three programs are engaging students and prioritizing practices that build community in different ways than before the pandemic. As program officer, Robyn Attebury Ellis noted after the event, “Our College Success partners are serving and supporting thousands of first-generation students in the Greater Washington region in truly meaningful ways!”
Celebrating Faith, Excellence, and Service in Catholic Schools #CSW22
February 4, 2022
Catholic Schools Week is a time for students, families, staff, and supporters to come together as a community to celebrate the incredible work of their schools. Growing up, Senior Program Officer Caitlin Furey Mayo participated in many Catholic Schools Weeks, first at St. Mary's in Alexandria and then at Georgetown Visitation in DC. As a young student, Caitlin looked forward to the school spirit activities each winter, which included delicious treats, dress-down days, and acts of appreciation for members of the school community. This year, Caitlin was grateful to accept two invitations to participate with Crimsonbridge partners. She started the week joining Education Imperative partner Elizabeth Seton High School for a virtual mass celebrated by Msgr. Ray East. His wonderful homily on faith, excellence, and service, which had Caitlin reflecting with gratitude on her own experiences in Catholic schools. She ended the week with Bridges for Schools partner St. Bartholomew School which hosted a fun and active virtual religion bee for its very enthusiastic 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders!
Make Time to Connect with Foundation Peers
February 3, 2022
During a busy workday, a virtual networking meeting can suddenly seem like an optional event, passed over for the sake of reclaiming a needed work hour. However, President and CEO Danielle M. Reyes reminded herself that intentionally connecting and learning from others is a core value that we do not easily dismiss. She decided to jump into an Exponent Philanthropy Virtual Roundtable and found herself in a breakout session with a staff member of the Ausherman Family Foundation. The two ended up talking until the platform was closed down, 20 minutes after the event had ended! Having a shared interest in leadership development, Danielle sought out information to connect more nonprofit leaders of color from Frederick County to the Crimsonbridge Foundation’s LeaderBridge program. The Ausherman staff member was eager to learn about LeaderBridge and proposed Crimsonbridge present it during an upcoming funders meeting in the county. “Not only was it a fun and fruitful conversation, it led to connections that will help both foundations better support the region’s nonprofit sector.” said Reyes. Exponent Philanthropy is a membership organization that seeks to amplify and increase the impact of lean funders by building an inclusive community where they can learn, connect, and collaborate.
Foundant Coffee Talk with Funder Peers
February 2, 2022
Crimsonbridge has engaged with partners virtually in the last year, and we continue to value these connections in 2022. Program officer Robyn Ellis participated in a conversation with funders in the Foundant community this month on building connections with grantee partners, donors, and staff during the pandemic. Over half of the program officers and foundation leaders tuning into the discussion work in small teams in a virtual or hybrid model. With less time in the community, participants shared they are providing new virtual forms of technical assistance and access points for community partners, including options for similar nonprofits to meet informally with foundation staff and supporting affinity groups by grant program area. These meetings have led to new collaboration among partners, new opportunities, and more accessible grant reporting. Crimsonbridge joins its peers as we look for new ways to engage with our community partners and serve in our role as convener and thought partner where it makes sense.
New Futures Scholar Award Dinner
January 27, 2022
Operations and Grants Manager Danielle (Dani) Verbiest attended the New Futures’ annual Scholar Award Dinner to learn more about this partner. The virtual event celebrated 17 new and five second-time Scholars pursuing Associate’s and Bachelor‘s degrees and professional certifications. It featured two inspiring students who spoke about the impact of the mentorship and sense of community New Futures offers them. Supports like these, in addition to scholarships, have helped these students pursue their dreams and build their futures. The event also highlighted community partners who support and connect these students to New Futures, including Crimsonbridge partners Carlos Rosario International PCS, Capital Partners for Education, CollegeTracks, and Liberty’s Promise. This community support network builds connections and collaborations that improve the lives of students. We congratulate all New Futures Scholars on their outstanding achievements and the partners supporting them.
Watch the Scholar Award Dinner here: Scholar Award Dinner - January 2022 - YouTube
She Should Run Happy Hour Connects Women Considering Elected Office
January 19, 2022
To kick off the new year, Crimsonbridge partner She Should Run hosted a virtual happy hour for women considering a run for elected office in the upcoming year. Program Officer (and Local School Advisory Team member) Robyn Ellis tuned into the event designed to break down barriers of isolation that many women in the She Should Run community have felt during the pandemic. Participants set intentions for upcoming campaigns, discussed how to engage their networks and raise funds, and shared strategies for supporting their mental health and wellness. Beyond the bipartisan cohort trainings and resources that She Should Run offers to women considering a run for elected office, we appreciate the value of these informal points of connection and belonging for women’s leadership and civic engagement. Spaces like this happy hour offer women an opportunity to talk through fears, celebrate accomplishments, and meet other women from all backgrounds and levels of experience who are working to make a difference.
Listening to Leaders
January 11, 2022
In January, LeaderBridge co-hosted a listening session with the Washington Area Women's Foundation, a Women and Girls Leadership and Civic Engagement grantee and community partner of the Crimsonbridge Foundation. More than 15 LeaderBridge alumni working throughout the Greater Washington region participated in the session along with Crimsonbridge and WAWF staff. Leaders connected through shared experiences, spoke about ways that the pandemic continues to challenge their leadership, and offered ideas for how philanthropy can better support nonprofit leaders. LeaderBridge team members Danielle M. Reyes, Robyn Ellis, and Caitlin Mayo left the listening session energized and inspired to explore new ways to foster connection, create spaces for dialogue, and develop leadership programming to meet needs shared by these leaders. The information gathered during the listening session will also inform an upcoming Washington Area Women's Foundation #AskHer/AskThem interview this April.