Community Action Award recipients plan community improvement projects


WASHINGTON (WDVM) — The Greater Washington Community Foundation has announced the Community Action Awards recipients, giving out a total of $100,000 for small projects that will grow the DMV to be a better place for everyone.

This is the first year the foundation has given the awards out, as part of the Voices DMV initiative.

Benton Murphy, Senior Advisor for IMPACT at the Greater Washington Community Foundation, said, “They’re nonprofits, they’re individual artists, they’re activists, they’re advocates.”

Each mover and shaker has ideas for a better community. All of the recipients were chosen out of a pool of 200 applicants to make their ideas a reality with the help of the Community Action Awards.

Murphy said, “I think it says a lot about the fact that the DMV has a lot of leaders. We have a lot of folks who know a lot about the issues in the community and are raising their hand saying, ‘I wanna make a difference.” Projects surround issues like food insecurity, police/community relations and mental health.

In DC, two of the projects will work to help women in dire circumstances and shed light on homelessness.

Eric Falquero, the Editorial Director with StreetSenseMedia said, “We try to both inform, meet the information needs of people going through it and navigating the situation themselves, while also trying to inform folks not navigating the situation of what their neighbors’ experience is like and what other people are going through.”

StreetSenseMedia is planning to do an in-depth investigative story on the homeless population and the way to navigate out of homelessness. Falquero said the money will be used to pay two reporters who will work on the story.

He said, “Our mission is to see an end to homelessness in the District. We do that through a variety of media. Our newspaper is just one.”

Mothers Outreach Network Incorporated is using the grant for a program called “Mommas Together Mutual Aid.”

Melody Webb, the President of Mothers Outreach Network Incorporated said, “It supports women and empowers women who find themselves in the most dire circumstances.” The organization currently works to build a legal services program and engage in policy advocacy.

With the grant money, the organization is working to build a mutual aid program.

Webb said, “Our goal with this project is to do the same, to have the backs of mothers who have less by providing and connecting them with mothers who have a little bit more.”

She said the main focus will be on the Potomac Gardens Area, Waterfront Area and Edgewood Brookland.

“There are some strong advocates in those pockets but with our support, I think we can make the most of addressing the problems they’re seeing,” Webb said.

The $2,000 grant gets these projects off the ground, but the impact will be lasting.

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