Beth Hess Joins the Crimsonbridge Foundation

March 2019

In March the Crimsonbridge Foundation welcomed Beth Hess as its Grants and Communications Officer. In this role Beth will provide grants management and be responsible for administering grant processes. She will also support the Foundation’s communications including its website, publications, and social media presence.

Beth brings more than a decade of experience in nonprofit communications, program management, and capacity building to her work at the Foundation. Most recently she raised awareness of behavioral health issues and helped to connect Maryland families to needed support as Director of Social Marketing and Outreach at Maryland Coalition of Families. This role included coordination of an annual statewide public awareness campaign on the importance of children’s mental health. Previously, she connected nonprofits throughout Greater Washington to capacity building resources and supports as Director of Communications and Membership at the Center for Nonprofit Advancement.  In this role she used a variety of communications strategies to share best practices around nonprofit management, leadership, and board governance with organizations across the region.

In prior communications and program management roles, Beth has helped to bring hands-on after-school science education to elementary-age children in communities across the country, and supported media relations for a variety of corporate and nonprofit organizations.

“Investing and engaging in strategic communications and innovative grantmaking are essential to Crimsonbridge,” said executive director, Danielle M. Reyes. “We know Beth’s knowledge of the region’s nonprofit sector and wealth of communications experience will be valuable assets for our growing team.”

Beth holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In her spare time, Beth is an artist primarily working and teaching using hot glass. She enjoys exploring nature and supporting local crafts people.

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Crimsonbridge’s Laurie Fisher Becomes First Full-Time Executive Director of Literacy Council

February 2019

Laurie Fisher, grants manager and member of the Crimsonbridge team since the Foundation’s inception in 2015, will leave this month to become the first full-time executive director of the Literacy Council of Frederick County, Maryland. Mrs. Fisher brings more than 30 years of nonprofit experience to this leadership role, including past roles with the American Red Cross, the Girl Scouts, and the Literacy Council. “Laurie has been an integral member of the Crimsonbridge Foundation and has contributed significantly to the development of our grantmaking programs,” said executive director, Danielle M. Reyes. “She will continue to be a valued partner in our shared work of improving lives in the Greater Washington region through adult English language programs.”

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Philanthropy Fellows Join Crimsonbridge During Winter Break

January 2019

Throughout the year, the Crimsonbridge Foundation invites undergraduate and graduate students, interested in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, to join it’s team as Philanthropy Fellows.  Philanthropy Fellows have short-term paid engagements with the Foundation, working with staff on projects related to its programs and grantmaking in education, leadership, and capacity building.  This January, the Foundation was pleased to welcome two college students, Anne and Gretchen Hundertmark, for several weeks during their winter break.  Both young women used the opportunity to build on their past experiences volunteering in the nonprofit sector and learn more about philanthropy.

A junior at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Anne attends the Haub School of Business and is majoring in Leadership, Ethics, and Organizational Sustainability and minoring in English.  She is involved in the Dean’s Leadership Program with the Honors College. In the past, Anne interned at Horton’s Kids, a non-profit that supports children and families in Washington, DC.  In the future she hopes to work at a non-profit organization that focuses on children’s education.

During her time interning at Crimsonbridge, Anne conducted research on college and university student support services for first-generation students. This information will be used to support the College Completion Colleagues Initiative, led by Crimsonbridge and the Scheidel Foundation.  “I had the opportunity to experience and contribute to the foundation’s supportive efforts of its grantees. Everyone working at Crimsonbridge is extremely helpful, and always keeps the needs of students and grantees in mind.”

Gretchen, a first-year student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, is majoring in Architectural Studies and studying Environmental Sciences. In the past she has volunteered at Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Last Chance Cat Rescue, and Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary.  In the future, Gretchen would like to work as an architect building sustainable, low-cost houses for low income families and in disaster relief areas.

While at Crimsonbridge, Gretchen spent her time updating grantee information, setting up the Foundation’s resource library, creating website content, and creating an online map to display the locations, names, and program information of grantees. “Working at Crimsonbridge, I have been able to continue working in the nonprofit sector, while gaining valuable skills and experience necessary for future careers.” said Gretchen. “It is great to know that the projects I have been working on will benefit both the Crimsonbridge Foundation and organizations that are supported by them.”

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Increasing Diversity in the Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program at Georgetown University

January 2019

Since 2016, the Crimsonbridge Foundation has partnered with Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership (CPNL) on a shared goal to increase outreach to and participation of diverse nonprofit leaders from the Greater Washington region in the Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program. The Foundation actively participates in this combined effort as both a partner and a funder, conducting intentional and direct outreach to organizations and providing program scholarships for senior staff of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. The results of this strategy have been positive and successful. Over the past three years, the percentage of program participants from diverse backgrounds has increased by 36%.

Danielle M. Reyes, Executive Director of the Crimsonbridge Foundation, states the success and impact of the partnership is a result of more than funding alone: “Our hope is that by working with partners and deploying the foundation’s team, network, and funding resources, we can support the development goals of individual leaders and the building of a more diverse and representative landscape of nonprofit leadership in the D.C. region.”

To learn more about this innovative partnership, we invite you to follow the link below to read the report, “Three-Year Partnership with Crimsonbridge Foundation Leads to More Diversity and New Scholarships in Certificate Program,” written by Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership.

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Thinking Creatively/Differently About Grant Agreements

December 2018

Foundations typically use grant agreements to serve as a contract to confirm terms, conditions, required reports, and deadlines. In this Exponent Philanthropy blog post, Crimsonbridge Foundation’s Executive Director, Danielle M. Reyes, shares ideas for how a grant agreement presents a unique opportunity for funders to go beyond the transaction and build an engaged and mutually beneficial relationship with grantees.

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Reyna Sharp Joins the Crimsonbridge Team

September 2018

As a Program Officer at the Crimsonbridge Foundation, Reyna oversees the Foundation’s partnerships with organizations working in Education and Nonprofit Leadership Development.

Reyna brings a wealth of diverse personal and professional experience in education, leadership development, and philanthropy to the Crimsonbridge Foundation. After graduating from the University of Colorado, Reyna joined the El Pomar Foundation as a Fellow, where she worked on programs to encourage leadership and community development. She directed a college leadership program, partnering with universities across Colorado. She also worked as the Director of Special Projects at The Donnell-Kay Foundation, a private family foundation that works to improve public education in Colorado through research, policy, creative dialogue, and critical thinking. In her role there, she implemented a pilot training program to help new school leaders successfully open K-12 schools serving low-income communities.

While living overseas with her husband, Reyna worked as an instructor of English as a Second Language, teaching in K-12 schools and adult programs in Europe, Africa, and Washington, DC. Most recently, Reyna worked on projects with the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School and the DC Bar Foundation, helping to address educational and other critical needs of immigrant and underserved communities in Washington, DC.

Reyna holds a master’s degree in Education from George Mason University and a bachelor’s in Political Science as well as a Certificate in Leadership from the University of Colorado. Reyna is a mentor for an adult immigrant through the Carlos Rosario School. In addition, she is a certified yoga teacher passionate about women’s empowerment. In her spare time, she is an outdoor enthusiast who loves to travel.

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The Crimsonbridge Foundation awards more than $20,000 in grants through its new Bridges for Schools program

July 2018

The Crimsonbridge Foundation has awarded more than $20,000 in grants to 12 schools in the Archdiocese of Washington through its new Bridges for Schools program, which helps schools increase their Spanish language and bilingual communications capacity to better serve Hispanic families.

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PRESS RELEASE: Local Foundations Partner to Invest in College Access and Success in the National Capital Region

June 2018

The Crimsonbridge Foundation has joined the Scheidel Foundation’s new College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative and has awarded $90,000 in grants to six organizations serving low-income students. Capital Partners for Education, College Success Foundation, Generation Hope, New Futures in Washington, DC, and College Tracks and Collegiate Directions in Maryland have each been awarded a $15,000 grant to support their college completion programs.

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Video Series Enhances Latino Student Fund’s Bilingual Communications Strategy

Maria Fernanda Borja, President and CEO of the Latino Student Fund May 2018

At the Latino Student Fund (LSF), our goal is to offer programs where students are supported from their first days in the classroom to the day they graduate from high school. The LSF offers seven programs in three program areas: academic support, post-secondary success, and family resources. We designed these three initiatives to encourage a college-going culture from a young age and offer families the chance to learn alongside their children while building a strong community.

Through our dual-generation programs and strong partnerships, the LSF works hard to create opportunities for all students to put themselves on a path to higher education. Over the past three years, we have opened two new program sites and started two new programs. As we continued to expand our services and start new outreach initiatives, we realized that certain marketing techniques, like flyers or brochures, would not succeed in a community where nearly 20% of adults are illiterate and even more speak a language other than English.

Through a partnership with the Crimsonbridge Foundation, the LSF created a series of bilingual videos in English and Spanish to showcase its work to the community. In the videos, students, volunteers, and families shared their stories, including their experiences with the LSF. Students spoke passionately about their LSF tutors, who encouraged students to enjoy learning and reach their fullest potential. Mentors proudly shared stories of progress made by their mentees, and the growth they saw in themselves as mentors, role models and friends. Perhaps the strongest messages came from the mothers and fathers of students, who voiced their opinions in Spanish. For these parents, speaking Spanish is part of their identity, and they want to show their children that language choice should never stop you from advocating for what is important to you.

These videos highlight the impact of the LSF and will be used to engage new students, families, volunteers, and donors. Regardless of reading level or mother tongue, members of the community can watch these videos and learn about the LSF, and how to get involved. As we near our 25th Anniversary in 2019, the Latino Student Fund hopes to broaden its impact by helping even more students reach their potential.


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Serving Our Children logo

Making Educational Dreams a Reality for Families

Kevin Mills, Serving Our Children and Caitlin Furey, The Crimsonbridge Foundation May 2018

All families want their children to be in an academic setting where they will thrive and succeed. Founded on the belief that all students are capable of significant academic achievement, and that all children, regardless of income and socioeconomic status, should have access to a quality education, Serving Our Children works with low-income families to make the option of private school a reality for thousands of D.C. students.

As the nonprofit responsible for administering the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), Serving Our Children is experienced in connecting low-income D.C. families to scholarships that enable them to send their children to private independent and parochial schools in D.C. During the 2017-18 school year alone, it administered OSP scholarships to 1,653 students in K-12.

Though demand for tuition assistance is high, the needs-based eligibility for OSP is limiting. In 2015, the Crimsonbridge Foundation reached out to Serving Our Children with the hope of responding to a specific demand from Hispanic families seeking assistance to access a Catholic education in this region.

Working with Serving Our Children, the Crimsonbridge Foundation seeded the Hispanic Education Imperative Fund in 2016 to provide scholarships with the goal of increasing access to quality Catholic schools for low-income, Latino youth in the Greater Washington Region. In addition to receiving scholarships, families are able to access application materials in Spanish and receive support from Serving Our Children’s bilingual staff, who work with parents in person, by phone, and at community events, to help navigate the education system and find an appropriate school.

As the parent of one Hispanic Education Imperative Fund scholarship recipient shared, “I arrived in the United States of America when I was four years old. I remember learning English in preschool. I remember growing up knowing I was different from my friends, but also being very proud of who I am and where I came from. When I was getting ready for high school, I wanted to attend a local Catholic high school. I applied and was accepted. Unfortunately, the financial demands made it impossible for me to attend. My son is now attending a Catholic high school. The Hispanic Education Imperative Fund helped make our dreams a reality. It made it possible for us to afford a Catholic education for our family.”

To date, nearly 50 students have received scholarships to attend Catholic schools in D.C. and Maryland with support from the Hispanic Education Imperative Fund and Serving Our Children.

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