In this new video, meet CollegeTracks, which serves more than 1,600 Montgomery County students and is a community partner in our College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative. The video features College Access Director Lindsey Barclay (an incoming Crimsonbridge Leadership Fund recipient in the Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program at Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership) who speaks to the value of coaching in college success.
Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership and the Crimsonbridge Foundation have partnered since 2016 to conduct targeted outreach to attract local nonprofit leaders of diverse backgrounds and provide scholarships to support their participation in the Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program. To date, the partnership has supported more than 30 diverse leaders, strengthened the capacity of nonprofits serving our local community, and significantly increased the diversity of the Certificate Program.
In this new piece, learn how program alumni are joining the effort and leveraging their networks and experience to support local leaders and nonprofits. Click below to read “Growing Networks and Diversity: CPNL and Crimsonbridge Foundation Partnership,” written by Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership.
In 2018, the Crimsonbridge Foundation awarded more than $20,000 in grants through its Bridges for Schools program, which provides communications capacity building support to schools to serve, reach, engage, and enroll Hispanic students and families. The Foundation partnered with 12 Catholic elementary and high schools in the Archdiocese of Washington that collectively serve more than 5,000 students across DC and three counties in Maryland.
One year later, schools are sharing stories of impact through photos, translated documents, and quotes.
Spanish-language communications materials created through Bridges for Schools included marketing brochures, enrollment and financial aid information, Parent Handbooks, and monthly newsletters for families. Additionally, several schools provided stipends for school representatives to translate for parents at school events.
“This grant opened my eyes as a teacher to how I am and can be communicating with my current Spanish speaking families,” said Jennifer Eller, 8th grade teacher at Holy Redeemer School. “It also allowed us to welcome more people into our community.”
SHINE THE LIGHT: Leadership Matters
Saint Michael’s, a K-8 school in St. Mary’s County, MD, used the Bridges for Schools grant to hire a part-time employee who could provide Spanish-language assistance in the school front office. Principal Lila Hofmeister realized this need when she noticed parents bringing bilingual friends or children to the school office in order to communicate with school staff. Saint Michael’s has the highest Hispanic enrollment in the Southern Maryland region of the Archdiocese, with 34% of students identifying as Hispanic or Latino. Hofmeister is working to ensure that the school serves all families and students well.
Mrs. Melendez, who began the new part-time role in September, “has become an invaluable part of our staff.” She translates the weekly school newsletter into Spanish, helps parents complete school paperwork, and facilitates communication between faculty and parents. She plays a crucial role in assisting families to complete BOOST applications, which brings in additional funding to the school through tuition support. Most importantly, according to Hofmeister, Mrs. Melendez is helping to foster a culture of welcoming in the school.
A 3rd grade teacher at the school observed, “Saint Michael’s School serves many Hispanic families. It is a great comfort to them when they are greeted by a familiar, welcoming person who speaks their language. Mrs. Melendez has become an integral part of the strong bonds formed between the school and our parents. Her presence conveys to them how deeply we care for every child who is part of our school family.”
“Working with Saint Michael’s has reaffirmed our belief that meaningful change requires strong school leadership,” said Crimsonbridge Foundation Program Officer Caitlin Furey Mayo. “Hofmeister made it clear from the beginning of our partnership that investment in bilingual staff was a priority and the school community quickly felt the benefits of this new capacity.”
To learn more about Bridges for Schools, please visit the Crimsonbridge Foundation’s website.
During its 25th Anniversary Gala on March 14 the Latino Student Fund (LSF) recognized Crimsonbridge Foundation with the Community Builder Award.
“Over the years, the Crimsonbridge Foundation’s commitment to our mission has enabled the Latino Student Fund to expand its programs, offer professional development to our staff, and showcase our work to the community in new ways,” said Mario Acosta-Velez of Verizon, who presented the award on behalf of the Latino Student Fund.
LSF and Crimsonbridge have partnered since 2016 to expand and build the capacity for LSF’s academic support, college prep services, and independent/parochial school guidance for Hispanic students in grades K through 12 and their families.
Crimsonbridge has also supported translation of key LSF communications materials into Spanish, including the website, and creation of bilingual videos highlighting organizational success stories, and provided a challenge grant to increase individual fundraising.
“What we love about working with the Latino Student Fund is their openness to ideas, to connecting with others, and to growing as an organization in strategic and meaningful ways,” said Crimsonbridge Foundation Executive Director Danielle M. Reyes. “Being honored and recognized during such a special anniversary is truly meaningful for me, for our President and Founder Gabriela Smith, and for our Program Officer Caitlin Furey who works very closely with the program team.”
As a preview to its second Naturally Latinos Conference on March 27, the Audubon Naturalist Society profiled Crimsonbridge Executive Director Danielle M. Reyes in the Spring 2019 issue of “Naturalist Quarterly.”
The profile highlight’s Danielle’s passion for the outdoors, work to connect the community to nature, and desire to encourage people of color to take leadership roles. Danielle, who served on the conference planning committee, is on the Crestwood Citizens’ Association Green Team and the board of Rock Creek Conservancy.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.