Funder tour recap: Supporting community organizing as a strategy for change

by Michael Coffey, Program Associate, Hill-Snowdon Foundation

Pedro Cruz, an organizer with DC Jobs with Justice, facilitates a conversation between day laborers and learning tour participants.
Pedro Cruz, an organizer with DC Jobs with Justice, facilitates a conversation between day laborers and learning tour participants.

Last month, the Hill-Snowdon Foundation hosted a learning tour through 3 distinct District neighborhoods: Brentwood, Anacostia and Shaw. It is tradition for our Foundation to supplement board meetings with neighborhood tours as a board education strategy. This time we invited local funder allies from the Butler Family Fund, Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, Consumer Health Foundation, Herb Block Foundation, Moriah Fund and World Bank.

Mackenzie Baris with DC Jobs with Justice, Jonathan Stith with the Youth Education Alliance and Dominic Moulden with ONE DC, and their colleagues, facilitated conversations about worker rights, education reform, and affordable housing issues. Parisa Norouzi with Empower DC provided insights regarding the critical issues facing low- to moderate-income District residents.

These community leaders and their colleagues helped us get a better feel for the challenges of building a worker center for African American and Latino day laborers, increasing the quantity and quality of guidance counseling in the DC Public School system and preserving affordable housing. Our stops included the Home Depot and Israel Baptist Church in northeast; Anacostia High School, Barry Farms and Poplar Point in southeast and Parcels 33 and 42 in northwest.

Participants appreciated the opportunity to learn about these issues and expressed interest in having similar group learning experiences on a regular basis. For more information about the tour and the importance of supporting community organizing as a strategy for change, contact Nat Chioke Williams, Executive Director of the Hill-Snowdon Foundation, at (202) 833-8600 or nwilliams@hillsnowdon.org.