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GT Members Award $95,000 in Grants at 2023 Annual Meeting

September 28, 2023

At the Annual Meeting on September 28, the members of Giving Together (GT) voted to award grants totaling $95, 000 to five non-profits serving the DC Metro region: Safe Shores, Grassroots Health, BCAUSEICAN, Sickle Cell Reproductive Health Education Directive (SC RED), and Starting with Today. The organizations’ missions range from providing therapy and wellness programs for trauma and abuse victims to bringing STEM education to underserved communities.

Members also voted to approve a slate of three board members: Susan Alberts (incumbent), Wendy Yaross (incumbent) and Marea Hatziolos Grant (new to the board). All three will have two-year terms, expiring in the fall of 2025. [The board has a total of seven members. Four are elected in even years and three in odd years.]

In other board business, Carolyn Miller has moved from being a board member and GT Treasurer to her new role as Chief Financial Officer.

“Giving Together has a rigorous process for identifying and evaluating potential grantees,” said GT Co-President Renee Licht.  “Every year, I am amazed and inspired by the dedicated non-profits that advance to our pool of finalists.  Each and every one is doing important work on behalf of those in need.  I am proud of the organizations our members have chosen this year and know our money is essential to their ongoing success.

GT members also approved a new member contribution category. Individuals who are 45 and younger who want to join GT will pay $500 per year (plus a small administrative fee) — half the standard contribution amount -- and receive full voting and participation privileges.

“We think it is very important to attract and cultivate the next generation of philanthropists to our giving circle,” said Wendy Yaross, GT Co-President. “This new membership category hopefully opens up a pipeline of younger members who are as committed as our current membership to helping those in need in our area.”

The 2023 grant recipients are as follows:


Safe Shores $50,000 ($25,000 per year for two years)

Founded in 1995, the mission of Safe Shores is to provide survivor-centered intervention, hope and healing for children up to age 17 and their families, who have been affected by abuse, trauma, and violence in the District of Columbia. Safe Shores also works to prevent and end child abuse and neglect through promising practices, policies and partnerships. Safe Shores serves more than 1,500 children in an average year, and annually trains over 1,000 adults in how to recognize, respond to, and prevent abuse.


Grassroots Health $5000

The mission of Grassroots Health is to promote the mental, physical and sexual health of DC middle school students using a sports-based approach. They deliver a three-year series of games-based health promotion programs facilitated by trained NCAA college athlete volunteers. Grassroots Health was founded in 2009.


In 2021, at the recommendation of its Racial Equity Working Group, GT established a new accelerator grant program to strengthen and amplify the mission of promising small local non-profits that are Black - and benefit African American women and families. Three groups received unrestricted grants to further their work.


BCAUSEICAN brings STEM education to underserved communities to help close socioeconomic gaps. Founded in 2015, BCAUSEICAN began offering coding classes to students at Shaw Community Center, and in 2020, expanded to provide coding classes to Title 1 schools in Prince Georges County. BCAUSEICAN’s flagship program, BCAUSEICANCODE, teaches coding in current IT languages and is offered as a 16- or 32-week after school or summer enrichment program. In addition to teaching languages like Java and Scratch, BCAUSEICAN has begun offering courses in newer technologies like Cloud Computing and AI. Recognizing that many parents and caregivers lack basic digital skills, BCAUSEICAN also offers Family Technology Workshops.

Sickle Cell Reproductive Health Education Directive (SC RED) $10,000

SC RED is the only US organization to address the sexual, maternal health, and reproductive health needs of women and children with sickle cell disease (SCD). Girls and women with SCD need (but typically do not get) disease-specific information about menstruation, contraception, pregnancy and infertility. SC RED programs include education, support for individual and family members, raising awareness and advocacy.

Starting With Today $10,000

Starting With Today is a DC Ward 7-based non-profit.. It provides programs to promote Black wellbeing through wellness and mental health programs. Its signature program, The Shape Up, was launched in May 2018 as a recurring discussion group for men in Ward 7’s Lee’s Barber Shop and continued virtually during the pandemic. A companion women’s program, #MyHairAppt, launched virtually in June 2022. Described as “psychohairapy” for Black women, #MyHairAppt tackles health-and-wellness-related issues in the casual setting of a beauty shop.


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