project leader
Ashton R
375 M Street SW
(Southwest Waterfront, Buzzard Point, Navy Yard, and Capitol Riverfront)
latest update rss

the project

We are creating an initiative to empower local youth as Civic Fellows to interview neighbors and to support focus group facilitation with neighbors sharing their lived experiences as Community Experts, enabling the SWDCCC to gather feedback from the neighborhood to inform the design and operation of the new community center. This engagement process will be a key feature of our longer-term efforts to build a community center that can achieve the vision of the SWDCCC, which is to serve as a vibrant, central hub for the community to support lifelong learning, arts, cultural enrichment, and community life. While the developer is providing this space rent-free for 30 years and providing funds for the build out, the SWDCCC is charged with determining its design, programming its activities, and funding its operations so there is ample opportunity for the community to shape its future.

By providing training opportunities and compensating local youth to lead in-depth interviews and assist with facilitating a diverse range of focus groups, we hope to cultivate a sense of ownership and stewardship in our Civic Fellows that instills a sense of pride, fosters a sense of community, and spurs a longer-term interest in civic involvement. By compensating interviewees and focus group participants as Community Experts, we hope to gather insights that might not typically emerge from more traditional forms of public engagement and ensure that the future SWDCCC reflects the needs of all our neighbors, particularly those with needs not met by other services in the community.

the steps

  • Now through mid-June
    • Continue promotion and outreach activities through the strong network of civic organizations and schools that support our community
    • Develop training content for the Civic Fellows and coordinate with local organizations to explore collaboration opportunities
  • Mid-May
    • Open the application process for Civic Fellows
    • Begin seeking focus group volunteers
  • Mid-June
    • Close crowdfunding campaign
    • Close Civic Fellow application process
    • Select participants
  • July
    • Conduct kick-off event with Civic Fellows
    • Host trainings
    • Civic Fellows will complete interviews
    • Civic Fellows will support meeting facilitation with focus groups
  • August
    • Civic Fellows will continue to support meeting facilitation with focus groups
    • Civic Fellows will submit final projects
  • September
    • Share engagement results
    • Post final projects

why we're doing it

The rich context and complex history of our community cannot be captured in a paragraph or on a page, but at its heart, our neighborhood has been shaped by a diverse community contrasted with discriminatory and destructive urban renewal policies, past public participation processes that have excluded marginalized groups, and most recently efforts to bring development in the form of new restaurants, storefronts, and entertainment venues. While this development has generated opportunities, it has also generated questions and concerns. We cannot foster an engagement process without recognizing the rapid changes - and challenges - that are facing our community.

In particular, in conversations with partner organizations we've heard that our youth are eager to have more meaningful ways to be involved in their community. We believe this initiative may present an opportunity for youth to learn and connect while planting seeds for them to grow into civic leaders and community creators.

Ultimately, it is with the understanding that we are building on our dynamic past for a more promising future that we will undertake these engagement efforts and invite our community to participate, particularly our neighbors of traditionally marginalized groups. It will not be perfect, it will not be easy, but it will be with a recognition that every voice has value and with an appreciation of the wide range of viewpoints that are informed by diverse lived experiences. By engaging with empathy and connecting across differences, we hope to build a community center that is reflective of both our unique characteristics and our shared humanity.


Disbursed Budget 6.23.21:

$1,000: to compensate one teacher for supporting Civic Fellow activities

$750: to compensate 30 Community Experts ($25 each) participating in interviews and discussion groups

$600: to provide lunches during learning sessions with youth Civic Fellows (10 sessions, 8 students)

$162.30: to provide food at community-wide event to share work of Civic Fellows

TOTAL RAISED = $2,590.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $77.70

Updated Budget 5.25.21

Exciting news! We’ve not only exceeded our goal, but we did it in record time (more than a month before our deadline)! Because we’ve seen so much support for our project, we’ve decided to increase our goal from $2,000 to $4,000 so we can invite even more neighbors to contribute. With this increased goal we will be able to support overall SWDCCC operating expenses as well as increase our stipend to Civic Fellows.

ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)

Original Budget

  • $900 to compensate 5 Civic Fellows for completing fellowship activities (training, interviews, focus groups, and a final project)
  • $825 to compensate 55 Community Experts consulted through interviews and focus groups 
  • $180 to reimburse volunteer trainers providing instruction on topics such as human-centered design and focus group facilitation
  • $95 for materials (notebooks, pens, clipboards, printed materials, etc.)

Any excess funding we raise will be used to support additional expenses, other engagement activities, and SWDCCC operations.

ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)

Please note: ioby fees are estimated and will be calculated based on totals at the end of the campaign.



Greetings from the Southwest DC Community Center!

Thank you again for your generous contribution to our crowdfunding campaign - we are thrilled to report that we raised $2,590 to support our engagement initiative, enough to provide our Civic Fellows a slightly higher stipend and cover additional expenses generated through the effort. Now that we've completed that phase of fundraising, we have done one round of outreach through local organizations to recruit Civic Fellows and Community Experts and will continue to recruit through August. Because of busy summer schedules, we intend to host our four focus groups between mid-September and mid-October though are maintaining flexibility with our timeline to account for any delays that arise.

We are excited to be at this stage and have you to thank for helping us to bring our ideas to fruition - we hope you'll sign up to receive updates on our progress at and in the meantime, wish you a happy and healthy summer!

75% in less than two weeks?!

We're amazed at how much our community has stepped up to support this initiative. Friends and family across the country as well as neighbors who live next door have all pitched in to get us 75% of the way to our goal and we couldn't be more grateful. We still have $500 left to raise and will plan to keep the campaign open if we meet our goal so that we can turbocharge our summer initiative and keep our fledgling nonprofit going strong!

Stay tuned!

The SWDCCC Community Engagement and Communications Committee


We hit the 25% mark!

We're thrilled and humbled to see how much support this project has already generated. We set out to raise a quarter of our fundraising goal in a week, and we far exceeded that thanks to the generous contributions of more than a dozen supporters. Fingers crossed that we can hit our next milestone of 50% within the next week!

With gratitude,

The SWDCCC Community Engagement and Communications Committee


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Anonymous
  • Patrick R.
  • Robin
  • Glen and Mary Faye W.
  • Eric J.
  • Paul Lindemann
  • Westminster Presbyterian Church
  • Melinda C.
  • Nicole D.
  • Jack McCarthy
  • Scott H.
  • EWW
  • Karen L.
  • Christy V.
  • Abbie E.
  • Anonymous
  • Julio B.
  • Matthew G.
  • Shannon V.
  • Jennifer Walker
  • Oksana N.
  • Julia C.
  • Leah J.
  • Elise S
  • Chelsea K.
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Margaret K.
  • Dawn E.
  • Anonymous
  • Megan C.
  • Anonymous
  • Lea S
  • Anonymous
  • Karthik B
  • Hillary V.
  • Anonymous