A message from Tamara Wilds Lawson, Chief Community Impact & Inclusion Officer, Washington Nationals Philanthropies
AUGUST 3, 2021 – When violence rocks our community, it reverberates beyond any one single event. The closer to home, the more it shakes our core. This is why the shooting that occurred near Nationals Park on July 17 was a scary experience for our fans and colleagues at the ballpark that evening – an incident we are still talking about, thinking about, and reading about weeks later.
Sadly, it is a small glimpse of the gun violence that happens across our city every day. What occurred just outside our gates has focused a lot of attention on the surrounding community. We are glad to see the media shine a light on the challenges those residents – our neighbors – navigate daily.
However, those challenges do not define the community, which has a long resilient history. Part of that history includes leaders, advocates, and organizations that have been working alongside residents to address systemic challenges through direct services and innovative programming. Relentless work to prevent violence is being done all over the city, including in Ward 8 where six-year-old Nyiah Courtney was shot and killed while walking with her mother in Congress Heights mere hours before the incident outside the ballpark.
Violence prevention requires a holistic approach to creating opportunities for all residents of the Greater Washington region to thrive. This includes resources for residents facing poverty, food insecurity, and homelessness as well as increased and equitable access to education, healthcare, transportation, and jobs.
The Washington Nationals and its charitable arm, Nationals Philanthropies, have invested significantly in our community to promote positive outcomes. In this moment, it is our responsibility to continue that support and serve as a resource for our fans – many of whom have asked us how they can learn more and what can they do to help.
As part of our ongoing commitment, Nationals Philanthropies announces the award of grants to GOODProjects and A Wider Circle. These community champions are doing critical holistic work, both outside our doorstep in Ward 6 and just across the river in Ward 8, working with area residents to help improve their quality of life and build a path toward success.
Funding granted to GOODProjects enables resources for youth among the highest at risk to be involved with gun-violence. This includes high-impact tutors as well as support for the Southwest Youth Football Program – covering transportation to games, meals, and uniforms to help students build confidence and a sense of unity within the community.
Funding granted to A Wider Circle supports the organization’s newly reopened service hub in Washington Highlands, which meets the self-defined needs of residents including a community micro-grant program, mental health services, and trauma groups to support healing.
If you are inspired into action, we encourage you to join us in supporting these and other wonderful organizations:
Global Transcendence – Global Transcendence serves children, parents and families through its Neighborhood HUB locations to help break the cycle of homicides by interrupting acts of retaliation, supporting healing for co-victims, and increasing community resilience in close collaboration with grassroots organizations including Brotha’s Huddle.
GOODProjects – With a mission is to eliminate the roadblocks to basic needs so families living in the GOODZone, one block from the U.S. Capitol, GOODProjects helps residents define success for themselves through intense support services.
SWBID – The Southwest Business Improvement District (SWBID) is working toward a better, more beautiful Southwest D.C. by focusing on community cohesion, better public spaces, expanded opportunity for residents, and critical resources including daily food distribution.
Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy – The signature program of Nationals Philanthropies, the Academy uses baseball and softball as vehicles to foster positive character development, academic achievement, and improved health among youth living east of the Anacostia River. The Academy also serves as a neighborhood-gathering place where, today, we hosted a community-building event alongside the Metropolitan Police Department for National Night Out.
A Wider Circle – Its Ward 8 Hub program works side by side with residents of Highland Dwellings and Additions to help transform the community and ensure its members can see a path out of poverty.
Images courtesy GOODProjects and A Wider Circle, representing community programs and services.