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Open Letter from Deputy Mayor Donald on the Dissolution of the DC Trust

Friday, May 13, 2016

Dear Washingtonians,

As you know, the DC Trust Board voted on April 22, 2016 to move forward with a plan to dissolve the organization. The Bowser Administration is committed to the organization's mission – building sustainable and equitable supports throughout the city so that youth and families can thrive in vibrant, empowered communities – and intends to ensure the city continues to have the ability to provide these supports in the future.

Unfortunately, over the years, the DC Trust has become overly-reliant on government funding and has not been able to leverage private dollars as they were established to do. Operational expenses grew beyond their budget on an unsustainable path. This occurred due to gross fiscal mismanagement, numerous leadership changes, and a failure to identify private funding partners.

I am writing to share our short-term priorities for a smooth transition for current grantees and programming – and to underscore our commitment to out of school time (OST) programming and capacity building for community-based organizations.

I cannot stress enough that this Administration is committed to honoring the financial commitments the Trust has made to OST grantees and through the Safer, Strong DC Community Partnerships Mini Grants, so that critical programming can continue. We are also committed to ensuring that summer grants are issued quickly, so that our children and youth have enrichment activities throughout the summer, and we will establish a plan to maintain current, successful programming including the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services’ Youth Link program and the Department of Human Services’ Alternatives to the Court Experience (ACE) program.

To ensure a successful transition, I will oversee a small team of staff from the DC Trust, which will include the Interim Executive Director, the Director of Policy and Executive Assistant. The Trust will also retain five program staff, who are funded within their respective programs – Safer, Stronger DC Community Partnership Mini Grants, Youth Link, Credible Messengers and Alternatives to the Court Experience.

In the coming weeks, my office, with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education, will meet with our partners and stakeholders to outline priorities and develop a strategic plan for FY 2017. We are committed to a public and transparent process with guidance from stakeholders and experts in the field. In the long-term, this Administration is committed to continuing to support OST programming, summer activities and other critical investments in our underserved communities.

If you have any additional questions or concerns about this, please contact my Chief of Staff, Rachel Joseph, by email at [email protected] or by phone at 202-727-7973.

Brenda Donald
Deputy Mayor, Health and Human Services