Blog For The City

We made magic happen on Saturday!

We are speechless as we bask in the huge success of Saturday’s Good Hope Gala!

We had an amazing night enjoying great food, bidding on auction items, dancing the night away with The Jogo Project, and of course, raising money to support our direct service and advocacy programs in Northwest and Southeast DC.

The final tally? Drumroll please…together, we raised $1,253,101, shattering all of our goals and records! You played a huge role in this success and for that, you should be really proud.

To make night even better, more than 490 guests packed the house to help us celebrate our legal clinic and its 25 years of creating access to justice. Thank you to all of those who joined us for a memorable night!

Every year we are reminded of BFC’s incredible support system: you. To all of our friends and neighbors, thank you for allowing us to continue the fight to end poverty in the District.

You can check out pictures of our amazing celebration here, and watch a tribute to our legal team and their determined clients here.

Didn’t attend the gala but would like to offer your support? Please make a donation here and help keep our doors open and our programs growing!

Thank you for standing with us.

It’s all in a day’s work here at BFC!

Every day, Bread for the City does a whole lot of good. In just one day, we treat ­­­65 patients in our medical clinic, provide 270 families with food, counsel 28 people in our legal clinic, and so much more. Wow!
As we prepare to celebrate this work at tonight’s Good Hope Gala, I couldn’t be more proud. Proud of our supporters, our volunteers and staff, and of course, our clients, whose strength and resilience guide all that we do.

Ms. Lean (middle), her kids and BFC Attorney Taylor

But hold on…we have even more to celebrate this evening: An anonymous donor has pledged to match, dollar for dollar, all online gifts made to Bread for the City today up to $15,000! 

Can you help us meet this match with your gift of $35?

For clients like Ms. Lean, the work we do every day means so much. She was experiencing housing instability when our attorneys stepped in and made sure she and her children had a safe, affordable place to live. She says, “Touching people, giving children homes, and just helping families be families…it’s a big responsibility and Bread for the City is taking it on.”

Ms. Lean is just one of the 33,000 clients we serve each year through your support. Every gift you make to Bread for the City means more food, more health care, and more justice for those in greatest need. And TODAY ONLY, EVERY DOLLAR DOUBLES!

Thank you for your kindness.

Did someone say Gaga?

We know you don’t need any more reasons to join us for a fun night of dancing and philanthropy, but we’ve got some anyway! Our 2017 Good Hope Gala will feature an amazing line-up of auction items:    

Gaga, Oh La La: Whether you want to be on the edge of glory or need to just dance, this auction item is for you! Marvel at Lady Gaga’s talent (and costumes) with two tickets to her upcoming show at the Verizon Center on November 19th at 7:30pm. These are some of the best seats in the house, so don’t miss your chance to see Gaga up close!

A Year of Drama: The D.C. area is home to some of the best theaters in the country, and we have the perfect package for those who want to explore their dramatic side! Take advantage of this package for tickets to:

  • Arena Stage
  • Theater J
  • Woolly Mammoth
  • Studio Theatre Kennedy Center
  • Signature Theatre

Weekend at The Inn: Just outside of DC sits one of the best restaurants in the country. Enjoy a one-of-a-kind weekend stay at the Inn at Little Washington in Washington, VA! Package includes an unforgettable, romantic two-night stay and delectable dinner (with wine pairing!) at the Inn’s two Michelin-star restaurant, helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef Patrick O’Connell. And, with Shenandoah National Park just a few miles down the road, burn off that wonderful dinner with a hike at Old Rag!

From Bunny Slopes to Black Diamond: Whether you’re a seasoned skier (or snowboarder) or just learning, the Mountain Gift Card is perfect for you! With $3,200 to spend, you’ll have all you need for a four night stay at your choice of the following premier Colorado ski resorts: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, or NorthStar. Use this gift card for lodging, lessons, lift passes, and dinner for two every night! This package includes 100,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® miles.


Shattered: The 2016 presidential election was never supposed to be close. What happened? The authors of the #1 New York Times Best Seller Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign have the answers. Jon Allen and Amie Parnes will come to your house, sign books and beguile you and 20 of your friends with the untold story of one of the most contentious presidential campaigns in U.S. history. And they will take all of your questions. This package includes 20 hardcover copies of Shattered. Available at a mutually agreed upon time.

These are just five of the 10 auction items that our guests will have the opportunity to bid on at Bread’s Good Hope Gala on Saturday, May 20th. We do hope you’ll make and…bring your friends!

Racial Equity and the Role of Local Governments

*Originally posted at*

On April 25, Dr. Yanique Redwood, CHF’s President/CEO, testified at the D.C. Council Committee of the Whole’s Budget Oversight Hearing on racial equity and the role of local governments. Mr. George Jones, Bread for the City’s Chief Executive Officer, joined Dr. Redwood in calling on the D.C. Council to apply a racial equity lens in policy making. Please see Mr. Jones’ testimony here.

Testimony before the D.C. Council Committee of the Whole regarding the performance of the D.C. Council


Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony to the D.C. Council Committee of the Whole regarding the performance of the D.C. Council. The Consumer Health Foundation (which I will sometimes refer to as CHF) is a private grantmaking Foundation in D.C. that funds in the areas of health reform and economic justice in the District, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia. Our mission is to advocate for racial equity and racial justice through programs and investments that advance the health and well-being of low-income communities and communities of color. I serve as the President and CEO of the Consumer Health Foundation.

Dr. Yanique Redwood and Mr. George Jones testifying before the D.C. Council Committee of the Whole. (Testimony starts at 1:13:48)

We are asking the D.C. Council to host a workshop on 1) racial equity and the role of local governments and 2) policymaking with a racial equity lens. We are also recommending that the D.C. government join the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, which is a national network of governments that have committed to racial equity. I will return to these recommendations at the end of my testimony.

CHF recognizes that momentum is building in the District of Columbia for a cross-sector approach to racial equity. There are councilmembers, D.C. government agencies and staff in the Mayor’s Office who are committed to racial equity.

In addition, scores of organizations in the nonprofit sector have been trained and are using a racial equity impact assessment tool to analyze their policy advocacy efforts. Trustees and CEOs of the most influential foundations in the philanthropic sector recently completed an educational series entitled Putting Racism on the Table and have organized the Racial Equity Working Group to move their work forward. In addition, the business sector is mobilizing – foundation trustees from the business sector were so compelled by the educational series that they have formed a working group to bring the information to the broader business community.

Finally, in our region, Fairfax County has passed a racial equity resolution and has joined the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE). As stated previously, GARE is a national network of governments working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. In 2015, GARE provided an introduction to racial equity for D.C. government agencies and councilmembers. We appreciate Councilmember Brianne Nadeau’s attendance at that event as well as staff from the Mayor’s office.

We are in alignment with GARE on three core beliefs:

  1. From the inception of our country, government at the local, regional, state and federal level has played a role in creating and maintaining racial inequity. A wide range of laws and policies were passed, including everything from who could vote, who could be a citizen, who could own property, where one could live and more. Because of this history, racial inequities exist across all indicators for success, including in education, criminal justice, jobs, housing, public infrastructure and health.
  2. A focus on racial equity in local governments is critically important to getting different outcomes in our communities.
  3. Local and regional governments have the ability to implement policy change at multiple levels and across multiple sectors to drive larger systemic change.

In 2016, the CHF and Meyer Foundations commissioned research by the Urban Institute on what racial equity would look like in D.C. I have met with many of you to share this research, and Councilmembers Robert White Jr. and Elissa Silverman spoke at the release of these data. For example, from these data, we know that 33,000 more Black residents and 12,000 more Hispanic residents would have high-school degrees, and almost 98,000 more Black residents would have some college degree. We know that 24,000 more Black residents and 2,200 more Hispanic residents would be empolyed, including 17,000 in just three of the city’s eight wards.

Possibly the most surprising finding based on data from the National Equity Atlas is that if we achieved racial equity on just one indicator – income – the GDP of the District would have been $65 billion dollars larger in the year 2012.

By taking a racial equity approach, not only can we achieve equity and justice for those who are struggling the most, but we can also achieve greater prosperity for all of D.C.’s residents. The City Council of the District of Columbia can take two key steps to make racial equity a reality:

  1.  First, develop a deeper understanding about what racial equity is (and what it is not) and what it means to apply a racial equity lens to policymaking. We understand that you are in a unique position given your tremendous role and responsibility. We stand ready to work with you to organize an initial workshop for the entire council and D.C. government department leadership.
  2. Second, join with other jurisdictions around the country as a member of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity to gain access to additional tools, resources, technical assistance and the best practices of other jurisdictions that have committed to racial equity.

One Man’s Trash: A Donor Profile

Davy Adise is a high school senior from Montgomery County. He’s also one of the largest in-kind donors to Bread for the City!

Davy has made several large donations of fruits and vegetables to Bread for the City’s Food Program, including lush stalks of mustard greens, Swiss chard, and lettuce.

While Davy has all the other interests of high school students, he balances that with a passion for creating social change through entrepreneurship. In 10th grade, he was introduced to LearnServe International. LSI teaches high school students the necessary social entrepreneurship skills they can use to create their own social change projects. Through the program, Davy developed Heals on Wheels, a project that helped fund a mobile health clinic in South Africa.

Using those same tools and skillsets learned from LSI, Davy developed and spearheaded his project with Bread for the City.

“I was researching what type of food banks and organizations would be able to use donations of fresh produce,” says Davy. “After talking on the phone with Bread for the City staff and volunteers, and visiting the pantry, I knew that they were the kind of organization I wanted to work with.”

Families frequently throw out their food scraps at the end of their meals, but this “trash” is actually quite valuable to local farmsit can become compost! Davy made this connection and now  takes compost generated from food scraps to Your Chef’s Table Farm in Brookeville, Montgomery County in exchange for fresh produce that he donates to Bread for the City’s Northwest location.

“With this project I can simultaneously address two big issues all for the price of driving from Montgomery County to DC”, Davy notes. The people who work in the pantry at Bread for the City are awesome. Whenever I donate, I am received by grateful people who are passionate about their work. It’s not just in quantity, but quality, and I cannot be more impressed by everything they have done so far. Keep up the good work!”

If Davy’s story has inspired you to become an in-kind donor to either of our Food Pantries in NW or SE, Washington, DC, please visit

Davy with his donation of fresh veggies!

It’s the final countdown!

The countdown has officially begun…we are only 12 days away from our 2017 Good Hope Gala!

Get excited for a night celebrating our Legal Clinic’s 25 years of creating access to justice with live music, dinner, a live auction, and lots of dancing! It is sure to be a memorable night, and we wouldn’t want you to miss out.

Guests dancing the night away at BFC’s 2016 Good Hope Gala

What’s in store for the big night? We’ll tell ya!

  • If you are dreaming of your next getaway, we have you covered with some amazing vacation packages up for grabs. Participate in our live auction and bid on vacations to Rio de Janeiro, Colorado, the Outer Banks, and The Inn at Little Washington!

  • Back by popular demand! We are excited to be hosting JoGo Project as our evening’s entertainment. Get your dancing shoes ready…

  • We will be honoring our Legal Clinic for 25 years of service. Come pay tribute to our amazing lawyers, volunteers, and clients who fight for access to justice every day.

  • GaGa, Oh La La! That’s right, we have front row seats to Lady GaGa’s sold out show at the Verizon Center this fall. Raise your paddle for your chance at a show of a lifetime! Also, word on the street is that Bruno Mars tickets will be raffled off.

  • Still not convinced? With your support, we are set to raise over $1,000,000 to continue to provide life-sustaining services here in the District. It takes a village, and we are glad you are a part of ours.

Join us! Purchase your ticket here.

Let’s Grow Together!

If you’ve never visited one of our rooftop gardens or City Orchard, you are REALLY missing out! Look at how much fun you could be having:

OK, so it’s also a lot of work, but what isn’t??

(Horn tooting ahead —>) There’s no doubt that we’re doing great urban agriculture work here at Bread for the City. We’re REALLY proud of it! But in order to sustain this work, we need some things (saw that one coming did you?).

Bread for the City’s Sustainable Agriculture department is in need of the following items as seen on our wishlist:

Blue N Fertilizer
• Compost
• Fertilizer
• Garden Soil
• Garden Stakes (Large)
• Gardening Gloves
• Gardening Hand Tools (trowels, cultivators, pruners, knives, and scissors)
• Gardening Hats
• Kelp Plant Food Fertilizer
• Large Woven Baskets
• Paper Portion Cups
• Peat Moss
• Perlite
• Planting Pots and Seedling Trays (Assorted Sizes)
• Pruners
• Reusable Grocery Bags
• Non-GMO Seeds (Herbs, Vegetables, Annual Fruits, and Native Pollinator Flowers)
• Small Forks and Spoons
• Super K Fertilizer
• Victorinox Serrated Harvesting Knives
• Wheelbarrows

A few reasons why Sustainable Ag. needs these materials:

Rooftop Gardens:

Fresh produce comes from various kinds of seeds, bulbs, cuttings, and rootstocks. We need seeds and the like to grow herbs, vegetables, annual fruits and native pollinators in our gardens to encourage healthier eating habits and cultivate a sustainable environment

We make our own potting soil mix using compost, peat moss, perlite to get seedlings off to a healthy start! Seedlings are transplanted in our gardens and offered to clients in pots for growing their own fresh produce. 

To keep our plants healthy, we supplement their diets with plant food. This is why we need fertilizer.

All garden activities provide clients, volunteers, and visitors with hands-on education about urban agriculture and urban sustainability. 

City Orchard:

Our orchard requires regular maintenance such as pruning, weeding, mulching, trellising and more.

• City Orchard relies heavily on volunteers to support with these tasks as well as harvesting, processing, and packaging produce. Items such as gloves, wheelbarrows, pruners, harvesting knives and gardening hats help us accomplish our work with ease.

All orchard activities provide clients and volunteers with hands-on education about urban agriculture and urban sustainability. 

We’d be so very grateful if you’d send gifts to:

Bread for the City                                                                                                                                                              Attn: Volunteer & In-kind Manager                                                                                                                        1525 7th St. NW                                                                                                                                                   Washington, DC 20001                                                                                                        

Thank you!

Bread for the City’s City Orchard is sustained in part through the support of the University of the District of Columbia’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences.

We need YOU…to support our housing initiatives!

There is a crisis in our city–the displacement of thousands of long-time residents due to the destruction of affordable housing. To support those impacted by this crisis, Bread for the City created an ambitious housing advocacy campaign, aimed at engaging the communities in which we work to build a powerful base of voters, organizers, artists, and others to fight to create and preserve affordable housing in the District.

Leveraging this powerful base, the #Right2DC campaign supports grassroots leadership and is helping to create the political will necessary to rectify the conditions that perpetuate poverty in the District — starting with access to affordable housing.

Want to join the fight? Here are some upcoming opportunities for you to support affordable housing in DC!

May 3rd: DC Council budget oversight hearing on the Dept. of Human Services. A great opportunity to call for improvements or expansion of things like SNAP, TANF, shelter conditions, transitional housing, childcare services, emergency rental assistance, and homeless services.

May 4th: DC Council budget oversight hearing on the DC Housing Authority. This is the opportunity to get the Council to fund critical programs like creating new vouchers for the waitlist, improving the voucher lease-up system, doing public housing repairs, and more. 

Also May 4th: the DC Council budget oversight hearing for Events DC, through which the city is giving $65 million to billionaire Ted Leonsis to build his Wizards practice facility and displace people from the St Elizabeth’s area. Great opportunity to testify about this!

May 11th: DC Council budget oversight hearing on the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. DMPED oversees the New Communities program, which is privatizing public housing at Barry Farm and threatens to displace residents in the process. 

May 12th: DC Council hearing on the entire budget. Final opportunity to testify on anything in the city’s budget before the Council has its first vote on the budget on May 30th.

There will likely be other actions happening, so we encourage you to stay tuned to this blog and our Twitter and Facebook pages!

Please email if you have any questions or want to get involved. We hope you do!

What’s Up with the Client Advisory Council?

Members of the Client Advisory Council

I’m Chearie Phelps, the Client Advisory Council (CAC) Organizer at Bread for the City.

The CAC is a group of Bread for the City clients that works with staff to help the organization continuously grow and better serve its client community. The Client Advisory Council is essentially a BFC accountability body that ensures the organization does what it says it will do.

I started off as a client and volunteer of Bread for the City. I was facing many barriers as a returning citizen, all while experiencing homelessness and also in need of  two hip replacements. With Bread’s help, I overcame those obstacles, and almost a year ago on May 16th I became an employee here at Bread for the City organizing with the CAC. It has been a great experience!

The Client Advisory Council is all about empowering our members. This year, the Council is organizing workshops and trainings in “undoing racism”, racial equity, Protective Action Response (PAR) training, and sensitivity training. 

One of the CAC’s newest members, Jon Doeboi, told me why he wanted to join the CAC.

He said, “I like that it’s a collective of mostly African Americans sharing their ideas about how an organization should operate to best serve their needs and improving relationships between clients and staff.”

We also have great fundraising events coming up: car washes which we will host twice a month, and an “Oldies but goodies” party is being planned. Money raised from these will go towards funding our trainings and activities, as well as a CAC donation towards the Capital Expansion project for the new SE Center.

We are excitedly looking forward to the continued growth of Bread for the City and the Client Advisory Council!

If you are you a client of BFC and interested in getting involved with CAC, contact Chearie at

Celebrating National Volunteer Week (April 23-29, 2017)

Orchard volunteers, what would we do without you?!

When the doors of Bread for the City are open, they are matched by the hearts of thousands of generous volunteers who serve our two centers and orchard, and support a host of special projects each year. 

During the cold, “slow” months, nearly 400 volunteer slots are filled in our food pantries and clothing room, our medical and legal clinics, and our social services programs. When things warm up, hundreds more bring their smiles and support to service opportunities at our orchard, farmers’ market, Sunday produce sort, and two rooftop gardens.

In 1974, a single volunteer helped us begin. With a small $5,000 gift, a nurse, and donated space, Bread for the City’s founders were ready to open a medical clinic. Legally however, they could not open unless a licensed physician agreed to oversee the operation…and what physician would work without pay?

When Dr. Jack Bresette finally agreed to the role, he came “reluctantly and mostly out of guilt,” but volunteering left him “changed…healed…peaceful…humbled.” The service of that first physicianand the others who soon joined himmarked the beginning of a movement which, 43 years later, has resulted in Bread for the City being able to offer a wealth of high-quality, free services to D.C.’s low-income community.

Yay for volunteer docs!

Today, Bread for the City has a staff of over 100, but the service of volunteers (which supports the needs of 8,000 to 10,000 clients each month) continues to ensure the work of each department can be successful. In some cases, it ensures that some programs can even exist:

  • Two Fridays a month, about 4,000 pounds of produce has to be sorted into individual bags over a two-hour span for 150-200 community members visiting Bread for the City’s Farmers Market. The bulk of the work is executed by volunteers.
  • Here at Bread, we’re proud of our three full-time physicians and dentist. Our medical services however, would not be complete without the help of the more than a dozen doctorsmany of whom are specialists in various fieldswho provide their services for free through our medical clinic.
  • Only one full-time and one part-time staff member serve Bread for the City’s 3-acre orchard day to day. The remainder of the planting, weeding, harvesting, and general tending-to of crops is executed by volunteers.
  • Donations to our clothing room come in every single day to help accommodate the nearly 1,000 visits the room sees every month. Who would sort the donations and replenish the floor stock if there were no volunteers?

Bruce hard at work in the Legal Clinic

It’s easy to go on. We have a retired attorney who gives Bread for the City 64 hours of his time every single month…and has been doing so for years. Thanks, Bruce!

A volunteer at our Southeast Center has committed a decade to helping keep our clients informed through bulletin board and calendar updates. The staff of a particular federal agency comes to package bread for our food pantry every month. And we have half a dozen service corps volunteers who spend a year with us performing a wide variety of services that help keep us moving forward.

In fact, we estimate that the dollar value of volunteer services to Bread for the City is over a half a million a year! But more importantly, this service ensures many more of our friends and neighbors here in Washington, D.C. draw a few steps further away from the obstacles associated with living in poverty.

We appreciate our volunteers’ commitment. We appreciate their time. We’re grateful for the way they help us accomplish our mission. We would not be Bread for the City without them.

Of course, Bread is just one of many nonprofits who benefit from volunteer support. The proposed budget of the current administration eliminates the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). This disinvestment in American communities may seem “penny wise” on the surface, but overall, it is both “pound foolish” (and “people invisible,” to add a new twist to a familiar phrase). The Hill reports that “Americans see nearly four times the return in higher earnings, increased output, and other community-wide benefits” for every federal dollar invested in national service. It summarizes by saying, “For every dollar we give CNCS, it gives us back $1.25.”

That’s why we have to resist the current administration’s effort to abolish the Corporation for National and Community Service. AmeriCorps service members led by the CNCS are among the many who work diligently to address the needs of Americans facing inequity and the challenges of poverty. 

Volunteers represent the best of America, and I hope each person reading this will commit to always being one.

 Sign up to serve at!