Capitol Hill Community Foundation Expands Grants for Community Builders

Application deadline is Sept. 25

CHCF grants committee chair Stephanie Deutsch presents the Capitol Hill Community Achievement Award to Mary and Steve Park, founders of Little Lights Urban Ministires, in 2017. Photo: Andrew Lightman

This September, the Capitol Hill Community Foundation offers a variety of grants to support the kind of innovations that bring neighbors together, tackling challenges and seizing opportunities that are most important to them. From small projects to grand visions, proposals from organizations working in the Capitol Hill area are welcome through Sept. 25.

CHCF has created a unique model of partnership, pooling the resources of residents and businesses to meet specific community needs. “Our goal is to empower people who know firsthand what could make our community even better,” said CHCF grants committee chair Stephanie Deutsch. “Whether their projects boost youth education, help seniors age in place, train people who need jobs, or serve any other group of Capitol Hill residents, ultimately everyone in the community benefits from the chance to collaborate and lift each other up.”

“Our application guidelines are not prescriptive, by design,” said CHCF President Nicky Cymrot. “We give applicants free rein to tap their ingenuity. Then our board members take a personal interest in nurturing the work of our grantees — forging relationships that often endure for years.”

The Arnold F. Keller Jr. Grant
The Arnold F. Keller Jr. Grant, CHCF’s most prestigious and consequential grant, will double in size this year to $20,000. “This larger award can be used to stimulate new or ongoing projects of our long-time partners. Or it can help seed a groundbreaking effort of a new partner, driven by leadership with the commitment and strategy to bring it to fruition,” said Deutsch. “We hope to provide a base for an organization to develop and attract more funding for a great idea whose time has come.”

“The Keller grant has always recognized projects that make significant contributions to our community life,” Deutsch said. For example, last year’ Keller award recipient was the 11th Street Bridge Park, a project that is connecting Wards 6 and 8 by transforming a decommissioned bridge into a welcoming space for recreation, gardens, environmental education, and art installations. “Now we’re taking the Keller award one step further to discover how larger projects can help bring us together as a neighborhood.”

The Bill Phillips Grant
CHCF is especially pleased to inaugurate the annual Bill Phillips Grant, awarded in memory of a tireless community volunteer and beloved CHCF board member who received the foundation’s Community Achievement Award in 2013. Underwritten by longtime neighbor Sue Sloan Carlton, the $5,000 grant will honor Phillips’ dedication to helping his neighbors in need by supporting social services.

As a former member of the Christian Brothers, a religious order created to educate impoverished boys, Phillips lived by its defining rule: “Do good, avoid evil, be a good neighbor.” When he received the Community Achievement Award, Phillips remarked: “Everything I do comes from the core values I learned from the brothers. You have got to give back.”

As Cymrot told the Hill Rag last February after Phillips passed away, “Bill was passionate in his view that the foundation should be as generous as possible in helping to meet the needs of our community, especially in supporting the safety net provided by the Capitol Hill Group Ministry and other social service organizations.” Through this grant in Phillips’ name, CHCF will help sustain his inspirational legacy.

Fall Community Grants
Twice a year, CHCF awards about $150,000 in grants of up to $2,500 each for children’s education and youth programming; social services; arts, culture, and recreation; and neighborhood beautification. “In general, we look for projects that will produce a specific outcome,” said Cymrot. “We’ve funded chamber music concerts, computer labs, neighborhood gardens, and countless other amenities and services to benefit people of all ages and incomes throughout our community.”

In addition to grants awarded to organizations that apply in September and March, CHCF provides Mini-Grants of up to $350 throughout the year for nonprofits, schools, and other neighborhood groups with smaller or emergency needs.

Since its founding in 1989, the foundation has awarded more than $7 million in targeted grants to the community. All CHCF grants are entirely funded through the contributions of residents, businesses, and friends of Capitol Hill. The foundation invests every dollar donated in the organizations that strengthen the amenities and services that define this community. All administrative costs are covered by members of the Board of Directors.


To learn more about the Fall Community Grants, view a list of past grantees, and apply, visit For information about The Arnold F. Keller Jr. Grant and the Bill Phillips Grant, please call Stephanie Deutsch at 202-547-8624.