September 1, 2019 

Dear Friends,

As you may know, this past fall, after eight wonderful years, building renovations and campus changes required us to vacate our space on the campus of Howard University.  This space, a generous gift from the University, included a computer lab, classroom, kitchen, multi-purpose space and offices. It became a special place where girls from across the region came together, discovered their inner strong, smart and bold, honed their leadership skills and, together, learned the enduring value of sister support. The campus atmosphere was inspiring and we had the added benefit of outstanding role models in the many students who were eager to volunteer and support our girls.  This partnership was magical and unique – it fulfilled a vision long held by the late Dr. Roselyn Payne Epps and other members of our founding Board, including many of you, to establish a Girls Inc. affiliate on a college campus.  We are especially grateful to Dr. Epps and fellow board member, Artis Hampshire Cowan, for their leadership in helping to secure the space that brought this vision to life; and we remain extremely grateful to Howard University for its partnership and service to our girls in countless ways.

Since leaving the campus, we have been slowly regrouping and returning to a community-based model, much as we did during our first four years, serving girls in libraries, schools, departments of recreation and other community-based sites. It has been a big change for us, for the girls and for their families and identifying appropriate alternative space has not been without its challenges. Still, our goal of establishing a Girls Inc. safe space in all eight wards of the District of Columbia and in the near-in counties of Maryland and Virginia is a worthy one and one which we will continue to pursue. As a step in that direction, during the past ten months, with grant support from the United Way of the National Capital Area, The SHARE Fund, Lockheed Martin and the Capital Investment Group, and the acquisition of new individual donors through our invitation to be in the Catalogue for Philanthropy, we served another 200 plus girls in our priority DC wards 5, 7, 8 and reached a long-held goal of expanding our reach to girls in the Latina community.

In addition to the change in our program space, we’ve also had leadership changes both locally and nationally. Members of our DC Board completed terms and our Board Chair changed hands. After eight years, our national Girls Inc. CEO stepped down and her successor stepped in this May. And finally, as Executive Director, I will be stepping down this coming October 31. As a founding Board member and the DC affiliate’s first Executive Director, it has been a joy to help establish the organization 15 years ago, to see it grow and to know that we’ve touched the lives of thousands of girls; girls who are already making their way as leaders in their schools and communities. Thanks to Board members, supporters and partners like you, we are proud to note that 100% of our girls have been promoted to the next grade and 100% of our seniors have acceptances to college.

A heartfelt Thank You and special recognition goes to the talented staff members, interns and volunteers who touched the lives of our girls and whose countless hours of love and guidance helped them discover their inherent gifts and shape their pathways to success.

Now with the conclusion of our summer 2019 programs, Girls Inc. of the Washington DC Metro Area will pause its current operations to collaborate with our national staff, rebuild the Board, hire a new executive leader and re-strategize the way forward. 

It’s been my pleasure to know and to work with each one of you. I thank you for all you’ve done to support the precious young ladies in our community and hope you’ll continue to support them through Girls Inc. of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area as it moves forward.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do reach out to me or to our Chair, Judge Covette Rooney at rooneygirlsincdc@gmail.com.

Wishing you all the best,

Denese Lombardi
Executive Director
denese.girlsincdc@gmail.com

Mailing Address:
5614 Connecticut Ave., NW #279
Washington, DC 20015