As part of our mission, we develop relationships and strategic partnerships with local organizations and community members in Wards 7 and 8. Currently, we have five teams dedicated to projects spanning equitable development, racial equity in the workforce, food insecurity, violence prevention, and affordable housing.

Food Security

Key Partner: DMPED and Office of Planning
Team Lead: Perrine Monnet, Co-Lead: Becca Hentges

Team Members: Nico Pcholkin, Emma Wyma, Sylvia Brown

The Food Deserts Team is currently working with the DC Office of Planning and the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) to address food deserts in Wards 7 and 8. While DMPED uses data analytics to analyze current needs and interviews to discover obstacles faced by large retailers, the Lab’s Food Deserts team is focused on efforts to support local small businesses in Wards 7 and 8. The team is working to develop a list of small produce retailers that currently serve residents of Wards 7 and 8. Furthermore, the team will conduct research to identify policy initiatives that best support small-print grocers to survive and thrive.

Health Equity Team

Key Partners: TBD
Team Lead: Kiran Correa

Team Members:  Amanda Ferguson, Amy Lieber, Audrey McIntyre, Saagarika Thanvi

The Health Equity Team is dedicated to reducing disparities in access to healthcare and health outcomes in Wards 7 and 8. Established in the Fall of 2021, the team is currently exploring potential partnerships with government and nonprofits in DC to develop a project that is aligned with the Lab and team goals. 

Diversion & Workforce Team

Key Partner: TBD
Team Lead: Brianna LaFontant, Co-Lead: Marlyn Bruno

Team Members: Lindsey Volz, Wanying Li, Raquel Rosenbloom, Marlyn Bruno

The Diversion & Workforce team is creating a new workforce development and transition program for Emerging Adults who have come in contact with the D.C. criminal justice system and are new entrants to the workforce. The new workforce program will connect Emerging Adults with training and employment opportunities in the environmental sector.

Equitable Development Team

Key Partner: Anacostia Business Improvement District (BID)
Team Lead: Paroma Mitra

Team Members: Genesis Santiago, Mari Verulashvili, Josh Hardesty, Scott Brown

Over the past year, the Anacostia Business Improvement District and the McCourt Policy Innovation Lab have been in the process of forming a coalition for developing a community-driven, racially inclusive roadmap for an equitable development plan revolving around the impending and ongoing development projects in the area near the Anacostia metro station in the Columbian Quarter. We intend to build a diverse coalition of organizations and individuals including developers, community leaders, local business owners, research organizations, and service providers. The team will aim to create comprehensive guidelines and assessment tools for new developments and businesses looking to operate out of Anacostia, while ensuring that current residents and business owners benefit from the new investments and displacement is mitigated.

Workforce Development Team

Key Partner: DC Appleseed
Team Leads: Jess Belledonne, Ideree Galbaatar

Team Members: Nitya Ramanathan, Keegan Brown

Partnering with DC Appleseed, the Workforce Development team is finalizing a “workforce snapshot” report of the current state of DC’s workforce development system, with a focus on the impact of the COVID-10 pandemic through a racial equity lens. The team is conducting interviews and research to add multiple perspectives and detailed recommendations to the report. 

Affordable Housing

Key Partner: Office of DC At-Large Councilmember, Robert White
Team Leads: Atsuhiro Oguri, Rachel Wilson

Team Members: Rikki Ulmer, Boyao Wang, Eli Landman

Building on a previous engagement with DC Councilmember Robert White, Jr., on affordable housing, the Lab has launched a project with the Councilmember’s office investigating the nature and challenges around DC’s dwindling supply of naturally-occurring affordable housing (NOAH). Councilmember White’s office is seeking to learn more about the nature of DC’s NOAH stock, what specific policies and activities are contributing to the decline of NOAH across DC, and how DC can bolster and support NOAH preservation moving forward. The Lab is collaborating with the Councilmember’s office to investigate these issues through a year-long engagement, with the end goal of providing concrete policy recommendations to the Councilmember’s office on effective strategies for preserving DC’s NOAH. The team will engage in a series of activities to pull together secondary data and primary research, and to craft a series of policy recommendations based on these findings. The team will also conduct a series of interviews with relevant stakeholders and community members, to learn more about their experiences, perceptions of the current challenges, and ideas for how to address these issues

View photos from this year’s showcase by clicking this link: PIL Showcase Photos