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

Local Economies Team

Key Partners: DC Appleseed
Team Lead: Gabrielle Crossnoe
Team Members: Kiran Correa, Ranjani Rajendran and Victoria Owens  

The Local Economies Team began a new project in April 2020 in partnership with DC Appleseed that will address workforce development programs and policy in the District.   Long-Term Project (Spring 2021 and beyond) In line with the Lab’s focus on centering policies around people, the Local Economies Team will conduct a set of one-on-one and peer group interviews with workforce development program participants. The team will also work with DC Appleseed to establish a comprehensive understanding and measurable definition of racial equity, to be used throughout the project to ensure racial equity remains at the forefront of workforce development policies. Ultimately, DC Appleseed intends to periodically issue workforce development progress “report cards,” similar to their highly effective HIV/AIDS report card.   Short-Term Project (Fall 2020) DC Appleseed is preparing a “workforce snapshot” to be published this winter. This “snapshot” will be a report on the current state of DC’s workforce development system, with a particular focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lab contributed a racial equity section to this snapshot. By conducting a literature review and quantitative research, the Lab wrote a brief report on how COVID-19 has impacted workers of color in DC, and included a proposal of how the city could pursue anti-racist workforce policy during the post-pandemic recovery.  

Equitable Development Team

Potential New Partner: Anacostia Business Improvement District (BID)
Team Lead: Nick Stabile
Team Members: Elena Bagnera, Lindsey Volz, Paroma Mitra and Rachel Wilson  

After spending the spring 2020 semester working on The Promise of Equitable Development: Policies and Principles for an Equitable Recovery and Beyond, published over the summer, we’re currently in the beginning stages of a partnership with the Anacostia BID on an equitable development plan anchored by a potential federal agency as part of the Columbian Quarter development. We’re in the first phase of the project and are currently working with Kristina Noell (Executive Director of the BID) to understand the context and other relevant ongoing work while putting together a group of partners to lead the project. Broadly, our work is likely to encompass:  

  • Engaging with the community to understand how a federal agency might impact the surrounding area and how to use it to catalyze inclusive growth.
  • Attracting additional funds for things like affordable housing in the immediate area, workforce training, job opportunities, arts/cultural programming, and small business development.
  • Building on existing efforts like the 11th Street Bridge Park.

  The ways that Lab members would be involved in the process would depend on what would be most helpful for the BID, but could include:  

  • Researching and putting together a framework plan for equitable development anchored by a new federal agency based on similar past efforts and current conditions.
  • Exploring potential partnerships and helping to coordinate with other organizations.
  • Organizing and facilitating community and stakeholder engagement.

We think this approach could be broadly beneficial in attracting additional commercial interest while ensuring the new development benefits existing businesses and residents. Ideally, this type of work would serve as a solid foundation for future development in the area particularly as the DC government seeks to move forward with additional redevelopment efforts at Poplar Point.  

Food Deserts Team

Potential New Partner: DMPED and Office of Planning
Team Lead: Laura Storrs
Team Members: Amanda Ferguson, Emily Pelles, Perrine Monnet and Roxanne Oroxom  

The Food Deserts Team is currently working with the DC Office of Planning and the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development 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 & 8. The team is working to develop a list of small produce retailers that currently serve residents of Wards 7 & 8. Furthermore, the team will conduct research to identify policy initiatives that best support small-print grocers to survive and thrive.  

Safe Passage

Key Partner: DC Deputy Mayor for Education
Team Lead: Maddie Stern
Team Members: Daniel Lee and Atsuhiro Oguri  

The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education supports Safe Passage programs around the District, including in Wards 7 and 8. This school-based program conducts violence prevention around traditional public and charter K-12 schools, in part by creating a safe environment for students to travel to and from school. The Lab began working with Safe Passage in the summer of 2020 and has created materials for virtual trainings on Safe Passage DC conducted for heads of schools in high priority areas, attended these trainings, and is continuing to meet bi-weekly with Safe Passage DC to further our work with them. Currently, the team is sending out a survey to the schools in priority areas to understand what resources they need, as well as a survey to partners to obtain their information and available resources. We are also reaching out to possible safe-spots (businesses, NGOs, and community partners who are willing to have their businesses serve as a safe place for students to enter when going to/from school) in Congress Heights virtually and hopefully in person to build the community around creating safer communities for kids to go to and from school. All of this will be used to create a resource map and a gap analysis for Safe Passage DC to understand what resources are available and where work still needs to be done.