The Lab was launched in the Spring of 2015 as a way of enabling the McCourt School to step up its commitment to and involvement with hometown Washington, DC. This required us to look beyond the Federal presence and focus on DC’s neighborhoods, communities and the people living in them. Social and economic indicators and overpowering issues related to equity, equality, and opportunity further narrowed the Lab’s attention to communities and people living in Wards 7 and 8, east of the Anacostia River.
Since its founding, the Lab has been driven by a core set of values from which it has not wavered: racial equity, social justice, respect for community, integrity, humility and innovation. They are our moral and ethical compass.
The Lab’s work is motivated and informed by connections between public policy and the people and groups it is aimed to serve. “Putting people in policy.” That is our mantra. This occurs as Lab members develop an understanding of the profound challenges faced by large segments of the city’s population. It occurs when Lab members make personal connections with residents, community leaders, and multiple stakeholders. It occurs as Lab members co-design projects with community members and other stakeholders. And, perhaps most importantly, it occurs as Lab members interact with each other sharing research, thoughts and ideas. This report highlights the Lab’s work over the past year and tells many of these stories.