Empower DC is a city-wide grassroots organization committed to building the power of low-income communities of color to create long lasting, positive change in our communities. We currently have active community organizing campaigns to save and improve Save Public Housingpublic housing, to ensure all children have access to high-quality neighborhood public schools, and to support the residents of Ivy City as they improve their neighborhood. Empower DC is a membership-based organization, and our members lead our campaigns, serve on our Board of Directors, and help set the organization’s priorities.


A selected list of our major victories since 2003.
  • Won $21 million increase for DC’s Child Care Subsidy DC Doesnt work without childcare banner with kidsProgram (June 2005).
  • Won passage of a bill mandating a community hearing before public property is sold or given away (December 2009).
  • Won approval of law outlining community input process into DC’s Master Facilities Plan (May 2010).
  • Supported the revitalization and re-launch of the Ivy City Civic Association (2012).
  • Won injunction blocking establishment of a polluting tour bus parking lot in Ivy City (December 2012).
  • Won $11 million increase for childcare (May 2013).
  • Won $10 million to support the transformation of Ivy City’s abandoned Alexander Crummell School into a community center (Spring 2014).
  • Formed the Barry Farm Tenants and Allies Association (BFTAA) to assist Barry Farm (Ward 8) residents with advocating for improvements to their community.
  • Stopped the DC Department of Parks and Recreation from shuttering the community’s only recreation center and leaving the community without services for a year before the opening of a new one.
  • Won “party status” at the DC Zoning Commission and supported resident involvement in zoning hearings.
  • Mobilized over 100 public housing and homeless residents to engage in budget advocacy, including over 40 who testified at the City Council for the first time.
  • Won the first ever local budget investment in repair and maintenance of public housing – just under $1 million for fiscal year 2016, and $15 million in the Mayor’s budget for fiscal year 2017.
It is important to note the victories that don’t appear on this list. A mother who testifies for the first time in front of City Council against the closure of her child’s school. A public housing resident who cross-examines city officials and developers in front of the DC Zoning Commission, exposing their disregard for her family and community. At Empower DC, we regularly see these victories.

Organizing Community Power!