Jun 3, 2019
Two dynamic forces have come together to create opportunity and equity in Washington DC’s historically underserved neighborhoods. One is Martha’s Table, a nonprofit whose mission is to support strong children, strong families and strong communities. It transforms the lives of Ward 5, 6, 7 and 8 residents through high-quality education programs, access to healthy food, and ongoing family supports. Most recently, it opened The Commons, a 43,000 square foot facility in Ward 8, where babies are cared for, children learn to read, and parents shop in markets, at no cost, for delicious and healthy fruit and vegetables. The other factor is Kim Ford, an accomplished leader and DC native, who recently signed on as the new executive director. Kim, a veteran of the Obama Administration and the former Dean of Workforce Development at the University of the District of Columbia Community College, is a relentless champion of DC families. She sees herself as a partner to the residents that Martha’s Table serves. And, she rejects the notion of organizations as saviors and providers of second chances. Instead, she believes that residents are stepping up to provide themselves with first chances. Martha’s Table works every day with other community-based nonprofits, including Urban Alliance, Capital Area Food Bank, Jubilee Housing and Community of Hope and with City agencies to deliver the full complement of expertise a community needs to be successful. Part of being a strong community is the ability to take root and stay in place. The Commons communicates the expectation that the next stage of development in Ward 8 must include rather than displace current residents. That is the model of development that our communities need and deserve.