Sharing D.C. Dialogues

marc headshotMarcus Rosenbaum: My Two Cents

The D.C. Office is busy preparing for the next round of Sharing D.C., a donor-led grantmaking initiative. With Sharing D.C., donors put their heads together to evaluate proposals from a variety of local nonprofits and determine which organizations represent the smartest investments to help Washington’s most vulnerable residents.

We sat down with Sharing D.C. member Marcus Rosenbaum to talk about his experiences with the program. Marcus has been a donor with the Community Foundation since 2008 and a Sharing D.C. participant for the past two years. As part of Sharing D.C., he helped award over $150,000 last year to nonprofit organizations in the District.

Q: Why did you join Sharing D.C.?

A: If you’re like me, donating to charity requires a certain amount of finger-crossing. You have a few favorites you give to every year, because you know they do a good job. But then there are all the others: a little here to one group, and a little there to another. Maybe their literature caught your eye, or a friend told you about them, or you read about them somewhere. I often feel like it’s a shot in the dark. But Sharing D.C. is different. The support from the Community Foundation’s staff and the evaluations I conduct with my fellow donors make me comfortable that our money is going to good causes.

Q: How does Sharing D.C. work?

A: First the staff identifies organizations from whom we request proposals (all for programs and projects in the District). We then make site visits, carefully evaluate the proposals, and finally decide – together – which organizations should get funded from our pooled contributions.

Q: Would you encourage others to get involved and why?

A: Absolutely! Anyone can give, and any amount will do; but one of the great things is that if you have a fund at The Community Foundation, it’s easy. In fact, if everyone would earmark just a small percentage of their self-directed funds to Sharing D.C., we could do so much more. We could increase the size of our grants as well as the number of organizations we help. Moreover, I’d urge donors to participate in the grantmaking process, too. Just ask, and we’ll put you to work! But whether you actively participate in the grant review process or not, by contributing to Sharing D.C. you’ll know your money is going to organizations vetted by the Community Foundation staff for programs and projects selected by your fellow Community Foundation donors. No more shots in the dark.

If you would like to join Sharing D.C. or want more information about the process, please contact Amina Anderson at or 202-303-2440. The Community Foundation would welcome your support and participation.

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