Collaborative Solutions for Communities Celebrates 25 Years of Local Impact

Leading DC nonprofit marks a quarter century of strengthening families and transforming lives

Penelope Griffith, Executive Director, Collaborative Solutions for Communities (Photo: Business Wire)

WASHINGTON--()--Collaborative Solutions for Communities (CSC), a high-impact advocacy organization that provides critical services to families and neighborhoods across Washington, DC, is marking its 25th anniversary of fostering positive change with a gala event on September 25, 2021. Taking place in person at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and also streaming online, the celebration will shine a light on decades of success building strong, cohesive families.

Founded in 1996, CSC began as a coordinated effort to prevent children from entering the foster care system. Today, it has evolved into an integrated network of services ranging from comprehensive assessment and case management for families in crisis, to violence prevention, rapid rehousing, reentry assistance for women who have been incarcerated and workforce development.

“We are proud to have made such a significant difference helping families thrive here in DC over the past 25 years,” says Penelope Griffith, the organization’s executive director. “It is tremendously fulfilling to have played a role in people’s ability to turn their lives around.”

CSC is a donor- and grant-funded organization that leverages a combination of local, federal and foundation dollars to sustain innovative training, community capacity-building, economic development and social enterprise programs. Its work is premised on the notion that safe environments are a human right, and that sustained societal change is best achieved by empowering families and communities to lead the way.

Patricia Sullivan, a program manager under CSC’s contract with the DC’s Child and Family Services Agency, knows the value CSC offers to the community first-hand. Formerly homeless, she accessed vital support from the organization and was ultimately inspired to join the CSC team, offering others the same type of assistance she once received herself.

“A lot of us on staff were born and raised here; we know these folks, and we understand their needs. I’m so gratified by the trust they place in us and by our ability to open their eyes to new things,” Sullivan says.

Clients of CSC include Shauntell Harley, who learned about the organization during a stay at a halfway house for incarcerated women. She signed up for a life skills session CSC was offering on Zoom and says the improvement in her ability to navigate challenges was dramatic.

“I realized I needed help and couldn’t do it on my own, so I made a connection through CSC,” she recalls. “The course gave me the encouragement I needed to set realistic goals for my life going forward.”

Hilda Martinez also depended on CSC to get her through a difficult time. Challenges related to COVID-19 made it hard for her 13-year-old daughter to make it to school, and she began accumulating truancies. Unfamiliar with school bureaucracy, Martinez reached out to CSC, which facilitated her communicating directly with her daughter’s teacher and school counselor.

“I was very worried, but thanks to CSC everything has gotten better, and my daughter is doing well in her classes,” she says. “CSC’s involvement was especially great for my daughter because it made her feel like she had a whole team of people who cared about her education.”

The gala will showcase similar success stories, highlighting CSC’s track record of results over a quarter century of caring for the community. Invitees include Mayor Muriel Bowser and Robert Contee III, chief of DC’s Metropolitan Police Department. CSC’s Griffith says partnerships with civic leaders and city employees have been instrumental in advancing CSC’s mission.

Law enforcement and the community work well together,” she says. “I know that’s not a popular concept today, but in my experience, police officers really do have the best interests of the community at heart.”

CSC has set a fundraising goal of $500,000 for the evening. “We have accomplished so much, but there is still important work to be done,” Griffith says. “Every donation helps.” Click here to make a donation in honor of CSC’s 25th anniversary.

Register here to receive a link to the free event.


Founded in 1996 as the Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative and now operating as Collaborative Solutions for Communities, CSC is a Washington, DC metropolitan area not-for-profit human service organization that provides: family support services, affordable housing, violence intervention, youth engagement and workforce development programs. Over two and a half decades, CSC has helped more than 20,000 families.


Michael L. Miller
Michael Miller PR for Collaborative Solutions for Communities (CSC)
(310) 890-7819 or (323) 347.7976 Ext. 0001

Release Summary

CSC 25th Anniversary



Michael L. Miller
Michael Miller PR for Collaborative Solutions for Communities (CSC)
(310) 890-7819 or (323) 347.7976 Ext. 0001