December Charity of the Month

The WTOP Charity of the Month is

Beacon House is a Black-led, Black-serving nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the academic advancement and personal growth of children in Washington, DC’s Edgewood neighborhood. Through afterschool education and youth development programs serving children ages 5-18 in and around Northeast Washington, DC’s Edgewood Commons affordable housing community, we are working toward a future in which children in Edgewood become empowered lifelong learners who achieve their greatest potential. Our programs focus on closing the education achievement gap, improving the economic trajectories of children in Ward 5 for whom generational poverty is most persistent.

Beacon House was founded in 1991 by Reverend Donald E. Robinson, a retired DC government social worker and ordained Unitarian Universalist minister known affectionately as “Rev.”  Edgewood faced a proliferation of drugs and violent crime, so Rev wanted to offer a place where children could be safe and surrounded by people who would encourage them to stay in school. Rev named the organization Beacon House, thinking of the role of a lighthouse in a storm—a beacon of safety in the area.

Today, Beacon House’s afterschool Education, Athletics, and Summer Camp programs supply year-round opportunities for learning and achievement to more than 300 children ages 5-18 annually. In 2016, WTOP shared the results of a study of its Athletics Program that resulted in the term the “Beacon House effect.”  Beacon House is unique among greater Washington afterschool organizations as a community-based organization which builds relationships with children and families over many years. Scores of people who attended Beacon House now volunteer in its programs, and some now have children of their own who attend Beacon House.

Kennedy, now a student at DC’s most selective high schools, said that “I like Beacon House is because I don’t receive just academic help, but also emotional help. If I had a difficult day at school. my teachers [at Beacon House] will help me sort out my emotions” Kennedy’s mom, Kyia, agrees that Beacon House’s importance to Edgewood goes beyond the academic support it provides. According to Kyia, Beacon House is “the root of this community, part of the glue that holds Edgewood together.”  Without Beacon House, Kyia did not think that her family would “thrive as much as we do here” in Edgewood. Beacon House is not just an organization that serves youth, it is an integral part of the Edgewood community.

For more information, visit  or look up beaconhousedc on  Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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