We are organizing a group of leaders, coming together from across D.C.’s 8 wards, committed to finding new ways to address and resource local solutions to this city's challenges.


We envision a DC where community leaders, artists, philanthropists, foundations, entrepreneurs, faith-based leaders, local government, and social business leaders feel agency to take collective action.

Historical inequity and silos across the city continue to dampen the effects of the collective work done by hard-working community leaders.

In order to find more innovative, creative, and resilient ideas, we will begin by mobilizing a more representational group of this city's greatest resource, its people, into the problem-solving and coordination process, addressing DC's hairiest problems.


These community leaders are working together to find the most effective and lasting way to house collective action and create a more equitable, cleaner and safer Washington, DC for residents in all 8 Wards.

With the facilitation and logistical support of the DC CIC launch team, they will be the engine that transmutes talk into action.  

  • Amy Hartzler | Founder | Do Good Better

  • Maurice Cook | Founder | Serve Your City

  • Chuck Redmond | Vice President of Finance & Operations | Venture Philanthropy Partners

  • Hosan Lee | Founder | Tabletribes

  • Jim Epstein | Chairman | EFO Capital Management

  • Ben Powell | Founder & CEO  | Agora Partnerships

  • Rosario Lonono | Co-Founder | League of Intrapreneurs

  • Nate Wong | Consultant | Obama Foundation

  • Raj Aggarwal | Co-Founder | Think Local First

  • Carla Perlo | Founder | Dance Place

  • Laura Tomasko | Associate Program Officer | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 

  • John Settles | Chief Strategist | Capital Sustainabiliy 

  • Kenny Marable | Policy Analyst | Enterprise Community Partners

  • Rachel Plett | PhD Candidate | Rotterdamn School of Management 

  • Shelley Whelpton - Managing Director Arabella Advisors





Launch Team

Annie Hodges

Stephen Shaff

Kimberley Jutze




The Participatory Design Process:

We want to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk


To embed this in the DNA of the DC Civic Innovation Council, we are undergoing a process to form the structure and activities of The Council. We believe that innovative solutions to social challenges arise from the inclusion of a diverse group of voices.  That's why it's SO important for us to incorporate multiple perspectives and experiences into the design process.

We believe in being, bottom-up, distributed, agile, representative, connected and service-driven.

Our facilitators will use tools like Human-Centered Design, User-Center Design, and Regenerative Network Theory, to name a few.   In this way we provide support to the Steering Committee as they unearth what structure is necessary to most effectively coordinate resources.


The process helps us avoid reinventing the wheel, and ensuring we do not cannibalize resources


The very nature of the Participatory Design Process dictates that at this stage, we only have guideposts and desired outcomes. Meaning, everything is written in pencil, not pen. This blank canvas allows the collective wisdom of the Steering Committee to fill out the picture. 

Here are some ways The Council could support DC: 

  • Increased Community Investment - Targeting new and promising solutions that solve local social challenges that includes job & business growth

  • Civic-Architecture - Support coordinated, sustained investment & engagement

  • Ecosystem Resource Mapping - We need to figure out where the resources are for us to determine where they should go

  • Strategic Partnerships - Strong relationships with local Universities, Philanthropic leaders and other civic innovators

  • Smarter Venture Philanthropy - Supporting ideas that have broad stakeholder support and by-in.


Leadership Recruitment

We are currently working and organizing our leaders to ensure we bring in more voices from influential community leaders.  We are focused right now on building these relationships in disinvested wards, especially those places where residents’ voices often go unheard.

Over the next several months, DC CIC will provide logistical and tactical support to our leadership to determine the most effective and efficient structure,  whether formal or informal, coordinating social and financial capital across DC.



We have a launch team of facilitators and community-builders who artfully and professionally support this process.

They orchestrate everything from this very website you are reading, to mapping networks, bridging communities, and facilitating community meetings to find win-win solutions.  Our team pulls on network levers, making sure we don't simply include the same people who have always been at the table.

We need initial funding to ensure we can sustain and guide the activities of the Steering Committee.



Full, equal representation forms the foundation of civic engagement. A Council that fully reflects our community will elevate new approaches and emerging leaders to create more durable solutions to local needs



Every DC resident has a role to play to build a better community. By addressing common barriers – like access to capital, expertise or networks – we can unleash the potential within everyone to create solutions that improve our city



We’ll never see the bigger picture or solve shared challenges in isolation. An inclusive network that values trust can optimize collaboration across resources, ideas, and people faster, the greatest good.



Our problems are too urgent — and fixable — to wait
for perfect solutions to crystallize. An agile, iterative, participatory approach ensures the best possible ideas for civic progress can be surfaced, tested, refined and scaled


We look forward to hearing from you!