Columbia Heights Day Initiative

Investing in community + supporting local business

aka District Bridges   |   WASHINGTON, DC   |  districtbridges.org

Mission

Our mission is to enrich neighborhood vitality by bridging community engagement and economic development opportunities so individuals, businesses, and organizations can thrive together.

Ruling year info

2009

Executive Director

Brianne Dornbush

Main address

3400 11TH ST NW STE 200

WASHINGTON, DC 20010 USA

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EIN

26-0325241

NTEE code info

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

District Bridges fosters equitable, resilient, connected communities in Washington, DC and beyond. Dedicated to supporting small businesses and investing in community, District Bridges is a solutions-driven advisory & execution practice centered on socially impactful community development and micro-economic growth.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Columbia Heights Mount Pleasant Main Street Program

Our Main Street programs are neighborhood revitalization programs that balance the development, support, and recruitment of small businesses to the neighborhoods we serve as well as to engage residents and visitors to support the commercial corridors in their area.

Population(s) Served

Our Main Street programs are neighborhood revitalization programs that balance the development, support, and recruitment of small businesses to the neighborhoods we serve as well as to engage residents and visitors to support the commercial corridors in their area.

Population(s) Served

Our Main Street programs are neighborhood revitalization programs that balance the development, support, and recruitment of small businesses to the neighborhoods we serve as well as to engage residents and visitors to support the commercial corridors in their area.

Population(s) Served

Our Main Street programs are neighborhood revitalization programs that balance the development, support, and recruitment of small businesses to the neighborhoods we serve as well as to engage residents and visitors to support the commercial corridors in their area.

Population(s) Served

Our Main Street programs are neighborhood revitalization programs that balance the development, support, and recruitment of small businesses to the neighborhoods we serve as well as to engage residents and visitors to support the commercial corridors in their area.

Population(s) Served

Our Main Street programs are neighborhood revitalization programs that balance the development, support, and recruitment of small businesses to the neighborhoods we serve as well as to engage residents and visitors to support the commercial corridors in their area.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of hours of technical assistance provided to small businesses

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

District Bridges is working towards thriving together in equitable, resilient, connected communities here in DC and beyond. We want to see:
#1: Equitable, strengthened, and connected communities with a strong sense of place;
#2: Human-scaled commercial corridors with vibrant, valued small businesses;
#3: Sustainable and self-determined small businesses; and
#4 A growth-minded organization, setting the standard for nonprofit, community development work.

One-on-One Small Business Support
For many small business owners, the challenge of keeping the lights on and the bills paid means they rarely have time to invest in growing their business. District Bridges has built a robust technical assistance infrastructure to assess business needs. We use standardized business and financial health checks and business development plans to allows our staff to diagnose a business’ main pressure points so we can better connect our businesses with the resources they need and streamline data sharing with technical assistance providers.

Capital Access Program (CAP)
For most businesses, accessing capital is a critical need when trying to achieve their development goals. There are many resources available to small businesses, but many small business owners find navigating the process can be extremely complicated and confusing due to factors including language and cultural barriers, bad credit, or non-compliance with city regulations. CAP advises and supports businesses in accessing the capital needed to support their business development goals through one-on-one financial advice and planning.

Facade Improvement Program
One of the greatest needs of the small businesses within our service areas is addressing the threat of commercial displacement due to rapid gentrification and the long-deferred and costly maintenance needed to repair aging buildings. We work to combat this threat by providing funds directly to small businesses in the form of grants as well as leveraging our funds to help businesses access larger investment from loans and city funding programs to improve signage, lighting, awnings, windows and other elements of business storefronts that help to shape the overall streetscape and curb appeal of these rapidly changing neighborhoods.

Access Point
Complimenting our efforts within our specific Main Street corridors, District Bridges works to support a wider range of businesses through a new online platform, Access Point. In partnership with Rhode Island Avenue Main Street, District Bridges has built and launched the platform, and is in the process of creating content that covers a wide range of topics including financial literacy, digital marketing, government compliance, safety, & more. This platform will not only make our technical assistance more accessible for the small businesses we currently serve who have expressed the need for self-paced learning, but will also allow us to better serve new businesses, especially those with whom language is a barrier.

Business Preservation Assistance Program (BPAP)
BPAP is designed to help DC’s culturally-vital small businesses avoid displacement as neighborhoods rapidly gentrify. In gentrifying communities, businesses face the risk of permanent displacement due to rapid escalation in property-related costs. BPAP works to identify & implement alternative leasing strategies & policy changes that make the real estate landscape more equitable for small businesses.

As the first multi-Main Street organization in DC, District Bridges developed a model that makes managing Main Street programs in DC a turnkey operation. We streamline the operational setup of new programs, creating economies of scale and increasing staff capacity. Our strategic approach to community development considers the holistic needs of the city and creates solutions in collaboration with residents. District Bridges understands that every community has its own priorities, so we work side-by-side with neighborhoods to identify critical needs and leverage the community’s unique skills and assets.

Why District Bridges?
- We leverage the collective expertise, practical tools, and on the ground experience of our community development professionals to help leaders define, achieve, and measure success to the benefit of all.
- We create economies of scale and capacity in Main Street programs by centralizing administrative functions such as accounting, payroll, insurance, systems, and data management .
- We build sustainability and capacity through a scaled staffing model that ensures Main Street program success even if staff leave or change.
- We designed and developed a custom Salesforce platform for urban Main Streets’ that:
+ Integrates with our website, maintaining our customer-facing online business directory,
+ Stores comprehensive business data and case notes, accessible from a phone,
+ Ensures that institutional knowledge is preserved,
+ Supports a robust fundraising strategy, and
+ Generates custom reports that meet DSLBD and other DC agency reporting requirements.
- We standardize data collection, creating more accurate reporting and analysis.
- We foster opportunities for cross-promotion and strategic advertising across the city.
- We garner broader community engagement through volunteers, action teams, neighborhood strategy councils, and the executive board of directors.

As the first multi-Main Street organization in DC, District Bridges developed a model that makes managing Main Street programs in DC a turnkey operation. We streamline the operational setup of new programs, creating economies of scale and increasing staff capacity. Our strategic approach to community development considers the holistic needs of each neighborhood and creates solutions in collaboration with residents. District Bridges understands that every community has its own priorities, so we work side-by-side with neighborhoods to identify critical needs and leverage the community’s unique skills and assets.

Supporting our model is a custom Salesforce platform designed for Main Streets. This system enables us to collect and manage data on businesses, track technical assistance progress, donor information, fundraising pipeline, and create customized reports for grantors. Our staff can access the system from their phones enabling us to collect real-time data and comprehensive case notes on every business. The system is integrated with our website ensuring our business directory is always up to date. Through this system, we retain critical institutional knowledge even through potential staffing changes.

Over the last year, District Bridges has achieved incredible organizational growth. We were awarded and launched three new Main Street programs (Cleveland Park, Logan Circle, and U Street), as well as lead the relaunch and management of Woodley Park Main Street, which facilitated a 166% increase in staff and 143% increase in budget. We specifically prioritized hiring persons with knowledge of the Spanish language and long-term DC residents for programming positions to increase our organizational ability to reach Spanish-speaking and legacy businesses. These new Main Streets joined our Columbia Heights | Mount Pleasant and Lower Georgia Avenue programs in administering technical assistance, engaging the community, and fostering investment that benefits current businesses and residents. Additionally, we launched Access Point, an online learning platform designed to help small businesses grow and thrive across DC, and were awarded our first Facade Improvement Grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development, both of which significantly increased our capacity to support small businesses in tangible, measurable ways.

This exciting, intense growth necessitated a comprehensive strategic planning process that engaged all levels of the organization throughout the spring and summer of 2020. With the Board of Directors and the Main Street Neighborhood Strategy Councils, and staff, we worked towards a defined organizational growth strategy and neighborhood implementation plan for each Main Street, as well as a wider vision for the future of DC neighborhoods.

Financials

Columbia Heights Day Initiative
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Columbia Heights Day Initiative

Board of directors
as of 11/9/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Andi Steinem

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/06/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data