Little Lights Urban Ministries

aka Little Lights   |   Washington, DC   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Little Lights Urban Ministries

EIN: 52-2125232


Little Lights Urban Ministries empowers underserved youth and families in Washington , DC with the love of Christ. We seek to help children, youth, and families thrive spiritually, socially, and intellectually through academics, life skills, the arts, and discipleship.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Steven Park

Main address

760 7th Street, SE

Washington, DC 20003 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Urban development


Child welfare

Youth organizing

Religion for youth

Population served info

Children and youth

Ethnic and racial groups

Low-income people

At-risk youth

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Religious Leadership, Youth Development (O55)

Christian (X20)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Every effort of Little Lights is to connect at-risk students living in impoverished neighborhoods to the opportunities, resources, and relationships they need to pursue the futures they want. We recognize that to successfully navigate into adulthood, students need to develop academically, emotionally, and socially. Consequently, we offer academic-focused youth development programs, that range from homework help and targeted supplementary tutoring, to mentorship and character development programs. All of our programs are geared towards youth living in three public housing communities within the District of Columbia, Potomac Gardens and Hopkins (both in Ward 6), and Benning Terrace (Ward 7).

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?

Homework Club

After-school enrichment and homework assistance program

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth

Where we work


One of the Best Small Charities in the Washington region 2011

Catalogue of Philanthropy

EXCEL Award for Non-profit Leader of the Year 2010

Center for Non-profit Advancement

Keller Award for Excellence in Non-profit in Capitol Hill 2009

Capitol Hill Community Foundation

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 students enrolled

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

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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.

Our goal is to deliver high-quality and intensive after-school and summer programs with academics and enrichment, one-to-one mentoring, and arts-based programs to the communities that we serve.

Little Lights has always focused our programming on youth living in public housing because of the extreme levels of poverty present in these communities. This poverty has only been amplified by the ongoing health crisis. Little Lights' school year and summer programming target at-risk students who live in three DC public housing communities: Potomac Gardens (Ward 6), Hopkins (Ward 6), and Benning Terrace (Ward 7). Because we are focused on the students in these three communities, the target population of our programming does not change between the school year and summer.

We serve over 120 students across these communities. All students living in DC public housing live well below the federal poverty line. In 2021, $26,500 marks the poverty line for a family of four. In contrast, families of four living in our three focus public housing neighborhoods struggle to exist on an average of $14,000 each year, a number that makes almost all of our students’ families eligible for both Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Welfare or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits and qualifies them as “at-risk.”

Living at such an extreme level of poverty can profoundly affect students’ development (physically, academically, and emotionally), which is why Little Lights seeks to positively intervene.

The overall goal of our academic programs, which typically include (1) Homework Club (2) Reading & Math Heroes (3) Saturday Program/Reading Warriors and (4) Summer Lights, is to close the achievement gap and provide a place of emotional and social growth for students who live in Potomac Gardens (Ward 6), Hopkins (Ward 6), and Benning Terrace (Ward 7).

There is no quick or easy fix in solving the achievement gap. Closing the gap is a collaborative effort. One that involves individuals, community groups, foundations, and non-profit organizations like us.

Homework Club is an after-school enrichment and homework assistance program for students that takes place four days per week at each of our program sites. Students also receive a free hot meal and snacks each day.
Reading and Math Heroes is a weekly literacy and math program for students in grades K-8 where volunteers are recruited to provide one-to-one tutoring assistance for students.
Saturday Program/Reading Warriors is a drop-in program where students ages 4-14 receive a free lunch, have outlets for wholesome play, and read assigned books at their instructional level with caring volunteers.
Additionally, we offer Social Emotional Learning sessions twice a week, on Wednesdays and Thursdays. These are character-building sessions that promote positive youth development throughout the school year.

Summer Lights Summer Camp Programming
Our program is designed to prevent youth from engaging in at-risk behaviors during the summer months but also to develop them academically, cognitively, and emotionally by exposing them to different social environments. Summer Lights will take place from 11 am to 5 pm, on Mondays to Fridays, for 5 consecutive weeks.

Summer Lights programming is built to provide the following:
Academic Time: Academic station curriculum includes: (1) Individualized Literacy Work Stations (2) Differentiated Math Skill Building Centers (3) Guided Reading - Fluency/Comprehension Skill Building and (4) Reading/Math Adaptive Practice.

Healthy Meals: We partner with the Capital Area Food Bank and DC Central Kitchen to provide daily free lunches for our students. In 2020, we are providing 1,800 meals during Summer Lights.
Opening/Closing Assembly: Opening and Closing Assembly is time to get all of our campers together for chants, songs, and competitive games.
Enrichment Stations: Students will rotate through four stations where they express themselves creatively and participate in character development sessions.
Exploratory Activities/Field Trips: Three field trips will promote added learning in science and art, as well as active outdoor play.

The College and Career program is a brand new program at Little Lights that will support middle and high school students as they prepare for adulthood. This program provides students with access to an ongoing support system that contends with the obstacles that keep many low-income students stuck in a cycle of poverty and under-achievement.

Since 1995, Little Lights has offered academic programming to vulnerable students in the Potomac Gardens (Ward 6) community. We began offering academic programming to students at Hopkins (Ward 6) public housing in 2013 and for students at Benning Terrace (Ward 7) public housing in 2017. Little Lights academic programs serve over 130 students across these three communities.

Little Lights is unique because of the long-lasting relationships and trust we have developed with residents in the communities we serve over the past 26 years. Instead of being an outside organization, we are woven into the fabric of the neighborhood, which positions us to strengthen children and families so they can thrive and lead successful lives.

Little Lights consistently communicates and works with community members and resident council presidents in each of the public housing communities that we serve. We hire community residents as staff members to work within our academic and supply distribution programs. When planning and implementing programs we seek feedback from our staff, the community leaders, and the students and parents we serve.

We also hire community residents as staff members to work within our academic and supply distribution programs. Working day-to-day with residents from the communities we serve allows us to understand the views of the community. When planning and implementing programs we seek feedback from our staff, the community leaders, and the students and parents we serve.

Our out-of-school and summer programs aim to level the academic playing field for disadvantaged youth. We focus on individualized academic plans, social-emotional learning, and physically place our sites where our students live, which leads to active engagement with parents and students.

Our programming is successful because we (1) partner with DCPS to align our work with their school day, (2) create individualized lesson plans for each student, and (3) assess student performance.

To ensure our Out-of-School Time and Summer Learning programs are achieving their intended results, we use a mixed-method evaluation approach that includes both qualitative and quantitative data collection tools.

History: In 1995 Steven Park, a Korean-American and Little Lights’ Founder, met a middle school student named Darrell. During their conversation, Steve realized Darrell was not able to read a Dr. Seuss book, and felt both heartbroken and compelled to help. Soon after, Steve started Little Lights, a makeshift tutoring center in the back of his parents’ Tae Kwon Do studio. Over the next few years, Little Lights shifted locations to Potomac Gardens public housing in Southeast, DC, began offering a summer camp and daily homework help. Since then, our organization has touched the lives of more than 1,600 at-risk students and 7,000 volunteers in DC through daily tutoring, mentoring relationships, and Summer Lights day camp.

Organizational Timeline:
1995: Steve Park launches a summer camp for children ages 5 to 14 in Northwest, DC.
1999: Reading Heroes, a supplementary literacy tutoring program, begins.
2003: Math Heroes, offering supplementary math tutoring, begins.
2005: The Little Lights Center, our main headquarters, is donated to Little Lights.
2009: First gain use of program space in public housing to start aftercare for middle schoolers.
2013: The Hopkins Center opens, located in Hopkins public housing.
2016: The 1430 Center opens, serving additional students on-site in Hopkins public housing.
2017: Little Lights expands youth programs east of the Anacostia River, opening the Hilltop Center to work with students living in Benning Terrace public housing.

Milestones and Accomplishments:
Steve and Mary Park, Little Lights’ Executive Director and Deputy Director, named the recipient of the Council of Korean Americans Embrace Unity Award in November 2020.
Steve Park accepted the 2020 Nannie Helen Burroughs Humanitarian Award at the DC Courts' First Annual African American Impact Awards ceremony in February of 2020.
Steve Park received Georgetown University’s John Thompson, Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award in January of 2018.
Little Lights was named the 2016 Board Leadership Award winner by the Center For Nonprofit Advancement.
Little Lights was made Catalogue for Philanthropy’s list of best small nonprofits for the following years: 2008-2009, 2011-2012, 2015-2016, 2019-2020.

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 1.99 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 6.1 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 17% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Little Lights Urban Ministries

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Little Lights Urban Ministries

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Little Lights Urban Ministries

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Little Lights Urban Ministries’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $82,897 $314,022 $823,323 $226,301 $273,373
As % of expenses 5.0% 21.1% 55.3% 13.5% 14.6%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $4,005 $240,445 $741,948 $141,599 $191,000
As % of expenses 0.2% 15.4% 47.2% 8.0% 9.8%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $1,745,719 $1,530,112 $2,424,162 $1,941,038 $2,089,290
Total revenue, % change over prior year 10.1% -12.4% 58.4% -19.9% 7.6%
Program services revenue 0.0% 14.3% 7.2% 9.6% 6.7%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.2% 0.3% 0.2% 0.1% 0.5%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 6.4% 0.5% 5.8%
All other grants and contributions 93.8% 86.7% 87.0% 88.4% 86.2%
Other revenue 6.1% -1.2% -0.8% 1.4% 0.9%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $1,662,822 $1,486,080 $1,489,244 $1,680,280 $1,866,344
Total expenses, % change over prior year 11.3% -10.6% 0.2% 12.8% 11.1%
Personnel 66.7% 72.7% 75.6% 70.5% 72.7%
Professional fees 4.4% 3.5% 2.3% 6.3% 4.3%
Occupancy 7.5% 0.0% 1.3% 4.2% 5.5%
Interest 1.6% 1.1% 1.9% 0.4% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.3% 0.3% 0.2% 0.6%
All other expenses 19.7% 22.4% 18.6% 18.4% 16.8%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $1,741,714 $1,559,657 $1,570,619 $1,764,982 $1,948,717
One month of savings $138,569 $123,840 $124,104 $140,023 $155,529
Debt principal payment $19,232 $0 $43,891 $239,763 $55,566
Fixed asset additions $0 $233,522 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $1,899,515 $1,917,019 $1,738,614 $2,144,768 $2,159,812

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 3.6 4.7 11.1 10.8 10.8
Months of cash and investments 3.6 4.7 11.1 10.8 10.8
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 0.1 5.9 11.9 10.3 10.6
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $502,979 $575,889 $1,373,647 $1,513,922 $1,678,415
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $142,718 $222,196 $264,351 $106,768 $42,703
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $1,692,809 $1,744,431 $1,778,804 $1,799,222 $1,818,898
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 41.4% 34.0% 37.9% 42.1% 46.2%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 38.8% 36.0% 24.2% 15.8% 13.2%
Unrestricted net assets $1,009,344 $1,249,789 $1,991,737 $2,133,336 $2,324,336
Temporarily restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $0 $0 $111,260 $145,712 $95,285
Total net assets $1,009,344 $1,249,789 $2,102,997 $2,279,048 $2,419,621

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Principal Officer

Steven Park

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Little Lights Urban Ministries

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Little Lights Urban Ministries

Board of directors
as of 02/07/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Mr Ted Kim


Steven Park

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Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/9/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Asian/Asian American
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data