Assane Konte, founder and director of KanKouran West African Dance Company, received a $10,000 community grant from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. /Photo by kankouran.org
Assane Konte, founder and director of KanKouran West African Dance Company, received a $10,000 community grant from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. /Photo by kankouran.org

The District awarded 67 local minority organizations who provide critical services to their community, over 1.5 million dollars in community grants.

Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs allocated a combined $1,286,000 in grant funding to 49 community-based organizations (CBOs) that serves Latino residents on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Grants between $5,000 and $50,000 were made to each organization, including La Clinica del Pueblo, which received $50,000. Gala Hispanic received $40,000 and the Latin American Youth Center got $40,000.

“Washington, D.C., is stronger because of the diversity of our community — including a growing Latino population,” Bowser said. “Not only does our Latino community contribute to our flourishing and thriving city, but they are an important part of the District’s development.”

The Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs and the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs also awarded a combined $240,000 in grant funding to nine Asian CBOs and $73,000 to African CBOs.

Asian CBOs grants were made in amounts between $10,000 and $45,000 to each organization, including Asian American Lead for $45,000, Chinatown Service Center for $40,000 and Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project for $32,500.

“The Asian American and Pacific Islander community is one of the fastest-growing and most linguistically diverse populations in Washington, D.C.,” Bowser said. “We look forward to partnering with these community organizations to serve the needs of the District’s Asian American and Pacific Islander residents.

“By providing essential services and support, we are helping to create pathways to the middle class and building a stronger, more inclusive District,” she said.

For the African community, each CBOs received between $1,500 and $15,000, including African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association for $15,000, Ayuda for $12,000 and KanKouran West African Dance Company for $10,000.

Assane Konte, founder and director of KanKouran, said that his company is appreciative of the community grant, but they would be more appreciative if they had a brick-and-mortar presence in the city.

“We’ve been giving to the community for over 30 years, but we are still struggling to have a home in D.C.,” Konte said. “We bounce from place to place, because the developers keep buying and we have to leave, but that’s D.C.”

Konte feels that the African community has been overlooked when it comes to the amount of money awarded by the mayor.

“We get $10,000 to $15,000, but on the other side they get $40,000 to $50,000,” he said. “Why do the black people get pennies?

“People say all the time, ‘you still don’t have a place?’” Konte said. “We have been all the way to the White House and have done so much for the community and we want to do more, but we can’t get our government to get us a place.”

According to the Bowser administration, the grant funding aligns with their priorities, intended to enhance existing community programs focus on education, job and economic development, public safety, civic engagement, health and wellness, youth engagement, arts and the creative economy.

The organizations were selected based on the degree to which they met those priorities and target their efforts to underserved communities.

“We congratulate the recipients of this year’s African Community Grant,” Bowser said. “Funding for these programs will provide quality services that result in measurable outcomes and strengthen pathways to the middle class for the District’s African residents.”

Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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