In the Potomac Gardens and Hopkins public housing complexes of Southeast DC, families of four live in what can only be described as deep poverty: annual income rarely exceeds $9,000. Ninety percent of children live in one-parent households, and a number have incarcerated parents. So it isn’t surprising that most children are at least one or two grade levels behind in reading and math, at a time (ages 5-13 years) when intervention is key. So Little Lights intervenes: through one-on-one mentoring, tutoring, and enrichment programs, caring adults work with children to build a strong academic foundation. And they’re in it for the long haul: helping children gain leadership skills, avoid teen pregnancy and incarceration, graduate from high school, and move on to college or trade school. A host of family services ensures that parents, too, are supported: at the Family Center they receive job readiness training, computer access, parenting support (including free diapers), and more. Little Lights also employs 23 adults, nine of whom work for its landscaping microenterprise. Your generosity truly lights a light.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 6

Where They Operate: DC-Ward 6; Potomac Gardens and Hopkins public housing in Capitol Hill

Age Groups Served: Pre-K; Youth; Adolescence; Teenagers; Young Adult; Adult; Grades K-5; Grades K-12; Grades 6-12; Grade 9-12

Ethnic Groups Served: African American, 100%

Population(s) Served: Low- to Moderate-Income Community Members; Men/Boys; Women/Girls; Students; Low- to Moderate-Income

Combined Federal Campaign Number: 89156

United Way Agency Number: 8543

Awards & Recognition

Capitol Hill Community Foundation's 2009 Arnold Keller Jr. Award for non-profit excellence, 2010 Excel Award for Executive Leadership, ABC 7 Harris' Heroes in 2013, Recognized in Channel 8 Pay It Forward


Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to $3 million. This graphic indicates the budget range of the organization featured here. If you see an organizational budget above the $3 million mark, that is because the featured charity has grown in size since it first appeared in the Catalogue. We proudly present on our website the work of these "growth" charities.

Budget (FY2014)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • The current budget for Little Lights Urban Ministries is: $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

About the Catalogue for Philanthropy

The Catalogue selected us as one of its featured charities! Each year 120 expert reviewers evaluate applicants for distinction, merit, and impact. Each featured charity has been successfully site visited and its financials given the thumbs up. The Catalogue for Philanthropy charges no fees and raises funds separately to support its work. Since 2003, it has raised over $29 million for charities across Greater Washington.

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