When Fabian Barnes retired from the Dance Theatre of Harlem he possessed two important things: a small pension and the desire to give back to others what dance had given to him. Barnesís dream was to offer year-round, high-quality, pre-professional training to Washington, DCís children and teens Ė regardless of their ability to pay. Today, DIW has its own facility in Columbia Heights and its Youth Ensemble and Professional Company perform regularly on the regionís finest stages, including the Lansburgh, the Howard, and Wolf Trap, among others. Many graduates move on to excellent university programs (Harvard and Temple among them) while others perform professionally at Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey II, and elsewhere. Personal and artistic growth are equally important, and DIW's Positive Directions Through Dance (winner of the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award) provides at-risk youth with classes, life skills workshops (from literacy to nutrition), and performance opportunities Ė all at no cost. A cultural gem, DIW nurtures the minds, bodies, and talents of our young people. Wonít you join the dance?

Headquarters: DC-Ward 1

Where They Operate: DC-Citywide; DC-Ward 1; The Columbia Heights neighborhood of Ward 1; Washington, DC.

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

Ethnic Groups Served: African American, 85%; Asian American, 1%; Caucasian, 2%; Latino/Hispanic, 10%; Multicultural, 2%

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

Schools They Work In: Columbia Heights Educational Campus

Combined Federal Campaign Number: 60892

United Way Agency Number: 8655

Awards & Recognition

*2008 - DIW Founder Fabian Barnes named "Washingtonian of the Year" by Washingtonian;
*2009 - Bridge Builders Award from Partners for Livable Communities;
*2011 - The Dance Institute of Washington's Positive Directions Through Dance outreach program was recently honored as a Winner of the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
*2012 - DIW student Donte Corley honored and invited to perform at National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day; Fabian honored as Donte's Hero of Hope.
*2012 - DIW celebrates its momentous 25th Anniversary! A culminating gala is being planned for November 2012.


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 The Dance Institute of Washington 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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