Working directly in early childcare classrooms, Inner City Inner Child collaborates with community organizations, public schools, and charter schools to bring innovative arts and literacy education into chronically impoverished neighborhoods. The only organization of its kind in the District, it focuses on our youngest and neediest children: during a six- to 12-week program, highly-trained teaching artists model ways to integrate books, music, and dance to develop children’s academic and social-emotional skills. During naptime, teachers take part in workshops to hone their new techniques (and earn professional certifications): by the end of the program, they are equipped to engage countless more early learners. And every child takes home a backpack full of new books – usually the first they have ever owned. Parents, too, develop new skills through family literacy workshops, where they receive free books, dinner, and training on how to create a culture of reading at home. Reaching more than 3,300 children annually, this program opens books – and a whole new world – to young children in need.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 2

Where They Operate: DC-Ward 1; DC-Ward 4; DC-Ward 5; DC-Ward 6; DC-Ward 7; DC-Ward 8

Age Groups Served: Infants (0-2); Pre-K (3-4)

Ethnic Groups Served: African American; Latino/Hispanic

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

  • Number of books donated per year:   1700

Awards & Recognition

Six-time winner of the Mayor's Quality Partnership Award in early childhood education
Finalist for Mayor's Art Awards in Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education Category


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Budget (FY2015)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • The current budget for Inner City-Inner Child is: Less than $500k

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