Americans living in our nation’s capital pay federal income taxes, serve and die in our military during war, and are subject to federal laws, yet they have no vote in the US House or the Senate. Congress maintains ultimate control over the spending of local tax revenues, and families in DC have no voice in decisions of war and peace. All locally passed laws – and the District's local budget – must be sent to Congress for approval. DC Vote leads the DC Voting Rights Coalition, comprised of nearly 100 local and national organizations that fight for DC democracy. The organization is the primary resource for information on DC voting rights, maintains a vigorous public awareness and media campaign, educates students nationwide with a civics lesson that has immediacy and power, and advocates for DC in Congress. Winner of a Meyer Foundation Exponent Award and Ronald H Brown Foundation Award for Civil Rights Leadership, DC Vote fights to bring real democracy to the nation’s capital. You can cast your vote to restore the most fundamental right to DC families.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 6

Where They Operate: DC-Citywide; DC-Ward 2

Age Groups Served: Infants (0-2); Pre-K (3-4); Youth (5-11); Pre-teen/teen (12-17); Young adult (18-24); Adult (25-49); Seniors (50+); All

Ethnic Groups Served: African American; Asian American; Caucasian; Latino/Hispanic; Native American

Population(s) Served: All

Schools They Work In: We work in numerous of public, charter, and private schools in the District of Columbia.

  • Number of petition signatures in support of DC Equality in 2013:   Over 10,000
  • Number of Capitol Hill visits so far in 2014:   95

Awards & Recognition

The DC Federation of Civic Associations honored DC Vote Executive Director Ilir Zherka and DC Vote Public Affairs Director Eugene Dewitt Kinlow with its 2011 George F. Richardson Award for "Conspicuous Leadership in Civil Rights."

The Arca Foundation selected DC Vote as the first recipient of the Smith Bagley Memorial Grant, which supports organizations using bold, courageous and creative strategies to advance social change.

DC Vote, previous Executive Director Ilir Zherka and our mission expansion process is the focus of a chapter on leadership in the new book Dynamical Leadership: Building Adaptive Capacity for Uncertain Times by Kristine Quade & Royce Holladay.

The DC Democratic State Committee presented DC Vote with an award for being an "Outstanding Community Organization."

After we ran Google ads about the gun amendment, Google's media department showcased DC Vote as a model for how advocacy groups can utilize Google ads.

Ilir Zherka received a 2007 Exponent Award from the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation.

DC Vote received the Ronald H. Brown Foundation Award for Civil Rights Leadership.

The Greater Washington Urban League gave the Whitney M. Young Jr. Community Service Award to Ilir Zherka in 2008.

Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) included DC Vote in their Profiles of Successful Engagement Investments in 2004.

In 2008, DC Vote received the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award from the Institute for Policy Studies.

Ilir Zherka received the 2007 DC Voting Rights Award from DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice.

The Drum Major Institute named DC voting rights one of the Top Ten Best Public Policies of 2007.

The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation's Civic Leadership Award was given to Ilir Zherka in 2005.

The Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet at George Washington University recognized DC Vote's online creativity with a Golden Dot award.

Ilir Zherka received the 2007 Human Rights Community Award from the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area.

In 2004, the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region highlighted DC Vote in their annual Spirit of Giving Guide for 2004-2005 (page 13). The guide emphasizes organizations working to increase civic engagement for social change and economic justice.


Budget (FY2013)

  • $3 million or higher
  • The current budget for DC Vote is: $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

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.

About the Catalogue for Philanthropy

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 $40 million for charities across the Greater Washington region.

The Catalogue for Philanthropy looks to friends like you to keep our services independent and entirely free of charge. Consider a small contribution to the Catalogue to cap off your gift and help the causes you care about get the full support they deserve!

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