CE trains historically marginalized DC youth of color to harness the power of photography and their own voices. It develops their capacity to shape narratives about themselves and their communities and to drive concrete changes in school environments by mounting youth-led campaigns that work toward education equity and that close the opportunity gap. Since 2004, CE has provided experiential learning and leadership opportunities to more than 2,700 Black and Brown youth (140 a year) who have used their photos and narratives to fight for restorative justice programs, find solutions to the school-to-prison pipeline, protect visual and performing arts requirements, advocate for financial literacy education standards, and win funding for new school facilities. Elevating the voices of youth and developing their leadership skills means they control the narrative and create meaningful spaces where they can shape decisions that impact them and their worlds.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 1

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

Age Groups Served: Youth (5-11); Pre-teen/teen (12-17); Young adult (18-24)

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

Schools They Work In: Cardozo Senior High School; Anacostia Senior High School ; Next Step Public Charter School ; Washington Metropolitan High School; Luke C. Moore Academy

Awards & Recognition

Catalogue for Philanthropy 2009-2010 and 2013-2014
Winner of the 2013 Mayor's Arts Award for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education
Featured by BBC News and Huffington Post in 2015
Washington Post front page in 2013
Lehrman Impact Award Finalist 2010
Finalist for PhotoPhilanthropy Activist Awards 2010
Recognized as one of the Top-Rated Nonprofits in Education by GreatNonprofits 2010
Featured in the National Youth Employment Coalition’s report, Building Roads to Success: Key Considerations for Communities and States Reconnecting Youth to Education
Winner, GlobalGiving U.S. Open Challenge 2009
Grand Prize Winner, Ben & Jerry's "It's a Flipped Out World"


Budget (FY2023)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • The current budget for Critical Exposure is: $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 Spur Local

Each year 150+ community advocates review applicants on the basis of governance, equity, and impact. Each featured nonprofit has been successfully site visited and its financials given the thumbs up. Spur Local charges no fees and raises funds separately to support its work. Since 2003, it has raised over $57 million for nonprofits across the Greater Washington region.

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

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