On June 7, Chevy Chase Trust hosted another in a series of “Leaders and Lunch” programs: What does it mean to be poor in one of the wealthiest areas in America? This event featured a conversation with community leaders about the needs of our lowest income neighbors. Anna Hargrave, Executive Director of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region in Montgomery County, facilitated the conversation with Uma Ahluwalia, Director of the Montgomery County Department of Health & Human Services, and Mark Bergel, Executive Director of A Wider Circle. Each shared how their organizations are helping families in crisis stabilize their lives and gain economic security.
The Department of Health and Human Services in Montgomery County is responsible for public health and human services. Their core services protect the community’s health, protect the health and safety of at-risk children and vulnerable adults, and address basic human needs including food, shelter and clothing. When speaking about the department’s work, Mrs. Ahluwalia explained, “We need to be a trampoline. We need to be there for people when they need us, and then bounce them back into society.” To learn more about the department, visit http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/hhs/aboutHHS/aboutHHSmain.html.
A Wider Circle works toward ending poverty for one individual and one family after another. They turn empty apartments into fully furnished homes, provide job skills training, and offer long-term, wraparound support for children and adults seeking to rise out of poverty. Mr. Bergel founded the organization with the question “How big are we going to live?” in mind. He shared the story of what inspired him to open the doors of A Wider Circle, now in its 15th year of existence. Mr. Bergel encouraged audience members to live large in order to positively affect those around them. To learn more and get involved with A Wider Circle, visit http://awidercircle.org/.
Finally, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region works to ensure equity, access and opportunity for all residents in the Washington metropolitan area. Their mission is to strengthen the region by encouraging and supporting effective giving and by providing leadership on critical issues in the community. To join the Community Foundation’s community of givers, contact Anna Hargrave at email@example.com or 301-495-3036, or visit their website at https://thecommunityfoundation.org/.