Open City Advocates works with youth whom the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services has removed from their families. 100% are youth of color, most have been in the child welfare system, and all are at too high a risk for being jailed, harmed, or killed by street violence. Trapped and often lost in the system, they rarely receive the trauma-informed care and reentry services they deserve. Open City is their zealous advocate. Working with youth in the deepest end of the juvenile system, staff and mentor-advocates visit weekly, develop a relationship of trust and goals for reentry, and represent clients in disciplinary hearings. Open City also spearheads systemic reform efforts to end the revolving door of the juvenile and criminal legal systems, safeguard and expand due process protections, and encourage the individualized, trauma-responsive services that court-involved youth both need and deserve.
Headquarters: DC-Ward 7
Where They Operate: DC-Citywide; DC-Ward 1; DC-Ward 4; DC-Ward 5; DC-Ward 6; DC-Ward 7; DC-Ward 8; We work specifically with youth re-entering the community from New Beginnings, most of whom live in Wards 7 and 8.
Age Groups Served: Pre-teen/teen (12-17); Young adult (18-24)
Population(s) Served: Low- to Moderate-Income Community Members
- % of mentees who re-enroll in high school, GED classes, college, and/or vocational training after incarceration:
- % of mentees who obtain full or part-time employment after incarceration:
- Re-conviction rate after completing our program (compared to DC's rate of 31% for all youth returning from incarceration):
Awards & Recognition
American University's Washington College of Law awarded our Co-Founders the 2010-2011 Peter M. Cicchino Award for Outstanding Advocacy in the Public Interest
- D.C.'s Approach to Juvenile Justice Faces Criticism
Tue May 18 2010, WAMU 88.5 FM
After a series of violent incidents in D.C. involving young criminals, the city's approach to juvenile justice is now facing criticism.
- Young Offenders in Washington Benefit from Volunteer Mentors
Mon May 17 2010, The National
Abdul Mujahid Rashid, 18, said he would probably be back in prison if not for a volunteer mentor.
- Mentoring Juveniles Before They Become Adult Criminals
Tue Mar 16 2010, Christian Science Monitor
Mentoring Today, grew out of a tutoring program that Whitney Louchheim & Penelope Spain created while studying law at American University.
- Group Offers New Beginnings for Incarcerated Youth
Tue Dec 15 2009, New America Media
Two women who met in law school in Washington, DC, are pairing juvenile offenders with adults in the city for intensive mentoring.
- Breaking the Cycle of Juvenile Crime
Wed Apr 15 2009, thekojonnamdishow.org
More than 1 in 4 young people committed to juvenile facilities will end up getting in trouble with the law within one year of their release.
- $3 million or higher
- $1 million to $3 million
- $500k to $1 million
- The current budget for Open City Advocates is: Less than $500k
Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to
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!