Split This Rock cultivates, teaches, and celebrates poetry that bears witness to injustice and provokes social change. Year-round, thousands of people attend and participate in readings, writing workshops, slams, open mics, and other events that give voice to the voiceless and insist on equal rights for all. After-school poetry clubs, performance and writing workshops, youth slams and festivals reach young people across the region, and in-depth arts training and leadership programs (including the award-winning DC Youth Slam Team) immerse young poets in the craft, teaching them to tackle injustice through creative expression. At the biennial Split This Rock Poetry Festival, writers from around the world converge on DC for three days of readings, workshops, discussions, youth voices, and activism. Most programs are free, including those in DC area schools, and scholarships make even modestly priced events affordable. You can contribute your voice – and support – to the cause.
COVID-19 Impact: After the cancellation of the national Poetry Festival in March, staff adapted workshops, featured readings, a bookfair, open mic, and the weekly newsletter to virtual formats. It has prioritized paying artists who have lost income from cancelled events and school programs. With schools still closed, it has combined virtual group workshops with 1-on-1 mentorship for youth poets. The team is assessing ways to offer large group experiences to fill the role of the 3 annual youth poetry festivals and the next national Poetry Festival in 2022.
Headquarters: DC-Ward 2
Where They Operate: DC-Citywide; MD-Prince George's County; VA-Arlington County; VA-Fairfax County; VA-Loudoun County; VA-City of Alexandria
Age Groups Served: Pre-teen/teen (12-17); Young adult (18-24); Adult (25-49); Seniors (50+)
Population(s) Served: Individuals with Disabilities; Individuals who identify as LGBTQ; Individuals living with HIV/AIDs; Low- to Moderate-Income Community Members; Men/Boys; Women/Girls; Students; Veterans/Military Families; Immigrants/Refugees; All
Schools They Work In: Bishop McNamara High School; Chavez - Capitol Hill High School; Dunbar Senior High School; Eastern High School; Eleanor Roosevelt High School; Falls Church High School; Friendly High School; H.D. Woodson Senior High School; Hayfield High School; Loudon County High School; Luke C. Moore High School; Madeira High School; McKinley Tech; TC Williams High School; Wakefield High School; Washington-Lee High School; West Springfield High School; Woodrow Wilson High School; and more
Awards & Recognition
Split This Rock has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and multi-year funding from major national foundations such as the Open Society Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation.
The positive impact of our youth programs has brought many accolades including proclamations from DC City Council (2013, 2015) and Montgomery County (2015). Additionally, our efforts have been acknowledged for excellence in youth arts programming as a 2016 Mayor’s Arts Awards finalist.
The DC Youth Slam Team took 1st place out of over 50 teams competing at the Brave New Voices International Teen Poetry Slam Festival in 2014.
The DC Youth Slam Team took 2nd place out of over 50 teams competing in the Brave New Voices International Teen Poetry Slam Festival in 2013. One of their videos from that competition has been viewed close to 2 million times on YouTube.
- $3 million or higher
- $1 million to $3 million
- $500k to $1 million
- The current budget for Split This Rock is: Less than $500k
Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to
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