Petition Closed
Petitioning D.C. City Council Member, Ward 8 Marion Barry and 3 others

Tell D.C. Leaders: Don't Let Kids Go Hungry Due To Bureaucratic Inaction

Trapped in bureaucratic red tape, a Washington D.C. nonprofit is in financial trouble through no fault of its own, and had to shut the doors of a popular afterschool program in Jan. 2011. What's at stake? A safe place to go after school for some of the District's neediest children.

After running a day camp program in D.C.'s Ward 8 this summer where needy kids were mentored, fed and protected from harm, nonprofit City Gate never received the $60,000 payment they were promised through a D.C. grant from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), founder Rev. Lynn Bergfalk said. Not only this; the OSSE also owes $15,000 more for the afterschool program City Gate ran in fall of 2010.

Despite assuring City Gate that money for the fall program would come, OSSE hasn't paid. So City Gate had to shut the doors of its popular Merrick Center afterschool program in southeast D.C. during the first week of January.

Even though the city agrees that City Gate has provided valuable services to children, they still have not been paid. This lack of payment will hurt City Gate's ability to deliver valuable services to needy residents of Ward 7 and Ward 8.

It's time to fight back against needless red tape. Leaders at D.C.'s OSSE should ensure that City Gate is paid for the afterschool programs they provided. Send a letter to D.C. leaders telling them not to punish City Gate for giving children a safe place to go after school.

Photo credit: Steven Depolo via Flickr

Letter to
D.C. City Council Member, Ward 8 Marion Barry
Chairman, D.C. City Council Vince Gray
Office of the State Superintendent of Education
and 1 other
Ward 8 Board Member, State Board of Education William Lockridge
On January 3, 2011, nonprofit City Gate had to shut down its popular afterschool program in southeast DC at the Merrick Center. Why? Because it has not been paid by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE).

Because of bureaucratic red tape and inaction, 40 children don't have access to a healthy dinner, homework help and physical education run by City Gate. OSSE asked City Gate to run this afterschool program in the fall of 2010. But they have not been paid.

Not only that: City Gate is still owed more than $60,000 from OSSE for running a day camp in the summer of 2010, founder Rev. Lynn Bergfalk told D.C.'s The Fight Back radio program recently. The interview is available here: http://thefightback.org/2010/11/an-afterschool-program-worth-saving/#more-1197

Money from D.C.'s Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) was to be filtered through a middleman group called Youth Engaged for Success (YES). But the grant to YES fell through due to a separate issue, so D.C. never paid it -- despite the fact that City Gate had worked all summer to provide the day camp.

Even though City Gate provided valuable services to children all summer long, they still have not been paid. This lack of payment will hurt City Gate's ability to deliver valuable services to needy residents of Ward 7 and Ward 8.

Please commit immediately to paying City Gate the money it needs to re-open this program at the Merrick Center.

Sincerely,