- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mobilizing volunteers and strengthening nonprofit groups in the Washington region is not an easy task, but Greater DC Cares has been doing it for 20 years.

Greater DC Cares, the leading nonprofit coordinator of volunteerism and service in the District and Maryland and Virginia suburbs, celebrated 20 years of service on Nov. 12 by honoring the 2009 Class of Change.

The class consisted of 20 award recipients (to align with the 20th anniversary celebration) who demonstrate leadership and passion in public service.

“It’s an amazing class of leaders, and we were excited to see who was nominated (for the awards),” said Madye Henson, president and chief executive officer of Greater DC Cares. “Their work expanded beyond their roles, and I’m very proud to be a part of it. It’s an incredible philanthropic community, and I was excited to pull them together as a class.”

Greater DC Cares provides programs and services to nonprofit groups in the region with volunteer recruitment and placement, professional development and training, and education and advocacy.

According to Ms. Henson, the agency mobilized “18,000 volunteers in 2009 alone” and is currently working with more than 700 nonprofit groups. The organization creates service projects, along with transforming, sustaining and supporting communities.

Jeff Keitelman is a partner at DLA Piper and was one of the 20 people honored last week. He also is the founder of Greater DC Cares.

“I built (Greater DC Cares) for change and to accommodate change,” Mr. Keitelman said of starting the organization in 1989. “The idea was to create a service corps or a movement. Back then, working people were working all the time and didn’t have time to give back. We tried to engage those people in service again.”

Mr. Keitelman did double duty until 1996 while he worked with Shaw Pittman LLC and Greater DC Cares. Since then, he’s been with DLA Piper and occasionally advises for Greater DC Cares.

Jeff has demonstrated a huge commitment to making an impact in this region, and he has a commitment to service,” Ms. Henson said. “Jeff is a person where you see a true passion for making a difference.”

Mr. Keitelman said he is proud that something he created is still going strong after 20 years, and he said he is honored to be a part of the 2009 Class of Change.

“I wanted to create something that would live beyond me,” he said of Greater DC Cares. “The proudest part was that 20 years later, it is not only alive and well, but it is also thriving.”

In 1993, the organization merged with the D.C. Volunteer Center and the focus changed to the entire Washington metropolitan region. The number of volunteers and hours logged originally measured success, but now the executives measure the impact on the communities served.

“We are the leading nonprofit coordinator in the Washington, D.C. region; 365 days a year we provide volunteers to the region,” Ms. Henson said.

2009 Class members include Mario Morino, chairman of Venture Philanthropy Partners and Morino Institute, Julie Rogers, president of the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, Terri Lee Freeman, president of the Community Foundation, National Capital Region, “whose leadership and contributions to this region total nearly $1 billion,” according to DC Cares.names cw web

Justine Love, director of community and public affairs for WPGC-FM, was another honoree last week during a ceremony at the Kellogg Conference Center in Northeast Washington. She has helped coordinate and participate in many service projects, which include the D.C. Serve-a-thon, the 20th annual Coat Drive and “Operation Pretty and Polished.”

The variety of community service activities lead on-air personalities and radio staff, she said to pulling weeds, gathering coats to “give the gift of warmth” and collecting formal wear for local high schoolers preparing for proms.

“It’s a great feeling when you wake up and realize you did something right,” Ms. Love said, “it’s about giving back. To see a smile on someone’s face or a tear in their eye, it’s the right thing to do. I feel good about everything I do.”

Ms. Love and the radio stations will also be taking part in “Stuff a Truck” this Thanksgiving as they partner with the Capitol Area Food Bank to feed families during the holiday. She will also be at the Convention Center on Wednesday Nov. 25 cwfor the Feast of Sharing with the Salvation Army and Safeway to feed “whoever is in need.”

“I appreciate the award, and I was very humbled,” Ms. Love said. “I was honored to be in a class of people doing the same thing I am, and they walk the walk with me. I’m in awe of my classmates because they are great.”

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