The mission of Beacon House is to provide children in the Edgewood neighborhood of Northeast Washington, DC with a safe, nurturing, and life-expanding community in which to increase their academic achievement, discover their talents, and to grow into healthy adults who achieve their greatest potential. Our programs focus on closing the education achievement gap - and thus improving the economic trajectories - of children in Ward 5 for whom generational poverty is most persistent.
Beacon House was founded in 1991 by Reverend Donald E. Robinson, an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister known affectionately as "Rev." Rev provided homework help to a dozen children in a basement apartment in the Edgewood neighborhood of Northeast DC’s Ward 5.
Over 25 years later, Beacon House is now recognized as “One of the Best” nonprofits in Washington, DC by the Catalogue for Philanthrophy, “the region’s only locally-focused guide to giving.” Beacon House today serves annually more than 150 children and youth, ages 5 to 18, by providing after-school academic mentoring and enrichment programs after school in two 6,000 square-foot centers located in the Edgewood Commons affordable housing community. More than half live in Edgewood Commons, where the average annual household income is less than $17,500.
Beacon House also engages over 300 boys and girls annually in an award-winning athletics program which reinforces the importance of school and the prioritization of education. This program’s flagship offering is a national championship-winning football program which attracts boys and girls across DC. The Physical Activity Special Interest Group of the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM), a multidisciplinary nonprofit with a vision of "better health through behavioral change," honored Beacon House in 2016 with its Local Innovator Award, given to organizations making outstanding and innovative contributions to the health of a community via physical activity promotion.
Beacon House is unique among greater Washington area after-school organizations as a place-based organization which builds relationships with children and families over many years. Scores of people who grew up coming to Beacon House have volunteered as academic tutors and athletics program coaches, and some now have children of their own in our programs. For these reasons and others, Beacon House has become an integral component of the social fabric of Edgewood.