March 25, 2022

2021 Annual Report

Posted By Woodson Center

Dear Woodson Center Community,

The Woodson Center began in 1981 in response to what I saw as a tremendous unfilled need in our country: to strengthen, resource, and learn from the millions of unsung heroes who were working in our most challenging neighborhoods to effectively address problems others dismissed as intractable.

The last forty years have been filled with formidable obstacles, as we discovered that elevating the work of these grassroots leaders threatens vested interests across the political and ideological spectrum. But they have also been filled with unimaginable victories, as we saw countless individuals, families, neighborhoods and entire communities transformed.

The strange and volatile cultural moment we find ourselves in right now presents new challenges and opportunities for the work of the Woodson Center. On the one hand, the relentless focus on race is a dangerous distraction from the real work of addressing rising urban violence and other challenges to peace and upward mobility. On the other, our grassroots leaders hold the actual answers the nation is longing for: their work is the living embodiment of American values and virtue in action.

In light of this, I am so excited to share with you our 2021 annual report that celebrates all the progress we were able to make last year, as well as a look at what we have in store for 2022. We resourced well over a hundred neighborhood groups with grants to expand their work in the midst of the pandemic. Our 1776 Unites black-led scholar network continued to push back against the tidal wave of racial grievance, amplifying the voices of our neighborhood leaders. Our inspirational Black History and Excellence Curriculum exceeded 25,000 downloads with users in all 50 states, and an animated series based on our lessons is in pre-production. Our newest initiative, Voices of Black Mothers United, gathered families of homicide victims from all over the country to push back on police defunding and to make neighborhoods safer, becoming active in 22 states.

As we celebrated our 40th anniversary last July and I announced my official plans to retire from day-to-day operations, my heart overflowed with gratitude to see all we have been able to accomplish so far. But I can say without a doubt that even greater challenges and victories lie ahead of us. Our programming, infrastructure, and finances are stronger than they have ever been, and I believe with all my heart that the next forty years will be greater than anything we have seen. And I’m so excited and grateful for you to be part of it.

–Bob Woodson
President and Founder,
The Woodson Center

See Our Annual Report