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November 29, 2021

The Woodson Center Receives Major Gift from Barry Family Foundation to Support Upward Mobility Efforts in Poor Communities

Posted By Brian Park


November 22, 2021

The Woodson Center Receives Major Gift from Barry Family Foundation to Support  Upward Mobility Efforts in Poor Communities

Woodson Center Community Affiliate Network will provide grants to local grassroots leaders solving America’s most pressing problems in their neighborhoods

WASHINGTON, DC – The Woodson Center today announced the award of a major gift from the John and Daria Barry Family Foundation to help local grassroots leaders solve social issues within their community. The foundation is giving $1.5 million to support Woodson Center $5,000 grants to local nonprofits and grassroots organizations that are focusing on upward mobility efforts in poor neighborhoods across the U.S.

“I have always believed that the answers to many of our problems can be found in the same zip code of the problem,” said Bob Woodson, founder and president of the Woodson Center. “There are countless leaders across the country who are transforming their communities from the inside out and providing solutions to problems that are efficient, effective, and pragmatic. They just don’t have the support and funding to scale their efforts. The Woodson Center wants to come alongside these local leaders  and continue to empower them so that they can increase their impact. That is how we tackle America’s social problems.”

“This grant started with my admiration for Bob Woodson and all Bob stands for, including personal empowerment, accountability and achievement available to all who persevere,” said John Barry of the John and Daria Barry Foundation. “The Woodson Center’s Community Affiliates Network is transforming the way Americans think about policy, poverty, and redemption. This grant is another step planting the seeds of community renewal and transformation as we seek to assist unsung heroes doing daily work to develop the potential of their neighborhoods and improve the lives of their neighbors. We are grateful to support Bob Woodson as part of his mission to show others a path to a better life.”

The Community Affiliates Network consists of over 500 organizations and nonprofits across the country that collaborate, share best practices, and support each other as community-minded grassroots leaders. The network includes trusted local leaders who are a central part of the community and actually live in the community they serve. While many federal and state programs aim to parachute in solutions without any local knowledge, this Network supports those already solving issues effectively and helps achieve even greater results than top-down planning.

Some of the past recipients of the grants have started youth basketball leagues to deter violence in their communities, developed leadership programs for low-income communities, and funded retreats for women who are victims of abuse in the Washington, D.C. area.

“The needs of low-income communities are much more pragmatic than we think,” said Bob Woodson. “Instead of spending millions on research studies to tell these communities what they need, we need to ask them  what they need and then supply resources to help meet those needs. It’s about coming alongside those who don’t typically get a voice in these discussions.”

About The Woodson Center:

Led by former civil rights activist Bob Woodson, the Woodson Center has worked for three decades to empower indigenous leaders in troubled neighborhoods to address problems of their communities through innovative initiatives that increase public safety, spur upward mobility, and inspire racial unity in America. Learn more at