Members of District community service organizations are distraught after DC Trust, a nonprofit over 15-years-old, announced April 28 their organization will close due to mismanagement of funds that the organization blamed on prior management.

“It is devastating,” Shenita Vanish, vice president of Community Services Foundation, told the AFRO May 3. “DC Trust has been a big part of our lives since 2001.” The foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping area residents living in managed communities through structured services, activities, and programs for D.C. youth and families that focus on teen conflict resolution, career readiness, and providing school supplies and resources for parents.

Vanish said the organization relied not only on DC Trust’s sponsorship, but also the nonprofit’s leadership. “It’s like a friend going away,” she said. Vanish said she is surprised to hear that DC Trust isn’t following the requirements they ask of grantees when submitting proposal requests, “. . . over the years we have always had to provide checks and balances.”

DC Trust, formerly known as DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp., is responsible for granting over $100 million to more than 70 local youth programs, is bankrupt. The D.C. Trust directors said the financial matters are so great that they are making plans to dissolve the nonprofit all together.

Marie Johns, chair of the board, and Angela Jones Hackey, interim executive director, said in the announcement that there have been a series of meetings to discuss the short and long term needs of youth programs. DC Trust is set to close on Sept. 30.

D.C. legislatures instituted a mini-grant program in September as part of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Safer, Stronger DC initiative to support area youth and families in areas with high levels of crime. The initiative, administered by DC Trust, totaled $1.25 million to support local nonprofits who serve the District’s youth.

The grants are given, through a competitive proposal process, to organizations in areas such as Langston/Carver, Lincoln Heights, Benning Terrace, Woodland Terrace, and Congress Park. Rounds of funds were disbursed in December of 2015 and in February to programs selected by DC Trust.

D.C. Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Brenda Donald said there currently isn’t an agenda laid out for next year. District advocates like, Sherice Muhammad, chair of the Ward 7 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, question the fate of the nonprofit programs that relied on DC Trust.

“What happens to them? Where are they going to go to get these services? What’s going to happen to the programming?” Muhammad told the AFRO April 30. She said the mini-grants are excellent, but the problems are oversight, management, accountability and compliance. “Now, the organization is not the loser, it’s the recipient of those services who are the losers.”