Letter from the Executive Director

Letter from the Executive Director

The #metoo movement has spawned a national discussion about serious issues that face so many women. This is a good thing. And yet, I can’t help but feel that the #metoo discussion has not been all-inclusive. Our women face myriad problems, not least of which is sexual abuse and domestic violence. This kind of trauma often leads to things like addiction and homelessness. And yet there are some people who are inclined to think women who are homeless become so of their own accord, their own mistakes, their own poor choices. Our women are judged in a way that the wealthy Hollywood stars who have also been wronged, are not.

The reality is, it’s amazing that women with little to no resources, forgotten by their communities, find the inner strength to keep going. And yet they do. Their will to live and achieve a better life is inspiring. This is why our work is so important.

You won’t see our women in The Washington Post next to the #metoo hashtag, but they have suffered nonetheless. It’s up to us, here at NEW, and all our wonderful, generous donors like you, to remember them, understand their struggles and be a part of their success, not because there is a movement with a hashtag, but just because it’s the right thing to do.


Wanda Steptoe, Executive Director

On Any Given Night

On Any Given Night

On any given night, 882 unaccompanied (single) women are experiencing homelessness in the District of Columbia. Think about it: in DC nearly 900 women will be alone, homeless, and often hopeless tonight while we sleep in our warm, cozy beds in our homes. 

Read More

Letter From the Executive Director – June

Letter From the Executive Director – June

As in life, the only constant at NEW is change and the dedication of our staff. The women at NEW stumble, pick themselves up, make progress, and graduate to become stable and contributing members of society. Through it all, staff members like Renee Roberts walk with them every step of the way.

A great example is Geisy Cerberino and her family. Geisy came to NEW through the New Horizons program. They are in stable housing, but our YEP! program still provides a buffer for the younger children so Geisy can work and her oldest daughter, a teen, isn’t solely responsible for after-school care. Read more

Anne Raffaelli: “We all deserve dignity.”

Former NEW executive director, Mary Popit doesn’t mince words about the woman who will be honored with the award that bears her name. “Without Anne, NEW could have fallen apart.” She’s speaking, of course, about Anne Raffaelli, a longtime supporter and former board chair of NEW. She stepped down in December 2015 after more than 23 years of service, and is this year’s recipient of the Mary Popit Partner in Caring Award.

Anne Raffaelli
Anne Raffaelli, 2016

Mary says Anne brought a “stick-to-it-iveness” to NEW that has sustained the organization. “You have to have a good staff AND a good board that offers oversight, and makes sure you see the bigger picture. You can’t have one without the other. Anne was instrumental in making sure that happened.” Wanda Steptoe, NEW’s current executive director – who took over from Mary describes Anne more succinctly: “Committed, passionate, caring.”

Anne says she was simply doing her job as a board member, being an “asker in chief,” and asking the questions that needed to be asked. “Because it’s what a board should do.” Read more

NEW Board Chair Retires After 23 Years of Service

Wanda Steptoe with Anne Raffaelli

New Endeavors by Women recognizes the outstanding service of Board Chair, Anne Raffaelli, whose term comes to a close at the end of 2015, after 23 years.

As a non-profit organization, the work of our Board Members is incredibly valuable to the success of our organization. Thank you to Anne for her hard work, generous support, and commitment to building a strong and effective organization. Through her tireless efforts, strategic thinking and innovative ideas, NEW has grown immensely.

We’re so grateful for her service and dedication to NEW, our mission, and our programs! We’ll miss you!


New Horizons Makeover!

Nearly 200 volunteers from the nonprofit, My Girlfriend’s House, staged a multi-day makeover of NEW’s New Horizons housing program for homeless women and children.

In their largest makeover project to date, My Girlfriend’s House removed old furniture, cleaned, painted, and decorated New Horizons to make it more livable and welcoming for the 17 families and 45 children currently in residence. Volunteers put in a special effort to make the facility and an adjoining backyard more child-friendly and better landscaped. Read more

611 N Street Groundbreaking

Wanda Steptoe speaks at 611 N Street GroundbreakingOn September 17, Mayor Vincent C. Gray and community leaders broke ground on the construction project to renovate and expand the 611 N Street facility that is home to our New Transitions program and administrative offices. The new facility will provide 30 transitional units in clusters of 5-6 bedrooms each for the New Transitions residents. The facility will combine transitional housing and permanent supportive housing for women in one residential space: 20% of units will be permanent supportive housing for senior women with a history of chronic homelessness, and 80% will be transitional housing for adult women over age 18. Read more

It’s been a challenging time for all of us as we adjust our days, our budgets and our expectations to COVID-19. And now, add a city and country grasping for footing after the death of an unarmed black man by a white police officer and we all feel even more out of control, unstable, and concerned about the future. Here at NEW we know that one way we can process our own feelings is to think about the needs and feelings of others.

We need you. The women need you. Your community needs you. Now more than ever women and children in DC need a safe and stable place to live.