Giving Circles


You are invited to join a growing circle of supporters who share a vision of an engaged, sustainable community either with the one time donation or buying a monthly subscription.

Dr. Rebeca ColeOur story begins in 1863, when in the midst of major social and economic upheaval created by the Civil War, a small group of women gathered to create a new model of education for Black women and children. Through long years of commitment and sacrifice, thousands of children benefitted from their efforts. 2003 marked the end of 140 years of service of their organization, the National Association for the Relief of Destitute Women and Children. Their legacy was passed on to the Emergence Community Arts Collective through the late Dr. Joseph McKinney, who donated the building at 733 Euclid St. NW to the ECAC.

Since 2006, the Emergence Community Arts Collective has been a hub of social activity and civic engagement in our neighborhood of Pleasant Plains. In this new era of change, communities are taking charge of their destiny, seeking new ways to become more self-sufficient and   independent. ECAC has been a catalyst for this movement, working at the grass-roots level to empower the human spirit. Our 21st century model of community development incorporates:

Children working on a peace muralIn 2008 over 2,200 children and adults participated in dance, alternative diets, community meetings, martial arts, 12 step programs, free tax preparation and many other activities we offer at the center.  Many more donated over 750 hours of volunteer service. Although we have done much to capture the spirit of service at ECAC, we won’t survive without financial support.

In joining our Giving Circle, you will be supporting our efforts to remain in service to the community for the next 100 years. You will also receive a small token of our appreciation, recognition in our annual report, website and fundraising events, and an invitation to our annual circle gathering. Your donation is tax-deductible and may be made via check to ECAC or online.

ECAC Giving Circles

The ECAC stands on the shoulders of prominent African-American leaders who sustained the National Association for the Relief of Destitute Colored Women and Children throughout its 140 year history. We honor them now as Circle Leaders so that they will be remembered throughout time as ECAC continues their journey into the 21st century. Your membership in a Giving Circle will help ECAC sustain our daily operation, increase our programming and outreach, maintain affordability, and model environmental sustainability.

The Dr. Rebecca Cole Sustainer Circle                      $10 - $249
Dr. Rebeca ColeDr. Rebecca Cole was the second female physician in the US, graduating from the Woman’s Medical College in 1867. In January of 1899, Dr. Cole was appointed superintendent of a home run by the National Association for the Relief of Destitute Colored Women and Children. The Dr. Rebecca Cole Sustainer Circle is so named for the day to day activities she performed in order to sustain the center’s operations.

The Charlotte Forten Grimke Capacity Circle                  $250 - $499
Charlotte Forten GrimkeCharlotte Forten Grimke, a teacher in Salem Massachusetts, was born into a close-knit family of activist abolitionists and feminists. In 1862 she was told of a “social experiment” in South Carolina to prove the educability of Blacks, and she became one of the first Black teachers to arrive in the South after the Civil War. Between 1882 and 1884, she served on the Board of Managers of the National Association for the Relief of Destitute Colored Women and Children, and again from 1902-1906. The Charlotte Forten Grimke Capacity Circle is so named because of her efforts to help Blacks increase their skills and confidence.

The Josephine Beall Bruce Builder Circle                    $500 - $1,499
Dr. Rebeca ColeJosephine Beall Bruce is most known for her work as a college administrator, her presence in the black woman’s club movement, and her activities in Washington, D.C.’s social circle. From 1882-1885, Bruce was Vice-President of the National Association for the Relief of Destitute Colored Women and Children. The Josephine Bealle Bruce Builder Circle is named for ECAC’s efforts to unite a community using the building blocks of arts, education, civic and social activities.

The Helen Appo Cook Leadership Circle                     $1,500 - $4,999
Dr. Rebeca ColeHelen Appo Cook is best known for her contributions as long-term president of the Colored Women’s League and organizer in establishing the National Association of Colored Women. Cook was noted for being the first Black secretary of the National Association for the Relief of Destitute Colored Women and Children in 1880 and served until 1910 in various capacities. The Helen Appo Cook Leadership Circle is named for the responsibilities involved in setting the direction of a community organization.

The Marie Key Pathfinder Circle                            $5,000 - $9,999
Marie KeyMarie Key was the director of the Meriwether Home for Children, which later evolved in to the Key Day Care Center in 1975. Key Day Care was formed in response to a nation-wide shortage of day care facilities to meet the needs of parents of pre-school children who had to work full time. The Marie Key Pathfinder Circle is named for her ability to transform the organization to meet the demands the community was facing at the time.

The Mary L. Meriwether Pioneer Circle                         $10,000 - $24,999
Dr. Rebeca ColeMrs. Mary Louise Meriwether was an active participant in the Association since 1884, serving on the Board of Managers from 1884 until at least 1910, was President in 1915, and Secretary in 1927. As the functions of the Association on the Banneker site were winding down, Marie Meriwether purchased the building at 733 Euclid St., built the two story addition and continued the operation as the Meriwether Home for Destitute Children. The Marie Meriwether Pioneer Circle is named for Ms. Meriwether’s vision to keep the work of the Association alive on a new foundation.

The Dr. Joseph McKinney Legacy Circle                     $25,000 - $49,999
Dr. Joseph McKinneyIn 1975, Dr. Joseph McKinney was Chairman of the Board of the National Association for the Relief of Destitute Colored Women and Children as the building they owned at 733 Euclid St. transformed into the Key Day Care Center. After Dr. McKinney suffered a stroke, the Key Day Care Center was unable to maintain the building and abandoned it in 1999. Out of his desire to keep the building in service to the community, Dr. McKinney generously donated 733 Euclid St. to the Emergence Project in January 2003. He died September 16, 2005 after a long illness. The Dr. Joseph McKinney Legacy Circle is named for Dr. McKinney’s desire to continue the legacy of community service.

The Elizabeth Keckley Heritage Circle                       $50,000 +
Elizabeth KeckleyThrough perseverance and an enduring belief in her own self-worth, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Hobbs Keckley survived the horrors of slavery to be counted among the ranks of African American leaders of her time and founded the Contraband Relief Association in Washington, DC. She was active as a founder, supporter and resident of the Association for the Relief of Destitute Women and Children, where she died in 1907 at the age of 88 of a paralytic stroke. The Elizabeth Keckley Heritage Circle is named for the spirit of our ancestors who made such great sacrifices to ensure the Black community had an opportunity to thrive.

What are the benefits of becoming a Circle Member?

Circle members will be recognized in our annual reports, on our website, at our center and at our fundraising events. Free participation in ECAC sponsored events and tickets to fundraiser events will be offered depending on the circle level. All Circle Members will be invited to an annual Circle Networking Opportunity.