HBCU NATIONAL CENTER

HBCU National Center
The HBCU National Center is a program established by the Hon. Jacqueline M. Lewis to foster experiential learning, mentorship, and networking in Washington, DC for students attending historically black colleges and universities(HBCU). Advancing diversity in America and its workplaces is critical to its continued success. Washington, DC, as the center of public policymaking, offers unparalleled learning and networking opportunities for college students to gain experience and make key connections. Participating in an experiential learning/internship program in DC can be the key to the path to next-generation leadership roles. With these tenets at the forefront, the HBCU National Center aims to create a living, learning, and mentoring community for HBCU and HBCU students interning in Washington, DC.

Colleges and universities, particularly those not located in or around DC, face challenges in trying to access the resources of Washington in a manner that makes it convenient and affordable. Institutions seeking to advance their standing among higher education and national policymakers need to establish and promote their presence in DC but often do not have the resources to establish a foothold in Washington. And the high cost of living in the city hampers student access to DC internships. For those without the means, these housing costs prevent promising students from gaining valuable internship experience. The HBCU National Center programs aim to address these challenges by bringing together a facility in DC (HBCU National Center Building) where HBCU and their students can create a community for living, learning, and networking, and a housing grant program to cover student intern housing costs.

The Building: “The Congressional”
This is a landmark building on Capitol Hill has housed thousands of interns for over 20 years.The building was sold in 2001 to Lewis and her late husband, Robert, who founded WISH in 1996.
Their mission was diversity, to enable interns to live in secure housing, including those without the means to live in an expensive city. They set up foundations to award grants so more low income and first-generation students could come to Washington as interns.The 6-story building, one block from the U.S. Capitol, and U.S. Supreme Court is close to Union Station and many academic and non-profit organizations including the American Council on Education, Department of Labor, Department of Education, Shakespeare Theater, Marquette University Les Aspin Center for Government, The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, University of Georgia Washington Semester Program and other institutions.

The HBCU National Center Housing Grants

The HBCU National Center offers two grant programs to address the challenges faced by HBCUs and their students alike. Through the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, the HBCU National Center has established the Internship Support Grant program, which is intended to assist school intern program administrators by providing a cash grant of $1,000 to the HBCU to be used by the HBCU in any manner that advances, promotes or sustains its Washington, DC internship program.  Through the generosity of Ms. Lewis, the HBCU National Center has established the Intern Housing Grant program, which provides fully-paid housing for up to two (2) qualified HBCU students in Washington, DC during their internship program. These grant programs are independent or each other and can be accessed individually or together.

HBCU NATIONAL CENTER

The Vision To build diversity by preparing black students for next generation leadership in Washington, D.C. where public policy is made for all professions.

The Concept The concept is to create a living/learning academic community enabling HBCU students to be in the front line of the workplace, coupled with alumni support in their field of study. The concept addresses many of the issues that colleges face—how to access the resources of Washington with an arrangement that makes it affordable and convenient. It also creates a national presence for institutions seeking to advance their standing among higher education and national policy makers in Washington. Having a showcase facility for students is a rare opportunity.

The Facility the District, with a $1M gift pledged by Jacqueline Lewis, longtime advocate for experiential learning and founder of th leading student housing program in D.C. The foundation will pay semester housing costs for 175 students to intern in Washington,D.C., beginning Fall, 2021, when the program will be available. In 2020, the average cost ofsending a student to live in D.C. for a semester was $1400/month. The Center will house students and faculty for the purpose of advancing their experiential education and research programs within a city that offers exceptional opportunity for high impact learning such as internships, undergraduate research, service learning and other opportunities.rare opportunity.

Important Potential for Programming With meeting space for classes, conferences, panels, presentations, press conferences and other activities, the building can showcase HBCU-sponsored programming. Communications with other institutions sharing the building will connect participants to students around the world.

Marie Dennis, CEO of WISH, Washington Intern Student Housing, will serve as Director of the Foundation. Dennis has 17 years’ experience in student housing and professional development. A student life professional will create programs and oversee student safety and conduct, as in other D.C. programs. MDennis@InternsDC.com

Important Potential for Programming With meeting space for classes, conferences, panels, presentations, press conferences and other activities, the building can showcase HBCU-sponsored programming. Communications with other institutions sharing the building will connect participants to students around the world.

The Building: “Woodley Park” Located at 2807 Connecticut Ave., NW, this landmark Art Deco building was built by alumni of Boston University to house students interning in Washington, D.C. The building was sold in 2010 to Lewis and her late husband, Robert, who founded WISH in 1996. Their mission was diversity, to enable interns to live in secure housing, including those without the means to live in an expensive city. They set up foundations to award grants so more low income and first-generation students could come to Washington as interns. The 5-story building, north of the White House, is close to the Zoo, Adams Morgan Metro station and many academic and nonprofit organizations, including the American Council on Education, Arizona State University Washington Center, Johns Hopkins University, Marquette University Les Aspin Center for Government, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, embassies and other institutions. HBCU Alumni HBCU Alumni in the D.C. area will have the opportunity to use the Center and mentor students in their fields. Mentors build student confidence and make connections for the students in their eventual job search. Lewis encourages businesses, organizations, colleges and universities, and individuals to follow the Center’s progress.