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ABOUT DC APPLESEED
CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE

MISSION
WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO
STAFF
HOW WE GET THINGS DONE
BOARD
HOW WE ARE GOVERNED
FUNDERS
HOW WE ARE SUPPORTED
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OUR MISSION

For over 25 years, through litigation, teamwork, and advocacy, DC Appleseed has helped make the District of Columbia a better place to live and work. Throughout our history, we have taken on some of the District’s toughest problems, developed proposed solutions to those problems, and then worked to get our proposed solutions adopted and implemented. Our efforts, however, continue beyond implementation. We monitor the implementation to make sure that policies designed to benefit District residents, particularly low-income residents and people of color, actually work as intended. 

The thousands of hours of pro bono time donated by our volunteer attorneys, business leaders, and community experts multiply the impact of our financial support many times over. DC Appleseed is a 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions to DC Appleseed are tax-deductible. 

 

Making DC A Better Place to Live and Work

APPLESEED'S COMMITMENT TO THE DISTRICT


We have made long-term commitments to improving the natural environment in a way that existing residents and newcomers can enjoy through our work on the restoration of the Anacostia River and development of the corridor along its shores. 


We have been successful in expanding democracy for the people of DC in a variety of ways, including establishment of an elected attorney general and budget autonomy. We continue to fight for Congressional voting rights and statehood, and to ensure that DC is prepared to take over important functions like courts on day one. 
We have fought for lead safety and an end to the HIV epidemic, and developed supports for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


 

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We have created new models for education and workforce development, and continue to monitor their successes while innovating new interventions. 

While our projects span the areas of youth and environment, education and youth, jobs and economic opportunity, and DC Democracy, we have been and continue to be guided by our commitment to making DC a better place for those whose families have lived here for generations and those who are part of new growth. 

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WHAT MAKES OUR PROBLEM SOLVING EFFECTIVE

  • FIRST, we leverage our limited budget several times over with pro bono support from law firms, accountants, and other professionals – allowing our small staff and hands-on Board of Directors to tackle a broad range of activities that improve the quality of life in the National Capital Area.
  • SECOND, we are a local organization, working exclusively on the biggest public policy problems facing DC – from voting rights to health care to environmental concerns to jobs and housing and more. 
  • THIRD, we are independent, non-partisan and objective. We do not come to any issue with an agenda or predetermined viewpoint and we take a position on an issue only after thoroughly researching it from all sides with the goal of finding the best possible solutions for where we live and work. We never accept government funding. 
  • FOURTH while we are independent, we connect our projects to wider coalitions. Working in coalition makes our research and consultation more efficient while growing allies for our advocacy.
  • FINALLY, DC Appleseed gets results. We are efficient, effective advocates. We build support and consensus for the solutions we propose by working closely with government leaders and community stakeholders during our investigations and as we formulate our positions. This collaborative approach builds broad support for implementing recommended changes. DC Appleseed doesn’t simply call for positive change, we help make change happen.

DC APPLESEED STAFF

 
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WALTER SMITH
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Walter has been the executive director of DC Appleseed since 2001. Previously, he served as the Special Deputy Corporation Counsel at the D.C. Office of the Corporation Counsel, now the Office of the Attorney General, where he focused on addressing the many receiverships in the District, supervising litigation affecting the school system, setting up pro bono assistance for the District from private law firms, and bringing a suit before a three-judge federal court seeking voting representation for the District in Congress.  Walter practiced for 16 years at the law firm of Hogan Lovells, where he specialized in appellate litigation. For several years, he served as a partner and full-time director of the firm’s pro bono practice. 
He also served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy JAG Corps. Walter has argued numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and the D.C. Court of Appeals. Walter has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma and a law degree from Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk to Chief Judge Charles Clark on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  In 2011, Walter received the President’s Award from the Washington Council of Lawyers.  In 2007, the Legal Times named him one of the “90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the last 30 years.” In addition to his many accomplishments, Walter reigned as the Hula Hoop Champion of Oklahoma in junior high.

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DANIELLE BURS
COUNSEL

Danielle provides research, analysis, and project management for DC Appleseed’s COVID-19, affordable housing, HIV/AIDS, Anacostia watershed and river restoration, CareFirst reform, attorney general, paid leave, and D.C. democracy projects. Danielle has a BA in Government and English from Clark University and a JD from American University Washington College of Law, and has worked on D.C. public policy for over ten years. Prior to joining DC Appleseed, Danielle was an associate at Goldblatt Martin Pozen LLP, Legislative Director for Ward One Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau, Director of Policy at the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, and JD Distinguished Fellow at affordable housing developer Manna, Inc. In her spare time, Danielle serves on the boards of Mi Casa, Inc. and River East Design Collaborative. She also spends as much time as possible in or near the water and reading science fiction.

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LOUISE DUKE
Development Associate & Office Manager

Louise comes to DC Appleseed with experience in communications, outreach, development, and administration. Born and raised in the UK, she worked for many years as a civil servant in Child Support and then the Pension Service before moving to the US. More recently she held a similar position at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and also as an Events Coordinator at D.C.’s celebrated bookstore, Politics & Prose. 
She holds a BA in English Literature and Sociology, worked in music journalism, and sold vintage clothes on London’s Portobello Market. Louise loves ballet and can often be seen at the Kennedy Center. Living in the US she has also developed a passion for baseball and the Washington Nationals, much to the bemusement of her English friends.

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NEIL RICHARDSON
DEPUTY DIRECTOR

Neil directs DC Appleseed’s work on child support, special education, workforce development, and children’s health.  Before joining DC Appleseed in 2019, Neil worked with the University of the District of Columbia where he was part of the founding team that launched the UDC Community College.  He created the Continuing Education program at the university and was also responsible for Advancement and Partnerships. 

Previously, Neil worked with the Executive Office of the Mayor for Mayors Anthony Williams and Adrian Fenty.  He has also worked across the United States and in Ghana while working with The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the Illinois State League of Women Voters.  Neil has a Master’s degree from Georgetown University with a concentration in democratic theory and an undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida where he attended on an athletic scholarship.  Neil is a regular practitioner of meditation and loves poetry, soccer, travel and especially his son Kai.  

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ALEX ROOS
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT

Alex leads the development efforts at DC Appleseed, managing the organization’s foundation grants, all corporate philanthropy, and the individual giving network.  Alex is engaged in securing funding for DC Appleseed projects and identifying new funding pipelines as well as managing external communications. Prior to his work at DC Appleseed, Alex managed the development activities at ServiceSource, a nonprofit supporting individuals with disabilities, and also worked in the fundraising and development division of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Alex has a BA in International Studies from American University and a MA in International Policy Studies from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.  In his spare time, Alex enjoys traveling, reading history books, and spending time with his wife and two sons

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IAIN PHILLIPS
LEGAL INTERN

Iain provides legal and policy research and analysis to a variety of DC Appleseed’s projects. Iain received his Associate’s Degree from Brookdale Community College, his Bachelor’s Degree from American University, and currently attends Syracuse University College of Law, where he is a rising 2L. Before attending law school, Iain held a variety of positions and internships throughout the DC area. He interned on Capitol Hill and for DC Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau and worked in an administrative support capacity at George Washington and American Universities as well as at Pew Research Center. After graduating from law school, Iain hopes to serve as a public defender. In his spare time, Iain enjoys coaching undergraduate mock trials and reading comic books.

DC APPLESEED BOARD AND FUNDERS

The DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice is governed by a Board led by an eight-member executive committee. Our Board members do a lot more than handle the organization’s governance. They also serve on our project teams and often become involved in outreach, advocacy, and other efforts. Another important part of Appleseed is our Advisory Council that includes former Board members and other community leaders.

 

Chair: Annemargaret Connolly

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

 

Vice Chair: Deborah Chollet

Mathematica 

 

Vice Chair: William Stein

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP

 

Treasurer: Hank Brothers

Hank Brothers Law

 

Past Chair: Jon Bouker

Arent Fox LLP

 

Past Chair: Nick Fels

Retired from Covington & Burling

Past Chair: Richard Herzog

Harkins Cunningham LLP

Secretary: Lorelie Masters

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Robert C. Bobb

The Robert Bobb Group

At-Large: Victor Bonett

Amazon

At-Large: Aaron Brand

Uber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sean Krispinsky

American Beverage Association

Apera Nwora

Washington Gas

Robert A. Peck

Gensler LLP

Thorn Pozen

Goldblatt Martin Pozen LLP

Gary Ratner

Citizens for Effective Schools, Inc.

Chris Wright

Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP

Eleanor Smith

Zuckerman Spaeder LLP

Steven Stanton

Deloitte Advisory

Gary Thompson

Thompson HD Law

Josh Wyner

The Aspen Institute

Rick Bress

Latham & Watkins LLP

Marialuisa Gallozzi

Covington LLP

Jeffrey Handwerker

Arnold & Porter LLP

At Large: Beth Halpern

Hogan Lovells US LLP

Karen Hardwick

Washington Gas

Katherine S. Broderick

UDC – David A. Clarke School of Law

Olivia Byrne

K&L Gates LLP

 

Patrick Campbell

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

 

Rev. Kendrick Curry

The Pennsylvania Ave Baptist Church

Peter Denton
Steptoe & Johnson LLP

The generous financial support of our funders makes Appleseed’s work possible. We are grateful to them, not only for their support, but also for trusting us to make a difference on the issues to which they are passionately committed. DC Appleseed is grateful to the following organizations for their recent, generous financial support:

The generous financial support of our funders makes DC Appleseed’s work possible.

We are thankful to them, not only for their support, but also for trusting us to make a difference on the issues to which they are passionately committed.

DC Appleseed is grateful to the following organizations for their recent, generous financial support:

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Washington AIDS
 
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