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DC Appleseed 2020 Gala

October 29, 2020



Alex Roos, Director of Development


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Alex Roos, Director of Development


DC Appleseed 2021 Gala

A New D.C. - Better Than Ever

DC Appleseed 2022 Gala

Continuing Our Mighty Work

2023 Seeding Change Luncheon

Wednesday, June 7, 2023
12-2 pm
​DC Water HQO

This year, DC Appleseed held its annual fundraiser at DC Water's HQO, located at 1385 Canal St. SE, Washington, DC 20003. Attendees enjoyed dazzling views of the Anacostia River and the DC skyline, while enjoying networking, lunch, and a live program with awards. All supporters of this event ensured DC Appleseed can continue its award-winning and mighty work.

Hosted by: Rev. Kendrick Curry, Victor Bonett, Steve Stanton, Apera Nwora, Peter Denton, Gary Ratner, Patricia Brannan, Marc Efron, Eleanor Smith, & Jeffrey Handwerker

DC Appleseed aims to analyze DC’s crowded primaries and split elections. Our goal is to increase the number of local races resulting in a clear majority and democratic mandate for elected officials while reducing existing racial and economic disparities in voter turnout.

To ensure we examine the most viable options for DC and to begin building broad consensus and buy-in among stakeholders, DC Appleseed held a convening to determine the best three to five potential options for DC for further research and analysis.

Note: DC Appleseed is non-partisan and independent. We do not have a position nor do we endorse any currently pending legislations or initiatives related to DC elections.

Keynote Speaker:

Maya Wiley, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Lisa Rice, Make All Votes Count DC  

Professor Brian McCabe, Georgetown University Center for Social Justice 

Charles Wilson, DC Democratic Party  

Lee Drutman, New America Political Reform Program 

Deb Otis, Fair Vote 

Chris Raleigh, The Center for Election Science  

Note: Additional speakers will be confirmed prior to the event. 

  • We invite local and national election advocacy groups, academics, and DC residents of all backgrounds to participate in this event.

  • Prior to the convening, we will ask participants to submit an array of potential "solutions" for consideration.

  • Through a series of panel discussions during the convening, we will narrow many possible solutions to just several

Thank You to Our Partners


​While DC has always been a heavily Democratic city, the party now routinely receives more than 90% of the votes in the presidential elections. In most DC races, the winner of the Democratic primary is the de facto winner of the general election, but that outcome is decided with only a small number of eligible voters participating (22.4% in the 2022 primaries) and no input from DC’s Republican or independent voters.

One critical exception to primaries being the key vote is DC’s At-Large races. Section 401 of the Home Rule Act (“Charter”) states that no more than two of the four At-Large seats on the Council (excluding the seat held by the Chairperson) may be of the same majority political party. As a result, DC’s elections are split with most of the races decided in the primary, and the race for the one independent seat on the Council that is elected every two years being decided in November.

An increased number of candidates (due in part to public campaign finance) means local officials often win their elections with a small plurality versus a majority of votes.


In recent years, many jurisdictions considered and implemented electoral reform, examining the rules of their political system and finding ways to ensure those rules support effective, representative government and broad democratic participation. Local electoral rules determine how officials are selected: which candidates and political parties can compete and how voters are allowed to choose between them.

Nearly unlimited options for improving DC’s elections exist. Some potential options include:

  • Instituting rank-choice voting.

  • Holding non-partisan primaries (open primaries), with the top two (or three) finishers advancing to the general election;

  • Holding runoff primary elections between the top two vote-getters if no candidate receives an absolute majority; or

  • Eliminate the limitation in DC’s Home Rule Act on the number of At-Large seats that a political party may hold.


DC Appleseed will conduct more detailed research and analysis of the selected reforms. We plan to publicly release a report on potential electoral reforms for DC in 2024.

To Learn More About our Voter Representation Project, Click HERE

To View the Recorded Live Stream, Click HERE

DC Voter Representation Convening

Past Events

Past Events

Our premier event for 2024, “Securing DC Appleseed” was a celebration of our 30-year legacy of making the District a better place to live and work. The funds raised ensure DC Appleseed’s can continue this important work. Thank you to our many partners in DC Appleseed’s success today and throughout our history:
  • Expert attorneys, business leaders, and professionals who work on important Appleseed projects;
  • Government leaders who seek and adopt DC Appleseed’s recommendations; ​
  • Nonprofit partners who inform and expand DC Appleseed’s reform efforts; 

  • Donors and foundations who enable DC Appleseed’s work; and Many other DC Appleseed supporters.


Securing DC Appleseed

With your support, we can keep building towards a better DC: a more equitable and democratic city in which all residents get a fair shot at health, stability, opportunity, and empowerment.

Congratulations to our honorees: 

  • The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The Golden Apple Award Recipient

  • Richard Herzog, Harkins Cunningham LLP

  • Jon Bouker, ArentFox Schiff LLP 

  • Annemargaret Connolly, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP


  • Elizabeth Halpern, Board Chair 

  • Annemargaret Connolly, Immediate Past Board Chair 

  • Vanessa Batters-Thompson, Executive Director 

  • Neil Richardson, Deputy Director 

  • Peter Denton, Co-Chair, Development Committee 

  • Victor Bonett, Co-Chair, Development Committee 

  • Gary Ratner, Co-Founder 

  • Deborah Chollet

  • Jeffrey Handwerker 

  • William Stein

Marquee Sponsors


​Please contact Erin Calloway at or (202) 987-5567 

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