Our Organization

ECAC logoECAC is a great example of grass roots community building. Since opening in 2006, the needs of the organization have been met by a full time Director, a committed Board, consultants, partnerships, collaborations and a cadre of volunteers. Although we have plans to expand our administrative staff as our Capacity Campaign develops, we will continue to rely on collaborations and volunteers for much of our operation. We find that this model not only sustains our operations, but furthers our mission to increase social equity within the community.

  • EXECUTIVE BOARD
  • CONSULTANTS & STAFF
  • VOLUNTEERS

The Executive Board

Our Executive Board is the backbone of the ECAC. Since 2003, they have provided the guidance and direction through the building renovation, start-up, programming , building purchase, and capacity campaign. Each Board member has, in his/her own way been fully involved in the ECAC and is wholly invested in its continued growth.

Sylvia RobinsonSylvia Robinson: Executive Director of the Emergence Community Arts Collective, is the founder and visionary for the mission ECAC now holds. Returning to the neighborhood she was raised in, she combined her experience in for-profit and non-profit management, cultural arts, martial arts and drug and alcohol counseling to create a new model of community development. Since 2002 she has been involved in all aspects of ECAC’s organizational development, building management, bookkeeping, marketing, program development and grant writing. She originally began work on the project as the founder of Emergence Inc., a for profit company formed for the purpose of acquiring and developing the building at 733 Euclid St.

Board member Maybelle Benett teaching crochet to a childStephen Shaff: is Founder and CEO of Community-Vision Consultants, a community development and advocacy firm based in Washington, DC. C-VC's socially responsible mission is to improve underserved communities by developing affordable-housing home ownership opportunities while simultaneously addressing the social, economic and political issues within the communities it serves. Steve has been involved with the ECAC since its inception, providing financial advice and support as well as guidance through the difficult process of building renovation, and most recently, building purchase. In addition to his socially responsible business agenda, Shaff plays a leadership role in various community-based nonprofits including serving on the boards of the DC Metro Police Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington (Vice President); and, previously, World Arts Focus (past President) and the Gateway Community-Development Corporation (founding member). In 2006 he founded his own nonprofit entity, Community-Vision Initiatives, to compliment his economic and social-justice business agenda.

Board member Stephen ShaffMaybelle Taylor-Benett: Ms. Bennett not only serves as a Board member of ECAC, but has incorporated many of her life skills here at the center as well. An expert fiber artist, she taught our Intergenerational Arts Knitting and Crochet sessions, and has an ongoing Saturday morning circle of students who wished to move on to more advanced projects. As Director of the Howard University Community Association, she has been a tremendous help in connecting the ECAC with Howard University resources, and including the ECAC in discussions between Howard University and the community.

Hilary Binder-AvilesHilary Binder-Aviles: a longtime DC resident, Mrs. Binder-Aviles brings to ECAC a wealth of experience in non-profit management. She is a Senior Consultant at Mosaica: The Center for Nonprofit Development and Pluralism. She has nearly 20 years of experience working in both national and community-based nonprofit organizations involved in human services, community building, advocacy, and organizing. Mrs. Binder-Aviles has experience in a broad range of organizational development areas, including: program planning, management and evaluation; strategic planning; Board development; fundraising. She was a co-founder and volunteer Executive Director of Sol & Soul, a grassroots arts organization that uses the arts as a tool for progressive social change.

Patrick NelsonPatrick Nelson: ECAC Treasurer, Patrick is a retired accountant and Vice Chair of the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights. A neighborhood resident for 18 years, he has been instrumental in the DC USA development in Columbia Heights and other major community initiatives.

 

Patrick Nelson
Dr. Ernest Quimby, Ph.D.:
Graduate Associate Professor and Coordinator of Administration of Justice at Howard University, Dr. Quimby directs the Community Technical Assistance Project (CTAP), a university sponsored community-based participatory research initiative. CTAP’s methods include visual, quantitative and qualitative documentation and presentation of Pleasant Plains’ heritage and social changes. His students have been involved with ECAC and the community since 2008, and he has been closely involved in ECAC's Summer Heritage Program teaching local history to children age 5-12. Dr. Quimby has been a researcher on projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and U.S. Department of Education. He is a member of the African American Researchers and Scholars Work Group, an advisory body to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. His major research interests are community development, gentrification, criminal justice, cultural competence, HIV/AIDS, mental health services, substance abuse and qualitative research methods. He has published and presented numerous papers, and co-edited When Communities Assess Their AIDS Epidemics: Results of the Rapid Assessment of HIV/AIDS in U.S. Cities. Dr. Quimby’s on-going research also centers on the effects of community-based housing on recovery from mental health. In addition, Dr. Quimby uses photography to document research and promote progressive social change.

Eugene Akers: A lawyer living in the neighborhood, Mr. Akers is our most recent Board member.

Dr. Isa AnguloDr. Isa Angulo, Technical Consulting and Graphic Design: Dr. Angulo has been an integral part of the ECAC. Since 2006, she has provided pro bono updates to our general website, and designed the Emerging Women, Heritage Trail, and this Capacity Campaign website as well. As an ethnomusicologist she trained our neighbors and Howard students to conduct interviews of seniors and business owners for our Heritage Trail. As a musician and artist, she has helped maintain the "rhythm" of ECAC through music jams and creative workshops in basket weaving with recycled materials. As a friend, she has donated countless hours to support the ECAC in many ways. She is now back in her beloved Barcelona publishing children's books, working as a Education Technology specialist for the Conservatory of Bellaterra and teaching music to high school students. In addition she works with the Systemic Pedagogy movement in Spain as an ethnografer and is currently filming a documentary about the implications of this growing movement for the future of education in Spain.

Staff



Sylvia RobinsonSylvia Robinson, Executive Director of the Emergence Community Arts Collective,
is the founder and visionary for the mission ECAC now holds. Returning to the neighborhood she was raised in, she combined her experience in for-profit and non-profit management, cultural arts, martial arts and drug and alcohol counseling to create a new model of community development. Since 2002 she has been involved in all aspects of ECAC’s organizational development, building management, bookkeeping, marketing, program development and grant writing. She originally began work on the project as the founder of Emergence Inc., a for profit company formed for the purpose of acquiring and developing the building at 733 Euclid St. Renovation of the three story, 8,200 square foot building was completed in December 2005 during which time she was responsible for:

  • Managing the acquisition, zoning and development
  • Serving as general contractor from August 2004 to December 2005
  • Managing all aspects of financing and accounting for a $1.2M budget
  • Coordinating community volunteer groups
  • Researching and documenting the building’s history
These efforts culminated in the founding of the ECAC, whose mission is to create a community space focused on cultural recovery, social interaction and emotional healing.

Waymond Ivey: Mr. Ivey works part time at ECAC as a handyman, keeping the building clean and in good repair on a daily basis. His services are provided as a donation to the ECAC by the National Caucus and Center on Black Aged, Inc. (NCBA) as part of their Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) funded through the Department of Labor. This program provides training opportunities for low income persons 55 years of age and older to return to the workforce part-time. Mr. Ivey has been an invaluable member of our team, arriving at 6:30am each morning to ensure the building is ready to receive the flow of people and activity each day.

The Volunteers

ECAC would not survive without a steady stream of volunteers willing to do whatever is needed. Since the beginning of the project, even before construction was completed, volunteers played a crucial role. In the beginning we hung drywall, assembled cabinets, painted, hauled trash, laid floors and did many other tasks to make ECAC a reality. Since we opened, our volunteers have done everything from painting to presenting workshops. There seems to be no end to the work that is needed, but there also seems to be no end to the generosity that comes from our patrons.

From January through October 2009, we have had 552 hours of service contributed. Volunteers come in all forms – Howard students with a few hours to spare, high school students who need community service hours, patrons who have benefitted from the center, organizations whose employees want to give back, teachers who want their show their classes the benefit of community service, or people who just want to give something back to their community. The following is not inclusive of all the service hours we have received this year, but highlights the many opportunities available:

The Capital City Public Charter School provided service by helping ECAC deliver flyers to the neighborhood and helping with our year-end mailing.

Maya Poston, a junior at the Maya Angelou Public Charter School provided service as an intern each week from September 2008 through June 2009 doing various administrative activities.

Naeema Getrouw, a senior at Hyde Public Charter School provided 60 hours of service during the summer of 2009 helping ECAC to catalog our library and assisting in the Summer Heritage Program.

Christian Kelleher from The Craftsman Group provided labor and materials for our front sidewalk level flower beds.

Volunteers from the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) helped ECAC build a shed and build up our flower beds in the front of the building.

Volunteers from Ecolocity maintained ECAC’s 10 raised bed gardens this past growing season, and conducted community workshops in the Spring and Fall in preparing the gardens.

 

Volunteers from our Summer Heritage Program provided over 160 hours of service assisting children in their artwork and clean-up after the session

 

Students from the American University Freshmen Service Experience program provided 169 hours of volunteer service in August which included door-to-door flyering, painting, and hauling a huge volume of organic soil onto our front yard for landscaping.


Volunteers from the US Treasury, Community Development Financial Institutions Fund contributed 25 hours of service in September painting and re-entering contact information we lost during a burglary.


If you are interested in volunteering at ECAC, complete the following form or call Sylvia at (202) 462-2285.

First Name: Last Name:

Address where you would like to receive information:

Street: City: State:

Zip: E-mail: Phone:

The best way to reach me: Phone Email

The best time to reach me: Day Evening

My best days to help: Saturdays Sundays Weekdays

I am interested in helping with:

Work at the site
Publicity
Programs
Other

What background do you have in this area?

Thank you for joining us. We will contact you approximately two weeks prior to see if you are available.