“People walk past our office every day and ask us, ‘What do you guys do?’ If I tried to sit people down and explain everything that we’re doing, they wouldn’t believe me,” GOODProjects Co-Founder, Darius Baxter, told me as we sat down at their workspace at WeWork Navy Yard.
OK, I asked Darius, well try to sum it up for us. “Make a positive impact every day. Wake up. Make impact. Make a difference in somebody’s life,” he told me.
GOODProjects is a DC-based nonprofit organization which, on its website, describes itself as “committed to providing opportunities daily for at-risk youth and their families to live fulfilling lives, free from poverty, violence, and disease.” To hear Darius talk about the organization, though, it’s both much simpler and much more complex than that.
“It’s formless. It’s abstract. GOODProjects is a movement. It’s a movement of social good, starting here in Washington, DC, run by three misfits-turned-Robin Hoods, that are just trying to make a difference.”
The two other misfits Darius was referring to are Danny Wright and Troye Bullock, who, like Darius, are DC natives and proud alumni of Georgetown University. They were my classmates at Georgetown, and since our time on the Hilltop, they have been the three people that I admire the most in DC. Through their work at GOODProjects, they are living the Jesuit ideal of being “Men for Others.”
Darius, Danny, and Troye launched GOODProjects in 2016 because they saw need in their community, and they decided to act. Unlike other nonprofits, which often focus their efforts on one specific cause, GOODProjects has helped address multiple issues that have affected their families, friends, and neighbors in Anacostia for many years.
“First, we identified gun violence as an issue in Anacostia,” Darius explained. “So, we got up one day and said, ‘Let’s do a summer camp here.’” Their first project, GOODCamp, was born with a focus on providing mentorship, tutoring, athletic training, and a safe, productive space for teens and children to go in the summertime.
“Incarceration, especially with juvenilles, is a huge issue in DC,” Darius told me. “We said, ‘Let’s do something about it.' Then we looked at poverty and asked ourselves, ‘What’s the greatest way to solve poverty? Entrepreneurship.' So we built a program to teach entrepreneurship.”
You won’t see Darius, Danny, and Troye measuring GOODProjects’ impact in traditional ways either. Darius said that they are focused making an impact on the individual level. Much of what they do is hard to quantify. “You won’t see charts and graphs in our office that measure our impact like other nonprofits. But, I bet if you come in here any given day at about 4 PM, you’ll meet a kid that will say, ‘This program changed my life.’ That’s what we hang our hat on. That’s impact.”
After putting in lots of hard work to better their community over the past two years, the GOODProjects team decided that it is time to celebrate, have a good time, and get the word out about their movement. On April 19th, they are hosting a black-tie event called GOODGala at The Ritz-Carlton, Washington DC.
Yes, GOODGala is a fundraiser, and yes, GOODGala is about spreading the word about the GOOD movement. But for Darius and his team, it’s really about providing a unique experience for members of their community.
“We have 25 youth and families that will be attending GOODGala, which will give them an opportunity to experience something different. Just the other day, we took the girls dress shopping and the boys to get fitted for their suits. Seeing that, and those kids' reactions, that’s what’s giving me joy more than anything throughout this experience.”
If you can’t make it to GOODGala, but want to get involved and help support GOODProjects, you can check out www.goodprojects.org. However, Darius would suggest that joining the movement is far more important than supporting his organization.
“Honestly, it’s not about supporting GOODProjects. Wherever you are, do something. Make a difference. What really pushes this movement forward is when people in their own homes and communities just get up, put their group of friends together, and say, ‘Let’s get out there and do something.’”
For more information and to purchase tickets to GOODGala, check out their event website here. Carpe DC readers can buy tickets for 75% off if you purchase today!
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