A message from Gregory A. O'Dell, president & chief executive officer of Events DC

Dear Entertainment and Sports Arena Community Member:   

Over the last several days, we have all either seen on television or personally witnessed the mass demonstrations across the country, which were initiated as the result of the tragic death of George Floyd in Minnesota.  

The anguish felt by the family, loved ones and friends of Mr. Floyd is unimaginable, but the heartbreak has affected many of us from nation to nation. Events DC welcomes people of all hues, socioeconomic status and national origins to all our venues and believes that injustice and inequality of all forms is reprehensible. We must stand up for one another, commit to confronting unequal treatment and work toward healing.  Our organization extends its condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family and hope his death may serve as a catalyst to initiate meaningful change.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 still remains in the backdrop of this tragedy and has truly presented hardship and challenging times in our world, country and city. This global pandemic has affected all of us – our families, our communities and our businesses. We want to thank you for your individual efforts and the care you have shown toward your neighbors and the greater DC community throughout this unprecedented time, as the city that we love, adjusts to a new normal.  Together, we will continue to find solutions and overcome the challenges that we will face in the weeks ahead.   

Through this newsletter, we want to send a heartfelt message to anyone whose family or friends has been impacted by COVID-19.  We also wanted to provide some brief updates on our efforts at Events DC.  

Currently, the event operations of our Events DC venues remain suspended given the direction of Mayor Muriel Bowser and public health officials – we continue to have critical staff supporting and maintaining our facilities as necessary.  However, we are excited about Mayor Bowser’s phased re-opening that began May 29. Consistent with the ReOpen DC guidelines provided for Stage 1, we will be opening The Fields at RFK to allow open play with appropriate safety protocols beginning on June 10th.  On Monday, June 8th, CRYSP (Event DC’s operator of The Fields) will issue a public notice outlining the guidelines and safety protocols for the Phase 1 reopening and use of The Fields.  This information will be posted on The Fields website and we will send out a separate advisory to the RFK community stakeholders. For additional information about CRYSP and The Fields at RFK, please visit cryspdc.org.

On April 9, our Board of Directors approved an $18 million hospitality and tourism relief package to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The hospitality and tourism industry is the backbone of our city’s economy and we are committed to providing support and aid to our local restaurant, hotel and destination partners in helping our city get back on its feet, when the time is ready.  This relief package will provide direct support to restaurants, hotels and undocumented workers in Washington, DC, as well as destination marketing efforts.  

Recently, Mayor Bowser announced the conversion of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center into a temporary alternate care site — with the sincere hope that it will not be needed.  It has been built with the intent of supplementing the District’s hospital system when the existing hospital capacity has been exhausted.  In coordination with Mayor Bowser’s office, the District’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) and the DC Department of Health, the Army Corps of Engineers was responsible for overseeing the construction of the temporary site, and MedStar Health is the medical provider, responsible for the operations of the facility.  During these extraordinary times, we continue to recognize the critical role that we play in supporting the City by providing the Convention Center as a tool to serve and help our neighbors in need.  

Lastly, we continue to work closely with our clients who have either canceled or rescheduled their events and meetings due to COVID-19 to help find alternate dates in the future.  

While we may not be able to engage with you in a traditional manner, our team remains active and ready to answer any of your questions or concerns. Our goal is to remain connected to you – our valued friends, stakeholders and advocates. 

Remember, in these tough times, we’re all in this together and we can all use our power to effect change. Please continue to take care of yourselves and your families.  

Greg O’Dell

Congress Heights Arts and Culture Center Makes History

Founder of Congress Heights Arts and Culture Center, Keyonna Jones, led an incredible effort last week creating a mural spelling out “Black Lives Matter” on the 16th street asphalt in bold block letters and bright yellow paint spanning 2 blocks leading up to the White House. Commenting on her experience, Jones’ wrote on Instagram:


Congratulations to everyone involved in making history. We are DC proud of what has been accomplished.

Come out DC for the Great American 5000 virtual race!

Events DC is excited to be an official sponsor of the “Great American 5000”, a virtual team run from San Francisco to New York (and everywhere in between.)

The purpose of the Great American 5000 is to promote health and fitness in communities across the country while providing much needed resources to food banks in participating cities and states. Proceeds from this virtual event will benefit Feeding America and Martha’s Table.

How It Works
Assemble a team of no more than 24 people. Run, walk or hike a cumulative of 24 hours a day, and start to chip away at the 5,000-mile journey. An online map will track your groups’ virtual progress and display standings on a leaderboard for all participating members to view across the country. Each team will have from June 14 until September 14, 2020 to complete the 5,000 miles which can be broken down to as few as 33 miles per day per team. Participants can assemble their own teams or join one in the  Great American 5000 Facebook group.

Make Your Miles Count
Proceeds and donations will benefit Feeding America, a network of food banks across the country providing meals and aid to those that need it the most. In addition, all registrations through Events DC’s affiliate link will also raise funds for Martha’s Table—a local non-profit organization that provides meals
and services across the District of Columbia. Did you know that Martha’s Table has provided 2,000 meals per day to DC residents during COVID-19 pandemic?

For more information or to register your group, visit the event website or reach out to the race organizers directly.

See you at the finish line!

Rental Relief for Ward 8 Families: 202 ASSIST

The John Wall Family Foundation, in partnership with Lydia’s House, recently launched the 202 ASSIST program to provide critical rental assistance for Ward 8 families who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lydia’s House—a Ward 8-based non-profit organization— was selected as a partner to the Foundation because they have been a staple organization in the Bellevue community of Ward 8 for the past 30 years by providing housing counseling and intensive wrap around services to the community.  202 ASSIST is a 4–week-long campaign designed to raise funds for families who will be offered rental assistance. 

NBA Superstar and Washington Wizard John Wall is no stranger to giving back to the community. His foundation puts on annual back-to-school and Thanksgiving events to support families most in need. In a recent interview with WUSA9, Wall said, “I’m going through the Southeast area in Ward 8, where a lot of people are sometimes waiting in lines to get meals or seeing some people that can’t afford anything. And that’s why it is a big reason for me to get involved, after seeing that. It’s why I wanted to do 202 Assist, cause a lot of those Ward 8 parents are frontline workers. They are working in the hospitals and are putting their lives on the line for us.”   

In the inspiring words of Mahatma Gandhi, “The future depends on what you do today.” John Wall and the John Wall Family Foundation recognized the need of many Ward 8 families and acted immediately by creating 202 ASSIST. The program is seeking to raise $300,000 to assist in rental payment relief efforts. Donations for 202 ASSIST will be accepted through June 22. For more information on the program and information on how to donate, visit www.202ASSIST.com. Ward 8 residents in need of rental assistance can contact Lydia’s House beginning June 1 at (202) 373–1050 or via email.

Message from Cliff Beckford, Executive Director, Lydia’s House:

“Thank you to the John Wall Family Future Foundation for stepping up and making a huge difference in the Ward 8 community. We are currently working on applications and addressing the 300 plus inquires received to-date. The staff of Lydia’s House continues to work and support the department of Housing and Community Development with virtual classes and appointments.”

#DCTogether: Connecting Community Non-Profits to Community Grant Program Funding

We are excited to launch the FY21 Events DC Community Grant Program, which provides financial support to non-profit organizations dedicated to connecting with youth through sports, performing or cultural arts in the District of Columbia. 

Realizing the critical importance of supporting local non-profits in the District, for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21), Events DC has increased funding amounts from $250,000 per year to $500,000. During two grant cycles, ($250,000 in the first cycle and $250,000 in the second cycle), Events DC will award one-year grants to qualified non-profit organizations that demonstrate need and meet certain eligibility requirements. 

We are seeking applications from organizations that work to enhance and enrich the lives of DC youth through structured programs and activities.  Given the impacts of COVID-19, Events DC will accept applications for funding to support operational relief efforts, new or existing programs, and/or programs that propose to engage youth in the areas of sports, cultural or performing arts through virtual programming. 

Applications for the initial FY21 semi-annual grant cycle will be due no later than August 1, 2020. Applicants will be notified of their award status by October 15, 2020. 

Information sessions on the grant program and how to apply will be held on June 23 at 10 a.m., July 7 at 1 p.m. and July 21 at 5 p.m.  For more information about the grant program, please visit our website. To RSVP to attend a Zoom webinar please email communitygrants@eventsdc.com.

#LocalEats: Support Ward 8 Eateries

Restaurants in the Anacostia and Congress Heights neighborhoods of Ward 8 are open for business and are providing a variety of different food service offerings!  Click HERE to see what’s open in your community.