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The Bowser Administration Unveils Innovative EmPOWERment Fund with an Inaugural Investment to Support Over 90 Honored Clean Team Members

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

(Washington, DC)— Today, the Bowser Administration proudly announced the successful launch of the EmPOWERment Fund. This visionary initiative empowers individuals to impact their communities positively through environmental stewardship. This groundbreaking program is part of the Mayor's commitment to fostering a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable city for all residents.


In Fiscal Year 2024, the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) played a pivotal role by creating the groundbreaking EmPOWERment Fund with a $300,000 initial investment. This first-time investment is designed to support those individuals who directly contribute to the success of the city's economic corridors and the local businesses along them, specifically the District’s Clean Team crew members. Many of these crew members are local residents and returning citizens, highlighting the Administration’s commitment to inclusivity and community empowerment.


"The EmPOWERment Fund is a bold step towards building a more resilient and prosperous community," said DSLBD's Interim Director Rosemary Suggs Evans. "By investing in initiatives like the EmPOWERment Grant, we are not only fostering environmental sustainability but also creating economic opportunities for individuals who play a crucial role in the success of our local businesses."


The first round of recipients includes more than 90 outstanding Clean Team members. These individuals have been recognized for their exceptional efforts in improving the health, safety, welfare, and aesthetics of our commercial corridors. The grant program acknowledges their hard work and serves as a catalyst for further their economic prosperity in the city.


DSLBD's Commercial Clean Team Program offers comprehensive services to enhance the city's urban environment. The program includes the removal of litter, graffiti, illegal posters, stickers, weeds, snow, and ice. Additionally, the team actively contributes to recycling efforts by collecting glass, aluminum, and plastic items from sidewalks and gutters.


The team ensures the ongoing upkeep of public spaces by diligently tracking and reporting defects via the 311 system, contributing to the overall cleanliness and aesthetics of the city. 


"We are thrilled to see the Mayor's Office taking proactive steps to recognize and support the invaluable efforts of the Clean Team members, said Charlie Whitaker, CEO of Career Path DC. "These individuals are on the front lines of creating a cleaner and more vibrant city. The EmPOWERment Grant will undoubtedly amplify their impact, fostering a stronger sense of community and environmental stewardship."


For more information about the EmPOWERment Grant and DSLBD's Clean Team program, please visit