our history


Beacon House was founded by Reverend Donald E. Robinson, an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister known affectionately as “Rev.” Rev provided homework help to a dozen children in a basement apartment in the Edgewood neighborhood of Northeast DC’s Ward 5 with the support of the Edgewood residents and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area Unitarian Universalist churches. Reverend Robinson retired from Beacon House in the summer of 2017.


Beacon House expanded our programs into athletics. Our Athletics Director, Rodney Cephas, established the program to engage Edgewood children in various activities that motivated them to stay engaged at school and kept them out of trouble.


Beacon House was first recognized as “One of the Best” nonprofits in Washington, DC by the Catalogue for Philanthropy, “the region’s only locally-focused guide to giving.”


Beacon House received its first 21st Century Community Learning (CCLC) Center grant from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). As per Afterschool Alliance, 21st CCLC funding is a highly competitive federal grant, awarded to only 1 in 3 organizations that  apply. 


Dr. Monica S. Ruiz, with The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, coined the term the “Beacon House Effect.”


Our 25th year of serving the Edgewood community. Beacon House received the “Local Innovator Award” from the Physical Activity Special Interest Group of the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM), a multidisciplinary nonprofit with a vision of “better health through behavioral change.”


Beacon House celebrated its 25th Anniversary and the retirement of “Rev” our founder, Reverend Donald E. Robinson. Beacon House embarked on an ambitious effort to transform our flagship Education Program. The three-year initiative, named ILLUMINATE_2020,  infused technology-enabled learning, 21st century skill-building, hands-on projects, and facilitation of learning into our current afterschool Education Program. The implementation successfully concluded in 2020.


Our Athletics Program celebrated its 20th year. What began with one football team has now transformed into a program that serves 340 boys and girls annually in multiple seasonal sports.


2020 was a challenging year that included the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and significant social unrest. At Beacon House, we adjusted accordingly. We retained all of our staff and our Education, Athletics and Summer Camp programs all continued virtually. Additionally, recognizing our role within the community of color we serve, our Board and staff issued a statement in June 2020, stating our continued commitment “to help our children reach their full potential.”

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