FESTIVAL CENTER INC

Rating: 4.71 stars   24 reviews

Issues: Civil Rights, Education, Human Services, Religion

Location: 1640 Columbia Rd NW Washington DC 20009 USA

Mission: The Festival Center's vision is to empower and equip people to live authentically and to embody now what God calls the world to be ultimately. We work to carry out our vision by by empowering persons and faith organizations on the inward/outward journey of Christian discipleship; collaborating with other missions of compassion and justice; awakening the world to the crises of our time; evoking people’s calls and gifts, and enlisting them as servant leaders in transforming the world.

2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

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Rating: 4 stars  

The Festival Center is an amazing place with an open door to the community. This place of unique connectivity, birthed out of the dynamic Church of the Saviour, is growing to become a model of racial reconciliation, social and restorative justice, and a place of spiritual contemplation. It is a place where seekers who are trying to find their way are welcome to immerse into a community. It is a place with a solid Christian base, complemented by an ecumenical outreach that is inclusive and relevant to serve our present age. The Festival Center is Home to the Servant Leadership School with classes in reconciliation, prayer, scripture, community, holy sharing of power, mutually liberating relationships, social, economic, and ecological justice. This model has been imitated throughout the United States and as far away as Seoul, South Korea. Many churches worship in the center, with a Latino Congregation, and what that is diverse with many congregants from the continent of Africa. Spiritual Support Groups meet, Alcohol and Narcotics Anonymous meet here. Some of the tenants in the Building are Little Bird Acupuncture, Jubilee Housing, Faith and Money Network, Community Ladders, Office of the Church of the Saviour, and Jubilee Support Alliance. Space is available to rent, we have conference rooms, a beautiful small chapel, a large room that can be divided into 3 spaces, and a roof top terrace. It is a remarkable place that serves our community well and beyond. Come by and visit the staff and our board of directors who are a working board, fully vested in the mission of the Festival Center.

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If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find more funding for a grant writer, and hire additional staff.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Quite well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Rating: 4 stars  

The Festival Center, Inc. is a highly visible orgnization in the multicultural and economic diverse Adams-Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC. A faith based organization having grown out of the Church of the Saviour, it is the home of the Servant Leadership School, it's primary focus. At the School courses are taught in basic, core understanding of the Christian faith with a strong emphasis on social justice. For 22 years individuals and groups have come from the DC metropoliton area and from acrosss the continent for classes and special conferences. It has developed a strong local leadership team but also draws on outstanding scholars and activists in the fields of Biblical Studies, theology, civil rights and other aspects of social justice. It's Servant Leadership School has helped to birth a number of similar schools across the country, Memphis, TN.; Greensboro, NC; and Waco, Texas are examples. It is a warm, welcoming place for the neighborhood and those who come from afar. It houses meetings for a number of churches in the neighborhood including an Hispanic congregation and many churches hold meetings there. It is the home office of Tell the Word, an speaker and publishing organization whose goal is to speak the truth to power. It is the home of Spiritual Support groups which bring together racially and economically diverse groups for in-depth sharing. It is a bridge between cultures. It has a job training program , Festival Foods, .which prepares persons to work in the food industry. It sponsors a Discipleship Year program which houses interns and places them in local ministries. It provides Andrews House, a guest house where people can stay who come to olearn from and participate in the innovative ministries birthed by the ecumenical, the Church of the Saviour. It sponsors mentors and programs for persons returning to society from incarceration. It houses the offices of a number of ministries. It offers individual spiritual mentoring through a spiritual direction program referred to as "spiritual companions." It truly has been and is a life changing place for thousands of people in its 22 year history.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

countless ways--in depth learning experiences which have expanded my knowldege in areas beyond my previous knowledge and expertise. I've experienced very gracious hospitality on literally hundreds of occasions and cannot even imagine what my life would be like without the community, warmth and knowledge I've found there.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

find ways to further increase the diversity of its clientele and give a Certicate in Servant Leadership to those who have compled the school's core classes. The purpose of the organization is service.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 4 stars  

The Festival Center is like a home, which imeans that you experience EVERYTHING there. This is not a corporation, this is a community-held, messy, wonderful little place to go and touch base, quite apart from the official course offerings and groups and so on, those are also good! It is a point of entry for relationship to real people and holds within its walls much pain, laughter, and non curriculum-based learning. I love the Festival Center and go there every day to water the plants and talk with some people I know.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my personal journey through the neighborhood.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

keep in mind that leadership is a quantity very hard to define and hard to hold. I cherish the present leadership personally and wish to support them.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 4 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

I have enjoyed a relationship with the Festival Center and their excellent staff since 1997. My wedding reception was held there and presently I am a member of a group that utilizes their facility on Saturday and Sundays. Additionally, I have attended their Servant Leadership Classes and my place of employment holds a graduation there four times a year. The staff is excellent and open to comments and idea. In my opinion, the Festival Center is an asset to residents of the Columbia Height community and the District of Columbia as a whole.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my personal and professional life

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

extend the hours of operation

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been affiliated with the Festival Center since December 1999 when I came to a day-long even with Ched Myers, which opened up my world to a new world of Christian spirituality, leadership and service that I had only dreamed was possible. Going to the Festival Center that day transformed my life.

I was introduced to the umbrella of ministries that support the Festival Center and the church that helped bring it into existence. I have participated in classes at the Servant Leadership School, used the space at the Center for 12-step meetings, and worked on the second floor of the facility when it housed Samaritan Inns' 28-day treatment facility.

While I love the family-feel of the Festival Center and am grateful for the availability of its space and affordability, I think that it dreams too small for itself and could be of greater service to the city if it had a higher profile.

I also know that the Festival Center has struggled financially and think that raising its profile might make it attractive to a larger circle of people and organizations, which could increase its funding potential. It is a remarkable place and my life wouldn't be the same without it.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My life's direction changed. I have committed my life to serving the poor and vulnerable.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

see above

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been affiliated with the Festival Center since December 1999 when I came to a day-long even with Ched Myers, which opened up my world to a new world of Christian spirituality, leadership and service that I had only dreamed was possible. Going to the Festival Center that day transformed my life.

I was introduced to the umbrella of ministries that support the Festival Center and the church that helped bring it into existence. I have participated in classes at the Servant Leadership School, used the space at the Center for 12-step meetings, and worked on the second floor of the facility when it housed Samaritan Inns' 28-day treatment facility.

While I love the family-feel of the Festival Center and am grateful for the availability of its space and affordability, I think that it dreams too small for itself and could be of greater service to the city if it had a higher profile.

I also know that the Festival Center has struggled financially and think that raising its profile might make it attractive to a larger circle of people and organizations, which could increase its funding potential. It is a remarkable place and my life wouldn't be the same without it.

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My life's direction changed. I have committed my life to serving the poor and vulnerable.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

see above

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I am President/CEO of a social service organization that uses the services of Festival Center. This organization and its staff represents the ideal of true service to the community. They are humble; they are responsive; they retain nothing - always giving back. We use the facilities on a regular basis to conduct our graduation ceremonies - they like us are a poor organization, yet they charge us nothing for the use. They are more than willing to put energy into coordinating schedules of various groups/organizations to accommodate the needs of everyone - they do this cheerfully.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Variety of facility uses, most regularly our quarterly graduation ceremonies from our Intensive drug/alcohol recovery program.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help them invest in furniture/appearance - they are budgeted limited, but do much with little.

Rating: 4 stars  

The Festival Center is a place of learning, activity, and service to the community, especially to the poor. I have been attending classes at the School of Servant Leadership there since it opened its doors in 1990. My small church meets there every Monday night. The Board members and teachers serve without pay. The staff views their jobs as a "calling".

The classes I've taken have enriched my life. They have opened my eyes to the needs of a suffering world. As a result I have served on boards of other charities, such as Joseph's House (a hospice for homeless men with AIDS and cancer) and The Family Place (a drop-in center for [mostly] Latino immigrants with young children.

In classes and in various projects I made friends who are different from myself in race, language, and economic status. This has opened my heart to want to become a "servant leader" myself.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

See above.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

find a way to help the Board create a more unified vision of future mission. I would also work harder at fundraising.

Rating: 5 stars  

This is a place of welcome and learning where everyone who comes is encouraged to discover and share their own voice and vision. This happens through classes, event gatherings, a set-aside time of prayers at noon, and being a bridge daily among folks of diverse cultures and economic groups. If you are open to having your mind and heart expanded, this is the place. Not only for the formally educated, the so-called "power holders" of our society, but people from all walks of life. Check into the next term of classes, or attend the Tuesday evening speaker series. That's a good starting place to discover for yourself what the Festival Center is about.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

classes, events and other gatherings. And I personally benefit from having them located near my neighborhood because of their positive values and social justice work.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

encourage them to have a more welcoming presence at the front desk. Different people are there at different times and sometimes they don't notice who's coming and going. Also, the full-time staff and program directors aren't visibly present and available as much as I would like.

Rating: 5 stars  

I am intern with the Discipleship Year program, which means I have trouble choosing categories from the drop-down menu above. Am I a client served, or am I a volunteer? I think that this dilemma encapsulates the essence of Church of the Savior. All of us are receiving while we give, and all of us are giving while we receive. This year, I've taken classes and taught classes at the Servant Leadership School. I've been brought dinner by the local support team, and have baked bread for my class of students at my volunteer site, the Academy of Hope. I love this way of being Christ's hands and heart in the world. We do try to live the prayer of St Francis in the heart of DC. I'm quite fortunate to be here.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my own spiritual life. I came here to discern a call to ordained ministry and have been blessed with incredible role models.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

continue to address the organizational challenges that so many of us in the non-profit world face -- managing the pressing needs of clients while trying to hold logistical deadlines at the same time.

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