Our Open Letter to the Community

Building a Stronger Whitman-Walker for 2019 and Beyond

We thank you for your support of Whitman-Walker’s mission of caring for the community. It is an honor to serve the metro Washington region.


In 2019 and beyond, we will work to realize our vision of a society where all persons are seen for who they are, treated with dignity and respect, and afforded equal opportunity to health and wellbeing. We will endeavor to empower everyone to live healthy, love openly, and achieve equality and inclusion.


To realize this vision, we will aim even higher in how we care for you. We will operate Whitman-Walker as a community-centered enterprise committed to advancing social justice and equality through health. We will expand our commitment to culturally affirming primary care and behavioral health services by way of Whitman-Walker Health—the nonprofit organization now in its 41st year. We will place greater emphasis on advocacy, education and research through a newly created Whitman-Walker Institute. We will grow our core base of philanthropic support with a newly established Whitman-Walker Foundation. We will pursue long-term sustainability through innovative partnerships and collaborations via the Whitman-Walker Health System.


These efforts will reinforce what is core to who we are – providing care and compassion at Whitman-Walker, whether it is at 1525 14th Street NW, Max Robinson Center, Youth Services at Eastern Market, or the soon to be re-opened Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center.


This year we will advance our plans for a major expansion east of the Anacostia River. It is the single biggest priority for the community we serve and will house expanded youth programming, primary and urgent care and behavioral health services for thousands of people living east of the Anacostia River. To fulfill this dream we will need the entire community to support our philanthropic efforts to raise a minimum of $5 million in 2019. We will realize this goal because you — our community— will once again rise in support of Whitman-Walker.


Lastly, to achieve thoughtful management of our community-centered enterprise, our Board of Directors will adopt a shared leadership model in 2019. The model is based on a two-person team who work closely together to ensure that the different nonprofit entities advance our mission of caring. The two individuals who will serve on this team are well known in the community, and have worked together at Whitman-Walker Health for the past decade. Today we are excited to announce that Naseema Shafi, Whitman-Walker Health’s current Deputy Executive Director, will serve as its next CEO and that Don Blanchon, Whitman-Walker Health’s current CEO, will serve as the founding CEO of the Whitman-Walker Health System.


We invite you to join us on this most important journey to advance social justice and equality through health. It is a journey worthy of our collective best efforts in this new year and beyond.


Yours in Service,


Whitman-Walker Health