Building Bridges Across the River is the 501-c-3 nonprofit organization that built and now runs THEARC.  The mission of Building Bridges Across the River is to improve the quality of life for children and adults who reside east of the Anacostia River by providing leadership, management and financial oversight of the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC).  Through a collaboration of partner organizations, THEARC provides access to high quality educational, health, cultural, recreation, and social service programs.  By providing these programs, BBAR and its partners aim to contribute to the revitalization of the community in southeastern Washington.

Building Bridges Across the River was incorporated as a (501-c-3) nonprofit organization in 1997 by  WC Smith.  In its role as the leader of THEARC, BBAR is responsible for the collaboration of the nonprofit partner organizations at THEARC, as well as the management of THEARC Theater, and the maintenance and upkeep of THEARC facility and grounds.




Click above to view our 2013 Annual Report
View our past Annual Reports

Download our Form 990
Download our Certificate of Tax Exemption
Download the Audited Financial Statements for Building Bridges Across the River
Catalogue of Philanthropy Profile
Guidestar Profile


The Organic Garden @ THEARC is a garden operating as a community project of Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR) developed to involve our community in nature, nutrition, and healthy eating. 

The garden consists of 22 raised beds, a culinary herb garden, an eighteen-tree orchard, a water cistern, a hoop house, honeybee hives and a pollinator garden. During the...

Double Time Jazz at THEARC Theater is a jazz series presented by THEARC Theater which brings world-class jazz musicians to THEARC Theater for performances throughout the year.  This effort is made possible through THEARC’s collaboration with the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Jazz Touring Network and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Each year, BBAR selects a group of local high school and college students to participate in a technical theater management paid internship at THEARC Theater.  Students learn the fundamentals of production and stage management, participate in interactive field trips, workshops & seminars, serve as ushers during theater events and even present a production of their own!  Students...

As the old 11th Street river bridges that connect Washington, DC’s Capitol Hill and historic Anacostia neighborhoods are being replaced, the District government and THEARC will transform the aged infrastructure into the city’s first elevated park:  a new venue for healthy recreation, environmental education and the arts.

Lori Williams and Art Sherrod bring a night of jazz to THEARC Theater!

Learn how to measure results from social media!

THEARC Theater presents....Double Time Jazz@ THEARC featuring Take 6!

This interactive presentation will explore hands on concepts in budgeting for your nonprofit!

Create a strategy for planning a fundraising event.

Kendall Isadore is a violinist, vocalist, pianist, instructor and songwriter based in Washington, DC. On Friday, April 17th she will open for renowned acapella group, Take 6, as a part of THEARC's Double Time Jazz concert series. 

Born in Houston, Texas, Kendall Nicole Isadore is a vocalist, Violinist, Pianist, songwriter and instructor. Even as a graduate of Howard University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, music has always been Kendall’s passion. She started pursuing music at the tender age of 8 years old.

On March 12, 2015 The Bank of America Charitable Foundation welcomed staff and supporters of Building Bridges Across the River, the nine nonprofits residing at THEARC and the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia (LCNV) for a special ceremony and reception honoring both nonprofits as 2014 Neighborhood Builders. The nonprofits were recognized for their work helping low and moderate income individuals gain access to education, healthcare, and other basic human services.

Double Time Jazz @ THEARC Theater provides performance based programming supporting the growth of jazz music east of the Anacostia River through concert productions featuring local, national and international artists and groups. Tickets for our Spring shows are currently on sale!

On Sunday, March 1, 2015 the Wacky & Whimsical Tea for THEARC took place at the Ritz-Carlton of Washington.  The event was fun-filled Sunday afternoon which included high tea, a raffle and creative games for kids of all ages and their families, including a treasure trove, special entertainment and other surprises.  All of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC).

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors we now have FREE tickets for the Friday, February 27th performance of TRUTH the Musical at 7:30 PM at THEARC! Broadway and television actress April Nixon will be playing the part of Sojourner Truth!  

THEARC Theater presents…Black History Month at THEARC: TRUTH the Musical

Sparks fly as Sojourner Truth takes a troubled youth on a journey back through time into her amazing life story, her world and its people. As Peter opens his eyes to scenes and songs  from Sojourners life, part of his own history, he discovers who he really is and how good it feels and sounds to finally speak the TRUTH!

DATE: Thursday, February 26 - Saturday, February 28

THEARC's Organic Garden and Market Stand is currently seeking (1) garden/market staff person for seasonal, part-time employment!

Started in 2010, the Organic Garden @ THEARC holds 25 raised beds for vegetables, a 17-tree orchard, 8 in-ground rows, a hoop house, a pollinator garden, an herb garden and two honeybee hives. During the summer and early fall, produce yielded from the garden is sold at THEARC's Weekly Market Stand. It is also a site for educational and nutritional community programming.

During the month of February, audiences have enjoyed fantastic dance, music and dramatic performances highlighting important moments, movements and experiences relating to African American history and culture at THEARC. The final 2015 Black History Month program presented by THEARC Theater is TRUTH the Musical. This original production is a collaboration with THEARC’s I CAN at THEARC Theater Internship program, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and Keni Fine Productions.

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has named Literacy Council of Northern Virginia (LCNV) and Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR) as Neighborhood Builders. The nonprofits are being recognized for their work helping low and moderate income individuals gain access to education, healthcare, and other basic human services.

On behalf of all of the partnering organizations at THEARC, Building Bridges Across the River would like to congratulate Brenda Jones, Executive Director of Parkland Community Center (PCC), on her retirement!  For nearly ten years, Ms. Jones maintained her mission to enhance the quality of life of low-income residents and ex-offenders living east of the Anacostia River at PCC at THEARC. 

THEARC Theater is home to over 300 events each year including graduation ceremonies, round-table discussions forums, plays and productions directed by THEARC's partner organizations. As a part of THEARC's mission to serve the community with affordable, high quality arts entertainment, THEARC Theater provides annual programming under the leadership of Building Bridges Across the River, the managing organization of THEARC!

The Center for Nonprofit Advancement has joined with CommunityBuild Ventures and Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative to further expand its support for members and other nonprofits located and serving communities east of the Anacostia river in the District. In response to requests from community nonprofits, the initiative provides capacity building support including nonprofit management classes, technical assistance, and convenings and networking events at THEARC.

The Washington Winter Show, a charity antiques show in Washington DC, will feature fine antiques, distinguished events, and a Loan Exhibition. The theme for the 2015 show is “Ports of Call".  Premier dealers will offer a wide range of period furnishings and decorative arts, vintage jewelry, porcelains, ceramics, silver, and architectural garden accents.

Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC), The Bishop T. Walker School for Boys & St. John's Community Services will benefit from this event.

Did you know there are are several easy ways you can support THEARC this holiday season while completing your holiday shopping?

Altruette charms

THEARC is a proud cause partner of Altruette, a jewelry company supporting non-profit organizations.The Altruette concept couldn't be simpler: 50% of the net profit from the sale of their charms goes to their cause partners.


To learn more about the school bus charm, click here.

The Skyland Workforce Center is a joint project of the development and construction team for the Skyland Town Center and Workplace DC, a group of local non-profit organizations that provide employment-related services. The goal of the Center is to co-locate services and programs on-site that connect job seekers with positions and services that can help them to successfully obtain and retain employment with training and referral services.

On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, Neiman Marcus of Mazza Gallerie hosted a fantastic party celebrating the opening of their annual Love to Give holiday gift shop. Guests enjoyed music from a DJ, champagne, tasty bites and make-overs from Le Metier De Beaute while learning about THEARC and shopping to benefit our mission. 

Kids Euro Festival is a two-week long festival of European arts and culture presenting more than 80 free activities to D.C. metro area children and their families. There are performances, concerts, workshops, movies, storytelling, and more... and it’s all brought to you by the 28 European Union Member States!

From October 27-29, 2014 three FREE shows will happen in THEARC Theater! These shows will feature storytelling and music from around the world!

Monday, October 27, 2014 at 10:30AM

After a seven month nationwide design competition,the 11th Street Bridge Park staff are pleased to announce OMA + OLIN as the selected design team for the 11th Street Bridge Park, DC's first elevated park over the Anacostia River! To see additional images of their innovative design click here.


Amazon will now donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases  to Building Bridges Across the River @ THEARC when you shop at AmazonSmile (

On September 13, 2014, the eleven non-profit organizations at THEARC along with nearly 500 supporters celebrated nine years of providing services to youth and adults residing east of the Anacostia River.

This summer’s Humanities, Arts and Technology Festival (HATFest) at St. Elizabeth’s East was hosted by the Humanities Council of Washington, DC, in partnership with THEARC! Made possible through a grant awarded by the Deputy Mayor’s Office of Planning and Economic Development, the FREE festival series on August 2nd & August 3rd, 2014 took place in the center of, St. Elizabeths East, in the 1100 block of Alabama Avenue SE.

This summer the Ward 8 Farmers Market and THEARC is piloted a regular calendar of activities which provide free, healthful activities for youth & adults Saturdays during the Ward 8 Farmers Market. Free Beginner's Yoga will take place outdoors in THEARC's Organic Garden on the second, third and fourth Saturday of each Month at 10 AM from July 12 - August 23, 2014. September dates are TBA.

As a community service, the Washington, DC International Film Festival (Filmfest DC) will present "Filmfest DC at THEARC Theater," a weekend series of film festival favorites. The series will take place July 11, 12 and 14 and feature films for both adults and young people. Admission for all events is free-of-charge. This project is supported by a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.


On June 19th thousands of area residents will come together to create solutions to our community’s most pressing challenges by participating in Do More 24.

Building Bridges Across the River is proud to announce a special presentation of the Inside Out Tour at THEARC in collaboration with Imagination Stage. FREE performances of Inside Out will take place at THEARC Theater April 16-18 at 10:30 AM and 11:45 AM each day. These productions will serve as a pilot for THEARC Theater’s 2015 programing schedule.

THEARC is a home away from home for the many underserved children and adults of East of the River, enabling them to participate in dance classes, music instruction, fine arts, academics, continuing education, mentoring, tutoring, recreation, medical and dental care, and other services at a substantially reduced cost or no cost at all. THEARC includes a regulation size gymnasium, libraries, computer labs, classrooms, dance, music and visual arts studios, an art gallery, public playgrounds and gardens and other first-rate facilities.

Work at THEARC's Organic Teaching Garden!

We currently are seeking a Garden Associate to work in THEARC's Organic Teaching Garden! Please forward this opportunity to anyone who may be interested in applying. The deadline for all applications is Friday, February, 7th.

Chris Smith, WC Smith: Smith is one of the few developers who focuses on affordable housing and projects in developing neighborhoods.

In a video created by the Washington Business Journal, THEARC Executive Director, Edmund Fleet, Mayor Vincent Gray and other notable community leaders give remarks honoring Chris Smith, co-founder of THEARC and chairman and CEO of WC Smith.

THEARC is proud of annouce that we are the newest cause partner of Altruette, a jewelry company supporting non-profit organizations.The Altruette concept couldn't be simpler: 50% of the net profit from the sale of their charms goes to their cause partners.

To learn more about the school bus charm, click here.

To learn more about the girls rainbow charm, click here.


Remarks by the President on Economic Mobility

( transcript except)

"I also want to thank all of the members of Congress and my administration who are here today for the wonderful work that they do. I want to thank Mayor Gray and everyone here at THEARC for having me.

On the evening of Saturday, September 28th we welcomed guests to our 8th annual After Dark @ THEARC fundraising gala. The night was beautiful; attendees enjoyed music and performances by Levine School of Music and The Washington Ballet in THEARC Theater, sipped cocktails and munched on treats provided by Astro Doughnuts and Ben's Chili Bowl and witnessed the musical stylings of Roberta Flack during dinner. To view pictures of the event, please click here.

DC Jazz Bops uses storytelling to teach very young children about the magic of the arts, even if they aren't old enough to play an instrument. Using a collection of award-winning literature, instructors will share stories about the joy of jazz music, the lives of jazz legends, and the origins of jazz as an art form, in an accessible and child-friendly environment that also promotes early interest in reading. These books will have accompanying CDS or online playlists that allow young readers to sing, dance and explore long after the clas is over.

Southeast Residents Celebrate the Arts

Sam P. Collins, The Washington Informer

Byron Granderson couldn’t believe his eyes when he entered the gates of St. Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast. Vendors showcased an array of tasty treats, people danced to the sounds of D.C.’s own Experience Unlimited, and canopies dotted the landscape – each offering a different activity of which to enjoy.

The Humanities Council of Washington, DC, in partnership with THEARC, is looking for artists and performers for The Arts and Humanities Festival at St. Elizabeth's! The Arts and Humanities Festival at St. Elizabeth's is gearing up to be a celebration of the culture, creativity and community of the Ward 8 neighborhoods and the expansion of the East Campus of St. Elizabeth's.

Building Bridges at THEARC would like to announce the following vacant, seasonal positions at our Organic Garden:

The 4th Annual "Wacky & Whimsical Tea to Benefit THEARC" was a fun-filled Sunday afternoon that  included high tea and tasty treats, a silent auction, creative games and activities, a treasure trove, special entertainment and other surprises. The event took place on March 2, 2013 at the Ritz-Carlton of Washington, DC. All of the proceeds from the event benefited the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC).

THEARC Partners

Contact Information

1901 Mississippi Avenue, SE, Suite 101
Washington, DC 20020
Phone: 202-889-5901
Fax: 202-880-5905

Monday-Friday:  8:30 AM - 4:30 PM