About City Gate
History and Timeline
- Pastor Lynn Bergfalk, founder and Executive Director of City Gate, served for 13 years as Senior Minister of Calvary Baptist Church in downtown Washington. City Gate was established in 2000 to expand and extend community programs primarily with children and youth that had been conducted for many years by Calvary Baptist Church in downtown DC. City Gate quickly developed a multi-faceted program of education, life skills development, and community-building in a variety of DC locations.
- Our main focus for the first 5 years was out-of-school-time programs for children programs, involving over 100 youth in educational and enriching activities and serving over 12,000 meals each year.
- A key growth point occurred in 2003 when City Gate assumed management of the Johenning Community Center in Ward 8 after it had lost funding and faced closure. Simultaneously we received a national Capital Compassion Fund capacity-building grant to expand our administrative staffing.
- From 2003 2006, we brought various educational and community programs to the Johenning Center, while starting our own grant-funded summer day camps (there and in SW DC) later evolving to include afterschool and older youth programming.
- In 2007, we expanded our programs to include adult empowerment and moved them to the community rooms of Atlantic Gardens apartments, establishing an array of family supports through DC Neighborhood Investment Fund. Simultaneously we added out-of-school time programs at a church in northwest DC's diverse, yet struggling, Columbia Heights neighborhood.
- With the completion of the Mary Virginia Merrick Center just a few blocks from our SE DC Atlantic Gardens site, in 2008 we offered after-school and open gym at the Merrick Center while maintaining a community presence in nearby low-income housing complexes. Another accomplishment in 2008 was replicating our SE DC program in what had been a vacant community center in Richardson Dwellings public housing in Ward 7. These programs in SE and NE DC now provide 15,000 meals to children and families each year, and have expanded to offer adult literacy and other family services.
- Lastly, the success of an environmental-themed summer camp in 2006 encouraged us to explore STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programming via a pilot program at Marie Reed Community Learning Center in NW (ward 1, Columbia Heights) DC. As the only school-based, afterschool science club in the District, we were lauded by DCPS administration and vetted by them as an afterschool provider in 2008. These afterschool “science clubs” have enabled us to bring hands-on, inquiry-based STEM programming to children who otherwise would virtually have none, expanding to include summer programming in 2010 and reaching four DC public grade schools (in wards 1,7,and 8) in the 2011-2012 school year.
Programs and activities
Utilizing a model of collaboration, grass-roots involvement, varied community resources, funding sources, and facilities, City Gate has developed a multi-faceted program of education, life skills development, friendship, ministry, and community-building.
- Summer Day Camps
- ESL (English as a Second Language)
- After-school Programs
- Caterpillar Preschool
- Urban Hands: a service and educational programs throughout the summer for local volunteers and out-of-town mission groups
As stated in our Articles of Incorporation:
- Biblical Vision of Community - To embody a practical vision of community based upon justice, compassion, and spirituality that values every individual and which promotes the growth of love and justice in personal and social relationships.
- Helping Those on the Margins - To help those on the margins of urban society to participate more fully in the life and benefits of the larger community.
- Partnering to Minister to Those in Need - To implement strategies of partnership, and specific programs of ministries, that address the needs of urban youth, the homeless, the poor, the immigrant, and others who are disadvantaged or disenfranchised.
- Fostering Active Compassion - To provide bridges of friendship and service for individuals and mission groups to understand and participate in the struggles and challenges of the disadvantaged or disenfranchised.
- Engaging Others in Our Vision - To enlist support from those among the general public who wish to strengthen our communities through programs of service and education, and through development of innovative strategies and structures for social change.
Board of Directors, Staff, and Volunteers
Our Board of Directors have varied backgrounds (ministry, information technology, accounting, and nonprofit management) and are directly engaged in general oversight, policy, and volunteer projects. Employees include diverse staff of 5 full-time and 6 part-time staff during the school year. This includes our executive director, associate director, program director, two site managers, after-school instructors, and aides. Approximately 20 full-time staff members are recruited to work in our summer day camps. Many are college students, City Gate Mission Interns, and teachers in private and local public schools. Local volunteers provide essential services tutoring and mentoring and ESL instruction.
Our Urban Hands program to employs volunteer church mission groups from across the country, primarily in our summer program. Every year mission groups from across the country come to DC to work with City Gate in a variety of volunteer opportunities (many local or regional churches or volunteers also participate). Mission experiences vary in length (from a day to over a week) and involve people of all ages and abilities from youth to senior adults (and including intergenerational groups). Groups work directly with our summer camp and after-school programs with children and youth, and have access to a broad range of ministry opportunities through our various partner organizations (ranging from physical labor projects to homeless or hunger ministries).