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Mayor Bowser Appoints Linda Harllee Harper as Executive Director of Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement

Thursday, February 9, 2023
Community-Based Grant Opportunities Are Available Through the Office of Gun Violence Prevention and the Department of Parks and Recreation

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that Linda Harllee Harper, Director of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention (OGVP), has been appointed Executive Director of the Office of Neighborhood and Safety Engagement (ONSE). Director Harllee Harper was tasked to lead OGVP in 2021 and will now serve in dual roles as Director of OGVP and Executive Director of ONSE.

“What our teams at of the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, and the Department of Parks and Recreation all know is that engaging and empowering our community is critical to building a safer DC,” said Mayor Bowser. “Director Harllee Harper is an excellent leader, with deep ties to the community, and she knows what it takes to get people on a better path forward.” 

Born and raised in the District, Director Harllee Harper is an experienced leader and change agent in juvenile justice, criminal justice, public safety, and social services, with over twenty years of experience shaping and managing public safety responses, restorative justice policies, and youth development programs. 

“I’m looking forward to expanding upon the foundation built by former Director McFadden and Director Hunter in leading the ONSE,” said Director Harllee Harper. “I intend to focus on transparency and responsiveness in my new role and ensure that we are serving our residents with the resources they need to keep safe.” 

During the cabinet announcement, the Mayor was also joined by Acting Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Lindsey Appiah and Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Delano Hunter to announce the recipients of 25 grants awarded through OGVP, as well as to encourage community-based organizations to apply for DPR’s Rec for ALL grants. 

OGVP awards $5,000 grants to residents or community-based organizations working within the community to prevent violence. The programs that the grants support include art therapy, bicycle maintenance, sports programs for youth, career building workshops, and more. To date, the Office of Gun Violence Prevention has awarded $1,625,000 in grants to a total of 162 grantees. The next round of grants will open up for applicants later this month.

Applications are also now being accepted for DPR’s Rec for ALL Community Grants to support programs, activities, and events for young District residents through an investment of $3 million in the FY23 budget. These grants will empower community-based organizations to engage youth ages 6-18 through recreation with an emphasis on those with barriers to access.  
Rec for ALL Grants include:

  • Support Grants – Up to $5,000 that can be used to purchase equipment, supplies, or materials for existing programs. 
  • Engagement Grants – Up to $10,000 to support field trips and other enrichment activities. 
  • Event and Travel Grants – Up to $10,000 to provide travel to athletic competitions for youth groups. 
  • Programming Grants – Up to $150,000 in funding geared toward established organizations to fund the expansion of new or existing recurring programs.  

“Rec for ALL grants will help deepen DPR’s reach into the community and meet youth where they are to enhance the District’s violence prevention methods,” said DPR Director Hunter. “We encourage all those with a vision for new recreational programs to apply and empower underserved youth with high quality and affordable recreation opportunities.” 

Rec for ALL is Mayor Bowser’s $17 million initiative to increase and expand DPR’s programming while responding to the District's growing recreation needs. The initiative will include added summer camp opportunities, new sports and programs, adaptive sports, Sunday pool access and more. This week, DPR began a series of virtual information sessions for prospective applicants that will be held at 6:00 p.m. every Wednesday. Eligible applicants include nonprofits, businesses, or community-based organizations with a track record of working with youth in DC. The deadline to apply for a grant through DPR’s Rec for All Community Grants program is July 30, 2023. 
To learn more about DPR’s Rec for ALL Community Grants and apply, visit
To learn more about OGVP community-based grants, visit

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