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The Future of BWTEotR: Welcoming Nakeisha Neal Jones, the new ED

We proudly welcome Nakeisha Neal Jones, a Ward 7 resident, as the inaugural executive director of Black Women Thriving East of the River (BWTEotR). With Nakeisha at the helm, the organization will continue to make waves.

“I am incredibly honored to join the team at Black Women Thriving East of the River as its first executive director. Since 2019, the JBRF team has been carrying out intentional, innovative, and impactful work in partnership with our community.”

Nakeisha Neal Jones

JBRF has had the unique pleasure of supporting the evolution of BWTEotR. Over the years, we have watched as the initiative evolved into the community-based organization we see today. 

Nakeisha will continue the work that began in 2019 as part of an initiative we launched in partnership with women working and living East of the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. and the community-based organizations that support them. Participants worked together for more than 18 months to unpack the challenges related to Black women’s employment and economic mobility, as well as the challenge of improving their cancer outcomes.

Through our work together, these phenomenal women devised a plan with actionable next steps to improve health and economic outcomes for Black women living East of the Anacostia River.

Our goal at the outset was to fund the recommendations that stemmed from these conversations. While we did not anticipate this initiative to evolve into a nonprofit, the launch of BWTEotR tells us that our trust-based philanthropic approach is working. Together, we are revolutionizing community engagement and enabling long-term, meaningful change.

Meet nakeisha neal jones

Nakeisha is a native Washingtonian who was born, raised, and has lived East of the Anacostia River for most of her life. With extensive experience working locally in the nonprofit and public service sectors, we know Nakeisha will help BWTEotR carry out its vision.

“We see a city where Black women are thriving in Wards 7 and 8 because they have access to racially equitable opportunities and resources that lead to optimal health.”

Nakeisha Neal Jones

Nakeisha has dedicated her career to giving back to D.C. communities. Before joining BWTEotR, she served as the executive director of Public Allies Washington D.C., where she led the site’s relaunch, doubled the number of program participants and staff, strengthened local nonprofits, and helped hundreds of local young adults transition to college and careers. 

She also worked in D.C.’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, managing workforce and human services strategies for a comprehensive community development initiative. In her role at the District’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, Nakeisha managed grants for millions of dollars in federal funds focused on juvenile justice and delinquency prevention. Nakeisha also served on the founding team of Georgetown University’s Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate program

Nakeisha earned a bachelor’s degree in public policy and African American studies from Duke University and a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University. In 2016, she received the John Thompson Legacy of a Dream Award from Georgetown University. 

Today, Nakeisha is an active member of Leadership Greater Washington and serves on the board of directors for LightPoint and the advisory board of CARECEN (Central American Resource Center). 

Nakeisha enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling, and breaking bread with family and friends. You can often find her riding her bike through Anacostia Park, hiking the Fort Circle Trails, and walking her community’s many hills. She and her husband, Damion Jones, are proud parents of two sons, Ashton and David.


Nakeisha has named a few priorities that she’d like to focus on as she leads BWTEotR into its next phase.

On top of her list is building an organizational infrastructure that operates based on the voices and experiences of Black women living East of the River. To do this, Nakeisha plans to

  • identify a home for BWTEotR that facilitates its ability to thrive culturally, fiscally, relationally, and programmatically;
  • build funding relationships for long-term sustainability;
  • hire phenomenal staff who are paid well and have great benefits;
  • build an internal organizational culture that supports wellness and 
  • develop the blueprint for BWTEotR to drive impactful, community-centered, and equitable programs.


JBRF looks forward to partnering with Nakeisha as BWTEotR’s executive director. Together, we will continue to co-create and fund solutions that enhance economic mobility and reduce cancer mortality rates among Black women living East of the River.

Connect with Nakeisha by email at and follow her work on Instagram and LinkedIn.


Continue reading about the origin story of Black Women Thriving East of the River

Listen to women who participated in the workgroups leading to the launch of today’s BWTEotR nonprofit

Listen to Nakeisha and founding member Marsha Williamson talk about BWTEotR on WHUR

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