About The Commons

The Commons at Stanton Square is a campus for community programs that supports the healthy development of children and their families in a welcoming and safe environment. 

Together with neighbors in the surrounding Fort Stanton and Hillsdale communities, the Horning Family Fund, Horning Brothers, Martha’s Table and Community of Hope are advancing a shared vision of positive outcomes for families and children. 

The Commons will provide quality programs that focus on education, youth development, nutrition, parental supports, and emotional wellness to help support the growth of a community where all children and families thrive.

Story Behind The Commons

Horning Brothers and the Horning Family Fund have been active in the revitalization of Washington DC’s neighborhoods for more than 50 years. In keeping with this long tradition of building thriving communities, the Hornings decided to develop Stanton Square, an eight-acre parcel of land they owned in Ward 8. This development, however, will be different from real estate projects that Horning Brothers has completed in the past. Stanton Square will include not only mixed-income housing but also a campus that will provide programs and services to support children and their families. 

Plans for the campus are the result of many conversations with community residents and leaders about their desires for their neighborhood. In 2010, for example, the Horning Family Fund conducted a year-long community assessment, which included asset mapping, as well as numerous interviews with parents and leaders in the community. The following beliefs were identified as being common to the Horning Family Fund and its Ward 8 neighbors:

  • Education, along with a healthy start in life, are essential for improving opportunities for children.
  • Investing early in children’s lives – when they are infants and toddlers – is the best strategy for getting long-term results.
  • Valuable assets (residents, families, services, schools, etc.) are present in the neighborhood and can be organized to enhance the lives of infants, toddlers, children and their families.

In 2011, the name “The Commons at Stanton Square” was chosen for the project to signify the importance of shared vision and collaboration.  The Commons will be a welcoming place that supports families living at or near Stanton Square to celebrate and care for their children.

Next, because residents said that community programs were needed to foster family stability and behavioral health, the Horning Family Fund and Horning Brothers joined forces with Community of Hope – a nonprofit that has its main office in Ward 8 and that assists low-income and homeless families throughout the city. The three partners worked together over the next year to review best practices locally and nationally, and to further develop the mission and goals of The Commons.

And in response to residents who said that there’s not enough quality day care for children in the immediate neighborhood, the partners at The Commons conducted a search for a fourth partner who would provide early childhood education and serve as an anchor for the project.  Martha’s Table was chosen based on their work across the city, including in Ward 8, to strengthen children, families, and communities by increasing access to education, food, and opportunity. 

Since 2015, the four lead partners have worked together to: (1) identify shared goals and metrics, (2) develop collaborative programs, (3) conduct knowledge sharing sessions, and (4) expand community engagement efforts.

The partners at The Commons look forward to continued collaboration with community members to achieve far greater outcomes for children and families than any one of us could achieve on our own.