Francis on the Hill
Following Francis’s newest program, Francis on the Hill, is dedicated to supporting children and families in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC. Its projects seek to enhance the beauty of public spaces in and around Meridian Hill Park and alleviate food insecurity by providing groceries to area residents.
Amplifying the beauty of the “living room” of a racially, ethnically, and economically diverse area of DC, helping transform it into a place where life can be enjoyed more fully.
Meridian Hill Park
Meridian Hill Park is one of Washington’s most significant public parks. It was constructed between 1912 and 1940 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1994. In the early 1970s, as areas of Washington experienced economic decline, the park and its neighborhoods suffered. In the early 1990s, a widely acclaimed partnership between the Friends of Meridian Hill Park organization (now Washington Parks and People) and the National Park Service helped restore the park.
The park remains a gathering place for poor and marginalized people inhabiting the increasingly affluent surrounding neighborhoods. Many use it as their front yard, or even their living room— families, the ill, the aged, and the homeless. The park belongs to everyone.
A Good Beginning
Francis on the Hill contributes to community efforts to make this “living room” more beautiful. Following Francis founder Dr. Carol Conner asked volunteers living in the area to help beautify the park, for the enjoyment of all.
In the fall of 2018 they began removing trash from park pathways and surrounding streets every morning, year-round. During the summer of 2019 volunteers planted colorful flowers in the large, decorative concrete planters that have stood empty for years. With the Park Service’s permission and strong support, Francis on the Hill also arranged for a local landscaping firm to place and maintain large hanging baskets of flowers on lampposts lining park pathways
Our goal is to uplift the park to help make it vivid and colorful and happy: a place where people can come anytime and be refreshed by immaculate pathways and bright, fresh bouquets wherever they look.