Location: Washington, DC
Dr. Madye Henson
President and CEO
Covenant House Washington (CHW) responds to the needs of young people suffering from homelessness, abuse, disconnection and neglect. “The founding mission of Covenant House was to provide an immediate safe harbor or sanctuary for these youth, where they are valued, respected and supported to move forward,” says president and CEO Dr. Madye Henson.
Fun Fact: “We are close partners with Building Bridges Across the River, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children and adults who reside east of the Anacostia River.”
Each year, CHW provides housing to between 200 and 300 young people and their children, and serves more than 50,000 meals to hungry youth. “The services and programming we offer are designed to meet youth where they are, yet challenge them to grow and develop into who they’d like to become,” says Henson. “The work of CHW is 24/7, 365 days each year. There are no down periods or slow seasons. It is life-and-death work.”
Because CHW has a relatively small team, any missing staff member can be devastating, says Henson. A little more than a year ago, she required spinal surgery following a car crash. At the same time, CHW’s board was undergoing transition and new staff was being brought on. “This challenge required me to use every strategy I had learned and exercised over my more than 30-year career,” says Henson. She found new ways to empower and communicate with staff and, she says, CHW came out stronger on the other side.