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Annual Report | Fiscal Year 2023

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A Note from Our Board Chair

It’s Fall 2020. Five mental health practitioners are on Zoom, talking through their vision for a new entity: a go-to resource for DC-area families that would provide trauma-focused treatment, prevention, and expertise, all while adhering to our values.

As I think back to that first meeting of TRUE Center’s founders, I am amazed and so proud of the incredible progress we have made in the past three years. While that meeting launched the founding of TRUE Center, the organization did not start operating as envisioned until this year.

Establishing a new entity takes time–filing for incorporation, applying for tax-exempt status, building plans and budgets–all while learning how to simultaneously develop, govern, and operate a nonprofit organization.

Since our founding, we have grown our board, our volunteer support, and our donor base. Most importantly, this past year we began programming in earnest (offering both trauma-informed educational programs as well as affordable mental health services for children and families) in earnest. 

Our educational services included training for D.C.-area psychologists and producing shareable and accessible informational videos for caregivers. Our plans to expand this service offering are already underway, and we look forward to sharing these updates with you.  

Getting our therapy program up and running required making some big investments, including hiring a part-time Mental Health Director. Dr. Komal Sharma-Patel has been a major asset to the organization since her hire in March 2023. She has worked tremendously hard to develop a sound foundation, conduct outreach to grow our referral network, and support our clinical volunteers. Thanks to her effort, our volunteer therapists are all matched with child clients as of this report’s release. We’re fortunate to have her as part of the team!

This past year, we have transitioned from struggling to ensure TRUE Center’s viability to planning for its sustainability and even growth. There is much more work to be done, however, and we face challenges practically daily. Our goals for the current year include reducing the effects of trauma through continued therapy services, increasing trauma awareness in professionals working with DC-area children, and ensuring sustainability through both funding and human resource development.

We are confident that with help from supporters like you, we will continue to make a difference in the lives of children and shift the landscape of trauma-informed care in the DC region. 

With much appreciation,

Alison Kramer-Kuhn

P.S. This report covers our fiscal year running from July 2022 through June 2023 in depth. For a sneak preview into what we’ve been doing more recently, please see our November 2023 update page.

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Table of Contents

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What this year has looked like.

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to our Volunteers & Donors.

Cherry Blossoms

Our priorities and successes.


Revenue, expenses, and more.

Therapy Program

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We launched our therapy program!

Between April and June 2023, our mental health director Dr. Sharma-Patel received referrals from organizations and community members for 12 children. Based on the needs of the families, she referred five of these children to outside providers. Of the seven children who were appropriate for TRUE Center’s services, five were unable to schedule or attend intakes. 

Two children underwent a clinical intake assessment by our volunteer therapists in June in preparation of continuing on to Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).


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Mental Health Director
Komal Sharma-Patel, PhD
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Dr. Komal Sharma-Patel joined the team in March 2023 to manage the therapy program and allow TRUE Center to launch therapy services for D.C.-area children and families. She has a deep commitment to the mission of TRUE Center and strives to increase access for youth and families who have significant challenges in accessing affordable, culturally sensitive, trauma-specific, evidence-based interventions. She is a psychologist in the Mood and Trauma Clinic at Children's National Hospital in D.C. and has extensive expertise in researching, assessing and treating trauma responses in children, adolescents and adults. For more than 10 years, Dr. Sharma-Patel has been providing clinical and supervisory services for individuals with trauma histories.

She is a certified therapist and supervisor of TF-CBT, as well as a trainer of Alternatives for Families: CBT (an evidence-based trauma treatment designed to address child trauma symptoms/behavioral problems, parent-child conflict and harsh parenting).

Dr. Sharma-Patel applies her expertise at TRUE Center by processing referrals, matching families with volunteer clinicians, and providing guidance and consultation to our clinicians.

What exactly is TF-CBT?

Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is an evidence-based treatment whose components include: 

  • psychoeducation to children and caregivers about trauma and traumatic stress symptoms; 

  • learning how to identify and regulate strong emotions; 

  • learning ways to challenge and restructure unhelpful thoughts; 

  • processing the memories of the traumatic experience; 

  • decreasing emotional reactivity in response to trauma reminders; and 

  • enhancing future safety and development. 

Caregivers learn effective behavior management techniques as well as ways to best support their child during treatment and in the future. More than 20 randomized controlled trials have demonstrated TF-CBT’s efficacy in treating trauma-related concerns in children, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and behavioral problems. TF-CBT is also effective in reducing emotional distress and depressive symptoms in caregivers. 

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Educational Program

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During the year, TRUE Center engaged in educational activities in several mediums.


Here are a few highlights:

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Podcast Appearance

In August 2022, Renee DeBoard-Lucas and Stephanie Wolf were invited speakers on the podcast “I Am Conquering Mountains” with Charles Phillips. Mr. Phillips is a school counselor, author, motivational speaker, and survivor of trauma. Drs. DeBoard-Lucas and Wolf shared information with listeners on recognizing trauma in children and ways to support children and families who have experienced trauma. 

It was such a pleasure having the brilliant minds of Dr. DeBoard-Lucas & Dr. Stephanie Wolf share their expertise on the show! The DC Community is in great hands with the TRUE Trauma Center. Can't wait to celebrate the grand opening!!

Charles Phillips, I Am Conquering Mountains

Organizational Development

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TRUE Center began FY2023 with 4 new talented directors on the Board: Brian Gardner (who was elected Vice Chair), Joe Guidi, Zachery Rizik, and Krishtine Rosenthal. These new directors brought with them backgrounds in strategic planning, project management, technology, leadership, and mental health. Founder Jenna Calton stepped back from her role on the Board in November 2022.

The Board adopted and began implementing a Board recruitment and succession plan, which involved targeted and strategic recruitment to fill gaps in knowledge and expertise. Through recruitment efforts made during FY2023, two new board members were elected in June 2023 to start serving in FY2024.

>> Meet TRUE Center's Current Board of Directors

The Board continued to build its foundational structure over the course of this year, adopting key critical compliance and financial control policies, board meeting procedures, and officer roles and responsibilities.

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The Board held its first ever Annual Retreat, and invited Kenneth Shultz, a non-profit management consultant, to provide pro bono board development and strategic planning facilitation.

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FY23 Strategic Priorities

Finalize Plans for Service Offerings

In FY2023, TRUE Center heavily recruited volunteer therapists. We contacted all clinicians located in DC, Maryland, and Virginia who are registered as Certified TF-CBT therapists. Through our efforts, we developed a roster of four TF-CBT-Certified therapists available to provide telehealth sessions at no cost to clients. 


We continued to identify and communicate with other organizations who could provide therapy client referrals, participants for educational programming, and other potential partnerships. We identified barriers to accessing services and worked to address them. For example, in response to families having difficulty completing the legal paperwork required to begin therapy, we identified a new electronic medical records platform that would facilitate the process.

Due to limited resources, we were unable to hold listening sessions to better understand prospective clients’ and program participants’ needs and preferred methods of service delivery. This strategy was rolled over to the current year’s plan.

Establish the Fundamentals of How to Deliver  Therapy 

This year, the Board identified the needs and requirements for starting a therapy program. One major question to answer was who would manage the program. The Board determined that overseeing the program - which would include the ongoing coordination of referral sources, clients, and volunteer therapists - was too big of a role for an unpaid volunteer. TRUE Center recruited Dr. Komal Sharma-Patel, who was hired as a part-time Mental Health Director in March 2023. Dr. Sharma-Patel was a dream candidate based on her extensive experience with trauma therapy, her previous experience in growing a young agency, and her passion for the mission of increasing access to care. 

Additional milestones achieved during the year included: researching and securing a telehealth technology platform and electronic medical records (EMR) system; creating internal systems to track referrals; and developing policies, procedures, and forms regarding telehealth, clinician onboarding, informed consent, and patient privacy.

Start Actively Providing Clinical Services

Between April and June 2023, Dr. Sharma-Patel received referrals from organizations and community members for 12 children. Of these 12, five of these children were referred to outside providers, five were unable to schedule or attend intakes, and two were seen by our volunteer therapists.

Begin Building Out an Educational Program

During the year, TRUE Center determined that we would focus our community-based trauma-awareness efforts on D.C. Wards 7 and 8, based on high levels of trauma and historically lower investment of resources in those specific wards.

While we were unable to hold educational presentations monthly, we were successful in producing and distributing several pre-recorded videos aimed to increase awareness about trauma among D.C.-area community members. Topics have included recognizing traumatic stress symptoms in children and finding an appropriate mental health provider. We also provided professional training to members of the D.C. Psychological Association (see Educational Program).

Ensure a Strong Foundation

In early FY23, TRUE Center accomplished several foundational milestones, including:

  • Approving its first annual budget

  • Managing a core group of volunteers by creating and filling the Volunteer Coordinator position (a volunteer themselves) 

  • Building out the founding Board by starting the year with four new Board members and recruiting additional Board members during the course of the year

  • Hiring its first employee

  • Hiring the organization's first employee required delving into the complex arena of human resources, employment law, taxes, and payroll. TRUE Center is grateful for the pro bono legal expertise provided by: DC Bar Pro Bono Center; Norton, Rose & Fulbright; and Hunton Andews Kurth.


As a new organization without a stable history of revenue and expenses, one difficulty we encountered during FY23 was in developing a clear fundraising plan. During the year, significant efforts were made to clarify our strategic goals for FY24, which would, in turn, inform fundraising needs.

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Thank you to

our volunteers.

We are immensely appreciative of our volunteers who give their time, effort, and passion to TRUE Center and its mission. From tasks big and small, TRUE Center has grown from an idea to a reality, and it would not have been possible without our generous and fantastic volunteers. We are grateful for such a wonderful team of volunteers who have helped TRUE Center to launch the Community & Professional Training program and to continue readying the Child & Family Therapy services. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do!

Clinical Volunteers
Christina Diaz, Psy.D
Susanna McQuarrie, Ph.D
Lindsay Scharfstein, Ph.D
Rachel Singer, Ph.D


Volunteer Leadership
Allaine Hontiveros

     Social Media Manager
Tori Jowers

     Volunteer Coordinator
Lisa Wagner

     Volunteer Coordinator through April 2023


Hermon Alemu
Reem Alrabiah
Jaiden Bluth
Geoff Cloepfil
Ashley Deighan 
Kara Hokes
Netra Kendle 
Alex Lucas
Matthew Nielsen
Akreeti Pokhrel 
Dylan Rosenthal
Kimberly Stietz

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Thank you to

our donors.

Due to your support and generosity, this was another year of tremendous growth and opportunity for TRUE Center! We are truly grateful for the generous support from our individual donors, family foundations, businesses offering pro bono professional services, and volunteers. You have been critical to strengthening TRUE Center’s foundation, which allowed us to launch services, so that children and families in the DC area will have increased access to trauma focused, evidence-based intervention and prevention services! We also hired our first staff person, which would not have been possible without your support. Thank you for continuing to invest in TRUE Center!

$1,000 and over

Dwayne Calton
Mike Fried
Charles P. Ferro Foundation


Renee DeBoard-Lucas
Barbara and Joseph Guidi
Patricia Kahn


Abbvie Employee Engagement Fund
Maria Alzate
Krista Block McColl
Jenna Calton
Cara Campos
Anita Corbett
Jamie Crowne
Alicia Cutler
Mary Gardner
Lyne Genser
Michael Goncharsky
Joe Guidi
Caitriona Hayes
Matthew Hollosy
Julia Omotade
Janet Phillips
Emily Picon
Christopher Richardson
Amanda Roberts
Ronald Rosenthal
Krishtine Rosenthal
Teresa Rothermel
Lindsay Scharfstein
Rachel Singer
Sadie Smith
Lisa Wagner
Amanda York


Jaclyn Bates
Stacy Callighan
Joanna Cook
Cindy Crosswhite
Nicole Dawson
Mary DeBoard
Marianne Downes
Jess Driscoll
Kara Fitzgerald
Kelsey Flynn
Noah Gaspar
Soojin Kim
Alison Kramer-Kuhn
Elizabeth Leighton
Mary Ann Leighton
Elizabeth Lucas
Midge Majorca
Zachery Rizik
Grace Sigona-Phillips
Enna Sitruc
Tracey Thayer
Carmen Virginia
Talik Watson



Randi Amber
Amy Bartay
C Crawford
Robin Dougherty
Madeline Fitzpatrick
Osric Forrest
Brian Gardner
Patrick Gunderson
Ebony (Ebunoluwa) Hess
Alyson Kauffman
Claire Kennedy
Elizabeth Kline
Jess Leggett
Patti Lynn
Nyemale Macedo
Andrew Martel
Kevin Morris, PhD
Chiderah O
Omotola Omotade
Ali Orlandi Gatterdam
Elenka Refsell
Allisandra Rha
Chelsa Rubin
Lila Singer
Jordan Slaninka
Bethea Tashjian
Abbey Valvano
Meg White
Bridget Wojtal


Recurring Monthly Donors:

Maria Alzate
Jamie Crowne
Renee DeB
Michael Goncharsky
Mike Fried
Caitriona Hayes
Amanda Roberts
Lindsay Scharfstein

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Superstars

Renee DeBoard-Lucas
Chrrisy Love
Emily Picon
Rachel Singer


In-Kind Donors of Professional Services

Holding Hands



Where did your contributions go
in FY23?

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Because of your incredible generosity, TRUE Center was able to begin our Child and Family Therapy Program and Community and Professional Training Program this year. Expenses associated with the Therapy program are highlighted here, and include the salary for our Mental Health Director and the cost of Electronic Medical Record software. There were no expenses this year associated with the Community and Professional Training Program. Indirect Costs supported both the Therapy and Training programs, and included insurance coverage, accounting fees, licenses/permits, and email/web hosting.

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TRUE Center Revenue Sources in FY23

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In-Kind Donation of Professional Services



Individual Contributions



Note: In FY23, Professional Services donated as In Kind Donations were pro bono legal services worth $53,090 and therapy services worth $320.




Indirect Costs



Expenses offset by
in-kind donations of professional services


Note: In FY23, Professional Services donated as In Kind Donations were pro bono legal services worth $53,090 and therapy services worth $320.

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