Attention: If you are employed by a charity that does good works — or if you donate to a charity that does good works or if you have been helped by a charity that does good works — I need your help. It’s time to start searching for the next three partners for The Washington Post Helping Hand.

Helping Hand is the program The Post launched three years ago to highlight some of the nonprofit groups that work with people in our community. Our idea was to select three local charities, share stories of the clients they serve, and invite readers to donate.

I’m delighted to say that you did. Over the past three years, Post readers contributed more than $200,000 to our inaugural class of Helping Hand partners: Community of Hope, Homestretch and Sasha Bruce Youthwork.

Those three nonprofit organizations all work with homeless families and teens. They were selected after I sent out a call for applicants in this space. And that’s what I’m doing today.

We’re looking for registered 501(c)(3) organizations in the Washington area that provide direct assistance to families and individuals in need. Helping Hand’s focus is on groups that work in the following areas: food security; temporary and transitional housing; abuse; trafficking or support of low-income families and individuals; reading, writing and STEM education for low-income individuals.

The details on how to apply are at, but the basic drill is this:

Your charity starts the process by sending a letter of inquiry to us at It should include such information as the charity’s history, the geographic area it serves and the programs it sponsors.

The deadline to submit that letter of inquiry is July 17. A committee composed of employees from throughout The Post will read the letters. We’ll narrow down the applicants and notify selected organizations that they’ve made the first cut and should fill out a complete Helping Hand application. That long-form application is due Aug. 14.

We’ll make another selection, then visit the finalists to learn firsthand about the work they do. In September we’ll choose the three Helping Hand beneficiaries.

Over an eight-week period beginning in November, The Post will publish several stories every week featuring individuals and families directly supported by these organizations. Once the stories begin appearing, readers will be able to donate directly to the organization of their choice.

The Post will partner with the three groups for three years and then start the process again.

I asked Kelly Sweeney McShane, president and chief executive of Community of Hope, for her take on being among Helping Hand’s first class of beneficiaries. “It was a unique opportunity to share the powerful stories of the amazing people that we work with and highlight the needs of families who experience homelessness,” Kelly said. “We really appreciated the financial support from so many donors that helped us to support a wide variety of needs within our housing programs.”

Debby Shore, founder and executive director of Sasha Bruce Youthwork, said, “Being selected by a respected author and institution brought us support and exposure we would have never had otherwise. The impact on our fundraising and our staff’s sense of pride was immediate and has been sustaining.”

The financial contributions that generous Post readers made were important, of course, but there’s another thing I value about Helping Hand: It takes us places we might not otherwise go and introduces us to people we might not otherwise meet. And it serves as a reminder that they want the same things for their families that we want for ours.

So, please apply. And when my Helping Hand columns start running in November, please give.

Rabbits at rest

Like Jimmy Stewart in “Harvey,” Michael Dolan is seeing rabbits everywhere.

“Bunnies of many sizes,” Michael wrote of the rabbits gamboling in his Palisades neighborhood in Northwest Washington. “Tiny round & cute, rangy & Bugslike, medium bounders.”

Michael mentioned that a friend who lives in the Lyon Park neighborhood in Arlington, Va., also has noticed a rabbit explosion. We seem to have more in Silver Spring, Md., too. There’s a trio in our back yard that look like furry matryoshka dolls: a big one, a medium one and a little one.

Is something going on? Michael wonders if predators are scarcer this year or if the conditions for rabbit reproduction have improved. Wrote Michael: “I pondered calling a naturalist or two, but then I thought, ‘Kelly’s your man for this one. Bezos pays him to do this.’ ”

I imagine it’s a random occurrence, statistically insignificant. But I’ll add it to my list. Until then, let me put the question to my readers: Have you noticed anything unusual about the rabbits this year?

Another reunion

Here’s another upcoming high school reunion:

Cardozo High Class of 1967 — Sept. 16. Call Valarie Green at 202-352-0224.

Twitter: @johnkelly

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