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Josef Palermo, Program Specialist

Josef Palermo is a proud member of the team at the DC Bar Foundation as the Program Specialist supporting all aspects of DCBF’s grantmaking programs, and contributing to the institutional work being undertaken by DCBF to shift paradigms in philanthropy towards equity as the largest funder of civil legal aid providers in the nation’s capital. Josef has also been a direct recipient of services funded by DCBF, having sought tenants’ rights assistance from the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia.

Prior to joining the DC Bar Foundation, Josef served as Development Specialist at the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center—a DCBF grantee—where he managed fundraising activities that support the organization’s mission to provide free legal assistance to individuals, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses. Josef additionally held previous professional roles directing grant-funded programs focused on community outreach and engagement.

Josef is personally driven by his deeply held commitment to building community and ensuring that everyone feels an equal sense of place and belonging; he enjoys producing publicly engaged art projects both independently and with his collective of fellow mixed race artists, and has been a longtime local activist for social justice and environmental causes. He also volunteered for several years as a mayoral appointee to the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, the District’s publicly-funded arts agency, where he successfully advocated for more equitable grantmaking processes that better serve DC artists and small arts organizations.


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