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In 1988 Maria S. Gomez, President and CEO of Mary's Center, was working as a nurse at the District of Columbia's Department of Health. There she witnessed a large increase in the number of Latin American immigrants migrating to the United States to escape war, poverty, and death. Many of the women had been raped or experienced other trauma in their journeys north. Once in the United States, they often went without prenatal care because they had nowhere to go. Mary's Center was founded that year by a group of health activists to help meet the needs of mothers. Created with funding from the D.C. Mayor's Office on Latino Affairs (OLA) and the D.C. Department of Health, Mary's Center started delivering bilingual health services to pregnant women and their infants residing in Ward 1.

Since its doors opened, Mary's Center has grown from a small basement clinic that served 200 women a year to a Community Health Center  that serves nearly 50,000 men, women, and children. Our array of services and our constituency have both broadened significantly since our inception. Using a holistic social change model, we provide comprehensive healthcare, social serviceseducation and workforce development  to under-resourced, uninsured and  underserved individuals in the D.C. metropolitan region as well as to newcomers from almost 50 countries.

Between 1988 and 2018 our staff size grew from 10 to over 600 and our annual operating budget from $250,000 to over $59 million. In early 2009, a month after the President's inauguration, Mary's Center was privileged to host First Lady Michelle Obama on her first D.C. community visit. Her empathy and sincerity left a permanent impression on the teens, children, and staff who interacted with her. It is no coincidence that all the graduates of our Teen Program present that day are now attending college.

Mary's Center now provides comprehensive services at seven locations in D.C. and Maryland, including two Senior Wellness Centers

Our success in improving lives and strengthening communities, one family at a time, has fostered important partnerships and earned us many awards. We work closely with a network of service providers around the metropolitan region. We also collaborate with academic researchers on studies examining effective practices.

Key milestones

  • 1988: Opened in basement on Columbia Road NW
  • 1994: Moved to current headquarters at 2333 Ontario Road, NW
  • 2008: Opened first Maryland location at 8709 Flower Avenue, Silver Spring
  • 2011: Opened brand new site at 3912 Georgia Avenue, NW and started managing Bernice Fonteneau Senior Wellness Center at 3531 Georgia Avenue, NW
  • 2012: Opened first location in Prince George's County, MD, at 8708 Riggs Road, Adelphi 
  • 2013: Celebrated our 25th anniversary. Watch our 25 Years of Impact video.
  • 2015: Opened Sonography Clinic at Ontario Road location and Home Visiting/Healthy Start site at 4302 Georgia Avenue, NW
  • 2016: Opened new site at 100 Gallatin Street, NE, in partnership with Briya and Bridges Public Charter Schools
  • 2017: Took over management of Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center at 324 Kennedy Street, NW, and opened a dedicated behavioral health center at Ontario Road location. Opened Mary's Center Pharmacy at Georgia Avenue location
  • 2018: Opened new site in Montgomery County which will replace our existing site in Silver Spring. Behavioral Services and dental services (through our Dental Cruiser) are now available. In the fall, we will offer medical and social services. Our Dental suite will be available in early 2019 

Click here for a flyer with all the openings.


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