ACOC’s Founder Profile
Mahatma Ghandi was once quoted as saying “be the change you want to see in the world”. The life of Anacostia Community Outreach Center founder Rose Jones (1922-2007) was undoubtedly a reflection of this belief. Over the years, her community work was tireless, yet more importantly, her calling and passion to uplift those in need helped bring much needed social services to thousands of individuals and families throughout Washington DC. Rose Jones was a dynamic champion of the people, devoted to serving the disadvantaged and directing resources to those who needed them most.
A graduate of George Washington University, Rose Jones was the first African American woman to receive the Navy Department’s Superior Civilian Service Award for her leadership and advocacy on behalf of minorities and women. She retired from her program analyst position at the Navy Department after 20 years, but her community work was just beginning. Rose felt a divine calling to help the needy, and as a DC resident, she couldn’t help but notice how some parts of the city were underserved by social service agencies.
Rose endeavored to establish a social service outreach center in Southeast DC, Ward 8. With the help of her pastor and friends at Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church, as well as Allen Chapel AME Church in Washington and Hunter Memorial AME Church in Suitland Maryland, Rose opened the Allen Chapel Community Outreach Center, later named the Anacostia Community Outreach Center (ACOC) in 1983. Not only was she ACOC’s founder, but for 24 years she also served as ACOC’s Executive Director. Under Rose’s leadership the center grew exponentially, and for 30 years its programs have enriched the most disadvantaged neighborhoods of Washington DC—Saturday morning tutoring and children’s summer enrichment programs, job counseling, computer training, monthly social events for seniors, referrals to social services, and emergency food and clothing.
In addition to leading ACOC, Rose was also an Intake Counselor at Bread for the City, a Program Coordinator at the House of Ruth, and a board member at Bethany Women’s Center. She also served on the DC Mayor’s Commission on Food, Nutrition and Health from 1989 to 1992. For her work with ACOC and other community initiatives, Rose received the 2004 George H. Richardson Award for Leadership in Civil Rights from the DC Federation of Civic Associations. There is currently a scholarship for Howard University School of Social Work students in her memory. Today, ACOC continues to carry on the great work that Rose Jones began, and will forever be committed to her vision of helping those in need and being a true champion of the people of inner-city Washington!