MEET THE TEAM
We are dedicated to funding evidence-based strategies that can stop murders before they happen.
Marcus Ellis joined Peace For DC as Executive Director on April 3, 2023. Marcus has served as the Chief of Staff at the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, in the Executive Office of the Mayor of Washington, DC. In this position he has spent several years overseeing some of Washington, DC’s innovations in community violence intervention. His office has fostered a community oriented model that is rooted in a public health approach to reducing violence.
At Peace For DC, Marcus will lead the organization’s efforts to harness philanthropic investments in a comprehensive violence reduction strategy for the District of Columbia. In doing this work, Marcus strives to increase neighborhood safety and decrease the likelihood of criminal justice involvement for the city’s most vulnerable residents. Community violence intervention efforts are focused on improving the outcomes of education, workforce development, mental health and wellness, and housing stability for those who are most likely to be harmed, or cause harm.
During his career, Marcus has served as the Director of the Safer Stronger DC Community Partnerships Office for DC’s Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services and was also a key member of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services’ (DYRS) Management Team serving as Superintendent of the New Beginnings Youth Development Center. In this role he oversaw the District of Columbia’s long term juvenile detention facility where he implemented a model that focused on a strengths-based approach and provided therapeutic rehabilitation. He also served in management roles at the Department of Parks and Recreation and DC Public Schools. He is a strong advocate for a public health approach to reducing violence and believes that every child deserves to grow up free of violence and in a safe and thriving community. His leadership at Peace For DC will be focused on building the civic will and partnerships to enable peace in every neighborhood.
While focusing on impacting some of our most vulnerable residents within his career, he also dedicates his personal time to giving back to the community as Founder and CEO of Giving with a Purpose, a nonprofit organization in the metropolitan DC area. Additionally, Marcus also serves as a Board Member for Cities United, a national network of Mayors and community activists that takes a holistic public health approach to reducing gun violence and creating better lives for young Black men and boys, their families, and their communities. Marcus is a proud graduate of Bowie State University where he majored in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice.
Roger Marmet is working to reduce gun violence to honor the memory of his son, Tom Marmet, as well as every other victim of homicide in the District. Tom was 22 when he was killed, October 24, 2018, just driving home from his first job out of college working for So Others Might Eat. Tom’s murder was another senseless but possibly preventable tragedy in the plague of DC gun violence.
Since then, Roger has dedicated his time to advocacy - and now action. He is dedicated to building community-powered resources to save lives in DC’s most dangerous neighborhoods, and bringing philanthropy to helping reduce the homicide rate in the city.
Roger was born in Washington DC and had a long career in television before entering the restaurant business. He has been active in the leadership of nonprofit organizations and is now committed to bringing resources to the most desperately needed neighborhoods in the city that he - and his son - loved so much for all their lives.
Director of the DC Peace Academy
Nakeda Gilbert leads Peace For DC's flagship program, the DC Peace Acadamy, as the Director of Learning. Nakeda brings a wealth of management experience working in the violence intervention field, as well as work in the corporate and business world, and life experience as a mother and deep ties living and working with community in Ward 7. Nakeda is a strong, organized leader who also brings true compassion and patience, which are very valuable for this new role.
Director of Partnerships
Nneka Grimes serves as Director of Partnerships for Peace For DC, responsible for managing the relationships and strengthening the connections between our organization and its partners, including philanthropies and foundations, other nonprofits and community-based organizations, neighborhood associations and civic groups. Nneka has a tremendous range of talents including everything from graphic design, catering, and singing, to work in schools as a Behavioral Education Instructor and work on Cure The Streets violence intervention teams. Nneka puts her all into everything she does, and we are so lucky to have her on our team.
Director of Life Transformation
Antoine Gatlin joins the Peace For DC team as Director of Life Transformation. In this role, Antoine leads the rolls out of our Life Transformation initiative, as well as serving in key roles at the DC Peace Academy, as a Roca Rewire Cognitive Behavioral Theory Facilitator-In-Training, and in supporting our community partnerships. Antoine is a Washingtonian born and raised in Ward 5 in the Trinidad / Ivy City community. As a former employee of NAARC Cure the Streets, Antoine worked his way up from Outreach Worker-where he helped high-risk individuals in The Ward 5 Trinidad community and the 18th and M St sector to obtain wrap-around services- to a role as Program Manager- where he led a team of ten credible staff members: 7 Violence Interrupters, 2 Outreach Workers and 1 Site Supervisor with an overall goal of reducing gun violence in the community and rehabilitating high risk individuals. These professional experiences helped Antoine to learn more about gun violence and how trauma affects a whole community. He has received certification in Restorative Justice, Project Management, VIRT Circle Keeping, Mindful Workplace with Early
Childhood, and is a graduate of the DC Peace Academy. Antoine's motto is: "Put The Guns Down And Pick The Kids Up" and we're thrilled to have him on our team, helping make that motto a reality.
Director of Operations | Co-Founder
Rachel Usdan became involved in the gun violence reduction space in 2016 as a volunteer with the DC chapter of Moms Demand Action. Rachel learned that while DC has relatively strong gun safety laws, the city’s borders are porous and illegal guns can easily enter the city. It wasn’t until Rachel volunteered with Moms Demand Action that she realized she too was a survivor; her uncle died by gun suicide before Rachel was born. Rachel recognized the ripple effects that that tragedy had on her family was the same as the heartbreaking ripple effects that trauma has had on so many DC families who have had loved ones taken by gun violence, homicide or suicide.
After Rachel‘s hometown neighborhood (Tree of Life, Squirrel Hill, PA) and the high school that her husband attended (Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, Parkland, FL) both experienced mass shooting in the same year, Rachel decided she wanted to do more. In 2018, Rachel became the DC Chapter Leader for Moms Demand Action. By then, Rachel understood that much more beyond gun safety laws could make a community safe. Rachel worked hard to show up and listen and get to know the amazing Black- and brown-led local community organizations doing the arduous work of interrupting violence and healing trauma in DC.
Rachel is honored to be a part of Peace For DC - working to encourage philanthropy to make coordinated investments in violence intervention, to give DC’s peacemakers and community-based organizations the tools they need to build capacity and be successful in their work, and to co-create DC’s next phase of safety, peace, and wellness.