FAQs

What is the history of the True Reformer Building?
What is the general process for renting space at the True Reformer Building?
When is space available for rent?
What does it cost to rent space at the True Reformer Building?
What are my options for configuration?
What documentation is required to rent space?
Am I required to do a walkthrough of the space?
How many people can the rooms accommodate?
Can I serve food and/or drinks at my event?
Can I serve alcohol?
What kind of audio/visual equipment do you offer?
Can I play music at my event?
Are there on-site rules or requirements I should be aware of?
When is my reservation final?
How many dates can I reserve at one time?
What type of on-site support is available the day of my event?
When and how can I advertise my event?
Is there reserved parking for my event?
What if I need to cancel my event?


What is the history of the True Reformer Building?
The True Reformer Building, a civic and cultural landmark located in Washington, DC’s historic U Street/Shaw neighborhood offers two unique meeting/event spaces for rent by community organizations and the public.

The True Reformer Building was the first building in the United States to be designed, financed, built, and owned by the African American community after Reconstruction and is located at the intersection of 12th and U Streets, NW.  The Public Welfare Foundation, a DC-based grant making organization purchased the True Reformer Building in 1999 and carefully renovated the building as its new headquarters.


What is the general process for renting space at the True Reformer Building?

  1. Send an e-mail describing the event and the requested dates to spacerental@publicwelfare.org.
  2. If the requested date is available you will receive a Space Rental Request Form.
  3. Submit the Space Rental Request Forms, including room configuration, catering, A/V needs, at least one month in advance of the desired date.  Please note, there are no exceptions to this policy, so we strongly encourage renters to send email requests for dates at least 6 weeks in advance of the desired date.
  4. You will receive an email acknowledgment with information about required documentation. To view information on required documentation, please click here.
  5. A contract will be issued upon receipt of an approved request form, 501(c)3 letter and certificate of insurance.  Sign the contract and return it to Public Welfare Foundation, along with any additional required documentation or payment by the specified deadline. Reservation dates are only complete once a contract has been issued and countersigned by the Foundation.


When is space available for rent?
Rooms can be rented Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. These times are fixed and reflect both the earliest and latest times a group is permitted to occupy the space. Please allow for set-up and breakdown times when calculating space rental time periods.


What does it cost to rent space at the True Reformer Building?
Costs vary for different users.

Nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 public charity status may request to have the rental fee waived. However, depending on users needs, additional costs may apply.  Individuals or for-profit organizations may rent the space for 4 hours at a cost of $250 per room, or for 8 hours at a cost of $500 per room.


What are my options for room configuration?
The standard layout for both spaces is available at no additional cost. The Marsh Room has a fixed set-up: the only available reconfiguration is to add up to 25 chairs. The Lankford Auditorium is a more flexible space and offers multiple options for room reconfiguration. The cost to change the standard layout is $120.00 per room.

Room reconfiguration fees are written into the contract at the time of issuance. Groups are strongly encouraged to consider room reconfiguration plans prior to submitting a request form since contracts cannot be modified, only canceled, once issued. Any unauthorized changes to the layout, including moving furniture without paying a reconfiguration fee, could result in a fine or other punitive measures.

Tables are not provided by the Foundation (unless part of the standard room configuration). They must be rented from one of our approved vendors.  All arrangements should be made independently, but communicated to the Foundation.


What documentation is required to rent space?
A Certificate of Insurance (COI) for liability and property insurance for at least $2,000,000 is required. Government agencies must provide a statement of self-insurance. The Foundation cannot waive this requirement. For more information on required documentation, please visit our “Documents” page.

Nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 public charity status must provide a copy of their IRS determination letter to have the rental fee waived.

Room configuration, Rental Fees and/or Clean-up Fees, if applicable, are also required.
To view information regarding fees, please click here.


Am I required to do a walkthrough of the space?
Walkthroughs are not required but we do strongly encourage renters who are not familiar with the space to schedule a walkthrough. Pictures of the space are available here.

If interested in a walkthrough, please e-mail spacerental@publicwelfare.org to arrange a date and time. Please note that walkthroughs are limited to one per group.


How many people can the rooms accommodate?
The number of people the rooms can accommodate depends upon the configuration.

The Marsh Room can accommodate a maximum total of 135 people, seated and standing. Standard seating configuration can accommodate 50 people and this can be increased to 75 people seated at an additional cost. Note, the Marsh Room includes a board table – seating 20 people –  that cannot be moved.

The Lankford Auditorium’s standard seating configuration can accommodate 200 people. Other configurations can be arranged at additional cost.


Can I serve food and/or drinks at my event?
Yes, food and drinks can be served at the True Reformer Building but only buffet style meals can be accommodated. Food (including plated dinners) that requires additional heating can not be accommodated. No alcohol is permitted on the premises.

Renters should arrange for services directly with an approved vendor.  In addition, a minimum $120.00 food-clean up fee, per room per day will be charged.

Food clean-up fees are written into the contract at the time of issuance. Groups are strongly encouraged to consider plans to serve food or drinks prior to submitting a request form since contracts cannot be modified, only canceled, once issued. Any unauthorized food or drinks could result in a fine or other punitive measures.


Can I serve alcohol?
No alcohol is permitted on the premises.


What kind of a/v equipment do you offer?
The Marsh room offers a flat screen TV, CD/DVD player, cordless microphone, and internet access, including WiFi.  PowerPoint presentations can be shown using the large screen video display television.  An a/v technician is not required to use the TV, internet or cordless microphone.  We do caution that, if a/v equipment is critical to the event, you are encouraged to hire an a/v technician from our approved vendor list.

The Lankford Auditorium offers internet access, including WiFi, an LCD projector, projection screen, DVD/Blu-Ray/CD player, podium microphone, two cordless clip-on lavaliere microphones, and two cordless handheld microphones. With the exception of the microphones, an a/v technician must be hired from our approved vendor list  for all other a/v equipment needs.


Can I play music at my event?
As the True Reformer Building also serves as an office building during the daytime, no music can be played during the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Music can be played at evening events, Monday-Friday, beginning after 6 p.m. The Foundation reserves the right to specify the maximum volume of music at all times.


Are there on-site rules or requirements I should be aware of?
Renters are required to provide a “greeter,” or lobby attendant who is responsible for ensuring that only authorized equipment and invited attendees enter the space.

Renters are prohibited from bringing any equipment into the spaces before, during, or after the event.
Renters cannot move furniture.  All requests for room configuration must be made in advance in order to be included in the contract.

Signage is limited to the rooms being rented – signage is not allowed in the lobby or other areas of the building.


When is my reservation final?
To be fair, the program operates on a first-come, first-served basis. Dates will be tentatively held once you receive an email acknowledgment that you have submitted a completed Space Rental Request form (including room configuration, a/v and catering needs). The dates will be held assuming all additional required documentation is received by the specified deadline. Reservations are final only once the Foundation has returned a countersigned contract to the renting group.


How many dates can I reserve at one time?
Up to three event dates may be requested at one time. Once the first of these three events has expired, the group is then eligible to request another three event dates.


What type of on-site support is available on the day of my event?
The Public Welfare Foundation, a nonprofit organization, is pleased to provide community space for rent, but we cannot  provide on-site support or equipment such as computers, copiers, and phones.

Moreover, Foundation staff is not trained in the use of the audiovisual equipment. We recommend renters arrange for an a/v technician if the use of such equipment is essential.

Any services beyond space rental, including catering, a/v  support, and table rentals must be arranged through our  approved vendors.


When and how can I advertise my event?
The Foundation requires that groups do not publicize, advertise or distribute materials prior to receiving a fully executed contract, countersigned by the Foundation. All promotional materials must refer to the “True Reformer Building,” and not the Public Welfare Foundation. Any material containing the name of the Foundation must be cleared in advance with the Foundation and cannot be printed or distributed before written approval is given.


Is there reserved parking available for my event?
The True Reformer Building does not offer reserved parking to event hosts or attendees. There is street parking in the area, subject to availability.


What if I need to cancel my event?
Cancellations must be received at least 14 business days prior to the event to be guaranteed a full refund of the event fee.

Stay Informed with our eNewsletter

Share

Search