(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser announced the appointment of Ayris Scales as the Director of the Office of Partnerships and Grant Services (OPGS). OPGS works to enhance the capacity of DC Government agencies, community and faith-based organizations, and nonprofits to identify, apply, and secure resources that advance the Mayor’s top public policy priorities. Scales previously served as Vice President, Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs at World Business Chicago where she led the day-to-day design and execution of strategic initiatives and public-private partnerships to drive inclusive economic growth opportunities for Chicago residents and businesses.
“We are excited to welcome Ayris back to DC Government to work with philanthropies and nonprofits in order to build more pathways to the middle class for Washingtonians in all eight wards,” said Mayor Bowser. “OPGS plays a critical role in managing donations to the District government, which have been growing every year and now total almost $28 million per year, and we know the agency will be in good hands with Ayris. As we welcome Ayris to the team, we also thank Lafayette Barnes for 18 distinguished years of service to the residents of Washington, DC.”
In 2012, Scales became the first Executive Director of the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative (DCPNI), where she led the design and implementation of a transformative community-driven, evidence-based education model to improve social indicators in District neighborhoods. Under her leadership, DCPNI received a $28 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, as part of the White House Revitalization Initiative to end inter-generational poverty. Prior to DCPNI she held leadership roles at the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, overseeing a $250 million community development portfolio.
Scales succeeds Lafayette Barnes as the Director of OPGS. Lafayette retired on December 31, 2017 after serving in the cabinets of the past four mayoral administrations. As director of OPGS he launched the Grants Information Database (GIDS); designed and published the weekly Funding Alert and the City-Wide Grants Manual Sourcebook; created the Donations Solicitation and Management Process; prepared the Department of Small Local Business Development’s initial proposal that received funding from the U.S. SBA’s State Trade and Export Promotion; and directed OPGS’s Annual Public Private Partnership Conference.
Scales is an alumna of National Urban Fellows, America’s Leaders of Change, and the Capital City Fellows programs. She holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Kent State University and a Master of Public Administration from the City University of New York, Baruch College. She currently serves as the Chartering President of the DC Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc.