On Sunday February 18, Peggy Cooper Cafritz passed away at age 70 – leaving behind a legacy of public service that lifted the spirit of Washington, DC and its residents. A long-time advocate for education reform, Cafritz is perhaps best known as co-founder of the Duke Ellington School for the Arts, for her service as the Chair of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and for her incredible art collection. In 2010, we honored her with the Distinguished Service for the Humanities Award.

Our Executive Director, Joy Ford Austin, remarked, “Peggy challenged Washingtonians to challenge division, embrace diversity, and always act with empathy.” Cafritz encouraged listeners, “Seize your city, and seize the people in it.”

We offer condolences to her family and the many lives she touched.