Our History

  • 1954

    The Washington Post announces plans for a new ‘citizens’ committee, which would later be known as the Federal City Council. It was inspired by a series of articles published in 1952, at the behest of publisher Philip Graham, decrying the city’s state of affairs.

  • 1955

    FC2 plays a major role in the passing of D.C.’s first housing code.

  • 1959

    To breathe new life into the struggling downtown department store district, the FC2 launches the organization Downtown Progress.

  • 1964

    FC2 rallies business peers to form the Joint Committee on Transportation for Metropolitan Washington. It funds a study laying the groundwork for a new public transit system, which would become today’s Metro.

  • 1972

    FC2 helps formulate plans for a convention center, which would open in 1983.

  • 1973

    Congress grants D.C. home rule and the FC2 establishes the D.C. Municipal Research Bureau the next year to provide the new city government with data and fiscal analysis.

  • 1976

    Ken Sparks, the Executive Director of the FC2, receives an anonymous call alerting him to the dire state of Union Station. This catalyzed an FC2 initiative to restore Union Station to its former glory. It was completed in 1988.

  • 1977

    The vision of FC2 members helps create the Baltimore Washington Common Market, which has allowed Washington’s private sector to leverage the entire region’s economic vitality.

  • 1985

    FC2 receives a grant to study the transit needs of the region through the year 2000—the first time an entity independent of Metro was authorized by the federal government to conduct such a study.

  • 1986

    The Economic Club is founded out of the FC2.

  • 1987

    After decades of FC2 efforts to create a “permanent national industrial display,” Congress and the President sign-off on plans for the Ronald Reagan building. It opened for business ten years later.

  • 1989

    FC2 issues a report castigating the government of the District of Columbia for allowing the city's roads to deteriorate. The report notes that the city spent just $5 million a year on road repair, which it used almost exclusively for temporary patches rather than permanent repair, upgrades and maintenance.

  • 1995

    Ground is broken on the MCI center, now the Capital One Arena. The FC2 had setup the National Capital Development Corporation (NCDC) to marshal the people and financing to set the project in motion.

  • 1997

    FC2 members create the D.C. Public Charter School Resource Center, which helps charter schools get off the ground.

  • 1998

    Construction begins on the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, a project backed by the FC2.

  • 2000

    FC2 launches the National Capital Police Fund to work with the Metropolitan Police Department to improve neighborhood safety across the city. This later results in the establishment of the Washington Police Foundation.

  • 2001

    McKinsey & Co. carries out a study, funded by the FC2, on the D.C. school system's administration, staff training and curriculum. Based off of its findings, D.C. Public Schools adopts a five-year "Business Plan for Strategic Reform."

  • 2013

    An FC2 initiative is launched to facilitate public-private partnerships. In the same year, the FC2 also successfully shepherds through a tax package that made the tax system more fair and competitive.

  • 2014

    FC2 establishes the Anacostia Waterfront Trust to reduce river pollutants and improve the parks along the river.

  • 2016

    The non-partisan, data-focused think tank DC Policy Center is incubated within the FC2.

  • 2017

    FC2 unveils its Affordable Housing Initiative to address the shortage of affordable housing and the rise of concentrated poverty in the District.

  • 2018

    FC2 convenes the MetroNow coalition to advocate for governance changes to improve the operations of the Metro system.

Federal City Council Presidents


George A. Garrett

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland


William C. Foster

Former Director United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; Former Under Secretary of Commerce; Former Deputy Secretary of Defense


Gordon Gray

Former Secretary of the Army; Former Assistant Secretary of Defense


William P. Rogers

Former Secretary of State; Former Attorney General of the United States


Stephen Ailes

Former Secretary of the Army


George C. McGhee

Former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs; Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany & Turkey


Sol M. Linowitz

Former Chairman, Xerox Corporation; Former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States


James T. Lynn

Former Director of the Office of Management & Budget; Former Secretary of House & Urban Development; Former Under Secretary of Commerce


Harry McPherson

Former Assistant Secretary of State; Former Counsel to the President of the United States


James R. Jones

Former Chairman, American Stock Exchange; Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico; Former White House Chief of Staff


Ann Korologos

Former Secretary of Labor; Former Under Secretary of the Interior


Thomas S. Foley

Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan; Former Speaker of the House


Robert J. Dole

Former Senate Majority Leader


Fred Thompson

Former U.S. Senator


Frank Keating

Former Governor of Oklahoma


Thomas M. Davis

Former U.S. Congressmember

Federal City Council Chairmen


Francis G. Addison Jr

Former President and Chairman of the Board of Security Bank


George A. Garrett

Former Washington Manager, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner, and Beane


Lewellyn A. Jennings

Former Chairman, The Riggs National Bank


Donald S. Bittinger

Former Chairman, Washington Gas Light Company


Vincent C. Burke Jr

Former Chairman, The Riggs National Bank


W. Reid Thompson

Former Chairman, Potomac Electric Power Company


Austin H. Kiplinger

Chairman, The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc.


Terrence C. Golden

Chairman & CEO, Bailey Capital Corporation


Linda Rabbitt

Chairman & CEO, Rand Construction


Robert J. Flanangan

President, Clark Enterprises and ENF Investments


W. Edward Walter

Global CEO, Urban Land Institute


Deborah Ratner Salzberg

Uplands Real Estate Partners

Organizations Activated by FC2

Promoting big ideas while keeping its own operations small has been a way of life for the FC2. Over the years, the FC2 has activated a number of organizations that have gone on to become independent entities. Five are highlighted here:

Washington Housing Conservancy (Launched 2019)

The Washington Housing Conservancy (WHC) is a nonprofit organization that preserves homes that are affordable so residents in our communities—particularly moderate to low-income African Americans and other residents of color–can focus on the opportunity to build wealth, instead of the risk of escalating rents. By acquiring and owning 3,000 units of affordable housing, WHC is stabilizing rents, preventing displacement, and creating communities where moderate to low-income residents and their families want to be.

D.C. Policy Center (Launched 2016)

The D.C. Policy Center is a non-partisan, independent research center committed to advancing policies for a strong and vibrant D.C. economy. It informs policy-making by offering data and analyses on the District’s economy and demography. Through rigorous, evidence-based research, and in collaboration with a wide array of stakeholders, the D.C. Policy Center offers practical policy solutions for elected officials and civic leaders.

Anacostia Waterfront Trust (Launched 2015)

The Anacostia Waterfront Trust promotes the creation of a world-class Anacostia River waterfront that enhances equity, improves resilience and unites the District of Columbia. The Trust works with partners to improve the water, land and communities of the Anacostia River corridor.

Washington DC Police Foundation (Launched 2000)

The Washington DC Police Foundation supplements the efforts of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to help make the nation’s capital a safer place to live, work and visit. The Foundation improves neighborhood safety across the city by expanding public safety awareness and advancing public safety initiatives. The Washington DC Police Foundation also supports the Chief of Police to fund youth initiatives throughout the District of Columbia.

Economic Club of Washington (Launched 1986)

The Economic Club of Washington (ECW) provides a forum for area business leaders to broaden their sphere of influence through sharing, learning, debating and coalescing around pressing economic issues. The ECW has grown to more than 500 members through its energetic leadership.

Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (Launched 1983)

The Union Station Redevelopment Corporation is a nonprofit organization that has three central objectives: to preserve and restore Union Station’s historic and architectural significance, to maintain the station’s long-term function as a multimodal transportation center, and to enhance the retail and amenities within the station. The FC2 maintains a seat on its board.