2024 DC Forum




Stay tuned to this page for ongoing updates as we confirm speakers and topics! Please be aware that, due to pending congressional schedules and calendars, our agenda is subject to change.

'THANK YOU' to our generous event sponsors:

Monday, March 18

Monday evening dinner and meetings will be held at the Army and Navy Club at 901 17th St. NW, Washington, DC 20006, in the ballroom on the second floor.

*Please note, gentlemen are required to wear a coat and tie or suit. Ladies’ attire should be of comparable degree of formality.

5:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.


Doors open for attendees
Army and Navy Club Ballroom Foyer (second floor)


5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.


Pick up your name badge and materials


6:00 p.m. – 6:10 p.m.


Prayer for our Nation


6:10 p.m. – 6:50 p.m.


Included in your registration fee


6:50 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.


Tom De Vries President & CEO, Citygate Network
Brandan Thomas
Director of Leadership, Learning, and Programs, Citygate Network

In an election year and polarized political climate, we can easily identify what people stand against – whether it’s some aspect of the economy, religion, the family, health care, education, or racial justice. But as Christians, we have a responsibility to engage in government through advocacy, leadership, influence, and prayer. The Bible encourages us to help alleviate human suffering and compassionately care for all people. Citygate Network members seek to live out our faith and freedom, while communicating not only what we oppose, but what we stand for. We begin these important days together by recognizing how God has called us to participate in government, exercising high involvement for high impact as we bring His kingdom to earth, as it is in heaven.

Tuesday, March 19

All Tuesday meetings will be held on Capitol Hill in the Capitol Visitor Center’s Auditorium, located at First St SE, Washington, DC 20515.

7:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.


Hot Breakfast served at Courtyard Marriott Hotel in private room for Citygate Network
(Included in room rate)


8:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.


Entrance to Capitol Visitor Center will be open for our group
The entrance to the Visitor Center is at the East Entrance to the Capitol (First Street and East Capitol Street NE)


8:45 a.m.


Doors open for attendees


9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.




9:15 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.


Jeff Olivet • Executive Director, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
Joe Savage • Senior Regional Advisor, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
Jeff and Joe, representatives from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), will provide updates into the latest developments regarding the Federal Strategic Plan (FSP) titled All In, aimed at combating homelessness. Hear updates and progress regarding year one (2023), challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for 2024, and USICH’S research agenda and prevention efforts.


10:00 a.m. – 10:35 a.m.


Aaron Mercer • Senior Strategist, ECFA
Aaron will guide us through the impact of Donor Advised Fund (DAF) regulation, shedding light on definitions and tax-exempt distributions. He will also address the status of the Charitable Act, designed to allow non-itemizing taxpayers to claim a third of the standard deduction for donations, and serve to reinforce charitable giving habits.


10:50 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.


Sabah Muhammad • Senior Legislative and Policy Counsel, Treatment Advocacy Center
Sabah will navigate the complexities of Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and the importance of advocacy for changes in Medicaid funding and renewed federal research. She will address the pivotal role of beds in SMI recovery and policy reform and share about the impact of Medicaid's IMD exclusion on overcrowded shelters, as well as explore Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), and challenge the narrative by emphasizing systemic change in the journey toward understanding and transforming mental health care.


11:50 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.


Lunch on your own


1:30 p.m. – 2:25 p.m.


Steve McFarland • Director, Center For Law And Religious Freedom Christian Legal Society
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans generated during the pandemic gave many organizations an introduction to the world of government funding. Citygate Network members range from accepting zero to significant government funding for a wide variety of programming needs. Wherever your organization falls on that spectrum, you probably have questions and concerns about what religious organization protections, rights, and you should expect in what seems like an ever-changing environment. Steve brings significant experience and knowledge on legal matters and religious freedoms, while providing practical insights, illustrations, and guidance.


2:25 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.


Current Legal & Legislative Issues
Jon Ruybalid • Citygate Network Attorney


2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.


Ben Hobbs Professional Staff Member, Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Work and Welfare
Ben will discuss the current and ongoing policy priorities and work of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Work and Welfare. The subcommittee oversees the majority of federal welfare and social safety net programs, including; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Unemployment Insurance (UI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Child Support Enforcement, and Child Welfare. Many of our nation’s homeless utilize these social safety net programs. The subcommittee’s policy work is focused on program integration, accountability, and promoting self-sufficiency through work.


3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.


Barbara Duffield Executive Director, SchoolHouse Connection
Barbara will be discussing bipartisan bills including the Homeless Children and Youth Act, Eviction Crisis Act, and Family Stability and Opportunities Voucher Act. Plus, explore a just-released report on infant and toddler homelessness, offering insights and strategies for addressing this critical issue.


4:00 p.m. – 4:40 p.m.


Steve Buri • President, Discovery Institute
Steve will define a new model of think tank advocacy that merges traditional scholarship (reports and white papers) with street-level journalism and storytelling. Focusing on a recent Discovery research report, he’ll share real data that helped inform policymakers on what works... and what doesn’t, and highlighting the importance and efficiency of mission-oriented solutions to the nation's homeless crisis.

4:40 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Brian Walsh • Executive Director, Faith & Giving
Brian will share current updates related to the Child Tax Credit.

5:00 p.m. – 5:20 p.m.


Dr. Robert Marbut Jr. Senior Fellow, Discovery Institute
Dr. Marbut has served at all three levels of government, in both elected and appointed positions, including serving as a White House and Hill staffer. He will share tips and techniques you can employ to educate senators, representatives, and their congressional staff members about critical issues you face on a daily basis. He will focus on how to develop meaningful long-term relationships that best help people experiencing homelessness.


5:20 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.


Meetings by State to prepare for Wednesday Meetings


5:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.


Congressman Andy Barr Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District
As a Congressman, Andy Barr has spent more than a decade addressing the issue of homelessness. Principal author and promoter of the Housing PLUS Act, Congressman Barr hopes to end the federal government’s exclusive reliance on the Housing First approach. He will share how the proposed Housing PLUS legislation promotes funding and wraparound services, including addiction treatment and job training, to more completely address homelessness.


5:45 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.


Capitol Visitor Center Auditorium Foyer
(Included in your registration fee)


Wednesday, March 20

6:45 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.


Hot Breakfast served at Courtyard Marriott Hotel in private room for Citygate Network
(Included in room rate)


8:35 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.


Capitol Hill Meetings

This day is filled with pre-arranged appointments (which Citygate Network has scheduled for you, or you have scheduled for yourself). You’ll meet with lawmakers and/or their staff in Senate and House office buildings. In most cases, you will meet with staff members (e.g., legislative directors, legislative assistants, etc.) who have the job of clearly articulating both your thanks and concerns to the elected representative for whom they work. If Citygate Network handled this for you, your schedule was arranged after you registered and should have been provided to you upon arrival at the DC Forum. If you don’t have it, see Lisa Miller.

Proceed directly to the location of your first meeting. Citygate Network staff will be available to assist you and accompany you as requested throughout the day. Citygate Network staff, when not in meetings, will “camp out” in the Longworth Cafeteria on the House side and the Dirksen Cafeteria on the Senate side.

When your appointments are done, you are free to leave…or hang around in Washington and enjoy the sights and sounds of this always-buzzing city. We encourage you to connect with others in our group and get together for dinner, if you have the time. Some Citygate Network staff will be staying around for another day or two.

When you get home, text or email the outcomes of your Capitol Hill meetings to the Citygate Network staff. Contact info will be given at the event.