effective philanthropy blog
In 2018 the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia celebrates its 40th Anniversary. We recently sat down with Janet Miller to learn more about the history of the Community Foundation, and her involvement as a former president. Janet currently serves as the Executive Director of the William S. Abell Foundation in Maryland.

Janet, can you tell us about your involvement with the Community Foundation?

I served as the president of the Community Foundation from 1994 through 2005. The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia was founded and supported by key community and business leaders, and elected officials, including: Til Hazel, Earl Williams, Dan Banniser, Ed Bersoff, Vince Callahan, Barry Dewberry, Jack Herrity, George Johnson, J. Lambert, Knox Singleton, and Jim Wordsworth. The board was made up of a wide variety of stakeholders over the years, and at times had more than seventy members. 

What were some of the most memorable initiatives or programs you were involved in while you were here?

I believe in 1994 the assets were under $1M so the main focus was to build awareness and raise assets, preferably endowed. We established the professional advisors council and presented programs quarterly. This truly was the main focus and work of the Community Foundation while I was there.  We had to have money before we could give away money.  

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Volunteer Prince William: Meeting Community Needs Through Volunteer Resources During 2017 Holiday Season

Mary Foley, Executive Director at Volunteer Prince William (http://www.volunteerprincewilliam.org/), states that they need volunteers for their holiday gift program.

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Opportunities to Volunteer Locally During 2017 Holiday Season

Marion Brunken, Executive Director of Volunteer Alexandria (https://www.volunteeralexandria.org/) states that they manage a community toy drive benefitting approximately 300 families and 700 children.

Volunteer Alexandria needs volunteers, age 6 and older, to help sort, count and distribute toys on December 15 and 16. Visit https://www.volunteeralexandria.org/ for more information.

Volunteer Alexandria also holds a Community Toy Drive, November 13 – December 14, 2017. Volunteer Alexandria, in partnership with the City of Alexandria’s Fund for Alexandria’s Child, is inviting the community to help collect toys, games and books for families in need. Last year, 80+ businesses, congregations, condominium and apartment building, schools, other groups, and numerous individuals jubilantly organized holiday parties, toy collections, and asked friends and family members, as well as customers and bus riders to pitch in.

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Craig KendallCraig KendallThis interview is with Craig Kendall, President  & Founder of Financial Investments, Inc. Mr. Kendall has served as a Community Foundation Community Investment Funds committee volunteer.

How have you been involved with the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia over the years?

We have been actively involved with the Community Foundation for the last 5 years.  We have helped extensive with the Community Investment Fund program.  Each year we have contributed.

Equally important we have actively reviewed those community service grant applications that are submitted to the Community Foundation.

Why did you choose to partner with/support the Community Foundation?

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is perfect for us as we look to continually help our local community.   The mission if the Community Foundation is to reach out and serve the community and to help those in the community that also are looking to give back to the community. They are able to reach out, touch, and keep in touch with those community service organizations in a manner that we could never do personally. They understand the community needs and areas of emphasis that are truly needed here in Northern Virginia.

What a perfect combination this has been and the Community Foundation fills these needs and services by effectively and efficiently matching those in the giving community with those in need in the community.

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Eileen Ellsworth, Community Foundation President and CEO, published this Blog for the Council on Foundations (CoF) and it was shared on the CoF web site on November 9, 2017. Eileen has been the President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia since 2005.

Eileen EllsworthEileen EllsworthSince 1978, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has facilitated philanthropic efforts to respond to critical needs in our region. In more recent years, however— especially since the launch of our Innovation Fund in 2012—the Community Foundation has also worked to seed new, innovative approaches to community economic development.

Philanthropy has a growing role to play there, especially for the “hard-to-employ” segment of the workforce. Grants from the Innovation Fund have helped launch and promote the first ever cybersecurity courses in local public middle and high schools; the first coding-immersive elementary schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia; grass roots invention; and local entrepreneurship. In other words, grants from the Innovation Fund have helped build a future workforce that will contribute to the growing vibrancy of our local economy.

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Cyndi Shanahan Headshot FINALCyndi ShanahanThis is an interview with Cyndi Shanahan, Governance Chair for the Giving Circle of HOPE.

The Giving Circle of HOPE (GCH), a component fund of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, is an all-volunteer giving circle that awards project and capacity building grants to local nonprofit organizations with budgets under $2 million. The GCH consolidates donations and awards grants to improve the lives of low-income, disadvantaged and under-served people and families in Northern Virginia. The GCH grant process includes a written application. Each year, the GCH funds a variety of well-vetted local organizations whose programs encourage job creation, help build strong families, and assist community members in need.

When and where is the 2017 Big Give event being held?

The 2017 Big Give will be held on Thursday, November 9 from 6:30 - 9 pm at Refraction on 11911 Freedom Dr, 8th Floor, Reston, Virginia 20190. 

What is the Big Give event?

The Big Give is our year-end celebration and introduces the community to the power of collective giving.  It was inaugurated in 2016 in order to celebrate a milestone in the organization’s history and due to its success as an educational and engaging evening, it is now an annual event.  This year the Big Give will feature keynote speaker Catherine Read who is a strategist, activist, and advocate for DC-area nonprofits.

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IMG 4648 1This interview is with Deborah Krat, Community Foundation Gala volunteer.

Do you work full time or are you a student?

I am an Education Manager for the Society for Technical Communication.

How did you find out about the Gala volunteer opportunity?

Through Volunteer Fairfax, Volunteers for Change program.

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ChapelsJohn and Virginia Chapel This is an interview with John and Virginia Chapel with the Chapel Family Foundation Fund at the Community Foundation. This fund provides direct grants to nonprofits and other programs benefiting child and youth development, poverty relief, health and aging, military personnel and their families, and community improvement. The Chapels are the 2017 Raise the Region Gala Challenge Sponsor, and are long-time supporters of the Gala.

Why do you support the Community Foundation, what does it mean to you?

We believe that supporting our causes through the Community Foundation is a good way add value to our giving because the Community Foundation uses our funds’ earnings to support its many charitable endeavors.

Can you tell us about your philanthropy through your fund here?

To date our funding has been primarily focused on Jinnie’s alma mater, The Pennsylvania State University, and John’s college, Drexel University. Our philanthropy has been provided through  programs that aid deserving students who have been trying to support themselves but have come up a little short. Both of us had to  work part time while we were in school and we understand that a little financial support can provide a big boost to a struggling student. We have also contributed some funds directly to the Community Foundation’s fund.

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This blog is courtesy of Beth Offenbacker, an active community volunteer with area nonprofits. You can reach Beth at bethoffenbacker@gmail.com.

A growing number of community organizations, nonprofits, and foundations are bringing younger generations into established giving programs. YouthGiving.org estimates today there are nearly 600 programs in the United States and more than 250 programs in other nations that teach young people how to give.

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Bob Lazaro PhotoRobert W. Lazaro This is an interview with Robert W. Lazaro, Jr., Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, recently sat down with us to discuss his involvement with The Community Foundation. Robert recently worked with us to establish the NoVA Natives Plant Fund. 

Why did you choose to partner with the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia?

The Community Foundation does great work in the Northern Virginia community, as such, it was a natural for us to work with an organization that has a great reputation and does outstanding work.

How does your fund at the Community Foundation benefit your organization?

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission undertakes work that has an impact across multiple jurisdictions in an increasingly diverse community of 2.4 million residents. By having a relationship with a well known, well-respected organization like CFNV it lets interested donors know their generosity will be used for the purpose given.

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