effective philanthropy blog
michellMichell Merhige, in honor of whom Marcy Mager established her scholarship.Marcy Mager is a donor advisor at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.  The Michell Merhige Scholarship Fund provides an award of up to $1,500 to a graduating senior attending a Fairfax County public school and honors the memory of her daughter - a young woman who overcame great obstacles in her life and went on to graduate from college, establish a successful career and give back to her community in numerous ways.

We asked her about why she chose to open a fund with us here at the Community Foundation.

How did you find out about the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia?

I was interested in establishing a scholarship to honor my daughter and read about the Fairfax County Public School services to support homeless students including scholarships to help them in college. The head of that department put me in touch with Louise Foreman, who had established such a scholarship in her son William's memory.  Louise sent me to Eileen and she helped put the whole project in motion. 

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NeedsIn an effort to build stronger relationships with our community based nonprofits, we have launched First Tuesdays - an open, co-learning opportunity for Community Foundation staff to meet with local nonprofit leaders and discuss the issues and challenges they face.  

These meetings are designed to build relationships, share information, brainstorm ideas, and discover new approaches or new ways of tackling community issues in a neutral, relaxed setting.

We held our first meeting on Tuesday, January 5th, and met with two nonprofit organizations.  It just so happened that their arenas overlapped in their support of animal welfare.

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cardinalA grant to local organization Readers Are Leaders helps to encourage mentoring relationships between high school athletes and at-risk elementary school students. Founder Wendell Byrd and Cardinal VP Monica Tressler-Chandler are visiting a mentoring session.Cardinal Bank has a corporate donor advised fund at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.  The Cardinal Community Fund supports local nonprofits providing services in the areas of child and youth development, health and arts and culture. We recently asked them to share about how this fund supports their corporate philanthropy efforts.
 
Since opening our doors more than 17 years ago, we at Cardinal Bank have been committed to the principle that as a successful community bank, we have the privilege and responsibility to make the communities we serve better. As the Bank has grown from our start in the heart of Fairfax County to serve all of Northern Virginia as well as into the District of Columbia and Maryland, we’ve been passionate about making our communities great places to do business and great places to live. 

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Beatriz McNelly2Beatriz McNelly recently opened a donor advised fund at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia – The Caimi-Markis Family Fund provides direct grants to nonprofits, schools and faith based institutions serving women, children, families, economically disadvantaged populations, poverty relief, education, health and community improvement.

We asked her about why she chose to open a fund with us here at the Community Foundation.

I was co-founder and Vice President of FiberGate Inc., a fiber networking company, until the company was sold in August of 2012. I have always wanted to share my knowledge and good fortune, so I set up a CRT (Charitable Retainer Trust) through my Trust Attorney, Catherine Schott Murray.  This money will be very helpful, but not until I am gone.  I realized that I want to be part of the process.  I started by doing some research and have been involved in volunteer work in my community.  When I mentioned this to Catherine, she explained about Donor Advised Funds and suggested I meet with Eileen Ellsworth at the Community Foundation.

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tadlockLynn Tadlock serves as the Deputy Executive Director of Giving at the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation and as the Chairman of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Board of Directors.

I have worked in Northern Virginia since college - mostly in public service - and have been amazed at the growth of development, the changes in our economy, and the demographic shifts in our region. I’ve also seen the vast opportunities and difficult challenges that this growth and change has presented for many of our region’s jurisdictions and residents.

After a long career in Fairfax County Government and now as the Deputy Director of one of the largest foundations in our region – the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation – I have come to understand that no one sector can fully address these challenges and opportunities alone (especially in this region where our issues are so connected and our populations are so transient). If we are to improve the quality of life in each of our jurisdictions and the region as a whole, we need a collaborative, multi-sector approach – what I call the “three-legged stool” – where government, business, and the social sector work in collaboration for the benefit of all. When this stool methodology is balanced our region continues as a thriving place to live and work.

Maintaining this balance, however, is a constant struggle and one that has seen significant challenges recently, especially with the recent federal budget cuts.

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BurmestersRaymond and Jessica Burmester are donor advisors at the Community Foundation.  We asked the Burmesters to share their story about why they opened a fund here.

What are your philanthropic goals and interests?

We have a son with a profound intellectual disability.  When our son was 10 we became involved in a local not-for-profit service provider.  We quickly became familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of such organizations.  In 1995 we established three small trust funds to provide financial support to three not-for-profit service provider/advocacy organizations to assist them in staff professional development.  Our first-hand knowledge of the financial status of several not-for-profit human service organizations was a key factor in determining our philanthropic goals and interests.

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BartlettEarly in my career I was moved, and still am, by The Boeing Company’s incredible potential to make a real difference for communities around the globe. Through our network of community partners and the work of our 165,000 employees we’re able to have a positive impact in the areas where we live and work. The opportunity to help drive that effort is what brought me to where I am today.

As a member of Boeing’s Global Corporate Citizenship team, I’m privileged to work with organizations throughout the region that support communities in the areas of education, the environment, health and human services, arts and culture, military and veterans, and more. The Community Foundation of Northern Virginia (CFNOVA) is one of those organizations, with a mission to help grow philanthropy and strengthen the community by working to address the region’s critical needs, serve donors and problem-solve for non-profits. 

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jade 1Jade Garrett developed a startup company at the Mason Innovation Lab in George Mason University’s School of Business.  The Community Foundation’s Innovation Fund supported the launch of this program with a $25,000 grant in 2013.

Entrepreneurship definitely has its benefits, you are working at turning your dreams into reality, you make your own hours, and you get to see exactly how much your hard work can pay off. On the other hand, what you don’t know about being an entrepreneur is that sometimes working hard isn’t the same as working smart; your dreams can look like hallucinations, and making your own hours usually means that you are never off the clock. It can be a difficult and lonely path to go down, only one of every thirteen startups makes it past the one-year mark. GMU’s Innovation Lab program, which was made possible by a grant from the Northern Virginia Community Foundation, is the one factor that has made all the difference between success and failure for me.  

I am one of the lucky startups, when I was given the opportunity of turning my idea into a business, I grabbed it and ran with it, like there was a bear running behind me. I would have been forced to give up my dreams of being an entrepreneur from all the stress of taking classes and being a single mother. No one can handle managing all of that alone while trying to start a business, not without help and support. George Mason University’s Innovation Lab is a place for college entrepreneurs (and recent alumni) to get their startups launched. It has become so much more than just a room to meet in; Innovation Lab has become a community for startups and innovations. It is a program where business teams can apply for a spot in the 24/7 accessible lab, receive prototype funding, gain exposure to investors, and mentorship from industry professionals. 

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reading connection2The Reading Connection is a 2014 Community Investment Fund Grant Recipient in the area of Child & Youth Development.  Help support critical needs in our region with a donation to these funds today!

Elizabeth spreads her arms like wings.  “Move with me,” she says.  “See if you can guess. . . . ” Next, her eyes widen and she moves her head and body as if riding an air current.  All the kids follow her movements.  “Flying,” they say.  Elizabeth puts a finger to her lips.  “Flying quietly,” say the kids.  Her hands trace a beak on her face, opening and closing.  The kids silently mimic.  Elizabeth’s hands take the shape of talons, ready to grasp their prey.  “Owls!!” the kids exclaim.  They have guessed the theme for tonight’s session.

This is the beginning of a Read-Aloud, sponsored by The Reading Connection (TRC) with funding from the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia.  This session is at The Berkeley, an affordable  apartment complex in Arlington. Each week a team of volunteers trained by TRC comes to The Berkeley to read with the kids living there. Twenty percent of The Berkeley’s families speak English, 70 percent speak Spanish and 10 percent speak Amharic.

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ACTS2ACTS is a 2014 Community Investment Fund Grant Recipient in the area of Poverty Relief.  The Community Foundation is currently accepting donations to support 2015 grants.

The Action in Community Through Service Food Pantry provides monthly supplemental food assistance for clients residing in eastern Prince William County. This past year we have been blessed by a grant provided to us through the Community Investment Fund.  These funds have made it possible for us to maintain a vital program component—home delivery for our homebound and senior clients. 

Currently, 20 households receive supplemental food assistance through this outreach program.

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