Impact Stories

Build Back – Dream Forward

August 17, 2021
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia today announced a $15,000 grant from its Build Back - Dream Forward: COVID-19 Response Fund to the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce (NVBCC).

The NVBCC is a 501(c)3 public charity with a mission to help Black owned businesses succeed in the region. They are currently engaging in a number of initiatives focused on the impact of the pandemic on Black business owners, including programs that help them obtain access to existing local, state and federal program funding and that also help them obtain better access to capital, mentoring, and coaching services.

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June 30, 2021
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, in partnership with the newly formed Northern Virginia Minority-Owned Businesses Working Group, recently released a new report "Supporting Northern Virginia’s minority-owned businesses" that examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the region’s estimated 128,000 minority-owned businesses.

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June 1, 2021

Local journalism plays a very critical role in our communities. It helps to shape our communities’ stories, which impacts our economy, education, health, homes, jobs transportation, and more by providing relevant content that connects us to each other as we address issues affecting the community.  

In an effort to support local journalism the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is excited to announce it has made a $12,500 grant through its Build Back – Dream Forward initiative to InsideNoVA to hire a reporter solely dedicated to writing stories that elevate voices within our community that are often underrepresented.

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April 27, 2021

People of color have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic but remain hesitant when it comes to taking the COVID-19 vaccine. A recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds African Americans and Latinos in the U.S. are less likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine than any other racial or ethnic group.

Efforts are underway to educate both communities across the nation and locally about vaccine safety. Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS), a Community Foundation for Northern Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund grantee will host a series of town hall meetings beginning Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. for organizations, local businesses, clients, and citizens in an effort to clear up misinformation about the vaccine and address vaccination hesitancy among communities of color.

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March 25, 2021


"Together, I believe we can set a new foundation for a robust
economy now and for our next generation of business leaders
in Northern Virginia"...Sheila Dixon, Executive Director, Northern
Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce


The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t just put stress on minority-owned businesses in the Northern Virginia region, but also on the chambers of commerce that serve them. The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia today announced it has awarded grants totaling $43,000 to five area Chambers of Commerce: Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce, Asian American Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, NOVA Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce.

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February 11, 2021

Food insecurity has been a problem in America long before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived. But it’s clear the virus has exacerbated the problem, with images of long lines at food distribution sites shining a light on the harsh reality.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, food pantries across Northern Virginia quickly shifted into high gear, after experiencing a surge of residents in need of food assistance. In Fairfax County, Virginia, one of the Nation’s wealthiest regions, more than 70,000 people live in poverty, according to government figures.

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January 21, 2021


As the coronavirus crisis unfolded across our region, food banks had to expand their services to address not only the increase in the demand for food aid, but also healthcare, housing assistance, and other services.

Today, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia announced it has awarded $100,000 in grants to four organizations in a new round of funding through its Build Back – Dream ForwardCOVID-19 Response initiative. The grant recipients include ALIVE!, Arlington Free Clinic, Capital Area Food Bank, and The House, Inc. Each organization received a grant of $25,000 that will be used to support creative and innovative solutions for food access and distribution to residents in Northern Virginia.

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December 15, 2020


In Northern Virginia, like much of the nation, Black-owned businesses are being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. One report found 41% of Black-owned businesses have been forced to close due to COVID-19 compared to just 17% of white-owned businesses. All of this while Black-owned businesses face long-term, racial disparities that severely restrict business ownership, growth, and access to investment capital.

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November 17, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a host of new challenges to early childhood education and daycare services nationwide and across our region. Today the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, in partnership with the Greater Washington Community Foundation, and PNC Foundation announced a $200,000 Build Back – Dream Forward COVID-19 Response Fund grant to support infant and toddler childcare and early childhood education programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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October 29, 2020
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has launched Build Back – Dream Forward – a post-COVID-19 Growth Initiative. Its purpose is to achieve social and economic equity, promote racial justice and equity, and catalyze more inclusive systems of economic growth in Northern Virginia, particularly in local communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the virus and its fallouts.

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October 27, 2020
Food insecurity impacts millions of people in the United States, and yet over 40% of fresh produce in our country goes to waste. The USDA defines food insecurity as the disruption of food intake or eating patterns because of a lack of money and other resources. In Prince William County, Virginia over 6% of adults and 12% of children are food insecure. Local nonprofit Action in Community Through Service of Prince William (ACTS), is on the frontline of providing much-needed food to those in desperate need.

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September 21, 2020
A crowd of more than 100 joined with the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia at its latest Innovation Breakfast Series: The Reinvention of Food virtual event on Thursday, September 17, 2020, to discuss the challenges facing the emergency food safety net since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Greater Washington region in March including some persistent racial and social inequities that exist, and possible paths forward to address them.

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August 11, 2020
"I'm just really happy that I'm able to make a difference and want to show that Asian Americans are with health care workers and we want to unite," Sebastian Lu says

Sebastian Lu, a 17-year-old pianist in Fairfax, Virginia, who despite having his junior interrupted by COVID-19, decided not to sit on the sidelines, but was motivated to help others impacted by the pandemic by launching a GoFundMe campaign.

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July 20, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has pulled back the curtain and exposed longstanding structural and systemic inequities that exist in communities of color across our nation. From the education system to the labor market, to housing, health, and economic stability the coronavirus has had a disproportionate impact on African American and Latino communities.

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia recently hosted a virtual Town Hall – Build Back – Dream Forward where local leaders representing business, education, economic development, and philanthropy gathered to raise awareness around the uneven playing field that pre-existed COVID-19 and potential paths forward for greater equity in our economic systems.

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June 30, 2020
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia announced today it has awarded $440,000 in its fifth round of COVID-19 Response Fund Grants to 22 local organizations providing relief and services to communities in the region disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, including vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.

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June 3, 2020
For over 25 years, Arlington Free Clinic (AFC) has provided free, high-quality healthcare for low-income, uninsured adult Arlingtonians through the generosity of donors and volunteers. With the help of close to 500 volunteers, we deliver patient-centered, comprehensive, integrated healthcare to approximately 1,600 vulnerable residents each year.

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May 26, 2020
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is pleased to announce the Round 4 grantees from the COVID-19 Response Fund for Northern Virginia.

So many individuals and families in our region continue to suffer terribly under the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus and its fallout. Applications for unemployment benefits are at an all-time high, and local human service nonprofits now report a 3-5 fold increase in demand for their services. Direct financial assistance to individuals and families hardest hit by the crisis remains a top priority for our COVID-19 Response Fund.

Each of the following Round 4 grantees have the experience, community reach, and infrastructure to deploy financial assistance to our most vulnerable families and individuals. The grants, which total $280,000, will provide direct cash payments, emergency loans, and direct payments of rent, utilities, and groceries to those who most need it, as more fully described below.

In addition, through the grant to CASA de Virginia, we have given special attention to the disproportionate impact of the virus on the Latinx and Hispanic communities in Northern Virginia. Most of our health districts now report COVID-19 cases disaggregated by race and ethnicity. In the Fairfax Health District alone, for example, their most recent data dashboard shows that Latinx and Hispanics constitute 16.8% of the total county population but 63.7% of the COVID-19 cases!

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April 24, 2020
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is pleased to announce the Round 3 grantees from the COVID-19 Response Fund for Northern Virginia.

Organizations offering access to health care, mental health care, and dental health care for low income, uninsured and underinsured residents, and organizations offering direct services to victims of domestic violence which is soaring under stay at home orders across our region, were invited to apply. And while we originally estimated that approximately $350,000 would be awarded in Round 3, strong contributions to the COVID-19 Response Fund and a phenomenal demand for support has resulted in grants totaling $715,000 to the following 35 organizations on the front line of the pandemic.

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April 13, 2020
Eileen EllsworthEileen Ellsworth, President/CEO Community Foundation for Northern VirginiaDear donors, volunteers, grantees, and friends:

“Social distance” strikes me as such a mild, innocuous little phrase that doesn’t even hint at the 1 million small and large choices we are making to stay home, stay safe, and keep others safe as well. Turns out that successful social distancing is a puzzle that needs re-solving every day. And for those with school aged children or elderly parents who are also home and in need of care and attention, solving the daily puzzle is nothing short of heroic. This is the extraordinary role that we ordinary citizens have been asked to play in the COVID-19 pandemic.

But for just a moment, imagine this. On top of social distancing and the threat of the virus, you are laid off with little or no savings and your job is the only source of income that enables you to eat and pay rent. Imagine that you or a family member gets sick – with the virus or otherwise – and you don’t have heath insurance. Imagine you are elderly, homebound, and dependent upon the delivery of meals when the volunteer pool of delivery drivers disappears. Imagine having to shelter in place with an abusive spouse.

We all have a lot on our plate, but thousands of our neighbors have far more to bear in this moment.

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April 3, 2020
Today, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia announces the grantees from Round 2 of the COVID-19 Response Fund for Northern Virginia.

Mindful that the coronavirus will have a disproportionate impact on people with the least ability to meet it, the Community Foundation directed Round 2 funding to local organizations meeting basic needs and offering emergency financial assistance to our most vulnerable neighbors. A total of $360,000 has been awarded to the following 28 organizations who continue to man the front lines of the crisis.

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