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.
Currently local governments are experiencing increased demand for human services while at the same time tax revenues are declining. With this added demand for support services, the government leg is relying more and more on local businesses and social sectors for added support.

These sectors face their own challenges from the economic downturn.  Businesses and corporations are reducing their charitable support, choosing to focus on a market driven approach to giving rather than needs based giving. Nonprofits and faith-based charities have seen increased demand for efficiency and leadership at a time when experienced leaders are retiring or leaving the field due to burnout.

Area philanthropic organizations and foundations must have a role to not only assist in funding for needs but to actively participate, as community leaders, to ensure the legs of our stool are solid. This is a leadership role that the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is striving to provide for our region.

Join me on May 7th for the Community Foundation’s Chairman’s Breakfast to celebrate the work of the Foundation and its partners to meet critical needs in the region, and to honor businesses and individuals who have demonstrated incredible support and commitment to strengthening the community.  The awards presentation will be followed by a thought-provoking keynote and panel discussion on the intersection of philanthropy and innovation in which we will address the question of how foundations and charitable organizations and individuals can influence and support 21st Century workforce development.

Let us together make sure our stool is strengthened so that all those in need have a place to stand upon.