effective philanthropy blog
Merk 49 croppedMelinda MerkThis interview is with Melinda Merk, Attorney at McCandlish Lillard, new Community Foundation Board Member, Business Women's Giving Circle (BWGC) member, and active philanthropist.

Melinda has a background in providing holistic multi-generational income and wealth transfer tax planning advice and estaate and trust services to high net worth individuals, families, and business owners.
  • How does your work tie into your decision to join the Community Foundation board?

With the recent changes under the new tax law, donor advised funds and community foundations have become an even more important charitable giving and family legacy tool.  Establishing a fund with The Community Foundation provides access to local resources for charitable giving and ensures that the donated funds will benefit the local community.  Becoming a member of the Board was a natural next step to supporting and promoting the efforts and contributions of The Community Foundation of Northern Virginia.

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mehranMehran HaqWe recently sat down with Mehran Haq, owner of SKYHAQ Agency, to talk about his experience in film and his work with The Community Foundation.

Can you provide us with an overview of your background and your business, SKYHAQ Agency?

Filming was a passion of mine ever since I was 9 years old. Growing up I had a very entrepreneurial spirit and took my passion and turned it into a business when I was 21. From there, we expanded and added creative services which is when SKYHAQ AGENCY was born. My main goal with any campaign is to always stand out and develop a deep experience with our client's consumers. Our motto is: Engagement Over Advertisement.

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picture 1369 1426262676Abigail Golden-VazquezAuthor: Abigail Golden-Vazquez, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program

Latinos comprise one in four students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade and, as such, they will have a direct and lasting impact on the nation’s democracy and prosperity. This is why it’s absolutely necessary to foster a culture of civic participation among Latino students inside and outside of school. Research shows that exposure to civic engagement at an early age can create lasting habits of civic participation throughout a person’s life. Edu-Futuro is an organization that seeks to engage Latino youth in civic activity for a better American future, a vision that aligns with the goals of its newest grantor, the Latino Engagement and Achievement Fund (LEAF).

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Janey Cheryl head shot close upJaney Cheryl This interview is with Cheryl Janey, Community Foundation Board member, BWGC member, Gala sponsor, and Community Foundation Diversity Task Force member

You are a Diversity Task Force member. What is this role and how have you been involved? 

The Diversity Task Force originated under the leadership of the last Board chair, Paul Leslie. It began as a result of a conversation where we discussed the need for the Community Foundation to better reflect the changing make up of Northern Virginia —and to focus on doing so at the board level, the staff level, the donor level, and so on. Paul took the important step to create a Diversity Committee as a subcommittee of the board.  The results have been incredible with new board members, new funds, honorees, all because we chose to take a hard look at ourselves and respond to local need. I could not be prouder to have been a part of this effort and realize that sometimes having the ‘tough conversation’ really does result in change!

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Opportunity Index Logo SmallThe Community Foundation for Northern Virginia launched the Opportunity Index web site and associated report in February 2018. 

Tell us about the Opportunity Index. 

The Opportunity Index for Northern Virginia is an interactive dashboard to serve as a data resource for community knowledge and strategic philanthropic giving, and to help grow philanthropy for our most economically disadvantaged populations. 

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Elledge Brandon 72Brandon H. ElledgeThis interview is with Brandon H. Elledge, Community Foundation Board member, investment committee and Loudoun Impact Fund member, and Permanent Fund donor. He is a partner in Holland & Knight's Northern Virginia office in Tysons Corner.

Can you tell us about your support of the Permanent Fund and what it means to you?

My wife Amy and I decided to support the Permanent Fund last year, and frankly it was an easy decision to make.  This was our way to - in the words of the Community Foundation - "give like it matters."  The Community Foundation, with its knowledge, trust, and networks developed over 40 years of effective philanthropy in the region, can use our and the other continuing donations to the Permanent Fund to help transform these gifts into a meaningful impact on peoples' lives throughout Northern Virginia.  To make a difference in the area we call home is very meaningful to us.  We also believe the Permanent Fund is an important strategic asset for the Foundation with its various other donor-advised funds.

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casaA $10,000 grant in 2017 helped support Casa Chirilagua's Kids Club Program.Casa Chirilagua received a $10,000 grant in 2017 from the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Community Investment Funds grant cycle to support its Kids Club and Summer Kids Club programs.  They shared the following testimonial to demonstrate the impact of this support on its community.

In front of her peers and community, Anna’s* mother and father begin their address to her, “Dear Anna —,” immediately they pause to collect themselves, their eyes welling up with tears. “We want to congratulate you on your first achievement in school. Your education is the best gift that we as parents can give you. We want you to keep on being a hardworking student, responsible, obedient, and respectful. We want you to fly high … because you have the opportunity and support from us. Our greatest pride is seeing you get an education. We love you.”

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AART Samuel currently in Fairfax county site CoppermineKhaleelAll Ages Read Together received an $8,500 grant in 2017 from the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Community Investment Funds grant cycle to support its work to assist more than 20 percent of children in Fairfax County who enter kindergarten without exposure to preschool.  They shared the following testimonial to demonstrate the impact of this support on their community.

All Ages Read Together is so grateful for the grant from the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia to support our efforts to help students acquire early literacy, cognitive, social, fine motor, and other skills essential for success.  AART provides free school readiness programs to low income children who are either on Head Start waiting lists or do not qualify for publicly funded programs.  These children would otherwise begin kindergarten with little or no exposure to reading or a classroom setting.

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Culpepper Smith Francine photo edited 11.13.17FrancineThe Arlington Retirement Housing Corporation received a $10,000 grant in 2017 from the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Community Investment Funds grant cycle to help vulnerable seniors living in Culpepper Gardens who can no longer afford the cost of assisted living care age in place.  They shared the following testimonial from one of their clients to demonstrate the impact of this support on its community.

 “Culpepper Garden is the best thing that has happened to my mother in her life,” says Shirl Smith, youngest daughter of Francine Smith.  After living in Culpepper Garden independent living for seven years, Francine began having memory problems and the family was concerned for her health and ability to care for herself.  Francine was reluctant to move into Assisted Living, but through the common sense and welcoming approach of staff working together with her family she agreed to accept more help with daily living and moved into Culpepper Garden assisted living in 2013.  

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dad with sonsFriends of Loudoun Mental Health received a $10,000 grant in 2017 from the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Community Investment Funds grant cycle to support Loudoun County residents disabled by mental illness through housing subsidies.  They shared the following testimonial to demonstrate the impact of this support on their clients and the community.

Friends of Loudoun Mental Health has been honored to receive a Community Investment Funds grant from the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.  The funds are supporting A Place To Call Home, a homelessness prevention program for Loudoun County residents who are suffering with mental illness and are in treatment.  The impact is transformational for the people who get the stability of staying in their homes and not risk becoming homeless.  The best way to share the impact is through a couple of our recent client testimonials.

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