effective philanthropy blog
Renee Boyle is Development Director for the Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center, a recipient of a 2016 Community Investment Fund Grant from the Community Foundation.

Call to mind the iconic scene from the classic movie The Miracle Worker in which Anne Sullivan teaches the blind-deaf child Helen Keller that liquid flowing from a pump has a name. “W-a-t-e-r,” Sullivan spells into Helen’s hand.

Until that triumphant “ah-ha” moment, young Helen had been unable to connect in a meaningful way with the world outside herself.

Although each child with developmental delays has a unique set of challenges, children today are similarly disconnected socially from peers, emotionally from parents, and intellectually from even the best learning environment, until their needs can be identified and addressed with appropriate therapy.

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MW BWGCBWGC members Faith Boettger, Lauri Isbrandtsen, and Jennifer Siciliano, joined Dr. Carole Inge, Co-Chair of Million Women Mentors Virginia, at the International Women's Day and Million Women Mentors Initiative Launch Event in Richmond, Virginia where Governor Terry McAuliffe presented a proclamation supporting girls and women in STEM.   

Million Women Mentors is an initiative whose mission is to support girls and women in STEM by providing one million STEM mentors.  Governor McAuliffe proudly serves as the Honorary Chair for MWM-VA, alongside MWM-VA Co-Chairs Dr. Carole Inge, founder of the International Association for STEM Leaders and Business Women's Giving Circle Member, and Jennifer Bisceglie, CEO of Interos. Virginia has pledged their support for MWM and set a goal for 10,000 mentors.

It is exciting to see our state provide such strong support for this initiative.  The event included a panel of state and business leaders stressing the importance of critical thinking, and promoting women and STEM in areas such as innovation, education, cyber security, and entrepreneurship.​

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CAFBHunger affects 12% of the population living in the Washington metro area, and the Capital Area Food Bank is taking it off the map by connecting schools, businesses, partner non-profits and other stakeholders. A real community response is the key, and the CAFB’s Family Market at Manassas Park High School, where we offer fruits, vegetables, and groceries free of charge to parents of students at the school, is a great example of a community working together to solve hunger. 

When we approached the school district last year about a family market in Manassas Park, Dr. Bruce McDade, Superintendent of Manassas Park Schools, was quick to understand the need for an infusion of nutritious food into his school community. He has since been instrumental in encouraging City Council members, School Board office staff, and the Community Center to be part of the monthly Market.  Volunteering together, these supporters receive the food from the CAFB’s truck, and get the Family Market set up and ready to go. This school year’s market is providing an average of 10,000 pounds of food each month to 300 families.

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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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