effective philanthropy blog
DWHGOPR0602The DWH team after a successful dive in the CCMI coral nursery.Jill Hottel serves as Executive Director of Diving With Heroes and as the advisor of the Diving With Heroes Designated Fund at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.

Diving with Heroes, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was founded in June 2014 with the purpose of unlocking the treasures contained in the underwater world and sharing them with those who have fought so valiantly to secure and defend our freedom. The men and women of the U.S. armed forces have dedicated themselves to protecting our freedoms; in return, we want to gift them with the freedom that diving provides. Our aim is to enable our hero divers to participate in dive trips and scuba experiences allowing them to live the diving lifestyle.

Diving with Heroes Designated Fund

When DWH was just getting started, Joe Brickey, one of the founders of Diving with Heroes and also co-founder and Chairman of the Board for Integrity Applications Incorporated, met with Eileen Ellsworth to discuss how the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia could help DWH get off to a great start. Joe set-up the Diving with Heroes Designated Fund as a means of providing early donors to DWH recognition for their charitable contributions while DWH waited to receive its tax-exempt designation from the IRS. The Diving with Heroes Designated Fund continues so that others may contribute as a means of thanking our service members and veterans for their service and sacrifice.

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La-Force 150608ScienceCenter00930 WebTanya La Force is a member of the Business Women's Giving Circle and a recent donor to the Innovation Fund at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.  We asked her a few questions her personal philanthropy and how she strives to make an impact in our region.

What are your philanthropic goals and interests?

I am passionate about developing and supporting the potential in all children so my goals are to help organizations that do this really well.

How has the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia supported your personal philanthropy?

I never thought of my giving as “philanthropy” but recently the Community Foundation hosted an event on venture philanthropy and I’m now thinking more strategically about this.  I appreciate that the Community Foundation can provide advice about vehicles to support long-term goals, as well as provide visibility to vetted organizations that are making a difference in our community.

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Milton HerdMilton Herd recently opened a donor advised fund at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia – The Milton J. and G. Ronald Herd Charitable Fund provides direct grants to nonprofits, schools, and other non-religious affiliated programs to benefit children and youth 12 to 19 years of age living at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level in Northern Virginia.

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

How did you learn about the Community Foundation?

I’ve had a general awareness of the Foundation’s existence for many years, but had no detailed knowledge of it until recently, when I began to pursue setting up an organized charitable fund.

What are your philanthropic goals and interests?

I would like to help young people who have not been as fortunate as I was when I was young. I was given the opportunity, support, and means to become highly educated, and that has made all the difference in my life. Many young people are not as lucky – through no fault of their own - so I’d like to help some of them to further their education.

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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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