effective philanthropy blog
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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jade 1Jade Garrett developed a startup company at the Mason Innovation Lab in George Mason University’s School of Business.  The Community Foundation’s Innovation Fund supported the launch of this program with a $25,000 grant in 2013.

Entrepreneurship definitely has its benefits, you are working at turning your dreams into reality, you make your own hours, and you get to see exactly how much your hard work can pay off. On the other hand, what you don’t know about being an entrepreneur is that sometimes working hard isn’t the same as working smart; your dreams can look like hallucinations, and making your own hours usually means that you are never off the clock. It can be a difficult and lonely path to go down, only one of every thirteen startups makes it past the one-year mark. GMU’s Innovation Lab program, which was made possible by a grant from the Northern Virginia Community Foundation, is the one factor that has made all the difference between success and failure for me.  

I am one of the lucky startups, when I was given the opportunity of turning my idea into a business, I grabbed it and ran with it, like there was a bear running behind me. I would have been forced to give up my dreams of being an entrepreneur from all the stress of taking classes and being a single mother. No one can handle managing all of that alone while trying to start a business, not without help and support. George Mason University’s Innovation Lab is a place for college entrepreneurs (and recent alumni) to get their startups launched. It has become so much more than just a room to meet in; Innovation Lab has become a community for startups and innovations. It is a program where business teams can apply for a spot in the 24/7 accessible lab, receive prototype funding, gain exposure to investors, and mentorship from industry professionals. 

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reading connection2The Reading Connection is a 2014 Community Investment Fund Grant Recipient in the area of Child & Youth Development.  Help support critical needs in our region with a donation to these funds today!

Elizabeth spreads her arms like wings.  “Move with me,” she says.  “See if you can guess. . . . ” Next, her eyes widen and she moves her head and body as if riding an air current.  All the kids follow her movements.  “Flying,” they say.  Elizabeth puts a finger to her lips.  “Flying quietly,” say the kids.  Her hands trace a beak on her face, opening and closing.  The kids silently mimic.  Elizabeth’s hands take the shape of talons, ready to grasp their prey.  “Owls!!” the kids exclaim.  They have guessed the theme for tonight’s session.

This is the beginning of a Read-Aloud, sponsored by The Reading Connection (TRC) with funding from the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia.  This session is at The Berkeley, an affordable  apartment complex in Arlington. Each week a team of volunteers trained by TRC comes to The Berkeley to read with the kids living there. Twenty percent of The Berkeley’s families speak English, 70 percent speak Spanish and 10 percent speak Amharic.

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ACTS2ACTS is a 2014 Community Investment Fund Grant Recipient in the area of Poverty Relief.  The Community Foundation is currently accepting donations to support 2015 grants.

The Action in Community Through Service Food Pantry provides monthly supplemental food assistance for clients residing in eastern Prince William County. This past year we have been blessed by a grant provided to us through the Community Investment Fund.  These funds have made it possible for us to maintain a vital program component—home delivery for our homebound and senior clients. 

Currently, 20 households receive supplemental food assistance through this outreach program.

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BWGC - for webMembers of the Business Women's Giving CircleNancy K. Eberhardt is a founding member of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia's Business Women's Giving Circle.

For two decades I have been frustrated about the pace of growth of young women as leaders in entrepreneurship, business, and the science, technology and math professions here in Northern Virginia. It was 20  years ago that I served on an Advisory Board at George Mason University attempting to accelerate the number of young women graduating with business, math, engineering and science degrees. Many other advocates, with greater commitment and more concentrated efforts, have been at work on this issue for a long time.

And still the trajectory is slow. In a region that should be doing better.

So, when Eileen Ellsworth and Sari Raskin of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia asked to meet and discuss this topic, I was eager to hear their thoughts. They were fresh with ideas to match the mission of the Community Foundation to really move the needle on these opportunities for young girls and women in our community.

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Loudoun Literacy 1The Loudoun Literacy Council is a recipient of two recent grants from the Community Foundation - a 2014 Community Investment Grant in Education as well as a 2014 Loudoun Impact Fund Grant.

Loudoun Literacy Council (LLC) was formed in 1980 to teach English to recently arrived refugees.  Services for adults include small group classes and individual tutoring in the areas of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), basic literacy and GED preparation.  In 1998 our Family Literacy Program was added to serve disadvantaged children and their families.  This program began in collaboration with Loudoun County Head Start to provide literacy support to each child and family enrolled in the program and has since expanded to include the Sweet Dreams program, a weekly volunteer-led reading program for families in two homeless shelters, and Baby Book Bundles which supplies books and literacy tips to low income families with new babies.  LLC believes that literacy remains essential to achieving community-wide aspirations of developing young learners, strengthening families, enabling parents to participate in the education of their children, and ensuring access to opportunities for economic advancement.

Sadly, more than 15% of our nation’s children live in poverty.

On average, these kids have one or two age appropriate books in their homes, yet a full sixty-one percent of the children in low-income families have no books at all.  

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YMCA-LoudounLaura Fears Executive Director YMCA Loudoun County has had a 17 year career span working with Loudoun County children and families. Laura is an enthusiastic advocate for Loudoun families and children and believes every child has a right to receive the support of the community to help ensure future success.  Her program received a $25,000 grant from the Loudoun Impact Fund in 2014.

Laura lives with her husband in Leesburg, Virginia and is the proud Mother of two grown children Mari and Stephen.

We all know a parent’s life is filled with decisions to make on behalf of their children. When you are additionally struggling because of economic circumstances the answers are not always clear and sometimes parents are forced to make impossible choices.

Should I put food on the table, pay the rent or send my child to an after-school program? Where are my priorities? My child going home alone to an empty house or apartment, paying the rent, buying school supplies, clothing etc., etc., all parents want what is best for their child but, sometimes the decision proves difficult.

Life is filled with choices and some of them are bound to be hard, but this is a choice we should not require parents to make, because if they choose they lose and we lose our children! If a person cannot function at work for worrying about their children at home alone, it weakens the very fabric of our community. 

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College PictureBernice Colyandro, previous recipient of the Cameron and Virginia Dye Scholarship from the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, has been inspired to give back to her community.  She shared her story with the Foundation.

Bernice Colyandro grew up in Arlington, Virginia and graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) with a bachelor’s degree in Business Information Technology.  While pursuing her degree, she was an active member of the Chi Omega Fraternity and supported its alliance with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  For this alliance, she volunteered her time and raised money through various fund raising events at Virginia Tech. 

Since graduation she has spent the last ten years working in Washington D.C. as a Software Engineer for SRA International, Inc. and currently as a Sr. Systems Engineer for Esri.  Bernice is eternally grateful for receiving the Cameron and Virginia Dye scholarship.  This scholarship enabled her to leave college debt free which gave her freedom and choice while starting out as a young woman in computer engineering.

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