effective philanthropy blog
Maker Faire 2A community team started by Nova Labs recently hosted the inaugural Nova Mini Maker Faire, a family- and kid-friendly event highlighting innovative and creative people in Northern Virginia.  Nova Mini Maker Faire was a grassroots event run by and with an entirely volunteer force. It was held at the complex of South Lakes High and Langston Hughes Middle Schools in Reston, VA.

Nova Labs is a makerspace - a community workshop – which is a collaborative place where entrepreneurs, hobbyists, tinkerers and artists – “makers” - have access to many more tools and expertise than they'd ever have in their own garages or studios.

Maker Faires are billed as the greatest show and tell on earth, and are a friendly collision of science and art.  The first Maker Faire began in California and these days attracts upwards of 125,000 attendees to see exhibits ranging from fire-breathing sculpture to the explosive reaction of Coke+Mentos. The larger events have expanded to New York, Kansas City, and Detroit, with others in Europe and Asia.  Maker Media curates the overall events and highlights in Make magazine the problem-solving hobbyists, artists, inventors, and  tinkerers who have created homebuilt projects of all kinds and are willing to share what they've learned.  Our Northern Virginia Maker Faire is considered 'mini' because of its size and regional focus.  However, we had about 3200 people and over 100 makers, so it was hardly a mini effort.

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Blender BikeOn Sunday, I attended a real happening – the inaugural Mini Maker Faire in Northern Virginia at both South Lakes High School and Langston Hughes Middle School (because the event was so big). Think of several thousand people at an adult Science Fair and you'd have a pretty good idea of what a Maker Faire is like.  I particularly loved the “Blender Bike”

Led by Sari Raskin (Community Foundation staff) and Brian Jacoby, a longtime donor at the MakersCommunity Foundation and President of Nova Labs, the Faire came together with over 300 volunteers (directing traffic, taking tickets, etc.) and somewhere between 3,000-5,000 attendees!  It was an amazing event focused on STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. And this was sponsored by, and the ideas cultivated through, the leadership of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.

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Faith BoettgerGrowing up in Northern Virginia, my parents consistently reinforced that it was our responsibility and great honor to help others in our community.   I have tried to live true to their example, make a difference wherever my travels took me, and pass this lesson along to my own children. 

Recently I was asked to draw on my philanthropic passion to participate on the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s 2014 grant review committee.  Having managed charity projects with volunteers and no money from the benefitting organization, I thought this process would be “easy”.  We have money.  138 organizations have asked for money.  How hard could this be?

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Julie-14Global nomad is a word that truly describes my formative years.  As a proud Navy daughter, we had the privilege of living throughout the US, Japan and the Philippines as I grew up to support my father’s career.  When I arrived as a freshman at George Mason University in 1992 I didn’t know a soul.  My primary focus was to understand and engage with the local community.  Upon graduation, I found a robust job market which embraced my skills.  I continued to leverage the idea of community throughout my career.  When Greg and I married, we slowly deepened our roots in Northern Virginia.  Over the course of the past 20+ years it has been incredibly rewarding to nurture the wonderful relationships this area has to offer. 

I was pregnant with our twins when I read the Community Foundation’s Portrait of Children report in 2010.  It resonated with our growing family and from that moment, we developed a relationship with the Community Foundation that has helped us to better understand the local needs in our region.  I’m grateful to board members Steve Gladis and Cathy Lange for introducing me to Eileen Ellsworth and the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia family.

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AgingReportCOVERDean Montgomery of the Health Systems Agency performed the research for the Community Foundation’s report on Aging, released in January 2014.  This post is his second about this report.

Though demographic indices and trends for Northern Virginians 65 and older are, on the whole, highly favorable, there are nevertheless problems that merit greater scrutiny and remedial intervention where possible. Challenges that arise from current circumstances and that are likely to be exacerbated by ongoing population changes include:
  • Lack of health insurance: A large number of older residents do not have health insurance. This results from the surprisingly large number of older Northern Virginians who do not qualify for participation in the Medicare program. About 8.5% of the region’s older residents are without Medicare coverage. This is more than twice the Virginia and U.S. rates of about 4.0%.

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AgingReportCOVERDean Montgomery of the Health Systems Agency performed the research for the Community Foundation’s report on Aging, released in January 2014.  This post is one of two about this report.

A major demographic shift is underway in Northern Virginia. Over the next two decades the elderly population will grow much more rapidly than any other population group, more than doubling between 2010 and 2030. In 2010, there were 192,589 Northern Virginians 65 years of age and over. That population will grow to more than 326,000 by 2020 and to more than 429,000 by 2030. There will be substantially larger elderly populations in all local jurisdictions over the coming decades.

It has long been assumed that population aging portends consequential social change. Aging is associated with deteriorating health, increasing disability and dependency, social isolation, and growing economic insecurity. In addition to greater stress on elderly individuals and their families, there is concern that larger numbers of older people may tax the social, economic support, and health care services likely to be needed by an aging population.

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FF Members at GalaFuture Fund members Carrie Lake, Amy Takayama-Perez, Julie Simmons, Katy Moore, and Jessica Tadlock BeasleyIf you're like me, you probably have a trusted advisor who helps you navigate the often complicated landscape of financial investments and wealth management. These trusted advisors help us set goals, help us develop a plan to achieve those goals, and, ultimately, give us confidence that we're getting the best return on our investments.

And, again, if you’re anything like me, you don’t give nearly as much thought or effort into how you’re investing your philanthropic dollars. But what if I told you that I had found a trusted advisor to help me with my charitable giving? Well, actually, I don’t have just one trusted advisor – I have 130!

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GCHopeLogoThis is the final of four blog posts from Joan Kasprowicz and Diana Katz, co-founders of the Giving Circle of HOPE (GCH) at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, celebrating its 10th anniversary this season.

Word spread that the organization funded by the GCH was operating with a new automated volunteer management program. Questions arose.   “Why can’t we expand the use of this application to all the organizations that provide volunteer rides? How about the Elder Villages that are sprouting all over the County? They could use this too!”

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GCHopeLogoThis is the third of four blog posts from Joan Kasprowicz and Diana Katz, co-founders of the Giving Circle of HOPE at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, celebrating its 10th anniversary this season.

Once philanthropists cross the line into strategic philanthropy, it is truly a transformation. They acquire a panoramic view of the needs in the community and of the organizations that are working to meet those needs.  Many nonprofits are so focused on their mission and so overworked; they do not see the connections that they can make, the gaps in service that may exist, or even the new technologies that they can use. Many times, the GCH can.

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GCHopeLogoThis is the second of four blog posts from Joan Kasprowicz and Diana Katz, co-founders of the Giving Circle of HOPE at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, celebrating its 10th anniversary this season.

During the early years (2004-2006) of the Giving Circle of HOPE, the Human Services Coalition of Fairfax County morphed into the nonprofit coalition NonProfit NoVA, an affiliate of the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington. The GCH joined that coalition with the intention of learning even more about the nonprofit world that we were funding and the service projects that we were supporting.  The relationships we built there were instrumental in giving us valuable insights into the potential impact of our giving.

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