February 12, 2024
On Friday, February 9 2024, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia hosted its 2024 Shape of the Region Conference in collaboration with 19 regional partners, which highlighted a key problem facing our region, and the whole country today: Americans’ belief that most people can be trusted declined 47 percent from 1984 through 2022, according to the General Social Survey. Only a quarter of Americans say that most people can be trusted as of 2022.

As keynote speaker David Brooks says, “America is fractured and living a quiet crisis of disconnection. We have lost our trust in each other and our institutions. Divided, we face uncertainty, social turmoil, and political gridlock. Yet, within every community lies an answer.” In Northern Virginia, our Insight Region® Senior Director Denise Bellows discussed the trends in national and local data, showing that all indicators of the Virginia Trust Index are down over the past several years. Only around a third of Northern Virginians consider their neighbors “trustworthy.” You can read the presentation here.

The panel, presented in partnership with WEAVE: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute, featured a diverse array of cross-sector experiences, and talked one key solution: As we build community, and serve community, individual people become happier, feel better about their neighbors, and are more willing to give back. View a full recording of the event below:

We invite you to join the conversation. You can learn more about WEAVE here. To continue engaging on this issue, the Community Foundation invites community members to join the 2024 Elevate NOVA Book Circle, which will discuss David Brooks’ book How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen. Join a book circle or register an existing one here.

A special thanks to our photographer, Monique Michael. You can view a gallery of her photos here.

We’d like to give special thanks to our event sponsors:

Venue Sponsor
George Mason University Costello College of Business

Community Sponsor
Bank of America

Engagement Sponsors
The Adler Family Fund
American Psychiatric Association Foundation
Fairfax County Economic Development Authority
Robert and Pamela Kipps
McCandlish Lillard LLP
Odin, Feldman, & Pittleman LLP

Additional Support Provided by
Lou and Wendy Brown
Loren and Birgit Hershey

And thanks to our presenting partners:
ACT for Alexandria
Arlington Community Foundation
Asian American Chamber of Commerce
Claude Moore Charitable Foundation
Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties
Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce
George Mason University Costello College of Business Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce
Loudoun Chamber of Commerce
Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce
Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce
Northern Virginia Community College
Northern Virginia Health Foundation
Northern Virginia Regional Commission
Northern Virginia Technology Council
Northern Virginia Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce
Prince William Chamber of Commerce
Virginia Area Chamber of Commerce
Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce