July 19, 2023
Corporate responsibility plays a major role in the life of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, and indeed all nonprofits. A civil society functions best when the nonprofit sector, the government sector, and the business sector work together in tandem to advance the well-being of the people whose lives they touch. For 45 years, CFNOVA has supported and invested in the regionprimarily through philanthropy and convenings. Our mission to advance equity hinges at those intersections of the three sectors. Most people in this country, in the regular course of their daily activities, will come into contact or collaboration with a nonprofit, a government service, or a major corporation. This relationship, which we can call corporate responsibility, can exist in the form of operational initiatives, strategic transformation, or donations, and sponsorships.

We are fortunate to meet the objectives of our mission through the generous donations of several organizations in this region. For example, in 2020, Verisign, a global provider of domain name registry services and internet infrastructure, awarded CFNOVA with a significant donation to the COVID-19 Response Fund. Verisign gave so generously in part because they “recognized the effectiveness of the Community Foundation in supporting the needs of our local community, which made them a natural choice as a partner during the emergency.”

It should be said that this isn’t a one-off action. Verisign has a corporate social responsibility arm, Verisign Cares, that encourages volunteerism among their employees, matches employee contributions up to $3,000, and inspires all employees to “make a positive and lasting impact on the global internet communities where we live and work, contribute to the global internet community we serve, and to support meaningful social action to address the issues that confront our world.”

Whether by encouraging employees to engage in their communities by volunteering one day a quarter, or by funding organizations that provide services— directly or indirectly— governments, private sector firms, nonprofits, and individual changemakers can all make long-term and meaningful impacts. And in 2022, Verisign awarded CFNOVA with another generous gift. This will go towards supporting our Community Investment Grants, the Community Foundation’s signature grant cycle. This contribution in part helped us award our largest pool of funds to date, at more than $763,000.

Because of corporate social responsibility, CFNOVA was able, and will continue to, change Northern Virginia in positive, impactful ways. Building these relationships across sectors, whether by donations, volunteer hours, or other tools, is just one way that the public, private, and government sectors can advance equity, and build community in Northern Virginia and beyond.