June 17, 2021

Dear Members of the Board, Community Foundation Staff, and Friends,

As I make my exit as the Board Chair (2019-2021), I would like to thank each of you for your incredible service. Through our collective efforts, we are helping to build a more inclusive Northern Virginia community that works for everyone.

Two years ago when I assumed the role of Board Chair at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, I had no idea how tremulous this period we were entering would be; from racial injustice & equity issues to a 100-year Pandemic, to the challenges of the 2020 Census. Pivot is a word that comes to mind. The community Foundation's leadership, staff, and board pivoted to meet the challenges of the time.

In March 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic caused the Community Foundation to pivot.  We immediately created the COVID-19 Response Fund that attracted and distributed over $2.1 million in contributions. After the initial impact of COVID, we pivoted again to Build Back – Dream Forward in an effort to achieve economic mobility, promote racial justice and equity and catalyze more inclusive systems of economic growth in Northern Virginia.

The Community Foundation got involved in the 2020 Census because we realized that the census was extremely important to our local jurisdictions. Among other things, the census will determine the distribution of over $800 billion in federal funding as well as the assignment of congressional House seats across states. Philanthropy can’t replace the financial impact of people not being counted. Each local jurisdiction across our region succeeded in achieving higher self-response rates than in the 2010 Census despite the pandemic and the many challenges it created.

Also, in 2020, Insight Region™ ,a Community Foundation research center, was created to analyze local trends, convene civic leaders, and promote civic and social action.

Because of COVID, we pivoted from our normal 600 person Raise the Region Gala to our first virtual Gala. Business, philanthropic, and community leaders joined us from their own homes across the region and the nation to take part in this live-streamed event.

Due to COVID in 2021, we organized a virtual Shape of the Region Conference in partnership with 12 regional organizations to inspire our community about ways our region is coming together to institute real change. More than 300 people registered to attend this virtual event.

I’m grateful and proud to have had the opportunity to work with Community Foundation for Northern Virginia leadership, staff, and board.  During the past two years the Community Foundation has lived up to its mission to grow philanthropy that helps meet critical needs; find innovative solutions to complex social issues; help lead and convene the community, and strive to help build a community that works for everyone.