July 12, 2017
Robert W. Lazaro
This is an interview with Robert W. Lazaro, Jr., Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, recently sat down with us to discuss his involvement with The Community Foundation. Robert recently worked with us to establish the NoVA Natives Plant Fund.

Why did you choose to partner with the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia?

The Community Foundation does great work in the Northern Virginia community, as such, it was a natural for us to work with an organization that has a great reputation and does outstanding work.

How does your fund at the Community Foundation benefit your organization?

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission undertakes work that has an impact across multiple jurisdictions in an increasingly diverse community of 2.4 million residents. By having a relationship with a well known, well-respected organization like CFNV it lets interested donors know their generosity will be used for the purpose given.

What does it mean to you to support these local needs?

Our Plant NoVA Natives program is our most popular environmental program. Unfortunately, the grant that helps fund it will expire at the end of December, 2017. The monies raised for this program will allow us to continue our public education and outreach efforts. We are blessed to have the services of more than 100 volunteers, but we need to provide them with the tools, educational materials to continue to make this program a success.

What is the Plant NoVA Natives Program?

The Plant NOVA Natives is the joint marketing campaign of a grand coalition of non-profit, governmental, and private groups, all working to reverse the decline of native plants and wildlife in Northern Virginia. Our strategy is to encourage residents as well as public and commercial entities to install native plants as the first step toward creating wildlife habitat and functioning ecosystems on their own properties. All are welcome to participate in this collective action movement. Visit http://www.plantnovanatives.org/home.html to learn more.

What are your organization’s current priorities and programs?

NVRC plays an important role in the region around a wide variety of programs that protect/enhance the public health, environment and economy. From administrating the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program for more than 25 years to ensure people with HIV/AIDS are well cared for through local health providers, our environmental programs that protect the Chesapeake Bay, local waters and resiliency to working with our local military facilities to help remove single occupant vehicles off the road NVRC has had a long history (nearly 50 years) of addressing region-wide issues.

How can contributions be made?

First, I would like to thank you The Community Foundation and to those who are considering supporting our Plant NoVA Natives program. I would invite folks to visit the program web site at www.plantnovanatives.org for information. We are very proud of the work Corey on our staff has done to implement this program to make it available to our residents and business community.

To donate to the Plant NOVA Natives Fund, please visit https://www.cfnova.org/for-donors/foundation-funds/donor-funds/the-plant-nova-natives-fund