Impact Stories

Growing Philanthropy, Responding to Need and Seeding Innovation in Northern Virginia

Learn about our impact in the local community and beyond. In 2019 the Community Foundation awarded more than $5.4 million in grants and scholarships and now reports $72 million in managed philanthropic assets. Here’s how we are putting philanthropy to work.

If you would like to contribute to an impact story please contact Marcus Wilson, Manager of Communications and Events.
April 22, 2020
Environment Fund and Earth Day
As the world observes the 50th anniversary of Earth Day today, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia announces it has awarded two $25,000 Environment Fund grants to local organizations working to protect, restore, and improve the natural environment of Northern Virginia.

April 13, 2020
Eileen EllsworthEileen Ellsworth, President/CEO Community Foundation for Northern VirginiaDear donors, volunteers, grantees, and friends:

“Social distance” strikes me as such a mild, innocuous little phrase that doesn’t even hint at the 1 million small and large choices we are making to stay home, stay safe, and keep others safe as well. Turns out that successful social distancing is a puzzle that needs re-solving every day. And for those with school aged children or elderly parents who are also home and in need of care and attention, solving the daily puzzle is nothing short of heroic. This is the extraordinary role that we ordinary citizens have been asked to play in the COVID-19 pandemic.

But for just a moment, imagine this. On top of social distancing and the threat of the virus, you are laid off with little or no savings and your job is the only source of income that enables you to eat and pay rent. Imagine that you or a family member gets sick – with the virus or otherwise – and you don’t have heath insurance. Imagine you are elderly, homebound, and dependent upon the delivery of meals when the volunteer pool of delivery drivers disappears. Imagine having to shelter in place with an abusive spouse.

We all have a lot on our plate, but thousands of our neighbors have far more to bear in this moment.

April 3, 2020
FACETS - Round Two COVID-19 Grantee
Today, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia announces the grantees from Round 2 of the COVID-19 Response Fund for Northern Virginia.

Mindful that the coronavirus will have a disproportionate impact on people with the least ability to meet it, the Community Foundation directed Round 2 funding to local organizations meeting basic needs and offering emergency financial assistance to our most vulnerable neighbors. A total of $360,000 has been awarded to the following 28 organizations who continue to man the front lines of the crisis.

April 2, 2020
young girls in circle
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, the leader in local philanthropy in the region, today announced the recipients of the 2020 Micron Opportunity Fund Grant. Urban Alliance, Rosie Riveters, Music for Life, and BELONG! Vienna are the 2019 - 2020 grantees. The funds, awarded in three $5,000 grants and one $4,000 grant will support academic programs that provide education, skills acquisition, and mentoring for underrepresented and under-funded student populations in STEM.

“Building a diverse, talented STEM workforce starts early, by ensuring that all young people have access and exposure to the skills, experience, and networks necessary for industry success,” said Christine McCurdy, Executive Director of Urban Alliance Northern Virginia.

April 2, 2020
Arlington Arts Center Kids
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia recently announced the 2020 Ross-Roberts Fund for the Arts Grantees. This year’s recipients include the Arlington Arts Center, American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras, and Creative Cauldron, Inc. All three organizations received grants of $20,000 for two years in $10,000 installments per year. Programs supported by the grants include performing and visual arts, education and training, and art exhibitions.

March 31, 2020
CDC Coronavirus image
In an effort to support the fast-emerging public health needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, VeriSign Inc. of Reston, Virginia announced that it is donating $500,000 to the COVID-19 Response Fund for Northern Virginia as part of a broader effort to support those in the region who are experiencing hardship due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

March 25, 2020
2020 CIF Grantee, Britepaths
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Community Investment Fund Grant Cycle. More than $422,160 has been awarded to 32 local organizations providing critical services and basic needs assistance to residents throughout Northern Virginia. Available funds for the cycle come from the Community Foundation’s Permanent Fund for Northern Virginia, which has been in development for more than 10 years, and additional donations from some of the Community Foundation’s donor advised fund donors who give generously every year to help us help our community.

March 20, 2020

Supporting Immediate Emergency Needs

NVFS Round One GranteeRound One Grantee, Northern Virginia Family Service

Our entire community, across all sectors, has come together to respond to COVID-19 and its impacts in our region. The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is glad to do its part, and is especially pleased to announce today the Round One Grants from the COVID-19 Response Fund for Northern Virginia.

Round One Grantees


Northern Virginia Family Services - $25,000
NVFS provides services to the elderly and others who fall into high risk/vulnerable health categories, low income families, those without adequate health insurance, families experiencing food insecurity, and the immigrant community. This grant will support services in Prince William, Fairfax, and Loudoun County, including support for NVFS’s Food Distribution Center that serves approximately 10,000 clients per year, their health access programs providing access to free or reduced cost prescription medication and health care for 6,600 clients per year (including those who become ill with COVID-19), and their housing programs in Fairfax and Prince William that will help subsidize rent and other basic expenses.

Loudoun Hunger Relief - $20,000
Loudoun Hunger Relief provides fresh groceries for low income and other vulnerable Loudoun residents. Currently they are providing up to 950 emergency food preparedness bags per day for Loudoun County Public School children, the elderly, and low income households. Their pantry provides emergency food assistance, including fresh produce, frozen meat, and dry goods. They currently report that demand is up 50% since the end of last week, while at the same time grocery store donations, which constitute 55% of the food they distribute, is down 44%.

ACTS of Prince William County - $20,000
ACTS of Prince William County provides a myriad of programs that address the needs of the elderly and low-income families in the county. Their Hunger Prevention Center has now expanded its hours of operation and its grocery delivery service to the home bound elderly and disabled to meet the increased demand, even while capacity to meet that demand drops. They also offer emergency financial payments to avoid utility disconnections and have expanded their Senior Link program, provides more than 1,200 check-in wellness calls per month to this same population.

Food for Others - $20,000
Food for Others, a very large provider of free emergency groceries in Northern Virginia, distributes food to more than 2,000 families per week, and has seen a sharp increase in the number of families requesting food, coupled with a steep decline in food donations. They also provide services to the elderly, low income families experiencing short term financial crises, food insecure residents, residents with limited English language proficiency, and families from immigrant communities and communities of color.

Cornerstones - $15,000
Cornerstones promotes self-sufficiency by providing support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, quality childcare, and other human services. Cornerstones works closely with government and community partners to provide critical supportive services safely.

We are especially thankful for Amazon’s philanthropic giving in our region. On Wednesday, they announced a $1 million gift to 4 local community foundations, including ours, to kickstart collaborative philanthropy and bolster front line services and safety net needs across the DMV. You can see their generosity in action reflected in these Round One Grants. On behalf of a grateful community, thank you!

We have also benefited from the advice and information flowing from our local health and elected officials, nonprofit leaders, and donors. It has all combined to help us improve our response and effectiveness in real time. Even so, like many of you in your businesses and organizations, we feel like we have built the plane while we are flying it. We are working remotely as a team yet staying in constant contact both with each other and with other community leaders to optimize service to our community.

Overall, it is important we stay as responsive to local needs as possible in a highly dynamic environment. The COVID-19 Response Fund for Northern Virginia has attracted over $400,000 to date, and we are currently thinking through the Round Two Grants. Please give generously if you can through your donor advised fund or directly to our COVID-19 Response Fund for Northern Virginia.
March 18, 2020
Eileen EllsworthEileen Ellsworth, President/CEO Community Foundation for Northern VirginiaDear donors, volunteers, grantees, and friends:

Here is some very good news: All sectors of our beloved community in Northern Virginia have come together to respond to COVID-19.

We are particularly blessed in our region with strong anchor institutions led by extremely well trained and responsive leaders. Of even greater significance, to my mind, is that existing relationships between and among our region’s leaders are also strong. Intra-sector and cross sector communications are active and ongoing. There is no doubt that the level and quality of these community-based conversations will drive better outcomes for our region.

March 18, 2020

The donation will kick-start COVID-19 response funds  to four local community foundations

CFNOVA DoctorsAmazon has donated $1 million total to kick-start collaborative emergency COVID-19 response funds that will immediately benefit four local community foundations across the Greater Washington region who are working to support vulnerable populations disproportionately impacted amid the coronavirus outbreak. ACT for Alexandria, Arlington Community Foundation, Community Foundation for Northern Virginia and the Greater Washington Community Foundation will each use these funds for grants to nonprofits addressing food insecurity, housing/shelter, and providing emergency financial assistance.