Impact Stories

Leading and Convening the Community

February 12, 2024
The General Social Survey, a project of NORC at the University of Chicago, has measured Americans’ feelings on social fairness, helpfulness, and trust since 1972. The numbers are stark: belief that people can be trusted has fallen by nearly half. In 1984, Forty-eight of every 100 Americans would say that most people can be trusted; in 2022, that number was 25 of every 100.

Similar trends can be seen in the Virginia Trust Index, developed by the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College. Since 2017, it shows that trust in Virginia peaked between February 2020 and May 2021, began to decline through the summer of 2021, and fell to an all-time low in May 2023.

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December 19, 2023
On Tuesday, December 5, more than 300 community leaders from across the region celebrated Eileen Ellsworth’s remarkable eighteen years as President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia. The atmosphere at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens was one of celebration, and joy. After nearly two decades, tens of millions of dollars raised, and millions of dollars in grants and scholarships awarded, Eileen closes this chapter of her career on an impeccable high note.

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December 8, 2023
In 2005 when Eileen Ellsworth assumed the role of President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, CFNOVA had awarded, since its 1978 founding, about $8.2M in grants and scholarships. As of 2023, we’ve awarded $92,463,995.

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November 15, 2023
On November 14th 2023, a diverse group of Northern Virginians gathered at the Community Foundation’s events space, the Penthouse at Three Flint Hill. A week prior, Virginians, Mississippians, New Jerseyans, Pennsylvanians, and a myriad of other Americans had cast votes, and it was in that context of voting, elections, and the bipolarization of America that inspired Mónica Guzmán to write I Never Thought of it That Way.

Mónica shares in her book that both of her parents voted for Trump in 2016, and she voted for Clinton. As a family, they had to figure out how to talk about their fears and worries by engaging productively. Community Foundation President and CEO Eileen Ellsworth mentioned that her parents, who were born in 1910 and 1915, did not discuss with each other who they voted for, even though they voted in every primary and every general election— which in Virginia, are every November.

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November 15, 2023
15 November 2023 (Fairfax, VA): Yesterday, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia hosted author and speaker Mónica Guzmán to discuss her book I Never Thought of it That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times.

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October 16, 2023
In 2019, worker mental health represented a salient but relatively uncommon issue for Northern Virginia employers: approximately 11 percent of working adults were experiencing mild anxiety or depression, and 7 percent fell into a clinical range.

During the pandemic, these rates spiked, and have remained high. As of May 2023, 58% of Northern Virginia's workforce was experiencing some level of anxiety or depression, and a quarter were in the clinical range— requiring any degree of treatment or intervention. This research estimates that since 2020, Northern Virginia has lost $8 billion each year in unrealized economic output due to the impaired mental health of its workforce: a quadrupling of losses seen prior to the pandemic. We now know that the Commonwealth of Virginia lost $22 billion in potential gross state product in 2022.

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October 13, 2023
Dear Community Foundation Friends and Supporters,

Last Friday evening we came together for the Community Foundation’s 2023 Raise the Region Gala to celebrate our home, Northern Virginia, and the change-makers in it who never fail to help meet the region’s challenges and expand its opportunities. Our theme for the event was renewal, as every community, and everything in it, must be continuously renewed and reimagined.

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October 10, 2023
Arun Anne and Sumeet

10 October 2023 (Fairfax, VA): The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia held its annual Raise the Region Gala at the Hilton McLean Tyson’s Corner this past Friday, to a completely sold-out room. More than 850 people participated, between in-person and virtual participation options. The black-tie event celebrated a rousing sense of renewal for the region and for the Community Foundation, and honored Sumeet Shrivastava with the Community Leadership Award. Here is the video shared in tribute of Sumeet’s work in Northern Virginia and beyond.

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September 18, 2023

The 2023 Champions for Accountability Badge, awarded in partnership between the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia and the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, recognizes more than 40 employers willing to collect, share, and act on data about the diversity of their leadership. To receive the badge, an organization must operate in Virginia, Maryland, and/ or Washington DC; collect demographic data on board members and/or c-suite members and executives; and have completed the application by 31 August, 2023. By accepting their badges, the Champions commit to the following action:  

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August 28, 2023
On August 29, 2023 The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Insight Region® Center for Community Research released Getting By: How Northern Virginians Respond When There is Less to Go Around. In 2021, one in five families (20 percent) in Northern Virginia did not earn enough money to meet their basic needs for shelter, food, medical care, and other essentials. An additional nine percent could not cover these basic needs, and pay for childcare. The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia published this report which includes perspectives from real Northern Virginians collated by InsideNOVA and Northern Virginia Family Services.

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April 18, 2023
One of the Community Foundation’s pillars in our revised mission is “resilience,” the ability to build on and endure. As the past three years have shown us, there is no set formula to endure and prevail but there are many good ways to do so. The Community Foundation recently spoke with Yolonda Earl-Thompson, the founder and leader of the LAZERA Ministries. She has been a Rt 1 Corridor resident for 14 years, and is formerly the Community Impact Officer of United Community.

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March 24, 2023

Aging in Northern Virginia


On March 23, 2023, Elizabeth Hughes, Senior Director of Insight Region®, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia's Center of Community Research, presented the findings from the report Growing Old Together in Northern Virginia at the annual Shape of the Region Conference. The report and the conference highlighted the complex challenges older Northern Virginians face, focusing on three questions that leaders across government, business, and non-profit can ask themselves in addressing these needs:
    1. How do we make it easier to be a caregiver?
    2. How do we increase the supply and affordability of senior housing?
    3. How do we help individuals afford to age in place?

Over 350 people attended the conference online and in person, from a near complete cross section of civil society, including government officials, non-profit and foundation staff, social changemakers, business leaders, and representatives at the local, state, and federal level. The conference featured multiple panels of national and local experts for candid discussions of the challenges older Northern Virginians face, and what innovative ideas and opportunities may exist in addressing this critical issue that impacts everyone.

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March 22, 2023

Research and Investments to support those 65 and older


Northern Virginia is home to more than 310,000 adults over 65, of which 82 percent are living in a condo or house that they own. These aging homeowners have high rates of disability (28 percent) and poverty (13 percent are living below 200 percent of federal poverty).  Source: American Community Survey, 2015-19; Insight Region® 2023 Growing Old Together in Northern Virginia Report

To address the needs of our aging population, the Community Foundation has produced data-driven reports, developed a permanent endowment, and makes grants annually to support non-profit partners working to support our neighbors 65 and older each year - having awarded $225,000 since 2011 in this field.

Connect with all of our Aging Resources below.

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March 2, 2023
Oakton, Virginia: March 2, 2023— The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is collaborating with 17 other philanthropic foundations from throughout Virginia to provide funding for expanded REACH behavioral health trainings for primary care providers treating children, adolescents and young adults across the Commonwealth. More than $170,000 has been contributed by these foundations in an effort to address the growing need for improved access to mental health care.

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February 6, 2023
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia released its 2021-2022 Annual Report, "Renewal," which highlights the surge of entrepreneurial ventures in the region during the past year, as well as the Community Foundation's work mental health, and adopting a new four pillar strategic plan that focuses on advancing equity.

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January 31, 2023
On February 1 2023, The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Insight Region® Center for Community Research released the Shape of Youth Mental Health report with a presentation and discussion at George Mason University. The report discusses the mental health needs of Northern Virginia's youth, which have only increased since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. 

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November 17, 2022
Dear Friends and Donors:

We have two very special announcements to share with you today.

First, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has just adopted a new mission statement to advance equity across the region by unleashing the power of philanthropy and community leadership.

Second, we have launched a new five-year strategic plan that establishes a road map of activities to help us achieve our mission. Created by the board and staff of the Community Foundation with input from members of our greater community, the plan is structured around four overarching pillars to guide our grantmaking, fundraising, and community leadership efforts:

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October 11, 2022
Dear Community Foundation Friends and Supporters,

Last Friday evening, we gathered for the first time in 3 years to celebrate our region’s resilience, success, and growing sense of home and place. As always, your support literally helped Raise the Region!

More than 500 guests joined us in person and another 100 tuned in to the virtual live stream. It was an incredibly heartening reunion and opportunity to celebrate the ties that bind us all together. Your support and generosity were unprecedented. The event raised a total of $650,000, which will help the Community Foundation build a community that works for everyone. 

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July 26, 2022
In 2022, the Community Foundation has been focused on supporting access to mental health care for Northern Virginia’s diverse community. As the 988 number is rolled out across the country, it’s imperative for all sectors- particularly community-based organizations and nonprofits- to understand the depth of the challenges everyday Northern Virginians face, and what our roles in the solutions are.

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March 15, 2022
Yesterday, Elizabeth Hughes, Senior Director of Insight Region®, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Center of Community Research, presented the findings in the report Finding our Way Back to Mental Health at the annual Shape of the Region Conference. This conference highlighted the complex barriers to basic mental health service - therapy, helpful medications, early interventions, as well as others. Over 300 persons attended, about half in person, and half online, from a near complete cross section of civil society - government workers, nonprofit and foundation employees, social changemakers, private sector businesses, and representatives from state, local, and national government offices.  The conference featured multiple panels of national and local experts for candid discussions of the challenges of accessing
basic mental health services in Northern Virginia, and what innovative ideas and opportunities may exist to address this
critical issue that impacts us all.


The discussion of the unique challenges for access to mental health presents a massive opportunity, and
a stark warning: whilst 750,000 adults in Northern Virginia have mental health needs, 370,000 who
want therapy or counselling are unable to get it.

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