Impact Stories

Leading and Convening the Community

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 14, 2022
The 2022 Shape of the Region Conference, and the incredible, impactful conversations we shared, simply would not have happened without the continued support of our partners and sponsors. Together, we’ve laid a foundation that will continue to serve as an enduring platform to ensure that everyone in our region has access to decent and quality mental health care. Please be sure to check out their websites, as well as these resources they shared during the conference.

To set the stage, here is a video recommended by NAMI Northern Virginia.

What is the best way to ease someone's pain and suffering? In this beautifully animated RSA Short, Dr Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities.

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November 9, 2021
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia announced today it is the recipient of a $50,000 grant to support Child Tax Credit application outreach in Northern Virginia. The grant is from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Funders Network partnership with Community Foundation Opportunity Network (CFON) and CFLeads initiative designed to rapidly respond to the federal government’s effort to quickly stand up the Community Outreach and Opportunity Fund (CO-OP Fund).

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October 28, 2021

Report Examines Northern Virginia’s Disparities in Preschool Enrollment


Northern Virginia's children at or near poverty have the second lowest rate of preschool enrollment in the country; just 29 percent of three-and four-year-olds in this income bracket are in school, compared with 41 percent nationally. It also has the largest gap in enrollment rates between these children and their counterparts in higher-income families.

On October 28th, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia's Insight Region® released a new brief that explores these disparities in preschool enrollment and disentangles how access, cost, and consumer preferences play into our findings: Ready for Kindergarten, Ready for Life: The causes and consequences of Northern Virginia's preschool enrollment disparity: The causes and consequences of Northern Virginia's preschool enrollment disparity.

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October 27, 2021

Inclusive Prosperity means that every child is prepared for success  

by Elizabeth Hughes, Senior Director of Insight RegionTM

This past spring, Insight Region issued a seminal report on economic mobility in Northern Virginia—specifically, the odds that a child born in poverty will achieve wealth as an adult. As it turns out, Northern Virginia is one of the best places in the country to raise a child; an astounding 19 percent of our kids who grew up poor made it to the top as adults, the highest rate of any metro area. Our report identified several neighborhood “opportunity factors” that contribute to this outcome, with one of the strongest being early academic achievement. The connection is so obvious and well-documented by the research literature that I think it should be considered fact: early academic success tends to beget later financial success.

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October 14, 2021
A record fundraising total of more than $500,000 was raised during Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s 2021 Raise the Region, an annual, mission-critical fundraiser for the Community Foundation.

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June 14, 2021

Exploring the broader context of Northern Virginia's exceptional rates of economic mobility

by Elizabeth Hughes, Senior Director of Insight RegionTM

In May 2021, Insight Region released its second brief in the Inclusive Prosperity series, Spreading the Wealth, which found that 19 percent of lower-income children who grew up in the region in the 1980’s and 1990’s were earning in the top quintile for household income as adults, the highest rate of economic mobility across the 50 most populous metro areas in the US. The region also produced the highest rates for Black children (10 percent) and Hispanic children (15 percent) in lower-income families. Compared to the broader DC metro area of which Northern Virginia is a part, these rates were also substantially higher—overall, 11 percent of children raised in poorer families in the DC metro area attained wealth as adults, dropping down to the 15th highest rate among metros; 6 percent of Black children (4th highest) and 13 percent of Hispanic children (2nd highest) raised in poorer families made it to the top quintile.

Our May 2021 brief went on to estimate the current level of opportunity across Northern Virginia’s 500+ census tracts, based on seven factors that research has shown influence mobility. But we had to wonder—how did Northern Virginia’s opportunity factors compare to those in the broader DMV?

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March 12, 2021

On Thursday, March 11, 2021, we presented the 2021 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 the virtual event.



This year’s conference, Co-Creating a New Northern Virginia: An Emerging Vision of a More Inclusive, Sustainable, and Equitable Region examined strategies for advancing a more inclusive economy in our region while facing some of the biggest challenges of our day – entrenched poverty, structural racism, and environmental sustainability.

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February 16, 2021

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia released its 2019 -2020 Annual Report, “Build Back -Dream Forward,” which highlights our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact.

The past year has tested pretty much everything we are as human beings, as a country, and as a local community.  The Community Foundation, therefore, spent considerable time during 2020 in response mode, helping the region address not one, but two crises – the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice.

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October 29, 2020
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has launched Build Back – Dream Forward – a post-COVID-19 Growth Initiative. Its purpose is to achieve social and economic equity, promote racial justice and equity, and catalyze more inclusive systems of economic growth in Northern Virginia, particularly in local communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the virus and its fallouts.

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October 8, 2020

In 2020, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia launched Insight Region®, a center for community research. It is a growing hub for reliable, well-researched, and actionable data and analyses on issues critical to Northern Virginia. Through this work, we seek to inform charitable giving, inspire civic and social action, and foster a more inclusive, prosperous region.

In 2021, Insight Region will focus on understanding and promoting Inclusive Prosperity – increasing self-sufficiency, expanding economic opportunity, and forging pathways for long-term movements out of poverty for all of Northern Virginia’s residents.

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October 7, 2020
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia hosted its first virtual Raise the Region Gala on Friday, October 2, 2020. 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.

Hosted by NBC4’s Leon Harris, 2020 Raise the Region gala is an annual mission-critical fundraiser that enables the Community Foundation to respond to need, seed innovation, and lead and convene the community. The theme for this year’s event was Building a Community that Works for Everyone.

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September 21, 2020
A crowd of more than 100 joined with the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia at its latest Innovation Breakfast Series: The Reinvention of Food virtual event on Thursday, September 17, 2020, to discuss the challenges facing the emergency food safety net since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Greater Washington region in March including some persistent racial and social inequities that exist, and possible paths forward to address them.

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July 20, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has pulled back the curtain and exposed longstanding structural and systemic inequities that exist in communities of color across our nation. From the education system to the labor market, to housing, health, and economic stability the coronavirus has had a disproportionate impact on African American and Latino communities.

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia recently hosted a virtual Town Hall – Build Back – Dream Forward where local leaders representing business, education, economic development, and philanthropy gathered to raise awareness around the uneven playing field that pre-existed COVID-19 and potential paths forward for greater equity in our economic systems.

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June 30, 2020
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia announced today it has awarded $440,000 in its fifth round of COVID-19 Response Fund Grants to 22 local organizations providing relief and services to communities in the region disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, including vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.

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May 26, 2020
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is pleased to announce the Round 4 grantees from the COVID-19 Response Fund for Northern Virginia.

So many individuals and families in our region continue to suffer terribly under the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus and its fallout. Applications for unemployment benefits are at an all-time high, and local human service nonprofits now report a 3-5 fold increase in demand for their services. Direct financial assistance to individuals and families hardest hit by the crisis remains a top priority for our COVID-19 Response Fund.

Each of the following Round 4 grantees have the experience, community reach, and infrastructure to deploy financial assistance to our most vulnerable families and individuals. The grants, which total $280,000, will provide direct cash payments, emergency loans, and direct payments of rent, utilities, and groceries to those who most need it, as more fully described below.

In addition, through the grant to CASA de Virginia, we have given special attention to the disproportionate impact of the virus on the Latinx and Hispanic communities in Northern Virginia. Most of our health districts now report COVID-19 cases disaggregated by race and ethnicity. In the Fairfax Health District alone, for example, their most recent data dashboard shows that Latinx and Hispanics constitute 16.8% of the total county population but 63.7% of the COVID-19 cases!

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May 22, 2020
Innovations in mental health are long overdue and the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying economic downturn have brought this into even sharper focus. The very nature of mental health services makes technological interventions difficult, but innovation in the field, being driven by the public health crisis created by the virus, is now necessary.

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April 24, 2020
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is pleased to announce the Round 3 grantees from the COVID-19 Response Fund for Northern Virginia.

Organizations offering access to health care, mental health care, and dental health care for low income, uninsured and underinsured residents, and organizations offering direct services to victims of domestic violence which is soaring under stay at home orders across our region, were invited to apply. And while we originally estimated that approximately $350,000 would be awarded in Round 3, strong contributions to the COVID-19 Response Fund and a phenomenal demand for support has resulted in grants totaling $715,000 to the following 35 organizations on the front line of the pandemic.

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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.

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April 3, 2020
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.

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