The Mean Loudoun Donor

The Mean Loudoun Donor

Meet Susan. She’s here to represent the mean donor in Loudoun County. Rather than mean, I should really say “average” donor. She might surprise you. Susan is great. But, chances are, she leaves Loudoun County every day for work. (53% of Loudoun residents do.) That commute negatively affects Susan’s ties to her community with fewer business connections and probably less knowledge of her community. Susan’s household income is about $120,000 like a substantive majority of households in the county. It’s a good quality of Loudoun County life, named one of the happiest counties in the U.S. Like most of her neighbors, Susan donates about 2% of her discretionary income to charity. That’s 1% less than the average American donating 3% to charity. As explained by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, “A Mismatch Between Need and Affluence,” American communities with high standards of living often have low charitable giving rates. American citizens who don’t come into immediate contact with “need” give less. That describes Loudoun County to a “T.” Loudoun needs aren’t in your face. The last Point in Time study in Loudoun County tallied 134 homeless citizens. Susan has never knowingly seen a homeless person in her neighborhood. The largest local food pantry, Loudoun Interfaith Relief, serves 17,000 people. She can’t see hungry people on her commute. Loudoun Cares, our local information and referral hotline, processed more than 4,000 referrals for people seeking help in rent and utility assistance, clothing, and more. But, those folks don’t call Susan. Loudoun County Department of Family services provides supplemental day-care support for 315 low-income qualifying households, allowing parents to get into the workforce...
The $10 Multiplier of Give Choose

The $10 Multiplier of Give Choose

May 3rd was all about choosing and giving. GiveChoose.org showcased 60 local nonprofits doing good deeds in our backyard: animal welfare, arts and culture, community improvement, education, environment, health, human service, and youth development. Hosted by the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties, this charitable “crowdfunding” event now in its third year is fast becoming a meaningful pipeline of fresh funding for our “heavy lifting” nonprofits, groups that rely on all-volunteer leadership, and new start ups. We build the portal, and these local charities use Give Choose to share their vision, explain their mission, and raise always-needed financial resources with gifts of $10 or more. Here’s a series of rising-tide-lifts-all-boats statistics: Seventeen businesses created a prize pool offering hourly awards to charities throughout the event to incentivize giving. Twenty businesses joined this year’s debut Business Challenge encouraging their employees join in Give Choose. First-time donors made 500 gifts to their newly discovered charity of choice.   Eighteen charities had donors willing to match gifts received during Give Choose. And, here’s the big Thank You Boom: More than 1,400 gifts were made to 60 nonprofits raising $180,200. Will you mark your calendars for May 2, 2017? Give Choose will be...
Local Philanthropy:  You Can Touch it, Track It, See It

Local Philanthropy: You Can Touch it, Track It, See It

I believe philanthropy is a cornerstone value that can define a community. It can, in a sense, make or break a community. Communities with generosity and a coordinated voice for need can elevate quality of life for everyone who lives there. If you’re not familiar with the community foundation model, you’re not alone. Even though Virginia has more than 25 community foundations across the Commonwealth, many folks are not familiar with us. In a nutshell, community foundations work with local donors to build endowment. Community foundation donors are very involved. They create and name their own personalized fund. They decide the purpose of the fund. People instinctively want to give to something that supports the place they live and love if the right giving vehicle is at the ready. And, community foundations, with their broad flexible purpose, are at the ready. For more than 25 years, I’ve been involved in nonprofit work, mostly in fundraising, and for the past three years, as jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none executive director of the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties. It is, by far, the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. My work and career has been deeply influenced by good luck, hard work, and a remarkable cadre of volunteer leaders. Through it all, a few key notions keep floating to the surface that, I believe, have helped my local community foundation stretch and grow. Here they are: Money does make the world go round. You can’t take it with you. Buy low and sell high. Give a gift that keeps on giving—include charity in your will. Be a changemaker—find an issue that...
I Do Not Like It Scam-I-Am

I Do Not Like It Scam-I-Am

Last week, the Community Foundation received a remarkable check from a new donor—almost $40,000.  And, it was unrestricted.  Yowza.  The donor trusted our judgment on how to apply it most wisely. It started with a generic email asking whom to talk to about making a donation.  The donor was from London, England, so my radar went up.  I mean, who makes a gift from overseas without any local ties to a community? Of course, I did the net search, revealing their company Website and Linked-In page, none of which offered any clues.  But, seeing those sites did sort of make it real. After several emails back and forth—all very brief, mind you—we received a Cashier’s check from a Trust fund held at a well-known regional bank.  Same as cash, right? Those Cashier’s checks?  My radar shifted from, “This is too good to be true,” to “WAA-HOO!” And, what’s more, it was for about $10,000 more than the email pledged.   Our Board of Directors was poised for discussion on best use of the funds. We had visions of future software purchases, creation of at least one new endowment fund, and stashing some away in a Reserve Fund. And then, the shoe dropped.  As requested, I emailed the donor to say the gift had arrived.  He called. The gift was $10,000 more “by mistake.”  Actually, the donor said, his accountant, who was now in Greece (Sigh*) had made this error and he expected he would need to fire him (Jeez*).  What’s more, he had pledged that portion of the distribution to a family with a child headed into surgery—and they needed...
Higher Thinking:  Our Community and Substance Abuse

Higher Thinking: Our Community and Substance Abuse

I attended a well-thought out session on substance abuse last night hosted and coordinated by the Chief of Police Purcellville. It was a community meeting of the highest thinking. Truth be told, I wanted to weep as I headed home. Substance abuse, like so many of us are intimately aware, is like a festering wound as friends and family members fall prey to addiction and isolation. There were people in the room with their own personal stories of loss. Hope and success, too. Here’s what I learned. Loudoun County Public Schools have staff trained and dedicated to helping students facing substance abuse as part of the Department of Pupil Services. Take advantage. Loudoun County has extraordinary and robust counseling services within its department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse & Developmental Services—including resources to reduce costs of 28-day treatment.  (Sadly, a few years ago due to budget cuts, Loudoun County lost its Drug Court and temporary safe housing for addicts—excellent and worthwhile measures that take an addict beyond the 28-day timeframe.) I was also reminded that people around us care. Police Chief Cynthia McAlister shared a story of a local low-income family with an addicted son, striving to keep costs in check during his recovery and opting to keep him at home during this delicate time. Like most of us, they didn’t reach out to friends or neighbors because of the stigma many of us feel—despite the common nature of this disease. Their son overdosed and died. That did become public knowledge. The lesson was this: So much caring and higher thinking rallied around that family that they didn’t need...
Coalitions, Networks, and Initiatives—Oh My!

Coalitions, Networks, and Initiatives—Oh My!

There are many ways to get involved in your local community—sometimes it just takes knowing the right people.   Or, the local coalitions, networks and initiatives! Our local community has a number of meeting systems and groups that welcome visitors, volunteers, and offer a wonderful ways to build connections and learn more about what’s what here at home. Interested in volunteering? How about learning more about local charities dedicated to health and human service? Want to find local workshops and training on fundraising or nonprofit administration? Here’s a list we’d like to offer up that might help guide your local thinking—and action! As put so beautifully, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” Mahatma Gandhi...
Gavin Rupp “I Promise 15” Legacy Continues

Gavin Rupp “I Promise 15” Legacy Continues

Gavin Rupp “I Promise 15” Scholarship Fund has awarded two scholarships in its debut year. Created in memorial to Gavin Rupp who died of cancer, July 30, 2013, at age 13, Gavin attended Eagle Ridge Middle School and loved the game of baseball.  His jersey was #15. The scholarship fund makes awards to students in the medical profession pursuing training and degrees with a particular emphasis in oncology. “Our entire family is so grateful for the wonderful medical team members that supported Gavin throughout his 30-month battle with cancer.  We hope that by providing a scholarship to students who will one day work with other pediatric cancer patients, the scholarship recipients can “Pay it Forward” to many others for years to come,” said Gavin’s parents, Chris and Sandy Rupp. Together with Gavin’s brother Ian and sister Abby, the Rupp’s intend to award at least one scholarship annually. Two students were selected to benefit in 2015: Caroline Nicotra (left), a Tuscarora High School graduate, will attend Virginia Tech with aspirations to study biological sciences on a pre-med track in oncology. Nicotra says she loves science, but was inspired by a friend in 4th grade who died of cancer. A second award was made to Brianna Jennings (right), a graduate of Loudoun County High. She will attend Michigan State University on a pre-med track after personal health issues sensitized her to the need for physicians with empathy and care. The Scholarship Fund also has a new benefactor from sales of a newly published children’s book, Overwhelming Underdogs, written by Jeanne Layman, sold online through Lulu.Com. A coming-of-age story about baseball, proceeds from the book will...
Grant Funding Announced for Youth and Elderly

Grant Funding Announced for Youth and Elderly

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia and the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties have partnered to support needs in Loudoun County.  This year, the Loudoun Impact Fund, a giving circle dedicated to supporting organizations in Loudoun County, will be managed jointly by both organizations. An estimated $65,000 of pooled contributions to the Fund will be available to support its 2015-2016 grant cycle.  Members of the giving circle have elected to support programs that positively impact youth and elderly welfare in Loudoun County.  Applications submitted from nonprofits, schools and faith-based organizations are now being accepted through a September 1, 2015 deadline. Grants are expected to range from $5,000 to $20,000 per agency.  In this year’s program, applications will be accepted for initiatives that improve the quality of life, health and mental wellness and/or provide services to disadvantaged children up to 18 and elders 65 or over to include populations with special needs, or are dependent, neglected, low-income or at-risk.  To learn more about this opportunity, visit www.communityfoundationlf.org/grant-seekers. The Loudoun Impact Fund was launched in 2012 by the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia and has granted $100,000.   The new partnership with the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties broadens the reach of the giving circle membership.  Its purpose is to invest strategically in Loudoun County, Virginia, to promote education, the arts and the environment, and to support the needs of Loudoun families, children and youth.  Each year, giving circle members work together to identify specific criteria for the annual grant cycle and, as the grant cycle progresses, serve as a grants review team for all proposals collected. “It’s a wonderful way to learn more about the...
The Shout Out that Makes You Smile

The Shout Out that Makes You Smile

Even though the Community Foundation’s 24-hour crowdfunding event, GiveChoose, was over a month ago (raising double over last year for some 48 local charities, I must add!!!), checks just went in the mail.  We took some time to reconcile all those transactions, process several refund requests (there is nothing as alarming as meaning to make a $25 gift, but pushing the “0” to the point of making a $2,500 gift. . . gulp . . . ), and get to get the checks cut. Ironically, last Tuesday as we stuffed them all in the mail, Jennifer Montgomery of Loudoun Interfaith Relief stopped by with this nifty, fantastic, and joyful video. It sure made me smile, big time.  I thought I’d share it with you. And, for the charities who took the crazy time out of their day to make it happen (and for all those who couldn’t, or didn’t), thanks to you each and all for making this work so meaningful.  I think YOU’RE the...
The Short Game Lesson

The Short Game Lesson

May 1st was a golfing event for the Community Foundation.  Local folks from Loudoun and Fauquier Counties generously donated to our grant making, leadership, and partnership building work and, in exchange, spent a half-day with two PROs.  I mean, real golf PROs. So good, they tutor the guys who make the cut.  E.J. Pfister and Chris Tidland flew in at the behest of our event coordinator, John Mascatello’s Wasserman Media Group.  Folks were learning some really good stuff. During lunch, we got an insiders’ behind-the-scenes view into the game of golf, its players, its politics, led by Mascatello and Len Shapiro of the Middleburg Life (and Washington Post).  E.J. and Chris talked about their work, and how they do it, and the people they work with. You could tell.  Pfister and Tidland love the game, and they love teaching it.  I realized that, if I had a family member who had talent, and was on the way up into the realm of professional golf, these were the teachers I’d want for my kid or spouse or cousin.  They had this powerful combination of challenge and reinforcement, knowledge with fantastic examples, that a good teacher possesses.    Good people, good at their jobs. Thanks, guys! And, thanks to everyone from our community who joined in.  I hope you’re out putting and chipping on this lovely day with that extra bit of skill.  I know Elaine Burden, Tom Northrup, Jon Moynihan, and Bob Wipfler must be! They won the day’s skills challenge. Our program was generously sponsored by Langhorne Custom Homes, RevSite.com, and AHT Insurance....
GiveChoose. Why We Do It.

GiveChoose. Why We Do It.

I just spent 20 minutes on the Community Foundation’s Twitter and Facebook pages re-posting all recent social media posts from our GiveChoose charities.  Is it good use of my time? Heck.  Its not just time.  The Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties has invested a fair $ amount in GiveChoose, set for this next Tuesday.  Its a 24-hour charitable crowdfunding event for almost 50 local charities that starts at 12:01 AM on Tuesday May 5th. Check out the giving portal at GiveChoose.org. One more fad, you say?  The best thing since sliced bread, maybe?  Really, its somewhere in between.  But, here are some of the meaningful details. Online fundraising is the fastest growing form of new income for charities.  They need to be proficient at it.  (We launched the program earlier this year with a half-day training program for all charities.) Its fantastically cost effective–no paper or postage, and design is typically an in-house creative moment. In our first year of GiveChoose (last year), 44% of all donors were First Time Donors to the charity they gave to. That’s awesome stuff. And, finally, it builds community — a connection between businesses (Toth Financial, Alpha Graphics, Backflow Technology, Middleburg Bank, and Alpha Graphics, a private foundation, and others), that, together, created a Prize Pool of gifts to incentivize giving during the 24 hours.  There’s nothing quite like winning a prize. Charities get too few of them. It builds community among charities, as they row together to inspire giving here at home. And, it builds community as our local households see that remarkable array of local charities, doing remarkable things, helping...
The Power of Partnerships

The Power of Partnerships

The Community Foundation was part of three very different evening meetings this past week.  Each gathering depended on strong partnerships from our community. Tuesday was a convening among dozens of charities willing to suss out ideas to help local citizens move from Food Insecurity to Food Security.  One can expect our food pantry and backpack program  leaders to show up for that topic, right? The invitation was also answered by groups who work with the same patrons:  Loudoun Abused Women Shelter , Loudoun Literacy, Loudoun Volunteer Caregivers, Crossroads Jobs, and Loudoun Cares, to name a few.  I applaud the breadth and scope of these caring groups willing to come together, to think, and share, and work toward community improvement. On Wednesday, I joined the annual announcement of grantees from the 100 WomenStrong giving circle.  This distinguished group of local philanthropists made grants totaling $113,000 this year, to ten charities carefully selected for their work in hunger, education, shelter, and health.  It was an evening of joy. Thursday night?  A sparkling new partnership with a sister community foundation, Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.  Together, the Loudoun Impact Fund and its donors (each who tithe in $1,000 per person, or $5,000 per business) will build a local grant making pool to help youth and elderly.  This pool of funds, expected to approach $50,000, will offer substantive and meaningful impact to grantee charities.  Boom! As Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so...
GiveChoose Prize Timeline Announced

GiveChoose Prize Timeline Announced

GiveChoose Prize Schedule 2015 For our charities:  these timeframes may be very helpful in energizing your donors. Donors:  making a gift during these peak periods will help your favorite charities win bonus prizes during GiveChoose. Thanks, too, to our latest Prize Pool Sponsor Toth Financial...
Hone Your Golf Skills with E.J. Pfizer and Chris Tidland

Hone Your Golf Skills with E.J. Pfizer and Chris Tidland

JOIN One of the World’s finest Teaching Pros E.J. Pfister and Tour Pro Chris Tidland, plus John Mascatello and Len Shapiro for a Short Game Clinic and Skills Challenge while benefiting your local Community Foundation. Two Short Game Clinics will be offered. Both groups will convene for lunch and a presentation with guest speaker Len Shapiro. 9:00 am: Breakfast and Registration for the Morning Clinic 10:00 am – Noon: Morning Clinic (this Clinic gives participants the opportunity to reserve a full round of golf after lunch at a generously reduced guest rate) Noon – 1:30 pm: Luncheon and Presentation for participants of both Clinics 1:30 – 3:30 pm: Afternoon Clinic *Please Note: Both Short Game Clinics will conclude with a competitive Skills Challenge Short Game Clinic and Skills Challenge: $500 per session ($300 tax deductible) includes a tee gift, lunch and all day use of the practice facilities. Short Game Clinic and Skills Challenge with Golf Included, greens fee and cart fee for 18 holes: $675 ($300 tax deductible) Visit our Smore Page to Register!  We can’t wait to see you swing!  ...
10 Tips for Twitter during #GiveChoose

10 Tips for Twitter during #GiveChoose

May 5, 2015  GiveChoose.Org A Day of Giving Benefitting Community Charities  Twitter Tip Sheet Twitter is an amazing way to quickly engage and transmit information, and can be a great tool for your online fundraising and building community around your charity. Here are some quick tips. First, follow the Community Foundation Twitter. Our “handle” is @LoudounFauquier. We’ll be reposting tips and ideas for the #GiveChoose event. “Follow” people and organizations that are important to your cause, community and your organization’s mission. You can search for them by name and organization and choose to “follow” them. “Listen” to conversations going on, just like at a party, and then begin talking as you would face-to-face. “Retweet” conversations of those you’re following. In fact, one suggested rule of thumb is to “retweet” 80% of the time, and post fresh tweets 20% of the time. This is how you build community around your organization. Include pictures. Pictures and videos are the most popularly retweeted posts out there. Include “hashtags”—that quintessential element of Twitter. Using a hashtag symbol #before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in a Tweet helps to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search. Hashtags help to create or identify trending topics. Don’t use more than two hashtags per Tweet, and some experts suggest the hashtag should appear toward the end of your message. When you click on a hashtag, you see all other Tweets marked with that keyword. On May 5th, 2015, create a hashtag unique to you, like #ChooseArtSqure during #GiveChoose! Track and research. You can do searches on hashtags to identify conversations...
100 WomenStrong Social Impact Institute

100 WomenStrong Social Impact Institute

The Social Impact Institute in its Leadership Development Program will enroll six executive directors in a six-month executive coaching program focusing on each participant’s goals—and, equally important—how achieving their goal will positively affect the nonprofit that employs them. The six participants will benefit from three one-on-one sessions with Executive Coach Leigh Shields, plus three cohort meetings with the full group between March and September 2015. Full application information is on our website under For...
New Offices, New Leaders, New Name

New Offices, New Leaders, New Name

The Community Foundation for Loudoun and Fauquier Counties has announced a series of changes: a name change, a new headquarters, and the next slate of board leadership.   Kirsten Langhorne, a long-time member of 100WomenStrong (a giving circle within the Community Foundation) and Lansdowne resident is the newly elected president of the all-volunteer board of directors, with John Rust from Leesburg named as Vice President. Both have been with the board for years.   As part of the Community Foundation’s emphasis to serve all of Loudoun County, Executive Director Amy Owen and the organization’s headquarters have been relocated to Leesburg within Healthworks’ Fort Evans Road facility. Healthworks is a nonprofit Community Health Center providing medical, dental and behavioral health care to people from all backgrounds, of all ages, and of all incomes. They are the medical home to over 9,000 Loudoun County residents, most of whom are low income.  The Community Foundation has assumed vacant offices on the first floor.   “We not only appreciate the hospitality of one of Loudoun County’s leading charities for office space,” said Owen, “we will benefit from several meeting areas and rooms within the building as we flip-flop board meetings between Leesburg and Middleburg.”   The name change was adopted by the Community Foundation Board of Directors to better explain the grantmaking group’s service...
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