A Working Woman’s Crisis

A Working Woman’s Crisis

Three essential things tie directly to your quality of life: a roof over your head, healthy food on your table, and a job to bring in income. For many Loudoun residents, that trio gets sideswiped by one more essential: childcare. An average full-day of childcare costs approximately $18,000 a year in Loudoun County. That’s $1,500 a month. While the very wealthy can afford to have one parent stay home with the kids, many working-class parents simply cannot afford to go to work. If you’re a single mom, the noose is even tighter as women make about 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. And, single mothers head just over half of all U.S. low-income households with children. Allow me to introduce you to one of your Loudoun neighbors. Michoale is a woman of determination, moving herself up and out of a really difficult situation. Now, proudly in the workforce and earning an annual salary of $30,000, she is also a single mom of two young children. That adds up to as much as $36,000 in full-day childcare. She faces the very real mathematical dilemma of having to quit her job so she can better take care of her family. Something is woefully broken. Loudoun County and Virginia do offer help. The Loudoun County Board of Education has zeroed in on full-day kindergarten covering a bit more than 80% of our children—with a laser beam focus on schools attended by low-income families. That’s a relief to parents with youngsters ages 5 and up. Of course, if your job is 9 to 5, there is still after-school care costs to...
Four Investments in Community—Here’s How

Four Investments in Community—Here’s How

Let’s keep this simple… goodness knows you’re probably busy enough as it is. Still, if you’re interested in making a charitable investment in your community, here are four ideas that are doable and offer impact. Learn. Gaining greater knowledge about your nonprofit community is an excellent first step. Nonprofit staff and leaders know about one another, make referrals, brainstorm with each other, and often meet formally. Invite a nonprofit leader for coffee. Seek out referrals of other nonprofit leaders they see as collaborative, effective, and capable. You’ll gather some helpful insights that can affect your next-step investments. And, if you’re still wondering or confused, come see us at the Community Foundation. We can provide ideas to help you on your path. Volunteer. From loading food, to licking envelopes, to serving as a board member, many nonprofits can put a dedicated volunteer to work. Keep in mind that each charity has unique needs and limited workspaces. So, a decline of your offer isn’t personal. It’s often just practical. Still, be proactive. Visit LoudounCares http://volunteer.loudouncares.org/user/register to match your unique skills and interests with requests from area charities. And, if you have special talents, be sure to bring those up or detail them. Do you love strategic planning? Feel just fine asking a friend for a gift? Love numbers and budgets? Have a background in media, law, or human resources? Those skills are prized in many nonprofit organizations. Share. Charities are challenged by limited resources, to be sure. It’s just the name of the game. Be their ambassador. You can tell their story with friends at the backyard BBQ. You can share...
Taking Charitable Giving Personally: A Donor Advised Fund

Taking Charitable Giving Personally: A Donor Advised Fund

  If you take charitable giving personally, you should let us know. Consider setting up a donor advised fund with the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties. We offer donor advised funds for anyone who wants to stay actively and personally involved in grantmaking. Grant awards are issued to charities in the name of your fund (or anonymously, if you prefer). Gifts of cash, appreciated stock, real estate, or other assets can be donated to the Community Foundation into your fund. It’s a simple, powerful, and highly personal approach to giving. And, because the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties is a public charity, gifts made into a donor advised fund benefit from maximum tax advantages. As for the varied annual tax filings with the IRS and State. . . not your worry. The Community Foundation files one, single document with each entity representing your fund and all the funds under its stewardship. On the investment side, assets are pooled for greater diversification, yet accounted for separately, making creation of a fund with even modest assets (the Community Foundation requires a minimum gift of $10,000 to start a personal fund; $25,000 for a scholarship fund) easy from the start. Donor advised funds also help to create family traditions lasting for generations. Including your children and grandchildren in the joy of giving teaches valuable lessons about life. Family members of all ages can work with the Community Foundation’s professional grantmaking staff to target both local and national issues you care about most. Here’s another advantage: A year-end or lump sum gift made to the Community Foundation...
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...
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...
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