Scholarship Fund Created in Memory of Loudoun County Supervisor Henry Stowers

Scholarship Fund Created in Memory of Loudoun County Supervisor Henry Stowers

The Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties (CF) is honored to announced that a newly gifted scholarship fund has been created to benefit graduates of Loudoun County High School (LCHS). Henry C. Stowers’s estate created the Loudoun County High School Scholarship Fund with a $665,000 endowment and will make an annual award of approximately $20,000 per year to four students. The award will be renewable for four years for a potential of $20,000 in total support to each LCHS graduate recipient. The first scholarship was awarded to Danning Bisaga, a 2018 graduate of LCHS who plans to attend the University of Virginia this fall and pursue her interest in studying psychiatry or psychology.  “This is a wonderful opportunity. Thank you,” stated Bisaga. “This fund is a substantial gift to Loudoun County. We are honored to have been chosen to steward its growth to ensure hundreds of graduates of Loudoun County High School benefit from this incredibly generous gift,” said Amy Owen, president of the Community Foundation. “By all accounts, Henry was a very kind soul who was a ‘giver, not a taker.’ This scholarship fund is an example of his spirit of giving.” Stowers was a lifelong farmer and an avid photographer. He served on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors from 1972 to 1979 and on the Loudoun County Soil and Water Conservation District from 1980 to 1986. He also held leadership positions in many Loudoun County and regional organizations, including service on the boards of the Loudoun County Farm Bureau, the Southern States Cooperative, the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Committee, and the Planters’ Club. He...
Loudoun Impact Fund:  Tips for Grant Seekers

Loudoun Impact Fund: Tips for Grant Seekers

Calling grant seekers!  Does your organization serve low income, at-risk, or special needs youth, older adults, or people with disabilities?  The Loudoun Impact Fund, a partnership between the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties and Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, is currently accepting proposals for programs that advance youth and elderly welfare, and services for people with disabilities. The Loudoun Impact Fund is a giving circle of annual philanthropic investors who review and recommend grants into our Loudoun community. Each year, members of the giving circle  select their top priorities for grantmaking in Loudoun. We request proposals for funding that will positively impact the priorities they selected; you submit a carefully prepared application, requesting funding for your good work. So, you wonder, what might nudge your application to be selected as one of the top-ranked proposals?   Here are our tips to help your proposal stand out: The details matter. Carefully reviewing your narrative and budget to ensure you completely answer each question in the application requirements is an important step to make sure the reviewers have all the information they need. But, keep it simple.  The art of crafting detailed yet concise messaging related to your organization’s work comes with practice and careful editing.  It’s tempting to wax poetic about your proposed project or program; after all, your organization is doing great things, and probably a lot of them!  But keep in mind the reviewers are reading many proposals.  You want yours to be easily digested and understood. Avoid assuming. Remember, our reviewers may not be familiar with your organization, even if your organization is a previous...
Did You Hear the News? New Leadership Here…

Did You Hear the News? New Leadership Here…

Two new leaders have taken on the Community Foundation mantle.  Nicole Acosta adds her knowledge and background in a new staffed position, Director of Grants and Nonprofit Programs.  Lucky Wadehra joins the leadership team as a newest Board of Director. Acosta will serve as the first contact point for donors interested in grantmaking, among other duties. Acosta will work closely with Amy Owen, president of the Community Foundation and will provide direct support for donor advised funds and giving circles such as 100WomenStrong and the Loudoun Impact Fund, for which she will work directly with donors to ensure a quality experience, focusing on continuous improvement. As the Director of Nonprofit Programs & Grants, Acosta will help guide strategic leadership initiatives within the Community Foundation, as well as directly oversee and direct media outreach and communications and training programs for area nonprofit leaders and organizations. Wadehra, an Ashburn resident, is a Senior Vice President and Business Banking Manager for Wells Fargo’s Business Banking Group in Northern Virginia. Lucky has been with Wells Fargo and in banking and lived in Loudoun County for more than 15 years. Throughout her career, she has held positions in leadership and management roles requiring a strong skill set in customer service, sales, budgeting, financial and business acumen, developing talent and practicing diversity and inclusion. She joins the Board for a  three-year term bringing her seasoned business sense to the Community Foundation’s structure and vision. We welcome them...
Loudoun County Giving: the 2017 Data is In

Loudoun County Giving: the 2017 Data is In

For a second year, research conducted by the Chronicle of Philanthropy to measure charitable giving reveals lackluster household giving in Loudoun County. While most of Loudoun’s neighboring counties reported an increase in giving between the study’s release first in 2014 and again in 2017, Loudoun County giving rates have remained flat. The study, “How America Gives,” offers an analysis of the giving patterns of Americans who earn $50,000 or more annually and who itemize charitable deductions on their income-tax returns for 2012 and 2015. Itemized giving of these taxpayers represents nearly 80 percent of all individual charitable contributions and offers the best comparison into giving at local levels and includes giving to places of worship and nonprofits serving education, health, animal welfare, etc. The key measure is the giving ratio: This is the total of a locality’s charitable contributions as a share of its total adjusted gross income. For instance, if itemizing taxpayers in a given area earned on average $100,000 and gave away $3,000, that area’s giving ratio would be 3 percent. If Loudoun County’s giving were equal to the giving rate of Virginia’s overall giving ratio of 2.9%, it would generate and additional $155,000,000 for charity. The first study released in 2014, became part of a stable of research and information that informed the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties’ Faces of Loudoun campaign and supported by the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers. The campaign portrays real people in Loudoun County who have relied on the services of local nonprofits addressing homelessness, aging in place, intellectual and mental disabilities, domestic violence, health, addiction, teen suicide,...
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

  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 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

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...
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