Left to right:  Nickole Winnet, INMED Partnerships for Children; Maria Elena Vasquez-Alvarez, INMED Partnerships for Children; Amy Owen, CFLNFC; Lucky Wadehra, Wells Fargo and CFLNFC; Jennifer Montgomery, Loudoun Hunger Relief; Tracey White, CFLNFC; Carol Smith, Crossroads Jobs; Barbara Wayne, Crossroads Jobs

The Community Foundation celebrated its 20th anniversary with a spring garden party and awards ceremony on Sunday, June 2.  Current and past Board members, fund holders, and community partners gathered at the home of Community Foundation Board member, Connie Moore, in celebration of the milestone.

Board Chair Tracey White emceed the event, highlighting the Community Foundation’s growth in the past twenty years.  “As we reach our 20th anniversary, it’s only fitting that we’ve also surpassed several important organizational milestones recently,” White remarked.  “We now have almost 70 funds and more than six million dollars in community-based assets.  And, for the first time, we granted out more than one million dollars last year.”

Also recognized during the event were the winners of the Community Foundation’s inaugural Platinum Achievement Awards.  Through a competitive application process, three nonprofits demonstrating significant internal achievements were selected by a review committee to be named winners of the Platinum Achievement Awards and to receive a $2,000 grant from the Community Foundation.  Funding for the grants was provided by donations made to the Community Foundation’s Faces of Loudoun Grantmaking Fund, established when the Faces of Loudoun community service campaign was launched in 2017.

“Most grants are awarded to help seed or start new programs, or increase client services—and we applaud that critical funding,” said White. “Today, however, we applaud what’s ‘under the hood’ of a nonprofit. From strategic planning, to software upgrades, to staffing expansion, our grants review team was looking for local charities that have invested in their internal systems, and advanced their operations in ways that made their business model better, stronger, and with greater impact to support their mission.”

The winners of the Platinum Achievement Awards are:

  • Crossroads Jobs, for significant internal growth and operational improvements since beginning as an all-volunteer startup organization in 2012. In the last five years, achievements and  improvements include: increased capacity to add staff positions and provide additional services to the Spanish-speaking community; board development; upgraded data systems to track and measure outcomes; partnerships developed with both local employers and nonprofit service providers; and leadership work within the areas of workforce development and nonprofit human services.
  • INMED Partnerships for Children, for a long-standing history of providing evidence-based services supporting at-risk families (including the Healthy Families Loudoun program and parent education and support groups with a particular focus on the Spanish-speaking population)  and for the creation and development of the Family and Youth Opportunity Center.  In 2015, the Family & Youth Opportunity Center was created as an innovative public-private partnership to provide the education, services and resources disadvantaged families need to raise healthy, responsible and resilient children and to achieve self-reliance, despite the challenges of their environment.
  • Loudoun Hunger Relief, for the execution of a strategic plan, developed in 2014, that transformed their supply and distribution of emergency food to food-insecure Loudoun residents. Five years later, almost 30% of food available now through LHR is fresh produce; a newly remodeled food pantry is now designed to give their clients more choice in food selection; increased educational opportunities are now available, including mobile cooking classes in partnership with Loudoun County Public Libraries; barriers to services within the pantry have been reduced by making the pantry a more welcoming space; and, opportunities to receive services outside of their facility have been created, including pop-up pantries and a mobile food pantry to be operational later this year.

The Platinum Achievement Awards were presented by White, accompanied by Board member Lucky Wadehra, also representing event sponsor Wells Fargo. In the last four years, Wells Fargo and the Wells Fargo Foundation have provided over $300,000 in monetary support and thousands of hours of professional expertise and volunteer assistance to more than thirty-five nonprofit organizations in Loudoun County.  Additionally, Wells Fargo and the Wells Fargo Foundation has earmarked $150,000 for giving in Loudoun County in 2019 alone. “Through the coordinated efforts of a grass roots team of employees, our Loudoun-focused team is devoting their energies to improving the lives of their neighbors in Loudoun County,” said Wadehra. “Our team members are passionate about improving the quality of life for thousands of County residents and have committed themselves to be engaged members of our growing region.”

Photo Gallery:  Platinum Celebration