As the Council on Foundations observes Community Foundation Week, this November 12-18, we will be posting stories from across the country of members who exemplify the ability of place-based philanthropy to drive innovation and strategy. If you would like your organization featured here, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2014, ACT for Alexandria (ACT) will celebrate its 10th anniversary as the community foundation of Alexandria, VA. As a community foundation in a city where the median income is over $82,000 but one in which the number of young children living in poverty has tripled since 2005, ACT is uniquely positioned to guide services toward the most vulnerable members of our community.
Together with a contingent of nonprofit, public, and private partners, ACT established several new initiatives and programs aimed at improving the lives of children in Alexandria. In April 2007, as a result of a partnership between ACT and the City of Alexandria, the Center for Alexandria’s Children (CAC) opened its doors as an advocacy center for children who have experienced abuse. Today, the CAC provides children a safe place to receive coordinated care and bridges a critical gap in services.
In an effort to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges facing Alexandria’s children, ACT and The Early Care & Education Work Group completed a Risk & Reach Study which will be the framework for a broader conversation on the importance of investing in early care and education. This study will be officially rolled out on November 19, 2013.
To further support our work in early childhood care and education, ACT reaches out to individual residents through our online civic engagement platform, ACTion Alexandria. With ACTion Alexandria, ACT consults Alexandria residents to identify and create important changes for children in the community, such as improving play areas, funding after school tutoring, and gathering donations of books, toys, and diapers.
ACT for Alexandria is fortunate to be located in an actively engaged city with generous residents, dedicated service providers, and civically minded businesses. We hope that, together, our efforts will continue to make a brighter future for children in Alexandria.
For more information about ACT for Alexandria, visit: www.actforalexandria.org
John Porter is executive director of ACT for Alexandria