Alexandria, VA

Spring2ACTion, the biggest annual fundraiser for Alexandria nonprofits, is around the corner and organizers want to raise $2.5 million from 10,000 donors.

On April 28, donors will get a 24 hour chance to contribute to more than 150 nonprofits in the city.

Last year’s event raised $2.45 million from 8,453 donors, and the money was a lifeline during the beginning days of the pandemic.

Spring2ACTion is hosted by the foundation ACT for Alexandria, and has raised more than $12.5 million for local nonprofits since its founding 11 years ago. Last year alone, ACT for Alexandria distributed $5.7 million to support 131 Alexandria nonprofits.

“Last year was like a lifeline for our organizations,” Brandi Yee, ACT for Alexandria’s chief program officer, told ALXnow. “This is people’s livelihoods, and Spring2ACTion allowed organizations to pay salaries and help people through the pandemic. And it was used to help all these nonprofits pivot to meet the needs of their clients who are experiencing the effects of the pandemic.”

Last year’s top recipients were:

This year’s Spring2ACTion has also gained the attention of 36 businesses in the the Del Ray Business Association and Old Town Business Association, which are competing to outraise each other.

Photo via DASH/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Beyer Calls Trump ‘Super Spreader in Chief’ — “The Super-Spreader-In-Chief strikes again. From coast to coast he visits American communities spreading dangerous aversion to science and public health precautions. He brings large groups of people together under unsafe conditions in state after state, and this is what results.” [Twitter]

Halloween Weekend Events in Alexandria — “While Alexandria police are not planning to close down Lee Street for the annual Halloween party, there are lots of activities Halloween weekend.” [Alexandria Living]

ACT for Alexandria’s #ArtsALX Fundraiser Extended to Nov. 6 — “We are still fundraising to save the arts! 100% of donations will directly support artists in Alexandria. Donation portals open thru Friday, Nov. 6.” [Twitter]

Two Alexandria Restaurants Make Washingtonian’s List for Cozy Escapes — “The Yates family went above and beyond when reimagining the outdoor space at Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap during the pandemic. The 5,200 square-foot set-up has cabanas–hung with Moroccan lanterns–for parties of ten or less; pergolas glowing with string lights; and a new beer garden ringed around a fire pit… Pick (at Del Ray’s Evening Star Cafe) between two homey outdoor areas at this Alexandria mainstay: the Front Porch, where you can sip a bourbon slush by a fire-pit table, and the new, roomy Back Yard.” [Washingtonian]

ALIVE! Hosting Food Distribution Event on Halloween — “The event will be held at two drive-through sites: the parking lots of John Adams Elementary (5651 Rayburn Ave.) and Cora Kelly Elementary (3600 Commonwealth Ave.). Residents can pick up food at either location from 8:30-10:30 a.m. or until supplies last.” [Zebra]

Animal Welfare League of Alexandria Gets Pets Displaced by Zeta — “We are so glad we were able to welcome a group of dogs and cats from @LASPCA last night. In preparation for the landfall of Hurricane Zeta, The Louisiana SCPA needed to make extra room in their shelter so they could help animals displaced by the storm.” [Twitter]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy skies (during the day) . High 53F. Winds NNW at 10 to 20 mph. A few clouds from time to time (in the evening). Low 37F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Deputy Clerk — “The Deputy Clerk (Grade 7) is assigned operational responsibilities and ensures court’s instructions are executed and legal papers are prepared with accuracy and in accordance with appropriate policies and procedures.” [Indeed]

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With limited public performances, shuttered galleries and cancelled events, the Alexandria art scene has been hit hard this year.

On Saturday (October 24), the Alexandria Arts Alliance and ACT for Alexandria will host a virtual fundraiser for arts organizations and artists in the city.

“We knew as the weather gets colder, gathering will become more challenging,” said Alexandria Arts Alliance Board President Melinda Kernc. “There is amazing and inspirational art happening all around us, and we want Alexandria residents to experience it, even if they are staying home. These artists and arts organizations desperately need support from the community they serve so well. This entertaining, collaborative showcase provides a way to ensure the arts will emerge strong when the pandemic subsides.”

The event, which will raise funds for dozens of organizations, will be live streamed Saturday at 7 p.m. on the Alexandria Arts Alliance Facebook page. The event will include Guests will include an appearance by the mayor, a Saturday Night Live cast member and video vignettes from 23 Alexandria-based artists and arts organizations.

Additionally, Homegrown Restaurant Group (Holy Cow, Pork Barrel BBQ, The Sushi Bar, Sweet Fire Donna’s, Tequila & Taco, and Whiskey & Oyster) will donate 10% from its take-out orders that night if customers mention the event.

The following artist organizations will be featured:

  • Alexandria Choral Society
  • Alexandria Citizens Band
  • Alexandria Film Festival
  • Alexandria Harmonizers
  • Alexandria Singers
  • Alexandria Symphony Orchestra
  • Art on the Avenue
  • Arts on the Horizon
  • ArtSpire VA
  • Brave Spirits
  • Del Ray Artisans
  • Eclipse Chamber Orchestra
  • Fantastical Glass
  • Karen Fitzgerald Art
  • Lisa Schumaier
  • Local Motion Project
  • Metropolitan School of the Arts
  • MetroStage
  • QuinTango
  • The Art League
  • UpCycle Creative Reuse Center
  • Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association
  • Yellow Door Concert Series

Wow! Just WOW! We are so grateful for the ACT donors who have pledged $14,000 in matching funds to save #artsALX!

Posted by Alexandria Arts Alliance on Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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Alexandria residents feeling the financial impact of the pandemic could be eligible to get $100 to $400 in grocery store gift cards as part of a new program with the city and ACT for Alexandria.

Residents who have not received financial help from the government will be prioritized for the ALX Cares Grocery Gift Card Program, which runs through December or until the funds run out.

“The City has continued to address ongoing food insecurity caused by impacts of COVID-19 by designating an additional $1.53 million in funding from the Coronavirus Aid Relief for Economic Security (CARES) Act to expand and extend food assistance programs,” according to ACT for Alexandria. “An allocation of $950,000 is designated for the ALX Cares Grocery Gift Card Program and $580,000 for ALIVE! to continue large-scale food distributions and pantry support.”

To be eligible, residents must provide documentation of their loss of income, receive 50% area median income ($63,000 for a family of four and $44,100 for an individual) and live in the 22206, 22301, 22302, 22304, 22305, 22311, 22312 or 22314 ZIP codes.

Up to 1,500 gift cards are planned to be given away per month.

ACT for Alexandria’s ACT Now COVID-19 Response Fund has also raised more than $1 million, and $914,000 has been given in grant funding to other city nonprofits.

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ACT for Alexandria has broken fundraising records this year, and next month will celebrate its achievements with its first-ever virtual fall fundraiser.

“There is a lot to celebrate,” Heather Peeler, the CEO of ACT for Alexandria, told ALXnow. “We had our best-ever Spring2ACTion, we raised more than $1 million for the ACT Now Fund, and gave most of it away to 80 organizations, we are partnering with the city on a grocery gift card distribution program and launched a fund to support city employees on the front lines facing financial hardship.”

The Fall Salud and Virtual Celebration will be held for an hour on Wednesday, September 23, from 7 to 8 p.m., and includes performances from local artists and musicians.

The event is still being planned, and all funds will go to ACT for Alexandria.

“Throughout the year, our partners and supports have been extraordinary with the support and care they have shown for our community,” Peeler said. “This is an opportunity to come together and celebrate what we’ve collectively achieved in supporting Alexandrians throughout the pandemic.”

Join ACT for Alexandria for it's first virtual fundraiser on Wednesday, September 23! From the comfort of your own home,…

Posted by ACT for Alexandria on Monday, August 10, 2020

Image via ACT for Alexandria/Facebook

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ACT for Alexandria’s ACT Now COVID-19 Response Fund has now raised more than $1 million, and $910,000 has been given in grant funding to other city nonprofits.

ACT for Alexandria Executive Director Heather Peeler says that even though COVID-19 numbers are going down, the community needs are still great. The nonprofit has paused its grant request process for the month of June while it maps out its fundraising strategy for the rest of the year.

“The needs of community members are still substantial,” Peeler said. “All of our community partners are getting calls from constituents who need assistance. The health and economic impacts of the pandemic are still with us, even though I think everybody’s really geared up to get back to work. There are still many community members who are disproportionately affected and we need to continue to support them as they navigate this crisis.”

Peeler and her staff of four employees and two interns also organized and managed the Spring2ACTion fundraiser on April 15, which broke the city’s one-day giving record by raising $2.45 million for Alexandria nonprofits.

Now ACT for Alexandria is crafting a racial equity statement to guide its future priorities, and Peeler and her staff are organizing racial equity workshops. Peeler said that there is currently a waiting list of 100 people who want to attend in June and July.

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Morning Notes

ACT for Alexandria Calls COVID-19 a Racial Issue, Sends $900K to Nonprofits — “To work towards a community where all Alexandrians have an equal chance of living prosperous, fulfilling lives, we must work together to address systemic racism. That is a tall order. But together we can make a difference. Your support of the ACT Now COVID-19 Response Fund is an important step. That support allows our community to better respond to the needs of our neighbors facing overwhelming challenges.” [ACT for Alexandria]

Beyer Finds Fault in Indicted Fairfax County Police Officer — “This officer’s actions were unjustified, and he failed his oath to protect and serve. Body-worn camera footage clearly shows he escalated the situation with unnecessary violence against an unarmed black man.” [Twitter]

Police Disproportionately Use Force Against Black Alexandrians — ” Force is used against black males more than any other group, according to numbers compiled by the police department and acquired through a public-records request… In the most recent report, which covers 2019, 54 percent of the instances of use of force was against African Americans. That’s significantly higher than the black population in Alexandria, which is 23 percent.” [Gazette]

Alexandria Black History Museum Executive Director Makes Statement on George Floyd’s Death — “All keepers of African American heritage pledge to forever say George Floyd’s name, preserve the history he represents, and educate the public about the millions of brilliant minds lost to hate in America.” [Zebra]

Alfred Street Baptist Church Pastor Marchin in D.C. on Sunday with NAACP — “We want to personally invite ALL believers to join Pastor Wesley and the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Collaboration with the NAACP for a Prayer Walk for Peace and Justice on this Sunday, June 14 starting at 6am ET. We’re gathering at the NAAMHC and walking to the newly named Black Lives Plaza, NW in Washington, DC. Visit our website to register.” [Facebook]

Joe Theismann’s Restaurant Reopens — “The restaurant will be open for take-out and delivery via online ordering at Theismanns.com, delivery via select third-party apps, and walk-in patio dining. The restaurant will debut an adjusted menu for lunch and dinner, and will be open Sunday through Thursday from 12 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 12 – 10 p.m.” [Theismann’s]

Hundreds Sign Petition to Rename T.C. Williams High School After Petey Jones — “Additionally, we believe the name should be changed to honor one of the men who participated in giving the school that reputation, and who worked as a longtime employee at T.C. Williams High School.  Petey Jones died in 2019 of prostate cancer.  We believe that T.C. Williams should be renamed after him.  Please sign this petition if you agree.” [Change.org]

New Job: Assistant Magazine Editor — ” Content creation and coordination for national trade association magazine, including reporting, writing, editing and contributing to monthly print edition (circulation 40,000) and weekly digital newsletters.”[Facebook]

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After receiving two recent donations totaling $150,000, ACT for Alexandria is nearing $1 million for its ACT Now COVID-19 response fund, and the organization will be taking a break from giving grants to nonprofits to plan for the summer.

“We’re working with the city and our nonprofit partners to think through what the next phase of recovery is going to look like,” ACT for Alexandria President and CEO Heather Peeler told ALXnow. “We’ll be pausing grant making for a couple of weeks. While we talk through and get a better sense for how the needs of our community are evolving.”

Last week, Act for Alexandria was notified that it won two unsolicited grants, one for $50,000 from the Myer Foundation and another $150,000 grant from the Frank and Betty Wright Foundation.

Peeler set a personal goal of raising $1 million for the fund by the end of the summer, and the recent grants have put the total raised at more than $985,000. As of mid-May, the fund has awarded $686,860 in grants to Alexandria nonprofits, including ALIVE!, Together We Bake and Neighborhood Health.

ACT for Alexandria will pause the grants from May 26 until mid-June.

Last month, the organization also raised a record $2.45 million for 156 nonprofits during the Spring2ACTion event, and the platform remains open to donate to local organizations.

“Our strategy is to constantly share the work that the nonprofits are doing in our community,” Peeler said. “By showing that all the donations are making a real difference in people’s lives, that’s the best strategy for engaging donors and helping them see how they can continue to make a difference.”

Photo via Alive!/Facebook

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The ACT Now COVID-19 Response Fund has raised more than $777,000 from 780 donors, and has given away $619,000 to 67 nonprofits in and around Alexandria.

“There is nothing like the power of collective action, when we all take a small step that can add up to something really big,”ACT for Alexandria Executive Director Heather Peeler told ALXnow.

Peeler and her staff of four employees and two interns have been busy in recent weeks. In addition to the ACT Now COVID-19 Response Fund, they also organized and managed the Spring2ACTion fundraiser on April 15, which broke the city’s one-day giving record by raising $2.45 million for Alexandria nonprofits.

“We have an incredible team. Everybody is really focused on doing what we can to support the community,” she said.

The city donated $200,000 to the fund, Amazon donated $200,ooo and $76,000 was raised by Spring2ACTion.

The fund awards $10,000 grants, and nonprofits can apply for more than one grant. Some organizations have received as many as three separate ACT Now COVID-19 Response Fund grants.

“We intentionally wanted to make the grant process flexible, because needs are evolving in the community,” Peeler said. “But we didn’t want to award out all the money all at once. That’s why we set the $10,000 limit, but organizations can ask every week, essentially, for more funding.”

Peeler has set a personal goal of raising $1 million by the end of the summer.

“We are asking community members to continue to keep the fund in mind as they think about ways to support Alexandria at this time,” she said.

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ALIVE! will conduct another food distribution to more than 1,000 families this Saturday, and the nonprofit needs face mask donations for volunteers.

“We received a donation from Yates Dry Cleaning,” ALIVE! Executive Director Jennifer Ayers told ALXnow. “We need more. We tried to order some recently and they’re hard to get. Right now we’re still waiting on them.”

ALIVE! has given away a record 110,000 pounds of food since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Alexandria. In fact, the nonprofit is breaking all sorts of records. On April 15, ALIVE! received the top number of donations —  $145,611 from 491 donors — in the annual Spring2ACTion fundraiser. The funds will be used for programming purposes, Ayers said.

“That was amazing,” Ayers said. “Our original goal was 60,000, based on what we raised last year.”

Home deliveries have also increased substantially, as ALIVE! is now delivering food every day to 500 individuals stuck at home, as opposed to an average of about 200 families before the crisis.

ALIVE! is utilizing a warehouse space provided by the city to receive all of the food from suppliers, and the pandemic has caused a few disruptions in deliveries. Inside the warehouse, no more than 10 volunteers at a time receive the food and package it, while being six feet away from each other.

“Home deliveries for today was 500, and that’s almost 600 pounds of food for just one day,” said Ann Patterson, ALIVE’s food program director. “I have enough food to do another 1,000 families this Saturday, but then we’ve got to figure out how to manage on a week-to-week and on a day-to-day type kind of basis, and you have to manage it that way because the supply chain has been disrupted.”

This Saturday’s food distribution will be held at the Leonard “Chick” Armstrong Recreation Center (23 W. Reed Ave.) and John Adams Elementary School (5651 Rayburn Avenue) from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Those receiving food are encouraged to drive to the sites and to stay in their cars. Pedestrians are asked to observe social distancing and to stay six feet away from volunteers or others.

Photo via Alive!/Facebook

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