Alexandria, VA

ACT for Alexandria raised $2.5 million for more than 156 local nonprofits during its 11th annual Spring2ACTion fundraiser — breaking the $2.45 million record set last year.

As of Thursday morning, 8,250 donors raised $2,509,133 for 156 nonprofits in Alexandria for the biggest one-day fundraiser in Alexandria. The final numbers are currently being tallied, and stragglers will be allowed to donate through the weekend.

“The Alexandria community has done it again,” ACT President and CEO Heather Peeler told ALXnow. “It’s remarkable and I can hardly even put words to just how much appreciation I have for the enormous generosity of this community.”

The top three recipients were RunningBrooke with $165,053.60, followed by Casa Chirilagua with $106,247.34 and Friends of Guest House with $100,715.

“What we achieve is only possible because there are 156 nonprofits who are reaching out to their board members and their constituents and getting their friends involved,” Peeler said. “We had over 70 local businesses participating who were engaging their customers and their employees. It was an all-hands-on-deck effort across the community.

Spring2ACTion has raised million for local nonprofits since its founding 11 years ago. All donations are tax deductible and irrevocable.

The Del Ray Business Association also raised $18,466.92 from 127 donors, soundly beating the Old Town Business Association in its fundraising challenge. OTBA raised $16,272 from seven donors.

Peeler is thankful of her staff of six, especially Brandi Yee, ACT for Alexandria’s chief program officer.

“Brandi has been with Spring2ACTion from the beginning, and this would not be possible if it weren’t for her,” Peeler said. “She has tremendous relationships with the nonprofit community and donors, and has so much insight in terms of what to do and how to make it happen.”

Spring2ACTion Top 10:

  1. RunningBrooke raised $165,053.60 from 198 donors
  2. Casa Chirilagua raised $106,247.34 from 369 donors
  3. Friends of Guest House raised $100,715 from 170 donors
  4. ALIVE! raised $98,649.24 from 471 donors
  5. Carpenter’s Shelter raised $73,050 from 300 donors
  6. Space of Her Own, Inc. (SOHO) raised $62,731.38 from 174 donors
  7. King Street Cats raised $62,465 from 495 donors
  8. Together We Bake raised $60,378 from 193 donors
  9. Center for Alexandria’s Children raised $51,040 from 134 donors
  10. Alexandria Tutoring Consortium raised $49,805 from 180 donors

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The biggest one-day fundraiser in Alexandria is here. Spring2ACTion started this morning and donors have until midnight to contribute to more than 150 nonprofits in the city.

Last year’s event raised $2.45 million from 8,453 donors, and the goal has been raised to $2.5 million. This year, event organizer ACT for Alexandria is looking for 10,000 donors.

Last year’s top recipients were:

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.

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The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria has done it again. On Saturday, the nonprofit raised more than $450,000 for college-bound Alexandria students at its annual gala, which was held virtually for the second year in a row.

The gala was held this year at Jack Taylor’s Alexandria Toyota, which also raffled off a $25,000 Toyota RAV-4 to T.C. Williams High School biology teacher Jennifer Darque. More than 400 dinners and deals were also auctioned off in the event, which was attended in-person by Mayor Justin Wilson and his wife, Alex Crawford-Batt, who received a SFA scholarship when she was a student.

“The need for scholarships in this community is great,” said SFA Director Beth Lovain. “Each year we have to turn kids away because we simply do not have the funds to help all of our students in need, especially this year with the economic fallout from COVID wreaking havoc on families that already struggle financially. But what I want to convey most is my overwhelming pride in our 2021 scholarship recipients. They are truly Generation Resilient. Through all of the adversity and through all of the challenges of COVID and 2020, they have remained poised and focused, their college dreams will not be pushed aside”

The Scholarship Fund awarded $525,000 in scholarships to 180 students from the class of 2021. Last year, SFA awarded $507,000  to 181 students, and the nonprofit has given $17 million to more than 5,000 students since its founding in 1986.

“I couldn’t be more grateful,” said T.C. senior Mikias Elias after receiving the $40,000 SFA Collis Warner Scholarship. “This scholarship brings great relief to my family knowing that college won’t be a financial struggle for us.”

Elias was recently accepted into the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.

“This scholarship will make my education at Virginia Tech possible,” he said. “On behalf of the Class of 2021 Scholarship awardees, I’d also like to say we are all relieved to know that we have financial support, and we are so proud that you believe in us.”

Photo via Scholarship Fund of Alexandria/Twitter

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Morning Notes

T.C. Williams completes comeback to win school’s first volleyball state championship — “For a moment, T.C. Williams sophomore Milan Rex was scared. The Titans were trailing Kellam two sets to one in the Virginia Class 6 championship Friday in Alexandria, and the chance at a perfect season seemed to be fading. Coach A.J. DeSain reminded the Titans they belonged in this moment, enabling Rex to lock in. She then powered T.C. Williams to a 23-25, 25-19, 18-25, 25-19, 17-15 victory — the program’s first state title. [Washington Post]

Mayor Wilson defends donation from Planning Commission Chair — “Planning Commission Chair Nathan Macek gave Wilson a donation the day after Wilson voted with the majority of council to reappoint Macek to his post. Macek’s employer, the engineering firm WSP, has played a leading role in numerous large projects in Alexandria, including the under-construction Potomac Yard Metro.” [Alex Times]

ACPS shifting to three-foot distancing in classrooms — “With our work to reconfigure our classrooms to three feet of physical distance between students, we will have all classrooms reconfigured and our strategy to accommodate lunch by April 26 which will allow us to transition more students after April 27. Read more about the planning and implementation process below.” [ACPS]

Alexandria Police hang out with ARHA residents — “We had a great time spending time with the Princess Square community this morning. Our officers had fun on the playground with the kids. Thank you ARHA for inviting us to stop by.” [Twitter]

Inova Landmark named ‘Deal of 2020’ by Washington Business Journal — “I constantly hear ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ … But the hard part is done. It was about assembling the right players and having the will to get it done.” [Washington Business Journal]

Wilson, Chapman, Aguirre, McPike and Gaskins gets rush of endorsements — “The decisions to be made are tough and require bold, consensus-building leadership. We are encouraged by the number of candidates stepping forward to run for City Council and Mayor this year. We think there are some in particular that stand out as ready to lead us through the recovery.” [Alexandria Forward]

Handgun and animal bones found in Potomac River cleanup — “There was an interesting discovery during an Earth Day river clean-up along the Alexandria waterfront today. A handgun and what were determined to be animal bones were found. The weapon was determined to be many years old. Thank you for calling APD!” [Facebook]

Today’s weather — “Sunny skies (during the day). High 67F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph… Clear to partly cloudy (in the evening). Low 47F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.”  [Weather.com]

New job: Worship producer — “The Worship Producer supports the communications ministry at Aldersgate United Methodist Church (AUMC). As part of the staff team, the Producer will design and create video and media content for in-person and online worship (which may also be used for marketing and promotional purposes) and will be responsible for online streaming of Sunday morning worship. The Producer, assisted by other church leaders, will build a video ministry volunteer team to assist them in designing, creating, and sharing content video content for the church.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Spring2ACTion starts early giving — “Alexandria’s official Day of Giving is April 28, but early giving is open and residents are generously donating to more than 100 local nonprofit organizations.” [Alexandria Living]

Citizen group advicates to return to ward representation — “For most of its history since the early 1800s, the City of Alexandria had neighborhood-based  representation on its city council. Now, a bipartisan coalition of residents is calling for a return to that type of government, arguing that ward representation would foster better service and accountability to residents.” [Alexandria Living]

Mister Kleen donates hand sanitizer dispensers to Neighborhood Health –“Mister Kleen Maintenance Company, Inc. is giving back to the community with a donation of more than 100 automatic hand sanitizer dispensers with stands to Neighborhood Health, a local nonprofit community health center that serves more than 42,000 patients in clinics across Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax County.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Thunderstorms in the morning will give way to partly cloudy skies and gusty winds late. Storms may contain strong gusty winds. Morning high of 67F with temps falling to near 55. Winds W at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of rain 80%… Clear (in the evening). Gusty winds diminishing after midnight. Low 37F. Winds WNW at 20 to 30 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Bartenders — “Doyles Outpost is the newest FUN in town a uniquely designed entertainment concept featuring a mouthwatering menu, full bar, novel two level laser tag arena, the latest arcade games and the HologateTM virtual reality attraction. We are the perfect venue for your next corporate event, social gathering or birthday party.” [Indeed]

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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

Alexandria woman wins $1 million in lottery — “Clarice Chandler told lottery officials “it was just by chance” she bought a ticket at Royal Farms at 5301 Jefferson Davis Highway in Fredericksburg. She claimed her prize three months later, becoming one of four $1 million winners in the New Year’s Day drawing.” [Patch]

Florence King joining City Council race as independent — “An Alexandria resident and business owner for thirty years, Florence M. King filed the organizational paperwork as an Independent candidate to get on the ballot, and is running for one of the six open seats on Alexandria’s City Council.” [Zebra]

ALIVE! announces $80K fundraising goal — “FUNDRAISE for ALIVE! at Spring2ACTion Multiply your support by becoming a FUNDRAISER for ALIVE! at Spring2ACTion., expanding our outreach, and helping us meet our goal of $80,000.” [Twitter]

Today’s weather — “Overcast (during the day). A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 66F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph… Cloudy (in the evening). A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low 56F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Bartender at the Chart House — “This isn’t just your next job – it’s your opportunity to be part of an amazing team that delivers on our promise to meet and exceed our guest’s experience the moment they walk through our doors! We offer structured programs for growth and career advancement and consider our employees to be our greatest asset.” [Indeed]

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The Del Ray Business Association has a bunch of efforts in the works to get business to local retailers and restaurants.

From now until April 15, visitors are encouraged to participate in DRBA’s “Cherry Blossom Challenge” scavenger hunt. There are 27 cherry blossoms hidden in storefronts along Mount Vernon Avenue with clues. Each numbered cherry blossom has a symbol near it, and participants need to mark down what those symbols are and then drop off their entries at the Pat Miller Neighborhood Square by April 15 for a chance to win a $50 gift card at a Del Ray restaurant or retailer.

Additionally, this year DRBA and the Old Town Business Association will compete in Spring2ACTion on April 28. The event is the largest single day of giving to nonprofits in Alexandria.

“If you normally give, we’d love for you to give through our DRBA page, because, of course, we’re going to have a raffle and some prizes to win,” Del Ray Business Association President Lauren Fisher said. “But that’s a big part of our mission is giving back to our community. Thank you for supporting not only our businesses, but also our nonprofits.”

In case you missed it, last week DRBA gave out a free trip to Delray Beach, Florida, which is worth about $2,500. Participants who spent more than $25 eating out at a Del Ray business received a raffle ticket, and the contest garnered more than $11,000 in receipts.

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Morning Notes

Virginia abolishes death penalty — “Today, Virginia ended its 400-year history of carrying out executions, becoming the first state in the South to abolish the death penalty. Signing this law is the moral thing to do.” [Facebook]

City Council condemns Asian hate — “The resolution highlights the significant contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to Alexandria’s cultural, educational and economic fabric. It condemns the acts of violence and harassment that have increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, including efforts to scapegoat people of Asian descent for the virus.” [Zebra]

Tobi, the Alexandria dog with no front legs makes GoFundMe goal for new wheelchair — “We are so grateful to everyone who has made it possible for Tobi to have a wheelchair that will fit his body perfectly and help him to live a mobile and happy life with us! … Bionic Pets has started constructing Tobi’s custom devices and they will be ready in the next 3-4 weeks. In honor of Tobi’s birthday this weekend, I’ll leave this fundraiser open until Saturday and will donate all proceeds above the cost of his devices to Derrick and Bionic Pets to help fund the cost of another custom device for a dog in need… You can also follow his Instagram @TobiTheDog18 to see all of his adventures.” [GoFundMe]

Nomination deadline today for Ellen Pickering Award — “Nominees can be residents, clubs, groups, organizations or corporations who have had a direct impact on protecting the natural environment and natural resources within the City of Alexandria. Nominees must live or operate within the City of Alexandria. The award is named in honor of the late Frances Ellen Pickering, a longtime environmental and advocate and public servant in Alexandria. She was instrumental in ensuring public accessibility to the Potomac River, creating the Mount Vernon Trail and installing 1,000 cherry trees around the city.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s weather — “Cloudy (during the day). Slight chance of a rain shower. High near 75F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph… Cloudy skies early followed by scattered showers and thunderstorms later during the night. Low 63F. Winds S at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 60%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Bartender at Belle Haven Country Club — “The Bartender works a flexible schedule and embodies the service culture at Belle Haven. Bartenders understand the member service is every employee’s most basic job description. All Bartenders are required to work weekends and holidays.” [Indeed]

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Tobi needs a new set of wheels. The five-year-old Mini-Australian Shepherd was born without front legs, and his Alexandria owner has launched a GoFundMe campaign so that he can get a $2,350 wheelchair.

Alexandria resident Paige Bradford adopted Tobi from The Humane Society of North Texas in 2018. She’s an elementary school special education teacher in Arlington, and said that Tobi is also an emotional support animal.

“Tobi’s an active dog,” Bradford told ALXnow. “He loves people, and I actually don’t think he knows that he’s a dog.”

Tobi has been using a wheelchair that was outfitted for him in Texas, but it is ill-fitting and his spine is starting to deteriorate, Bradford said.

“Toby has been a nice bridge in terms of helping kids to see that being different isn’t bad,” Bradford said. “Now in virtual learning, Tobi is like another member of my class.”

Bradford found Bionic Pets, a Sterling, Virginia-based company that makes custom prosthetic devices for pets. Tobi has since been outfitted for a $2,350 brace and a wheelchair.

Bradford launched the GoFundMe campaign on Tuesday (March 23) and has raised more than $500. She said that any monies raised in excess of the amount she needs for the cart will be donated to Bionic Pets to help another animal.

“This cart would would help to give him more stability,” she said. “It’s custom made to him, and it would account for the fact that his chest cavity is crooked. This would have padding in all the right spots, so there isn’t any rubbing or irritation and it’s guaranteed for life.”

Courtesy photo

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