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ACT for Alexandria raised $2.5 million for 172 local nonprofits in its 12th annual Spring2ACTion fundraiser on Wednesday (April 27). The fundraiser is the largest single day of giving in Alexandria, and came just short of matching the amount raised last year, ACT CEO Heather Peeler told ALXnow.

“I’m almost speechless in terms of thinking about how to describe just the care and love that people show for our community,” Peeler said shortly after midnight. “This is really about the entire community coming together. It’s about the nonprofits that are doing incredible work that people want to support, the donors who are feeling really generous and the local businesses who see giving back as core to their business. It’s really an all-hands-on-deck effort from across the city.”

The final numbers keep changing, as stragglers will be allowed to donate on the Spring2ACTion website until Sunday, May 1.

The top three recipients were the same as last year: RunningBrooke took in $157,000 from 197 donors, followed by Casa Chirilagua with $114,000 from 313 donors and Friends of Guest House with $112,000 from 180 donors.

Spring2ACTion has raised nearly $19 million over the last 12 years, and awarded $28,000 in prizes to the organizations with the most donors.

The Del Ray Business Association also raised the most of the five competing business associations, raising $20,525 from 90 donors, and final tallies are still be made for participating businesses that contributed 10% of proceeds toward Spring2ACTion.

Spring2ACTion Top 10:

 

 

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Spring2ACTion has broken Alexandria’s single-day fundraising record two years in a row, but can ACT for Alexandria do it again?

The nonprofit wants to raise $2.5 million from 10,000 donors for 171 Alexandria nonprofits and charities — essentially matching the amount raised last year.

While the pandemic might be winding down, the need is greater than ever, told ALXnow.

“There are still so many families struggling to meet their basic needs, whether it’s paying rent, having food or accessing childcare,” Peeler said. “These are all still critical day-to-day needs for our neighbors and Alexandria, and the work that Alexandria nonprofits are doing is as essential now as it was during the height of Covid.”

Giving is set to begin at midnight (Wednesday, April 27) and last for 24 hours.

Last year, the Del Ray Business Association beat the Old Town Business Association, raising $18,466 to Old Town’s $16,272. This year, Peeler and her staff have expanded outreach to the city’s five business associations, which have competed against each other all month by donating portions of sales toward the cause.

The Del Ray Business Association will also hold spontaneous raffles all day Wednesday at Piece Out Del Ray, Taquera Pablano, Pork Barrel BBQ, Holy Cow and The Tiki Bar.

“The outpouring of support from Alexandria’s small business community has been unprecedented,” Peeler said. “They’ve been phenomenal.”

There are also 15 more nonprofits participating this year, Peeler said.

“If there’s a cause you’re interested in, chances are there’s not just one but probably a couple of nonprofits working on that cause,” she said.

The top three recipients last year were RunningBrooke with $165,053.60, followed by Casa Chirilagua with $106,247.34 and Friends of Guest House with $100,715. RunningBrooke and Casa Chirilagua have been in the top three of the leaderboard for two years in a row.

Spring2ACTion has raised $15 million for local nonprofits and charities since its founding 12 years ago. Donations can be as little as $5, are tax deductible and irrevocable.

Via Running Brooke/Facebook

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As the war in Ukraine drags on, Visit Alexandria has put together a roundup of how locals can help contribute to the Ukrainian people.

In neighboring Arlington, the county has already donated ballistic vests and firefighting gear. In Alexandria, local businesses are hosting events to raise funds for non-profits assisting Ukraine.

Some of those include:

  • HomeGrown Restaurant Group (Pork Barrel BBQ, Sweet Fire Donna’s, Tequila & Taco, Holy Cow, Whiskey & Oyster) and Port City Brewing Company are supporting José Andrés World Central Kitchen with a new offer: the full $10 purchase of a Beach Drive beer from Port City at a HomeGrown Restaurant Group will go to World Central Kitchen. HomeGrown Restaurant Group has also donated $10,000 to World Central Kitchen.
  • Hooray for Books! (1555 King Street) is donating 20% of proceeds from the sale of “Summer Kitchens: Recipes and Reminiscences from Every Corner of Ukraine” to the UN World Food Programme.
  • Shop Made in VA (1121 King Street) has a curated selection of goods with 100% of the proceeds donated to World Central Kitchen.
  • Kyo Gallery (111 S Patrick Street) announced that all gallery profits from any art sold will be donated to UNICEF Ukraine and Ada Foundation.

Additionally, Lorien Hotel and Spa (1600 King Street) is partnering with Made in ALX artists for an exhibition featuring a one-hour performance by cellist Andrew Savoia. The $20 entry fee and a portion of all art purchases will go to the Ukrainian Crisis Fund via Care.org. The exhibition is scheduled for Thursday, April 28, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets are available online.

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Ukrainian refugees make it to Poland (courtesy of Mary Leonard)

(updated at 5:30 p.m.) A Night for Ukraine organizers hope to raise $10,000 to go toward relief efforts in Ukraine and raise awareness at the event, which Alexandria businesses have rallied behind to support.

LOVE in ALX‘s Mary Leonard and local business owner Dominique Fakir put together the Friday night fundraiser for U.S.-based nonprofit CORE, Community Organized Relief Efforts. The nonprofit’s volunteers are working in Poland to address the immediate needs of Ukrainian refugees.

“(A Night in Ukraine) really is just an opportunity for people to plug in locally and then see how their efforts here actually affect change over there,” Fakir told ALXnow. “You always want to help but you don’t know how. So my hope was really to have this event to share stories about what’s happening on the ground and then how people can give either financially, support-wise, even spreading awareness, like posting on social media, that matters, and keeping the conversation going.”

Leonard, who is in Poland volunteering, has been sharing stories about what she’s seen and heard on social media. She has helped escort refugees into Poland and said that their needs include everything from long-term housing, food and clothing.

“Some days the questions are ‘where can I get a bus to Warsaw or Rzeszow or another destination,'” Leonard said in an email. “Other days, we’re there with shopping carts to carry the luggage in shopping carts on to their destination busses…Refugees are now fleeing with one or two bags they threw together and emergency left their house. You’ll find everything from feminine products to coloring books in the crossing camp.”

Leonard posted a story on her social media accounts about horrifying conditions in Mariupol that a man told her about seeing before he made it to Poland and was separated from his son who is still in Ukraine.

“Four weeks ago, the lives of everyone in Ukraine were like yours. Loving, happy, sweet. They went to work, were raising their children, going to concerts, falling in love. And now this. Never take what you have for granted,” Leonard wrote in the post.

The fundraiser will host Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, First Secretary of the Ukrainian embassy Kateryna Smagliy, and CORE relief workers who will share their stories. As of this morning (Thursday) about 150 people had purchased tickets. Local businesses have donated more than $10,000 of in-kind services so there will be a plenty of food and people together in solidarity, Fakir said.

“This issue of the attack on democracy the unprovoked war it’s just heartbreaking as an American to see that,” she said.

The event will be held at the ALX rooftop at 277 South Washington Street, Penthouse 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Friday. Tickets are available on EventBrite.

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Alexandria coworking space ALX Community is hosting a fundraising event next week to raise donations for nonprofits assisting Ukrainian refugees.

The fundraiser, “A Night for Ukraine,” is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, March 25 at Above ALX (277 South Washington Street). The $25 entrance ticket will go to Community Organized Relief Efforts (CORE), who will supply a family of four with a three-day hygiene kit, which includes soap, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes and other items, along with emergency thermal blankets, the group said.

“A total of 5 million people are expected to flee Ukraine due to the current war,” ALX Community said in the post. “Most are women and children. In some cases, children who were traveling with distant relatives have been left behind after family members dropped them off at the border and returned to Ukraine. The magnitude of this humanitarian crisis has created an immediate need for basic, life-saving relief — water, food, safe transportation, and shelter.”

Refreshments will be offered at the event, with additional donation options:

  • A donation of $250 provides a refugee family with cash assistance that allows them to use the funds in whatever way is most pressing, such as transportation, food, or clothing.
  • A $500 donation helps coordinate crucial psychosocial support to a refugee family.
  • A donation of $1,000 provides a month’s support to a family, helping with basic needs and materials to support families where they may settle, longer term.

ALX Community said the goal is to raise $10,000 over the course of the night. Those who can’t attend in person can still donate online.

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Students return to George Washington Middle School (staff photo by Vernon Miles)

(Updated on April 29) Headsets with microphones, recycling bins and Play Doh were among the items that a George Washington Middle School teacher recently put on her school-wide Amazon wish list.

The teacher went around and asked her colleagues what they needed and put their requests on the list, which was taken down after ALXnow sent questions about it to Alexandria City Public Schools.

Turns out that the George Washington Middle School PTA asked the teacher to remove the links, “because we were able to fund her requests,” Joy Pochatila, GWMS PTA president, told ALXnow.

In a note shared on social media, the teacher says she is worried about retiring colleagues, and took a proactive step of asking them what they needed, if anything. The list also ended up including batteries, 3 printers and microscopes.

“As a teacher that is smack in the middle of my career, I’m worried,” the teacher wrote. “I’m worried about the new teachers that are drowning and looking for (and finding) other jobs. I’m worried about my most experienced colleagues retiring early because they just can’t anymore. I’m worried about administrators that aren’t able to do their actual jobs because all they do is contact trace and try to keep up with the constantly moving goalposts that are COVID protocols and policies. I want them to stay in education and I’m worried they won’t.”

ACPS saw 42 staff members retire at the end of last school year, but data on their replacement was not available. There are 27 staffers expected to retire at the end of this school year.

Terri Mozingo, the ACPS chief of teaching, learning and leadership, said that every school in the system receives funding for materials and supplies, which are designated to meet the needs of the school and are overseen by the school’s leaders.

“Teachers work with their department heads to ensure they have the supplies they need for their classrooms,” Mozingo said. “All staff members are encouraged to reach out to their principals for any supplies they need to deliver instruction.”

Donations to ACPS are still welcomed, including from individuals, PTAs, boosters, organizations, corporations, and community groups in alignment with all ACPS policies and regulations, Mozingo said.

“The GWMS PTA, for example, provides mini-grants of up to $500 to support instruction and provide GWMS teachers with funds for specific projects and experiential learning.ACPS has a strong partnership with Donor’s Choose, which provides staff at all of our schools with the opportunity to secure additional funding for specific needs or new projects,” she said.

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Morning Notes

Baseball game raises $10,000 for SRO/International Academy soccer program — “Thank you to The Congressional Baseball Game for Charity for their continued support of our SROs Gary and Johnny’s soccer program at the International Academy at Alexandria City High School.” [Facebook]

Washington Post digs into Torpedo Factory fight — “As the Alexandria City Council is set to consider three sharply different visions on how to fund renovations and bring in more visitors, some of the artists at the Torpedo Factory fear they will be kicked out for good. And while the city contends that will not happen, several ideas on the table call for at least some studios to be converted to other uses.” [Washington Post]

Alexandria Choral Society raises $4,790 for charity — “Thank you to everyone who contributed to our #GivingTuesday fundraiser this week. Because of your generosity, we raised $4790, over twice our goal!” [Twitter]

Alexandria Living Magazine profiles the city’s Rock n’ Roll legends — “Some of the country’s most famous musical acts have ties to Alexandria.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

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It’s Giving Tuesday, and a number of Alexandria businesses are donating a percentage of sales to nonprofits in partnership with the Old Town Business Association.

The following businesses within the association are participating:

  • AR Workshop Alexandria, 1212 King Street
  • Augie’s Mussel House, 1106 King Street
  • Bishop Boutique, 815 King Street
  • Emmy Squared Pizza, 124 King Street
  • Enchanted Florist, 139 S. Fairfax Street
  • fibre space, Beneficiary – Project Knitwell, 1319 Prince Street
  • Holy Cow, Beneficiary – Casa Chirilagua, 2312 Mt Vernon Ave
  • Lilly Pulitizer, Beneficiary – Medstreet, 1123 King Street
  • Lucky Knot, 101 King Street
  • Nerds to Go, 321 S. Washington Street
  • Penny Post, 1201 King Street
  • Pork Barrel BBQ, Beneficiary – Carpenters Shelter, 2312 Mt Vernon Ave
  • Red Barn Mercantile, 1117 King Street
  • Salon DeZen, 118 N. Fayette Street
  • She’s Unique Boutique, 205 King Street
  • Shop Made in Virginia, 1121 King Street
  • Sonoma Cellar, 207 King Street
  • Sushi Bar, Beneficiary – Neighborhood Health, 2312 Mt Vernon Ave
  • Sweet Fire Donnas, Beneficiary – Alive, 510 John Carlyle Street
  • Tequila & Taco, Beneficiary – Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, 540 John Carlyle Street
  • The Dog Park, 705 King Street, Beneficiary – Project Second Chance
  • The Hive, 315 Cameron Street
  • The Hour Shop, 1015 King Street, Beneficiary – Animal Welfare League of Alexandria
  • The Shoe Hive, 127 S. Fairfax Street
  • The Warehouse Restaurant, 214 King Street
  • Three Sisters Boutique, Beneficiary – Medstreet, 213 King Street
  • Twist Boutique, 109 N. Fairfax Street
  • Whiskey & Oyster, Beneficiary – American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 301 John Carlyle Street

Unless specified, funds from these businesses will go to MedStreet, The Dream Project, The Potomac Conservancy and The Spitfire Club.

The event is part of Shop Small Week in Alexandria, which runs until Dec. 2..

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A fire destroyed the rear of two homes in the 100 block of E. Del Ray Avenue on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (staff photo by James Cullum)

On Friday, a three-alarm fire ravaged a duplex in Del Ray and displaced two families. The next morning, neighbors started to mount an effort to help them recover.

Within two days, the Del Ray Citizens Association set up a GoFundMe that has raised $29,464 of a $30,000 total goal to help the families start putting their lives back together. The Del Ray Citizens Association said on the GoFundMe page that the families lost nearly everything they owned in the fire.

“Some of you may be aware, but the families lost everything,” the group said. “They ran out of their homes with only the clothes they were wearing. The money you’ve donated is helping them rebuild their lives and come as close to ‘normal’ as possible — we all know the importance of getting back to normal after these past few years. Toiletries, socks, underwear, shoes, diapers, toys for the baby, all the basics that were needed immediately. Soon to come will be furniture, kitchen basics, blankets, rent deposit, bedding, home goods.”

The Del Ray Citizens Association said that one of the families has been rehoused locally, while the other has moved in with family elsewhere in Northern Virginia.

Consignment shop Bellies & Babies (1913 Mt Vernon Avenue) has also been running a collection for household items for the families, asking for gift cards to Target and Amazon for the family, along with food. In terms of clothing and other items for the families, the consignment shop said it’s looking to collect:

  • Toys and books
  • Size 5 diapers
  • Size 6 shoes
  • Boy’s clothing
  • Sippy cups and blankets
  • Ladies’ clothing, size small, with 7.5-size shoes
  • Mens’ clothing, size large

Donations can be dropped off at Bellies & Babies with bags labelled “FIRE”.

“Please use Bellies & Babies as your drop-off point label any bag that is for this cause ‘FIRE’ and we will get it directly to the family,” the consignment shop said. “Thank you again for this community that is so generous and kind for everything you have been doing for all of our neighbors. I have always believed it takes a village and I’m happy to be a part of this one.”

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Democrats win, but party loses Governor’s race — “CBS News projected that Republican Glenn Youngkin had won Virginia, a state President Biden won by 10 points.” [CBS]

A rabid raccoon was on the loose at the Shirlington Dog Park — “There was a rabid raccoon on the loose in Arlington that came into contact with a number of dogs.” [ARLnow]

Annual Lion Fest returns to Lyles-Crouch, raises almost $50K for students and teachers — “On November 1, 2021, with a Monday morning sunrise in a playground full of streamers, the Lion Fest Fundraiser returned to Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy.”

American Horticultural Society names new executive director — “After a year that can only be described as tumultuous, the American Horticultural Society is looking for stability and a return to its roots with a new director.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

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