The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria gave away a record $525,000 in college scholarships this year to 183 graduating seniors from T.C. Williams High School.

The nonprofit made the announcement this week after conducting a virtual ceremony to congratulate the awardees.

“We are so very proud of the next generation of nurses, doctors, business leaders, computer scientists, biologists, and professors who are heading off to college this fall thanks to the generosity of this community,”said SFA Executive Director Beth Lovain. “What I want to convey most is that in a year wrought with challenges, our Class of 2021 SFA Scholars have not only endured, but they have triumphed. They are truly ‘Generation Resilient.’ Through all of the adversity and through all of the challenges of COVID and 2021 they have remained poised and focused; their college dreams would not be pushed aside.”

SFA will also award $550,000 in renewal scholarships to help previous recipients from the 2018, 2019 and 2020 graduates who are now in college.

“I am so grateful and so honored to have been awarded a scholarship and I’m so proud of each and every one of you for being awarded one as well,” said Karam Burjas, T.C. senior class president. “I also want to give a big thank you to all of the donors and people who supported the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria this past year; without your gracious support none of this would’ve been possible.”

The nonprofit has awarded $17 million in scholarships since it was founded in 1986. Last year, SFA awarded $504,000 in scholarships to 181 graduating seniors, in addition to the $550,000 in renewal scholarships.

Photo via ACPS/Facebook

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As part of the expansion of Catholic Charities USA’s (CCUSA) expansion into Carlyle, the non-profit is requesting permission to build a cafe and conference center on the ground floor of its 2050 Ballenger Avenue headquarters.

The expansion is part of an application headed to the Planning Commission on Tuesday, June 1. The space is owned by CCUSA and until recently was leased to a restaurant, but the non-profit said in its application that the restaurant closed in January.

“CCUSA proposes to repurpose the space formerly occupied by the restaurant and establish a conference center and cafe in its place,” CCUSA said. “The conference center will be occupied and managed by CCUSA, and will be utilized to host a variety of meetings and events including Board and membership meetings, trainings, and conferences.”

CCUSA said it will also rent out the conference center to third parties on a rental basis, which could help meet the heavy demand for conference space in the area.

“Over the years, CCUSA has received numerous inquiries regarding the availability of conference center space in its building,” the non-profit said. “Organizations that have expressed interest include other nonprofit organizations, community groups in Carlyle, and the Westin Hotel in instances where there has been overflow demand from its existing conference facility. The proposed ground floor conference center will help meet this demand.”

The cafe will offer sandwiches, desserts and beverages and operate as a workforce training program.

“The program will provide workforce training in the food and beverage and hospitality industries to underserved and vulnerable populations, such as the unemployed,” CCUSA said. “The space is well-suited for this use, given the existing kitchen facilities left in place by the former restaurant tenant.”

CCUSA said the commercial kitchen space could be used as an incubator for start-up food and beverage businesses for people from underprivileged communities.

Photo via Google Maps

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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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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

City Applies for Grant to Reimagine King Street — “The project runs from the six-way King Street-Braddock-Road-Quaker Lane intersection west past the Bradlee Shopping Center to Menonkin Drive, which is just before the I-395 interchange on King Street — about a 0.5 mile stretch of heavily-used roadway. The City Council granted permission for city staff to apply for the grant in March 2020, along with approval to apply for grants for the Duke Street Transitway and Landmark Transit Center. The King Street project would be funded in the 2026-27 fiscal year.” [Alexandria Living]

Pandemic Forces ‘Mom Made Foods’ to Close — “Mom Made Foods, an Alexandria-based company providing children’s frozen meals and snacks in stores and online, announced its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” [Patch]

ALIVE! Free Food Distribution is This Saturday — “On Sat, Mar 13, 8:30-10:30am, @ALIVE4AlexVA will distribute food in Cora Kelly Elem School parking lot and parking lot B-1 of NOVA-Alexandria Campus (map at alive-inc.org, if college closes due to weather, distribution cancelled).” [Twitter]

Police Chief Giving Community Update on Thursday — “COMMUNITY MEETING:: Chief Michael Brown heads to Del Ray on Thursday, March 11 to answer questions and listen to concerns from the community. We hope you can join us.” [Twitter]

Transportation and Environmental Services Chief Speaking at Regional Meeting — “You don’t want to miss our upcoming Roundtable’s ‘Smart Future’ panel, featuring Jennifer DeBruhl, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation; Chris Henry, Virginia Railway Express; Dennis Leach, Arlington County Department of Environmental Services; and Yon Lambert, Transportation & Environmental Services, City of Alexandria, Virginia. It is sure to be a lively discussion on the future of transportation around the Commonwealth! Jordan Pascale, WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio transportation reporter, to moderate. Tune in Wednesday, March 10th.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Except for a few afternoon clouds, mainly sunny (during the day). High near 70F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph… Mostly cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy after midnight. Low 41F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Weekend Photographer — “Memory Makers is seeking entry level photographers to take pictures of the youth sports leagues that we service. Individuals interested in this position must be friendly, self-motivated, and dependable. This job is PERFECT for photographers that are looking to expand their professional experience.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Beyer Wants Federal Employees to Get Vaccine — “Our region has the largest concentration of federal employees. Many qualify as essential workers with local jurisdictions responsible for vaccinations. We’re asking the federal government to vaccinate feds via a separate federalized allocation to speed up vaccinations in the DMV.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Vaccinates 20,000 Residents — “On a hopeful note, Alexandria also hit the milestone this week of more than 20,000 residents vaccinated. AHD and private providers continue to vaccinate and work to schedule the tens of thousands of residents who pre-registered for vaccines.” [City of Alexandria]

45,000 Pre-Registered for COVID-19 Vaccine in Alexandria — “As of this writing, 45,000 residents are pre-registered for the shot in Phase 1b. Because of the limited supply – 2,000 doses per week – the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) has had to prioritize within a group that includes tens of thousands of residents.” [Zebra]

ALIVE! Free Food Distribution on Saturday — “On Sat, Feb 20, 8:30-10:30am, @ALIVE4AlexVA will distribute food in Cora Kelly Elem School parking lot and parking lot B-1 of NOVA-Alexandria Campus (map at alive-inc.org, if college closes due to weather, distribution cancelled).” [Twitter]

Final Touches Being Made to Institute for Defense Analyses at Potomac Yard — “One step closer to moving into our new state-of-the-art facility in the high-tech #PotomacYard community of @AlexandriaVAGov! Windows are being installed as construction continues to progress.” [Twitter]

Today’s Weather — “Mainly cloudy with snow showers around in the morning. Some mixed winter precipitation possible. High around 40F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 50%. Snow accumulations less than one inch… Partly cloudy skies (in the evening). Low 24F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Termite Inspector/Salesman — “Moxie is seeking experienced/driven sales professionals who can join our team to help us grow our loyal customer base.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Beyer Says Trump Defense Weak During Senate Impeachment Hearing — “The House Managers established that Trump lied about the election, inspired the attackers to come to DC, directed them to the Capitol, and did nothing for hours to stop their violent attack. Senate Republicans objected, strenuously, to details of a phone call. And nothing else.” [Twitter]

CVS Starts Offering COVID-19 Vaccines in Alexandria and Fairfax County — “People interested in a vaccine are allowed to register through both the city or county health departments and through CVS at the same time, but local health department officials are pleading with people who get their vaccine through CVS to remove themselves from the health department waiting lists so others can get vaccinated faster.” [Alexandria Living]

ALIVE! Free Food Distribution Canceled — “The ALIVE! Trunk to Trunk Food Distribution scheduled for February 13 has been CANCELED due to forecasted weather conditions and the safety of residents, staff and volunteers. Instead, the distribution events will take place on February 20 at the same locations and times.” [Twitter]

Stracci Pizza Truck Brings Roman-Style Pizza to Del Ray — “Thomas Cardarelli, chef and owner of Stracci Pizza, (pronounced stráh-chee) always wanted to start something of his own — a high-tech, casual pizzeria. Then, the pandemic hit. His friend asked: ‘Why not get a food truck?'” [Alexandria Living]

Travel + Leisure Profiles Manumission Tour Company — “Explore different stories in Alexandria Virginia’s history of slaves who ran away to freedom using the underground railroad. Join us as we walk around Alexandria Virginia with John Chapman from Manumission Tours and explore some of these historical moments.” [Youtube]

Casa Chirilagua Revamps Food Pantry — “Casa Chirilagua brings access to non-perishable food items and cleaning products to the community through our pantry. With new shelving and reorganization, we can now hold hundreds of pounds of food and cleaning products. So far we’ve distributed 2,241 grocery bags of pantry items, valued at over $196,000. This could not be possible without your support!” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy with a mixture of rain and snow in the morning. Temps nearly steady in the mid to upper 30s. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precip 70%… Cloudy (in the evening). Low 26F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Real Estate Photographer — “Shoot anywhere from 2 to 4 properties per day.Deliver consistently excellent images up to company standards.Upload raw images to development services. Additional opportunities and pay are available for shooting night photography and weekends.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Black History Museum Asks for Help in Conservation Effort — “The Alexandria Black History Museum (BHM) is asking for help from the community. The museum hopes to apply for a conservation grant from the Virginia Association of Museums (VAM)… From Jan. 11 through 20, people can vote for their favorite artifact on the top ten list. The artifact with the most votes will win the People’s Choice Award and $1,000 toward conservation work on the artifact.” [Zebra]

Nothing Bundt Cakes to Open on Duke Street — “Nothing Bundt Cakes is opening its first Alexandria location. The bakery will open at 4553 Duke St., replacing a Subway sandwich shop in the Shoppes at Foxchase in Alexandria’s West End.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Goodwin House to Receive Second Dose of Vaccine This Month — “375 people were vaccinated last month and are awaiting their second dose on January 19. Bagley hopes they’ll vaccinate more people once Governor Ralph Northam initiates Phase 1B, which will allow CVS and other pharmacies to distribute vaccinations.” [WDMV]

Alive! Feeds Hundreds at Food Distribution Event — “Alive!, an Alexandria, faith-based community organization, held its first large scale food distribution drives of the New Year.” [WJLA]

Northam Says Year-Round School is Possibility — “In a press conference this week, Governor Ralph Northam said, ‘One of the things we are entertaining is perhaps year-round schooling for the next year. Perhaps adding increased days this summer. To really help our kids get caught up.'” [Zebra]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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