6 Organizations Making An Impact In Virginia
Virginia is home to a number of organizations working to make life better for people. From encouraging engagement with the arts to advocating for policies that would improve children's lives to creating jobs in underserved regions, the organizations listed here are dedicated to a wide variety of important causes. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.
Virginian Groups Working Toward Positive Change
|Voices for Virginia's Children||Champion public policies that improve the lives of Virginia’s children|
|Volunteer Fairfax||Mobilize people and resources to meet regional community needs|
|New City Arts Initiative||Foster engagement with the arts in Charlottesville, Virginia|
|Virginia Community Capital||Create jobs, enhance the quality of life, and promote vibrant communities in underserved markets and regions|
|Building Goodness Foundation||Build community and improve lives|
|Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline||Build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place|
Arts Education in America
- 91% of Americans agree that the arts are "part of a well-rounded education"
- 93% to 94% believe that students in elementary, middle, and high school should receive an education in the arts
- 74% agree that the arts help students to perform better academically
- Nationally, more than 40% of secondary schools did not require arts courses for graduation for the 2009-2010 school year
- Federal funding for arts & humanities is around $250 million a year, while the National Science Foundation is funded at around the $5 billion mark
- Arts and music education programs are mandatory in countries that rank near the top for math and science test scores, like Japan, Hungary, and the Netherlands
- According to a nationwide study, 63% of eighth-graders took a music class, and 42% took a visual arts class
- Students in the Northeast were twice as likely (68%) to have taken a visual arts class than students in the South (35%)
- Students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, which is often used as a proxy to identify low-income students, scored an average of 26 points lower in music than those not eligible and 22 points lower in visual arts
- In the District of Columbia, 75% of white students took an art course, compared to 49% of black students
How Many American Children Live In Poverty?
Percentage of children ages 0–17 by family income relative to the poverty threshold, according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics
|Below 50% of poverty threshold||6.9%||8.8%||6.7%||9.9%||9.8%||9.7%||9.3%||8.9%||8.2%|
|50% - 99% of poverty threshold||11.4%||11.8%||9.5%||12.1%||12.0%||12.1%||11.9%||10.8%||9.8%|
Volunteer Fairfax's VolunteerFest 2019
From the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia is a geographically diverse place. Home to more than eight million residents, its organizations must cater to a variety of needs, in areas such as education, the arts, community development, and youth empowerment. If you want to learn more about these efforts, then here, in no particular order, is a selection of groups working to better Virginia.
Coming in at #1 is Voices for Virginia's Children. Founded in 1994, this child policy and advocacy organization works to improve quality of life for the state's youth. As a nonprofit, it takes a data-driven and evidence-based approach to its efforts, in particular focusing on the areas of early childhood, foster care and adoption, health and mental health, and family economic security.
This nonprofit is home to the state's KIDS COUNT Data Center, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which tracks the well-being of children across the country. A member of the Partnership for America's Children, Voices strives to shape policies that take into account adverse childhood experiences and trauma. Elsewhere, this organization partners with other groups to reduce hunger and improve access to healthcare.
Elsewhere, this organization partners with other groups to reduce hunger and improve access to healthcare.
In the #2 spot is Volunteer Fairfax. Initially founded as the Voluntary Action Center of Fairfax County, it connects people and resources with community projects. By offering volunteer roles to individuals, families, and groups, this organization works to empower local nonprofits and funnel for-profit resources to worthy causes. In 2019, it linked more than 14,000 people with service opportunities in the region.
Volunteer Fairfax runs a number of programs in support of its mission. It works with government agencies to train individuals in emergency and disaster response. Elsewhere, this nonprofit administers the Alternative Community Service Program, which places court-ordered clients in community service roles. Volunteer Fairfax also provides opportunities specifically for busy professionals and those fifty-five and over.
At #3 is New City Arts Initiative. Based in Charlottesville, this collaborative nonprofit promotes cultural activities and supports local artists. Operating in the areas of education, vocation, and community, this organization, which is led by an ecumenical board, seeks to bring the arts to new audiences, particularly among churches in Charlottesville.
Operating in the areas of education, vocation, and community, this organization, which is led by an ecumenical board, seeks to bring the arts to new audiences, particularly among churches in Charlottesville.
Specific endeavors range from New City Arts and Crafts, a creative experience for young children, to the New City Artist Exchange, a program for local creatives. This nonprofit also hosts workshops and talks, with past ones covering topics such as drawing landscapes and crafting wreaths. In support of its mission, the group has partnered with numerous local organizations, including The Charlottesville Mural Project and the Garage.
Coming in at #4 is Virginia Community Capital. Formed in 2006 by state legislators, this organization works to support housing and community development, create employment opportunities, and improve quality of life in Virginia. To accomplish this, VCC offers financial and advisory services to individuals and organizations in underserved areas. Since its founding, it has financed more than 900 projects.
With offices in Christiansburg, Norfolk, and Richmond, VCC provides multiple opportunities to partner with its clients. Specific initiatives range from Opportunity Virginia, which drives business and real estate investment across the state, to the Virginia Fresh Food Loan Fund, which increases access to healthy foods. Businesses that have received funds from VCC include Eagles Nest Regeneration, Housing Families First, and Nomad Deli.
Specific initiatives range from Opportunity Virginia, which drives business and real estate investment across the state, to the Virginia Fresh Food Loan Fund, which increases access to healthy foods.
In the #5 spot is Building Goodness Foundation. A nonprofit based in Charlottesville, BGF matches skilled volunteers with construction projects that benefit communities from Virginia to Liberia. Collaborating with NGOs and other organizations like Wildrock and Light House Studio, it builds and renovates educational, residential, and community spaces for disadvantaged people.
BGF operates domestically and internationally, having completed projects in Guatemala and Haiti. When working abroad, the organization trains and employs local workers alongside its volunteers, creating meaningful experiences for both. On its website, BGF posts updates on its work across the globe, highlighting specific projects and sharing available volunteer and employment opportunities.
Last but not least, at #6 is Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline. Based in Roanoke, this local council of the national youth organization strives to instill courage, confidence, and character in young women. To accomplish this, it brings together adult volunteers, parents, and staff with its more than 9,000 area members.
To accomplish this, it brings together adult volunteers, parents, and staff with its more than 9,000 area members.
Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, this nonprofit offers a variety of enlightening activities, including outdoor exploration, selling cookies, learning about science, and serving the community. The group's programming targets four key areas, emphasizing opportunities in STEM, the outdoors, life skills, and entrepreneurship. Members can earn a number of special badges and attend one of three summer camps.