Alexandria Resilience Fund

Capacity Building Grants

ACT launched the Alexandria Resilience Fund in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past three years, the Fund has awarded nearly $1.3M in grants to Alexandria nonprofits. With the remaining funds, ACT offered capacity building grants to support a just and equitable Alexandria and strengthen organizational resilience through strategic planning, community engagement, racial equity and fundraising.

Through ACT’s commitment to trust-based philanthropy, we are working to reimagine the role funders can have in building a more just and equitable society.  We believe our philanthropy will be more strategic, rewarding, and impactful when we approach our relationships with nonprofit partners from a place of trust and collaboration rather than compliance and control.  With this in mind, ACT launched a shortened letter of inquiry (LOI) application, engaged outside stakeholders in the review process and met with applicants to talk about their projects.  ACT hosted an info session with 75+ attendees and offered office hours and 1:1 conversations with nonprofits to discuss their proposed projects.

Fifty-one organizations submitted letters of inquiry totaling $961,637.  ALIVE!, Casa Chirilagua, Communities in Schools of Northern Virginia, Community Lodgings, Community Youth Empowerment Program, ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia and Learn & Live Wholestic Health Services were each awarded $20,000 for their capacity building projects.  All selected organizations focused on incorporating community voice and advancing racial equity in their projects.

“We’ve grown exponentially over the past few years – we want to invest in the infrastructure to support this growth.  This plan will help position our organization to take risks and continue to be a leader in innovative collaborations, building partnerships that provide economic mobility for members of our community.” – Capital Youth Empowerment Program (CYEP)

 “This grant is perfectly timed as we’re in growth mode – we want to be growing well and intentionally as we expand to more schools in Alexandria.  Our work in the city can be a model for how to deploy resources in other communities.” – Communities in Schools of Northern Virginia

“We are excited to launch this campaign and grow our development capacity.  This support ultimately allows us to provide more affordable housing units with resident and community voices driving the process.”  – Community Lodgings

ACT is also investing in professional development opportunities led by Heather Jelks to support pandemic recovery and building resilience.  The offerings include Adaptive Resilience, Effective Teaming and Search Inside Yourself workshops and are open to all nonprofit organizations serving Alexandria.

COVID Relief Grants

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit our community in March 2020, ACT quickly worked with the City of Alexandria to mobilize partners, donors, and nonprofit organizations to meet our community’s needs head-on. Our community rallied to provide critical
services, including:

  • emergency food and financial assistance
  • access to healthcare, technology, and personal protective equipment (PPE), and
  • educational supports to enhance distance learning and student success

The Fund served 13,708 Alexandria residents, with the majority living in the 22304, 22305, and 22311 zip codes and the majority identifying as Hispanic or Latinx and Black or African American.

In addition to grants, the Fund invested in coaching and training to help stabilize nonprofits. The training addressed the fundraising, financial management, and leadership needs of local nonprofits. As a result of this investment, Alexandria has a stronger nonprofit sector that will continue to meet the needs of Alexandrians in the years to come.

Nearly $1.3 million in total grant awards 

57 grantee organizations 

61 grants distributed 

Across the past year, new partnerships and news ways of doing business took root and they will help accelerate the pace of change. We will continue to work with partners and grantees to address the urgent human service needs of Alexandrians. And we will work with partners to disrupt systems and rebuild programs so that we can have a more equitable future. ACT looks forward to continued collaboration with the community to ensure a future where we are all stronger together.

Alexandria Resilience Fund Racial Equity Statement

ACT for Alexandria and the City of Alexandria envision a community where the color of one’s skin, ethnicity, or citizenship status does not determine their outcomes in life. Historically, African Americans, Latinx, immigrants, and our neighbors of color have had fewer economic and educational opportunities, are more likely to experience housing and food insecurity, and have worse health outcomes compared to their white counterparts due to systemic and institutional racism.

We believe that the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 is a racial equity issue and the pandemic has exacerbated the pre-existing inequities in our community. Prioritizing racial equity in our grantmaking is the most effective way to respond to the needs of our community now and in the future.

The Alexandria Resilience Fund intends to support organizations providing essential services to residents disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, while also addressing the underlying factors – specifically systemic and institutional racism – that perpetuate poverty and limit economic opportunity. We will prioritize partners and programs committed to addressing racial equity and that have deep, trusted relationships with marginalized communities on the sidelines of Alexandria’s prosperity.

We know we will continue to bear witness to COVID-19’s devastating impact on our community and we are committed to finding ways to invest in longer-term solutions that address the root causes of poverty and disproportionate economic opportunity for people of color in Alexandria. The Alexandria Resilience Fund is one among many important efforts to build a more equitable and just Alexandria.


Stronger Together Report – ACT for Alexandria’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Alexandria Resilience Fund_Infographic

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