ACT for Alexandria

Alexandria's Return on Investment

Another year for Spring2ACTion—the seventh year—and another amazing success.  This past April 5th, over 9,000 donors made almost 13,000 donations to 158 Alexandria nonprofits with a record breaking $1,592,459 raised in just 24 hours, an increase of a quarter of a million dollars over 2016.  We could not have imagined being at this level of engagement and support when Spring2ACTion began seven years ago.  In that first year, $104,156 was raised to support the 47 participating nonprofits.  Seven years later over $6.5 Million has been raised for deserving nonprofits in our community.  What a return on investment for Alexandria’s nonprofits.  And, what an important statement this makes about the caring, concern and generosity of those who care about our city and about others.

With funds raised on the 5th, La Cocina will be able to assist more low-income immigrant families in their culinary arts training program which has had amazing success placing graduates in positions in the food industry.  The Alexandria Police Youth Camp will be able to fund scholarships for deserving kids to attend camp in Kilmarnock, Virginia this summer.  Space of Her/His Own will now have more financial resources to assist with bedroom remodeling and mentoring of middle schoolers in their program while the Kathy Wilson Foundation will be able to provide more free developmental screenings to pre-kindergarteners in the city.   More kids, who can’t afford to do so, will now be provided the opportunity to learn and play soccer through the Alexandria Soccer Association.  The Alexandria Black History Museum will be increasing their collection and providing more outreach in the community.  More Alexandria City Public School students will be able to benefit from services provided by the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium while Together We Bake will be able to continue to bake those wonderful cookies while helping women develop the skills needed to transition into jobs and back to their homes in the community.  And there are 150 other nonprofits which will now be able to provide more services to their constituencies than they would have without Spring2ACTion. 

The benefit for nonprofits goes beyond the funds donated on April 5th.  Training provided in preparation for Spring2ACTion will serve the nonprofit community well for years to come.  Many now have improved websites and a better working knowledge of social media. The technical skills provided will be of immense help in engaging volunteers and supporters during the coming year and help to increase visibility and outreach for the organizations. And for the first time, a post-event workshop on retaining and growing Spring2ACTion donors will be provided to help harness the power of this day of giving for participating nonprofits to engage donors longer term and in a broader capacity.

Alexandria is truly a special place-an amazingly caring community.  The support shown on April 5th—the return on investment—continues to confirm my faith in the value and importance of neighbors helping neighbors.  Luckily, this type of support is not something we experience just one day a year in Alexandria but something evident throughout the year.  And while the funds are greatly appreciated, the overall support, volunteerism, and philanthropic caring exhibited year-round should be a source of pride for our city.  

It wouldn’t be right to close without my favorite quote from W. H. Auden, who said “We are all here on earth to help others.  What others are here for, I don’t know.”  Thank you for stepping-up, reaching out, donating and exhibiting what life is truly about—helping neighbors, helping others, helping our community.

April 5, 2017 was a great day for Alexandria’s nonprofits and a great day for Alexandria.  Thanks for being a part of it.  

By John Porter, ACT President & CEO

Special thanks for the Alexandria Times for publishing John's monthly column.