By Brandi Yee, Chief Program Officer
It is a tremendous honor to be nominated for The Chamber ALX’s Best in Business Nonprofit/Association of the Year award among this incredible group of organizations. ACT had the opportunity to partner with each one of them last year to support their COVID response and relief work in the community. The finalists included Alexandria Housing Development Corporation, ALIVE!, Casa Chirilagua, Friends of Guest House, Goodwin House and Senior Services of Alexandria. Here are the ways these organizations have served community members during the pandemic and built a just and equitable Alexandria.
Alexandria Housing Development Corporation builds and preserves affordable housing within the City of Alexandria to help residents thrive and support neighbors and neighborhoods. During the pandemic, they pivoted to providing more than $1M in rental assistance to their AHDC households. They also partnered with Carpenter’s Shelter to develop The Bloom at Braddock and collaborated with Sheltered Homes of Alexandria to redevelop their Del Ray property to house adults with developmental disabilities.
ALIVE! is an interfaith organization dedicated to alleviating poverty and hunger in the City of Alexandria. Before the pandemic, ALIVE! served 16,000 individuals annually. They are currently serving more than 100,000 residents. They launched a trucks-to-trunks program, a contactless food distribution program that provides residents in need with groceries. The organization also provides food deliveries for elderly or disabled residents in need of supplies. ALIVE! has partnered with religious organizations, nonprofits, and local schools to aid in relieving hunger throughout the City during the pandemic.
Casa Chirilagua develops relationships with more than 100 families in the Chirilagua neighborhood and, during the pandemic, was instrumental in providing food bags to residents. Casa Chirilagua made sure that their students and families had access to healthy meals and educational services, even across the technological divide. The organization uses more than 100 mentors to provide educational services and developmental support to the Hispanic community in Arlandria.
Friends of Guest House helps women successfully re-enter the community from incarceration. FOGH is the only 24/7 residential re-entry program for women in the region and the largest such program in the state providing support for healthcare, employment, housing, and family/community re-connection. Friends of Guest House used funds to assist women who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, supporting them with basic supplies and workforce development classes and connections. As part of their COVID-19 work, the organization worked hard to ensure that their residential and aftercare programs operated to provide women with the compassion and resources they needed to succeed.
Goodwin House is a senior living and healthcare service provider that serves 2,000 older adults. Throughout the pandemic, Goodwin House brought PPE and masks to the community, created a COVID-19 response playbook, and facilitated COVID-19 testing for Alexandria organizations. They also provided tuition assistance funding to essential workers in order to ensure that their children received appropriate childcare while they worked.
Senior Services of Alexandria supports the dignity and independence of Alexandrians age 60 and older. Their programming addresses nutrition, transportation, community, and education. Throughout the pandemic, the SSA team ensured Alexandria seniors had access to nutritious food. They expanded meal deliveries from 900/week to 2,300/week. They also worked with the Alexandria Health Department to get 400+ seniors vaccinated.
ACT is grateful to receive the Best in Business Nonprofit/Association of the Year award and we share this honor with the above groups and the 150+ organizations that have worked tirelessly to bring services to the most vulnerable in our community. We are also grateful to our donors and partners who have made our work possible, whether in supporting our programs or assisting in outreach initiatives. Alexandria would not be the resilient and vibrant community it is without the organizations that support and enrich it with their work.