Nonprofit News

Making a Difference: ACT for Alexandria Celebrates 20 Years

Attend the Community Celebration June 8 at Canal Center Plaza

ACT for Alexandria President and CEO Heather Peeler (Zebra Press file photo)

ALEXANDRIA, VA-This year, ACT for Alexandria is celebrating two decades in the service of others. Since it began in 2004, the community foundation has raised more than $33 million for local nonprofits via grant programs. ACT has assisted over 200 nonprofits with grants, gatherings, and workshops. it has facilitated an additional $23 million in donations during its annual online giving day known as Spring2ACTion.

“In 2004, our founders had a vision of building a movement for collective action and partnership that would make Alexandria a better city for all,” says Heather Peeler, President and CEO. “Though our work with philanthropic leaders, our collaboration with the City of Alexandria and the business community, and our investment in Alexandria’s nonprofit community, ACT has enabled Alexandria to be a leader in social innovation.”

The foundation’s milestones include:

  • Since 2005, distributing $1.5M in capacity building grants to strengthen Alexandria’s  nonprofits. 
  • Partnering with the city in 2006 to establish the Alexandria Council of Human Service, a collective of 53 organizations and city agencies that deliver human  services to residents.  
  • In 2007, partnering with the city and donors to create the Center for Alexandria’s Children  to address the prevention, investigation and treatment of child abuse. 
  • ACT launched Spring2ACTion, Alexandria’s giving day, in 2011.
  • In 2013, ACT hosted the Early Care and Education working group, now an independent  organization, Kids’ First Years. 

In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ACT distributed $5.76M in emergency  assistance grants to nonprofits and launched the Youth Support Network to foster  collaboration among youth-serving organizations. 

How ACT Began

In the fall of 2002, a group of residents met to discuss the best way to encourage philanthropic giving to help vulnerable people in Alexandria. Though there were many donors, ACT began with a seed donation from the family of Norma L. Steuerle. Steuerle died a year earlier in the 9/11 attacks, when her plane crashed into the Pentagon. Her family decided, with others, that a fitting tribute would be to make a difference where she lived.

A Community Celebration

On Saturday, June 8, ACT is hosting a community-wide and family-friendly event at Canal Center Plaza (99 Canal Center Plaza) from 11 am to 2 pm. Tickets are free but registration is required to attend. Sign up HERE.

This Community Celebration will have on-site food trucks, dinks from guest bartender Trae Lamond of Chadwicks, an art exhibit, and activities for all ages. The Alexandria Harmonizers and Metro Voices are scheduled to perform.

Sponsors include Amazon, AREP, AT&T, Chadwicks, Focus Data Solutions, Inova Healthcare, John Marshall Bank, Madigan Schuler, and McEnearney Associates. ACT Corporate Partners include: Alexandria Restaurant Partners, ALX Community, Colonial Parking, and Reingold.

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Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He also studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting and holds a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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