Giving Circles Create a Sum That is Bigger than the Parts


Giving Circles like 100WomenStrong are a form of participatory philanthropy in which groups of individuals donate their own money or time to a pooled fund and decide together which charities or community projects will receive their time or funds. Preliminary results from an upcoming study identify at least 1,300 active giving circles in America, each with their own structure and mission. Some of the larger circles have small chapters or affiliate groups across the nation, taking that number up to more than 1,800, according to a recent news story widely reported across the country.  The study also is expected to show that the number of giving circles have doubled in the United States in the past eight years, and that these circles are more likely to make grants to small nonprofit organizations that are often ignored by traditional philanthropy.  Read the Washington Post article here.

Robin Hood Restaurant Charges for Breakfast & Lunch to Feed the Needy Dinner for Free

robin hood restaurant

In Madrid, the most sought-after lunch reservation is at the city’s Robin Hood restaurant, at which proceeds from both lunch and breakfast are used to serve dinner to more than 100 homeless people, free of charge, every night. It is so popular that lunches are fully booked for months in advance! In addition to feeling great about helping the dinner guests, who are still suffering from the country’s recent recession and high unemployment rates, those who pay for lunch and breakfast enjoy meals made by celebrity chefs, who contribute their culinary fare once each week. The restaurant was started by a priest, who opened it to give homeless in Madrid the opportunity to “… eat with the same dignity as any other customer and with the same quality, with glasses made of crystal, not plastic, and in an atmosphere of friendship and conversation.”  Read the full article here.


Youth Sports Offer Multiple Benefits, But Many Kids Can’t Afford to Play. Learn How a Gaithersburg, MD, Volunteer Coach is Leveling the Playing Field


Research shows that participation in youth sports improves physical and mental health and lowers crime and teen pregnancy rates. However, increasing prices are keeping lower income children from participating in some leagues. To solve that problem for kids in Gaithersburg, Maryland, a volunteer baseball convinced Gaithersburg officials to amend their fee-waiver process by eliminating forms and creating a simple checkbox to request waiver of fees. The result? Participation by children who attend high-poverty schools shot up increased almost 80 percent.  Read the full article here.

Exploring the “Why?” of Nonprofit Collaboration


In theory, two or more nonprofits working together to achieve common goals is a good thing, right?  In practice, it can be much more complicated. Collaborative partnerships can produce an array of benefits, but they also take enormous effort. Senior Research Manager of La Piana Consulting, Melissa Mendes Campos asks the question “Why Collaborate?” in her blog on Philanthropy News Digest. The author explains what collaboration means and outlines how alliances and strategic restructuring fit into the mix.  “Knowing why you want to pursue a partnership is critical not only in terms of guiding you to the right what and how, but also for ensuring that the effort is worth everyone’s while.” Read the full article here.

Whirlpool Helps Clean up Chronic Absenteeism at 17 Schools in Missouri & California

Whirlpool donated 17 washers and dryers to two districts in the 2015-2016 school year as part of its Care Counts program.

Millions of American children miss at least 15 days of school a year because of sickness, lack of interest, family responsibilities or even drug abuse. But there’s another reason – cleanliness.  When kids don’t have clean clothes, they are often too embarrassed to attend school. Whirlpool helped lower chronic absenteeism by donating washers and dryers to 17 schools in two school districts in St. Louis, MO, and Fairfield, CA, through its Care Counts program. Students brought in any laundry they could fit into a single bag as often they needed, and parents or teachers washed & dried the clothes for them for free.

The result for those who used the service?

  • More than 90% of students attended more oftenthan they did before the program began
  • More than 89% of students participated more in class, 
  • 95% interacted with their peers more, and
  • Almost all of them were reported as being more motivated.

Maybe it’s time for washers & dryers in some of our Loudoun County Public Schools?  Read the full article here.


Record Fundraising Achieved In Drive For Charity


Traffic can be annoying, but during this year’s Dulles Greenway Drive for Charity held earlier this month, it proved very rewarding for some local charities and LCPS scholarship winners. The event raised a record $331,000 for six Loudoun charitable organizations, including 100WS grant recipients Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS) and Loudoun Free Clinic. Thank you Loudoun County drivers for your generosity!

Middle Schoolers’ Innovation Helps Food Pantries

Three Loudoun County middle schoolers have come up with a way to raise as much as $500,000 for local food pantries through donations as small as a dime or two from the students who buy lunch at school. Food pantries rely on unpredictable cash and food donations, but these youngsters, who started the project as part of a lesson on the Great Depression, “did the math” and found that if students made regular 10-cent donations, the impact would be tremendous. Read more here.

Fun Approach To Giving Back

Fun approach

Rebecca Pontius of Los Angeles wanted to “do good” but found it difficult to navigate the myriad choices available, especially in a large metro area.  She decided to convert an old school bus to take volunteers on 5-hour mystery service projects for “altruistic adventures”.  Read more here.

Collaboration In Philanthropy

The Top Five Most Promising Trends in Philanthropy include addressing the root causes of social problems, sharing of data/best practices and collaborative philanthropy.  Fortunately, many in this sector are beginning to move toward working together more regularly, including Loudoun County charities.  Read the full article here.

Feeding Hungry Students Through The Storm


Area schools have taken extra steps to ensure that hungry students have something to eat even though schools are closed. LCPS schools distributed extra food to students who receive free or reduced lunches and other assistance ahead of the blizzard that hit our area on Friday…read more.

Removing Barriers To Education


First Book, founded in DC over 20 years ago, is a nonprofit that combines the marketplace and philanthropy to get new books into the hands of poor children. The nonprofit operates an online book bank, which collects donated books from publishers and gives them away.  It has grown into a national enterprise that gave away more than 15 million new books to low-income children and teens in 2015. More than 215,000 teachers, libraries, health clinics, after-school programs, shelters, faith-based groups and others have “shopped” for kids on First Book.  The organization recently expanded its offerings to include other heavily discounted items such as food, clothing and school supplies. Any program is eligible to register with First Book if at least 70 percent of the children served come from low-income families.


The Bread Lady Brings Smiles And Nourishment


The Bread Lady is a dedicated volunteer who knows how to reduce waste and help the hungry at the same time.  As a supporter of 100WS grantee Loudoun Interfaith Relief (LIR), Vera Lewis gathers day-old bread from Food Lion and delivers it to her fellow residents at Madison House in Leesburg—and the rest to the food pantry. Along with the bread, which Vera knew the store would throw away, she brings a smile to the other volunteers at LIR.   

Creating Homes For Vets

Virginia is the first in the nation to end homelessness for veterans.  How did the state, which has the 7th largest veteran population in the country, achieve this benchmark?  By using the Housing-First model,  a policy that provides homeless people with safe, supportive shelter as a prerequisite for attending to other underlying issues. In the past year, Virginia has provided permanent housing to more than 1,400 homeless veterans.  The benchmark also means that the state has the resources to take in any veterans who want housing in the future within 90 days.  Housing-First is proving to be a cost efficient and humane way to end homelessness.  Do you think it would make sense to extend this policy to nonveteran homeless people with the same focus in coming years?

A “Fine” Way To Reduce Hunger

Stack of Food Cans

A “Food for Fines” program is an innovative way to help hungry families in Lexington, Kentucky. For every 10 cans of food donated, $15 is taken off of parking tickets, and violators can donate to reduce multiple tickets and even past-due tickets. The city collected more than 6,200 cans last year, so it is expanding the program in an effort to support more area families. 

Area Students Challenged To ‘Step Up’ To Help Loudoun County Resolve Issues


Tapping in to the creativity of Loudoun County middle and high school students, the 6th Annual Step Up Loudoun competition will award up to $2,500 in cash prizes for plans that identify an issue facing county residents and offer a plan of action to resolve it. Written proposals are due on December 18. For more information, visit or email Marianne Moore at [email protected]


Area Students Challenged to ‘Step Up’ to Help Loudoun County Resolve IssuesArea

Redesigned Virginia School Aims To Help Kids Lose Weight

To combat childhood obesity, a school in rural Buckingham, VA, worked with architects to make the entire school more conducive to a healthy lifestyle. From school gardens, to a commercial kitchen allowing students to watch as their lunch is made, food labs and other innovative techniques, they are teaching healthy eating along with the core curriculum.  Read the full article.

To Learn What The Poor Need, Just Ask

Neighborhood Centers of Houston, TX, has succeeded in helping poor neighborhoods because they “go where they are invited and do what we’re asked to do.” Instead of seeing the disadvantaged as the “problem,” they see them as the asset and source of solutions. Learn how Neighborhood Centers puts people first and helps them move up the ladder and out of poverty. 

Innovative Ideas — Affordable Housing In Our Region

In May, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) and Enterprise Community Partners collaborated on an innovative new funding pool they are establishing for developers of affordable housing units. In their presentation to the Federal City Council, they said it will provide developers with access to low-interest bridge loans and will provide updates soon. Read more here.

Teachers In Industry Project Brings Real Life Into School 

20 teachers from NoVA schools recently shadowed professionals in fields including agriculture, medicine, and transportation as part of the Teachers in Industry Project, run by GWU. The program helps to better equip students to prepare for life after high school. Read the full article here.

No Kid Hungry Donations Matched Dollar For Dollar By Arby’s Foundation

Many kids who rely on school meals struggle to get enough to eat during the summer months.  Arby’s Foundation, a core partner of No Kid Hungry, will match your donations dollar for dollar up to $150,000 this summer, doubling your impact to help feed hungry kids. Learn more about the program, which is part of Share our Strength by clicking here.

Eliminate The Choice Between Food Or Medicine

66 percent of food insecure households that received food from Feeding America’s network of food banks must decide whether to purchase food or their medicine because they simply can’t afford both. How can we ensure that people get both the food and medicine they need? Read more.

Speak Up Magazine: Giving A Voice To Charlotte’s Homeless

An organization in Charlotte is trying to help the homeless in a different way. Speak Up Magazine is a group that gives people living on the streets not just a job, but a chance to tell their story. Read more.

New Study Finds Unexpected Source Of Giving: Young Women

Conventional wisdom says young Americans are not as generous as older generations, particularly if they’re not religious. That may hold true for most donors, says a new report, but younger women appear to be bucking the trend. Millennial and Generation X women who are single and unaffiliated with a religion give two-and-a-half times more money to charity than their older, similarly secular counterparts, according to the report, which looked exclusively at unmarried donors. Their giving also doubles that of peers who have loose ties to a religion.
Read more.


100WomenStrong is a proud fund of Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties