Co-founder Diana Katz does the honors, presenting the Giving Circle of Hope’s first ever Impact Grant Award of $25,000 to Connections for Hope Partnership of Herndon.
Photo by Andrea Worker.
Hidden Creek Country Club in Reston was the venue on May 14 for the Giving Circle of Hope’s annual gathering to showcase the nonprofit partners to whom the organization’s members have chosen to award grants for the coming year. Each fall, eligible members of the Circle – persons who have contributed at least $1 per day for the year to the Grant Fund – review applications and vote to award grants for specific projects that help people in need in Northern Virginia.
The 2013 Giving Circle of Hope Nonprofit Partners
- All Ages Read Together
- Computer Core
- Empowered Women International
*Friends of Guest House
- Greenbriar Learning Center
- Literacy Council of NoVa
- Stroke Comeback Center
- The Arc of Northern Virginia
- The David H. Lawson Foundation
Tenth Anniversary Impact Grant Awards
- Connections for Hope - $25k
- The Arc of Northern Virginia
- Centreville Labor Resource Center
The Circle began more like a square when four local women got together after a community garage sale and decided to take their involvement to the next level. Diana Katz, Mary Narayan, Joan Kasprowicz and Linda Strup met around the kitchen table to create “fun with a purpose,” as Strup described their initial goal. “We had a manic spirit of energy and an abundance of passion and compassion,” said Strup as she welcomed the attendees. “But there was lot we didn’t know when we started…like why was giving away money so difficult?” she asked with a laugh. She says the group also didn’t know that they would become an award winning service organization, that they would help launch other Circles of Giving, or that they would ultimately develop a number of their own ongoing service programs like the Kids’ Club which provides enrichment and recreation for homeless children, or Helping Hungry Kids which distributes weekend food for needy K-6 graders.
OVER THE YEARS, the four have grown to over a hundred and more than $400,000 has been granted to dozens of nonprofits providing services to people of all ages and covering a wide variety of needs. The Circle continues to live by its founding principles of “doing more than giving money” and instead, seeks to partner with the nonprofits to “learn about the local needs and together find creative, effective solutions for resolving them.”
This year the cocktails and hors d’oeuvres reception honored not only the 2013 Grantees, but doubled as a Tenth Birthday Party for the Circle. To celebrate that milestone, the members decided to award a special 10th Anniversary Impact grant. Circle Co-founder Diana Katz explained that 28 members came forward, donating $1000 each to provide an amount far above than usually awarded. After a recruiting and selection process that included concept papers and presentations by the applicants, three were chosen as finalists, and at the event Connections for Hope Partnership of Herndon was officially announced as the Impact Grant Winner, receiving $25,000 toward their work in bringing together nonprofits, county services, community leadership and service providers to more effectively integrate services for low-income and vulnerable citizens.
ANOTHER FIRST for the Circle this year was the presentations of Community Partner and Corporate Community Partner Awards. Del. Kenneth Plum (D-36) was recognized as the organization’s inaugural Community Partner, while Upper Quadrant, Inc., a cloud-based workflow technology business (and long-time supporter of the Giving Circle of Hope) was named the Corporate Community Partner.
This year’s official recognition event may be over, but the Giving Circle of Hope already has plans afoot to keep the circle widening. Information on how to join, either as a voting or a service member, and to read more about their programs and services can be found at www.givingcircleofhope.org.