Guide to Giving

Essential information on 37 local nonprofits that serve people in need in our community. How can you help? Start here.

The suburbs just south of Washington, D.C., enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the country. Property values continue to rise. The unemployment rate is 3.5 percent. Our public schools are ranked among the best in the nation. Urban redevelopment experts have called Metro’s Orange Line corridor a national model for walkable urbanism.

But it’s not the easiest place to live for the 14,800 county residents living below the federal poverty line, nearly 3,400 of whom are children. The cost of living in D.C. and its wealthy suburbs—including Arlington, Falls Church and McLean—is nearly 50 percent higher than the national average, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research’s 2011 ACCRA Cost of Living Index, which compares cost of living data in 309 urban areas.

Housing prices in our area are two and a half times the national average.

As a result, thousands of local residents struggle daily with hunger, homelessness, lack of health insurance and inadequate wages. Many are elderly with medical problems living on fixed incomes. Others count among the working poor—employed, yet still not making enough to support their families.  

How can you help? Start by finding a cause that you want to support by donating your time, money or both. “There are dozens of hard-working, effective, local nonprofit organizations that are really making a difference,” says philanthropist John Andelin, who serves on the board of the Arlington Community Foundation (ACF).

What follows is a list of 37 nonprofits that provide important services in our area. (Due to space limitations, we limited this year’s list to human services organizations, although we will consider adding nonprofits with an arts focus next year.)

“There’s never been a better time to give to charities right here in our community,” says ACF Executive Director Wanda Pierce. “It makes the place where we live and work a better place for all.”

We offer thanks to ACF ( for its help in compiling this resource.


AHC ( develops and preserves affordable housing for low-income families. It also offers educational programs for children, teens and adults through the community centers on its 22 properties.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington County
What a donation buys:
•    $250 covers afterschool supplies for 15 children between the ages of 6 and 11.
•    $1,000 provides 16 afterschool drama or dance workshops for 20 children.
•    $10,000 pays for 12 summer camp field trips for 100 children.
Volunteer opportunities: SSL*
•    Tutor middle and high school students one night a week for 1.5 hours.
•    Supervise children (ages 6-11) in afterschool programs one or more hours a week between 3 and 6 pm.  


The Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless ( provides transitional housing and support services to women and families. It runs Sullivan House, a facility with 10 units (50 beds) where clients may reside for three to five months while receiving counseling and referral services.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington County and the City of Alexandria
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides career and job-interview coaching for one client.  
•    $1,000 covers holiday gifts and activities for 45 families.
•    $10,000 provides life-skills training for three families for one year.
Volunteer opportunities: (18 and over)
•    Teach English as a second language or help adult clients prepare for GED exams and job searches.
•    Tutor children (ages 5-13) Monday-Thursday after school.
•    Mentor individuals who wish to launch home-based businesses. (Business management, sales, marketing and finance expertise needed.)
•    Organize food and donation drives.  
•    Host and/or help organize teams for fund-raising events.  
•    Organize pantries, clean the children’s activity room, weed the garden, or provide other types of maintenance.  


The Arlington Community Foundation ( facilitates charitable giving to support the community and helps individuals, families, businesses and organizations meet their charitable goals. Contributions can be made to the foundation’s community grant and scholarship programs. (Last year, ACF awarded $327,500 in college scholarships to 145 students and provided grants totaling $300,000 to 50 local nonprofits and schools.) A donor or group may also establish its own named charitable fund.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Primarily Arlington, but also the broader D.C. metro area
What a donation buys:
•    $250 covers a small community grant (e.g., supplies for a puppet theater at a local middle school).
•    $1,000 provides one college scholarship or one prompt-response “emergency” grant (e.g., a replacement washer and dryer for the winter emergency homeless shelter).
•    $10,000 seeds a permanent charitable giving fund (to be named by you) to support your particular interests.
Volunteer opportunities: SSL
•    Assist with events (gala, golf tournament, etc.), office tasks, e-newsletter, website updates and community outreach.
•    Participate in the grant or scholarship review process.


Arlington Food Assistance Center ( gives low-income families and individuals access to nutritious, supplemental groceries. More than 36 percent of AFAC’s clients are children and nearly 18 percent are elderly. More than 60 percent of the food distributed is donated.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington County
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides one week of food for 10 families.
•    $1,000 provides one week of fresh eggs for 1,600 families.
•    $10,000 covers three months of food for Backpack Buddies, a program that provides weekend and holiday meal packs to homeless children in Arlington Public Schools.
Volunteer opportunities: SSL
•    Organize a food drive.
•    Help with chicken-bagging on Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m. (AFAC buys chicken at wholesale prices, but it needs to be sorted before it can be distributed.)
•    Collect donated fruits and vegetables via farmers’ market pickups and visits to local farms.
•    Plant vegetable seedlings for AFAC to distribute to clients and its “Plot Against Hunger” gardeners. Or plant an extra row in your garden and grow veggies for donation.


Arlington Free Clinic ( provides free health care to low-income, uninsured adults. Most AFC patients work, but have jobs that do not provide health insurance. The clinic and its partner facilities provide both  primary and specialty care, as well as women’s health screenings, mental health services, physical therapy, pharmacy services and diagnostic testing.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington County
What a donation buys:
•    $250 covers medications that are not available through the on-site pharmacy.
•    $1,000 covers two automatic blood pressure cuffs or 10 thin prep pap tests.
•    $10,000 buys three pieces of equipment for enhanced eyesight evaluations; or medical supplies for all exam rooms for two years.
Volunteer opportunities: SSL
•    Assist with administrative tasks, pharmacy support, fundraising and other needs, working at least one 2-3-hour shift per month. Interview and training required. Medical volunteers must submit current licensing information.
•    Internships lasting 6 to 14 weeks are available. Occasionally students may complete short-term assignments of 10-40 hours to fulfill scholastic, grant or other requirements.


Arlington Pediatric Center ( offers comprehensive, affordable health care to infants, children and youth (up to age 19) whose family income is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Care is provided regardless of a family’s ability to pay for services. APC expects more than 14,000 clinical visits in 2012. 
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington County
What a donation buys:
•    $150 covers the cost of a doctor’s visit for one uninsured child.
•    $250 covers supplies (syringes, gowns, gloves, etc.) for 158 clinical visits.
•    $500 covers five counseling sessions for a child in need of mental health services.
•    $1,000 nearly covers a noninvasive pulse oximeter to reduce painful needle sticks for children and time-consuming blood draws for staff.
•    $5,000 pays for well-child infant care for five newborns in their first year of life (visits at 2 weeks, and 2, 4, 6, 9 and 12 months)
•    $10,000 covers the unreimbursed costs for 117 clinical visits, or the average cost of care for 26 children for one year.
Volunteer opportunities (21 or older):
•    Licensed volunteer health care professionals (RN, MD, LPN, MA) needed to provide direct patient care.  
•    Serve as medical interpreters (Spanish primarily), assist with fundraising, read to children, perform administrative duties. Commitment is at least six months, 3 hours per week.


A-SPAN ( provides life-sustaining services for Arlington’s homeless with the ultimate goal of securing individuals in permanent housing. The organization provides street outreach; bagged meals; an emergency winter shelter; permanent supportive housing for people with mental illness and/or substance abuse; and homelessness prevention/rapid rehousing programs. It also maintains a drop-in center where clients can take a shower, do laundry, call loved ones, receive job assistance, and get medical, mental health or substance-abuse treatment referrals.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington County (primarily)
What a donation buys:
•    $250 fills 10 prescriptions or stocks a kitchen or bedroom for a client moving into housing.
•    $1,000 furnishes an apartment for a formerly homeless person through A-SPAN’s Make-It-A-Home fund.
•    $10,000 covers six months of contract nursing and health care services for both housed clients and clients on the streets.
Volunteer opportunities:
•    Prepare and serve meals through A-SPAN’s Homeless Bagged Meal Program.
•    Serve meals or distribute hygiene items to clients at the Arlington County Emergency Winter Shelter (Nov. 1-March 31).
•    Serve as receptionists and supervisors at Opportunity Place in Shirlington, the drop-in center, which is open Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
•    Organize a single-day group project, such as cleaning, painting or maintenance. Periodically, groups help with  “move-in parties” for clients who are moving off the street into their own apartments.


Arlington Thrive provides emergency financial assistance to residents in crisis who cannot pay their bills. The organization provides a front-line defense against homelessness and is part of Arlington’s safety net programs. It is the only Arlington organization that provides same-day financial assistance. This assistance enables recipients to pay their rent bills to prevent eviction and homelessness; to pay utility bills to prevent the shut-off of heating and electric sources; and to pay medical, dental and prescription bills if they are uninsured. Last year, Arlington Thrive provided a total of $820,000 in emergency financial assistance to more than 3,000 local households and individuals.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington County
What a donation buys:
•    $250 covers emergency dental care for a person who does not have insurance.
•    $1,000 prevents a family’s eviction by paying back rent for their apartment.
•    $10,000 helps 50 to 100 clients pay their rent and utilities, as well as emergency medical, dental and prescription costs.
Volunteer opportunities: SSL
•    Field telephone calls one or two weekday afternoons per month from social workers who are requesting emergency financial assistance for their clients. Training is provided. Some computer skills required.
•    Short- or long-term office projects may be assigned. Volunteers with public relations and social-media experience needed.


The Bonder & Amanda Johnson Community Development Corp. ( promotes economic and social development. Through its Nauck Community Services Center, BAJCDC provides county information and referrals, social services, financial literacy, housing assistance, supplemental food, employment services and  youth/education services to residents.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington County
What a donation buys:
•    $250 covers 25 Metro SmarTrip cards for clients traveling to and from Arlington’s Department of Human Services.
•    $1,000 helps with supplemental food distribution to 45 existing clients, as well as 25 new ones.
•    $10,000 covers the cost of remodeling BAJCDC’s educational space with proper lighting and outlets, plus office equipment and literacy materials for clients.
Volunteer opportunities:
•    Assist with weekly food distribution on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., youth reading program and special events.
•    Serve as an afterschool tutor or reading buddy once a week for 90 minutes.
•    Promote BAJCDC programs in Nauck and its surrounding neighborhoods as a member of the organization’s Street Team.


Borromeo Housing Inc. ( provides education and safe transitional housing for homeless mothers (ages 16-22) and their children. A two-year education, housing and life skills development program helps young women create a self-sustaining future.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: D.C. metro area (Arlington County residents receive first priority)
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides educational supplies for four young mothers to attend school for one semester.
•    $1,000 provides a month of shelter care for one family, including household goods and infant care supplies.
•    $10,000 pays the safe home’s residential mortgage for five months.
Volunteer opportunities:
•    Serve as a guest chef, infant care supply coordinator or skills presenter once a week.
•    Serve as a grant writer, researcher or mentor on a flexible basis.
•    Help with the annual spring fundraiser.


BU-GATA ( provides advocacy, education and leadership development to Arlington’s Latino and immigrant communities with a focus on housing and youth. Its mission is to improve quality of life and promote neighborhood stabilization in multifamily rental apartments. BU-GATA seeks to empower residents to access services and participate in community decisions.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington County
What a donation buys:
•    $100 pays for an SAT prep course for one student; one GED prep course; or materials and transportation for one training session on tenant rights.
•    $465 allows one adolescent to apply for immigration papers and a work permit.
•    $500 pays rent and utilities to help one tenant avoid eviction.
•    $1,000 covers stipends, transportation and materials for three civic participation workshops for eight tenants.
•    $10,000 covers one part-time outreach coordinator.
Volunteer opportunities:
•    Teach basic computer skills or provide homework assistance, two hours per week for 10 weeks.
•    Help coordinate parties, outings, festivals and other special events. Bilingual speakers (Spanish and English) needed.


BRAVO ( empowers tenants to have a voice in housing decisions and advocates for decent, affordable housing. It also promotes cultural/economic diversity and encourages community engagement. Apartment tenants make up 58 percent of Arlington’s population, but are sparsely represented in local civic and neighborhood associations.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington County
What a donation buys:
•    $250 pays for 150 vegetable plants for community gardening.
•    $1,000 helps establish crucial apartment building-based online communities (listservs) linking disconnected neighbors and promoting civic engagement.
•    $10,000 covers outreach efforts to increase the number of county properties allowing community gardening. The goal is not only to produce fruits and vegetables for consumption, but also to create social networks to engage disconnected neighbors.
Volunteer opportunities:
•    Help with office tasks.
•    Recruit volunteers to document landlord policies on financial responsibility for ridding apartments of bedbugs.
•    Provide Spanish translation.
•    Assist with outreach efforts and expand BRAVO’s social-media presence and website content.


Culpepper Garden ( provides affordable, safe housing and assisted-living services for low- and moderate-income elderly. It supports 269 seniors who reside independently and 75 who live in its assisted-living facility.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington County
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides two months of meals and custodial care for one assisted-living resident.
•    $1,000 covers eight months of meals and custodial care for one assisted-living resident.
•    $10,000 provides 12 months of meals and custodial care for six assisted-living residents.
Volunteer opportunities:
•    Coordinate movie nights and lead workshops on a weekly or monthly basis in creative arts, music, art, sewing, knitting, seasonal crafts, decorating, spiritual-hymn singing, bible study, bingo and bridge.
•    Simple social visits are also appreciated (many residents have no visitors).  


Doorways for Women and Families ( seeks to transform the lives of women and families who are facing homelessness, suffering abuse or fleeing from violence. The nonprofit provides a safe house and hotline, court advocacy, housing assistance, financial independence programs, counseling and children’s services. It’s the only women’s shelter in Virginia equipped with a kennel for pets.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington County
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides five hours of therapy to help a child heal from trauma.
•    $1,000 provides a year of financial counseling for a family in the HomeStart Supportive Housing Program.
•    $10,000 provides a month of shelter and support services for a family of four at the Freddie Mac Foundation Family Home.   
Volunteer opportunities (18 and older):
•    Provide child care at shelters, answer the domestic violence hotline and assist with day-to-day operations. Training and background checks required. Commitment is twice a month for at least one year.
•    Organize storage rooms, handle administrative tasks or shop for groceries.



ECDC Enterprise Development Group (formerly the Ethiopian Community Development Council) ( helps refugees, immigrants and low-income people access financing to start or expand small businesses, acquire assets, develop money management skills and achieve economic independence.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: D.C. metro area
What a donation buys:
•    Donations of all sizes enable ECDC to provide technical assistance, training and loan capital to help local entrepreneurs start or expand their businesses.
Volunteer opportunities: SSL
•    Provide free tax preparation from February to April (basic training and IRS certification required).  
•    Professionals with expertise in small-business development are needed for other projects year round. Internships for college students are available.   


Focusing on education and leadership development, Edu-Futuro ( empowers Latino children, youth and families to succeed and contribute to their community. The grassroots initiative was founded by Latino parents to help local families and to address the achievement gap in Northern Virginia.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: D.C. metro area
What a donation buys:
•    $250 covers one college field trip to a local university for 25 Latino youth who will be the first in their families to attend college.
•    $1,000 funds two college scholarships for high-achieving, low-income students.
•    $10,000 pays for 40 Latino youth to participate in one semester of the Emerging Leaders Program. This includes college field trips,college prep workshops, community service activities, career and college panel discussions, a graduation ceremony, a computer lab and meals for workshops, plus 10 refurbished laptops for high-achieving high school seniors.
Volunteer opportunities: SSL
•    Serve as a mentor or teaching assistant (children’s Spanish classes are after school and Saturday mornings).
•    Provide monitoring support for website.
•    Photograph graduation ceremonies.
•    Help with office work (bilingual college student interns are needed).


The ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia ( is a community-based resource and advocacy center managed by and for people with disabilities. ECNV promotes independent living and equal access for all persons. Its goal is to empower people with physical, mental, cognitive and sensory disabilities to direct their own lives.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Northern Virginia
What a donation buys:
•    Donations help fund advocacy efforts, educational programs and technical assistance.
Volunteer opportunities:
•    Assist with administrative tasks, mailings and refurbishing computers.
•    Help organize the distribution of donated equipment.


Clarendon House ( is a program within the Arlington County Department of Human Services that serves adults with mental illness. The program creates an accepting, supportive and encouraging environment that emphasizes the strengths and capabilities of each individual. Services focus on meaningful employment, socialization and relationship-building.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington County
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides clients with gift cards for food, clothing and household supplies.
•    $500 provides emergency funds to prevent evictions, or to cover the costs of prescriptions or dental work.
•    $1,000 buys computers that clients can use to work on their résumés and conduct employment searches.  
Volunteer opportunities:
•    Teach computer skills and personal budgeting to clients.
•    Provide tutoring and help facilitate client participation in social activities.


Friends of Guest House ( provides a temporary home for women who are recently released from prison and transitioning back into society. Programs include aftercare, outreach, a speakers’ bureau, and Arlington Jail pre-release mentoring that provides female ex-offenders with the supervision and support they need to become responsible members of the community.
Headquartered: Alexandria
Serves: Northern Virginia (one-third of clients are residents of Arlington, Falls Church or McLean)
What a donation buys:
•    $200 buys one month of round-trip bus fares to work for 10 residents.
•    $500 buys clean sheets, pillows and blankets for 10 residents per year.
•    $1,000 replaces worn carpet in five bedrooms.
•    $10,000 funds the speakers’ bureau for one year.
Volunteer opportunities: SSL
•    Mentor clients one-on-one for a minimum of one day per week. Background check and orientation required.
•    Serve as a presenter once every 8-week cycle in the “Total Woman” program on topics related to living independently.
•    Provide one-on-one GED instruction  (minimum one day per week).
•    Manage arts and crafts and creative-expression projects on a weekly or monthly basis; coordinate activities and outings every other month.
•    Provide rides to and from appointments.
•    Organize a one-day group project, such as yard cleanup or painting.


Greenbrier Learning Center ( provides year-round academic and social-emotional support to children from low-income households in Arlington. It serves 80 children each day after school across three sites.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington County
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides transportation for all 80 students to participate in a field trip.
•    $1,000 provides 40 students with school supplies for a year.
•    $10,000 supports three students’ daily participation in GLC’s Learning ROCKS! afterschool program for one year.
Volunteer opportunities:
•    Provide daily or weekly help with tutoring, afterschool programs or office tasks.
•    Help register participants for fall fun run races and walks benefiting GLC.
•    Coach a small group of students for six to eight weeks in preparation for GLC’s annual spring science fair.

Jill’s House

Jill’s House celebrates children with special needs and provides respite, renewal and peace of mind to their families through overnight programs and day camps. The organization offers a 42,000-square-foot, 45-bed resort for children ages 6 to 17 with intellectual disabilities. Siblings are welcome.
Headquartered: McLean
Serves: D.C. metro area  
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides activities and fun for 120 children in the weeknight program. Kids get a slumber party with their friends. Parents get a night off to themselves.
•    $1,000 provides nutritious meals for 240 children during their stay at Jill’s House. Dietary needs, such as gluten- or casein-free meals, are accommodated.
•    $10,000 provides 300 children with the medical care they need during their stay. On-site nurses handle medications, g-tube feedings, and complex care regimens.
Volunteer opportunities (14 and older):  SSL
•    Assist with small group activities, crafts, swimming, small repairs, administrative office work, special events and preparing lodging for children.


Just Neighbors ( provides immigration legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees. The organization assists more than 700 clients each year in escaping from domestic violence, uniting with family and attaining authorization to work.
Headquartered: Falls Church
Serves: Northern Virginia  
What a donation buys:
•    $250 covers legal assistance and green card applications for one refugee or asylee family.
•    $1,000 protects an immigrant woman and her children from domestic violence by ensuring that their lawful status in the U.S. is not tied to an abuser. This legal assistance allows a woman to work independently and remain in the U.S. permanently with her children.
•    $10,000 covers costs at two community clinics for low-income immigrants and refugees. Each clinic takes on 20-25 cases with support from 25-30 volunteers. Staff attorneys subsequently work with clients over a period of months until their applications with Immigration are approved.
Volunteer opportunities (18 and older):
•    Weekend and evening volunteers conduct intake interviews with new clients at community legal clinics. (Orientation is provided; no foreign language skills or legal experience necessary.)
•    Bilingual (English and Spanish) volunteers assist in the front office during business hours.


Linden Resources ( provides rehabilitation, career counseling, job training and placement to people with disabilities. A printing, copying, hand-assembly and fulfillment center at its headquarters employs approximately 65 adults with disabilities. Linden also provides staffing solutions to outside employers via 10 work sites inside various federal agencies.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: D.C. metro area
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides assistive technology for three people with disabilities
•    $1,000 provides interpreting services for 10 deaf and hard-of-hearing clients seeking employment.
•    $10,000 provides professional services to place seven wounded warriors in jobs.
Volunteer opportunities:
•    Teach computer skills to people with disabilities and provide administrative assistance year-round. Confidentiality statement and background check required for certain roles.


NSTEP ( coordinates with schools and afterschool programs to provide free homework support for middle and high school students in math, chemistry and physics. Students in need of tutoring are connected with high school honor student tutors through the nonprofit’s online Study Buddy program. The online system allows student volunteers to tutor from the comfort and safety of their own homes or wherever they can connect to the Internet.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: D.C. metro area
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides free online peer tutoring in math, physics and chemistry to one classroom for one school year.
•    $1,000 gives an entire middle school or high school access to Study Buddy tutors for one school year.
•    $10,000 gives every middle and high school in Arlington free access to unlimited tutoring with Study Buddy.   
Volunteer opportunities: SSL
•    Honors students tutor in half-hour increments (minimum one hour per month) at times that fit their schedules.
•    Adults may volunteer as “Study Buddy ambassadors” or as advocates for their child’s school.


Neediest Kids ( provides low-income K-12 students with basic essentials such as eyeglasses, warm coats, new clothing, shoes, groceries and toiletries.
Headquartered: McLean
Serves: D.C. metro area
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides winter coats to 15 children.
•    $1,000 enables 175 children to have new, school-appropriate clothes that fit.
•    $10,000 gives 135 children essential eye exams and glasses.
Volunteer opportunities: SSL
•    Organize a school-supplies drive, a socks-and-underwear drive, or a toiletries drive at your office, school, club or faith-based organization.


New Hope Housing ( provides shelter, transitional and permanent supportive housing, support services and outreach programs for homeless families and individuals. The nonprofit serves more than 1,200 individuals, including more than 240 children, each year. It maintains two shelters in Arlington and a hypothermia shelter in Falls Church.
Headquartered: Alexandria
Serves: Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church and Fairfax
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides a hot meal for 100 homeless people staying in shelters.
•    $1,000 provides one night of emergency accommodations for 10 families.
•    $10,000 supports the operations of a winter hypothermia shelter for homeless men and women.
Volunteer opportunities: SSL
•    Help with tutoring (adults and children), résumé writing, job search assistance, meal preparation, event planning, repairs and maintenance, landscaping and yard work or office tasks. Commitments can be short- or long-term.
•    Internships are offered to students focusing on careers in social services and nonprofit management.  


NOVAM ( provides comprehensive HIV/STI-prevention education to youth in schools and other community facilities; free and confidential HIV testing; support for youth who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered; children’s services; and transportation services for medical appointments.
Headquartered: Falls Church
Serves: Northern Virginia
What a donation buys:
•    $250 sponsors a five-week intervention program for teens in the juvenile justice system.
•    $1,000 provides HIV-prevention education to 30 teens (or one classroom).
•    $10,000 would allow NOVAM to update and modernize its website.
Volunteer opportunities (16 or older): SSL
•    Greet guests and help with office projects, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
•    Staff NOVAM information booths or tables at local health fairs.
•    Assist with fundraisers, including publicity, ticket sales, registration, decorating, food/beverage setup and cleanup.
•    Become a trained HIV-prevention educator and teach youth about HIV/STI prevention in schools and community sites. (Commitment is one year, 2-3 hours per month. Must have own transportation.)
•    Create logos, special events and general marketing materials, 4-6 hours per month (graphic designers needed).


Nova Scripts Central ( is a nonprofit, collaborative pharmacy that provides life-saving medications, pharmaceutical care and medication counseling to the uninsured.
Headquartered: Falls Church
Serves: Northern Virginia
What a donation buys:
•    $250 covers a 3-month supply of diabetes medication for 38 patients.
•    $1,000 covers a 3-month supply of blood pressure medicine for 90 patients.
•    $10,000 covers a 3-month supply of anti-seizure medicine for 260 patients.
Volunteer opportunities: SSL
•    Volunteer pharmacists and pharmacy technicians help fill prescriptions, manage the pharmacy and provide clinical services. Shifts are four-hour blocks on a weekly, monthly or as-needed basis.  
•    Individuals with foreign language fluency interpret literature so patients understand how and why to take their medications.
•    Individuals with accounting, marketing and law expertise are needed, as are in-kind donations of business products and services (e.g., printing, office supplies or marketing services).



OAR ( is a restorative justice organization that blends compassion and accountability to help offenders lead productive and responsible lives. OAR offers classes inside the Arlington County Detention Facility.  It provided reentry services to 654 individuals coming home in 2012.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington County and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides food for one Monthly Supper Club, which creates social opportunities for clients and community members.
•    $1,000 provides transportation for 10 clients to complete an 8-week employability program and travel to job interviews.
•    $10,000 covers the cost of one part-time job developer for one year.
Volunteer opportunities (18 and older):
•    Teach inside the Arlington County Detention Facility (six-week courses are two hours per week, plus 16 hours of training).
•    Serve as a mentor and life coach one night a week for two hours.
•    Provide office support and cultivate relationships with local businesses.
•    Oversee clients engaged in community service projects on weekends (8 hours per weekend in spring, summer and fall).
•    Organize toy drives that collect holiday gifts for children of incarcerated parents.
•    Provide individual microwavable soups and snacks for clients attending OAR programs.


Phoenix Bikes ( is a full-service, nonprofit youth and community bike shop located in Barcroft Park. The organization teaches hands-on mechanics’ skills and customer service to kids ages 12 to 18 (with an emphasis on at-risk youth) in a sustainable business environment, working almost exclusively with recycled bike parts. The organization also teaches bike safety and bike repair to the community.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Northern Virginia and D.C.
What a donation buys:
•    $250 pays for three program youth to attend the National Youth Bike Summit.
•    $1,000 pays for a heated parts washer that works with biodegradable solvents.
•    $10,000 buys computer terminals and workbenches for a future location.
Volunteer opportunities: SSL
•    Shop mentors help youth mechanics with bike projects and shop tasks. Commitment is 3-4 hours, weekly or bimonthly.
•    Ride partners join Team Phoenix on Saturday bike rides that range from 3 to 20+ miles. Rides often include an educational or service component. Commitment is up to four hours on Saturdays.
•    Shop Nights on Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. allow mechanics of all skill levels to lead and/or learn the nuts and bolts of bike building.


Over the past 50 years, Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic (formerly Vanguard Services Unlimited) ( has helped more than 35,000 adults and adolescents reclaim their lives from the ravages of substance abuse and addiction. Locally, the nonprofit has five separate locations that house 17 programs, including educational classes, outpatient counseling, day treatment and residential care. Demeter House treats women, pregnant women and moms with young children. Nuevo Dia serves monolingual Spanish-speaking men. The Girls and Boys Recovery Lodges provide residential substance abuse treatment for adolescents.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: D.C. metro region
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides food for a residential client for 31 days.
•    $1,000 provides 40 sessions of treatment for an adolescent client.
•    $10,000 provides 62 days of treatment for a client.
Volunteer opportunities:
•    Serve on PHMA board and committees.
•    Help with administrative duties.
•    Provide reading and financial literacy instruction, or job-readiness training. Orientation, background check, TB test and fingerprinting required, along with training in CPR, first aid and FEAR (Facing Emergencies And Reacting) crisis intervention.
•    PHMA offers unpaid internships for students interested in counseling careers.  


Postpartum Support Virginia ( helps new and expectant mothers and their families to overcome postpartum depression and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders—illnesses that affect as many as one in five new or expectant mothers. Volunteers provide direct support via telephone, email and support groups in 10 locations throughout the state (four more  are in development). PSVa also runs five Spanish-speaking support groups in Northern Virginia, as Latinas are at even greater risk (1 in 3) for postpartum depression due to socioeconomic, cultural and language barriers. Other activities include volunteer training, conferences and continuing education.  
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Virginia
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides training and resources to run a support group for one year, serving approximately 25 women.
•    $1,000 creates a screening and referral process at a hospital
•    $10,000 covers the salary for one part-time staff person.
Volunteer opportunities: SSL
•    Provide ongoing social support to women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (requires 15 hours of training and weekly 2-hour commitment). Return phone calls and emails; facilitate support groups; speak at new mothers’ groups; and help with marketing efforts, particularly social media and blogging.
•    Prepare materials for new mothers, doctors’ offices, conferences and training sessions; coordinate fundraising events; maintain databases; write and review grant proposals; help with social media outreach.


The Reading Connection ( improves the lives of at-risk children and families by helping to create literacy-rich environments. TRC collects and distributes more than 10,000 books to at-risk kids every year. It also facilitates workshops for parents and training for family-support workers. TRC volunteers spend more than 1,500 hours per year reading to kids.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington County, the City of Alexandria, Fairfax County and D.C.
What a donation buys:
•    $250 supports recruitment, training and ongoing volunteer support.  
•    $1,000 purchases 200 children’s books.  
•    $10,000 sponsors the Read-Aloud program (which reaches 400 children annually) for one year at one Arlington site.
Volunteer opportunities:
•    Individuals 18 or older can read aloud to children at shelters and community centers. Commitment is one weekday evening per month for one year.
•    Join TRC at area bookstores during the holiday season to wrap gifts and collect donations. Starts Thanksgiving weekend and ends Dec. 24, 2012.  
•    Provide photography, videography and photo/video editing support.
•    Help with writing, proofreading and monthly mailings.
•    Organize a book drive (for new books on TRC’s wish list) at your workplace, school or place of worship.


Shelter House ( provides crisis intervention, safe housing and supportive services to homeless families and victims of domestic violence. It runs the Patrick Henry Family Shelter in Falls Church.
Headquartered: Herndon
Serves: Fairfax County
What a donation buys:
•    $250 buys household goods, baby supplies and toiletries for a homeless family of five for one month.
•    $1,000 provides financial support for car repairs, and cab or bus fare for a homeless family.
•    $10,000 supports rental assistance for a homeless family for one year.
Volunteer opportunities: SSL
•    Tutor young learners (two hours per week, days or evenings).
•    Help with Kids Night, a creative outlet for children while their parents and caretakers attend self-sufficiency classes (1 hour per week).
•    Help keep the shelter beautiful (5-20 hours on days, evenings or weekends).
•    Help move furniture for families who are moving to self-sufficiency.
•    Assist with special events and programs, including Adopt-An-Apartment, a comprehensive corporate and volunteer service program (8-24 hours, start to finish).
•    Organize a donation drive.


The Shirlington Employment and Education Center ( provides a safe location and lunches for day laborers who are waiting for work, plus classes in drywall, ceramic tile and GREEN Housecleaning to improve their marketability.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: Arlington, Fairfax and the City of Alexandria
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides 50 bag lunches for 50 day laborers; or 40 pairs of gloves and knit caps for those who stand outside during the cold winter months waiting for work.
•    $1,000 covers 200 bag lunches to feed 50 day laborers for four days; 160 pairs of gloves and knit caps; one-third of a Thanksgiving Day luncheon for 150 day laborers; or 20 percent of a training class for 50 women participating in SEEC’s GREEN Housecleaning program.
•    $10,000 pays for three classes in drywall and ceramic tile for 50 day laborers; two classes in GREEN Housecleaning; or a partial salary for a paralegal to help day laborers collect unpaid wages.
Volunteer opportunities:
•    Tutor day laborers in ESL. Spanish fluency is preferred, but not required.
•    Meet with clients and provide referral assistance to social agencies in local jurisdictions (during business hours).
•    Help day laborers collect unpaid wages from unscrupulous employers (volunteer paralegals and attorneys needed).
•    Transport day laborers to their first jobs.
•    Assist staff in finding work for immigrant women trained in GREEN Housecleaning.


A nonprofit, teaching and research hospital, Virginia Hospital Center ( has nine nationally accredited Centers of Excellence, including Cardiology & Cardiovascular Surgery, Oncology, Neuroscience, Urology, the Reinsch Pierce Family Center for Breast Health, Acute Stroke, Joint Replacement, Hyperbaric Treatment and Bariatric Surgery, as well as a Center of Excellence in Women & Infant Health.
Headquartered: Arlington
Serves: D.C. metro area
What a donation buys:
•    $250 provides support group services for a patient undergoing cancer treatment.
•    $1,000 provides social services for a family in need.
•    $10,000 supports eight community health education events. (Donors of $10,000 or more become members of the Hospital’s Galen Society, which recognizes leadership giving.)
Volunteer opportunities (16 or older): SSL
•    The hospital’s Volunteer Program offers opportunities in more than 40 different areas. Minimum commitment is four hours per week for at least six months.
•    Auxiliary members organize fundraising efforts and help with wheelchair transportation, gift shops, bookmobile, reception desks and the outpatient clinic.
•    Student and adult volunteers with the Volunteer Services Group provide various kinds of support to patient representative services, inpatient hospital units, outpatient services and specialized services.


Volunteers of America Chesapeake runs the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter (, a 50-bed, emergency homeless shelter for adult men and women. The average stay at the shelter is 90 days and may include medical care, mental health services, substance abuse counseling, education and training. Funded by Fairfax County, the shelter provides a drop-in location where clients can bathe, receive a nutritious meal and wash their clothes. From Nov. 1 to March 31, the shelter provides a hypothermia program to prevent illness and death from exposure. VOA Chesapeake also operates Arlington’s Mary Marshall Assisted Living Residence, which houses approximately 50 seniors with mental or intellectual disabilities. Its Residential Program Center (RPC) provides housing and recovery services to individuals with substance abuse issues.
Headquartered: Alexandria
Serves: Greater D.C. region
What a donation buys:
•    $250 covers two rocking chairs; underwear and socks for five residents; or 25 movie or sporting event tickets.
•    $1,000 pays for 45 “go bags” (emergency
supply backpacks for seniors at the assisted-living center in the event of an evacuation); or 25 SmarTrip cards for RPC residents traveling to job interviews.
•    $10,000 covers one year of barber and beauty services for seniors in assisted living; a vehicle to transport seniors to appointments/social outings; or 90 days of food, shelter and substance abuse services for one person at the RPC.
Volunteer opportunities:
•    Meet with homeless individuals or families 3-4 hours per week to help them complete applications for programs.
•    Mentor an RPC resident in résumé writing, interviewing skills and budgeting (commitment is once a week).
•    Host a bingo night or movie night once a month.
•    Sort toiletry donations to create welcome packages for new residents (once a month). 

*SSL indicates the availability of college internships or Student Service Learning opportunities for local public schools.

Categories: Community