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Image 7 Big Moments in 2022: Celebrations, Legacies, and Community

This year has been an exciting chapter in the story of the Foundation, our community, and the people we serve.

With your support, we have turned the page from pandemic emergency response – during which we provided over $1 million in support to local nonprofits – to unfolding stories of recovery, resilience, and celebration.

These moments provide just a glimpse at what we have accomplished in 2022 together.

We invite you to use this to reflect on the year and celebrate with us, and if you feel so moved, to financially support the Foundation, so that we can continue writing the story of Arlington together. A gift to our Community Fund helps the Foundation support long-term solutions; respond quickly to emergencies; and meet changing economic, health and human services, arts and cultural, educational, or environmental needs in our community.


In 2022, Arlington Community Foundation (ACF) awarded new college scholarships totaling nearly $600,000. More than 100 scholarship funds support these student awards, each with their own eligibility criteria, with many of them designed to support students facing significant financial barriers to higher education.

On Monday, June 6, for the first time since 2019, scholarship recipients were celebrated at an in-person awards ceremony and reception at Kenmore Middle School. Many of the funders and supporters of the scholarships also attended the event where they were able to meet and connect with their scholarship recipient(s) for the first time. 

One such scholarship is the Tony Young Memorial Scholarship. Tony dedicated his life and career to helping people with disabilities, and after Tony passed in 2015, his wife, Kathleen Cameron, established the memorial scholarship to carry on his legacy: to be eligible for this scholarship, the student must have a physical, cognitive, or sensory disability.

This year’s recipient of the Tony Young Memorial Scholarship is Yorktown graduate Zoè Davis. Upon receiving the scholarship, Zoè said, “This scholarship validates my voice – disabled-LGBTQ+ voices – and I hope to pay it forward as I make ‘my way’ in the world. I will continue to share this scholarship blessing, as well as my story with others to help inspire and empower.”


Launched in 2021 with the support of many generous funders, Arlington’s Guarantee is a guaranteed income pilot that aims to provide cash relief of $500 to 200 low income working families in Arlington every month for 18 months.

Created in partnership with Arlington County Department of Human Services, this initiative equips families with funds that can be used for whatever is needed most in real time– paying off debt, pursuing education or employment goals, college savings for kids, or allowing parents more time with their children and less time away from home in a second job.

This year, all 200 families were enrolled in Arlington’s Guarantee! September marked the 1-year anniversary of the pilot. To recognize this milestone, local and national experts joined us in a virtual panel discussion about the pilot and the guaranteed income movement, and 5 participants generously shared their stories and experiences in the pilot so far. Watch the panel discussion recording here, and explore the participant stories below.

arlington's guarantee


The County’s vision is that Arlington is “a diverse and inclusive world-class urban community… in which each person is important.”

The participants of Arlington’s Guarantee represent that vision. We value them, and they belong here. Meet eleven participants who have generously shared a small part of their story and what their experience has been in the pilot so far.

Unless otherwise noted, stock images and pseudonyms are used to protect participant identities.



Daniel, who wanted to share his real name, is the 12th child of a long-time Arlington family. His mom was born in 1921 and raised her family here in what was the Butler Homes neighborhood (now Penrose). He was actually born in a DC hospital, because Arlington Hospital was segregated when he was born. Daniel is a father of three who now works as a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist for people who have substance abuse and mental health challenges; and he is looking forward to being hired by Arlington County in that capacity.

A returning citizen, he feels blessed because “God has given me the opportunity to make my latter years better than my former years in order for me to be in a position to do something for others.” He’s appreciated getting some coaching on realizing his future goals from Phill at OAR.

Daniel continues, “I’m a volunteer here in Arlington in multiple things. Every day is a good day – a blessed day – because I am able to actually give. I want to take college courses on the professional development side and will be looking between George Mason and NOVA. I feel the extra cash is giving me a sense of security. It has taught me to be more conscientious and more structured about my spending. Upon my daughter’s graduation, I’ll be getting her some things that she needs for college.”



Helen is a 40-year-old mom of a 6-year-old daughter. Originally from East Africa, she is an educated and skilled woman with an administrative and marketing background. The notification that she would be receiving the unconditional cash came at an especially vulnerable time for Helen. It allowed her to regain the hope and energy she needed to find a new full-time job after having been laid off due to COVID.

“I was struggling. I was in fear 24/7 about the future and felt a failure as a mother. I reached out to the number that was provided. The amount of empathy and words of encouragement from the person who answered the call – Sahureli Mendoza Khoury (program advocate from Arlington’s Guarantee) – will always be in my heart. It gave me a fresh start without having to worry about the debt accumulated during the time I did not have a job after COVID-19.

Having this extra monthly income improved my wellbeing tremendously! I was able to be more present for my child because of the assistance. Something I did for us that can be considered as fun is that I bought a few books for my daughter and myself.

What makes Arlington feel like home is that I feel safe, supported, and uplifted.”



A native of Guatemala, Kiara moved to Arlington in 2018 to look for a new opportunity to improve her life. She lives with her 2-year old son. Kiara is focusing on finishing her medical assistant training program while working as a home health aide.

“Arlington’s Guarantee has allowed me to work and study at the same time while being a mom as well. It has helped me a lot in the sense of being able to improve myself professionally. When I received the extra cash income, I was very surprised, and I said ‘now I am going to study!’ One of my challenges is working overnight shifts because I work 24 hours sometimes. Obtaining my certificate would mean that I could work at the hospital, maybe with a more flexible schedule.

Arlington is the most helpful place for new people. Sometimes because of a language barrier, one has limitations, but in Arlington, they can find places to get assistance and free English classes at the community center.”



Bryanna is a 48-year-old mom, with a 9-year-old son who attends Hoffman Boston Elementary School and a 21-year-old daughter enrolled in Aveda Academy. She has a great deal of ambition for herself and her children. She is a self-employed yoga teacher and is starting up a new business called Good Soul Kitchen. She dreams of renting a building that she can cook out of.

“The extra cash allows me to be able to leverage my money differently with the relief of having an additional $500 to make, plan, and prepare for the future. Before, I had to cut off all extracurricular activities for my son because we have to pay the bills, and I’m running the business now, so we’re trying to make money and not lose money. As soon as I got this monthly cash, I was like, ‘I can sign him back up for soccer, I can sign him back up for piano, to keep that momentum going!’ Now, I have opportunities to focus on purchasing startup stuff for my business.”



A mother of two, Anita moved to Arlington from El Salvador in 1997 to escape violence and provide a better life for her children. She works full time as a cook and lives with her son who is a junior in Wakefield High School. She also has a 32-year-old son, who is currently completing a technical training. She finds tranquility in Arlington and wants peace of mind for her children. She is working with an Arlington’s Guarantee coach, taking steps toward her goal of adding a room to her place for supplemental income.

“I can now rest easy without thinking that I have to pay debts. I do not have the stress I had before. Something special I did was that I ate a very delicious meal. I always thought about it because I did not want to spend much money, but the third time I received the $500, I went with my son to eat at a buffet, and I felt really good!

When I hear the word ‘community,’ for me it is a united group. Just as the people who are helping in this program are doing – as a community – helping without knowing whom they are helping means they are uniting people.”


Bilal and Fouzia

Bilal and his wife, Fouzia are parents of 7-year-old twins and a 12-year-old.  “After I finished high school, I went to a technical school. Then I got a Diversity Visa through the lottery program, and I came to the United States from Morocco.  When I came here, I did a lot of jobs.  I did everything, delivery, restaurant, hotel, taxi, everything.” He and his wife have taken advantage of many opportunities to work on reaching their goals and providing for their children.

A few years ago, while Fouzia was home with their young twins, she began taking REEP classes to learn English. As she advanced in her English proficiency, they enrolled the twins in APS preschool. Fouzia then completed her GED and is now just one exam away from her A-Plus IT certification!

Bilal shares, “I got a Commercial Driver’s License 1 year 3 months ago.  I just got a new job and finished my training with Canada Dry as a driver. Most companies asked for experience, but this company didn’t.  And also, it’s local, so I can be with my family at night and weekends.  I wake up at 3am Monday to Friday with weekends off and in the summer, they start a rotation, and I get overtime pay.”

Bilal and Fouzia have used funds from Arlington’s Guarantee to pay off the tuition for Fouzia’s IT classes and to help with their bills. “This [guaranteed income] is a good system.  You can use the money to pay the credit card or the phone or my wife’s school.

“I’ve spent 20 years here. I have good neighbors, they help each other.  Arlington is a good community.”



Clay grew up in the historically black Arlington neighborhood of Halls Hill.  A 53-year-old father of 5 children, his life has been filled with highs and lows; from home ownership and running a successful business to jail, homelessness, and drug and alcohol dependency; from proud fatherhood and a 20-year relationship to estrangement from his family and a near-death health episode that left him unable to work. Today, he is holding down two jobs as a butcher at a local grocery store and a blackjack dealer at a nearby casino [Read Clay’s full story here or at the button below].

“I’m an Arlingtonian by birth. I went to Glebe Elementary, Washington-Liberty and Yorktown. I’ve seen Arlington evolve from the perspective of being an African American.”

“For me consistency and stability are things that I thrive on.  That consistent extra $500, I leaned on it. I knew it was going to end, but it just gave me the time and showed me consistency.  “I’ve been a resident of Arlington all my life, and when I was at my worst point, Arlington was there to help me.”



Luisa’s son, now seven, was born shortly after she moved to Virginia. She studied engineering in her native Bolivia, but now was starting all over again as a single mom. “As an undocumented immigrant, I feel like a ghost sometimes, because often we have to stay hidden.”

Nevertheless, she values Arlington for the opportunities that it provides her son, “Arlington is a good community because people try to help me, and everything is close by…it’s so helpful to have reduced fees so that I can afford to put my son in swimming lessons.”

The additional cash has enabled her to make ends meet and do something very special: “I sent my son to Bolivia to meet his grandparents during the holidays. I stayed back to work, but it meant a lot to me that he could go. He loved it.”

Luisa has now taken up swim lessons for herself so she and her son can swim together, “Even though things are hard, my son says he’s proud of me, and that he wants to be like me when he grows up. I love my son more than anything in life, so I’m going to be there for him.”



Reema arrived in six years ago and applied for asylum after emigrating from Egypt with her 5-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. She didn’t live in Arlington at first, but a neighbor told her that Arlington had great schools, so Reema made it a priority to move to provide a brighter future for her children.

“It was very hard at first. People know it’s difficult to find work as a recent immigrant, so they take advantage of you. I was working for $9 per hour with no benefits. We could only afford to rent a room, and my kids had to always stay in the bedroom because the landlord didn’t even allow them to play in the living room.”

But Reema and her children have found a welcoming community in Arlington. “When my kids go to school, they don’t feel left out. There are other kids that look like them. It’s very diverse. The teachers and other parents are helpful. We feel very safe here. That’s why I love Arlington.”

Reema currently works at a jewelry store but hopes to continue her education. Recently, Reema was accepted to a master’s program and will start school in the fall at George Mason University.

“I don’t give up. I work very hard to get a better life for myself and my kids…the [monthly] cash helps people have a decent life. It helps with food and essentials, but also helps families spend more time together.”



Makayla is a 40-year-old mother of 5. She sees her 9-year-old on weekends, is working to get custody of her 7-year-old, and stays connected to her older kids through phone and FaceTime. “I’m recovering from substance abuse. I’ve been clean for three years, four months and some days. I just got out of the drug court program. I graduated in January and recently got probation. I’m currently involved in GED classes.” The extra cash from Arlington’s Guarantee helps pay for the classes and her court fees.

She remembers having to rely on her 20-year-old for support. “It was embarrassing. I was pretty much living paycheck to paycheck, and I couldn’t take my son anywhere.” The extra cash has allowed her to pay her bills and to have some special moments with her 9-year-old son. They have enjoyed going into Gallery Place in DC, an art show in Clarendon and farmers markets. “And then recently, we went to this new place in the mall, a game room.”

Makayla works for Turbo Tax 35 hours per week, but “it’s hard to get the hours that you want. I have an interview set up for a dog daycare job, working at the front desk. I’m focusing on college and getting my credit back on track. Now, I’m thinking about more positive stuff. I’m thinking about where I’m going today. I’m focusing on college and on my career, what I want out of life. My ultimate goal is to have my own pit bull rescue because I love pit bulls. I believe they deserve a second chance. I also want to hire felons. They deserve a second chance as well.”

Getting connected to the community more while in Arlington’s Guarantee has been a real plus for Makayla. She’s been working with a community program to work on her credit repair. She was also selected to participate in a focus group on the County housing grants program, which is where she gets her rent support. “It was pretty neat to get to voice our opinion.”



Gideon was in his mid 20’s when came to Arlington from Ethiopia in 2005. He studied law and was working for World Vision when he got the opportunity to come to the United States. “I’ve been working many different jobs” in and near Arlington including a hardware store, a university, several bus systems, and a hotel where I worked as a driver most of the time.” Before having children, he worked a lot, often holding down three or four jobs at the same time.
Gideon now devotes much of his free time to the four young kids that he is raising with his wife who he met back home in Ethiopia. “I am a home daddy. I love my kids very much. My first goal is making my children mentally and physically successful. What they do when they grow up is their choice. The parents need to be there to guide the kids when little. They are going to be part of the American people for the future.”

For Gideon, Arlington’s Guarantee came at a crucial time. Because of the pandemic lockdown, “I was out of my second job. My wife at that time had a new baby and could not work. So we had only one job with kids and this chance with Arlington’s Guarantee was very helpful. There’s not any question about this. Money helps you with everything, when you have kids. I used it during the Corona time. You know, at the time there was a challenge. Now my wife is working part time.”

“My plan is to continue my IT, software engineering or something. I used to be going to NOVA. But you need to have time. I will continue soon and finish online. I have many dreams.

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In 2022, our partnerships helped over 150 low income elementary students attend after-school programs (Read: Equity in After-School Activities), and provided grants to programs serving older adults (55+) in Arlington, as part of our $5,000,000 in grants for the year. These funds, both in-house and donor-advised, show everyone in our community we see them, we value them, and they belong here.

One such grant is the always inspiring STEM Workforce Development Teacher Fellowship. This Fellowship provides Arlington Public Schools high school, middle school, and elementary school teachers with opportunities to learn about work place needs in STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math)-related fields and for them to use the experience to enhance student learning to match workplace expectations in a selected industry. STEM Fellows participate in a three-week summer fellowship, receiving up to $4,000 stipend upon completion.

In October, we caught up with this year’s Fellows, and you won’t want to miss what they had to share with us. Check out the video below any time you’re looking for a little “wow.”


The federal poverty level is a relic set in the 1960s based predominantly on food costs.

It does not take into account other costs such as housing, child care, and health care. Policy makers agree that in the absence of an updated federal poverty line, we need to adopt a measure that reflects local living costs.

In Arlington, 30% of our 2022 Area Median Income (AMI) is $42,690 for a family of four (which is about 150% of the federal poverty level). This is a more accurate reflection of poverty in our community, as current data shows that living costs for such a household in Arlington average three times that. There are 10,000 households or 24,272 individuals living below this level. That is just over 10% of our population.

Arlington Community Foundation runs a number of economic mobility initiatives and funds designed to address the many issues threatening to displace these individuals from our community. We also provide policy analysis and advocacy in our three main target areas aimed at these lowest income residents: deeply affordable housing, childcare, and living wage/workforce pathways.

As a specific and ongoing example of this work: throughout 2022, we continued to work with urgency to ensure that the plan guiding the Barcroft Apartments redevelopment results in 255 units reserved for 30% AMI households for the long-term. In September, we released a research paper with recommendations for financing and joined several organizations in issuing a call-to action to make sure these goals are met. As you will see in the graphic below, there is a severe shortage of deeply affordable units in Arlington. Expanding and preserving this deep affordability in housing is just one way that we, as Arlingtonians, can help ensure that our lowest-income neighbors can continue to call our shared community home.

housing supply mismatch


On Thursday, November 10, the 29th annual Spirit of Community Awards and Luncheon brought together business, civic, and philanthropic leaders, as well as Arlingtonians from all walks of life, for a celebration of individuals who have made Arlington a better home for all of us. This year’s celebration was the first in-person event in three years!

And for the first time in 29 years, three extraordinary people were honored with The William T. Newman Spirit of Community Award. Individually and collectively, these recipients represent the passion, commitment, and community advocacy that define the Award and the absolute best vision of what Arlington can be.

Meet Portia Clark, Mark Riley, and Dr. Mike Silverman in the 3-minute videos below. We hope they inspire you to action in the same way they have for us!


Jeanne Broyhill and Joe Ventrone have a love for each other and a passion for elderly issues that have spanned many years.

Throughout their lives and careers, they spent decades watching funding and resources for elderly housing ebb and flow. “It will always have ups and downs,” Jeanne reiterates.

This unreliability in yearly funding moved Jeanne and Joe to establish a type of funding that is reliable no matter the year. Working with their estate planning counsel, they made a charitable bequest to Arlington Community Foundation (ACF) in their estate plans. The ACF team guided them through drafting a legacy plan that includes gifts to specific organizations they care about and the creation of a legacy fund that will support the community and causes they care about forever.

Jeanne explains, “I want this fund to help bring the elderly issue to the table, similar to what the Shared Prosperity Initiative has done for inclusive economic growth, making it part of how we think about the connections in the community between for-profits, nonprofits, and other agencies. That would be our goal.”


For the third year in a row, Arlington Community Foundation is excited to host the Nonprofit Wish Catalog featuring grant ideas of local nonprofits with wishes of up to $5,000 each. Open through December 31, the public is able to view and ‘shop’ these nonprofit wishes and donate any amount toward a need that is inspiring to them. 

Thanks to the overwhelming support of donors (like you!), the first two years each raised over $100,000 for our wonderful Arlington nonprofits, showing these vital organizations and programs that we are here for them because they are always here for us and our most vulnerable neighbors, even in the most challenging of times.

Let’s do it again! Click here or the button below to browse and support the Catalog by December 31.

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