Arlington, VA

This article was written by Michael Stiefvater, Business Development Manager for Arlington Economic Development.

Last week marked National Nonprofit Day, founded on August 17, 2017, the goal of the day is to educate, enlighten, and empower others to make a difference, as well as acknowledge the industry’s dedicated workforce.

While National Nonprofit Day is a recent addition to the national day calendar, the positive impacts of the nonprofit industry trace back over a century to the Tariff Act of 1894’s passing on that same date. The Act imposed the first federal income tax on corporations, while including exemptions for nonprofit corporations and charitable institutions.

Over one hundred years later, the nonprofit industry has grown to employ 12.3 million people and is supported by 64 million board members and volunteers, according to the National Council of Nonprofits.

Given the proximity to the Nation’s capital and access to a talented workforce, Arlington has been a magnet for nonprofits as the County is currently home to nearly 300 organizations and their 8,700 employees. While the missions of these organizations cover a diverse set of issues, several nonprofit clusters have emerged in Arlington focusing on the following issues:

Environmental

From leading conservation efforts that improve fishing in the country’s streams and rivers to protecting millions of acres of land worldwide, Arlington nonprofits are ensuring the planet’s health for future generations. The environmental cluster is home to Arlington’s largest nonprofit, The Nature Conservancy, which employs nearly 500 people at its Ballston headquarters and has protected more than 117 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers worldwide since its founding in 1951.

Health and Wellness

As the world grapples with the effects of COVID-19, several Arlington nonprofits are addressing the needs of their target communities through creative initiatives. The National Council on Aging is combating social isolation for older adults by partnering with Airbnb to provide free online experiences to connect seniors with others and travel virtually during the pandemic.

International Development

The impact of Arlington’s nonprofit community reaches well beyond the borders of the United States, as a handful of organizations are improving lives around the globe. Following a devastating drought in 2017, Counterpart International is implementing a food security program in Senegal that will improve infrastructure and train individuals for a sustainable future.

Local Aid

Whether ensuring access to meals and shelter for individuals who are facing homelessness, or facilitating adoptions for thousands of animals annually, several nonprofits are dedicated to serving our local community. Over the past year, Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network provided 38,000 meals and offered overnight beds to 1,000 people through their shelter program.

In honor of National Nonprofit Day, Arlington Economic Development highlighted over two dozen nonprofits within these clusters, while connecting the Arlington community with opportunities to get involved, whether in our local neighborhoods or in the furthest reaches of the globe.

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