NVFS has been serving the community since 1924, when a group of volunteers gathered together to provide coal to poor families during the winter.
Since our earliest days, NVFS has helped to strengthen and empower families because we believe that strong, healthy families create healthy communities – the kind of communities where we all want to live. This work continues today with major initiatives to:
Over 85 Years - Our History
- address the issues of secure, affordable housing in a challenging economy
- provide access to necessary health care and medications for children and adults
- offer job training that improves quality of life and provides adequate support for families
- provide a safe, stimulating place for growing preschool children to learn and play
Originally established in 1924 by volunteers in Alexandria, NVFS is in our Northern Virginia communities to help people in need. Those first volunteers in Alexandria noticed that poor children in their community had no coats and their families had no coal to heat their homes. They addressed those basic, but critically important, needs.
Over eighty-five years later, NVFS continues to address the needs of many communities in our region - nearly 30,000 individuals and families each year - with a wide range of programs designed to deal with the current problems of today. As these needs emerge and change over time, NVFS’ programs also adapt to respond to what is needed when it is required.
We are proud of our legacy of responsiveness and our long history of collaboration and partnerships with other agencies and numerous community and government partners:
- NVFS was selected in 2001 by The Community Foundation of the National Capital Region to lead the Survivors’ Fund Project, providing direct assistance and long-term case management services to 9/11 victims, their families and first responders.
- Fairfax County chose NVFS to lead the Katrina Project for evacuees from New Orleans. The Agency established the first-ever contract in the history of the American Red Cross to provide case management services, the success of which led the Red Cross to establish other contracts across the nation.
- NVFS, partnering with Northern Virginia Community College, through our successful Training Futures program, provides the only community-based workforce development program in the region that affords students the opportunity to earn college credits as a result of graduation from Training Futures. This opportunity makes them eligible for PELL grants and scholarships to support their ongoing education.
- NVFS in 2008 assumed responsibility for the services previously provided by the Center for Multicultural Human Services (CMHS). The programs continued uninterrupted and are now being delivered under the name of “Multicultural Human Service – a program of NVFS.” Through this program we provide mental health and related services to vulnerable immigrant and refugee populations in our region.
- Fairfax County named NVFS to be the managing partner in a new initiative called the Partnership for Permanent Housing. The goal is to assist 25 families to become permanent homeowners.
- NVFS collaborated with Georgetown South Civic Association, Manassas City and multiple partners to build the beautiful Georgetown South Community and Child Development Center in Prince William County, which also houses the library, health and police departments.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services named NVFS as the recipient of a grant to lead the Head Start program in Arlington County, serving over 200 children ages 3-5 in a full-day, full-year center-based program, providing a safe and stimulating environment for them to learn and play.
- NVFS and SERVE, located in Prince William County, merged in 2009 and continue to advance a common mission – to aid and empower individuals and families in need – and to also make the most effective use of the critically important and finite resources available in these extraordinarily challenging times. SERVE’s longstanding service to the Manassas and Prince William County area continues as before, providing from its five-acre campus a homeless shelter for individuals and families, emergency assistance and the largest emergency food bank in Northern Virginia, under the same of “SERVE – a program of NVFS.”
No one can accurately predict what the next 85 years may bring. Unfortunately, the needs of vulnerable individuals and families will most likely continue to be part of the challenges we face in our Northern Virginia region.
NVFS has built a steadfast legacy of support and service that we pledge to provide through our mission: "to empower individuals and families to improve their quality of life, and to promote community cooperation and support in responding to family needs.” With the continued commitment of our partners and supporters, we may all enjoy the benefits that come with that promise.
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