NVFS Holds Record-Breaking Gala

Community Support for Human Service Nonprofit Grows during Sequestration Era

(Oakton, Va., May 6, 2013)  More than 500 supporters of Northern Virginia Family Service gathered in Vienna on Friday, May 3, to honor George Lizama and Earle and June Williams at NVFS’ 2013 Road to Independence Gala. The event, NVFS’ largest fundraiser of the year, featured an emotional live appeal as well as live and silent auctions.

Guests were reminded of the very different journeys that NVFS clients take on their Road to Independence. Mary, who stayed at the organization’s temporary shelter, SERVE, also went through its workforce development program, Training Futures. Overcoming a history of family physical abuse, homelessness, a debilitating injury that eventually led to drug addiction, Mary is not just surviving but thriving. She works in a doctor’s office and is a shining example of how a brief investment to help someone help themselves pays dividends for a lifetime.

George Lizama, this year’s Community Champion, credited NVFS for helping the innocent, the humble poor, and those “who can’t catch a break.” The local business leader renown for his marketing accomplishments was instrumental in launching NVFS’ Training Futures program. He summarized Mary’s experience and that of the 30,000 clients that NVFS touches each year: Through self-help comes self-esteem, self-worth, and finally, dignity.

Earle Williams, retired BDM International president and CEO, was honored with his wife, June, as Legends of Northern Virginia. Mr. Williams reminded the audience: “Most of us here lead privileged lives. You can and should make a difference in Northern Virginia,” promising an enormous sense of satisfaction for contributing.

The 2013 Road to Independence Gala broke previous records for sponsorship participation, and the audience’s response to Mary’s story during the live appeal was historic. Attendees publicly affirmed their support for NVFS through pledges of $100 to $5,000. Funds raised will support NVFS programs, from Head Start and emergency shelter to gang intervention and job training, that help our most vulnerable community members chart their Road to independence.