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Are You Looking for More Ways to Help Out in Your Community? You Can ACT for Alexandria Today | Community Spirit

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Are You Looking for More Ways to Help Out in Your Community? You Can ACT for Alexandria Today
Are You Looking for More Ways to Help Out in Your Community? You Can ACT for Alexandria Today

ACT for Alexandria is a community foundation that aims at increasing local philanthropy and civic engagement.  ACTion Alexandria, is the newly launched citizen engagement website, that provides easy ways for community members to find ways to help out. It is a platform to connect individuals to nonprofit organizations.

Tracy Viselli, the Community Manager of ACTion Alexandria, said, “We want to get people out to nonprofits and experience things in the community they might not know about.” Viselli started working with ACT for Alexandria in July, and is excited about the new platform that launched on February 7.

ACT for Alexandria is closing in on about 250 registered members already, and hope to double that number soon. “Every week we launch a new action,” said Viselli. For example, this week ACT is running a diaper drive through Friday. The goal was to get 640 diapers, which is a 1-month supply for the families at the community lodging; so far they have over 500 diapers. “Alexandria is a very generous community,” said Viselli.

The ACT for Alexandria platform was built so that people can add organizations and start-up their own actions, events, and collect supporters. Even individuals can start actions, such as a spontaneous trash pick-up on the weekend. Alexandria has a wide variety of nonprofits, and ACT for Alexandria is in some ways a matchmaking service for individuals and these nonprofits. Ultimately, they want to get people excited about helping in Alexandria. 

One of ACT for Alexandria’s first initiatives was with Carpenter’s Shelter, a homeless shelter in Alexandria. The goal was to raise a 1-month supply of milk and after school snacks for the children residents of the shelter; this financially came out to be about $500. Brooke Curran, an active runner and local philanthropist, became the sponsor of this initiative and matched the donation goal. Curran has run 31 marathons, and has another race in Little Rock this weekend. 

Carpenter’s Shelter currently has 73 people housed, which includes 7 families. On Thursday nights they have parenting skill sessions, as well as “After-Care” classes for formerly homeless residents once a month. Lissette Bishins, the Executive Director of Carpenter’s Shelter, said, “One of the most amazing things about how we function is that all of the food is donated; the only thing I purchase is milk.” There is only one volunteer coordinator for 1,000 volunteers and when a group decides to host a dinner they are supplying and cooking enough food for 80 people.

Curran, Bishins, and Viselli were all thrilled with the community response to the initiative. They raised over $995 + Brooke’s match. Curran will continue to run her philanthropy grants through the community foundation and will sponsor 1 initiative each month for ACT for Alexandria.