The Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) on May 9 will round up business and community leaders and supporters for the 16th annual Road to Independence Gala — an elegant event aimed at celebrating those who have supported the group’s aim to improve the self-reliance of more than 36,000 area families every year.
This marks NVFS’s 90th year serving as a regional social service provider and the Gala’s major fundraising potential through silent and live auctions salutes and aims to expand that mission.
Bill Hoover, the CEO at government service provider AMERICAN SYSTEMS, is the 2014 Gala Chair — a post he takes on after serving on the event’s board since 2011.
Hoover spoke to WashingtonExec about what to expect at this year’s event, how reduced federal spending has affected local communities, and NVFS programs ranging from providing employment assistance to emergency housing.
The 2014 Gala will take place on Friday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner. To learn more about the event and ways in which you can help support NVFS, please visit NVFS’ website, or follow @NVFS on Twitter.
WashingtonExec: How did you get involved with Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) and the Road to Independence Gala?
Bill Hoover: I was introduced to Mary Agee, President of Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) in 2008. Encouraged by the good work the organization is doing, I began to involve my company, AMERICAN SYSTEMS, in NVFS and many of its family-focused initiatives. In 2011, I was invited to the NVFS board of directors.
Since the government services industry represents a large portion of the Northern Virginia business community, Mary and NVFS were interested in actively engaging with the industry. As a result, Mary offered me the opportunity to serve as Chair for the 2014 NVFS Road to Independence Gala, a role I was honored to accept.
“Many of us are blessed with secure jobs and housing, but there are members of the Northern Virginia community who are not as fortunate. NVFS empowers local families to become more self-reliant through a range of programs from employment assistance to emergency housing. “
Many of us are blessed with secure jobs and housing, but there are members of the Northern Virginia community who are not as fortunate. NVFS empowers local families to become more self-reliant through a range of programs from employment assistance to emergency housing. The Road to Independence Gala is NVFS’ largest annual fundraiser and provides critical support for NVFS and its programs.
WashingtonExec: What should Gala attendees expect at the event?
Bill Hoover: Each year, the Road to Independence Gala offers attendees a fun-filled evening. The Gala presents a unique, relaxed atmosphere featuring a business dress code and a casual cocktail reception. The cocktail hour, which includes a silent auction offering exciting items donated from local restaurants and small businesses, is followed by dinner and a live auction.
Each year, immediately following the live auction, NVFS recognizes two individuals who have made a significant contribution to our local community. This year, Lauren Peterson, principal of the Peterson Companies will be recognized as the Community Champion and Sid Dewberry, chairman emeritus of Dewberry, will be recognized as the Legend of Northern Virginia.
Additionally, guests at the Gala will have the opportunity to hear the stories of individuals who have gotten back on their feet thanks to NVFS’ programs, reminding attendees what they have come together to support.
WashingtonExec: What are some of the ways NVFS helps build a brighter future for individuals in our community? Can you tell me about some of its programs?
Bill Hoover: The most important aspect of NVFS is in the organization’s name – its focus on family. NVFS provides a range of programs and services that help build a brighter future for local families in the Northern Virginia community. NVFS focuses on key areas such as providing temporary family housing, teaching workforce and basic personal finance skills, supporting child and family development, and offering health care support and emergency assistance.
Success stories of local individuals impacted by NVFS are some of the best examples of how NVFS’ programs influence the local community. At last year’s Gala, guests heard Mary’s story. Mary participated in two of the organization’s programs, SERVE and Training Futures, helping her secure a permanent job.
“Unfortunately, reduced federal spending can result in loss of jobs in our area, making mortgage payments a challenge for some in the Northern Virginia community. NVFS works with local families to prevent eviction and to help combat homelessness through programs like SERVE, which offers emergency assistance for utility, rent, water and gas payments.”
SERVE provides a temporary shelter for those faced with homelessness, in addition to a variety of other services. While at SERVE, Mary also participated in the Training Futures program. Training Futures is a 25-week professional development course that helps transition participants from low-paying jobs to secure, full-time careers. Today, Mary has a stable job at a doctor’s office and is an excellent example of how NVFS programs help individuals to become more self-reliant.
WashingtonExec: How has reduced federal spending impacted the local economies NVFS seeks to help?
Bill Hoover: Reduced federal spending has certainly had an impact on our local community, making programs like those provided by NVFS critical.
Unfortunately, reduced federal spending can result in loss of jobs in our area, making mortgage payments a challenge for some in the Northern Virginia community. NVFS works with local families to prevent eviction and to help combat homelessness through programs like SERVE, which offers emergency assistance for utility, rent, water and gas payments. For those who need to take advantage of NVFS’ temporary shelter, 77 percent of residents are later able to move to stable housing.
WashingtonExec: How can others get involved in NVFS and the Road to Independence Gala?
Bill Hoover: The Gala is a great way to get involved in NVFS, and there are many ways to participate. We encourage you to sponsor, attend, or donate items for the Gala’s live and silent auctions. However you or your company can help, the generosity of our sponsors and contributors is critical to the success of NVFS’ programs.