NetworkPeninsula co-hosted a Legislative Breakfast on September 30, with representation from 20+ elected officials from the local, state, and federal levels; and from all localities on the Peninsula; plus more than 50 nonprofit leaders who came to share about the issues they work to address every day in our communities. The Event was co-hosted with the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters Foundation, United Way of Greater Williamsburg, and United Way of the Virginia Peninsula. Melanie Rapp Beale, former Delegate currently with Dominion Virginia Power, served as moderator for this event.
Attendees included elected officials and administrators from every locality on the Peninsula; State Senators and Delegates; and representatives from the offices of Senator Warner and Senator Kaine. They listened to more than 55 local nonprofit leaders share the issues they face every day in their work with youth, children and families, housing and homelessness, special needs, workforce development, elderly, and healthcare.
Nancy Paschall, Executive Director of Dream Catchers, reminded the group that disability is the one minority group that anyone can join at any time in their life, and most will join at some time, either temporarily or permanently. In Virginia, 11.4 % or 934,300 of people of all ages have a significant disability. Laurel Ramey, from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the VA Peninsula, spoke about childhood obesity which has been correlated with low-income neighborhoods that have limited access to fresh groceries and a lack of public parks and green space. Likewise, Ayanna King, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the VA Peninsula, spoke about child safety and the need provide safe environments for youth at home and within programs.
Providing sustainable funding to meet the critical needs in our communities was another point made by many nonprofits in the room. Paschall reiterated this point by asking the legislators to support existing, enhanced, and new tax and other incentives at the federal, state, and local levels that encourage individuals to volunteer their time and contribute money to the missions of all charitable nonprofits and oppose caps or limits on charitable giving incentives.
This was the first event of this scope and, in response to overwhelmingly positive feedback, will continue on an annual basis to give a voice to local nonprofits. Nonprofits employ more than 11 million individuals nationally, pay over $500 billion in wages annually, and contribute more than five percent to the Gross Domestic Product of the United States. Nonprofits collectively employ more Americans than the construction, finance, and insurance industries combined. In Virginia the nonprofit sector employs 233,100 people - more than 8% of the state's workforce.
NetworkPeninsula currently supports more than 230 nonprofits serving the Virginia Peninsula by providing continuing education, Board Training, information sharing, and connecting nonprofits with the community at large. To learn more, visit www.NetworkPeninsula.org.
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