ACT for Alexandria's

IMPACT 2019:
Racial Equity Forum

New date:

February 6, 2019*

8:00 am - 1:00 pm

*due to inclement weather on January 30.

Beth El Hebrew Congregation

3830 Seminary Rd.,

Alexandria, VA 22304

(note new location)


Racial Equity Forum

New date:  Wednesday, February 6, 2019  

8:00 am - 1:00 pm 

Since its inception, ACT has been committed to strengthening and supporting the nonprofit sector.  One way we do this is through our annual IMPACT: Innovation + Philanthropy Forum.  IMPACT convenes board, business, City, community, nonprofit, and philanthropic leaders to discuss innovations in philanthropy and strategies for building the capacity of nonprofit organizations and individuals to make a lasting impact in the community.  ACT believes that when the nonprofit sector is strong, our community thrives. 

*In the event of inclement weather on January 30, the event will be rescheduled for February 6.  All registered attendees will be notified of any changes via email.

If your plans have changed and you are no longer able to join us on February 6, please email  We are unable to offer a refund, but if you cannot attend the event, we can issue a tax donation receipt for the registration amount.  Our EIN is 26-4322269.


ACT for Alexandria (ACT) is Alexandria, Virginia’s community foundation.  ACT convenes residents around issues of importance, works with nonprofits and city agencies to collaborate in areas of mutual interest and connects donors with causes about which they are passionate.  ACT provides community-minded and philanthropically inclined residents with ways to better focus their contributions in the community and have a broader impact on those in need and the larger community. 



Keynote Speaker: Ben Hecht, President & CEO of Living Cities 

Ben Hecht Headshot

Living Cities works with cross-sector leaders in cities to develop and scale new approaches geared at dramatically improving the economic well-being of low-income people. As president and CEO, Ben Hecht has seen how economic disparity wreaks havoc with lives and communities and how local leaders can take action  to address the root causes of inequality themselves, rather than waiting for policy changes from above. Hecht will share a series of case studies from throughout the country focusing on real problems and real solutions. From improving educational opportunities to strengthening civic engagement to investing in women and people of color to start businesses, Hecht shows that we know how to create conditions where everyone can prosper, we just need to implement these proven strategies. 


Ben Hecht has been the President & CEO of Living Cities since July 2007. Since that time, the organization has adopted a broad, integrative agenda that harnesses the collective knowledge of its 18-member foundations and financial institutions to promote the economic security of all people in U.S. cities and close racial gaps in income and wealth.  He is the author of four books, including Reclaiming the American Dream: Proven Solutions for Creating Economic Opportunity for All, published in the summer of 2018.


The Keynote Address will be followed by short talks, breakout sessions and an interactive luncheon. 

Speaker: Heather Peeler, President & CEO of ACT for Alexandria 

Heather Peeler Headshot

Heather Peeler assumed her role as President & CEO in February 2018 and comes to ACT from Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (, a highly regarded organization dedicated to effective philanthropy and nonprofit success. As Vice President of Member and Partner Engagement, she mobilized a national network of more than 5,000 grantmakers in adopting practices to make the greatest impact on nonprofit performance. She previously served as Chief Strategy Officer at the Corporation for National and Community Service and as Managing Director at Community Wealth Partners. Throughout her career she has focused on bringing people together to make their organizations and their communities stronger. She regularly writes and speaks about capacity building, community engagement, collaboration, and learning and evaluation. Her own community involvement includes serving as Chair of the Board of Fair Chance, an organization that builds the capacity of grassroots youth-serving organizations, and as a Commissioner on the Washington, D.C. Commission on Out of School Time Grants and Youth Outcomes. Ms. Peeler holds a Bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts and earned her M.B.A. from The Anderson School at UCLA in Los Angeles, California. 

Breakout Session Options

Allyship – Building Bridges and Empathy to Ensure Equality, Opportunity and Inclusion for Everyone

Whitney Parnell Headshot

Do you feel pressed to address the overwhelming climate of injustice and divide, but don't know what to do? Attend this Allyship workshop, presented by Whitney Parnell, CEO of Service Never Sleeps, and get empowered to be a part of the solution!  This session will help equip you with tools to be an active ally for social justice and marginalized communities, to actively influence and educate others, and to constantly work on yourself.  

Creating Meaningful Community Partnerships

Bethany Letiecq Headshot
Samah Fadle Head Shot
Marlene Marquez Headshot
Amber Sansbury Headshot

Gain insights from George Mason University's community-based, participatory, and action research in Alexandria and their partnership with Latino immigrants from Central America and African American families residing in public housing.  Learn about transformational practices including critical consciousness raising, implicit bias raising, and reflexive practices necessary to build trusted partnerships across communities and cultures representing both privilege and disadvantage.  The team will discuss strategies for building and sustaining Community Advisory Boards, empowering voice in decision-making, and addressing racial/class privilege.  Presented by Samah Fadle, Dr. Bethany Letiecq, Marlene Marquez, and Amber Sansbury. 

Operationalizing Racial Equity & Inclusion

Dr. JaNay Queen Nazaire Head Shot
Ellen Ward Head Shot

JaNay Queen Nazaire and Ellen Ward will share lessons learned from Living Cities’ journey to put racial equity at the center of their work; including the internal work over the past five years to build the competencies of staff, organizational culture, practices and policies necessary for the organization to achieve its mission: to close the racial income and wealth gaps in US cities.  While still very much on the journey, JaNay and Ellen will share reflections on progress, mistakes, and missteps along the way that could be helpful for other organizations that are starting or continuing on a similar journey.

Short Talks

Chief Michael Brown Head Shot
Debra Collins Headshot

History and Race in Alexandria:  John Taylor Chapman

Racial Equity in the City of Alexandria:  Chief Michael Brown and Debra Collins, City of Alexandria


Presenting Sponsor


Breakfast Sponsor

Lunch Sponsor


Capacity Building Sponsors

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Community Building Sponsors

Sugar Shack Donuts Logo

Host Sponsor



8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.: Registration, Breakfast & Networking 

9:00 – 9:15 a.m.: Welcome & Introductions – Heather Peeler, President & CEO of ACT for Alexandria

9:15 – 10:00 a.m.: Keynote Address – Ben Hecht, President & CEO of Living Cities

10:00 – 10:15 a.m.: Short Talk  - John Taylor Chapman

10:15 – 10:30 a.m.:  Break

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.: Breakout Sessions

11:30 – 11:45 a.m.: Break

11:45 – noon: Short Talk - Chief Michael Brown & Debra Collins, City of Alexandria

Noon – 1:00 p.m.: Interactive Luncheon



February 6 Materials:

Other Resources:

Why are we still struggling with diversity, equity and inclusion in nonprofit governance?


W.K. Kellogg Foundation Racial Equity


Racial Equity Here Resources



Limited Tickets are Available

For more information, contact Brandi Yee at