- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 27, 2009

Local nonprofits in Loudoun County have found an ally in Loudoun Cares as they plan to come together next fall to share resources, tools and ideas.

“We want to strengthen the nonprofit sector,” said Andy Johnston, executive director of Loudoun Cares, which was formed in 2002 to provide referral services to benefit Loudoun County residents and sustain a nonprofit human services center. “We want to create this community hub - a facility to help Loudoun residents.”

Mr. Johnston, 48, has been with Loudoun Cares for six years.

“Our mission was to develop a facility to house human service projects,” he said. “It’s about nonprofit infrastructure. The community’s needs grow as the community grows.”

Loudoun Cares is not alone in pushing for nonprofit groups to collaborate and work together.

The Claude Moore Charitable Foundation awarded Loudoun Cares a $50,000 grant this month to help renovate the Leesburg building that will be housing the local nonprofits.

“The Claude Moore Charitable Foundation is so well respected,” Mr. Johnston said. “To get their support does help us raise money from other sources.”

The building is at 207 S. King St., which Mr. Johnston said is ideal to help the historic district, and he expects the project to boost the local economy.

J. Hamilton Lambert, the foundation’s executive director, said Loudoun Cares had all the qualities the foundation was seeking in a grant recipient.

“They’ve done a job in helping people and other foundations,” Mr. Lambert said. “I think it’s always beneficial to have a facility of that nature where many agencies can share knowledge with each other. [This project] is nothing but good for Leesburg and Loudoun County.”

The future office space will provide a workplace for Friends of Loudoun Mental Health, Legal Services of Northern Virginia and Loudoun Youth Inc., among others.

Candace Kroehl is the executive director of the Loudoun Literacy Council, one of the many groups intending to move into the renovated building. She said the easy access to agencies will be beneficial for Loudoun residents.

Being next to the other nonprofit groups and sharing resources will be positive “because they are also serving the other needs of the community” Ms. Kroehl said.

With multiple nonprofit groups in the same building, Mr. Johnston said he anticipates more efficiency among the organizations.

“There will be efficiency with the simple things like shared reception, training space and technology services,” he said. “The nonprofit groups will be spending less money to cover overhead services and more money to cover their programs and services that help individuals and families directly.”

Loudoun Cares purchased the property on Sept. 15 and hopes to have some materials and labor donated to keep costs down.

“We still have money to raise,” Mr. Johnston said of the renovating process. “It’s going to cost slightly over $2 million.”

The organization has received money from the Loudoun County Government, NEW Customer Services Co. and other local and individual contributors. Republican Rep. Frank R. Wolf and state Sen. Mark Herring, a Democrat, also have worked to provide funding to Loudoun Cares‘ building project.

“Rejuvenating this building will help Loudoun County residents,” Mr. Johnston said. “It will keep nonprofits in the area, and it will impact the economy in local Leesburg.”

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