Helping Families Become Self-Sufficient

Three years ago, at an offsite meeting of volunteers and board members generously facilitated by now-vice president Chris Gaugler, we crafted Family PASS's strategic vision and five-year plan. We identified critical development areas and made plans to address them. As I ponder the blessings that have transpired since, I look back on how much we have changed over these last three years while remaining true to our core mission. These changes are not always immediately visible to our clients and donors, but they immeasurably enhance our services and the lives of those we touch.
  • Fundraisers
Since our first major fundraiser three years ago, we have had several each year, including our recent events at Vienna Octoberfest, Bloomingdale's and Stone's Cove KitBar. These events do more than add revenue to bolster our services; they build exposure, partnerships and camaraderie among the board, staff and volunteers. Today, we can't imagine life without them.
  • Diversified donor base
We have always relied heavily on individual donors and county grants. But three years ago we began expanding our base to include faith communities (growing from three to more than a dozen), foundations (including a major greening grant from a national foundation) and corporate entities such as Ronald McDonald House Charities.
  • Governance and policy
Three years ago we had many loving hearts and enthusiastic supporters pulled in by word of mouth but little formal governance structure. As we grew we recognized the need for a more sustainable and scalable solution. We engaged a pro bono attorney, and with Chris Gaugler's able leadership, succeeded in crafting articles of incorporation, board governance terms of reference, an employee handbook and more. And we established working committees which serve us to this day: programs, finance, communications and development. We have also established a board alumni group, ably led by founding member and former board member Therese Caplan.
  • Credentials and certification
We acquired the services of an outside financial accounting firm that specializes in charitable entities, providing us with unprecedented visibility and predictability and enabling us to weather and even thrive when countless other family service charities have been shuttered. We have earned a gold rating on GuideStar, which rates charities on quality of services, fiscal performance and other metrics.

At Family PASS we never look back, always forward. And we will always honor the generosity of our donors by serving families and building lasting skills and strengths that will allow them to look forward and thrive.

Allan Steinhardt
Board President

Making an Impact on Our Community    


Our thanks to B.J. Stone of Stone's Cove KitBar for featuring Family PASS during do good things  Sunday on March 1. Even though it was a day of freezing rain, everyone who attended appreciated the friendly atmosphere and great food! B.J. Stone's support of $435.00-combined with the additional $3,221.00 raised through table sponsors, mini-matchers and a drawing-will help us to provide opportunities for our families to improve their lives and become self-sufficient.
A big thank you to all our sponsors!


A Story of Community Collaboration 
In 2003, when Joseph left his wife and two young children behind and came to the United States as a refugee, he could not have imagined that his family would touch-and be touched by-so many. But their story epitomizes what can happen when an entire community comes together for one of its neighbors.
After an attempt on his life in Egypt, Joseph-an official in the Coptic Christian Church-was sent by the State Department to North Carolina, where he lived until being encouraged to come to the D.C. area to seek asylum. The Coptic Church in Fairfax was the first to offer assistance. Joseph moved into shared housing in Vienna, found work at a local grocery store, and began studying English at St. Mark Catholic Church. Here he made contacts that would prove to be invaluable as he built a new life.
Joseph was granted asylum in 2005, and his wife Rebecca and their children finally were able to join him. His newfound friends from St. Mark tapped their extensive community and faith-based network to find temporary housing for the family before guiding them to a two-year transitional program of rental assistance and services to help them become self-supporting. Joseph stayed in his job; Rebecca found work in a daycare; and both continued to take English classes. But though they made significant progress in the program, they were still unable to afford a home in Fairfax County, where the waiting time for subsidized housing can exceed five year  s.
So in 2007, one-year-old Family PASS entered the picture to do what we do best: help keep families from homelessness. Accessing additional community and county programs and joining forces with other organizations such as Cornerstones (formerly Reston Interfaith), Family PASS offered rental assistance for an additional three years and helped Joseph parlay his accounting degree from Egypt into acceptance at Northern Virginia Community College. To enable them to continue working and studying while still saving for a home, Family PASS introduced Joseph and Rebecca to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development's VIDA program and the Partnership for Permanent Housing's voucher program. And through Cornerstones, they were teamed with a married couple who would become their mentors and friends as their life in America evolved.
That life has come a long way since Joseph arrived in the U.S. He now has his degree and works as an accountant at a local company. Rebecca has left the daycare and is a manager at Walmart. The children are doing well in school. And, after saving almost $30,000.00, the family became first-time homebuyers and moved into a three bedroom townhouse in November, 2014.
Joseph's is a story of hard work and sacrifice, perseverance and faith. Most important, it's a story that has a happy ending, thanks to

Getting a Jump on the Easter Bunny

Thank you to Joyce Lynn and the outreach team from Church of the Good Shepherd in Vienna for the lovely Easter baskets for the children in our program. Each basket was prepared with great care and thoughtfulness, and both parents and children were surprised and delighted to receive them.

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