To the editor:
Below is our open letter to Amazon: Welcome to Northern Virginia. As the timeframe for your decision on HQ2 drew closer, those of us who already call this region home began to think about how we’d welcome you to our community. Community foundations have a more than 100-year history as community conveners and conversation brokers who work to preserve, enhance and protect the quality of life for our neighbors.
This role often places us directly in the middle of our community’s most important decisions, most pressing issues and most promising opportunities. Many in our community believe that your decision to locate HQ2 in Northern Virginia is the most impactful event to happen in each of these categories in a generation.
Your arrival will bring jobs, critical advancements in the quality of our public transportation, investments in technology education and opportunities for small businesses that will serve you and the workers you attract – among many other things. Like you, we want our neighborhoods to be diverse and vibrant places to live and work.
We want our economic development to be a rising tide that lifts all boats. Companies and community foundations have worked in tandem to address local issues for more than a century. It is therefore our deepest hope that in partnership, we can reimagine solutions to workforce development, affordable housing and other social problems, perhaps driven by imaginative technology. Perhaps solutions not yet seen can be invented together, by us working together.
Your arrival in Northern Virginia gives us all a chance to create a more regional, collaborative approach to local philanthropy that brings to bear the full capacity and weight of our nonprofit partners, our collective community knowledge and our shared impulse to help build community through philanthropy. We look forward to working with you, problem solving with you and advancing our community’s best interests, together.
-Heather Peeler, president and CEO, ACT for Alexandria; Jennifer Owens, president and CEO, Arlington Community Foundation; Amy Owen, president, Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties; Eileen Ellsworth, president, Community Foundation for Northern Virginia; and Bruce McNamer, president and CEO, Greater Washington Community Foundation.