Nadler: It’s the Perfect Time to Reignite Our Love of Giving

By Danielle Nadler

As we enter the holiday season, I’m thinking back on how I was taught as a kid just how rewarding it can be to give back. My parents showed us this by example in big and small ways. Each December, my mom, a special education teacher, slipped her students’ parents money for Christmas gifts. My dad, a youth pastor, gathered teenagers to visit the local prison and the nursing home, just to let the residents of both know that they hadn’t been forgotten.

Together, my parents often loaded our family into their full-size van to hand out meals to the homeless in downtown Denver. “Make a sandwich delicious enough that it’s hard for you to give up,” was my dad’s instructions to my siblings and me.

I’m sure I met some of these activities with an eye roll, but what I remember most is admiring my parents. They didn’t have much in the way of money, but they were always quick to give what they could. And I wanted people to know that I was part of that family.

Loudoun Education Foundation Director of Communications and Strategy Danielle Nadler. [Contributed]

My parents’ generosity—with their time, talent, and treasure—helped guide me to my career. Or I should say, careers. First, I worked for 15 years as a journalist, covering education in Loudoun County for 10 of those years. Yes, I spent long nights in School Board meetings, doing my best to keep county residents informed on everything from budget reconciliation to school attendance changes. But what I loved most in that job was telling the stories that played out outside of the board room. The stories that prompted real change in the lives of teachers, students, and their families.

I loved writing articles about teachers going the extra mile—in one instance, even winning a contest on the Ellen Show—to fund creative classroom projects. I liked to spotlight businesses and organizations that went far above what’s expected to serve their community. In one example, a charitable organization “adopted” the Park View High School soccer team to fund their trip to the state finals. In another, the Loudoun business community rallied to buy a new replacement robot when the RoboLoCo team’s prized robot was stolen just before the national competition.

These stories didn’t always make it on the front page, but they capture what I love about Loudoun County. The big and small moments where someone has an opportunity to give, they respond, and then they get to watch just how their gift helps improve our little corner of the world.

Interestingly enough, it’s stories like those that led me to join the staff of the Loudoun Education Foundation. The education foundation is an independent nonprofit that spurs community members, like yourself, to help Loudoun County students and teachers reach their full potential. As part of the LEF team, I get to help spark more of these meaningful stories.

With dozens of charitable organizations, our county offers so many opportunities for meaningful intersections, where a small moment of generosity can turn around a person’s day, their year, or even their life trajectory. This holiday season, take a few moments to find a nonprofit organization that aligns with your passion and give what you can. If you’re able, consider donating monthly to help an organization make lasting impacts on the lives of our neighbors throughout the county.

Thank you from all of us in Loudoun’s nonprofit community.


[Danielle Nadler is executive director of the Loudoun Education Foundation.]

2 thoughts on “Nadler: It’s the Perfect Time to Reignite Our Love of Giving

  • 2021-11-26 at 9:35 am
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    I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to read such a positive story. Thank you Danielle Nadler. Too much negativity has showered upon Loudoun in recent months. It’s wonderful to read an inspiring essay on how we can help others, rather than tearing them down. Happy Holidays Loudoun!

  • 2021-11-26 at 9:56 am
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    It’s a great time to consider gifts to charities. It’s also a great time to remember how government often makes it difficult to perform random acts of kindness. It is illegal to organize a group to hand out food to homeless in Washington, DC. You quite literally have to get a permit from the government to do so. Our children loved doing this with The Falls Church Episcopal youth organization over the years.

    But many churches perform similar work here in Fairfax and Loudoun. It won’t be hard to find someone who is doing something to help those less fortunate. As we also used to say, “Give, send, go!” Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

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