Questions answered by Kerrin Epstein, Community Foundation Associate at ACT for Alexandria and Website Manager for ACTion Alexandria
ACT for Alexandria has an online civic engagement initiative called ACTion Alexandria. Since 2011, ACTion Alexandria has brought the community together through its online platform to take action and share ideas in order to improve the quality of life for Alexandria’s most vulnerable residents.
ACTion Alexandria is 501cTECH's Technology Innovator of the Week for its dynamic website that effectively engages community members and inspires them to take action.
How does technology make your work life easier?
Part of my job as the Community Foundation Associate is to manage the ACTion Alexandria website. As an online civic engagement platform that is responsive to the changing needs of the community, the ACTion Alexandria website must have the flexibility to be updated quickly. By using Drupal, an open source content management system, I am able to post information easily without needing to go to our website designers for each new update.
How has technology changed the way your organization does business?
ACTion Alexandria would not be possible without a website that allows for grassroots engagement. On ACTion Alexandria, community members can post ideas, take actions (such as donating money or items for nonprofit causes or giving input on City initiatives), post blogs and add to an event calendar.
This past year, ACTion Alexandria partnered with The RunningBrooke Fund to give nonprofit organizations serving children in Alexandria a chance to apply for grant funding. Through ACTion, nonprofits submitted grant applications and then posted their ideas for helping kids on a forum on the website. Community members were then asked to comment and support the ideas they were interested in seeing be implemented in Alexandria.
How do you use technology to achieve your mission?
The mission of ACT for Alexandria is to raise the level and effectiveness of giving and engagement in Alexandria. As the online civic engagement initiative of ACT, ACTion Alexandria promotes both giving and engagement. Over the past three years, ACTion Alexandria has worked with the community to invest $1,219,895 in community projects, donated 4050 items for Alexandria’s nonprofits, and taken 667 actions to support local nonprofits and community groups.
Is there a piece of hardware or software you can’t live without?
While I am incredibly grateful for the content management systems that make website maintenance user friendly, the products in the Adobe Creative Suite are probably on the top of my list for favorite pieces of technology. The software in the Creative Suite makes designing everything from year-end fundraising emails to newsletters, to logos much easier.