Reflections on my 1-year anniversary - VFN: 130+ Strong

Since joining VFN as CEO last July, I have met numerous leaders from across the Commonwealth who believe in the power of philanthropy to drive positive change.

Now 130+ strong, VFN members are making tangible differences in housing, health care, education, and community vibrancy. Their commitment to their communities is inspiring. Their desire to learn and collaborate is evident at every virtual or in-person VFN gathering. The organizations they represent reflect the rich diversity of Virginia and its people.

This past year, VFN provided support to those in our network and the entire philanthropic sector in a myriad of ways. Here are a few highlights:

  • Regional Funders Gatherings took place during my first few months. I had the good fortune to meet the community of funders brought together through VFN and learn about the communities they serve.


  • VFN convened a series of conversations on affordable housing challenges that face every region in Virginia and the role philanthropy can play to address them.


  • VFN delivered an information session on how the Commonwealth was taking steps to support those impacted by the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.




  • VFN’s third annual conference held in Richmond in May of this year drew over 300, making it the largest VFN event since we launched four years ago. A robust agenda and numerous opportunities to network and engage offered participants many options to gather new ideas. The theme, Stronger Together: Collective Action, Collective Impact set the stage for collaborative support for mental health, local journalism, rural communities, and the environment, among others. Visit VFN’s YouTube Channel to view the conference learning sessions. Stay tuned for opportunities to engage in collective action on many of these issues.


As I begin year two as a VFN team member, I am driven to help continue the good work philanthropy is doing to ensure that all who call Virginia home can thrive. I look forward to one-on-one conversations with members of our network and to the gatherings we have planned for this summer and fall. I am grateful to my VFN teammates Patte Koval, Angie Molina, and Robin Mockenhaupt for helping me in numerous ways during my first year, and to VFN’s Advisory Board for its leadership and vision.

I would love to connect on LinkedIn

Elizabeth (Bess) Littlefield


Virginia Funders Network

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