VIU-5989On June 18, 2015, Virginia International University (VIU) hosted a convening of county and community leaders for the release of the “Equitable Growth Profile of Fairfax County” report and to discuss the implications for economic and community development and strategies to provide equal opportunities to all members of the diverse population living in Fairfax County.¬†Representatives of Fairfax County’s government, area faith communities, non-profit businesses, education leaders, and civic organizations came together to hear the report which was presented by Surita Turner, Associate Director at PolicyLink. The report points out that as the population of Fairfax has grown more and more diverse over the last 25 years, the inequities in income and opportunity by race and geography have also increased. A panel moderated by President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Health Foundation,¬†Patricia Matthews, discussed the implications for economic and community development strategies to close the opportunity gap.

Panelists included (left to right) Steve Lee, Co-Chair, Annandale Youth Engagement; Sarita Turner, Associate Director, PolicyLink; Rev. Dr. Carol Brooks Truesdale, Associate Minister, Mount Olive Baptist Church; Charles Britt, Coordinator, STEM Education Outreach, NOVA Community College; Rob Stalzer, Deputy County Executive, Fairfax County; Lisa Whetzel, Executive Director, Our Daily Bread; and Patricia Matthews, President and CEO, Northern Virginia Health Foundation.

The event concluded with an interactive question and answer session during which participants committed to work together toward a vision of “One Fairfax,” a community in which everyone can participate and prosper. The event showcased VIU as a partner and resource to the community. Dr. Klara Bilgin, Dean of the School of Public & International Affairs at VIU, told interested community leaders about VIU’s rapid growth and continued opportunities for partnership in research and future events. The “Equitable Growth Profile” was produced by PolicyLink and the USC Program for Environmental & Regional Equity in partnership with Fairfax County and other local leaders. To view the full report, visit¬†http://goo.gl/H5KpgP.

Blog prepared by Anne Marie Gasparik

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