Cornerstones builds strong families and communities through concrete resources that offer hope and opportunity for a brighter future. Cornerstones partners with community members to lead change initiatives that address root causes of poverty and inequity.
Next to housing, the cost of childcare is the largest household expense at an average of $15,000 per year for an infant. For hard-working, low-income families the choices are daunting. Laurel Learning Center offers subsidized, quality childcare for 135 infants, toddlers and school-age children – providing developmental assessments, school readiness curriculum, pre- and afterschool academic enrichment and summer programs. In FY17, 19 out of 19 rising kindergarteners from low-income families entered school with the foundational skills necessary for academic success, and 38 preschoolers achieved their developmental milestones. All the children in the after-school program maintained or improved their academic grades (per school reports).
Cornerstones’ Kids and Parents Engage after-school and summer program is offered at community center sites in Reston and at the Herndon Neighborhood Resource Center. In FY17, 116 youth and children participated in after-school enrichment activities including STEAM, Robotics, Youth Leadership, College-bound Courses, computer classes, and arts and cultural opportunities.
Opportunity Neighborhood: Reston or “RestON” is a new community initiative facilitated by Cornerstones and launched in the fall of 2016. It is based on the Promise Neighborhood collective impact model that seeks to rally the community – from businesses to local government to nonprofits to faith communities – to support the success of children from “cradle to career” and to build the resiliency of their families through community care management. RestON partners are actively engaged in dialogue with residents, parents and youth who are living primarily in four low-income apartment complexes in Reston where Cornerstones manages community centers and facilitates dual-generational and resident engagement activities that are available to over 7,000 residents.
The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness was established in 2008 as a public-private partnership of Fairfax County, nonprofit, faith, business and community leaders with a ten-year plan focused on increasing housing options and preserving affordable housing units, preventing people from becoming homeless, delivering integrated services for people who needed support in remaining stably housed, and ensuring implementation through systems change and new and leveraged resources. Since adoption of that plan, there has been a 47 percent decrease in homelessness in Fairfax County and a transformation in the way partners help people navigate services and access housing options appropriate for them. In 2017 Cornerstones and Fairfax County launched the Fairfax County Housing Opportunities Collaborative – a unique partnership designed to increase private landlord participation in meeting the needs of housing for the most vulnerable citizens. In addition, Cornerstones’ CEO chairs the Fairfax County Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (AHAC). AHAC oversaw the adoption of a “Penny Fund” in 2006 (one penny of the Fairfax County real estate tax) to preserve 2,600 homes in Fairfax County, and has presented a Community-Wide Strategic Plan for Housing that has identified gaps in housing for people at all income levels and the policies and resources needed to fill them.