In mid-December, inspired by the Manuels’s Tavern GoFundMe that raised over $175,000 in November, the Virginia Highland Civic Association and Virginia Highland District Association got together to “Support VaHi Businesses.” Chase Johnson of VHCA, wrote to residents, encouraging them to support the businesses that have been supporting us for years via dine-outs, auction donations, and sponsorships. Over 50 businesses off North Highland Avenue, from Atkins Park to Amsterdam-Highland, were on the list to receive equal payout from whatever was donated.
Immediately donations started pouring in, from $10 to $1,000, and finally reaching $22,821 the first week into January when the fundraiser closed. After fees, businesses were looking at receiving a “Christmas bonus” of about $390.00 each to do as they wished.
The businesses were so happy to see their support rolling in. They were so grateful to the efforts, and to the community for making them feel truly appreciated. Each business was notified and asked for an address to send the check – and that’s when the story gets better. One by one, business owners who felt they had done ok, or even well, last year started to offer their portion back into the pot for those most in need.
It was truly touching to witness such grace and giving during such a hard time of constant uncertainty. VHCA will now be sending out checks to about 30 businesses, now each receiving about $900. Most owners mentioned they will be passing their donation onto their staff, who undoubtedly, we could not have done it without during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you to all that contributed.
Written by Katie Voelpel, President of Virginia Highland District Association