The Civic Federation Today
The Arlington County Civic Federation, formed in 1916, today has more than eighty member organizations dedicated to advocacy and community involvement. Its purpose continues to be promoting the general welfare of Arlington County and vicinity in a non-partisan, non-sectarian, non-sectional, and non-political manner.
Many of the improvements in Arlington are the result of actions initiated or strongly supported by the Federation – the County Manager form of government; sewer and water systems; the Central Post Office, better schools, master zoning ordinances.
Today, a wide variety of organizations belong to the Federation, reflecting the broad array of interests and talents found in the County. It is open and welcoming to all groups within Arlington, firmly believing that a broader range of groups creates better problem-solving outcomes for Arlington and its residents.
Founded in 1916, the Civic Federation has devoted itself to improving the quality of life in Arlington County, in advocating improvements in the infrastructure of the County, and in airing and discussing issues of concern to its members.
The work of the Federation is carried out through its General Membership meetings, usually held at 7:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at the Hazel Auditorium, Virginia Hospital Center Arlington, through its Committees, and through its Executive Board.
Supporting Our Members
Keeping our members abreast of the issues facing Arlington is a top priority for the Federation. Each month’s meeting is devoted to topics of concern to all Arlingtonians, and guest speakers provide a communications link between members and the community.
Our events reflects our desire to insure that citizens are well informed. In September, we invite candidates for elective office to join us. November focuses on legislative recommendations for local, state and national leaders. The School Board meets with us in December, the County Board in January. March is always Budget Month, and our State and Congressional Delegation joins us in April.
Added to our agendas are issues ranging from parks to zoning, from pedestrian safety to transportation to community safety. Any member organization, through its delegates, is invited to bring issues of concern to the Federation for consideration.
Neighborhood Day has become a wonderful festival of celebration of Arlington’s community life, including its parade, and the Civic Federation has been one of the lead organizations supporting this event.
The work of the Civic Federation occurs through its Committee structure. Fourteen Standing Committees and a number of Ad Hoc Committees research issues, work with elected and appointed officials and their staffs, and make recommendations to the Federation membership.
- Bylaws, Community Relations, Membership and the Executive Committees deal with internal and administrative operations.
- Revenues and Expenditures focuses on budgetary and other financial issues of the County.
- Planning and Zoning addresses a host of land use issues- including site plans, variances, land use.
- Cultural Affairs addresses libraries, facilities for higher education, and the arts of Arlington.
- Parks and Recreation looks at new parks, maintaining existing open spaces, and developing new or expanded recreational programs
- Environmental Affairs focuses on the overall quality of our environment – land, air and water.
- Housing deals with the development and enforcement of standards, codes and legislation; and all aspects of public housing policy.
- Legislation addresses issues of concern on all levels of the political front.
- Public Services handles a wide variety of issues, and since September 11th, disaster preparedness for citizens has been a primary focus. This Committee presents programs to organizations and groups on what citizens can do to be prepared and what to expect from the government.
- Schools understands that quality education is the lifeblood of a community and addresses all issues relating to our public schools and their budget.
- Transportation focuses on moving people and goods from one place to another within Arlington, including rail, air, streets, bridges, sidewalks, parking facilities, bus and taxi service. Traffic calming is a major consideration of this Committee.
- Scholarship is our newest Ad Hoc Committee. Its purpose is to continue raising funds for our 911 Scholarship Fund (for children of public safety personnel), and our Teachers’ Scholarship Fund (for future teachers).
Other Member Services
The Federation exists to support its members’ needs and to give community voice to emerging issues. Among its recent services are:
- The Arlington Neighborhood News Exchange (ANNE) is a service for neighborhood newsletter editors to swap articles. With the benefits of cut-and-paste you can add to your newsletter some interesting news items or a whole raft of filler when you need it.
- Delegates College: Creating a community of interested citizens;newsletter production and distribution; budgeting concerns; by-laws; dealing with the press; effectively working with the County and a host of other how-to’s.
- Special Forums: Major changes in zoning policy, urban renewal, leadership conferences, and other major issues which require more in-depth explanation and discussion.
- Special Presentations: Educating the public on emergency preparedness; understanding the County Budget 101; and whatever else would help your members!
- Support Systems: Roundtables for discussion on current programs such as Neighbors Supporting Neighbors (formerly Neighborhood Watch).
- Surveys on issues of concern to you and your neighbors.