Arlington County Civic Federation
The Arlington County Civic Federation is a federation of eighty-four member organizations dedicated to advocacy for our members, its purpose is to promote the general welfare of Arlington County and vicinity in a non-partisan, non-sectarian, non-sectional, and non-political manner.
A wide variety of organizations belong to the Federation, reflecting the wide array of interests and talents found in Arlington County. It is open and welcoming to all groups within Arlington County, firmly believing that a broader range of groups creates better problem-solving outcomes for Arlington and its residents.
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 member organizations.
The work of the Federation is carried out through its General Membership meetings, usually held the first Tuesday of each month, its Committees, and its Executive Board.
Civic improvements in a community do not just happen. They require organized efforts by dedicated citizens who are willing to work long and hard for them.
Governing bodies responsible for spending our tax dollars and dependent upon the will of the electorate for their existence must be shown that taxpayers are willing to pay for those amenities that make a community a better place to live, require that community livability be maintained, and insist that all of that can be accomplished without excessive taxation. Thus it was in 1916 that six local civic associations in our County joined together to obtain better roads and improved schools . From this modest beginning emerged the Arlington County Civic Federation of today whose membership embraces practically every Arlington organization whose primary purpose is the civic improvement of our County. The actions of the Federation have been recognized repeatedly not only by local officials, but also by State and congressional leaders.
Practically all the major improvements that Arlington residents enjoy today resulted from actions initiated or strongly supported by the Federation. Among them may be cited the County manager form of government, county?wide sewer and water systems, the systematic naming and numbering of our streets, the Central Post Office, master zoning ordinance, better schools, traffic management and a host of other measures that have made Arlington a model community . Most of the Federation's proposals have eventually been realized either through Federal or State law, local ordinance, or public policy.
The Federation serves as a sounding board for all citizens on matters of civic interest. Its delegates represent the "grass roots" opinions of the ordinary citizens, regardless of political or partisan affiliation, on civic matters, and thus it may be truly said that the Federation is "The Civic Voice of Arlington".
The backbone of the Federation is its system of 14 standing committees (Figure 1.0). The chairs of these committees are selected for their knowledge and interest in the field. The detailed and factual reports prepared by the committees provide the basis for constructive action by the Federation. The wide range of subjects covered by the committees offers every delegate the opportunity to contribute in their field of knowledge.
All who participate in the work of the Federation derive a great satisfaction. They develop deep and lasting friendships, their intellect is sharpened, their horizon broadened, and, above all, their lives are made richer through the knowledge that they have contributed in making Arlington the finest place in which to live and raise their children.
Figure 1.0 Arlington County Civic Federation Org Chart
III. Environmental Assessment - Strengths Weakness Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis and Social, Technological, Economic and Political (STEP) Analysis
Supporting Our Members
- Strength in our unity of voices
- Umbrella organization for civic associations and functional organizations
- Fail to gain consensus on issues that affect neighborhoods
- Lack of consistent attendance and diversity
- Forum for Neighborhood ideas �
- Our message is understood and disseminated
- Fail to gain consensus on issues that affect neighborhoods
- Not able to get our message understood and disseminated
Standing Committee Structures
- ACCF Committees cover a wide array of civic areas
- Greater ACCF Neighborhood Presence
- Lack of activity by Committee Chairs
- Lack of issue awareness and anticipation
- Forum for Neighborhood ideas �
>LI>Able to get in the "Issue Loop"
- Lack of planning
- Lack of follow-up
The "Civic Voice" of Arlington County
- Work as a two way channel and sounding board
- Ability to extend outreach to all residents
- Don't Advertise Ourselves
- Lack of Publicity
- Forum for disseminating civic issues
- Forceful advocacy for membership
- May be coasting on our reputation
- May be considered complacent
Social and Demographic Trends:
Economic Development Trends:
- Better communication between residents and County government
- Increased County responsiveness to neighborhood needs and trends
- Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness and Planning
- Economic growth that results in increases in the taxable base for Arlington County
- Economic development that leads to improvement in the physical development of Arlington County
- The role of technology in expanding civic awareness and civic engagement.
- The linkage between technology and improved governmental service delivery in terms of responsiveness and convenience.
- More effective coordination among County Departments on neighborhood services
- Active citizen participation and civic awareness
- Effective neighborhood service delivery tailored to the needs of individual neighborhoods
IV. Mission Statement
The mission of the Arlington County Civic Federation is to empower citizens to improve their communities by mobilizing and coordinating the resources of government, business, nonprofits, the faith community, neighborhood leaders, and the citizens themselves .
- Open and welcoming to all groups within Arlington County
- Promote the general welfare of Arlington County in a non-partisan, non-sectarian, non-sectional, and non-political manner.
- Reflects the wide array of interests and talents found in Arlington County
- Improving the quality of life in Arlington County
- Advocating improvements to the infrastructure of Arlington County
- Airing and discussing issues of concern to its member organizations.
- Sounding board for all citizens on matters of civic interest
- Represent the "grass roots" opinions of the ordinary citizens, regardless of political or partisan affiliation, on civic matters
- The "Civic Voice" of Arlington County
V. Vision Statement
The Arlington County Civic Federation (ACCF) envisions Arlington as a neighborhood-friendly municipality that is the very best place to live, work, or own a business in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area, and in the state of Virginia .
In order to do that we must live in a community that:
- Is Safe and Secure for our residents, workers and businesses
- Has a highly efficient "right-sized" government with the lowest tax burden per capita in the region
- Has developed a transportation system that emphasizes many modes of transport including walking, riding, and driving in a affordable system that encourages energy efficiency and is environmentally friendly
- Has a road system that handles all volumes efficiently, accommodating cars, bikes and walkers alike, and enhances traffic calming in our neighborhoods
- Enjoys a wealth of well maintained parks and recreation facilities
- Is a community that not only tolerates differences in religion, national origins, ethnic backgrounds and sexual preferences, but actively protects the most vulnerable among us - the elderly, the young, the disabled, the mentally ill and victims of hate
- Possesses a high performance school system - where all the children can easily meet and exceed any testing standard, where there is no need for parents to enter lotteries to enroll children in any school, and where the teaching staff is of the highest caliber
- Is a county where every citizen lives in an active Civic Association area and a county with its citizens actively engaged in their community
VI. Strategic Goals and Objectives
1. Supporting Our Members
2. Standing Committee Structure
3. The "Civic Voice" of Arlington County
Strategic Goal 1: Supporting Our Members
Objective 1: Keeping our members abreast of the issues facing Arlington
Objective 2: ACCF events reflect a desire to insure that citizens are well informed
- Monthly meetings topics
- Candidate Forums
- Public Comments and Community Forums
Objective 3: Inputs from Delegates
- September - Candidates Night
- November - ACCF Legislative Recommendations
- December - School Board Meeting/Discussions
- January - County Board Meeting/Discussions
- March - Budget Meeting/Discussions
- Any member organization, through its delegates is invited to bring issues of concern to the ACCF for consideration
Strategic Goal 2: Standing Committee Structure
Objective 1: The work of the ACCF occurs through its Committee Structure
- Research civic issues of interest to our members
- Work with Arlington County officials and their staffs to resolve issues of interest
- Make recommendations in the form of Resolutions and/or Letters to the Arlington County Board about the issues of interest
Strategic Goal 3: The "Civic Voice" of Arlington County
Objective 1: Give the community a voice on emerging issues
Objective 2: Special Forums
- Create an educated community of interested delegates and citizens
- Newsletter production and distribution for delegates and citizens
Objective 3: Special Presentations
- Discuss major issues with our members which require more in-depth explanation and discussion
- Educating our members and the public on emergency preparedness, or understanding the county budget
VII. Citizen Driven Performance Measurement
Many jurisdictions are currently measuring performance of the services delivered in their community. However, few jurisdictions employ methods that ensure the areas and issues being measured are truly meaningful to citizens. Furthermore, very few local government entities share performance measurement information with the broader community in such a way that it could involve citizens to create positive change. By identifying and measuring these meaningful areas on an ongoing basis, local government can be certain that their resources and attention are focused in targeted and strategic areas that are important to citizens. By monitoring these areas on continually, local government can use the performance measures as a means to hold themselves accountable and to inform and engage the community to create change in those areas. Jurisdictions that listen and respond to their community and constantly strive for excellence are more likely to be viewed as credible and responsive by their constituent's .
The Arlington County Civic Federation (ACCF) can be a very effective way to bring issues of importance in our community to the attention of our civic and political leaders. The ACCF through its members and committee's often have influence on how a new ordinance is
written, or applied. Additionally if there are any matters or concerns to the ACCF members, the ACCF can serve to bring these matters into the conversation of civic discourse.
VIII. Migration Strategy
In order to meet the needs of its member organizations, and gain greater consensus and awareness on neighborhood issues over the next several years the ACCF will be endeavoring to:
- Increase the use of on-line email in order to distribute the ACCF Monthly newsletter via electronic email to all its members
- Disseminate more electronic information in the form of on-line Discussion Groups for all of the ACCF Standing Committee's
- Promulgate ACCF Committee reports to all its members via the ACCF Web Site
- Organize a new ACCF Standing Committee to address issues involving Governance, covering organization and effectiveness of the Arlington County Government's neighborhood services to its citizens
- Implement more in the way of "Public Relations" and "Outreach" information about ACCF activities via the Community Relations Committee, in the form of press releases, and/or information notices
- Increase the amount of ACCF members appointed to Arlington County Commissions, Boards and Task Forces
- Continue with the Public Services Committee focus on public preparedness in response to September 11, 2001, and the threats that have continued at various levels since that time. Continue to provide public presentations on emergency preparedness have been given to a wide variety of civic associations, local government agencies, federal agencies, and non-profit organizations.
- Look at ways of gaining additional revenues with or without changing the ACCF tax status
Arlington County Civic Federation, "The Civic Voice of Arlington Virginia", 28 July 2003, http://www.civfed.org/index.htm
Bourbonnais Township Park District, Bourbonnais Illinois, Vision Statements and Guidelines, 2002, http://www.btpd.org/visionaries.htm
DC Watch, Neighborhood Action, 20 October 1999, http://www.dcwatch.com/mayor/991020.htm
Keyes, Allen, "Renew America Handbook", Declaration Alliance, 2002
National Civic League, The Community Visioning and Strategic Planning Handbook, 2000, http://www.ncl.org/cs/services/performance.html
Pratt, Sherman, "Arlington County Virginia: A Modern History", BookCrafters press, 1997
World Bank Institute, Community Empowerment and Social Inclusion, World Bank Annual Meetings, 2002, http://www.worldbank.org/wbi/communityempowerment/Documents/Brochure_03.pdf
 Pratt, Sherman, "Arlington County Virginia: A Modern History", BookCrafters press, 1997
 Arlington County Civic Federation, "The Civic Voice of Arlington Virginia", 28 July 2003, http://www.civfed.org/index.htm
 DC Watch, Neighborhood Action, 20 October 1999, http://www.dcwatch.com/mayor/991020.htm
 National Civic League, The Community Visioning and Strategic Planning Handbook, 2000, http://www.ncl.org/cs/services/performance.html
This page was last revised on: February 18, 2005.