Holiday Gift Card Drive Yields over $1,500 in Donations to Culmore Community


The School of Business and College of Health and Human Services at George Mason University teamed up this holiday season to donate over $1,500 in gift cards to the Culmore Family Resource Center. Nearly 30 Patriots contributed to the drive, which distributed more than 50 Old Navy gift cards to low-income families in the Bailey’s Crossroads and Culmore neighborhoods of Fairfax County to buy warm clothing this winter.

The Culmore Family Resource Center, operated by Second Story, is a central hub in the neighborhood for children, teens, and adults alike. The center offers free classes on many subjects, such as parenting, sewing, computer skills, and English as a Second Language (ESL) in addition to being a safe space for the community to get medical care, food, clothing, and access to other resources.

Soraya Borja, vice president of Community-Based Services at Second Story, spoke about the joy that the donations brought to the local families who frequent the community center throughout the year. “The children were very excited to receive the gift cards for the holidays,” she commented. “We also gave out toys and had vaccine shots available, so we were able to provide a safe, warm, and fun holiday for 71 children.”

Mason’s Business for a Better World (B4BW) Center and Mason and Partners (MAP) Clinics, in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, are currently leading a new Place-Based Initiative (PBI) to address health disparities in this disadvantaged area of Fairfax County. Through a robust coalition of nonprofits, faith-based organizations, local businesses, and community members, the PBI aims to improve the quality of life for low-income families in Culmore who rely heavily on social services to survive.

George Leventhal, director of Community Health at Kaiser Permanente, commented that “Kaiser Permanente is committed to the health and wellness of the communities we serve. Our investment and engagement in the Bailey’s Crossroads/Culmore community has steadily progressed over the last two years. We are pleased to see the engagement and strategic leadership of our anchor partner, George Mason University, take shape especially as it relates to supporting economic opportunity efforts in the community.”

Since its genesis a year ago, the Bailey’s Crossroads/Culmore PBI has united 15 core organizations to strengthen community relations and coordinate social services in the area. As the anchor partner, Mason provides resources, support, and guidance to various subcommittees within the PBI as they work to improve community safety, the quality and accessibility of housing and health care, employment opportunities, and more.

The PBI is dedicated to creating sustainable, systemic change in the region with future projects to include a social incubator, an online portal for local renters to facilitate access to housing resources, and a virtual shared platform for service providers to convene and share data. Anyone with a potential project, opportunity, or idea that could benefit the Culmore community is encouraged to contact Katie Wilson by email at