CvilleVillage Update


Board President Carolyn Benjamin welcomed everyone and opened the meeting by introducing a survey CvilleVillage will be sending out in the next few days to reassess the level of interest that the people on our email list have in creating a village in Charlottesville and the Albemarle urban ring.

Copies of the survey were distributed and Carolyn asked for comments and suggestions from those present.  When you receive the survey, we hope that you will respond immediately.   It is very short and should take no more than five minutes.

Before moving forward, we also want to be sure that what we plan to offer is what people want and need.  The Program/Services Committee chaired by Board member Susan Bates has drawn up a list of the initial services to be offered and copies of this list was distributed.   Click HERE to see that list. We welcome your comments and suggestions via email to

In order to ensure that we will be able to continue and sustain the village once we begin offering services, we must be able to hire an Executive Director or Coordinator, someone who will be able to coordinate service requests from members, as well as recruit and manage volunteers.   In order to do that we need money, so we need to bring fund-raising into sharper focus.  If you or someone you know is interested in actively working on fund-raising for our village, please send an email to    If you would like to make a tax deductible donation you can do so by mailing a check payable to CvilleVillage to CvilleVillage  P.O. Box 864 Charlottesville, VA  22902   or by credit card through PayPal by clicking HERE.

You can also support CvilleVillage by registering your Kroger rewards card and designating CvilleVillage as the organization you wish to benefit through Kroger’s Community Reward program.   Once you register, every time you swipe your Kroger card CvilleVillage will receive Community Reward points that will become a cash donation to the CvilleVillage at the end of each calendar quarter.    If you would like to do add your support, please go to    Click HERE for detailed instructions on how to register your card and support CvilleVillage.

Helen Plaisance talked briefly about a recent meeting between members of the Board and Tom Hubbard of SCORE who offered suggestions on a strategy for moving forward.  One of his suggestions was that we need to articulate our WOW factor – ideas that will resonate with others when we are explaining the village concept.
WOW – someone to take me get to the grocery store AND help me carry the groceries into my house.
WOW – transportation to a concert, a play or other cultural event.
WOW – someone coming to shovel my sidewalk
Again we would love to hear from you.  What aspect of the village idea makes you say WOW?  Share your WOWs with us by email to

The Woolen Mills Pilot Project will officially conclude on June 30th.   Carol Hunt made a report on the final phase of this project.  Through a Coordinating Committee of four volunteers [Carol Hunt, Susan Allison, Michele Martin & Howard Evergreen], plus a group of eight additional volunteers, they began offering services on a limited basis in March to a group of about ten residents of the Woolen Mills neighborhood.  There is a central cell phone that rotates between the members of the Coordinating Committee.  A person needing services calls that number, and the coordinator calls the volunteers to find someone who is able to fill the request.  Although the group is small, the system is working well, and the committee feels the program is having a beneficial impact.

Finally, an upcoming event you might be interested in — Elder Lawyer Doris Gelbman is going to be repeating her seminar series “Aging Gracefully” during the summer at the new Northside branch of the Jefferson Madison Regional Library.   This seminar is free and open to the public.  Click HERE for additional details.

The meeting was then adjourned.   A date has not yet been set for the next General Meeting.    Information will be posted on our website and an email announcement will be sent once the date, place and time are determined.





Carolyn Benjamin welcomed all the attendees, including 5 people who were attending the meeting for the first time.

Helen Plaisance introduced the speaker, Richard Jones, Battalion Chief and Community Outreach Officer for the City of Charlottesville Fire Department. His remarks began with telling us that the # 1 cause of fires was related to cooking. How to prevent: 1) never leave something on the stove unattended, 2) don’t open door if there is a fire in the oven – immediately call 911, 3) clear area around the stove before starting to cooks, removing items such as towels and oven mitts, and 4) have lid to pan handy, if cooking with oils and after putting lid on fire, do not move pan off the stove.

Fire extinguishers give extra time before 911 responds. When buying a fire extinguisher, make sure to read the box (ABC – for any type of fire). Once a month it should be turned upside down – gauge must still be in the green area to function.

Smoke alarms save lives. One should be on every level of a multilevel residence, as well as outside the kitchen, in common area outside bedrooms and in bedrooms. The City Fire Department hass a Smoke Alarm Hotline (970-3245) and will provide smoke alarms free of charge. In rental units, it is the landlord’s responsibility to provide smoke alarms but the resident must change batteries. Smoke alarms should be dual-sensing (photoelectric and ionizing). Intermittent beeping indicates the need for battery change.

Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are necessary wherever there is gas (such as stove or fireplace inserts).

Everyone should have an exit strategy when fire occurs, preferable several ways out. It is important to establish a “meeting place” (such as a specific tree, mail box) in advance so it is possible to account for each member of the residence at the time of fire.

Other aspects of safety include preventing falls, especially for seniors, with removing trip hazards (rugs, cords) and grab bars in areas such as the bathroom and kitchen. Where there are small steps, between rooms, ramping is a solution. Consider addressing “hoarding” and collecting “stuff” to make sure that all areas of the residence are open and accessible. Overloading circuits which may lead to electrical fires should be avoided by surge protectors and circuit breakers.

Contact information for Richard Jones:      Phone (office): 970-3328      Email:

Contact for Albemarle County:      Phone: 296-5833

Helen encouraged Fundraising Efforts; she has applied in the name of CvilleVillage for the Kroger Community Award





Following is a report on the General Meeting for CvilleVillage that was held at the Mary Williams Center, February 27th, 2015.

This report was prepared by M.K. Gleason  – feel free to add your comments or any corrections.  Thanks. 

Carolyn Benjamin, Board President for CvilleVillage opened the meeting by welcoming everyone.

Vice President, Judy Zeitler then gave an overview of the DC area village Mount Vernon at Home. This village is somewhat like CvilleVillage in that instead of being a small neighborhood it covers fourteen square miles. This village started in 2009 and they now have 180 members with 50 volunteers. In 2013 they were able to fill 119 requests for services and since their beginning over 1,000 people have attended village sponsored programs or events. They have one full time Executive director and one part-time person who helps with administrative tasks. Their annual membership fees are $700 for an individual and $850 for a couple. Unlike most villages, Mount Vernon at Home has no age restriction on members; membership is open to all ages. Also their volunteers do not need to be members in order to become involved and offer services. Their website is

The services they offer include transportation, friendly visits, check-in phone calls, light household help like watering plants or feeding pets when a member is away. They sponsor some educational programs and friendly get-togethers like lunches for members. They also offer medical advocacy and home health counseling.

Next, Secretary Helen Plaisance talked about fund-raising. There are three main ways in which non-profits can raise needed financing. One by grants from philanthropic foundations. Two by sponsoring public events and charging admission. Three by direct appeals to family, friends, members and supporters.

Before CV can open it’s doors we need to raise $85,000. This would allow us to hire at least one half to ¾ time staff person, and subscribe to and set up both database and accounting software. The question for us is how best to raise this money.

The first avenue is not really open for us. Foundations do not like to fund start-up or operational costs. They are also looking for some history demonstrating the organization’s viability. They look for a record of performance for at least a year along with a financial plan for sustainability. Down the road this may be something to consider, but for now it is not our best option.

Helen then asked for suggestions on events we could sponsor and/or ways in which we could make direct appeals, and the meeting opened into a general discussion and brainstorming session. The conversation became animated with many of excellent ideas and suggestions.

Some of the event ideas proposed included:

Sponsoring a music event at Cville Coffee or The Haven

Sponsoring a house and/or garden tour

Applying to be on the list of charities at Whole Foods Market for their bag refund program

Looking into a program at Kroger where a member can designate a favored charity, and for every dollar spent using their Kroger card, a percent is donated to that charity.

Invite Roz Chast author of the book “Can’t we Talk About Something More Pleasant” [If you are unfamiliar with this book, it is a memoir in which she chronicles her own experience in dealing with the issues of aging in the last several years of her parents’ lives.]

It was suggested that we add a DONATE button to our website and this will be done. We will probably set that up using Pay Pal as the payment mechanism.

Another suggestion was setting up an information table at the City Market when it reopens this spring as a way to inform more people about the village

The final discussion centered on membership – what annual fees should we charge? Will there be different levels of membership. Some villages have used Charter memberships where people either promised to join as soon as the village opened their doors, or in some cases paid for membership three or six months prior to the village first offering services.

Another idea would be to offer Supporting or sustaining membership where we people who do not need services make a tax deductible pledge to pay $150-$100 per year for the next five years as a way to the first years of CvilleVillage operation.

What are your thoughts? Do you have other suggestions for events or avenues we should pursue. Leave us you comment here or send an email to

The next general meeting will be Friday March 27th at 4:00 p.m. at the Mary Williams Center.





This report was prepared by M.K. Gleason  – feel free to add your comments or any corrections.  Thanks.  M.K. 

Carolyn Benjamin, Board President for CvilleVillage, opened the meeting by welcoming everyone, especially those who were attending a CvilleVillage meeting for the first time. She introduced the other board members and then went around the room so everyone could introduce themselves.

Carolyn spoke briefly about the village movement, emphazising that while the villages are united as members in the National Village to Village Network, each one is unique — reflecting its specific location, existing area resources and the needs of its members. She then introduced the meeting program: a series of presentations about several other villages, summarizing their history, structure, fees, and the menu of services and programs they offer.

Board member, Susan Bates started off with the Carolina Villages, based in Chapel Hill/Carrboro, NC. Their website is:   It took three years for them to get up and running. In the fall of 2013, even though they were not yet able to offer any services, they asked people to join as Charter Members with the promise that services would become available in early 2014. They now have a clear list of what they offer along with a substantial catalog of vetted vendors. Their annual membership fees are $550 for an individual and $820 for a household. They allow the fees to be paid monthly, quarterly or annually. Their only paid staff is a part-time Executive Director.

A list of vetted vendors is also part of the services we plan for CvilleVillage. This list would provide the names of individuals and companies that members could feel comfortable inviting into their homes when they needed to hire someone to do repairs or perform other in-home services.

Next Jeanne Zearley talked about two villages in the Washington, DC area:  Palisades Village and Capitol Hill Village. Websites and respectively. Both of these villages began after hearing about the Beacon Hill Village. The Palisades Village started in April of 2007, and immediately got their corporate infrastructure in place; next they began raising money. In January of 2009 they started offering services with 150 members. They  now have two full-time paid staff people and their annual membership fees are $500 for individual, $750 for households, with an associate membership of $250. The Capitol Hill village is similar. They also offer associate or social memberships for those who do not need services. Capitol Hill began organizing in May of 2006. That December  they sent out an appeal for donations, and by April 2007 they had raised $160,000.  They became fully operational in October 2007. They now have four paid staff. Their membership fees are $530 for individuals and $800 for households. The fees can paid monthly or annually. They also have a program offering assistance for low-income membership.

Logan Blanco contrasted the village in Austin, TX with Canopy of Neighbors  a village in Buffalo, NY.  The membership fees in Austin are income based with a sliding scale from $100 to $600 per year for individuals and $150 to $800 for households with a one-time initiation fee of $50. They currently have 104 members. Some of the programs they offer, such as yoga classes, require an additional fee to participate. They have two paid staff.  [A recent article in the New York Times featured the Capital City village.   Click HERE to read that article.] The Canopy of Neighbors in Buffalo, is not city-wide.  It serves a much smaller geographic area than does the Austin village. Both began in 2009. The Canopy began offering services in 2011. The Texas group gets much of their support through partnerships with local government, while the Canopy has pursued corporations and foundations for their funding. The Canopy has one paid staff person and currently they have 110 members. Their fees are $400 per year for individuals and $600 for households. They also have a grant that allows them to provide low-income memberships.

There wasn’t enough time for Judy Zeitler’s presentation on Mount Vernon At Home, a village in Alexandria, VA , so we will save that for a future meeting.

Please note, while I have done my best to capture the high-lights from each person’s presentation, the program for this meeting was dense with information and ideas.   Each of the presenters covered much more detail than you will find here, so I urge you to explore the various websites on your own.  M.K.

One more website with a wealth of information about the village movement is that of the National Village to Village Network:  The network provides guidance to new villages and serves as a clearinghouse for information about all the various villages. Recently, they lost their long time fiscal sponsor, and went through a reorganization, which included a decision to relocate their offices from Washington, DC, to St. Louis, MO. Their new offices are now open.  Continuity will be provided because long-time staff person Natalie Galucia moved with the office to become the new Executive Director. 

Following this program of presentations, Susan Bates circulated a sign-up sheet for people who would be interested in getting involved, in CvilleVillage — specifically by joining the Programs and Services Committee. CvilleVillage is planned around a hub-and-spoke model, where a strong central hub will provide the infra-structure serving all of the Charlottesville neighborhoods as well as areas within the Albemarle County urban ring. One of the first steps in building our ‘hub’ is to identify (in detail) what services and programs are currently available in our area.  We do not want to replicate existing programs and services, but rather to find ways in which CvilleVillage could supplement them.  For instance with UVa, OLLI, and the programs provided at the Senior Center, there may not be a need for additional educational programs.  Instead of sponsoring our own educational programs, CvilleVillage might coordinate ride-sharing so members could get to events already being offered.   We want to identify where there might be gaps that CvilleVillage can fill. That’s the goal of this committee. If you would like get involved please send an email to

The meeting concluded with several announcements about upcoming public events of interest:

On February 13, from 10:30 to 12:30 there will be a public hearing on the Commonwealth’s Four-Year-Plan for Aging Services 2015-2019. You should already have received a separate email with details about this event. If you didn’t get the email, you can find the announcement on our website. Click HERE to go to that information now.

Charlottesville Elder Lawyer Doris Gelbman is giving a series of talks at the Senior Center entitled “Aging Gracefully”.  The first was on January 14th, the next two are February 17th and March 17th, both at 10:00 a.m. at the Senior Center, 1180 Pepsi Place, Charlottesville. A video of Ms. Gelbman’s first presentation can be viewed on her website [Click HERE to go directly to that video]

The next meeting of the CvilleVillage will be Friday February 27th, at 4:00 p.m. at the Mary Williams Center, in the Jefferson School Community Center, 233 NW Fourth Street, Charlottesville, 22902

If you have comments or questions about this report or suggestions for future meeting programs, please send and email to





Report prepared by Helen Plaisance and M.K. Gleason

The meeting started with a report from Helen on the recent meeting Board members Carolyn Benjamin, Judy Zeitler and herself with Dan McCarter of the UVA Health System. Dr. McCarter is the Medical Director of the UVA’s ACO (Accountable Care Organization – click HERE for more information about ACOs). Their discussion was about ways in which CvilleVillage might partner with UVA’s ACO, in particular by helping with the transition of patients who are discharged from the hospital directly back to their own homes. The percentage of patients who return to the hospital within 30 days of their initial discharge is very high. One of the primary goals of the ACO is to lower this percentage. Although this was just a preliminary meeting, it seems clear that providing home visits and assistance to people making this transition fits well with the overall mission of Cville Village.

The original plan for this General Meeting had been to have more of a social event, however there were some recent changes within the Program, Services and Volunteers Committee, and it seemed more important that those developments be reported on and discussed. The Chair for the PSV Committee, Kate Shumate, and several other key committee members have submitted their resignations. Although they accomplished several important tasks (Eg. writing a Volunteer Handbook), the PSV Committee struggled over the summer with issues of communication and felt they lacked clear directions regarding where they were to focus and what their specific tasks should be.

Perhaps the mission of this committee was too large, and going forward we should consider dividing the committee in two – Programs and Services as one committee and Volunteers as another. Perhaps we were looking at organizing volunteers too early. CV first needs to determine the specific programs and services we intend to offer before we can begin recruiting for volunteers. Most villages begin small by offering two or three services. We believe that we need to begin with JABA’s Services Directory for transportation, in-home assistance, and outside assistance (leaf raking, snow-shoveling, for example), and see what Charlottesville has to offer in those areas. Then we will assess how each such service works, where the gaps are, and how CvilleVillage might fill those gaps. As an example, JAUNT is a wonderful urban transportation resource. However, they require reservations at least one day in advance, and only accept reservations Monday through Friday. A person needing either a same-day reservation, or weekend service, will not be likely to succeed with JAUNT. In addition, the base cost of JAUNT for “anyone” is $15 per trip. [However, if a person can demonstrate that they cannot make use of CAT, the Charlottesville bus service, they can access JAUNT for far less than this “retail”price.]

Judy Zeitler reported about the progress of the Outreach Committee. They have a brochure and a video, and in October gave several presentations to city Neighborhood Associations. Their goal is to reach all 18 of Charlottesville’s neighborhood associations before the spring. Mary Sherrill said the reception was very enthusiastic in Fry’s Spring and there is now a very high level of interest within that neighborhood.

Copies of a Village Startup Checklist developed by the National Village to Village Network were then distributed and became the basis of an energic group discussion on what CvilleVillage has accomplished, where we are, and what still needs to be done. Arthur Rashap (who was behind our very successful application for IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt status) volunteered to help Helen complete the CV business plan. We will report back later on their collaboration. There is also a need for assistance with fund-raising and grant writing. Anyone interested in getting involved in these effort should send an email to the Board at

On the Woolen Mills front, Carol Hunt, who coordinated the Woolen Mills survey, has been elected to the Woolen Mills Neighborhood Association Board, and she will be working to make the pilot program operational. Several WM residents who expressed an interest in receiving services, as well as WM residents who volunteered to provide those services have been identified. Stay tuned for the progress as their service delivery plan develops!

MK has been working in her new role as Treasurer to complete all the steps so that CvilleVillage can begin to raise funds in its own name. We have benefited tremendously from the sponsorship of TJPDCC, and look forward to close collaboration with them in the future. Meanwhile, we hope very soon to be able to tell you how you can make an end-of-the-year donation directly to the CvilleVillage.

In conclusion, it was announced that, there will be no general meeting on November 28, nor will there be one on December 26. Instead, we will plan for a General Meeting on January 23, 2015, where we plan to share an update to our business plan and strategic plan. Mark your calendar! And have wonderful holidays.





by M.K. Gleason

Many different topics were covered at the recent general meeting of the Cville Village, and I’m sure I won’t remember everything, but I decided to put together this report to share what I could with those of you who were not able to join us. I welcome any comments, additions or corrections.

Helen Plaisance talked about a recent event she and I attended called “The Big Think: Is Charlottesville Ready for the Age Shift”. This meeting was co-sponsored by the Senior Center and JABA, and the speaker was Matt Thornhill of Generations Matter. He talked about the changing US demographics how the graphic representation of the US population by age is no longer a pyramid, but is morphing to look more like the Empire State building. By 2030 the number of Americans aged 18-49 will be approximately equal to those 50+. And by 2026 the Millennials (those born between 1983 and 2001) will outnumber the Boomers.

So it’s important that these two groups – the Boomers and the Millennials – get to know and understand one another. To illustrate some of the difference between the two generations, he told a story of a father who took his high school daughter fishing early one morning. She threw in her line and immediately caught a good-sized fish. She had her dad take a picture of her kissing her fish. He then put in his line, and discovered the fish were really biting. In the next 90 minutes he caught 93 fish. Meanwhile his daughter had not put her line back into the water. Instead she was emailing the photo to all her friends and schoolmates. He was living the experience, while she was sharing it. The connectedness of this younger generations is one of its defining characteristics.   Judy Zeitler mentioned that the New York Times recently did a feature article about this generation, which you can read by clicking HERE.

There were two bits of official Cville Village business. First, we have received approval for tax exempt (501c3) status from the IRS. A special thanks is due to both Arthur Rashap and Elayne Phillips who worked on perfecting our application so it went through without a hitch. The second item is that next month Susan Bates and M.K. Gleason will be joining our Board of Directors. If anyone of you would be interested in also becoming a Board member, please send an email to

James Quinn, whose company OKCollaborative conducted the Woolen Mills focus groups this summer, gave a summary report on the results from these sessions. First of all they confirmed the findings of the survey, that the main service need for people needing assistance is transportation, followed by yard help and small interior home repairs. The new information discovered in these discussion groups was the lack of knowledge that some have regarding existing services like Jaunt and the CAT bus system. Also awareness of other programs like Meals on Wheels, and companionship resources like the Senior Center


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