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The Oakton-based Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has announced the winners of its Innovation Fund’s very first grants. The money supports out-of-the-box educational approaches in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Nine schools and nonprofit organizations received a total of $25,000, in grants of up to $5,000. Four are in Fairfax County.

Chantilly Academy, Chantilly, received $950 to provide electronics kits for Girls Exploring Engineering.

Girls Excelling in Math and Science Club, Fairfax, received $680 to support the club’s initiative in public elementary and middle schools, where girls can explore STEM fields and careers.

ReSet, Fairfax, received $5,000 for hands-on, inquiry-based exercises and experiments for elementary school students, to increase their interest in STEM subjects.

Terra Centre Elementary, Burke, received $3,270 for interdisciplinary activities during its summer STEM program.

Two additional organizations serve all of Northern Virginia.

Children’s Science Center received $5,000 for Museum Without Walls Mobile Labs’ Family Science Night, to purchase supplies and equipment for up to two interactive exhibits and 10 hands-on activities to promote STEM learning.

Girl Makers of Northern Virginia received $1,000 for a partnership with Mid-Atlantic Girls Collaborative, Nova Labs, and Girls Excelling in Math and Science to expand “Take-Apart” day, which gives students the chance to use tools and disassemble broken equipment.

“The grant-winning programs include an exciting array of initiatives that truly are preparing the region’s future workforce,” said Eileen Ellsworth, Community Foundation president.

Healthcare group applauds champion volunteers

Molina Healthcare in Fairfax recently honored three community volunteers at its third annual Community Champions Awards dinner: John Horejsi and Hank Chao, both of Vienna, and Anne Louise Lainge Bailey of Alexandria.

The Community Champions Awards, established to honor the memory of company founder C. David Molina, spotlight the good deeds of everyday heroes in their communities.

Horejsi is founder and coordinator of Social Action Linking Together, a social justice volunteer organization that assists welfare-dependent families, low-income seniors, the homeless and the incarcerated. Founded 30 years ago with a small group of concerned citizens, SALT now has more than 1,200 social justice volunteers. Among SALT’s many successes has been the repeal of sales tax for food stamp purchases in 19 states, increasing food aid by $9.5 million in Virginia.

Chao is volunteer president of the Hai Hua Community Center, which organizes educational and networking opportunities for Asian-Americans, such as Virginia Asian Voter registration, the SARS-aid concert, Asian Tsunami fundraising and Chinese performances for the Fairfax County Park Authority summer multicultural program. Chao also chairs the State Board of Community Colleges, is a member of the Fairfax County Health Department Multicultural Advisory Committee, and chairs the program committee of the Library of Congress Asian Division Friends Society.

Bailey’s focus is on bettering mental health and health services offered to children and youth by the county and community providers. She sits on the advisory board of the Joe and Fredona Gartlan Center for Community Mental Health, and helped formed the Nexus Committee, bringing together national and local experts to share strategies for improved mental health outcomes. She is also the community representative to the Health and Human Services Committee of the Mount Vernon Council of Citizens’ Associations.

Community organizations nominate the award winners. As part of the award, each winner receives a $1,000 grant to give to a deserving nonprofit.

Westfield junior is Stanford-bound

Nick O’Connell, a junior at Westfield High School, has been accepted at Stanford University’s Summer College, where he will study computer programming and electrical engineering.

O’Connell, a varsity member of Westfield’s Track & Field and Cross Country teams, heads to San Francisco on June 18 for the two-month program. When he returns he will begin practice for the 2013 fall cross country season.

O’Connell launched and coordinates an annual outreach in his Chantilly community on behalf of So Others Might Eat, an interfaith, community-based organization in Washington, D.C. He collects and donates clothing and essentials for homeless families in the city.

Stanford’s High School Summer College is an academically selective program providing access to undergraduate education at one of the country’s most respected universities. High School Summer College students interact with peers from across the United States and around the world.

Library foundation awards 9 scholarships

The Fairfax Library Foundation has selected the following individuals to receive scholarships for the upcoming academic year, to apply to either undergraduate or graduate study.

Aliya Ahmed Parvez is the 2013 Edwin S. Clay III Masters of Library Science Scholarship winner, receiving an award of $3,500. She was honored in a ceremony June 12. Parvez plans to complete her coursework for her Master’s of Library and Information Science at University of North Texas this fall.

Mary Kathryn Kent and Bridget Ryan have also been named MLS Scholarship Award winners for 2013; each will receive $3,000. Kent and Ryan plan to pursue their MLS degrees in library and information science at Catholic University of America.

With help from the Rotary Club of Burke, Fairfax Library Foundation awarded twice the number of undergraduate scholarships as in previous years.

Undergraduate scholarship winners are Matthew Albert Beer, Thien Mai, Katherine Pietras, Ingrid Thais Quiroz, Claudia Rojas and Laura Ung. Each will receive $1,000.

Gordon named FCPS Foundation chairman

Gerald Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, has been named chairman of the Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools. Gordon will work with the foundation board to continue to raise the organization’s profile in the local business community and promote initiatives to expand resources and improve student achievement.

“I hope to involve the business community to an even greater extent in supporting the school system, which in turn supports the growth and betterment of the business community and the community at large,” Gordon said.

Created in 2010, the not-for-profit Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools works to enhance the public schools through collaboration with businesses, and invests in innovative programs to build a competitive work force for the future. Since its inception, the foundation has invested more than $1.5 million in the school system.

Gordon takes on the chairman’s role from Kevin Reynolds, regional president of Cardinal Bank.

Gordon has been with the FCEDA since late 1983. In that time the county has become the second-largest suburban office space market in the nation, and jobs have climbed from 243,000 to almost 600,000.

He is stepping down this month as chairman of the Arts Council of Fairfax County. He is a director emeritus of the Fairfax County Park Foundation and served on the Fairfax Library Foundation board.