Allison Silberberg
Mayor of Alexandria, Virginia (2016-2018)

All Hands on Deck

From 2004 to 2012, Allison was appointed to Alexandria’s Economic Opportunities Commission (EOC), which serves as an advocate for the city’s most vulnerable. Legislative issues include: employment, affordable housing, health care, homeless prevention, utility costs, and abusive lending practices. From 2010 to 2012, she served as chair, focusing the EOC on job creation and affordable housing as well as initiating the EOC’s annual public service day, “All Hands on Deck,” which is now an EOC-led project where the commission and other volunteers from the community will do a mini-makeover of a local nonprofit each year. On July 12, 2011, the EOC’s first, annual “All Hands on Deck” project gave a “facelift” to the Alexandria Community Shelter, which is the City’s shelter for the homeless and which is managed by the nonprofit, New Hope Housing.

While the EOC has no budget and therefore had no budget for this project, the commission members demonstrated an abundance of passion and commitment. Donations of hundreds of books, furnishings and supplies came from across the community. Home Depot, the project’s largest donor, signed on to donate paint supplies, blinds, flooring, lighting, and landscaping material, plus volunteer expertise from 40 members of their staff. Hooray for Books!, an independent bookstore in Old Town Alexandria, organized a massive book drive that brought in tons of new and gently used books for children and adults. Other donors included: NextDay Blinds, Honest Tea, Los Tios, MOM’s Organic Market, Dunkin’ Donuts, Trader Joe’s, Atlantis Pizza, La Casa Pizzeria, the Ladies Group at the Bethlehem Baptist Church, the Calvary Chapel, Barstons Child’s Play, Monterey’s Pizza, AMC Theatres (Hoffman 22 location in Alexandria), the Hoffman Company, Double R Productions, Hungry for Music, Jubilee Jobs, Starbucks, Whole Foods, Focus Data Solutions, U.S. Air Force families, and numerous individual donors. The EOC is very grateful for each and every donation.

Despite being dubbed the hottest day of the year, July 12th was a blessed day for the shelter. Over 100 volunteers, including 40 staff experts from Home Depot and a dozen of the shelter’s residents, joined forces with the EOC, the Alexandria Community Shelter, New Hope Housing and many individuals from across the community to tackle the tasks at hand.

Leading the huge team effort on behalf of Home Depot was Store Manager Joe Hand. Outside the shelter, the tasks included: cleaning up the exterior grounds, clearing all grass, laying down new sod, planting flowers, and mulching. The volunteers outside also put together all the donated bookcases, children’s desks, and other furnishings. Inside the shelter, the team focused on the painting, flooring, floor boards, and blinds.

It was community action and civic engagement at its best. Elected officials from the city, state and federal levels, including Congressman Jim Moran, attended the kickoff and cheered everyone on.

Here are media links for the Economic Opportunities Commission’s “All Hands on Deck” in 2011:

  1. Video called “All Hands on Deck” on the City of Alexandria’s web site

           (Donated by Double R Productions, the video was produced by Brittany Stanley,

           Linda Rubino, and Rory Manson.)

  1. To download the short video, “All Hands on Deck”:

  1. “Old Town Patch” Story

  1. WAMU (NPR station) Story

  1. Channel 7/NewsChannel 8 Story

  2. Local Kicks Story - “Women with Passion Achieve their Goals” by Gale Curcio

  1. Mount Vernon Patch Story - “New Hope Housing Hosts Open House in Alexandria:

           Local nonprofit thanks sponsors for their help renovating the Alexandria Community


  1. Photos (taken by Jan Schrader, a photographer for the City of Alexandria)

  1. Photos (taken by Allison Silberberg).

When the day was done, one middle-aged resident named Said, who had helped with the renovation, was full of gratitude and said that the shelter now felt like a home and not an institution. Looking around the renovated rooms, he added softly, “People are not born homeless. They become homeless.”

Said and other residents planned to apply for a job at Home Depot. In addition, Terry Flood, the founder/executive director of Jubilee Jobs, a local nonprofit that has gotten employment for over 20,000 people, was on site to connect with the shelter’s case managers about job possibilities for the residents.

A month after the project, the Hoffman Company and Hoffman family, which provided free parking for all the volunteers, media and visiting elected leadership on the big day, added an amazingly generous donation of hundreds of items from a Holiday Inn they own. Focused on helping the shelter feel more like a home, The Hoffman Company offered to give furnishings including: tables, desks, armoires, chairs, nightstands, mirrors and lamps. These items will provide even more comfort to the residents of the Alexandria Community Shelter. Because of the massive number of pieces to disburse, other shelters in Alexandria will benefit as well, plus some of the shelters will give furniture pieces to former shelter residents who are starting their lives over and reestablishing themselves in their own apartment.

In early June 2012, the EOC’s “All Hands on Deck” did a mini-makeover of Community Lodgings, thanks to numerous and generous volunteers and corporate donors. Patch ran a story, “Volunteers Chip in at Community Lodgings.”

As Ms. Silberberg stated, “Together, through ‘All Hands on Deck,’ we are reaching out to the most vulnerable in our midst and showing how the whole community cares deeply and wants to see everyone doing better, especially during these tough economic times. We are also raising awareness about unmet social needs in our community.”

Food, drinks and waters at the blue tent kept the 100 volunteers going despite the blistering heat. Special thanks to numerous donors, including: Honest Tea, MOM’s Organic Market, Traders Joe’s, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Monterey’s Pizza, Atlantis Pizza La Casa Pizzeria, and Los Tios.

Volunteers joined forces with Team Depot of Home Depot to renovate the Alexandria Community Shelter for the Economic Opportunities Commission’s day of service called “All Hands on Deck” in July 2011.

The adults lounge at the shelter was about halfway finished
at this point.   

Same room as above, but instead of scuffed up, beige walls and old linoleum, the room has new paint, new flooring, new blinds, new lighting, and new furnishings.

Putting on the finishing touches in the shelter’s family room were Home Depot’s volunteers Shane Mahaffey, Paris Sachek and Chris Jackson. This room had been dingy with extremely run-down furniture. Thanks to Home Depot’s generosity, the family room and common areas at the shelter now have new paint, new flooring, new blinds, and new lighting. Thanks to two dozen other donors, there are now new furnishings, including new white desks for the children, new computers, three new high chairs, new white bookcases, a new chalkboard easel, and a new white table and chairs for the children. Everything, including a massive number of books for the children and adults of the Alexandria Community Shelter, was donated in this community-wide effort called “All Hands on Deck.”


Georgetown Senior Center

Two seniors enjoy lunch and friendship at The Georgetown Senior Center. (Photograph by Allison Silberberg)

Allison Silberberg met Virginia Allen, the founder/Executive Director of the Georgetown Senior Center, in late 2000 when Allison selected the Center to be the nonprofit of the month for her Film Biz Happy Hour charity event. As a result of working together on that event where all monies benefited the Center, Allison learned a great deal about the Center’s mission and Virginia’s contagious enthusiasm. A few years later, Allison selected Virginia to be the basis of a chapter in Visionaries In Our Midst: Ordinary People who are Changing our World.

For 25 years, Virginia Allen managed the Georgetown Senior Center and helped countless seniors create new bonds of friendship. Three days a week, the Center became a haven for the seniors, providing a structured day with light exercise, a home-cooked lunch, and a stimulating program. Virginia won numerous awards for her community service.

In the early fall of 2009, at age 92, Virginia Allen died. She was still in charge of the Center until a couple of months before her death.

Virginia’s many friends as well as longtime volunteers and supporters rallied to keep The Georgetown Senior Center going. Allison served as president of the Georgetown Senior Center’s board of directors from 2010 to 2012.

In December 2011, The Georgetowner ran a story about how the seniors are cherished at the Center.


Grantmaking:  Film Biz Happy Hour

To read about Allison’s grantmaking and see a list of nonprofits she selected for her monthly Film Biz charitable events from 1996 to 2004, please click here.


Lights, Camera, Action!

To read about the inspiring work of Lights, Camera, Action! (LCA!), and to see LCA!’s short, award-winning film, Poppy: A Story of Courage, please click here.

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As chair of the Economic Opportunities Commission (EOC), Allison Silberberg thanked Home Depot’s Joe Hand and Paris Sachek for their generosity and help with “All Hands on Deck,” the EOC’s annual public service project. On July 12, 2011, 100 volunteers braved the record heat and renovated the Alexandria Community Shelter. Home Depot donated all the paint supplies and materials, and 40 of their staff volunteered and brought their expertise.

Surrounded by Home Depot’s “sea of orange” and high-energy volunteers, Congressman Jim Moran inspired the whole team and helped kick things off at 8 A.M. in June 2011 with Allison Silberberg, chair of the EOC at the time (center) and Pam Michell, the executive director of New Hope Housing (right). To the left of Allison were City Councilman Rob Krupicka, State Delegate Charniele Herring, and team leader for Home Depot Joe Hand. Media links, including a short video, and many more photos are below. (Photograph by Jan Schrader)

Community Outreach