Story by Liesel Schmidt
As someone focused on bringing people together to strengthen their organizations and communities, Heather Peeler is a powerful leader at ACT for Alexandria, a community foundation that maintains Alexandria’s philanthropic assets. Serving as president and CEO for the past four years, she’s used her collaborative expertise to work with partners to make a difference throughout the region. “ACT’s work is driven by the people who make it happen,” she says. “Thus, developing a strong staff and board are essential to our success. Equally as important are the relationships we are building with donors, Alexandria’s nonprofit leaders and our various partners. We often talk about ‘Team Alexandria’—all of the people who share our commitment to a vibrant, thriving community and are passionate about making it happen.”
Clearly, Peeler’s life is dedicated to making an impact. “One of our values at ACT is practical optimism,” she says. “We see extraordinary possibilities for our community and are undaunted by the size of a challenge.”
Additionally, Peeler serves as the Vice Chair of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers as well as on the DC Commission for Out-of-School-Time Grants and Youth Outcomes. She and her sisters also established a memorial fund to honor their father, focused on supporting urban gardening and young people of color who want to pursue interests in film, photography and writing.
“The stories from our nonprofit partners and the people they serve is what keeps me passionate about our work every day. Their ingenuity and heroic dedication to our community is inspirational. It’s a privilege to be able to support their work.”
Heart health is another topic of importance to Peeler. “The GO RED movement speaks to the power of collective action,” she says. “When we each take a step together, we create a powerful force for change. I love how the movement is activating women to take action in communities all across the country.”
Join the movement. Raise Awareness. Go red.