Welcome to AFCA
Alexandria, Virginia
About Us
Who We Are
Founded in 1964, the Alexandria Federation of Civic Associations (AFCA) operates as a 501 (c) (4) nonprofit corporation and serves as a means of communication among its member Associations on common community interest.  A major activity is to assure citizen involvement and public comment on matters before City Officials, their departments and agencies, Commissions; and the City Council.  AFCA, with membership concurrence will adopt an advocacy role on policy or procedural issues having an overarching impact on the public.   
 
What Participation Brings

Being part of AFCA provides you and your association the opportunity to:
  • Meet and interact with other community leaders
  • Contribute your ideas, needs and information
  • Learn about important developments and activities in Alexandria
  • Meet with City officials on important concerns
  • Access to City planning and zoning dockets months in advance 
  • Help make Alexandria a better community for all who live and work here


Strategy

The Officers and Directors worked over the summer to develop a 2018-2019 AFCA Strategy incorporating the focus areas of Transparency, City Planning of Infrastructure and Transportation, and Fiduciary Responsibility.  As well, Standing Committees were set up to work on the “Action Plans” for these Focus Areas.  Finally, AFCA's regular monthly meetings were revamped so the business and City portions are aligned to have meaningful and timely impact across these areas.  This strategy will be presented to AFCA members starting in September.

Standing Committees

​​ Governance Committee—regulates the orderly operation of the Federation, including the periodic review of the bylaws.
 
Engagement Committee—identifies and disseminates information on city actions deemed of interest to the Federation and its member associations.  The committee is also responsible for identifying key issues pertaining to city processes, procedures, policies, citizen engagement; and recommending to the AFCA Board of Directors which of the identified issues are appropriate for AFCA engagement and advocacy. 

Membership Committee—develops the Federation’s growth strategy and coordinates corresponding outreach.
 
Communications Committee—devises the Federation’s communications strategy, identifies and implement corresponding communication vehicles; and manages AFCA’s messaging and public communications. 
If you are organized and operate for a non-political civic purpose and have members representing at least 25 households living in the City of Alexandria, Virginia you can join AFCA.  Whether you call the West End, Arlandria, Delray, Carlyle, Eisenhower, Central Alexandria, Potomac Yard or Oldtown home; the Federation welcomes your voice. 

Your participation is essential!  As a coalition of residential, civic, citizen, community, condominium, home owner and tenant associations, AFCA amplifies the voice of neighborhoods in decisions made throughout the City that affect us all—traffic and transportation, development, open space, schools, parks and recreation, the environment, housing, finance and budget decisions. 
 

HISTORY

The Alexandria Federation of Civic Associations Inc. (AFCA) celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2014.  It was founded in 1964 by a group of civic leaders following several confrontations with developers seeking to build high rise apartment buildings on large open tracts in Alexandria’s West End.

The leader and first president of AFCA was Mel Bergheim, representing the Dowden Terrace Association.  He was assisted by Chuck Beatley and Roger Wheeler of the Seminary Hill Association, John O’Hara of Seminary Valley, Dan Cray of Taylor Run and Marian Johnson representing the Woods Avenue neighborhood.  From the beginning the group sought citywide participation with an emphasis on bringing in well-established civic associations such as Old Town, Rosemont, Del Ray and North Ridge.  It also sought participation from Alexandria’s African-American community.  Later Chuck Beatly ran and was elected as Mayor of Alexandria and Mel Bergheim became Vice-Mayor.

Bylaws were developed and adopted in 1965.  The stated purpose of the organization was: “…To serve as a means of communications among the Associations comprising the Federation about matters of common interest and to promote in connection therewith nonpartisan civic activity for the general welfare of the City of Alexandria, Virginia.”  The bylaws also specified that a member organization must represent at least 25 households.

Throughout its history, interest in the Federation has waxed and waned depending on the climate for development in Alexandria.  Nevertheless, throughout the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s it continued to play a role in the civic life of the city.  During election periods AFCA hosted non-partisan candidate forums and circulated detailed questionnaires to those running.  It also sponsored a cable TV program on civic affairs.

In the mid-1990s a series of internal disputes disrupted the effectiveness of the Federation.  In 1997 Judy Miller met with civic leaders to resolve the underlying issues.  After a lengthy process the Federation was restructured, new bylaws were written and ratified by member associations; and a revived AFCA was launched with Ms. Miller and Jack Sullivan of Seminary Hill serving as the first Co-Presidents—eventually modified to Co-Chairs.

In ensuing years, the Federation repeatedly proved its worth as a forum for information exchange and activity coordination.  Under AFCA aegis many civic associations regularly have coalesced around specific issues.  Those efforts often have been remarkably successful in mitigating some of the most troubling aspects of development in Alexandria.

As the Federation moves forward its mission continues to focus on improving the quality of life for Alexandria’s many and diverse communities.