Two years ago, John Shooshan, owner of Shooshan Co., stepped up his philanthropy. Shooshan, whose firm builds offices and condos in Arlington, took on a new role fighting homelessness and has since helped raise $400,000 for the cause.
“I picked up the phone and called up everyone I knew, even other developers, and asked if they want to give,” said Shooshan.
Shooshan was among 300 business people and nonprofit leaders who celebrated local philanthropy at the recent Arlington Community Foundation’s annual Platinum Ball gala. The event also raised funds for the nearly 70 grants and scholarships the foundation distributes to nonprofits and youth each year.
Through sponsorships, tickets, donations and raffles, the foundation raised $160,000, which officials say should help them avoid a second year of having to dip into reserves to maintain the giving rate.
“We feel that the worst of the recession is behind us,” said Jim Whittaker, president of the foundation. “We’re certainly in a recovery here in Virginia and our donors are feeling very comfortable [about] adding to their funds.”
Among the donors were IT consulting company Strategic Analysis, which doubled its annual contribution to $40,000 this year.
“I had to step up,” said Diane Smith, executive vice president and general counsel. “The nonprofit grant proposals are so good and it hurts your heart that we can’t give to all of them.”
Her company’s fund regularly supports the Arlington Free Clinic, Doorways for Women and Families and Arlington Food Assistance Center.