Charlottesville Camera Club member Gene Runion captured this image prior to a club meeting.


With our second report from The Center at Belvedere we are thrilled to share the ways that supporters like you are helping to define—and redefine—what it means to experience healthy aging.

The Center's mission is to positively impact our community by creating opportunities for healthy aging through social engagement, physical well-being, civic involvement, creativity, and lifelong learning.

You can find member and volunteer Frances Smith at The Center almost every day, either greeting people as they walk in the door, or participating in fitness activities such as Move to the Rhythm, Unwind Yoga, or Tone and Groove. “My week is full,” she laughs, “but I like the classes. They are small, and the instructors are fabulous. We have a good time. We have friendships. I get a chance to meet people and socialize. I’m a person who likes to talk—you can see that! I get a chance to chat.”

NEW Program Highlights in FY21

The start of Fiscal Year 2021 coincided with the pandemic lockdown, but while our grand opening was canceled, programs were not—healthy aging simply moved online.

One of the benefits of online programming was that we had access to presenters from all over, whether it was a wildlife rehabilitator in Nelson County or a tour guide from Croatia. And when The Center opened for on-site programs in late June 2020, many online programs continued.

With one-offs, short sessions, or weekly classes, community members can always find ways to fit learning, art, fitness, and social connection into their lives.

The opportunity to connect with others brought Shobha Gill to The Center. “My friends keep telling me they have nowhere to go, which is especially hard if they are living alone. Just coming here is a blessing to me, because I live alone too. Here I get to see others. This is why I need to live in Charlottesville … I chose to live here because of The Center. It has become my family. Whenever I come here, I am happy.”

New Initiatives in FY21

While there is much from the past year that bears forgetting, Center staff, board, and volunteers were excited to begin work on two major initiatives aimed at improving the health or our society and our planet.

Working to build a better, more equitable Center and community

After the white supremacist rallies here in August 2017, The Center reinvigorated our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEIC). We looked again at the organization’s core values and existing practices and introduced a number of initiatives to make The Center more welcoming to all.

In summer 2020, when the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery spurred a national uprising, we again reflected on our part in the historic problems of race in our community. Like many, we acknowledged complacency about societal injustices and resistance to change.

Racism is counter to The Center’s mission, vision, and values. While The Center has not been an advocacy organization per se, civic engagement is a vital part of our commitment to healthy aging for ALL people. Recognizing the major challenges relating to systemic racism and the complexity of this issue, the Board of Directors created a Racial Equity Task Force (RETF) in September 2020 to develop recommendations for advancing equity and inclusion both within our organization and in conjunction with local efforts.

Reducing our Climate Impact

Late in FY2021 The Center at Belvedere became part of the Green Business Alliance, an initiative of the Community Climate Collaborative (C3), joining other local businesses and organizations in a commitment to manage our energy use and reduce our climate impact. This collective pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will enhance Charlottesville and the region’s economy, vibrancy, sustainability, and quality of life.

Does this have anything to do with our mission? You bet it does. Healthy aging is all about adopting behaviors to ensure the highest quality of life across the lifespan. It addresses every dimension of wellness—one of which happens to be environmental wellness, which comprises both the responsibility of protecting our natural world and the joy of being in it. It is impossible to live or age well if you don’t live in a healthy environment.

Speaker Series

In fall 2019, The Center's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee launched a speaker series as one step toward overcoming issues that divide our community. Entitled “Building a More Inclusive Community: Local Voices on Diversity,” the goal was to share information and create a safe place for open dialogue around issues of race.

This series, which was very well received, expanded in FY2021, with a fall and spring edition.

The fall series included voices from Hispanic, Native American, and Black communities. In spring, the focus was on how to talk about race and privilege.

Coming in November 2021: “Indigenous Americans — We’re Still Here.

FY21 Financial Data

The Center receives no regular funding from local, state, or federal governments and is sustained financially through diverse revenue streams from both philanthropy and earned income.

Volunteers make a difference

Volunteering is the sweet spot of healthy aging. It increases our sense of connectedness to deeper values and to others, contributing to both emotional well-being and physical health—and it makes a positive impact on the world..

Interested in volunteering with the Center?

Thank you to our donors!

The Center gratefully acknowledges our Fiscal Year 2021 donors—individuals, foundations, corporations, and organizations who made philanthropic gifts over the period of April 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021. These contributions supported the Center’s operations, programs, scholarship, and events, as well as our beautiful building and grounds. Every donor helps sustain and strengthen The Center’s work. Thank you!

Want to learn more about making a gift to The Center?