The services provided by any given village are determined by its members. There are different models for villages to provide services: Some may be entirely run by volunteers, while others use a few paid staff with volunteers delivering the bulk of the services. The all-volunteer model works for some small villages with somewhat limited services.
To be responsive to their members, most villages operate within existing community boundaries. But regardless of size, minimum essential levels of organizational and technological infrastructure are required to sustain operations, posing a significant barrier for neighborhood groups wanting to implement a village.
Arlington’s compact size provides an opportunity to realize economies of scale by aggregating some village functions on a county-wide basis. Identifying neighborhood community needs, organizing and managing volunteer activities, and delivering services are activities that each neighborhood village must handle locally. Activities that can be performed more cost effectively on a centralized basis include establishing effective partnerships with County departments and with non-profit organizations providing services, identifying and vetting private service providers, and maintaining current information on government and non-profit services and programs. Neighborhood villages would also benefit from sharing central administrative and technical services.
For these reasons, the Arlington Villages Project Team is recommending a “hub and spoke” model as the preferred approach for Arlington. The hub entity would perform the centralized functions, and the neighborhood-based villages – the spokes – would be at the service delivery end. Villages in other areas are moving in this direction for the same reasons.
The goals of the Arlington Villages Project are to:
- define a hub and spoke village model appropriate for Arlington County,
- establish the organizational framework, processes, and linkages to facilitate the creation of villages throughout the County,
- assist local communities in implementing villages in a number of Arlington neighborhoods, and
- provide ongoing support to the operation of neighborhood villages.
With its culture of citizen involvement, Arlington County is the right place, and now is the right time to develop a network of villages here. We can draw on the extensive knowledge and experience of villages already operating in the DC area and elsewhere.
The Project Team will operate within the Wisdom Works program over the next 6 to 9 months, with very little financial support required from the County. The Project Team will develop an implementation plan, based on considerable community input, that will include both the financial and operational activities of the villages. Once the implementation plan is complete, the Arlington Villages Hub will be incorporated as a non-profit, tax exempt organization and will become the operational body.
Staff for the neighborhood villages will be volunteers; staff of the Arlington Villages Hub will be a small number of paid positions with a number of volunteers supporting the operations. The business plan will lay out the details of initial implementation, expenses, and the first year’s operating costs and sources of income. Grants and donations will be sought for start-up expenses. Most villages institute a sliding scale of membership fees to cover operating expenses, making village membership accessible to the people in the service area.
The current version of the concept model document describes in more detail the plan and implementation schedule. Both the model and other material with revision dates are listed on the More Information page.