Meet Your Nonprofit - Downtown Business Association of Charlottesville

Describe your nonprofit’s mission.
The Downtown Business Association of Charlottesville (DBAC) is an association created, managed, and funded by a group of Downtown’s merchants, restaurants, and other interested businesses. The DBAC is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting commerce Downtown. Our goal is to raise recognition to the wide variety the area has to offer. Overall, we aim to market and support the Mall by shaping the Downtown Mall into one cohesive network.

What need in our community brought about the creation of your nonprofit?
The combination of a picturesque and vital downtown area along with hundreds of predominantly local businesses presented both a need and an opportunity. The need was that the businesses in the area, while generally aligned in their goals, were a collection of individuals, and thus unorganized when it came to civic initiatives and consistent messaging to city government and to the greater community. The opportunity was that the collective work of a larger group might allow the efforts of the individual businesses to benefit the entire downtown area, in essence “rising water raising all ships.” DBAC was formed as a way to provide a voice for the downtown area’s businesses and to help organize the efforts of the members so that the benefits of collaborating toward shared goals could be amplified and realized by the maximum number of members.

How has your nonprofit made a difference in our community?
DBAC has created a greater sense of community and collaboration among the resident and member businesses in the downtown area, championed causes deemed important by the membership in front of the city government and created real policy change while at the same time creating and managing events and promotions to engage city residents and encourage their involvement in this significant area of our city, for the benefit of all.
How can community members help you achieve your mission?
Community members can help DBAC achieve its mission through active participation with the group to help the board align its objectives with what is important to the members and to the community experience in the area. Robust support of local businesses via the “Shop Local” and “Small Business Saturday” movements, as well as continued support of the Farmers’ Market, helps keep the area vital and provides the economic support necessary to DBAC’s policy initiatives.

Tell us a story that has come out of your work.
The development of events like the recent Grand Illumination and holiday season “kickoff” weekend Dec 2-4, downtown (Holiday Heritage Parade, Santa Fun Run and Walk, Gingerbread House Display, Holiday Market) is a perfect example of events and focus on the area which, 15 or 20 years ago, was nearly non-existent save for some smaller individual and uncoordinated efforts. Thanks to the organization bringing many stakeholders together, there is an event which enriches the living experience of our city, benefits businesses and affects thousands of people. This is just one very public example of what the positive organizing force of DBAC can do to benefit our city.

Learn more about Downtown Business Association of Charlottesville

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