History

Since 1945, The Campagna Center (TCC) has served the residents of Alexandria by delivering exceptional educational and social development programs across the spectrum, from cradle to career. For the children, youth and adults in TCC’s programs, classroom time, enrichment time and social connection fosters their ability to thrive in our community.

TCC is named for a bold and visionary leader, Elizabeth Anne Campagna, who was not afraid to challenge Alexandria to do more to ensure that all children, especially those growing up in resource challenged environments, had access to programs and services that gave them a chance to succeed in school and life. Today, our leadership, staff and volunteers are as committed as ever to this vision.

The Campagna Center Throughout the Years

1940s – In 1945, a group of local women organized The Campagna Center, then known as the Alexandria Branch of the YWCA. The program provided the only place where women of all ages, regardless of race or creed, could gather for social activities that promoted “leadership, morale, and inspiration.”

1950s – Offering activities that promoted racial harmony, such as Brotherhood Sunday and the World Fellowship Tea, the YWCA was at the forefront of the civil rights movement.

1960s – In 1962, Elizabeth Anne Campagna joined the YWCA as director and turned it into a powerful actor in the community. As the merits of Head Start were being debated nationwide, the YWCA, in partnership with the city of Alexandria, secured funding to run Alexandria’s first Head Start program.

1970s – In the 1970s, the YWCA separated from the national group to become the independent Alexandria Community Y (ACY). Soon after, Campagna Kids debuted to meet community needs for quality after-school care and quickly attracted hundreds of families.

1980s – The decade of the 80s began with the purchase of our headquarters at 418 South Washington Street in Old Town Alexandria, a site that has been used for educational purposes since 1812. Our building sits on a parcel of land originally dedicated by George Washington to the city of Alexandria for the Alexandria Academy.  Wright to Read, RSVP and many other programs were implemented during this decade of service.

1990s – In 1991, we mourned the passing of Elizabeth Anne Campagna and renamed ACY the Campagna Center in honor of her commitment to the community. The Campagna Center continued to strengthen its capacity to meet the changing needs of the community, despite losing Ms. Campagna.

The 2000s – The turn of the century marked a rapid expansion of the agency’s focus on cradle to career programs.  A long time operator of Head Start, during this decade The Campagna Center became Alexandria’s sole provider of Early Head Start services, expanded the number of children served through Head Start, and created the Early Learning Center to serve young children ineligible for Head Start.  The Campagna Center also added vital programs that addressed the needs of middle and high school students at risk for school failure and welcomed a program, New Neighbors, to help adults and young children learn English.