Happy Mother with her Child
Happy Family

It Is Now Easier to Donate to FISH in this Time of Acute Need

To encourage more charitable giving in 2020 and 2021, the $2 trillion  "CARES Act" and the subsequent additional relief package reduce the after-tax cost of giving. Even if, as most people do, you take the standard deduction on your tax return, you can claim a deduction of up to $300 for an individual and $600 for couples for cash donations to charity you make in 2021.  (The maximum deduction is for  all charities combined, not for each individual charity.) This means it costs less to donate because the deduction reduces your tax bill. Normally, you have to itemize deductions to get a tax break for charitable donations. 


If you give $500 or more to FISH, you may also be eligible for a 65% state tax credit. In that case, your net cost of giving will be quite low. (Click here for details.)


Please consider Herndon Reston FISH for your 2021 charitable giving and help us help our neighbors in need.

The FISH Mission

  • To help Herndon and Reston residents cope with short-term financial crises by providing Friendly Instant Sympathetic Help.

  • We help stabilize lives by preventing an eviction, keeping utilities from being turned off, and helping to finance immediate medical needs.

2020—An Unusual Year

By now, it is almost a cliché to say that the year 2020 was like no other. The country faced multiple crises, the most extreme of which was the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting  economic collapse. American families faced severe hardships: many struggled to cope with the loss of loved ones, and many faced economic deprivation because of job loss or business failure. Although the mission of FISH is to provide financial assistance to people experiencing short-term economic crises, the scope of the devastation was well beyond what the resources of any charity could alleviate. Our resources were totally inadequate to meet the needs of local people in crisis. We were able, however, to play an important role in helping our neighbors in economic distress because we are one of 19 agencies chosen by the County to be a conduit for distributing funds from the federal CARES Act passed by Congress in mid-2020. Herndon-Reston FISH received $1.8 million and made assistance payments based on criteria set by County Coordinated Services Planning.  


Through the end of December we made a total of $1,685,918 assistance payments to 605 households. The most significant form of assistance was for rent and mortgage payments. 


At the same time as we were administrating distribution of County funds, we continued to use our own funds to meet the needs of people in our service area who were in financial crisis but did not fall into the criteria that the County established for the federal funds eligibility.


Although the details remain to be finalized, we anticipate that in 2021 FISH will continue to have a role related to the distribution of funds made available from new federal stimulus programs and a new County-funded assistance program for those adversely affected by the coronavirus and the economic recession. 


As always, we continue to depend heavily upon contributions from our supporters – foundations, corporations, religious organizations, and individuals like you. This will be especially important in the immediate future because one source of our funding, sales receipts from our Bargain Loft Thrift Store, declined significantly, since we were forced to suspend store operations for a while because of Covid19, and even after we reopened, our retail business is suffering during the pandemic. 


As usual, in December, FISH carried out our holiday program to provide food assistance to extremely low-income families and gifts for their children. Because the pandemic made it unsafe to collect and distribute food and gifts in person, we provided gift cards. In total, we aided 255 families, with the assistance of generous donors who helped fund these efforts.


Please continue supporting our efforts in the Herndon-Reston community by contributing to FISH. Thank you.

Robert Reed

President, Board of Directors

Mary Saunders

Executive Director

Herndon-Reston FISH

Mary Saunders 
Executive Director