The Heart of America Foundation® is a national nonprofit headquartered in Washington, D.C. We uniquely promote volunteer service and literacy. We aim to inspire acts of service and a love of reading by building community and providing children in need with the tools to read, succeed and make a difference.
Committed to education and volunteerism, we engage volunteers through putting books into the hands of children who need them the most. Through the Books From The Heart® and READesign® programs, we revitalize school libraries and reading spaces in under-resourced communities into vital and vibrant centers of learning that become the heart of a school.
Since 1997, we at The Heart of America Foundation® have provided children living in poverty with over three million library and take-home books. And, we have engaged volunteers in more than one million hours of service to communities nationwide. www.heartofamerica.org
Founded by the leaders of this country’s most
well-known charitable endeavors, we began with the mission to "teach the values at the
heart of America and to teach people, particularly children, that
they help themselves when they help others."
Communication: We will communicate in a respectful and clear manner, seeking first to understand, then to be understood.
Respect: We will respect one another’s time, space, work and personal styles and beliefs. We all have unique thresholds, and we will take responsibility for stating our needs, while maintaining a willingness to be flexible and to compromise.
Trust: We will earn our colleagues’ trust through:
• Tolerance and understanding
• Team work and cooperation, mutual reliance, and being there for one another
• Taking responsibility for our actions and having faith that we all do our best
• Interacting with honesty and truthfulness
Safe Environment: We will create a safe work environment of trust, respect, and tolerance. We will communicate without judgment, will value and listen to others, and will give and receive feedback without harm to others.
Integrity/Character: We will be honest with one another, be who we say we are and do what we say we’ll do. We will “walk the talk.” We will acknowledge our mistakes and grow from them.
Compassion: We will create a compassionate and selfless work environment. We will treat colleagues and clients alike with compassion. We are a high touch organization: we will embrace equality, practice kindness, and refrain from judging others.
Cooperation/Teamwork: We will create an environment that fosters and values cooperation and team work. We will value the importance of everyone’s efforts, despite position or task, at all levels of the organization. We will seek help when we need help, be helpful when we can, and work together to achieve common goals and get the job done. Even if only one small part of the project is relevant to any one of us, we are all equally responsible for a successful outcome.
Positive Outlook: We will create a positive environment where we believe in ourselves and in one another. We will believe in the value of our work and will strive to understand one another’s needs and work together to achieve success.
Growth: We will create an environment that encourages and supports self-assessment, to ensure organizational growth and individual development.
Common Vision: We will revisit our Operational Guidelines frequently, in an effort to ensure shared understanding and to uphold HOA’s culture of compassion.
Angie Halamandaris is Co-Founder and President of The Heart of America Foundation, a national nonprofit headquartered in Washington, DC that uniquely combines volunteerism and literacy. She leads the organization in its focus to provide children in need everywhere with the tools to read, succeed and make a difference. The Heart of America Foundation puts books into the hands of children who need them the most while transforming school libraries in underserved communities into vital and vibrant centers of learning that become the heart of a school.
Since 1997, through Ms. Halamandaris’ leadership on a national scale, The Heart of America Foundation has provided children living in poverty with two million library and take-home books (a value in excess of $11 million) and has replenished, redecorated and revitalized 95 public elementary school libraries and reading corners in high need areas through the its library makeover program. In addition, Ms. Halamandaris has engaged community and corporate volunteers in giving back more than 1,020,000 hours of service in their communities. Further, she has helped to introduce more than 500,000 students to community service.
Ms. Halamandaris’ work has been both proactive and responsive—from establishing the National “Heroes of the Heart®” recognition program to highlight heroes of all ages throughout the US for their community building efforts; to reaching out to students to provide a “Day of Hope” a year after the Columbine High School massacre in Denver, Colorado; to responding to needs and creating a national awareness campaign to aid families after the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York in 2001; to collecting new backpacks, school supplies and books for the young Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina; to engaging 250,000 students in restoring Gulf coast school libraries, classrooms and home libraries destroyed by the storms by providing books for children in need. Ms. Halamandaris now leads her staff and volunteers to focus their efforts on the needs of children living in areas of poverty through the Books From The Heart® and READesign® library makeover programs; not just in disaster plagued cities, but around the country in other areas experiencing hardship. These projects engage corporate volunteers, youth volunteers and other members of the community in service and community involvement through library beautification and improvement activities, book distributions and one-on-one reading activities with children.
Ms. Halamandaris leads the organization with guiding principles, such as respect, integrity, character, compassion, cooperation, positivity, and trust. Modeling her work after a quote by Albert Schweitzer, “Example isn’t the best way to teach, it’s the only way,” Ms. Halamandaris continues to demonstrate her commitment to improving the lives of children in need through volunteer service to organizations such as the National Capital Area Foundation of the March of Dimes, WETA-TV, The Caring Institute, The Frederick Douglass Museum, The Hall of Fame for Caring Americans and other foundations and committees. Ms. Halamandaris has been recognized by the Junior League of Northern Virginia as the 2007 “Woman of Vision Award” recipient. She is also a graduate of the 2009 class of the Leadership Greater Washington program. Under her leadership, The Heart of America Foundation has been honored with the 2008 Target “Best of the Bullseye Award for Innovation,” the 2009 Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Youth Partnership Award Finalist designation and was named “One of the Best” by the 2009-10 Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington.
Before co-founding The Heart of America Foundation, Ms. Halamandaris helped develop Give Kids The World Village, a 75-acre resort for terminally-ill children in Orlando, Florida, and raised more than $10 million through corporate partnerships for that effort. Now at The Heart of America Foundation, she has successfully developed lasting relationships with organizations such as Target Corporation, Capital One, Toyota, BlueCross Blue Shield of North Florida, NFL Players Association, and other sports organizations and foundations.
Bill Halamandaris is Co-Founder and Chairman of The Heart of America Foundation, a national nonprofit headquartered in Washington, DC, that uniquely combines volunteerism and literacy. Serving as a full-time volunteer, he helps guide the organization’s focus to provide children in need nationwide with the tools to read, succeed and make a difference. The Heart of America Foundation puts books into the hands of children who need them the most while transforming school libraries in underserved communities into vital and vibrant centers of learning that become the heart of a school. Through his work, Mr. Halamandaris has touched the lives and the hearts of over a million children and adults across the country.
In addition to The Heart of America Foundation, Mr. Halamandaris is also the co-founder of the Caring Institute and three other national nonprofit organizations: the Foundation for Hospice and Homecare, the National Association for Home Care, and HealthRight. In addition, he is a long-time board member and past Chairman of America's Charities, a consortium of 120 national charities. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Jane Goodall Institute and the Read it LOUD! Foundation, founded by Wally Amos.
Before devoting himself to the non-profit world, Mr. Halamandaris had a long and distinguished career in public service. Over the course of 20 years, he served with the Department of Interior, Bureau of Budget and Finance; the Pentagon Counter Intelligence Force, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence, MDW; as Counsel, Chief Investigator, and Director of Oversight, U.S. Senate; and as Staff Director of the House Select Committee on Aging, Subcommittee on Health and Long-Term Care.
Mr. Halamandaris’ work has been featured on 60 Minutes, ABC 20/20, Dateline, Good Morning America, NBC Today, CBS This Morning, NBC Newsday, CNBC, CNN, Sonya Live, Parade Magazine, USA TODAY, and The Visionaries. He has written and produced two documentaries for PBS – Voices of the People (1994) and Suffer Not the Little Children (1987). He is also the co-editor of Caring Quotes: A Compendium of Caring Thought, was a contributing editor to Caring People Magazine, and a frequent columnist for Executive Excellence and Personal Excellence magazines. He is the author of several books, including: Profiles in Caring: Young Adults, His Name Is Today, Love and Hate: The Story of Henri Landwirth, Be the Light: A Blueprint for a Happy and Successful Life,The Heart of America: Ten Core Values That Make Our Country Great and his newest publication, Quotations from the Heart. Mr. Halamandaris received his education at the George Washington University and the Columbus School of Law. He was honored with a Doctorate in Human Letters by the University of North Florida in 1995.
Mr. Halamandaris often explains that every decision at The Heart of America Foundation must be driven by one simple question: What’s best for the children? Each of the organization’s programs is designed to maximize the involvement of others looking to serve and build community, with the understanding that we can solve society’s most intractable problems when people of common interest come together.