• Support Virginia No Kid Hungry.

    Show your support for Virginia No Kid Hungry and the Commonwealth Council on Bridging The Nutritional Divide, chaired by Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe. Read More
  • It is a moral imperative to support healthcare access in Virginia.

    Virginia poll finds that voters in the state narrowly support the Affordable Care Act. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • What We Do
  • Who We Are
  • Policy Priorities
  • Get Involved

About the Virginia Interfaith Center

The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy is Virginia’s oldest faith-based advocacy group. We are a broadly diverse, morally driven group of advocates working to advance public policies that better serve low-income, vulnerable, and underrepresented communities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We engage and educate people of faith and the general public regarding critical social issues, the legislative process, and the call to advocacy.

Through partnerships with other statewide non-profit advocacy organizations and our own grassroots networks, we empower and unite faithful advocates in Virginia to:


Learn about the issues challenging our communities. There are a number of ways to get involved with the Virginia Interfaith Center and our advocacy work. The first step is to learn about our priority issues and how to be an effective advocate on those issues. Or come join us for one of our educational programs.


Pray for guidance and discernment. We think faith communities should be involved in public policy! All faith traditions can speak up for justice and you can too. Whether driven by moral code or a specific faith, your prayer for a more compassionate, just Commonwealth makes a difference.


Act to make Virginia a more just and compassionate Commonwealth. Join us by taking action through our online grassroots action system, get involved with a regional chapter and visit your legislators in their home district, or attend our annual Day for All People lobby day or one of the many denominational lobby days.


Rev. Charles Swadley

Interim President and CEO
Virginia Interfaith Center

Charles is past Chair of the Board VICPP, and former interim CEO of VICPP. He currently serves as Chair of the Commission on Interfaith Relations for the Virginia Council of Churches, and is the retired Senior Pastor of Lakeside United Methodist Church.

Rob Martin

Director of Programs
Virginia Interfaith Center

Rob has more than 15 years of experience working with organizationsaddressing social and economic disparities. He worked as a clinical social worker before managing strategic communications and public affairs programs for a number of organizations serving vulnerable Virginians.

Monica Sarmiento

Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights

Monica is the director of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights a program of the Virginia Interfaith Center. She is a Certified Application Counselor for the Affordable Care Act and has worked in director roles for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Terry McAuliffe for Governor, Obama for America, and as an Intern for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Karen Cameron

Virginia Consumer Voices

Karen comes to VCV with more than 25 years experience in health care planning, community development, and management. Karen served as the Executive Director of the Central Virginia Health Planning Agency (CVHPA), a non-profit organization that led community-based health planning for twenty-six localities for seventeen years.

Erin Steigleder

Health Policy Analyst and Advocate
Virginia Consumer Voices

Erin works with the VCV coalition to provide community education surrounding changing healthcare policies by giving presentations, working in other coalitions to advance policy priorities and advocating for health care at the General Assembly.

Allie Atkeson

Engagement and Program Manager
Virginia Consumer Voices

Allie works with partners to increase access to healthcare across the Commonwealth. She provides education on the Affordable Care Act and supports increased enrollment in the Federal Marketplace. Additionally, Allie creates resources for advocates statewide and manages VCV’s online presence.

2015 Policy Priorities

The following five policy areas are drawn from our member poll, with the approval of our Board of Directors. Focusing on five important concerns lets the Center be more effective in our advocacy efforts. Over the course of the year ahead, most of our grassroots engagement will be on one of these five issues. However, we will not be limited to only these five issues. The Center will work to remain flexible in response to legislative opportunities as they arise.

Minimum Wage

People who work hard and play by the rules should be able to afford to live with dignity and raise a family securely. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 over three years would help close the wage gap. In Virginia, six in ten minimum wage workers are women and many are raising families. Increasing the minimum wage would give a boost to struggling families, lifting them out of poverty.

Earned Income Credit

A healthy economy needs working families who can purchase basic goods and services at local stores – not families who are scraping to get by on shrinking paychecks. Virginia’s Earned Income Credit (EIC) offers a modest credit for low wage workers with families. It counts against their income taxes so that the less they owe, the more they have available for their family. Making EIC refundable would allow workers to accrue tax credits that offset regressive taxes, taxes applied uniformly that disproportionately impact low-income workers.

Healthcare Access

By some estimates, there remain approximately 400,000 Virginians who would benefit from making Medicaid more available. Most people left in the coverage gap are working and simply earn too much to benefit from Virginia’s current Medicaid program. We will continue to press for expanding Medicaid to reach the greatest number of people who fall into the health care coverage gap in Virginia.


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has its roots in the federal agricultural policy response to the Great Depression. Over the life of the program, the win-win results from low-income people getting the support they need to feed their families while farmers, food producers and grocers benefit from the boost in business when times are tight.


Every 10 years, Virginia works through the process of redistricting for both state and federal districts. Historically the majority party works through a closed door process to draw district lines that give them a powerful advantage in future elections. As the demographics of Virginia have changed and Americans are voting in increasing numbers, it is all the more important that we adopt an impartial and nonpartisan process to draw the lines in the future.

Join Us

There are many ways to get involved with the Center and we’d love to have you join us in advancing public policies that better serve low-income, vulnerable, and underrepresented communities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Here are a few ways you can help:


We invite you to become an individual or congregational member of the Center. As a nonprofit, we rely on financial support from advocates to help amplify our voices and achieve our vision of a just and compassionate Commonwealth. Your gift plays an important role in our ability to provide educational programs and advocacy opportunities on policy issues impacting vulnerable families and communities.


Your voice is a powerful way to lift up the moral high ground on public policy issues that impact vulnerable people in your community and statewide. Sign up for our emails, which include action alerts to contact your legislators as important bills move through the General Assembly and Congress. We also encourage you to participate in our annual Day for All People advocacy day or other denominational lobby day.


We unite people of faith in Virginia. Get connected to other Center advocates in your community through our grassroots efforts in local chapters. Chapters and staff work together to host educational programs, social events, and coordinate advocacy efforts. Faith communities are also invited to join us in our local efforts and we’re happy to come speak before your congregation.

Virginia Interfaith Center