Passions in Community Development
Kevin Cao, a fourth-year student at UVA, is driven by the endless possibilities that strategic community development can provide.
From his academic studies to his personal pursuits, Kevin works to inspire and enable change on all levels.
Kevin took on his first large-scale service project while he was still in high school: GIVE (Growth and Inspiration through Volunteering and Education), an organization which aims to cultivate leadership among youth through projects that improve the quality of life in their communities. Kevin co-founded GIVE alongside a few of his likeminded peers in 2009. The organization grew to be the largest student-led 501(c)(3) non-profit in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. It has received acclaim from the Washington Post, Northern Virginia Magazine, Virginia Business Magazine, and more.
GIVE continues to thrive and meet the evolving needs of students across four counties. Members frequently collaborate with the Fairfax County government and the Washington, D.C. government to take on seasonal projects and maintain their flagship tutoring program. Kevin now serves on the organization’s Board of Directors; in this role he regularly makes strategic decisions alongside the executive team that runs day-to-day operations.
Kevin’s shifting role in GIVE exemplifies his overall approach to nonprofit work, which is based on organizational behavior and management.
Kevin regularly volunteers with the corporate office of Habitat for Humanity in Charlottesville, Virginia. Kevin also previously served as a Community Relations Intern for the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, where amongst other roles he assisted in corporate relations and the creation of an online network of donors and friends.
As a Global Development Studies student, Kevin is interested in the research, policy, and collective action of global community development. In 2014 he partnered with NGO Bridges to Community and UVA chapter of Engineering Students to lead a project evaluating the limitations of water infrastructure in Siuna, Nicaragua. He was honored by former President Bill Clinton at the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative University for his efforts.
The tenets of community development and social entrepreneurship are universal: people want to inspire and support collective action. Whether Kevin is working on international projects or taking on local campus events through his class council, he plays his part.
Much of Kevin’s community and philanthropic work intertwines with his faith. He is part of the Christian Community Development Association.