Passions in Community Development

Kevin Cao, a fourth-year student at the University of Virginia (UVA), is works to inspire and enable change through his academic and personal pursuits.


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 with two classmates 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 press coverage and recognition from news outlets such as the the Washington Post, Northern Virginia Magazine, Virginia Business Magazine, and more.

GIVE meets the needs of 1000+ students across the four counties in Virginia. Through partnership with the Fairfax County and Washington, D.C. local governments, GIVE is able to take on seasonal projects and expand their flagship tutoring program. Kevin now serves on the Board of Directors where he continues to guide GIVE’s strategy.

In addition to GIVE, Kevin Cao’s academic and professional experiences abroad have inspired him to pursue educational opportunities in other countries. He is an avid traveler, having visited Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.


Building Communities

Fostering Connections

Working Internationally

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.