Earlier this month, friends of long-time APAH supporter Carrie Johnson (1941-2018) gathered at APAH’s Queens Court Apartments to remember her leadership and activism and dedicate the new community room in her honor. As the longest serving member of Arlington’s Planning Commission–volunteering her time and expertise from 1986 to 2005, a record likely to stand for a very long time–Carrie left a lasting legacy throughout Arlington. She advocated for Smart Growth, for trees and parks, and for an inclusive Arlington that made space for all. Every Arlingtonian has benefited from her vision and service.
Carrie left another special gift–a legacy contribution to APAH. For more than two years, the “Carrie Committee,” a small group of her close friends, joined with APAH staff to envision the best way to celebrate her generosity and continue her legacy. Appropriately, the final plan included something for everyone—a commissioned work of art, an inspiring collection of children’s books, and, most notably, the Carrie Johnson Community Room, which will host generations of residents and neighbors coming together to laugh, plan, learn, and create a shared future.
Local artist Elizabeth Kendall was commissioned to create a permanent work. Queens Court residents, Carrie’s friends, and APAH supporters joined her in its creation. “Concurrence personifies Carrie,” shared Jean Falvey, a friend and neighbor of Carrie’s who served as APAH’s executive director from 1993 to 2000. “The tree reflects the shelter Carrie wanted for all living things. Its broad canopy speaks to her large, diverse, extended community connections. Creating it together truly has been a journey and learning experience. Isn’t that what Carrie would have wanted?”
Arlington County Board Vice Chair Katie Cristol, who was mentored by Carrie, created a collection of books on civic involvement for the children of Queens Court. At the dedication, she read aloud from “What Can a Citizen Do?” by Dave Eggers. “A citizen’s not what you are—a citizen is what you do. A citizen cannot forget the world is more than you. So forget yourself a second. Grab a shovel; grab a pen. Everything makes an impact on a bigger big than you. And it all starts with the question: What can a citizen do?”
In recognition of Carrie’s gift and other donors who honor APAH by including a gift to APAH through their estate, APAH has established a Legacy Society. Encouraging other donors to join the Society by letting APAH know of their plans, Cheryl Ramp, APAH’s Director of Community Relations noted, “APAH always knew that we had a brilliant and thoughtful advocate in our court. What we didn’t know was Carrie’s plan for her extraordinary legacy gift. I wish we had known—so we could have thanked her while she was with us and so she could have been a part of the conversation about APAH’s future.”
To learn more about the life and contributions of Carrie Johnson and APAH’s Legacy Society, please visit our Legacy Society.