The Village Improvement Association (VIA) of Doylestown has a history that dates back to 1895 and includes the founding of Doylestown Hospital in 1923. Current leadership plans to honor the organization's original mission.
The VIA formally inducted into office the new leadership for 2014-2016 earlier this summer. We asked President Linda McIlhinney about the organization and its commitment to our community.
As president, what is your vision for the future of the VIA and its role in the hospital and in the community?
In my new role as president of the VIA, I am honored to follow in the footsteps of many amazing women. The history of the VIA is deeply rooted and our membership is comprised of hardworking women who wish to keep the promise of the founding members of the VIA at the forefront. We will strive to continue to keep health, service and education within reach for those in our Central Bucks community.
How has the organization changed over the years? How has it remained the same?
I would like to think the organization has remained true to its original mission, which is "to enhance the quality of life in our community through service and education." Over the years, we have moved from watering down the dusty streets of Doylestown to founding a hospital, providing educational scholarships to women seeking to improve their lives and that of their family, and, through our Welfare Committee, providing financial assistance to individuals and families in need of life's basic necessities.
How would you encourage area women to join the VIA, and what can they expect from membership in the organization?
I want to encourage every woman in the Central Bucks community to visit the VIA website to learn more about the VIA, the work we do and our membership. The VIA includes more than 300 civic-minded women of various ages, professions and educational backgrounds who come together to impact the community in a positive way. I have been a member for seven years. The VIA has been a wonderful vehicle to join in and truly make a difference in the lives of those living here in Central Bucks. The ladies of the VIA are an inspiring group of women who continually challenge each other to work for the improvement of our community.
Is there anything about the VIA the community might not know about that you'd like to share?
Most people do not know how the VIA, Bucks County Designer House and Doylestown Hospital are interconnected. In 1923, the VIA founded Doylestown Hospital. Today, the VIA is actively involved in the governance of the hospital, a tremendous accomplishment for a small town woman's group.
The Bucks County Designer House and Gardens is an annual fundraiser that benefits Doylestown Hospital and the mission of the VIA. It is the VIA's largest fundraiser. In 2015, we look forward not only to celebrating our 40th Bucks County Designer House and Gardens, but also the 120th Anniversary of the founding of the Village Improvement Association of Doylestown.
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