As a community leader, mentor of young men and women, and former non-profit CEO, Lavern Chatman has dedicated her life to improving the lives of under-served communities .
Lavern Chatman is running for U.S. Congress because she knows that community comes before politics. She knows the people of Virginia’s 8th Congressional District want someone who is committed to continuing the work done by Representative Jim Moran, and delivering results that serve everyone, not a select few. In this time of Tea Party extremism, Lavern wants to take her tenacity and results-driven approach to Washington D.C., and remind Congress that people come first.
Lavern was born and raised in Northern Virginia, from a working class family, her mother served the U.S. Postal Service for thirty years, while her father worked as a local automobile technician. Lavern learned the value of hard work and the importance of education early in her life. Nothing was more essential to her parents than giving their five children opportunities to succeed. After graduating from Mount Vernon High School, Lavern went on to become the first in her family to graduate from college, earning her bachelor’s degree from Mount Vernon College at George Washington University. She has worked in the field of Marketing for the IBM Corporation, local media stations, and several minority small businesses.
Most of Lavern’s life has been devoted to improving the lives of others, through her work with charities, non-profit organizations, and advocacy groups. She and her late husband James I. Chatman, started the Chatman Fund at the Northern Virginia Community Foundation to support development programs for children in our community who are lacking the resources to succeed. A loving foster parent and parent figure to five children over the years, Lavern’s commitment to improving the lives of others is not just a day job, but a guiding principle in every aspect of her life. She personally mentors multiple young women, coaching them in leadership, personal and professional development.
As President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League, Lavern worked tirelessly to create a legacy of excellence, focusing on social justice, affordable housing, youth empowerment, financial literacy, and eliminating the education achievement gap. She built collaborations with businesses, churches, community organizations, and political leaders. With her dedication and strong, effective leadership, the Northern Virginia Urban League served thousands of children and families in the region. Her lasting legacy at the Urban League was working with Congressman Moran to fund, design and build the Freedom House Museum, a former Alexandria slave pen.
She co-founded the Nova Coalition an organization focused on increasing voter participation, voter restoration, and civic engagement. She led teams of volunteers to reach hard-to-count communities in Northern Virginia to participate in the Census, allowing all communities to increase their rightful share of federal and state funding.
Lavern’s tenacity and success across Northern Virginia have earned her the reputation of a person who can deliver results and get things done. After the devastation experienced during the recent government shutdown and sequestration, she was approached by Congressman Moran to organize small businesses and identify ways to help them during times of economic uncertainty.
In 2009, with the leadership of the Stafford Foundation, Lavern was a part of history, coordinating The People’s Inaugural Project, inviting battered women, wounded soldiers, and other underrepresented groups from across the country to celebrate the election of the nation’s first African-American President. The People ‘s Inaugural Project also provided tools to identify social services and other transformational programs for marginalized participants.
After retiring from non-profit management in 2011, Lavern has continued to serve the Northern Virginia Community through her philanthropic efforts supporting dozens of charities, community organizations, scholarships, and youth programs.
“I’ve spent my entire life delivering for others, now I need your support. Let’s ensure that the issues we care about are addressed in Congress with civility and respect, while still delivering results. “