eliza berkon is a features writer and musician based in washington d.c. 

2018 Northern Virginian of the Year: Brenda and Mark Moore

In May 2007, Mark Moore’s life was upended by two strokes that left him in a medically induced coma for a month. After brain surgery and rehabilitation, he approached daily living from a new perspective—guided by faith and philanthropy.

With his wife, Brenda, the former Arthur Andersen accountant launched the Mark and Brenda Moore Family Foundation, which has since donated more than $7.5 million to community causes, including stroke rehabilitation.

“As a country, we’ve done a very good job of educating people on stroke prevention. Where we could really use a lot of help is in the area of stroke recovery,” Mark says.

The Mark and Brenda Moore Patient Tower, which they funded, now stands at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria, where Mark was treated 11 years ago. The Moores are also founding donors of the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History & Culture and include educational, cultural and religious causes on their docket—generosity that landed them the 2017 Community Leadership Award from the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.

“Charity of course starts at home,” says Brenda, a former nurse. “Our parents were very involved in the community, so that was something that was instilled in us from the very time that we were born.”

The Moores grew up in nearby neighborhoods of Queens, New York, and became high school sweethearts before traveling upstate together for college. Both describe faith as instrumental in their lives as children and adults; Mark’s recent book, A Stroke of Faith, illuminates its role in his recovery.

In the coming years, the Moores hope their children and grandchildren will shepherd the foundation in ways that serve the most in need.

“What we are looking for is to see that the work we are doing is helping others to develop,” Brenda says. “Those are the people that teach us and keep us buoyed up and moving forward.”

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