Mission & History

Mission

Keep Virginia BeautifulThe mission at Keep Virginia Beautiful is to engage and unite Virginians to improve our natural and scenic environment. We believe in a shared responsibility to end littering, improve recycling and beautify communities.

We empower groups and individuals to engage in environmental projects through grants, contests, events and training so that the collective effort keeps Virginia beautiful for generations to come.

We work with State Government (VDOT, DEQ, DOE, Litter & Recycling Fund Board), Litter Prevention (VCLPR, Clean Virginia Waterways, Regional and Local Program Managers, VA Litter Control Assn.), Recycling (VRA, Waste and Recycling Companies, Local & Regional Recycling Managers ), Scenic Preservation & Beautification (Scenic Virginia, Federation of Garden Clubs, Garden Club of Virginia), Corporate (Altria, Capital One, Walmart), Advocacy (Virginia Conservation Network, JRA), Media, and Keep America Beautiful.

Keep Virginia Beautiful

The History of Litter Prevention in Virginia

By the early 1950’s, Virginia’s roadways had become a dumping ground for people’s trash and the Commonwealth realized that it needed to find a solution to this ever-growing problem. Thus, in the spring of 1953, the national “Don’t Be a Litterbug” slogan was adopted and the Virginia Anti-Litterbug Council was formed. The purpose of this organization was “to encourage the proper disposal of empty containers and all other forms of trash that mar Virginia highways, farms, and public places”. By the end of that year, Keep America Beautiful (KAB) was incorporated to fight the litter problem on a national level. KAB used the first major clean-up project developed by the VA Anti-Litterbug Council (the Culpeper District Project) as the testing ground and measuring stick for the nation. In 1956, the VA Anti-Litterbug Council changed its name to Keep Virginia Beautiful (KVB) and became an official affiliate of KAB. During the next several years and throughout its history, KVB has expanded its efforts to include educating the public, media publicity, and local clean-up campaigns.

In 1960, KVB established a Board of Trustees to assist the President in determining and carrying out the policies and programs of the organization. A new educational campaign, “The Governor’s Program to Keep Virginia Beautiful” and new stricter anti-litter enforcement statutes were adopted. By 1965, KVB created a system of annual awards to cities, counties and towns for “outstanding achievement in the field of litter prevention”. As the 70’s arrived, KVB, equipped with a full-time executive director and secretary, began to consider the need for total environmental improvements throughout the Commonwealth. Armed with the support of other water and air pollution groups, as well as many local businesses, the State Health Dept. and the Commission of Game and Inland Fisheries, KVB embarked on a vigorous campaign to clean-up Virginia’s waterways and establish 56 sanitary landfills (while closing 33 unauthorized dump sites). KVB continued to receive state and national awards for its sustained superior achievements in its environmental programs and anti-litter campaigns, gaining prestige, support and national acclaim. In 1976, the Virginia General Assembly passed the Virginia Litter Control Act to help implement and fund the Division of Litter Control (DLC). DLC helped establish a grants program to localities for education, control, prevention and elimination of litter. The DLC and KVB worked together to promote anti-litter campaigns and create the Clean Virginia Awards.

By 1980, 68% of VA localities had implemented some form of the DLC/KVB anti-litter model. KVB had earned every major award and had become “the finest state effort in America!” according to the President of KAB. Again, KVB’s Board sought to expand its role which resulted in several new programs; college and university litter control, Certificate of Recognition for litter-free businesses, and Keep Virginia Beautiful Landscape excellence awards.

The 1990’s saw the annual presence of KVB at the State Fair of Virginia, continuation of Landscape Excellence awards, and renewed energy to prevent roadside litter prevention. Cigarette Litter became the most common type of roadside litter and the national Cigarette Litter Prevention Programs began to take shape in the Commonwealth.

There was also a national shift created to emphasize recycling and the important role it plays in litter prevention and waste reduction. Throughout the 90’s, VA Governors recognized the importance of “Keeping Virginia Beautiful” and proclaimed the first week in April, “Keep Virginia Beautiful Week”, to encourage litter pick-ups, recycling events, and community beautification efforts.

With the start of the millennium, KVB was going through changes as an organization and its effectiveness as mainly a volunteer run group. As the decade progressed, the need for a strong voice in Virginia was becoming more apparent. A Steering Committee of key stakeholders representing litter prevention, recycling, beautification and environmental education started to have informal conversations. A capacity-building grant from the Altria Group in Richmond helped spearhead the efforts. The result in 2009 was the completion of a process to launch a three-year strategic plan for addressing important needs and goals for Virginia. A new board of directors came together to help take the next steps to move the plan even farther toward reaching our overall mission: To engage and unite Virginians to improve our natural and scenic environment.

Over the last decade, Keep Virginia Beautiful has worked hard to become the leading statewide voice on green issues. Through programs such as 30 in 30 Green Grants and the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, KVB has helped thousands of groups businesses with litter, recycling and beautification projects across Virginia. KVB also provides support to the Adopt-a-Highway program which provide volunteer litter pick up services on Virginia’s state-maintained roadways. We work with KAB on initiatives like the Great American Cleanup, America Recycles Day and through sharing of resources to make a difference in our communities statewide.

KVB Executive Directors

Douglas B. Moore, Jr. 1967-1969
Paul Sanders 1969-1982
Earl Shiflet 1982-1995
John S. Bailey 1995-1996
Robert Hundley 1996-2010
Michael Baum 2010-present

KVB Presidents of the Board of Directors

A.B. Burton 1955-1961
W. Calvin Falwell 1961-1963
Iva Massie 1963-1967
Earl Shiflet 1967-1973
Giles H. Miller, Jr 1973-1979
Brooks George 1979-1983
John B. Adams, Jr. 1983-1991
James M. Frye 1991-1994
Maurice Rowe, III 1994-2009
Alisia Rudd 2010-2012
Kim Hynes 2012-2016
Lisa Moerner 2016-present