Who We Are

Founded in 1979, the Downtown Norfolk Council is an award-winning organization comprised of more than 300 businesses and individual members dedicated to promoting and enhancing business, cultural, retail and residential initiatives in Downtown Norfolk. The DNC also manages the Downtown Improvement District, a 48-block district ordained by Norfolk City Council in February 1999. 

Mission Statement

The Downtown Norfolk Council is the unifying voice of its members and stakeholders, and the primary catalyst for advancing the collective vision for the future of Downtown. We are committed to being a leader, an advocate and a resource for Downtown’s continuing development as an attractive, dynamic and economically vital place.

Descriptive History

The Downtown Norfolk Development Corporation, t/a Downtown Norfolk Council, was created in 1979 to bring together the interest of Downtown's private sector community with the interests of the city administration and elected leaders. A 501c-6 organization, the charter was amended in 1984 to allow the organization to have members. Since that time, membership in the organization has tripled and participation has broadened to include virtually every facet of Downtown life - from those in the corporate and business world to those who live Downtown.

Over the years, the DNC has made an impact on Downtown through significant programs including the creation of the Downtown Norfolk Historic District and the annual award-winning Holidays in the City program. The Downtown Norfolk Council often works behind the scenes through creative problem-solving and through the facilitation of discussions with Downtown's diverse interest groups.

In 1999, the Downtown Norfolk Council contracted with the City of Norfolk to manage the newly formed Downtown Improvement District. DNC led the effort that resulted in the Downtown Improvement District and as a result, additional resources were brought to bear on the marketing of Downtown, the cleanliness of Downtown and the improvement of perceptions as they pertain to the safety and friendliness of Downtown.

Through a disciplined annual planning and implementation process, the DNC identifies and addresses the needs of Downtown and works diligently to serve effectively as a liaison between private business and city government.

Meetings and Events

The Downtown Norfolk Council manages a web-based calendar of all Downtown events. Click here to access this detailed calendar. DNC is also directly responsible for a variety of events; some promotional in nature and open to the public-at-large and some dedicated to assuring a high level of communication with our membership and Downtown's unique constituent groups. For information on any of these events, or to see how you might become involved, call the DNC office at 757-623-1757 or email calendar@downtownnorfolk.org.

Public Promotional Events

Monthly Membership Events

DNC Executive Committee & Board of Directors Meetings

Downtown Norfolk Council Executive Committee Meetings are held the first Thursday of every month at 8am. The monthly Board of Director's meeting is held on the second Wednesday of each month at 8am. Unless otherwise noted, these meetings are held in the DNC Conference Room.

DNC Annual Meeting

The DNC Annual Meeting is a celebration of the past year's accomplishments and a time to announce the goals for the coming year. More than 500 people join in this celebration each year as new officers and directors are elected for the coming year and a coveted award is presented to our Downtowner of the Year. The Annual Meeting is also the time to recognize an "unsung hero" with the presentation of the Roy Badgley Distinguished Service Award.

Member Briefings

DNC's monthly Member Briefings are designed to keep Downtowners in the know. Held on the first Wednesday of each month, members of the Downtown Norfolk Council meet to hear and discuss what is happening in Downtown Norfolk. The briefings start at 8am with a continental breakfast allowing time for networking, and conclude with a program on a topic important to the Downtown community. Programs, speakers and meeting locations vary, but the intent of each meeting is the same - to communicate with our members and allow them to communicate with each other.

Holidays in the City

Holidays in the City, coordinated by the Downtown Norfolk Council, is an annual celebration of holiday events including Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year's Eve. Holidays in the City always begins on the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving when the signature holiday skyline is illuminated. Thousands flock to Downtown Norfolk on opening night to see the lights come on and to enjoy the Grand Illumination Parade that proudly brings Santa Claus to town.

Throughout the holiday season, events in both Downtown Norfolk and Olde Towne Portsmouth are highlighted and the sights and sounds of the season enliven both historic downtowns.

International Downtown Association Affiliation

The Downtown Norfolk Council is proud to affiliate with the International Downtown Association (IDA). The International Downtown Association is a world leader of and champion for vital and livable urban centers. Through its network of committed individuals, its rich body of knowledge, and its unique capacity to nurture community-building partnerships, IDA is a guiding force in creating healthy and dynamic centers that anchor the well-being of towns, cities and regions of the world.

Virginia Green

As a Virginia Green Supporting Organization, the Downtown Norfolk Council supports the Virginia Green program wherever possible and encourages our members and Downtown constituents to participate.

Supporting Organizations are the convention & visitors bureaus, the hotel and B&B associations, tourism boards and divisions, chambers of commerce, and any other tourism-related organizations that want to help promote Virginia Green.

Virginia Green Supporting Organizations is a self-certifying program where organizations must verify that they are at a minimum practicing the Virginia Green Supporting Organizations core activities by providing the following:

  • Supporting Virginia Green: promote Virginia Green to your clients, members, and staff
  • Hold green meetings and conferences: provide recycling and reduce use of disposables - for ideas, please see the events fact-sheet
  • Recycle: have a recycling program in office space
  • Reduce solid waste:  work to reduce waste generation
  • Use water efficiently: have a plan to conserve water
  • Conserve energy: have a plan to use energy efficiently

It's easy to join Virginia Green. Membership in the program is FREE

Simply complete the Virginia Green Supporting Organization application (MS Word or Adobe PDF) and email the completed checklist to VirginiaGreen@deq.virginia.gov. Once you are approved, you will receive a certificate for display at your facility. Your facility will also be included on the Virginia Tourism Corporation's website as a Virginia Green facility, if it is registered with them.

If you have any questions about the Virginia Green program, please contact us for assistance.

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