Our Origins

The idea for RAF came to co-founder David S. North, a former chair of Arlington County's Board of Equalization, when he learned that millions of dollars in assets belonging to Virginia's counties, municipalities, hospitals, and various nonprofit organizations were sitting idle in the coffers of Virginia's Treasury Department and that there was no organized effort to reunite those funds with their rightful owners. RAF was created to fill that need. 

RAF is a llc registered with the Virginia State Corporation Commission, ID no. S751775-0, and licensed in Fairfax County.

Rodney North, president

For over two decades Rodney North has worked in, or with, social enterprises that use the business model to advance the public good. For 20 years he was part of the employee-owned cooperative Equal Exchange, known for pioneering the fair trade model that supports small-scale family farms in developing nations. Rodney held various elected positions including board director and vice chair for the cooperative, which was also a leader in promoting employee ownership and employee participation in workplace governance.

In 2015 Rodney moved to the non-profit sector when he joined Fairtrade America as their director of marketing and external relations. More recently Rodney has been working as a consultant and advisor to cooperative businesses, start-ups, and to the organizations that support them.

Rodney’s roots in Virginia go back to his birth in Alexandria, Virginia and his upbringing in Springfield, where he graduated from Robert E. Lee High School. After thirty years living and working all across North America he returned to Northern Virginia in 2015, where he now lives with his wife in Falls Church.

Rodney studied liberal arts and farming at Deep Springs College, California, and later obtained his BA in International Economic Development from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

David S. North, chairman

During his long career in the public sector, including various assignments in local, state, and federal government, David always looked for ways he could help governmental treasuries at various levels.

 

Perhaps his greatest success came when David helped then Arlington Delegate James Almond, pass a bill that closed a $10 million dollar a year (or more) loophole in Virginia’s state income tax system.   It was the only tax raising bill passed in 2004 by the GOP-controlled legislature.  

 

David knew of the loophole because he profited from it; foreign royalty and interest income was then not taxable in Virginia.  As the only witness on the bill, and given one minute to describe it, he told the House of Delegates’ Finance Committee: “I would give call it The Invest in Virginia Act, as the current law rewards people for investing their money overseas, rather than in Virginia.”.  The Republican chairman interrupted to say: “you mean that if interest rates are the same, and I invest $100 in a Swiss bank I will get more than if I put the $100 in a Virginia bank?”   David agreed, the committee moved the bill forward, and it became law.

 

David was similarly solicitous of the interests of Arlington County and its taxpayers generally, in his decade long role as Chair of the County’s Board of Equalization of Real Estate Assessments, when he fended off many attempts by large corporations to decreases their tax bills.  Under his leadership the BOE, which is unusual, introduced several motions on their own, raising certain corporate assessments.

 

After a couple of years in New Jersey government, he moved to Northern Virginia in 1961, when he was appointed to the first of several sensitive positions in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations; among them were Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Labor, and, in the Johnson White House, Executive Director of the Cabinet Committee on Mexican-American Affairs (an entity that no longer exists.) 

 

In subsequent years he became one of the nation’s leading analysts of immigration policy, doing research for many federal agencies, for the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, as well as for the Australia and Haiti.  Among the financial/migration issues he dealt with is the lack of a routine governmental fee on wired cash transfers from individuals in the U.S. to those in other nations.

 

He graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University, and has an MA (NZ) from Victoria University College in Wellington, NZ, where he was a Fulbright student; he studied government at both institutions.  He and his wife live in Arlington.