Richmond, Va. (March 16, 2022) – The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) announces the addition of new members to the board of directors. VECF is a statewide public-private entity that serves as the non-partisan steward of Virginia’s promise for early childhood success, supporting opportunities for all families with young children to thrive.

Following long-standing tradition outlined in the organization’s bylaws, three members of the Governor’s cabinet will serve in an ex-officio capacity on the VECF’s board:

  • Aimee Rogstad Guidera, Secretary of Education
  • John Littel, Secretary of Health and Human Resources
  • Caren Merrick, Secretary of Commerce and Trade

Newly-elected board members also include:

  • Alexis Ehrhardt, Ed.D., Executive Director of State Government Relations and Assistant to the President, University of Virginia
  • Danielle Fitz-Hugh, President, Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce

Prior to assuming her current position with the University of Virginia, Alexis Ehrhardt held the position of President and CEO of the Danville Pittsylvania Chamber of Commerce serving the business community in the Dan River region. She also was the founding Executive Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness at Averett University. A graduate of LEAD Virginia and a gubernatorial appointee to the Tobacco Revitalization Commission, she serves on a number of state and regional boards.

In addition to her leadership role at the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce since 2017, Danielle Fitz-Hugh serves as Fellow for the U.S. Chamber Business Leads Fellowship and as Chair for the Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives – both of which work to improve the Chamber profession and communities in which they operate. Among her many honors, Fitz-Hugh was recognized by the Metropolitan Business League in 2020 with the association’s Trailblazer Partnership Award.

“We welcome Secretaries Guidera, Littel and Merrick, along with Alexis Ehrhardt and Danielle Fitz-Hugh, to our dedicated team of statewide business and community leaders, all of whom are deeply committed to ensuring a strong start for every child in the Commonwealth,” said Liberty University’s Robert Hurt, board chair of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. “Their broad-based areas of expertise and influence will provide unique and valuable insights to our work as we strive to ensure that Virginia’s children have access to early education experiences that will put them on a path for lifelong success.”

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About the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation: VECF is the non-partisan steward of Virginia’s promise for early childhood success, working in tandem with diverse stakeholders to ensure equitable opportunities for all families with young children to thrive. To learn more about VECF, visit

Media Contact: Sara Hunt, 804-994-1120,

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About the Chamber: To be the champion for the business community, fostering growth and development, transformational relationships, and a thriving environment in Chesterfield County.  To learn more about our organization and how we can be “Your Key to Business” please visit or call 804-748-6364.