Thursday, March 3, 2011

The First Round Goes to the Dogs! (And Cats!)

Roanoke, VA (March 3, 2011) – Foundation for Roanoke Valley announced today the winner of its first “Project Make-A-Difference.”  At the closing bell, friends of Roanoke Valley SPCA (RVSPCA) had filled the agency’s online virtual jar on the Foundation’s website with over 600,000 coins, out of a total of almost ONE MILLION coins “voted” during the month of February.

RVSPCA will receive a Foundation grant of $1,000 from the Community Catalyst Funds.  Kathy Perdue, Director of Marketing & Special Events for the agency, said:  We are fortunate to have a large group of supporters who really got behind the contest and voted regularly for the RVSPCA.  They really brought home the bone!  The $1,000 grant will be designated to the PET (Pets Eat Too) Outreach Program that supplies pet food to the pets of Meals on Wheels recipients as well as food pantries operated by Bethel Baptist Church, Botetourt County and Manna Ministries.  The grant will provide 12,712 pet meals - helping keep pets and people united in our communities.”

RVSPCA was locked in a friendly but fiercely-fought competition during the month with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia, which was seeking the grant to help develop a “Fit Club” for 160 youth attending the 9th Street Club.  This program stresses the importance of healthy eating habits and good nutrition.

Project Make-A-Difference is a grants initiative of Foundation for Roanoke Valley that involves the community in “crowd-powered philanthropy”.  The initiative proactively educates the community about local nonprofit organizations and community needs and encourages citizens to take an active role in making a difference in the community – one vote at a time.

Going forward, the Foundation will select two local nonprofit organizations in the Roanoke Valley to participate in the grants contest each quarter.  The two selected organizations will be featured and profiled on the Foundation’s website whereby the community will cast votes in support of their favorite organization.  The voting period will last one month.  At the end of the voting period, the organization with the most recorded votes will receive that quarter’s grant of $1,000.  Foundation for Roanoke Valley will have sole responsibility for final verification of totals and determination of the winning grant.

Qualified charitable organizations in the cities of Roanoke and Salem and the counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig, Franklin and Roanoke are eligible to participate.  To be considered for May, an organization must complete and return the Project Make-A-Difference application by March 31, 2011.  To download an application visit

Foundation for Roanoke Valley, the region’s community foundation, has served the Roanoke Valley for more than 20 years and currently administers over 240 named endowment funds established by individuals and families on behalf of the community.  # # #

Foundation for Roanoke Valley Awards Over $49,000 in Grants to Non-Profits

The Foundation has awarded $49,808 in grants to the following local organizations:

Bethany Hall was awarded $20,850 from the Thomas P. and Lewise S. Parsley Fund to support its Women with Children Program. Bethany Hall, Inc. is a long-term, residental substance abuse treatment program for women. It is one of 2 women-only, long term programs in Virginia and one of only a few programs nationwide that serves pregnant women and provides mothers the option to have their children with them during treatment. For more information, please visit

Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center was awarded $8,200 from the Community Catalyst Funds to purchase needed curriculum and supplies for its students. BRAAC is a non-profit school that serves children with Autism and Learning Disabilities and also provides specialized services for children in their homes as well as in-home training for parents. For more information, please visit

Roanoke Community Garden Association was awarded $20,758 from the Community Catalyst Funds to support the contruction of the Hurt Park Community Garden. Established in 2007, RCGA provides local residents with access to garden plots and supplies to allow those individuals to harvest their own produce. For more information, please visit

For more information about the Foundation and the work it does in the community, please visit

Foundation for Roanoke Valley Funds Major Safety Equipment Purchase

Roanoke, VA (February 17, 2011) – Foundation for Roanoke Valley announced today that it has awarded a $20,000 grant to Roanoke County for the purchase of two state-of-the-art thermal imaging cameras.  One camera will be placed in service at the Back Creek Fire and Rescue Station, and the other will be used at the Bent Mountain Fire and Rescue Station.  

The grant comes from the Foundation’s Jacqueline S. (Jackie) and Shelborn L. (S.L.) Spangler Fund, which was established in 2006 through the estate of S. L. Spangler.  The purpose of this endowment fund is to address a wide variety of important needs and opportunities in the communities along the Route 221 south corridor, generally falling between Cotton Hill Road and Check, Virginia.  This designation reflects where the Spanglers lived during the course of their lifetimes. 

Alan Ronk, the Foundation’s executive director, said in making the announcement:  “For this year’s Spangler Fund grants, we wanted to focus on helping meet the fire, rescue, and safety needs of the respective neighborhoods involved, over and above the many wonderful resources that Roanoke County is currently able to provide.  In talking with Roanoke County Fire and Rescue Department Chief Richard E. Burch, Jr. and his division chiefs, we identified the need for the cameras at these two stations, and the Foundation moved quickly to meet that need.”

Chief Burch noted: “These thermal imaging cameras are very light and easy for our personnel to carry and are superior in every way to the bulky first-generation equipment currently being used at Back Creek and Bent Mountain stations. Over time, this updated technology will help save additional lives, help prevent injuries to homeowners and our firefighters, and play a vital role in minimizing structural damage in the course of battling a fire.  We are delighted that the Foundation has awarded this grant to Roanoke County and look forward to getting the cameras in service very soon.”

Ronk added:  “We are so thankful to Jackie and S. L. for their concern for others, and that concern continues to be expressed every year through the Spangler Fund’s perpetual grants.”  

Foundation for Roanoke Valley is the community foundation serving this region.  The Foundation has worked for more than two decades to administer and make grants from hundreds of named endowment funds on behalf of the community.  For more information, visit Foundation for Roanoke Valley’s website at
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Foundation for Roanoke Valley Responds to Meeting Basic Human Needs in a Big Way

Roanoke, VA (January 24, 2011) – One of Foundation for Roanoke Valley’s three primary grants priorities is meeting “Basic Human Needs.”  Over the past two years, the community foundation has provided in excess of $600,000 to local nonprofit programs devoted to providing the basics of food, shelter, heat, and medicine to local needy citizens.  Tens of thousands of individuals and families have received assistance; however, the need for these types of services continues to rise.  In response to the increased demands on local food banks, emergency shelters, and other human services programs, Foundation for Roanoke Valley has again stepped forward with major community support and has awarded $109,000 in new grants to four local nonprofit organizations.  

Presbyterian Community Center (PCC) received $15,000 from the Foundation’s Marion S. and Willie Z. Camp Fund for Eldercare to support the Emergency Services program.  The funds will be used to assist indigent older adult clients with rent, utility bills, and heating oil.  PCC serves low-income (at or below 133% of poverty level) individuals and families residing in Southeast and Northeast Roanoke, Eastern Roanoke County and the Town of Vinton.  Karen McNally, PCC Executive Director, said: “The Camp Fund grant will allow the Center to serve at least 100 more elderly clients than otherwise possible. These clients are particularly vulnerable to onerous financial burdens created by unexpected medical needs. More likely to be experiencing health problems that require medical services than those who are economically better off, they are less able to afford needed care. Even routine items, such as prescription medication, can require them to make hard choices between basic necessities and health care. Quite a few of our elderly clients often rely solely on Social Security income that is less than $800 per month. Unexpected emergencies or health issues can be catastrophic, quickly wiping out lifetime savings and threatening home ownership.”

Salem Ministers Conference Community Food Pantry received $15,000 from the Foundation’s Community Catalyst Funds to purchase food for needy families in Salem and Roanoke County.  The Salem Food Pantry is open five days a week and serves approximately 1,100 low-income (at or below 150% of poverty level) individuals a month.   

Roanoke Area Ministries (RAM) received $7,000 from the Foundation’s Mary Louise Home Fund to support its Emergency Financial Assistance program which assists individuals and families with rent, utility bills, and heating oil.  The funds will be used to provide emergency assistance to low-income older adults residing in the cities of Roanoke, Salem and the counties of Botetourt, Craig, Franklin and Roanoke.   Additionally, RAM received $3,000 from the Foundation’s Thomas P. and Lewise S. Parsley Fund to assist older adults with prescription medications.  In 2009, RAM provided emergency assistance to 5,778 individuals and families, many of whom were older adults.  Stu Israel, Resource Development Coordinator with RAM, noted: “All too often the elderly, living on fixed incomes, must decide between paying bills and eating or between purchasing groceries or prescription medications. RAM will now be able to assist elderly citizens and help keep them in their homes, warm during the winter and help them maintain their health.”  

LOA Area Agency on Aging received $30,000 from the Foundation’s Mary Louise Home Fund to support its Heating Assistance Program, an initiative to assist needy older adults with paying heating bills once a year.  The program also places heaters in the homes of older adults who have no other source of economical heat.  Additionally, LOA will receive $39,000 from the Foundation’s Marion S. and Willie Z. Camp Fund for Eldercare to support its Meals-on-Wheels breakfast program.  This grant will provide breakfast for approximately 40 older adults throughout 2011.   Aimee Lawson, Director of Public Relations for the Agency, said: “This has been a very tough economic year for many of the seniors we serve, most of who are on a very tight and fixed income.  The cost of heating a home has risen tremendously over the years while, with no increases in Social Security, their income has remained the same. This winter has also been extremely cold and windy which makes heating homes that much more costly.  With respect to the breakfast funding, that grant will have a wonderful impact on our ability to meet the needs of some of our highest-risk clients. Typically our breakfast clients are nutritionally at risk, dealing with low weight issues, at or below federal poverty level, and completely dependent for preparation of all nutritionally balanced meals.”

Foundation for Roanoke Valley, the region’s community foundation, has served the Roanoke Valley for more than 20 years and currently administers over 240 named endowment funds established by individuals and families on behalf of the community.  For more information about Foundation for Roanoke Valley, visit

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Educating Citizens about Local Agencies and Making a Difference in the Community - One Vote at a Time

Roanoke, VA (January 31, 2011) – Foundation for Roanoke Valley is excited to announce the kickoff of its newest grants initiative called “Project Make-A-Difference”.  Beginning Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 9:00 a.m., two local nonprofit organizations will square off for a chance to receive a $1,000 grant.   The grants process will involve “crowd-powered philanthropy” using a competitive, online voting system to select the initiative’s first grant recipient.  

Carly Oliver, Foundation for Roanoke Valley’s Associate Director, notes that it is a win-win.  “At the end of the day, the broader community is being educated about local needs, and local nonprofit organizations are getting exposure regarding their mission and work, and one organization will get a grant to sustain or create a much needed program” said Oliver.  

Project Make-A-Difference will feature the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia and the Roanoke Valley SPCA during the month of February.  To vote for their favorite nonprofit organization, folks should simply log on to the Foundation’s website at  The interactive voting system allows web users to virtually drag and drop coins into two banks representing the two local nonprofit organizations.  The voting period will end on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 5:00 p.m.  After final verification and approval by the Foundation, the organization with the most coins at the end of the voting receives a $1,000 grant for its project.

“This is a fun way to reach out to our community, let them know more about what we do at the Boys & Girls Clubs and get them to invest in us – one vote at a time!” said Daria Goode, Director of Development.  Kathy Perdue, Director of Marketing and Special Events for the Roanoke Valley SPCA echoed that sentiment, noting “We are thrilled to be included in Project Make-A-Difference.  What an easy way for our supporters to help us raise funds necessary to fill our pantry.  We plan to work like dogs to bring home the bone!” 

The Foundation expects to award a $1,000 grant quarterly through Project Make-A-Difference.  Organizations interested in being selected for one of the two profile slots should contact Oliver at 985-0204 for more details. Foundation for Roanoke Valley, the region’s community foundation, has served the Roanoke Valley for more than 20 years and currently administers over 240 named endowment funds established by individuals and families on behalf of the community.  For more information about Foundation for Roanoke Valley, visit   # # #