Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Foundation for Roanoke Valley Awards Major Grant from its Arts and Culture Initiative

Foundation for Roanoke Valley announced today it has awarded a $40,000 grant to the City of Roanoke under the Foundation's three-year, $300,000 Arts & Culture Initiative.  The grant will provide major underwriting for the City's "Parks and Arts" program for 2014.  This program, offering free arts events in underserved neighborhoods parks, provides venues for varied artists, musicians, dancers and arts organizations to showcase their talents while engaging the surrounding residents in the arts and promoting local neighborhoods' many cultural and historic resources.  National studies show that to build and diversify audiences the arts need to go where people live and congregate, and the City and the Foundation together are making that happen.

“Parks and Arts is a collaborative program designed to take the arts into the city's neighborhoods giving citizens up- close experiences in their own environment,” says Susan Jennings, Arts and Culture Coordinator for the City of Roanoke. “The grant from Foundation for Roanoke Valley will allow the Roanoke Arts Commission to build on the first year's success in strengthening our neighborhoods, rejuvenating our parks and developing new audiences for our artists and arts organizations."  

The Foundation's Arts & Culture Initiative, funded through its unrestricted Community Catalyst Funds, has two distinct focus areas.  "Arts at Work," through which this current grant is awarded, provides one major grant annually to a carefully selected Roanoke Valley arts and cultural project that has an important and identifiable economic development component, strongly contributes to the overall vibrancy of the community, and which otherwise might not be possible.  The production of public arts, the production of community-wide arts and cultural events and performances and bringing major arts and cultural exhibits to the Valley will be funded under this portion of its initiative.  "Educate. Inspire. Create." is designed to significantly enrich the arts and cultural experiences of preK-12 students of public and private schools within the Cities of Roanoke and Salem and the counties of Botetourt, Craig, Fanklin, and Roanoke.  It will award its next round of multiple grants in the Spring of 2014 with applications being online.  

Foundation for Roanoke Valley, the community foundation serving this region, has worked for 25 years to administer and make grants from hundreds of named endowment funds to benefit the community.  For information, visit Foundation for Roanoke Valley's website at or call 985-0204. 

The Roanoke Arts Commission pictured L to R: Sue Egbert, Scott Crawford, Margaret Hannapel, Lucy Lee, Greg Webster, Amy Moorefield, Tom McKeon, Susan Jennings, Rupert Cutler, Carly Oliver (FRV Associate Director), Michelle Eberly (FRV Program Officer), Charlene Graves, and Cari Gates.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Roanoke Women’s Foundation Announces Grant Recipients

For the ninth year, The Roanoke Women’s Foundation (RWF), a component fund of Foundation for Roanoke Valley,  has announced the recipients of its grant awards, the largest total given to date.
The latest grants, a total of $288,000 awarded at a luncheon held at Roanoke Country Club on November 20th, brings to $1,794,000 the total in grants funded since the organization’s inception in 2004.

“In our ninth year, with 144 members, The Roanoke Women’s Foundation has now contributed close to $1.8 million in total giving to area organizations; a significant achievement during challenging economic times” says Kandy Elliott, co-founder of the RWF.  Elliott and co-founder Ginny Jarrett established the RWF as a way for women in the Roanoke and New River Valleys to pool their philanthropic goals and resources in order to make significant gifts to the community.  

“The growth of The Roanoke Women’s Foundation over the years has been exceptional, and these latest awards continue the tradition that RWF has built of making high-impact, transformative grants,” added Alan Ronk, executive director of Foundation for Roanoke Valley.

RWF has funded 35 organizations and programs since it began.  This year, 36 organizations applied for funding from the RWF.  Through a rigorous grant making process, that number was narrowed to a group that was presented to the membership for their vote.  Based on those results, the following grants were awarded in the 2013 grant cycle: 

Children’s Trust - $75,000 to help child abuse victims find their “forever” homes, either by returning the children to their biological families or becoming adopted.  Funds will be used to expand the role of the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program manager in order to serve 50% more children in the program.  CASA volunteers are often the primary, consistent source of support for children.  Without a CASA volunteer, child abuse victims often spend years in the foster care system, moving from one foster home to another.  The Roanoke community ranks high in the state in founded cases of abuse and neglect; the devastating effects on children’s development reverberate in every aspect of their lives. The RWF grant will further build the capacity of Children’s Trust to serve more children in need.

Family Service of Roanoke Valley - $60,000 to fund a technology upgrade to allow the agency to replace its aging computer network in order to be able to implement the requirement for electronic medical records (EHRs).  Currently used software will not be supported after the end of the year and EHR is strongly encouraged for all health care providers (including mental health providers like Family Service). This upgrade was necessary for HIPAA compliance and is expected to increase staff productivity and ultimately strengthen client outcomes. 

Free Clinic of Franklin County and Bernard Healthcare Center - $50,000 to support a move to become a Rural Health Care Center in order to strengthen the safety net and expand its services to the underserved in Franklin County, one of the highest populations of uninsured in the state.  Funds from the RWF will serve as seed money to cover start up costs for an on-site laboratory, medical equipment for additional exam rooms, office equipment and partial salaries for a Physician’s Assistant and office staff to be located in an already funded, new 7500 sq. ft. facility.

Rebuilding Together Roanoke - $60,000 to fund its first full-time staff person who will work to increase the capacity of the organization and ultimately work to further RTR’s impact on the community by serving low-income homeowners in the Roanoke Valley.  RTR works to maintain affordable home ownership while also revitalizing the community. The newly hired Program Administrator will be charged with identifying new funding sources, furthering RTR’s permanent supportive housing program, and establishing new fundraising activities in order to continue the growth of the organization’s operations.  With a multi-year waiting list, the goal is to increase the number of homeowners RTR can serve each year.  In 2012, 93 homeowners were served with more than 80% of those being 65 or older.  

WVTF Public Radio - $43,000 to offset significant funding cuts and to encourage new members to support WVTF, especially from those listeners who have never contributed to WVTF in the past.  Currently, only 13% of WVTF’s active listeners contribute to its work.  Government support has declined by 31% since fiscal year 2011 and corporate underwriting support has been affected by the economic recession.  RWF funds will be used to develop new marketing projects to attract the more than 160,000 unduplicated weekly listeners to WVTF, 89.1.

The Roanoke Women’s Foundation is open to any woman who makes the commitment to support the RWF for at least three years at a level of $2,100 per year.  Members have no other obligation than to fulfill the annual contribution and to participate in the voting process determining the recipients of the pooled fund grants.  For more information, visit or Foundation for Roanoke Valley’s website   Foundation for Roanoke Valley, the region’s community foundation, currently administers over 260 named endowment funds on behalf of the community.

L to R:  Glenn Gleixner and Cindy Gray with WVTF Public Radio; Ed Murray and Kendall Cloeter with Rebuilding Together Roanoke; Janice Dinkins-Davidson and Nancy Fralin with Children’s Trust Roanoke Valley; Alise Culbertson and Rhonda Rousch with Free Clinic of Franklin County; and (seated) Jenny Lee and Sharon Thacker with Family Service of Roanoke Valley

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Foundation for Roanoke Valley Celebrates 25 Years with Operation Surprise 25

Twenty five years ago, in August 1988, a group of civic leaders established Foundation for Roanoke Valley, the area’s community foundation.  Community foundations had been bringing benefits to hundreds of other communities across the country since 1914, and these folks felt that it was time for the Roanoke Valley to enjoy those same benefits. 

Growth of the new foundation was slow for awhile, but after a donor established the first endowment fund in 1991, others began to create their own permanent charitable legacies.  Over the years, dozens, then hundreds of individuals, corporations and non-profits created endowments. Today, two-and-a-half decades later, Foundation for Roanoke Valley holds and administers 260 named endowments, ranging in size from $10,000 to millions of dollars. Total current assets exceed $55 million, with an additional $70 million committed through future estate gifts.  Annually, the Foundation awards approximately $3 million in grants to hundreds of worthwhile organizations, and cumulative grants to the community since inception exceed $30 million.

As part of the Foundation’s Silver Anniversary celebration, it is carrying out “Operation Surprise 25.” This special grants program began on October 21 and appropriately culminates on the 25th of October.  Foundation staff bearing balloons, party horns and a large facsimile check have been surprising worthy organizations with unrestricted $1,000 grants.  Foundation Board Members were responsible for nominating organizations and out of that pool of nominees 25 were selected at random by the Foundation’s Community Programming Committee.  The grant funds have been made possible by a generous anonymous donor.

Photos from the surprise presentations have been posted to Foundation for Roanoke Valley’s Facebook page (  The organizations receiving grants are:  Angels of Assisi, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia, Project Access of the Roanoke Valley, Inc., Straight Street, Roanoke Valley Golf Hall of Fame(Holliday Scholarship), Historical Society of Western Virginia, Voice of the Blue Ridge, Inc., Bethany Hall, Inc., Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia, Blue Ridge Zoological Society of Virginia, Roanoke Valley Governor's School Foundation, Bradley Free Clinic, Pathfinders for Greenways, March of Dimes Foundation, Unbridled Change, West End Center, Roanoke County Public Schools Education Foundation, Inc., Feeding America Southwest Virginia, Salem Museum and Historical Society, Cultural Arts For Excellence (CAFE), Community Outreach Program, Western Virginia Foundation for the Arts and Sciences (CITS), Science Museum of Western Virginia, Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, and Roanoke Children’s Theatre.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Foundation for Roanoke Valley Awards $24,911 in grants from its Larry Woodrow Vest Fund to Local Non-Profits

Foundation for Roanoke Valley has awarded $24,911 to non-profit organizations through its Larry Woodrow Vest Fund. The Fund supports a wide range of community needs and focuses on charitable organizations providing services to Floyd County residents.

Children’s Trust Foundation Roanoke Valley was awarded $6,263 to allow a Coordinator/Forensic Interviewer to develop and train a multidisciplinary team (MDT) in Floyd to provide a coordinated first response to child abuse.  Floyd Community Center for the Arts was awarded $6,498 to support its Studio Enhancement Project. 

The June Bug Center was awarded $5,400 to support its After School Enrichment Program.  Rebuilding Together was awarded $3,500 to support a pilot program in Floyd County to repair homes and make them safe, healthy, and energy efficient.  Virginia Cooperative Extension was awarded $3,250 to support its Master Volunteer Program in Floyd County.

Foundation for Roanoke Valley, the region’s community foundation, currently administers over 260 named endowment funds on behalf of the community and works diligently to help local individuals and families establish permanent charitable legacies that will touch the community now and for generations to come.  For more information, visit Foundation for Roanoke Valley’s website at or call 540-985-0204.