Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Foundation for Roanoke Valley Awards $25,000 to Saint Francis Service Dogs

Roanoke, Va. (January 27, 2013) – Saint Francis Service Dogs has placed a facility dog at the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center or BRAAC.  The dog, a black Labrador retriever named Deuce, was placed in November of 2012 thanks to funding provided by Foundation for Roanoke Valley.  Deuce is the first facility dog to be placed locally by Saint Francis. 
Facility dogs are expertly trained canine helpers, which engage students by acting as both motivator and reward. The dog provides a positive focus for children and helps increase the opportunity for children to develop social and language skills.  Facility dogs can also be used in other ways in places such as courthouses and rehabilitation facilities.

“We are thrilled to welcome Deuce, into our daily program, said BRAAC Founder and Executive Director Angela Leonard.   “He brings a new dimension to the program and the whole place just seems a lot happier now that he’s with us.”
Leonard describes an early success story involving Ian, a four year old at BRAAC who is just learning to speak.  He spontaneously asks for Deuce by saying "Deuce" or "Dog."  These were the first words Ian had spoken other than repeating something that had been said to him. 
“It is not unusual for children with autism to be self-absorbed, living within their own world, and our parents yearn for that special connection and reciprocation of love,” said Leonard.  “Children with special needs will often connect with animals.  So if Deuce can be this connection, and we can transfer these interactions to loved ones, why in the world would we not use this opportunity?”

Alan Ronk, Executive Director of Foundation for Roanoke Valley, says the placement of Deuce is a perfect example of how this particular fund is supposed to function.  “One of the objectives of our Kinder Fund is to support programs that promote the positive relationship between humans and animals.  We are thrilled to be able to play a significant role in placing a facility dog at BRAAC, and we look forward to the many wonderful things that will result from this new relationship,” he said.

Saint Francis has already received requests for facility dogs from other groups and expects the demand to increase.  “It’s a relatively new concept, but it obviously has a lot of merit, said Saint Francis Executive Director Cabell Youell. 

Youell said organizations interested in facility dogs should contact the organization for a review of how Saint Francis might be able to meet their individual needs.

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About Saint Francis Service Dogs: Saint Francis Service Dogs is a local 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that raises and trains service dogs for children and adults with disabilities to enable them to become more independent and self-sufficient through partnership with a service dog.  Saint Francis is the largest service dog organization in the state and the first to be accredited in Virginia. The training program adheres to the highest standards in the industry. Saint Francis is not state funded, does not receive insurance reimbursements and relies entirely on private donations, grants and fundraisers like DogtoberFest to fulfill our mission.
 Submitted by:  Niki Voudren, Saint Francis Service Dogs

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Roanoke Women's Foundation Awards $262,000 to Four Area Organizations

For the eighth 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 $262,000 awarded at a luncheon held at Roanoke Country Club on December 10th, brings to $1,506,000 the total in grants funded since the organization’s inception in 2004.
“In our eighth year, with 131 members, The Roanoke Women’s Foundation has now exceeded over $1.5 million in total giving; a significant achievement this year in a down economy” 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.
Now in its eighth year, RWF has funded 30 organizations and programs.  This year, 48 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 2012 grant cycle:
Bethany Hall, Inc. - $60,000 to support its “Kitchen Renovation” project for the women in their residential and day treatment substance abuse program.  Their kitchen is at the heart of this healing community; last year it produced 10,863 meals and provided an empowering opportunity to create baked goods and treats used in the women’s fundraising efforts.  Existing appliances and cabinetry are woefully inadequate.  This funding will include upgrading appliances to commercial quality, new cabinets, and a moveable work table.  Bethany Hall is only one of two single-gender, long term programs in Virginia that allow children and newborns to remain with their mothers in treatment.
Grandin Theatre Foundation, Inc. - $95,000 to upgrade their 35 mm projection equipment to digital equipment.  While 35 mm film was the movie industry standard for over 100 years, in the near future it will no longer be a viable technology.  This grant will enable the Grandin to remain competitive and viable in order to show newly released films.  The Roanoke Women’s Foundation grant will help to offset the total project cost of $275,000. The Grandin will launch a public campaign to raise additional funding needed to complete the conversion.
Roanoke Community Garden Association - $70,000 to provide funds to design, build and start the Association’s fourth garden, The Mountain View Garden.  The garden will be built on the adjacent vacant lot by the Mountain View Community Center.  The new garden will serve the Mountain View, Grandin Road, Old Southwest and downtown neighborhoods.  The gardens increase locally grown organic food or hundreds of underprivileged and handicapped citizens as well as refugees and immigrants.  Residents who register to use a plot are asked to pay $20 and volunteer an hour a week to help maintain their bed and help others.  This location provides a flat plot and plenty of space for aspiring gardeners.
Legal Aid Society of Roanoke Valley - $37,000 to partially fund a staff attorney designated as the domestic violence specialist. The balance of funds needed will be provided through another grant and general funds.  Domestic violence is a persistent problem in our communities.  Reported cases have risen dramatically (45.9% in 2010).  Intervention can save a victim’s life, save her or his home and the home of any children involved, and has an impact beyond those immediately involved.  Legal Aid is the only organization in the valley that provides a full range of legal representation to victims of domestic violence. 
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 250 named endowment funds on behalf of the community.
Submitted by Kandy Elliott

Foundation for Roanoke Valley Scholarship Applications Available

Foundation for Roanoke Valley is now accepting scholarship applications for the 2013-2014 academic year.  By completing one scholarship application, applicants can be considered for multiple scholarships.  Students about to complete their senior year of high school, students already enrolled in a trade school, college or university, and non-traditional students who have waited a number of years before starting their post-secondary education are eligible to apply.

To access the scholarship guidelines and application, please visit the Foundation’s website at  Guidelines and applications will be available through the guidance offices of local high schools and some college financial aid offices.

Completed applications should be mailed to Foundation for Roanoke Valley, Attention: Michelle Eberly, P.O. Box 1159, Roanoke, VA  24006.  All completed applications are due no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 1, 2013, at the Foundation’s office.  This is not a postmarked deadline.  Applications received after the submission deadline will not be considered, and incomplete applications will not be accepted.  Some scholarships require applicants to complete the FAFSA (Federal Application for Free Student Aid) and submit a Student Aid Report (SAR).  For more information on the FAFSA, please visit

Foundation for Roanoke Valley administers over 250 endowment funds totaling over $50 million and works diligently to help local individuals and families establish permanent charitable legacies which will touch the community now and for generations to come.  For more information about Foundation for Roanoke Valley, visit


Foundation for Roanoke Valley Announces a Community Arts & Culture Inititiative

Foundation for Roanoke Valley has launched “A Community Arts & Culture Initiative”, a three-year, $300,000 grant program to benefit arts and culture organizations in the cities of Roanoke and Salem, and the counties of Botetourt, Craig, Franklin and Roanoke.  This initiative, funded through some of the Foundation’s Community Catalyst Funds, will provide grants to non-profit organizations based on two objectives: 1) Educate. Inspire. Create. and 2) Arts at Work.

Through Educate. Inspire. Create. the Foundation is committing $180,000 over the next three years to lift up and highlight the critical importance of arts and cultural programs to the educational process.  Beginning in 2013, the Foundation will be looking to enrich the experiences of pre-K through 12th grade students of public and private schools within the Cities of Roanoke and Salem, and the counties of Botetourt, Craig, Franklin and Roanoke.  These grants will specifically make possible the following: 1) to provide for artist-in-residence or master classes within schools conducted by a notable artist, 2) to provide for the purchase and use of innovative technologies or nontraditional equipment that will bring cutting edge classroom arts experiences, and 3) to provide for in-school performances and programs built around a specific educational topic or Standards of Learning that are conducted by or in conjunction with local arts and cultural nonprofits.

In addition to the role played by arts and culture in the educational process, they also play a very critical role in being drivers of economic development.  Through Arts at Work, the Foundation is committing $120,000 over the next three years to specifically make possible the following: 1) to support the production of public art work, 2) to support the production of community-wide arts and cultural events and performances, and 3) to support bringing major arts and cultural exhibits to the Roanoke Valley.

Alan Ronk, Executive Director of Foundation for Roanoke Valley noted, “While supporting arts and cultural programs has long been one of the Foundation’s focus areas, we look forward to this new initiative and seeing the many creative and effective programs and ideas that will be generated for the community.”

Grants will be determined via a competitive process through the Foundation’s online grant application process.  Organizations are encouraged to visit for additional requirements and application instructions.

Foundation for Roanoke Valley, the region’s community foundation, currently administers over 250 named endowment funds on behalf of the community.  Individuals interested in establishing their own personal or family legacy through an unrestricted endowment, and arts and culture fund, or any of the many other types of endowment funds offered by the Foundation are encouraged to call (540) 885-0204 or visit the Foundation’s website.