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.