Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Roanoke Women's Foundation Awards $302,000 in Grants to Local Nonprofits

Celebrating its tenth 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 $302,000 awarded at a luncheon held at The Shenandoah Club on November 17, 2014, brings to $2,096,000 the total in grants funded since the organization’s inception in 2004.

“There can be no doubt that the work of The Roanoke Women’s Foundation has had a notable impact in our community.  Celebrating ten years of grant making, with 151 members, The Roanoke Women’s Foundation has now contributed over $2 million in total giving to area organizations,” 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 surrounding communities to pool their philanthropic goals and resources in order to make significant gifts to the community.
“As one of the funds of Foundation for Roanoke Valley, we continue to be impressed with the work of The Roanoke Women’s Foundation and are excited this year’s recipients represent each of its areas of support: Arts and Culture, Health and Human Resources, Education and Environment.  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 41 organizations and programs since it began.  This year, 38 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 2014 grant cycle:

LEAP for Local Food - $100,000 to complete the LEAP Community Kitchen located at the new West End Village on Patterson Avenue.  The Kitchen, the first of its kind in Virginia, will be located within Freedom First’s West End branch, adjacent to the West End Farmer’s market and next door to the West End Center.  The Community Kitchen will be ideally situated for serving this needy neighborhood, considered a food desert and an area poised for neighborhood revival.  Once the facility is fully developed, it will include four parts: a hot kitchen, a cold food preparation area, cold storage and dry food storage areas.  As part of the grant, LEAP will also serve as a food distribution hub, as LEAP plans to use mobile market vehicles to distribute fresh healthy food to other food desert areas in Roanoke.  LEAP will use the Community Kitchen to extend their impact to benefit more children, more families, more local farmers and more neighborhoods in Roanoke.

New Horizons Healthcare - $72,000 to fund their new, state of the art dental clinic; specifically, a hygienist position who will provide comprehensive oral health care services to uninsured and underserved individuals, regardless of their ability to pay.  In 2012, the Roanoke Community Health Care Needs Assessment cited access to affordable dental care as one of the most acute community needs.  In addition to funding a hygienist position for one year, funds from the RWF will provide equipment for him/her and a mobile dental unit to bring prevention services to designated early learning centers in the area. 

Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia - $40,000 to fund research and provide operational support for two years that would allow the expansion of their internet based program called CLiC (“Community Living Connection”.)  Brain Injury Services provides case management for brain injured patients at their Roanoke office.  They offer counseling, life skills education, training, education and support groups for clients and their families.  Unfortunately, many of these patients live far from Roanoke and do not have necessary transportation to get to Roanoke.  Through CLiC, trained facilitators will be able to work with clients on problem solving, social skills, memory development and planning through activities.  CLiC Beyond pilot programs intend to test several versions of CLiC directly impacting hundreds of brain injury survivors over a two year period.

Healing Strides of Virginia - $30,000 to help fund its first covered roof to ensure an environment safe from outside stimuli for the young, medically fragile and elderly clients they serve.  Healing Strides serves children and adults with a variety of complex physical and cognitive disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and dementia.  Therapeutic riding lessons, offered by 10 accredited instructors and 23 therapy horses, integrate students who live with disabilities with able-body students, the horse providing an equal opportunity to participate in activities.  With this grant, Healing Strides will be able to increase summer and winter enrollment by 50%. 

Mill Mountain Theatre - $30,000 – to help fund up-to-date sound and lighting technology and replace equipment installed in 1983, some of which was “pre-owned” at the time.  Currently, they cobble together equipment they need.  While the actor or singer creates the dramatic center of a play or musical, the lighting and quality of acoustics support their presentation.  It is anticipated the theatre will be able to reduce electric costs as well once enhanced and updated equipment is in place.  The goal is to continue to draw even wider and more patrons to the renewed Mill Mountain Theatre.
The Music Lab at Jefferson Center - $30,000 to fund additional space and extra workstations at the Jefferson Center.  Due to the tremendous growth of the Music Lab and an increase in requests for services, funds will help cover construction costs for the expansion, technical upgrades, laptops and cameras, as well as additional equipment for expansion of the Mobile Music Lab and outreach services throughout the region.  The Music Lab is a Youth Enrichment and Arts Education Program that provides mentoring from award winning musicians who are invited to Roanoke to perform concerts on the Jefferson Center stages.  From these interactions, students learn music production, recording arts, sound engineering, video production, and performance skills, while composing original music, recording it on professional grade equipment, and mastering the disciplines of teamwork.

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 www.roanokewomensfoundation.org or Foundation for Roanoke Valley’s website www.foundationforroanokevalley.org.   Foundation for Roanoke Valley, the region’s community foundation, currently administers 300 named endowment funds on behalf of the community.

Top Row: Dylan Locke and Cyrus Pace, Jefferson Center Foundation; Cynthia Lawrence and John Levin, Mill Mountain Theatre; Krystal Thompson and Fran Rooker, Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia; William Lee, New Horizons Healthcare; 
Bottom Row: Brent Cochran and Maureen Best, LEAP for Local Food; Dee’Anna Wright and Carol Young, Healing Strides of Virginia; Eileen Lepro, New Horizons Healthcare