Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Foundation for Roanoke Valley Wraps Up $1.5 Million, Multi-Year Initiative

In 2009, Foundation for Roanoke Valley embarked on a $1.5 million, multi-year grant program, The Belonging Initiative, to benefit the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of older adults in the cities of Roanoke and Salem, and Roanoke, Craig, and Botetourt Counties.  This Initiative targeted its efforts through the local nonprofits Mental Health America- Roanoke Valley Chapter, The Botetourt Resource Center, Renovation Alliance (formerly Rebuilding Together Roanoke), and LOA Area Agency on Aging Senior Companion Program for the purpose of mental health education, social companionship, home maintenance and security, and rural community outreach.

Our Initiative wrapped up this past year, but the lives that have been transformed through the work of our organizational partners are far reaching. With the help of Dr. Harry Wilson and Amelia Glaser at Roanoke College and Steve Mason and his team at Red Velocity, the following video captures a glimpse of the initiative!  A huge thanks to all who were involved in making this such a resounding success!

The Roanoke Women's Foundation Awards $306,000 to Local Nonprofits

Celebrating its eleventh year, The Roanoke Women’s Foundation (RWF), a 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 $306,000 awarded at a luncheon held at The Shenandoah Club on November 12, 2015, brings to $2,402,000 the total in grants funded since the organization’s inception in 2004.

“We are excited to once again be able to support our community with impactful grants to worthy non-profit organizations.  With 153 members, our highest to date, we are able to provide important funding to organizations within the Roanoke Valley and surrounding areas.  We commend all of those organizations who participated in our rigorous grant making process this year,” says Roanoke Women’s Foundation co-founder, Kandy Elliott.  Elliott and co-founder Ginny Jarrett established the RWF as a way for women in the Roanoke and surrounding communities to share their philanthropic goals and pool their resources in order to make significant gifts to the community. 
“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.

This year, 47 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 2015 grant cycle:

Turning Point (Salvation Army) - $90,000 to fund a substantial renovation of the residential shelter space to create a more comfortable, better functioning environment conducive to the therapeutic needs of the women and children who turn to the shelter in situations of desperate need. The building that houses Turning Point was not constructed for its current purpose and has significant shortcomings.  Closet, storage, and laundry space are minimal for clients who are attempting to bring as many personal belongings as they can hope to retain.  While some furnishings have been replaced, more serviceable furniture still needs to be added.  The Turning Point serves more than 260 adults and children annually in its lodging, and processes more than 500 calls annually to its crisis hotline.  It is the only secure, confidential shelter in the Roanoke region for female victims of domestic violence.  The Turning Point has a three-decade history of providing safe support for women and their children dealing with threat in an abusive home. This capital improvement project can only enhance their effectiveness, efficiency, and concentration on the primary job they do in providing safety and counsel to women in extreme crisis.

CHIP (Child Health Investment Partnership) of Roanoke Valley - $66,000 to fund the salary for a new Master’s or Ph.D. level Research Associate for one year to compile and evaluate data to present a federal Evidence-Based Assessment application.  By gaining this certification, CHIP will be able to increase their caseload from the 1,000 children currently being served to 6,000 others who have already been identified as needing CHIP’s services.  In addition, the certification would enable CHIP’s proven operating standards to be adopted by other non-profit organizations also seeking federal funding.  Approval of this application will qualify CHIP for numerous federal funding opportunities currently unavailable to them.  CHIP is an early childhood home healthcare visitation program for low-income children from birth to kindergarten.  
Family Promise of Greater Roanoke - $50,000 to fund a pilot project for a new “Housing Stability Program” to help homeless families find and maintain long-term affordable housing once they exit their temporary housing facilities.  Family Promise uniquely serves only families with children, unlike any other homeless shelter in the Valley.  In addition to the shelter provided, families use their facilities while they look to find work, transportation, permanent housing, and stabilizing routines.  No other shelter in the Valley provides a space throughout the day which can serve as a base while families try to get back on their feet.  This pilot program would require a case manager to find housing and jobs, as well as perform daily and weekly site visits.   The primary goals of the program are to create positive relationships with quality landlords, provide an all-encompassing aftercare program, including intensive case management, and to assist families with developing a support system. 

PLENTY! - $40,000 to efficiently expand the Floyd County farm operation that is nourishing its community by growing food for and with hungry neighbors.  The organization was started to address a problem endemic to many rural places where people cannot afford or access healthy food.  Funds from The Roanoke Women’s Foundation will provide for the installation of a drip irrigation system to pump river water to a holding tank for gravity fed release to farm plots.  The current overhead sprayer system is inefficient.  Floyd County has 15,000 residents, and an estimated 2,000 need assistance.  PLENTY! transports food through its Portable Produce routes to area homes. They serve 1,000 meals at weekly Community Lunch gatherings, stock the food pantry at a Hispanic church in the area, and support the community through farm plots with water and tools.    

Roanoke Children’s Theatre - $30,000 – to provide funds to support and expand free access (to audiences not otherwise served by RCT) to their 2016 RCT4TEENS production, and to fund follow up activities centering on teen heroin use in Roanoke and surrounding counties.  The local Youth Risk Behavior Survey reveals heroin use rates for Roanoke County, Vinton and Roanoke City and Salem to be three times the national average, and increasing among youth, notably among middle class and county teens.  This production will reach 3,000 ninth graders through performances and “on the road” productions.  The RWF grant will allow additional free or low cost performances geared toward the wider community of youth and parents who might otherwise be unable to attend while also promoting meaningful conversation around the play centering on drug and heroin use and the following year’s production exploring teen pregnancy and sexuality. 

The Ronald McDonald House - $30,000 to partially fund the renovation of 11 guest bedrooms and bathrooms.  Currently, the rooms fail to meet current standards in several areas.  The Ronald McDonald House provides a temporary residence for families of children who receive medical treatment from Carilion Clinic or Lewis Gale Clinic.  Each year, they house over 650 families who live within a 150-mile radius of Roanoke.  The high volume of families housed each year creates heavy wear and tear on the entire facility.  While some guest rooms have been recently renovated, others require restoration to meet current standards.

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 300 named endowment funds on behalf of the community.