On Tuesday, May 2, representatives of 85 nonprofit organizations serving Staunton, Waynesboro, and the counties of Augusta, Nelson, and Highland gathered together in the ballroom of the Best Western PLUS in Waynesboro to receive $335,000 in grants from the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge.
Those grants represent the culmination of a competitive process that began in late 2016. The Community Foundation received a total of 92 applications, reviewed in detail by a committee of eighteen dedicated community members who played a critical role in allocating the Foundation’s available resources.
Dan Layman, CEO of the Community Foundation, noted that, “our community is very fortunate to benefit from the exceptional charitable work of a very diverse range of nonprofit organizations, which makes the work of our grants committee as challenging as it is rewarding.”
Thanks to the addition of new endowments and a strong return on investments, the Foundation was in a position to increase its grant making by 15% for 2017. Coincidentally, the Foundation also received a 15% increase in applications for support from nonprofit organizations, both in terms of the number of applications and the total amount of those requests.
At the conclusion of the grants ceremony, the Foundation’s CEO announced the development of a new, transformational financial resource for the community. Change Makers, as it is to be known, is comprised of a growing number of local donors under the guidance of the Foundation who will pool their resources to issue single grants in the range of $100,000-250,000. The sole purpose of those grants will be to either transform how our community addresses specific issues of concern, or to help our community take advantage of transformational opportunities.
The Foundation’s new Change Makers initiative will complement its existing grant making activities. In the coming weeks, the Foundation will provide the nonprofit community, and the community at large, with additional details about this initiative, including its process for receiving ideas for transformational grants, as well as how other individuals and companies can participate as a regular or occasional member of Change Makers.
The grants distributed at the Foundation’s May 2 ceremony represent approximately one third of the $1.1 million the Foundation anticipates investing in our community this year in the form of grants, scholarships, and awards. Prior to this ceremony, the Foundation had already awarded grants and scholarship totaling $118,000 since the beginning of 2017, including $25,000 presented by its Youth Philanthropy Council on April 20. Shortly, they will also distribute an additional $80,000 in college scholarships. Through other programs, the Foundation will distribute another $500,000 or more by the end of the year.