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Community Grants Celebration

Community Grants Image_6.7.23

The ovations were a little louder than the standard golf clap.

The Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge hosted its annual grants celebration at the Orchard Creek golf and swim club in Waynesboro on Wednesday.

In total, the Community Foundation awarded $518,022 to 143 area nonprofit organizations.

“We take great pride in supporting such a broad spectrum of critical and creative charitable work in our community,” said Dan Layman, CEO of the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge. “Our community is very fortunate to be served by such a diverse and robust nonprofit sector.  Through this annual grants program, we are distributing over $500,000 of the $4 million we anticipate giving back to our community this year.”

Playing off the golf theme, representatives of each nonprofit organization received a scorecard with a list of fun activities. They were also asked to choose a musical instrument so that they could toot their own horns, whistle for their work, and play beautifully and exuberantly together.

It created a festive atmosphere.

“This was so fun,” said Clara Metzler, newly appointed executive director of Project Grows.  “This is my first time, so I don’t know what these events are usually like. It was a ton of fun, and I made so many connections. It gave me a better picture of the nonprofit landscape in the Valley. This was like a gold mine. It was great.”

Metzler was also thankful to be a grant recipient.

“It helps us do the work that we need help doing,” she said. “This helps underwrite the funding for some of our key programs.”

Debra Freeman-Belle, CEO executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta, agreed.

“After attending this event for several years, I thought this year’s was the most fun,” she said. “It was the most rewarding with the most networking opportunities. It highlighted relationship-building and not just handing us a check, and that’s beneficial to all of us.” 

Freeman-Belle knows the funding will have a huge impact.

“For the Club specifically, the only way we’re able to keep our rates affordable is from community funding like this grant,” she said. “It literally means access to affordable care for kids and households that are 200 percent of the federal poverty line or below. It’s the difference between access and no access.”

Sharon Coplai, executive director of Renewing Homes of Greater Augusta, enjoyed the celebration.

“It was great, creative and fun,” Coplai said. “I think everybody enjoyed being introduced to all of the nonprofits in our area in a quick, fun fashion. We depend on this funding. It makes up a big part of our support.”

Complete listing of nonprofit grantees.