Throughout the fall, the Community Foundation of the New River Valley (CFNRV) awarded $157,645 in grants to 54 nonprofit organizations through its Responsive Grant Program.
The foundation manages more than $10.6 million in more than 200 endowed funds created by NRV individuals, families and businesses to award grants to charitable organizations and scholarships to students. In a typical year, the Responsive Grant Program awards grants for both general operations and for specific community projects focused on issues such as poverty, natural resource conservation, education, the arts and housing.
In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation’s board of directors decided to award only operational support, giving organizations maximum flexibility to put the money where it is needed most. Nonprofits could apply for up to $4,000.
The Community Foundation received nearly one hundred applications, and staff and volunteers then vetted the applications and made grant awards from dozens of endowed funds managed at the foundation. In addition to grants from endowments, the CFNRV opened its grant process to the public through an online grant catalog for the first time ever. Individuals and businesses could go to the online catalog to directly support a grant request, expanding the amount of money available to award this year. Public contributions totaled almost $10,000, making the first year of the grant catalog a great success.
The annual awards celebration that gathers donors and grant recipients could not be held this year, but many nonprofits sent in photos of appreciation when they received their checks in the mail.
The foundation’s executive director, Jessica Wirgau, said of 2020, “The year has been a challenging one for many nonprofit organizations in the New River Valley. I am proud that the CFNRV could make changes quickly to our grant programs to better serve our community.
“In the spring, we awarded over $76,000 in COVID-19 Response Grants, and we were admittedly unsure about how much additional money we could award this fall. But our donors and the broader community really stepped up, and we were able to award a record amount in grants this fall. We appreciate all of the donors who have given this year to allow our nonprofits to continue the great work they are doing during the pandemic.”
The 2021 Responsive Grant Program will open online in June 2021 with a deadline in late July. Anyone interested in starting an endowed fund to support charitable work in the New River Valley should contact the CFNRV at 540-381-8999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.