Our Top 10 Moments from 2023

2023 was filled with accomplishments that we are excited to share about in this story. Some of these include supporting 92 students with scholarships, shattering previous GiveLocalNRV giving day records by raising $921,648, awarding grants to 69 nonprofits, and launching a pilot program in Blacksburg to strengthen the childcare workforce. Each step of the way, donor support fueled our efforts and guided our work.  

We are looking forward to all that 2024 will bring, including the CFNRV’s 30th anniversary. What started with a small group of volunteers and a few dollars in the bank, has grown to include more than 200 endowed funds that have provided $8 million in grants and scholarships to support our community.  

These awards, and the collaborative initiatives we lead focused on food access, early childhood education, and health are made possible by gifts to The Fund for the NRV. It is the engine that has fueled our work for the last decade, helping us  to pursue the vision our founding board had thirty years ago.

1. Surpassed 1,100 scholarship recipients

Several dozen scholarship winners holding their award certificates gather for a group photo.

In the last year, the CFNRV surpassed 1,100 scholarship recipients since we began awarding scholarships in 2002. In the spring and summer of 2023, the CFNRV gave out $155,641 in scholarships to 92 students living or studying in the New River Valley, including 20 who are first in their immediate family to attend college. We now have more than 50 scholarship funds and often fund students for multiple years of study. Check out photos from this year’s scholarship luncheon.

2. Raised a record-breaking $921,648 during Giving Day

A collage of four photos with people wearing 10th anniversary GiveLocalNRV Giving Day shirts.

This June, our 10th Annual GiveLocalNRV Giving Day raised $921,648 from 3,329 donors for more than 100 nonprofits serving the NRV, nearly doubling our goal of $500,000! There are several reasons why this year was so successful, including increased publicity and adding an extra week to the early giving period. In total, 1,333 more people gave this year compared to 2022 (a 40% increase!) We are pleased that this event is becoming increasingly integral to the fundraising efforts of our region’s nonprofits. Read more about this milestone year.

3. Welcomed four new board members

Group photo of new 2023 board members

It is always a pleasure to have new board members join our work. Above, from left to right: Catherine Cotrupi, the interim assistant dean and director for diversity, inclusion, and strategic partnerships at Virginia Tech Graduate School; Lauren Dudley, the chief executive officer of LewisGale Montgomery Hospital; Linda Millsaps, the county administrator for Floyd County; and Rob Graham, the superintendent of Pulaski County Public Schools.

Each brings a wealth of knowledge and experiences to the foundation. Additionally, three board members finished their service on the board and were appointed Directors Emeriti: Gary Hancock, John Muffo, and Andrew Warren. Thanks to each of them for their service and commitment to the CFNRV! Learn more about our new members and our outgoing members in this story.

4. Premiered our episode of Buzz4Good

Three people gather to Facetime with a film crew next to them

In July, we gathered with 100+ supporters at Virginia Tech’s Moss Arts Center to premiere our episode of Buzz4Good. This Blue Ridge PBS show, hosted by Michael Hemphill, spotlights the work of a nonprofit in hopes of generating more “buzz” for its mission. The episode followed our team and nonprofit partners during the 10th anniversary of the giving day. The marketing agency5Points Creative provided pro bono support in generating additional publicity for the day by partnering with the TV station WSLS 10. Watch the episode at cfnrv.org/givelocalnrv/.

5. Honored members of the Giles Fund

10 members of the Giles Fund gather at an event

This September, we gathered at Buckeye Farm in Newport and honored members of the Giles Fund. Established in 2007, members of this donor advised fund support nonprofit work across Giles County. In the 16+ years since this fund began, 375 donors have contributed to the growth of the fund, giving out nearly 200 grants to 52 organizations. View more photos from the event via this Facebook album.

6. Brainstormed solutions to barriers in food access work

Outdoors, Thrive members listen at tables as one member speaks

Thrive is a network of organizations addressing food security and food access issues. These organizations include farms, food banks and pantries, and community gardens. This fall, at our annual in-person meeting, we discussed how Thrive can address some of the barriers organizations are facing, including increased need from clients, lack of funding, and inconsistency or a decrease in either volunteers and donations (or both.) By harnessing the power of this network, we plan to work together to address some of these barriers in 2024. Learn more about Thrive on this page.

7. Awarded $230,225 in responsive grants to 69 nonprofits

Group photo of nonprofit leaders at CFNRV's 2023 grantee luncheon

Our Responsive Grant Program provided up to $4,000 in operating support to agencies serving the NRV via a competitive process. By keeping these grant dollars flexible, nonprofits can use the funds where they are most needed at the time vs. creating a lot of restrictions for the nonprofit to adhere to. This year, of the 96 applications we received, we were able to fully fund 45 and partially fund 24, awarding $230,225 – the most ever for this program. Learn more about this year’s Responsive Grant recipients in this story.

8. Launched $1.15 million program to strengthen Blacksburg’s childcare workforce

Two women outside a childcare center hold up an ARPA check that supports teachers

Last year, the Town of Blacksburg awarded $1.15 million in ARPA funding to First Steps to pilot a four-year program to help stabilize the childcare workforce in Blacksburg. In 2023, we hired Margaret Hurst to manage the program, who worked with centers to identify their top priorities and needs. In October, we gave out our first round of funding to 10 centers, totaling $173,400. The funding will be used for teacher incentives including raising hourly wages, paying for professional development activities, and recruitment. Learn more about the ARPA grant in this story.

9. Built connections with Healthy Roots NRV

Two people talk in a busy room at a Healthy Roots meeting

First Steps and Thrive, described above, are just two examples of the many collaborations with which the CFNRV is involved. To strengthen connections and nurture more collaboration, we hosted the Healthy Roots NRV (HRNRV) kick-off and celebration this fall.

HRNRV is an umbrella entity that brings networks like First Steps and Thrive together to share information, coordinate activities, and collaborate on shared priorities that affect health and well-being such as transportation and housing. More than 50 attendees learned about collaborative projects in our region and identified ways to work together as part of this effort. Learn more about Healthy Roots on this page.

10. Worked with donors to create seven new funds

Collage of four photos: a honeybee among bright yellow flowers, a group of several dozen students holding award certificates, 10 members of the Giles fund, and two people holding a check.

This year, we had the pleasure to work with donors to create seven new funds. These include: two scholarship funds (the Raymond M. and Edith H. Ingram Scholarship Fund and the Morrow-Stevens Foundation Endowment), four agency funds that each benefit a specific nonprofit (respectively, Blacksburg Community Band, the CFNRV, the Lyric Theatre, and Spikenard Honeybee Farm and Sanctuary), and one field of interest fund focused on environmental conservation and sustainability (the Peer Segelke Memorial Fund.) Of note, the Morrow-Stevens scholarship will fully fund one student’s 4-year college education – the first fund at the CFNRV that will do so. Read more about four of these funds in this story.

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