Celebrating 30 Years

Matching Donor Interests to Community Priorities Since 1994

In the fall of 1994, a small group of dedicated volunteers formed the CFNRV. They had just a few dollars in the bank. In the nearly 30 years since, the CFNRV has given out $8.4 million in grants and scholarships. In 2024, our assets now stand at nearly $18 million.

We have built long-lasting partnerships with dozens of nonprofits, businesses, schools, and individuals through our collaborative work in the areas of food insecurity, nonprofit leadership, aging in community, early childhood education, and more. All of this is made possible through generous donors along with the vision of our board, volunteers, and staff members.

Save the date for our 30th Anniversary Gala!

This year’s celebration will culminate with a gala on Thursday, October 3rd (5 – 7:30 p.m.) at Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke.

Registration for this event will open later this summer!

Highlights from 30 Years of Supporting the NRV

The founding board of the CFNRV.

The Early Years

  • 1992 – 93: Joel Williams introduces the concept of a community foundation to his clients and the CFNRV’s organizing task force is formed.

  • 1994: As of March 17th, the CFNRV has $88 in assets. The CFNRV chooses to be an independent foundation and the founding Board of Directors is established. Peggy Eaton becomes the first Executive Director.

  • 1995: The real work begins…The first annual meeting is held on May 25, 1995 focused on developing policies and procedures.

Stakeholders gather at an early meeting in the CFNRV’s history.
  • 1996 – 97: The first endowed fund – the Gerus Blieszner Fund – is established. The first grants are awarded to the Floyd Free Clinic, Shawsville Elementary School and the Fine Arts Center for the NRV. Assets top $97,000.

  • 1997 – 98: Andy Morikawa becomes Executive Director, succeeding Shauna Bishop who held the role for a year. The CFNRV earns tax-exempt status.

  • 1999 – 2000: A $75,000 grant from the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation funds the EAGLES program, a grassroots leadership development initiative. 

Gathering at the 2003 annual meeting.
  • 2000 – 02: The first scholarship fund is created – The T. Scott Eaton  Scholarship Fund.
  • 2003 – 04: Founding board members complete their terms and join the newly formed Council of Former Directors.  In the CF’s first decade, over $400,000 was awarded to 140 different organizations. A group of nonprofit leaders begin meeting at IHOP, the precursor to Third Thursday.

2005 – 2014

  • 2005 – 06: Community Advisors join the CF’s volunteer leadership. Assets top $5 million. In 2006, the CF awards over $18,000 in scholarships to 15 students. The first giving circle is established, the New Mountain Climbers.

An undated photo of a Third Thursday session.
  • 2008 – 09: Capacity-building programs expand with workshops on grant writing and web development plus one-on-one support to nonprofits. Following the 2008 financial crisis, the CFNRV’s assets rebuild to just under $6 million.
  • 2010: Andy Morikawa retires after 13 years of service. The CFNRV co-sponsors forums on hunger relief and local foods as well as the Global Dialogue. The CF becomes a partner in the NRV Livability Initiative.

  • 2011 – 12: Jessica Wirgau becomes Executive Director. First Scholarship Breakfast is held. The CF celebrates the 10th anniversary of its scholarship program. The first Community Impact Grant is awarded to Micah’s Mobile Backpack. Assets top $7.3 million.
A group of scholarship recipients in 2013
Scholarship recipients in 2013.
  • 2014: The Fund for the NRV is established to support community collaboration to develop lasting solutions to our region’s most pressing needs. The fund focuses on support for four main areas: early childhood education and care, hunger and food security, aging in community, and nonprofit leadership. The CFNRV launches GiveBigNRV and hosts the first annual GiveBigNRV Giving Day on April 23, raising just under $40,000. The CF receives a record 166 scholarship applications and awards over $57,000 in 2014.

2015 – 2023

  • 2016: The CFNRV receives national recognition for its role on the NRV Aging in Place Leadership Team, as one of the ten recipients of the Housing and Urban Development Secretary’s Award for Public Philanthropic-Partnerships.

  • 2017: More than 100 organizations participate in the 4th annual giving day, raising $220,192 for regional organizations. The CFNRV’s Thrive Network conducts a food access network study to better understand how to support the 60+ groups working to relieve hunger in the New River Valley.
Grant recipients in 2017
Grant recipient in 2017.
  • 2018: The CFNRV’s programs continue to grow. In the spring, 58 students receive $65,318 in scholarships. That fall, 45 projects receive a total of $138,134 in grant funding through the Responsive Grants program.

  • 2019: Seven teams complete the first NRV nonprofit accelerator, which aimed to apply the Silicon Valley concept of a startup accelerator to regional nonprofits. This program helped organizations with limited budgets and small staff achieve rapid progress on important goals by providing tailored support.

  • 2020: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CFNRV creates a grant program that helps nonprofit partners navigate the pandemic, giving out $76,250 in 2020. These grants were in addition to the foundation’s Responsive Grants program, which switched to giving out funds for operating support, allowing organizations to apply the funds to the area in most need.
A group gathers on the front steps of the YMCA house for a check presentation
In 2021, YMCA at Virginia Tech wins a GiveLocalNRV giving day grant.

  • 2021: The CFNRV continues to offer programming virtually during the pandemic, including listening sessions with nonprofits. First Steps establishes the Early Childhood Champion awards, honoring the region’s childcare workers, advocates, teachers, and others involved in early childhood work. The annual giving day, now called GiveLocalNRV, raises more than $500,000 for area organizations.

  • 2022: CFNRV receives a $1.15 million grant from the Town of Blacksburg’s pool of American Rescue Act dollars. The grant creates a pilot program in Blacksburg focused on strengthening and stabilizing the childcare workforce. In the fall, more than $200,000 in responsive grants is given out for the first time.

  • 2023: During the 10th anniversary of the GiveLocalNRV Giving Day, 100+ organizations raise a record-breaking $921,648 from the community. These efforts are documented in the Blue Ridge PBS show Buzz4Good.
Two dozen people wearing GiveLocalNRV Giving Day shirts raise their hands in celebration
The June Bug Center celebrates another successful giving day in 2023.

2024 & Looking to the Future

  • 2024, so far: The CFNRV’s assets near $18 million. In May, $152,000+ in scholarships is awarded to 92 students, including the foundation’s first ever full ride scholarship.

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