The Community Foundation of the New River Valley (CFNRV) is pleased to announce its annual call for scholarship applications, which opened October 1, 2020. High school students, college students, and adults returning to college in the New River Valley (NRV) can review over 40 available scholarship opportunities and apply at https://cfnrv.org/scholarships/applicants-information/. Applications are due by February 1, 2021, and recipients will be announced in April of 2021.

Established in 2002, the program aims to support the educational aspirations of students so that they can achieve their full potential, to nurture a skilled workforce in the region, and to cultivate future community leaders. It has grown steadily over the past 18 years, awarding over $729,000 to 690 students from over 40 endowed scholarship funds. Individuals, families, and NRV businesses establish the funds, which the CFNRV invests for long-term growth. The CFNRV also manages the application process. Each scholarship fund has its own unique criteria, meeting the unique interests of the donor and ensuring that there is an opportunity for students of all kinds to earn a scholarship.

Last year, the Foundation celebrated the largest year of the program to date, awarding over $108,000 in scholarships to 81 students from across the NRV. The 2020 group of scholarship winners was one of the most diverse to date, with 26% of the winner being first generation college students. Recipients will attend a wide range of colleges with 85.2% staying in the state of Virginia and 12.34% attending out of state college. Over 50% of students will be staying in the New River Valley with 38.3% attending Virginia Tech, 18.52% attending Radford University and 8.6% going to New River Community College.

The COVID-19 pandemic prevented donors, recipients, and their families from gathering at the Annual Scholarship Awards Dinner, but many recipients and donors alike expressed their gratitude for scholarship in such an uncertain time. Tracey Linkous established the Living4Bri Scholarship in 2019 following the loss of her daughter, Brianna, “We are so pleased to be growing our Living4Bri Scholarship Memorial with the Community Foundation. With the help of the Foundation we are able to offer opportunities to Christiansburg High School graduates pursuing a future in nursing. We have created a legacy for our daughter and are able to participate in the future education of those in our community.” The fund awarded its first scholarship this year to Jessica Kniskern, “I am deeply honored to be chosen for the Living4Bri Scholarship Fund. I plan to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Radford University. It is my sincere hope that becoming a Registered Nurse will honor Bri’s memory as we shared an interest in Nursing”.

Laura Pynn, Administration and Programs Manager at the CFNRV, said, “Overseeing this program is my favorite part of my role at the Foundation. I’m proud of the diversity that our scholarships offer to students in our region. We have a scholarship fund available to anyone who has a dream of achieving a degree in higher education. With coronavirus, we realize that many of our 2021 students will have unique senior years like the class of 2020 did. I am proud that we are offering these scholarships during the pandemic to deserving students who have worked hard to get to this point. I encourage all eligible NRV students to apply now, and hope to have the opportunity to meet recipients this year.”