Community Foundation Kicks Off New Giving Society at Eastern Divide’s Charity Pint Night

The Community Foundation of the New River Valley (CFNRV) is launching its first giving society, The 1994 Society.

The CFNRV was founded in 1994 by a small group of volunteers looking for a way to support their community for generations to come. Their dedication and ingenuity in those early days laid the groundwork for the foundation’s current grant and scholarship programs, and for the regional partnerships that support early education, food access, health, nonprofit leadership and more.

Most importantly, they instilled in the foundation the belief that small gifts, when pooled together, can have a positive and lasting impact in the New River Valley. The 1994 Society honors these founders and looks to the future of giving in the New River Valley, with members of all ages, backgrounds, and interests working together to support the place they call home.

The CFNRV relies on donations to the Fund for the NRV to pursue the vision of its founders. These gifts maintain day-to-day operations and fund collaborative initiatives that bring together dozens of organizations around issues like food insecurity and access to childcare. In keeping with the belief that small gifts make a big difference, the CFNRV invites the community to join the 1994 Society with a monthly gift of $19.94 or more. These gifts will support the Fund for the NRV and help grow the CFNRV’s impact for years to come.

Steve Gerus was a founding member of the CFNRV, and, together with his wife Rosemary Bleizsner, established the very first endowment at the foundation.  They were also one of the first to sign-up for the 1994 Society. Gerus spoke of the early days stating “In 1994 the founders assembled to debate either alignment with or independence from the Roanoke Community Foundation.

The rich social capital of the rural communities in the New River Valley convinced us that a grassroots foundation could succeed despite a scarcity of wealthy donors. Strong board membership and strong community ties since then demonstrate the wisdom of that early decision.” Those grassroots efforts are what make the CFNRV such a special and unique place when compared to many other foundations. 

Current Board Member, Eric Chapman also joined the 1994 Society as a founding member. Chapman has been involved in the work of the foundation over the last few years and is thankful to those who started the foundation and honored to continue to work. Chapman decided to be a founding member of the 1994 Society to “continue the important work that started in 1994 and help establish an evergreen channel for fundraising that will appeal to the next generation of community supporters. As Chair of the Distribution Committee, I see first-hand the need that organizations have in our community, and how the foundation addresses those needs, as well as how much more the foundation could accomplish with additional financial support. I hope to see others join, so that we can continue to make a difference together now and in the future.”

Chief Executive Officer Jessica Wirgau shares in this excitement around the Society’s launch, “I began working with the foundation as a volunteer in 2005 and was fortunate to work with and learn from some of our founders. Despite being young and new to the region, they sought out my opinion and shared with me their hope for what this foundation could accomplish in the years to come. I have always admired both their passion for starting the foundation and their sincere desire to bring in new voices as volunteers, donors, and partners to chart the course of our work. The 1994 Society perfectly captures that spirit, and invites people from all walks of life to engage with, inform, and support the work we do.”

The CFNRV will kick off the public campaign to join the 1994 Society during the Eastern Divide Charity Pint Night on April 29th. You can join the Foundation from 3pm-9pm at 3175 Commerce St. in Blacksburg. Every pint sold during that timeframe will benefit the CFNRV, and visitors can pick up information about the Society. You can click here to learn more details and join online.

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