This feature is part of our year-end series of top 10 moments from 2023. We are sharing about some of our favorite parts of the year and raising funds for our end-of-year campaign. Can you chip in a donation of any amount to help us meet our $40,000 goal? Your donation, combined with the contributions of others, powers our work to encourage charitable giving, nurture collaboration, and invest in lasting solutions that enhance the quality of life for all in the New River Valley.
It is always a pleasure to have new board members join our team. We endeavor to have a variety of people serve on the board – from across industries and localities. All of whom bringing a wide variety of experiences that all help move our work forward. Board members are invited to serve three year terms. They have the opportunity to renew their term twice, plus one additional year – for a total of 10 years.
In addition to welcoming four members, we said goodbye to three board members: Gary Hancock, John Muffo, and Andrew Warren. Read on to learn more about both our new members as well as our outgoing members.
City of Radford
Catherine Cotrupi (she/hers) serves as the Interim Assistant Dean and Director for Diversity, Inclusion, and Strategic Partnerships for the Graduate School at Virginia Tech. She is passionate about community engagement, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, and antiracism efforts. She has served in professional and personal roles working to bridge the these to leverage the resources of each for the benefit of the others.
She is involved in the regional community in a variety of ways. She has served on the Board of the New River Conservancy since 2020 where she currently serves as Chair; she has been on the City of Radford’s Recreation Commission since 2018, and she has been an Officer of Elections serving as a Poll Worker then Precinct Chief since 2016. Catherine earned both her doctoral degree in Higher Education and her master’s degree in Sociology from Virginia Tech. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Clemson University.
What are some community issues that you are passionate about? I’m passionate about inclusion efforts and access to resources. Our vibrant community excels in creating a sense of belonging for many, but there are always opportunities to grow and expand our efforts. Someone the other day had me reflecting on the differences between being “open” to everyone, versus being “welcoming” to everyone, versus being “hospitable” to everyone…Just because someone is welcome or included, doesn’t necessarily mean the space has been created in a way that allows them to participate fully and to feel as if they have ownership in the space.
Examples of this can be seen in a variety of settings: Are our greenways and blueways accessible to members of our community with disabilities? Are we aware of the ways that racism and classism influence our policies and practices?…Each of these tie into structural and systemic considerations our community as a whole must work to address, and I enjoy being a part of these conversations to address barriers to engagement and participation.
Why did you decide to join our board? I’ve been involved with CFNRV in a variety of ways over the past decade – by attending the Livability Initiative events to…serving on the Distribution Committee as a Grant Reviewer; by being a part of DEI Task Force; by contributing to several of the CFNRV’s initiatives through previous professional roles, and by attending and connecting with community partners at Third Thursday gatherings. Through all of my experiences with each of these aspects of CFNRV’s portfolio, I can contribute to these efforts from a deeper and more engaged space by serving on the Board.
Lauren Dudley is an experienced healthcare executive with more than 14 years in the industry. Throughout her career, she has served in a variety of key leadership roles with both large complex and small acute care hospitals within HCA Healthcare. Lauren currently serves as chief executive officer of LewisGale Hospital Montgomery.
Prior to joining the team at Montgomery, Lauren served as the chief operating officer for HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital. In this role, she led facility construction projects totaling more than $120M of capital funding for facility expansion and drove multiple service line technology upgrades.
Lauren is an active member in the community, sitting on the board for Onward NRV and Blacksburg Partnership. Most recently, she received the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 Emerging Woman Business Leader award. Lauren earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing from Appalachian State University. She earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Why did you decide to join our board? We have an amazing opportunity to impact the health and well-being of the NRV. I am encouraged to see the positive impact made since 1994 and excited to be part of such a dedicated group of board members focused on the quality of life for all communities we serve. I am passionate around the CFRNV’s values as a critical part that aligns the community leaders across the region.
City of Radford
Rob Graham became the superintendent of Pulaski County Public Schools in 2023 after serving six years as Radford City Public Schools Superintendent. Previously, Rob served as principal of McHarg Elementary School then he moved to the central office as assistant superintendent. Additionally, Rob works with the schools’ Foundation Boards in order to help the school division reach its vision of “Excellence in Education, Every Student, Every Day”.
Rob has been a part of the First Steps Initiative at the CFNRV since it began in 2016. He has spoken at several events and serving as a resource on public school engagement with early childhood education. Rob also serves on the board of Radford Child Development Inc. (RCD.) RCD established the Radford Early Learning Center and has worked closely with First Steps. He earned his B.S. from Emory and Henry, M.S. from George Mason University, Ed.S. from the University of Virginia. Rob currently is working on his Ed.D. at East Tennessee State University.
What are some community issues that you are passionate about? I am very interested in early childhood education, especially universal preschool for all Virginia children (3 and 4 year olds). I am also very worried about the increase in mental health issues we have seen since the pandemic. They are having a negative impact on teaching and learning.
Why did you decide to join our board? Jessica and the Community Foundation has always been so supportive of public education. I felt like it was my time to provide the same type of support to this wonderful organization. I am grateful for the invite to serve on the board. I look forward to doing great things with the Foundation.
Linda Millsaps current serves as the County Administrator for Floyd County, Virginia. In this role, she serves as the primary link between the county staff and the Board of Supervisors. Additionally, Linda offers advice and recommendations for the Board’s policy decisions, leads and directs the county staff, serves as fiscal agent for the Constitutional Officers, works with elected officials, and represents the county to state and regional organizations.
Linda’s background is primarily in government and nonprofit management. In each of her roles she has been involved in budgeting, taxation, public policy, policy implementation review, management, leadership, legislative staffing and agency legislative liaison roles, low-income housing and community development, economic development, nonprofit board leadership, and grant writing. Linda holds a B.S. from the American University, an M.P.P. from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from West Virginia University.
What are some community issues that you are passionate about? For some time I have been personally passionate about issues of community development and affordable housing. Over time I have learned that these issues quickly also become intertwined with elements of homelessness, lived experiences, health, and economic access. In the New River Valley in general and Floyd specifically, these turn into a focus on helping folks age vibrantly in their homeplace, food security, outdoor opportunities, and housing.
Why did you decide to join our board? I absolutely believe in the mission of the organization – to encourage local charitable giving to invest in lasting solutions. The Foundation creates and grows opportunities for individuals and families to honor the values of their loved ones and invest their resources, safely and effectively, in things that make a real-world difference where we live.
Thanking outgoing board members for their service
In addition to welcoming four new members, we said goodbye to three longtime board members. Gary, John, and Andrew all served on the board for 10 years. Each contributed to our work in different and impactful ways. This summer, each were appointed to an Director Emeritus role. We thank each one of their for their commitment to our work. We are looking forward to continuing to work together in new ways.
Gary Hancock is an attorney with Gilmer, Sadler, Ingram, Sutherland & Hutton. During his time on the board, Gary served on the Distribution Committee where he helped to read and prioritize grant applications. He also assisted CFNRV staff with making contacts in Pulaski for fundin. Additionally, he promoted the CFNRV to nonprofits and prospective volunteers.
John Muffo is retired, finishing his career as the director of Academic Assessment Programs at Virginia Tech. John began his tenure on the board as a member of the Distribution Committee. In addition to this role, he served as chair of the Investment Committee for the last 10 years. John has been an active advocate, recommending the CFNRV to several friends who eventually established endowed funds. He and his wife, Sue, established the Muffo Family Fund in 2013 to award scholarships to students with financial need.
Andrew Warren is the assistant town manager with the Town of Christiansburg. Andrew served several years on the Distribution Committee and served as chair of that committee for several years. He also chaired a committee focused on promoting GiveBigNRV (now GiveLocalNRV). Andrew has been a strong advocate for our work, constantly looking for opportunities for collaboration and connections to local governmen
Our work is made possible by your support. To make a gift to our 2023 end-of-year campaign, head to this page.