The Community Foundation of the New River Valley (CFNRV) received nearly 100 applications to its 2020 Responsive Grant Program in July. For the first time in its twenty-five year history, the CFNRV is opening its grants process to the public, allowing community members to join the CFNRV’s existing donors in supporting these worthy organizations through a new online Grant Catalog. The Responsive Grant Program makes a positive impact in the region by responding to ongoing or emergent community needs as recognized by the area nonprofits serving those needs directly. Any registered 501c(3) organization or unit of government, such as a school or library, operating in the NRV was eligible to apply.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the CFNRV recognized that NRV organizations face significant challenges and need flexibility to meet their most pressing needs. Building on the success of the CFNRV’s COVID-19 Response Grants awarded earlier this year, the foundation has tailored the 2020 Responsive Grant Program to offer general operating support grants of up to $4,000.  The funds can be used at the grantee’s discretion to meet immediate needs. Organizations from across the region working on issues such as poverty alleviation, education, environmental conservation, child and family support, animal welfare, arts and culture, and more applied for support.

With the new online Grant Catalog, the CFNRV is giving more people the opportunity to take part in the grant program and to support worthy nonprofits.  The CFNRV traditionally awards grants from the dozens of endowed funds under its umbrella, working closely with fund holders to review and support applications that meet their specific interests. Unfortunately, these endowed funds are not enough to fund all the applicants that are worthy of support, and the need is particularly great this year as organizations are seeing increased demand for services during COVID-19. This is where the community can step in to make a difference by donating towards these grants, for the first time ever! Community members can visit the online Grant Catalog to learn about each applicant organization, see how much money was requested, and how much has been granted to date from the CFNRV’s endowed funds. Then, they can make a secure, online gift to support their applications of choice. A team of CFNRV volunteers has reviewed each application to ensure that the organizations in the Grant Catalog are well-managed and worthy of financial support.

Executive Director, Jessica Wirgau sees the Grant Catalog as a natural extension of the CFNRV’s work advising donors on the very best ways to give back to their community. She says “Over the past several months, we have received many phone calls and emails from community members and civic and religious groups wanting to help nonprofits during the pandemic. They know that people are struggling and they want to help, but they don’t always know about the organizations working in our region and what they need to be successful. The online Grant Catalog this is a great way for community members to see where the need is in our community, to know that the organizations listed have been vetted, and to support those organizations with a simple, online gift.  It’s a one-stop-shop for anyone who wants to support our community through this pandemic.”

The Grant Catalog will be open to community members from September 28th to October 30th. Learn more about the Grant Catalog, and how to make a gift by visiting https://cfnrv.org/grants/responsive-grants/information-for-community-members/.