Building Community Partnerships
A core aspect of the Community Foundation’s mission is to nurture collaboration and act as a catalyst for community and leadership development. To that end, we are pleased to be a partner in several regional projects benefitting the New River Valley. These projects promote collaboration across sectors to address critical issues in our community such as early childhood education, housing, small business development, and more. They also build the capacity of our community to meet these needs now and in the future.
The NRV Livability Initiative was a three-year regional planning process to help citizens build a collective vision for our future in areas such as housing, transportation, agriculture and food systems, land use, energy, cultural heritage and more. Funded by a $1,000,000 grant from the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the three-year process included widespread public outreach to gather feedback across a variety of viewpoints on what makes the NRV a great place to live, work and play now and in the future. NRVLI completed it final report in March 2014 with 18 overarching goals that incorporate the needs and desires of our citizens.
Already, millions of dollars private investment has come to the region through projects associated with the NRVLI goals. Visit the NRV Livability Initiative, browse the new Data Dashboard tracking our progress, and/or read about dozens of community projects putting NRVLI ideas into action in the semi-annual newsletters.
The Community Foundation was pleased to be a partner in the Initiative together with numerous other local governments, nonprofits, and educational institutions and regional organizations to provide guidance to the overall development of the plans between 2010 and 2013. In July 2014, the CFNRV welcomed Kim Thurlow, former Project Manager for NRVLI, to our staff through an innovative partnership with the NRV Regional Commission. Our two organizations now work together with governments, business, individuals, and nonprofits to implement the ideas in the Livability report. For more information, contact Kim Thurlow, Community Programs Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Alliance for Better Childcare Strategies, Inc. (ABCs) was established in February 2016 after two years of work by an area-wide advisory committee focused on strengthening the community’s early child care and education infrastructure to attract and retain talented people with young children in the area. In December 2016, ABCs welcomed its first Executive Director, Bethany Mott, who will work with the Board of Directors to develop its goals and core programs. For more information, contact Bethany at email@example.com.
The mission of ABCs is to build collaborative partnerships that will improve the availability, affordability, and quality of early childcare and education in the New River Valley starting with Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Montgomery County, Virginia.
The Community Foundation is pleased to serve as fiscal sponsor for ABCs as it pursues its nonprofit status.
Old Prices Fork School Community Revitalization Project
The transformation of the Old Prices Fork School brings together diverse community partners to support affordable housing, economic development and local food access for residents of the New River Valley. This spring the project was awarded $2.5 million from the Vibrant Communities Initiative (VCI) through the State of Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The project’s first phase, which is already underway, converts the former classrooms of the old Prices Fork Elementary School into 16 two bedroom apartments, with 10 affordable and six market-rate units for people 55 and older. Phase I is funded in part with state and local HOME funds. The second phase, which includes VCI funding as well as $500,000 in Appalachian Regional Commission funding, includes two components: (1) the Old School Food Center, which will provide innovative economic development opportunities for new or expanding local food-based entrepreneurs through the creation of a commercial incubator kitchen, farm-to-table restaurant, retail market, craft brewery and business competition with support services, and, (2) 16 new apartments with a mix of affordable and market-rate units. When completed, the project is anticipated to create 73 jobs and support 25 food entrepreneurs.
The project has generated an unprecedented amount of collaboration for a grassroots effort of its kind in the New River Valley. The CFNRV is joined by over 20 organizations, businesses, and local governments to pledge time and resources toward the revitalization effort. CFNRV has provided both funding and support as a leadership team member for the project. For further information, please contact Jennifer Wilsie, firstname.lastname@example.org, 540-639-9313 x204.