Students participating in the 2020 Radford University MLK Day of Service. Photo courtesy of the Radford University Center for Diversity and Inclusion

Radford University Partners With Community Foundation to Support Local Nonprofits During MLK Day of Service

Radford University’s 8th Annual MLK Day of Service will look a little different amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, but students, faculty, and staff will continue their tradition of supporting New River Valley and Roanoke nonprofits using the Community Foundation of the New River Valley’s GiveLocalNRV online platform.

Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the only federal holiday observed as a National Day of Service. This year, on January 18th, instead of going into the community to volunteer in-person, Radford University students, faculty, and staff will be giving back through donations, both monetary and through food and supply drives, to area organizations.

To manage monetary donations, the university approached the Community Foundation of the New River Valley (CFNRV) about using its popular GiveLocalNRV platform. The online platform allows nonprofits serving the New River Valley to create a profile and collect tax-deductible donations online through a single, secure website – The platform is best known for the Annual Online Giving Day hosted by the CFNRV, which has raised $1.6 million for over 100 nonprofit organizations since 2014. In 2020, nearly 1900 donors raised over $415,000 for NRV nonprofits on the giving day.

The GiveLocalNRV platform also allows organizations to host giving events beyond the Annual Giving Day, making it a perfect fit for Radford University’s MLK Day of Service. Academic colleges and divisions across the university have created teams to raise money for one of five area nonprofits as follows:

Radford University Carilion & the Waldron College of Health and Human Services will collect monetary donations for Friendship House.
The Davis College of Business and Economics & College of Education and Human Development will collect monetary donations for the Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley.
The College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences & The Artis College of Science and Technology will collect monetary donations for The Giving Tree Food Pantry.
The College of Visual and Performing Arts & The College of Graduate Studies and Research will collect monetary donations for Beans & Rice.
Team Highlander: Administration, staff & students with undeclared majors will collect monetary donations for New River Community Action.

Donors simply visit the Radford University MLK Day of Service giving site at, find their team, and make an online contribution through that team’s page. The platform will track donations as the teams work together to raise $7,000 in total between January 18 and January 27, 2021.

In addition to the monetary contributions that will be raised, students, faculty, and staff will also collect food and supplies for these five organizations as well as Radford-Fairlawn Daily Bread, the Bobcat Backpack Program, and the Ronald McDonald House.

CFNRV CEO Jessica Wirgau sees the partnership as a natural extension of the giving site, “The GiveLocalNRV platform has been a valuable resource for NRV nonprofits. We encourage the community to use the site year-round to support their favorite causes, not just on the Annual Giving Day in June. This partnership with Radford University is a great example of the power of GiveLocalNRV to make giving back easy and fun at any time of the year. The 2021 MLK Day of Service event is particularly important as these organizations are struggling to meet an increased demand for services, while foregoing their normal in-person fundraisers and food drives during the pandemic. We are thrilled to partner with Radford University, and happy that the GiveLocalNRV platform can be a resource for institutions and individuals looking to support our community.”

Radford University is similarly enthusiastic about the partnership. “Dr. King shared, ‘An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity,’ said Tricia Smith, associate vice president for student life. “Radford University has a long history of service and our students, faculty and staff are dedicated to meeting the needs of our communities. The annual MLK Day of Service tradition has been just one of many ways that we demonstrate those values. In a time of change and uncertainty, we are incredibly proud to collaborate with The Community Foundation of the New River Valley.  The GiveLocalNRV platform provides a way for Radford University to continue this important tradition of service and also to adhere to wellness guidelines. It is a privilege to work with CFNRV and the many partner agencies in the New River Valley and Roanoke to advance the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

The Radford University MLK Day of Service giving page is now live and collecting donations through January 27th. Visit to follow the action and make a donation. Additional information about the MLK Day of Service can be found at

If you are interested in learning more about the GiveLocalNRV platform and the dozens of organizations using the site, visit The 8th Annual Online Giving Day will be held on June 23, 2021 with early giving starting June 1.

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