July 2017 Around Town 2

Foundation for Roanoke Valley

Recently, a 600-pound emerald was discovered in a remote part of Brazil. According to The Associated Press, details on the gemstone’s characteristics or value are not yet available. However, there is a gem right in our backyard whose characteristics and value are readily on display.

Foundation for Roanoke Valley, the region’s community foundation, has been enabling people who love their community to give back easily since 1988. Today, the foundation holds and administers 320 named endowments established by individuals, families, corporations, private foundation transfers and others. Its collective market value exceeds $62 million, and another $80 million in future estate commitments are in place. Once endowments are established, the foundation makes grants from these assets to meet current and as-yet-unknown future needs and opportunities. To date, it has invested $40 million back into the community through its grants program and awards $3 million annually.

The foundation, however, is much more than its numbers. It is truly touching lives in so many ways every day. Recently, the foundation awarded $100,000 in scholarships to 50 deserving students, making their respective educational dreams possible. In March, its special online initiative, Roanoke Valley Gives, produced over $700,000 for 154 local nonprofits in 24 hours! It is helping build an all-abilities playground in Botetourt County, helping second-graders learn to swim at the YMCA and making it possible for 900 schoolchildren to attend an education day with the Salem Red Sox. It is helping Angels of Assisi offer full-service veterinary care and is making possible new approaches for those with Alzheimer’s. The foundation is addressing good nutrition through its support of LEAP for Local Food and stepping up to address oral health care for the needy. It makes possible major arts exhibitions for the Valley while also combatting human trafficking with Straight Street. The foundation works to keep seniors healthy, safe and connected. It helps with assistive technologies for those with disabilities, provides school systems with portable automated external defibrillators and fire departments with thermal imaging cameras, and reaches out regularly to support families in crisis, including battered women, veterans and others.

In addition to its comprehensive grants program, Foundation for Roanoke Valley provides thousands of hours of technical training to nonprofits and regularly offers a variety of relevant topic speakers. And it walks the walk by having the foundation’s staff volunteer in the community at least quarterly with a local organization.

That giant Brazilian emerald slab very well may ultimately produce lots of high-dollar finished gemstones, but it will always pale in comparison to what a community foundation does every day for its community. If you are interested in creating a personal charitable legacy or learning more about your community foundation, go to FoundationForRoanokeValley.org or call 540.985.0204.