LYNCHBURG — After receiving numerous donations and pledges from the public, the Rockfish Valley Community Center board voted Tuesday to return a $20,000 grant to the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic branch of the company behind the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
A motion to return the money that would have been used for the center’s Green Initiative — with the condition the board pursues alternative funding from the community to recoup the $20,000 — was unanimously approved by the board.
“The board listened to public input, and we also said at the [July 7 meeting] that we were very open to alternative funding and returning the money, $20,000, to the Dominion Foundation if we had for alternative funding a constructive and timely plan,” RVCC board president Chuck Kiehl said. “Thanks to the outreach of our community, we have acquired those funds through donations that we have in hand … and pledges that have been made.”
According to RVCC Executive Director Stu Mills, as of Tuesday evening, the center had received $28,737 in pledges and donations in hand.
The majority of that amount — $23,687 — is considered “restricted,” meaning it must be used to replace the $20,000 the center will be returning. The money will be used for the replacement of 61 nearly 80-year-old windows as part of the center’s Green Initiative.
An additional $5,050 will be used for other projects that are part of the Green Initiative. Renovations included in the initiative are intended to reduce the Afton center’s energy costs by refurbishing the geothermal system, completing insulation and replacing the windows.
Mills said RVCC also hopes to replace the soffits and fascia that surround each of the windows to complete the update aesthetically.
The board’s decision was met by applause and gratitude from about 16 community members in attendance.
“We done good,” Eleanor Amidon, a member of the Pipeline Education Group, said after the board’s decision.
Though Mills does not have a vote on the board, he called the board’s decision “a really happy vote.”
“I will be happy to write that check,” he said.
The more than $23,000 in donations and pledges also will help RVCC match a $21,317 grant from the Perry Foundation of Charlottesville. The grant is required to be matched by RVCC one-for-one by December.
Dominion Resources spokesman Aaron Ruby said the foundation respects the board’s decision.
“We were proud to support the Rockfish Valley Community Center and all the good work they do in the community,” Ruby said. “It’s a great organization, and their Green Initiative is a worthy cause. We wish them much success. We’ve supported organizations like the RVCC for many years, and we’ll continue to support them for years to come.”