More than $385,000 in grants was awarded to 112 organizations on Wednesday evening in Waynesboro. The Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge Chief Executive Officer Dan Layman hoped the grants would continue to better Waynesboro, Staunton, and Augusta, Highland and Nelson counties.
This year, the Community Foundation received 134 applications for grants — a 26 percent increase from last year.
“A number of those of the increased number of applications came to us from organizations that are relatively new and have not had the opportunity to apply for grants from us in the past,” Layman said.
The other part was smaller organizations that have been around for a while, but have just recently been in contact with Community Foundation staff about grant opportunities.
“It made it a greater challenge this year to make those selections and about 80 percent of the applications are going to receive some level of support,” Layman said. “To get to that, we had to increase the size of our grant committee from 18 to 25 community members to get additional input to make sure we were selecting the best possible grants.”
The nonprofits awarded grants have a wide range of missions. The categories include providing: a helping hand in time of need, aid in health and wellbeing, safe shelter and support, educational opportunities, skill building, help for people to lead an engaged life, care for pets and wildlife, preservation of history and natural resources, enrichment through arts and culture, and community connections.
“Since the organizations we support have the widest possible range of missions, our expectations are that a number of them are going to be effective in meeting the urgent needs of community members,” Layman said. “It all ties back to our mission, of course, which is to enhance the quality of life of everyone in our community.”
A reception was held on Wednesday evening to present the grants and honor the nonprofits.
“This is the one time of year when we have all of these amazing charitable organizations together in one room together — to be able to see their work is really amazing,” Layman said. “I hope it’s something that in the future more community members will come out and really help us celebrate the work of all of these organizations.”
Amanda Nicholson, director of outreach at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, said they are grateful for the grant. It will go to help wild animals all across Virginia.
“This money will be used for animal care and treatment; we’ll likely receive more than 3,000 patients this year,” she said. “On Monday, we had our busiest day of admissions so far this year — 45 new patients came through the door. We’ll definitely put the grant to good use.”
Alisha Hammer is treasurer of Augusta Dog Adoptions, which serves Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta County. She said that ADA “will benefit greatly by the support of the Community Foundation,” because the nonprofit has no paid staff, no physical shelter space, and relies completely on foster homes and donations from the community.
In 2018, ADA saved 460 homeless animals, according to Hammer, and has taken in and adopted out more than 3,660 homeless animals since 2008.
“Grant funding will be used for the spay and neuter care of dogs transferred in from Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center (SVASC) exclusively,” said Hammer. “Since the opening of SVASC, Augusta Dog Adoptions has transferred over 800 dogs from this facility alone into our foster programs.”
Hammer said that ADA’s work “directly contributes to [SVASC’s] commendable save rate of over 96 percent of all cats and dogs admitted to their facility.”
A full list of organizations that received grants include:
Allegheny Mountain Institute, American Frontier Culture Foundation, American Shakespeare Center, The Arc of Augusta, Arcadia Project , Augusta at Play, Augusta County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, Augusta County Historical Society, Augusta County Schools, Augusta Dog Adoptions, Augusta Expo, Augusta Regional Clinic, Beverley Street Studio School, Bike Box of the Blue Ridge, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Blue Ridge CASA for Children, Blue Ridge Children's Museum, Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation, Blue Ridge Legal Services, Blue Ridge Medical Center, Boys and Girls Club of Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta County, Brain Injury Connections of the Shenandoah Valley, Cat's Cradle of the Shenandoah Valley, Christian's Purpose, Community Child Care, Creative Works Farm, Daily Living Center, Dare to Dream Therapeutic Horsemanship Center, Disciples' Kitchen, Elegius Mini Equine Sanctuary, Elk Hill Farm, Explore More Discovery Museum, FairField Center, Friends of the Augusta County Library, Friends of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, Friends of the Middle River, Garth Newel Music Center, Gateway Homes, Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council, God's Canine Angels, GReat Aspirations Scholarship Program, Gypsy Hill Park Gateway Restoration Committee, Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District, Health Equipment Loan Program, Heifetz International Music Institute, The Highland Center, Highland County Arts Council, Highland County Humane Society, Highland County Public Library, Highland Historical Society, Highland Medical Center, Historic Staunton Foundation, Hope’s Legacy Equine Rescue, Humane Society/SPCA of Nelson County, Infant and Toddler Connection of Augusta-Highland, Jacob's Ladder, Learn English and Reading Now, The MaDee Project, Mary Baldwin University, Mental Health America – Augusta, MIMA Music, The Nature Foundation at Wintergreen, New Directions Center, Project GROWS, Renewing Homes of Greater Augusta, Ride With Pride, Riverfest River Spirit Waynesboro, Rockfish Valley Community Center, Rockfish Valley Foundation, Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary, Rx Partnership, Safehome Systems, The Salvation Army – Staunton, The Salvation Army – Waynesboro, Shenandoah LGBTQ Center, The Shenandoah National Park Trust, Shenandoah Valley Art Center, Staunton Augusta Art Center, Staunton Augusta Church Relief Association, The Staunton-Augusta County African American Research Society, Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro Habitat for Humanity, Staunton-Augusta Family YMCA, Staunton Choral Society, Staunton Creative Community Fund, Staunton Downtown Development Association, Staunton Innovation League, Staunton Makerspace, Staunton Music Festival, Stonewall Brigade Band, Stuart Hall School Music Academy, The Talking Book Center, Unity in Community, Valley Alliance for Education, Valley Children's Advocacy Center, Valley Conservation Council, Valley Hope Counseling Center, The Valley Mission, Valley Music Academy, Valley Program for Aging Services, Valley Supportive Housing, Vector Industries, Verona Community Food Pantry, VSDB Foundation, The Wayne Theatre Alliance, Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry, Waynesboro Family YMCA, Waynesboro Heritage Foundation, Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra String School, Wildlife Center of Virginia, Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center Foundation, Wintergreen Adaptive Sports and The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Foundation.