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$262,000 Awarded To Four Area Organizations

Roanoke Women’s Foundation announces grant recipients

Mark Powell and Duane D’Ardenne, Roanoke Community Garden Association; Kathy Chittum and Mary Jean Levin, Grandin Theatre Foundation; Jenny Neel and Denise Yopp, Bethany Hall; Tonia Drewery and Ana Smith Goller, Legal Aid Society of Roanoke Valley

For the eighth year, The Roanoke Women’s Foundation (RWF), a component fund of Foundation for Roanoke Valley,  has announced the recipients of its grant awards, the largest total given to date.

The latest grants, a total of $262,000 awarded at a luncheon held at Roanoke Country Club on December 10th, brings the total to $1,506,000 for grants funded since the organization’s inception in 2004.

“In our eighth year, with 131 members, The Roanoke Women’s Foundation has now exceeded over $1.5 million in total giving; a significant achievement this year in a down economy,” said Kandy Elliott, co-founder of the RWF.  Elliott and co-founder Ginny Jarrett established the RWF as a way for women in the Roanoke and New River Valleys to pool their philanthropic goals and resources in order to make significant gifts to the community.

“The growth of The Roanoke Women’s Foundation over the years has been exceptional, and these latest awards continue the tradition that RWF has built of making high-impact, transformative grants,” added Alan Ronk, executive director of Foundation for Roanoke Valley.

Now in its eighth year, RWF has funded 30 organizations and programs.  This year, 48 organizations applied for funding from the RWF.  Through a rigorous grant making process, that number was narrowed to a group that was presented to the membership for their vote.  Based on those results, the following grants were awarded in the 2012 grant cycle:

Bethany Hall, Inc. – $60,000 to support its “Kitchen Renovation” project for the women in their residential and day treatment substance abuse program.  Their kitchen is at the heart of this healing community; last year it produced 10,863 meals and provided an empowering opportunity to create baked goods and treats used in the women’s fundraising efforts.  Existing appliances and cabinetry are woefully inadequate.  This funding will include upgrading appliances to commercial quality, new cabinets, and a moveable work table.  Bethany Hall is only one of two single-gender, long term programs in Virginia that allow children and newborns to remain with their mothers in treatment.

Grandin Theatre Foundation, Inc. – $95,000 to upgrade their 35 mm projection equipment to digital equipment.  While 35 mm film was the movie industry standard for over 100 years, in the near future it will no longer be a viable technology.  This grant will enable the Grandin to remain competitive and viable in order to show newly released films.  The Roanoke Women’s Foundation grant will help to offset the total project cost of $275,000. The Grandin will launch a public campaign to raise additional funding needed to complete the conversion.

Roanoke Community Garden Association – $70,000 to provide funds to design, build and start the Association’s fourth garden, The Mountain View Garden.  The garden will be built on the adjacent vacant lot by the Mountain View Community Center.  The new garden will serve the Mountain View, Grandin Road, Old Southwest and downtown neighborhoods.  The gardens increase locally grown organic food for hundreds of underprivileged and handicapped citizens as well as refugees and immigrants.  Residents who register to use a plot are asked to pay $20 and volunteer an hour a week to help maintain their bed and help others.  This location provides a flat plot and plenty of space for aspiring gardeners.

Legal Aid Society of Roanoke Valley – $37,000 to partially fund a staff attorney designated as the domestic violence specialist. The balance of funds needed will be provided through another grant and general funds.  Domestic violence is a persistent problem in our communities.  Reported cases have risen dramatically (45.9% in 2010).  Intervention can save a victim’s life, save her or his home and the home of any children involved, and has an impact beyond those immediately involved.  Legal Aid is the only organization in the valley that provides a full range of legal representation to victims of domestic violence.

The Roanoke Women’s Foundation is open to any woman who makes the commitment to support the RWF for at least three years at a level of $2,100 per year.  Members have no other obligation than to fulfill the annual contribution and to participate in the voting process determining the recipients of the pooled fund grants.  For more information, visit

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