Anonymous Donor Provides Funding For Four Groups
By PETE DELEA
Daily News-Record 2/7/20
An anonymous donor provided The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County with $100,000 to establish endowments for four area nonprofits.
The foundation’s executive director, Revlan Hill, said the donor came forward in December to begin the process.
“We were thrilled,” Hill said. “It’s very important for organizations to have endowments. It gives them a stream of income to rely on each year.”
Through the donation, endowments of $25,000 each were set up for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Blue Ridge Legal Services, Central Valley Habitat for Humanity, and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society. The funds will be invested and can be added to by anyone who wants to support the organizations.
John Whitfield, executive director of Blue Ridge Legal Services, said he was surprised to learn of the donation.
“It was one of the most exciting pieces of news in years,” Whitfield said. “To hear someone started one for us, it was just pretty amazing.”
Blue Ridge provides free legal services to low-income residents. It handles bankruptcies, wills and other civil cases. It does not represent clients in criminal cases.
The organization largely relies on more than 400 private attorneys in the Shenandoah and Roanoke valleys to assist low-income clients.
Whitfield said funding allows the organization to go to bat for people who can’t afford attorneys.
“Our court system is designed with the assumption that people have lawyers,” he said.
Like many nonprofits, Whitfield said, his organization struggles to get by each year.
“We’re struggling year to year to keep the lights and pay our staff,” he said. “This gets us thinking long term. It’s a great step for us.”
David Wenger, executive director of Central Valley Habitat for Humanity, said the endowment will help ensure his organization continues for years to come.
“It provides a stable funding source that we’re able to count on so we can continue to work on our goal to provide affordable housing for people,” he said.
The nonprofit has been seeking to increase the number of families it helps each year.
Two years ago, he said, the group celebrated its 30th anniversary. In the organization’s first 30 years, it helped, on average, two families per year.
In 2019, it provided homes to four families. This year, officials hope to help at least six.
Hill said individuals can add to the endowments through the community foundation. They can also give directly to the organizations during the third annual Great Community Give on April 22.
The Great Community Give is an online fundraising drive featuring incentives to help local nonprofits meet goals to fund their operations.
Last year, 89 nonprofits participated and a total of $536,300 was raised.
This year, more than 100 nonprofits plan to participate. To donate through the Great Community Give, visit greatcommunitygive.org.