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Past Foundation for Roanoke Valley Initiatives

The Belonging Initiative (2009-2015)

In 2009, Foundation for Roanoke Valley launched a $1.5 million, multi-year initiative, The Belonging Initiative, to benefit the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of older adults in the cities of Roanoke and Salem, and Roanoke, Craig, and Botetourt counties.  The goal of the initiative was to provide grants to organizations for the purpose of increasing public awareness of resources available to older adults and their caregivers, mental health education, social companionship, home maintenance and security, and rural community outreach.  Organizations that were a part of this initiative include: Botetourt Resource Center, Council of Community Services, Family Service of Roanoke Valley, Local Office on Aging, Mental Health America – Roanoke Chapter, and Renovation Alliance (formerly Rebuilding Together Roanoke)

The Foundation also worked with Roanoke College and Red Velocity to create the above documentary on the impact this initiative had on the Community.

Arts and Culture Initiative (2013-15)

Foundation for Roanoke Valley believes arts and culture are essential parts of a healthy, vital community, benefiting the social and economic development of a region and contributing to an increased quality of life. We envision a Valley in which the arts build strong connections, advance educational success, and inspire creative expression and imagination within us all.

In order for arts and cultural programs to flourish, the community must make them a priority and support them financially. After conducting a series of interviews with numerous local arts and cultural leaders, artists, nonprofits and for-profit organizations, the Foundation made the decision to design, implement and carry out a three-year grant making initiative by committing $100,000 annually from its Community Catalyst Funds for this effort.

Annual funding was distributed in two categories:

Educate. Inspire. Create.
The Critical Importance of Arts and Culture to the Educational Process (60%)

Grant funding was specifically limited to making possible:

  1. “artist-in-residence” or master classes conducted by a notable artist;
  2. the purchase and use of innovative technology or nontraditional equipment that provides cutting edge classroom arts experience and/or exposes students to new cultural experiences; or
  3. performances and programs built around a specific educational topic and conducted by (or in conjunction with) local arts and cultural nonprofits and held either in-school or at a nonprofit that serves local schoolchildren.

2015 Grant Recipients


Grant Purpose

Amount Awarded

Cultural Arts for Excellence (CAFE)

To purchase a set of 29 steel drums to sustain and expand its Caribbean Steel Orchestra


Roanoke Children's Theatre

To provide an interactive residency called Making History: LIVE! Civil War for all 5th graders in Roanoke City Public Schools.


Smith Mountain Lake Good Neighbors, Inc.

To support and expand its free four-week summer day camp and after school programs at Burnt Chimney Elementary School, Sontag Elementary School, Dudley Elementary School, and Rocky Mount Elementary School in partnership with Roanoke Children's Theatre.


Southwest Virginia Ballet

To provide free or reduced tickets to middle and high school students from Roanoke City, City of Salem and Franklin County to attend TIES, and "Original Ballet: Railroad, People & Connections."


2014 Grant Recipients


Grant Purpose

Amount Awarded

Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia

To support the continuation of its ImageMakers program.


Jefferson Center Foundation

To support its interactive Song Project


Roanoke Children's Theatre

To support the Kaleidoscope camp which will allow RCT to partner with local school resource/special education teachers to conduct theatre arts education programming with and for developmentally disabled K-12 students.


Smith Mountain Lake Good Neighbors, Inc.

To support a free four-week summer day camp and after school programs at Burnt Chimney Elementary School and Sontag Elementary School in partnership with Roanoke Children's Theatre.


VH1 Save the Music Foundation

To restore an instrumental music education program in one Roanoke City Elementary School and assist with the purchase of new instruments.


2013 Grant Recipients


Grant Purpose

Amount Awarded

Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia

To purchase photography and video recording equipment as part of its ImageMakers program.


Craig County High School

To purchase new technology including Macintosh computers, Adobe Photoshop, and a laser printer for its art department.


Jefferson Center Foundation

To implement an interactive song project with area schools that would allow participants to compose their own music and produce CDs.


Roanoke Children's Theatre

To provide a 90-minute interactive residency called Making History: Jamestown! Live! for all 4th graders in Roanoke City and Roanoke County Public Schools.


Arts at Work
Arts and Culture as drivers of Economic Development (40%)

Grant funding was specifically limited to:

  1. the production of public art work;
  2. the production of community-wide arts and cultural events and performances; or
  3. bringing major arts and cultural exhibits to the Valley.

2015 Grant Recipient

Taubman Museum of Art – To underwrite the Museum’s landmark exhibition of
the work of Brazilian born artist and environmentalist Vik Muniz.

2014 Grant Recipient

Mill Mountain Theatre – To underwrite the Summer Theatre Program in
Roanoke’s Market Square.

2013 Grant Recipient

City of Roanoke – To provide major underwriting for the City’s
“Parks and Arts” program for 2014.

Grants 4 Teachers Mini-Initiative (2010-2011)

Teachers often have great ideas of how better to engage their students in various topics.  However, they may find that budget constraints can put a wet blanket on those great ideas.  Foundation for Roanoke Valley, which has “Education” as one of its three primary grants focus areas, implemented the Grants 4 Teachers program to help bring to the classroom innovative activities to stimulate students.  The grants were designed to fund-highly creative but low-cost ideas, to promote new collaborations among teachers or departments, and to make possible fun but educational classroom experiences that would otherwise not be available.