The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation originated in 1962, largely due to the efforts of Robert Spilman, Ned Chilton, and Stanley Loewenstein, among others. The Foundation began its operations with the establishment of a single fund, the Frank A. Knight Memorial Fund. Its assets of $45,000, belonging to the by then discontinued North-South Football Game, were redirected by the Circuit Court of Kanawha County to the Foundation for the benefit of the Children’s Museum and Planetarium, now the Avampato Museum.

Since then, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation has enabled a multitude of community achievements in areas like arts and culture, health and human services, economic development, education, and recreation. It has supported numerous pioneering projects including the Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston) nursing program in 1965, the Arthur B. Hodges Center for the Elderly in 1978 , the Samaritan Inn in 1988, the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in 1996, the Schoenbaum Family Enrichment Center in 2002, and the CAMC Cancer Center in 2012. The extreme generosity and foresight of our donors coupled with the industrious effort of our grantees has propelled our community closer to its vision of a forward-thinking and closely connected community that fearlessly works together to promote the prosperity of all.