Charleston, WV-The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation (TGKVF) Board of Trustees approved the distribution of grants totaling $887,107. Funding supports programs such as the Education Alliance’s AmeriCorps Mentors Alliance.

Two Kanawha County AmeriCorps Mentors who began their service in September 2019 built strong ties with their students during the duration of the school year. When schools closed due to COVID-19, the mentors were very upset and expressed a deep concern for their students. The mentors opted to continue serving the community during the state shutdown by delivering meals and educational packets to housing development youth and families. As they were delivering meals, the mentors were able to continue student engagement with some of the students they mentored during the school year. Michael Farmer, the Kanawha Regional Coordinator for the program, attended one of the daily meal delivery runs with the AmeriCorps Mentors. As they approached one of the houses in the development, a student loudly and excitedly proclaimed, “They’re here! They’re here!” The student ran down the steps to meet the mentors and receive a meal and educational packet. The student explained they do not get to see very many friends because of COVID-19, but seeing the mentors three days a week was a highlight!

TGKVF awarded three grants totaling $60,256 to Arts & Culture, Basic Needs, and Field-of-Interest programs and awarded 15 grants totaling $452,751 in the Foundation’s proactive areas of Community and Economic Development (CED), Education, and Health. Funding was awarded for one Special Initiative grant and one West Side 2.0 grant in the amounts of $60,100. Continued generous support from an anonymous donor provided funding for four Dental Health and five Emergency Aid grants totaling $314,000.

WV Food and Farm Coalition-WV Rural Grocer Association: $26,271 (CED)

The WV Rural Grocer Association project will increase the sustainability of small, independently owned grocery stores in the Foundation’s footprint through targeted assessment and technical assistance. Additionally, this project will create a fund that allows participating grocers to access equipment needed to create greater sustainability while the grocers work to better establish themselves, stabilize their businesses, and provide a much-needed service to their community. 

Rivers to Ridges Heritage Trail, Inc.-Rivers to Ridges Heritage Trail Marketing and Community Economic Development Initiative Year: $16,000 (CED)

In its third year of support from TGKVF, this project will continue efforts to use the River to Ridges Heritage Trail as a catalyst to improve the economy of communities in western Kanawha and northern Putnam counties by promoting the region as a destination for tourists and providing one-day travel opportunities for those living within the region. This will be accomplished by increasing public knowledge of the Rivers to Ridges Heritage Trail and developing and strengthening partnerships with local businesses.

Goodwill Industries of Kanawha Valley, Inc.-GoodHOST: $21,271 (CED)

The GoodHOST program provides Goodwill participants experience and portable credentials within the hospitality industry. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitality was a thriving industry in West Virginia, as ecotourism and four-season vacationing grew throughout the state. Looking ahead, GoodHOST components have been added to support the changing hospitality climate. Additional courses such as facility maintenance have provided employment options for individuals who did not previously view hospitality as their career path.

West Virginia Women Work!-Step UP for Women Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program (SUFW): $26,272 (CED) 

Continued funding will support SUFW, a tuition-free training program of West Virginia Women Work! that helps adult students overcome barriers to employment. Funding will also support the launch of a new initiative based on retention of women previously placed, creating a self-perpetuating community that ensures the lasting impact of previous investments. The course will be offered twice yearly, enroll approximately 15 students, and boast an 80% or higher graduate employment rate. Each year, graduates are trained as mentors to support SUFW participants and tradeswomen. 

Coda Mountain Academy of Music-Coda Tutoring, Organizational Growth and Program Support: $51,915 (Education)

A fourth year of support from TGKVF enables Coda Mountain Academy of Music to expand its innovative tutoring program in Fayette County. Coda will adapt tutoring specifically to assist virtual students and students recovering from academic loss due to COVID-19 disruptions. Funding will be leveraged with AmeriCorps volunteers and will focus on continued capacity-building to support growth. 

The Education Alliance-Business and Community for Public Schools-AmeriCorps Mentor Alliance: $60,552 (Education)

The Education Alliance AmeriCorps Mentor Alliance is a dropout prevention, mentor-based intervention that creates a bridge between in-school and afterschool services that addresses student attendance, behavior, and course performance. During the 2020-21 school year, the program will be offered in Kanawha County Schools in partnership with Bob Burdette Center and Step by Step, Inc. Foundation funding will support the AmeriCorps mentors and partnering afterschool programs. Mentors will provide 180 students with mentor sessions and serve 180 students throughout non-schooltime activities.

The Appalachian Reading Center, Inc.-Dyslexia Services Coalition for Marginalized Youth in Foster and Kinship Care: $61,920 (Education)

Funding will allow The Appalachian Reading Center to continue providing tutoring to dyslexic and reading-deficient youth in highly distressed areas with an emphasis on Clay County. The Center will offer partial scholarships to students at all locations and employ an Accommodations Specialist to assist the Director in preparing alternate spelling lists for teachers who are working with Center students in their classrooms. This partnership will allow students who are studying the Wilson Reading System to progress more quickly and will help their teachers better understand how dyslexic students learn.

West Virginia Department of Education-WV Schools of Diversion and Transition-Circumventing Dyslexia in the Facility Based Environment: $10,200 (Education)

The West Virginia Department of Education’s Circumventing Dyslexia in the Facility Based Environment program aims to identify and treat facility placed adults who are experiencing academic difficulties as a result of an undiagnosed or untreated dyslexia disability. Funding will support academic equipment purchases for use at Mount Olive Correctional Center. 

Legal Aid of West Virginia, Inc.-Lawyer in the School: $20,000 (Education)

Lawyer in the School (LIS) stabilizes the lives of Kanawha County School students by providing free legal assistance to families on eviction, benefits, custody, and many other issues. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, direct service was provided through walk-in clinics at Mary C. Snow Westside Elementary and by appointment at Grandview Elementary as well as through workshops at both schools to educate families on legal issues impacting stability. Since the spring, LIS has continued to help families by phone. This third year of funding will allow for continued hosting of legal clinics and workshops for families virtually until it is safe to return to schools.

Fairness West Virginia-West Virginia Transgender Health Initiative: $27,000 (Health)

Fairness West Virginia, the statewide LGBTQ organization will address healthcare disparities of transgender people by organizing a series of training sessions with healthcare professionals from TGKVF’s six-county region. With this third year of funding, Fairness will continue training sessions, update and promote the online and printed transgender-inclusive healthcare guide, and create a series of online training modules for providers to access and further improve their skills. 

Keep Your Faith Corporation/Covenant House.-West Side Grown Extension Project: $27,000 (Health)

West Side Grown Extension is a collaboration between Keep Your Faith Corporation (KYFC), several local farmers in the Kanawha Valley and surrounding areas, Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary, Piedmont Elementary, Kanawha County Youth Report, and WVSU Extension to bring fresh, healthy, and local foods to elementary students and their families while promoting entrepreneurial skills and agricultural literacy. KYFC has secured green space on Delaware Avenue to host a West Side farmers market where support will assist with development, agricultural, and nutritional literacy workshops, as well as community-based pop-up farmers markets.

Children’s Therapy Clinic, Inc.-Comprehensive Therapy Services: $20,000 (Health)

Children’s Therapy Clinic will focus on comprehensive therapy services for children with disabilities and insufficient insurance or income who live in Kanawha and surrounding counties. Their services include physical, speech, occupational, and music therapies and social skills groups for children with autism. The clinic will also offer yoga classes once a week to clients and their families.

Think Kids, Inc.-Addressing the Needs of Children of the Drug Crisis: $20,000 (Health)

In the second year of funding, the project will identify, assess, and share how counties in TGKVF’s service area are responding to the healthcare needs and well-being of children affected by the drug epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic. The project will bring together stakeholders from across sectors, systems, and communities to listen, learn, and collect information to create a comprehensive picture of community needs, culminating in a final issue report to inform policymakers. 

Lewis County Family Resource Network, Inc.-Try This West Virginia: $25,000 (Health)

Try This West Virginia will build a regional healthy community network in The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation’s service area to generate healthy community activity among communities and across county lines. This will increase networking, provide leadership training, and award mini-grants to teams in TGKVF’s six counties. Teams will use the funds to create projects that make it easy for community members to be physically active and have access to healthy food. 

Partners in Health Network, Inc.-COPD Coordination Project: $39,350 (Health)

Partners in Health Network, as part of its Appalachian Pulmonary Health Project (APHP) activities, will conduct a COPD Care Coordination project providing care coordination and pulmonary rehabilitation using a telehealth approach. A specific web-based app–“Blue Marble app”–is available and affordable for this purpose. Respiratory therapists will be trained to use the app and provide both care coordination and home pulmonary rehabilitation services. Patients will receive the app free of charge for at least one year. Funding supports a pilot test of the project in two APHP sites with the goal of future expansion to all eight programs.

Natural Capital Investment Fund-CAN Mini-grants for WV Creative Placemaking: $15,000 (Arts & Culture)

Utilizing the framework of previous WV Creative Placemaking small grant programs, the project will channel targeted small grants to emerging, grassroots, and exploratory creative placemaking projects in communities within Boone, Clay, Fayette, Lincoln, and Putnam counties. Creative Placemaking is the intersection of arts and communities.  Mini-grants will focus on areas where there is existing traction, vision, and capacity. Grantees will function as a learning cohort and will be included in the CAN Creative Placemaking Working Group and peer learning convenings. This cohort will expand regional creative placemaking knowledge and best practices.

Religious Coalition for Community Renewals, Inc. (RCCR)-Transitional Storage Facility: $20,456 (Basic Needs)

RCCR is establishing a Transitional Storage Facility (TSF) for individuals experiencing homelessness on Charleston’s East End. Housed indoors, the TSF will increase case management opportunities and eliminate issues that arise from free-standing lockers. Individuals experiencing homelessness will be able to safely store their belongings and meet with social service providers at the TSF. Funding from TGKVF will go towards the rent and utility expenses of the TSF.

West Virginia State University Research & Development Corporation (WVSU)-WVSU Health Grandfamilies Programs: $24,800 (Field of Interest)

West Virginia ranks second among all states in the percentage of grandparents responsible for their grandchildren. The West Virginia State University Healthy Grandfamilies Program (WVSUHGP) offers grandfamilies educational resources through discussion sessions combined with social work case management services. Workshops are delivered through the WVSU Extension Service Family and Consumer Sciences program in collaboration with the WVSU Department of Social Work, which coordinates the interventional component. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, services are now provided through phone conversations, educational print materials sent through the US Mail, tangible resources, and social service support.

West Virginia National Hemophilia Foundation (WVNHF)-West Virginia National Hemophilia Foundation Dental Project: $20,000 (Dental Health)

The WVNHF Dental Program knows a dentist visit can be traumatic for patients with bleeding disorders and often leads to seeking dental care reactively, only when a problem is unbearable and expensive. This program will offer no-cost preventative care by a dentist experienced with bleeding disorders. Serving Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln, and Putnam counties, the program will standardize best practices for bleeding disorders and expand care to patients most vulnerable to complications.

New River Association-New River Health Association Dental Expansion Project: $30,000 (Dental Health)

New River Health is expanding dental services to Fayette and surrounding counties, thereby increasing accessibility to a larger number of patients. Funding will support the purchase of equipment as well as dental services for low-income, uninsured children and adults. 

Cabin Creek Health Systems-Cabin Creek Smiles!: $75,000 (Dental Health)

The Cabin Creek Smiles! Program provides individuals of all ages with appropriate oral healthcare designed to improve their quality of life and restore their smile. This program operates out of the Sissonville and Clendenin Health Centers and is open to any resident in The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation’s six county area.

Charleston Area Medical Center Health Education & Research Institute, Inc.-Dental Assistance for CAMC Cancer Patients: $30,000 (Dental Health)

The CAMC Cancer Dental Assistance grant will link low-income, uninsured, or underinsured adults with dental providers so these patients can receive dental clearance prior to beginning cancer treatment and to connect them to a dental home. Without dental clearance, patients are unable to receive cancer treatment. Funding will support patients with extractions, fillings, dentures, and partials so they can receive dental clearance to receive chemotherapy or radiation. 

West Virginia Health Right, Inc.-HOPE (Health Opportunities for Parents Everywhere): $34,000 (Emergency Aid)

The HOPE program is designed specifically to improve sobriety among addicted expectant and new parents, decrease neonatal abstinence syndrome births, and increase maintenance of the family unit. Some outreach will occur in all of TGKVF’s six-county footprint; however, the majority of interventions will take place at WV Health Right’s Charleston clinic. Funding will support costs associated with staffing, supplies, and patient transportation.

Camp Appalachia-Fire Safety System: $30,000 (Emergency Aid)

The Camp Appalachia Fire Safety System project serves youth campers from Boone, Kanawha, Lincoln, and Putnam counties who are in foster care, have a parent incarcerated, or have been directly affected by the opioid crisis. Campers are taught how to make positive, healthy choices and are shown there is a life outside of their present circumstances. 

Mission West Virginia-Carry-on: $30,000 (Emergency Aid)

Mission West Virginia will assist relative and foster caregivers in covering the costs of basic necessities for the youth in their care. By providing emergency assistance for the youth in care, it will alleviate part of the strain on the caregiver’s household budget so those funds can be directed for food and shelter. Approximately 300 youth in foster or kinship care within Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln, and Putnam counties will be served. 

West Hamlin United Methodist Church-West Hamlin Community H.O.P.E. Center, third and permanent roof installation: $25,000 (Emergency Aid)

Helping Our People Excel (HOPE) is an outreach program of the West Hamlin United Methodist Church. This project will complete Phase 4 of the West Hamlin Community HOPE Center by completing construction of the Center’s top floor and roof. The HOPE Center will be used to provide space for the Lincoln County Health Department to conduct special events related to the COVID-19 pandemic such as trainings, vaccinations, blood drives, and health related activities. Free public high-speed internet will also be available to aid families with children taking online classes. 

Partnership of African American Churches-Surge Testing in Communities of Color in West Virginia: $40,000 (Emergency Aid)

The Surge Testing in Communities of Color project will conduct COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and community education and awareness in communities of color across West Virginia. TGKVF funding will be focused in Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln, and Putnam counties.

Coalfield Development Corporation-West Side WRAPS (Workforce Readiness and Professional Success): $50,100 (West Side 2.0)

The WRAPS program identifies people with barriers to employment who are eager to work and provides them experience, training, support, and connection. Trainees are paid for six months while receiving certification training, work, and personal development mentorship based on 12 dimensions of personal and professional success. As trainees progress to internship and employment with members of our Employer Advisory Board and others, they receive individual counseling to address barriers to long-term employment success. 

City of Charleston-Celebration Station II: $10,000 (Special Initiatives) 

The Charleston Rotary, in collaboration with the City of Charleston and Kanawha County Schools, is leading the revitalization of the community portion of Celebration Station on Charleston’s East End. Celebration Station serves Charleston and Kanawha County residents. Grant funds will be used to replace old playground equipment with new, safer structures.

The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation is grateful to our community of generous donors who make these and other grants possible. The programs and work approved for the fourth quarter of 2020 distributions are supported by the following funds: Anonymous/Dental Health; Anonymous/Emergency Aid; James F. Duncan Charitable Fund; Lloyd, Jr. and Margaret Erhard; JW, Jr. and Gabrielle Hubbard; Bernard H. Jacobson Cultural; Blanche E. Jacobson; Dorothy and Charles Jardin; F. B. Lamb; Stanley Loewenstein Memorial; Nathan and Sarah Maslow; Alfred and Lucy McClung; Margaret Ann Moyer; Pelzel Family; Nancy Gay Randolph; George and Josephine Rogers;  L. Newton and Katherine Thomas; and Women Working Fund.