2022 Annual Report

A Letter from Jessica Wirgau, Chief Executive Officer BUILDING A RESILIENT COMMUNITY

Over the last two years, I have heard the word resilient countless times. We ask teachers and students to be resilient in the face of disruption in and outside of the classroom. We laud the resiliency of local businesses who stay afloat with the help of loyal customers. And in the nonprofit sector, we marvel at the resiliency of agencies already operating with few resources, who face an increased demand for services with a shrinking staff and volunteer pool. We are surely resilient. But routinely asking for resilience has its pitfalls. The constant requests to do more with less – less money, less people, less energy – leads to burnout and services that barely meet our community’s needs. To support one another in the face of these stressors, we are told to “foster a more resilient community,” but what does that mean in practice? At the Community Foundation of the New River Valley (CFNRV), we have chosen to invest in relationships, between individuals, between organizations, and across sectors, with the goal of creating systems that are supportive, sustainable and, yes, resilient. We are not looking to place the CFNRV - or any other organization - at the center of a particular community issue. Rather, by creating a network of relationships with shared leadership, we ensure that an initiative moves forward even when some individuals or organizations need to step away to reenergize. Since 2015, we have used the Fund for the NRV to build networks in the areas of early childhood education, food access, aging,

and health. We invest staff time and funding to convene organizations around common goals and to foster shared ownership, so participants feel engaged and supported. This approach has led to notable successes seen in this report and on the CFNRV’s website. They include First Steps, our early childhood education and development network, securing $1.15 million in American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds from the Town of Blacksburg to stabilize and grow the childcare workforce, as well as the creation of a new initiative focused on sharing resources among the NRV’s community gardens. I invite you to read this report with resilience in mind, noting the ways in which the CFNRV builds connections between donors, volunteers, and partners. It is through these relationships that we care for our community and for ourselves. A child plays at Wonder Universe: A Children’s Museum, a 2021 Responsive Grant recipient.

Photo courtesy of Wonder Universe


2021 - 2022 ANNUAL REPORT

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