We call them visionaries, the 10 people who stood on a stage on Jan. 23, 1985, and announced the beginning of a community foundation that would serve the Beckley area.
Could those 10 people — Charlie Connor, Leslie Gates, Elmo Hurst, Warren Thornhill, Leo Vecillio Jr., Richard Daniel, Alex George, Charlie Lewis Jr. Phoebe Tieche and James Word Jr. — have any inkling just how successful and important to the community the Beckley Area Foundation would be?
Did they realize how people would embrace the foundation, growing it in a relatively short 28 years from its $1.1 million in seed money to its current assets of more than $28 million?
Could they envision that there would be 378 funds and counting as the sun rose on 2013?
We believe they could —and did — envision all of these things. And the people of Beckley and the surrounding area made those visions reality.
As BAF Executive Director Susan Landis has said, “We just have a very generous community.”
You see, that’s the thing about the Beckley Area Foundation, you don’t have to be a Richie Rich to make a difference. And so, many in the community do give whatever they can.
Individuals, families, companies and organizations can establish a fund with a minimum gift of $2,000 and build over a five-year period, or immediately start a fund with a $10,000 donation. Named discretionary funds require a gift of $5,000.
It is a wonderful way to memorialize or honor a family member or a cause that is near and dear to your heart. However and whatever you do, you have the security of knowing that legacy will continue forever. The original donation is never touched; only the income it grows is used to make community grants.
It is not only Beckley that benefits from the foundation. It serves as custodian to funds in Mount Hope and in Webster, Wyoming and McDowell counties. Among those aided by last year’s community grants were Coal City, Ghent and Rhodell fire departments, Marsh Fork Community Association, Bowers Hospice House, several elementary schools, food pantries and a variety of other programs and agencies.
Do you enjoy the Labor Day concert featuring the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra? Thank BAF for the opportunity to hear such a fine performance.
Have your children come home from school raving about a special project their teacher is leading them in? That’s BAF again through its Students First Minigrants that fund unique learning ideas from area teachers.
Every day Beckley Area Foundation is working hard to make Beckley, Raleigh County and southern West Virginia a better place.
You can help in that endeavor. Check out the foundation’s website, wvbaf.org, for a complete list of funds, how to donate to an existing fund or set up a new one, how to apply for a grant or to see a photo gallery of the good things BAF has accomplished. Or call 304-253-3806.
And remember these three words that best describe the Beckley Area Foundation:
For good, forever.